Potemkin Ethics – Republicans and their make-believe morals

October 1st 2019

Republican sanctimony and hypocrisy, normally just an irritating mosquito whine, has changed as they circle the wagons to deal with the Trump catastrophe, to a roar of White Water. And Benghazi. And Her Emails. And, and, and.

For example, even as Democrats consider the vast array of criminal charges they can prove against Trump and his corrupt administration, the Republicans have suddenly developed a deep concern over the business dealings of one Hunter Biden. Now, Hunter is just a dodgy American businessman who had dodgy business concerns in a dodgy country. Nothing unusual there; there have to be thousands of American businessmen overseas who like the Los Angeles Dodgers because they think they are related. Just more profiteering Americans gouging corrupt regimes for fun and…well, you get it. Nothing to attract the attention of the President of the United States, or Faux News, or Congress, any of whom, truth be told, spend most of their time working on their own corruption. Not battling it; profiting from it.

But Hunter’s daddy is one of the leading Democratic contenders for next year’s election, and thereby hangs the petard. It’s had some small mention in the news, so stop me if you’re heard about this.

Oh, you have heard. Well, good.

“But Biden…” is a buzzphrase sounding from all parts of the vast right wing echo chamber, all the way across and slightly down from the Heritage Foundation to the true snake pits of the American fascist right, Breitbart and Trump. They’ve developed elaborate and utterly fictitious conspiracy theories, each grander and less lucid then the last. In their narrative, Viktor Shokin is a brave and intrepid reformer who was trying to save Ukraine from corruption. In reality, Shokin was the resentful and corrupt leading holdover from the Soviet Union days, when prosecutors, rather than judges, were the deciding force in court cases. Deeply pro-Russian, it’s likely that his efforts to persecute Hunter Biden for holding a seat on a deeply corrupt oil company were brought about at the behest of Vladimir Putin in hopes of orchestrating damage to a possible Joe Biden candidacy. Vlad has form on doing that sort of thing, you know.

Trumpkins who try chanting “But Hunter” at me quickly get a course on the interesting role of Jared Kushner, a skyscraper in New York City, and the events that led to the State Department suddenly declaring a strategic ally, Qatar, an “exporter of terrorism.” The brighter ones shut up and go away, and the rest come up with the other orchestrated talking points.

The Whistleblower isn’t a traitor—quite the opposite. He reported a president who, by his own admission since, was engaging in activities subverting America in order to gain personally and politically, and undermining an ally’s ability to fend off a potential Russian attack. And while his reporting may have been the result of second-hand information, it has been corroborated by the President in question, making the point, utterly irrelevant in the first place, completely moot now.

Do any of the Republicans who underwrote Linda Tripp’s sordid foray into the spotlight of Monicagate believe she had first hand knowledge of what went on there? Did she take a puff on the infamous cigar? Ken Starr didn’t seem to mind using her testimony, did he? Ken Starr, who has made a career of intellectual self-fellatian, now considers it wrong to criminally investigate Presidents.

Presidents do have a right to conduct their business without it all being relayed to the media. However, advisors by any normal standards listen in on such calls in order to guide subsequent policy. You can be sure Putin, who also whined loudly that privacy and confidentiality were being violated, had his own flock of people listening in.

The same crowd whining about presidential privacy now sued successfully to have Secret Service agents on White House detail be forced to report anything they saw or heard.

Republicans also support ignoring subpoenas and other demands for information issued by the investigating committees of Congress. During the Clinton years, the administration turned over 25 MILLION pages of documentation to Congress, and Republicans managed to simultaneously complain that it wasn’t enough, and that it was too much.

Speaking of investigating committees, the President and all his party hatchlings are howling about ‘presidential harassment!”. Note that they have had, over the years, 25 different committees investigating the Clintons, and 8 more for Obama, and with the exception of Monica, found nothing at all. Hillary had to testify for 8.5 hours in front of Congress, all in one marathon day, over the non-story of Benghazi. Trump’s people have raised $25 million over the past few months to try to revive the email story.

Speaking of which, Trump, and various members of his administration, have been caught storing official emails on private servers. Trump himself has shown amazing disregard for national security, but is willing to abuse the top-secret apparatus in order to keep his personal dealings secret.

Republicans believe that Hillary Clinton ran a child sex ring out of a pizza parlor basement. Without a shred of evidence, nothing supporting that belief except malice. Trump has thousands of kids locked in cages or dumped into the American foster home system, and you can bet at least several dozen of those kids have ended up as sex slaves by now.

But for too many Republicans, ethics and morals are a pretend, a vicious game to passive-aggressively dominate others. The only thing that can generate their endless howls of moral outrage is if a Democrat or liberal is the target. But when it comes to the sewage in their own house, they are utterly, and hypocritically, silent.

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