Joseph McCarthy with Roy Cohn
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Reprinted from consortiumnews.com
Special Report: Many Democrats and progressives are embracing a New McCarthyism in their drive to negate last November's election and remove President Trump from office, but is that right, asks Robert Parry.
Yes, I get it. A lot of people want to remove Donald Trump from the presidency for a lot of understandable reasons: his breathtaking incompetence, his relentless narcissism, his destructive policies, etc. But he was elected under the U.S. constitutional system. He may have lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly three million ballots but he did prevail in the Electoral College.
And, unlike George W. Bush, who also lost the popular vote, Trump didn't have to steal Florida -- and thus the White House -- by enlisting Republican justices on the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the vote count prematurely. We now know that if all the ballots considered legal under Florida law had been counted Al Gore would have won regardless of which standard of "chad" was used. But Trump didn't have to resort to such bald-faced cheating.
And, yes, of course, there were many other problems with the election, such as Republican efforts to suppress African-American and other minority votes. But it's not as if the U.S. electoral process has ever been the gold standard of democracy that some Americans like to believe. The system has now -- and always has had -- serious shortcomings, but it also has enabled the diverse United States to function for more than two centuries without major political violence, with the exception of the Civil War when the process broke down over the South's insistence on slavery.
So, whether one likes it or not -- and many people really don't like it -- Donald Trump is the constitutionally elected President of the United States. And, despite the many imperfections in that electoral process, the idea of negating a presidential election is very serious business.
Whatever the hurt feelings of the editors at The New York Times and The Washington Post, whatever snarky jokes are told on late-night TV, whatever connect-the-dots conspiracy theories are popular on MSNBC, the idea of telling 63 million Americans that their votes don't count, that the elites know best, that the President who won under the rules of the game must be ridden out of Washington on a rail will not go down as easily as some people think.
National Democrats and many progressives are also embracing a troubling New McCarthyism to justify what amounts to a "soft coup" against Trump.
In a normal world -- after Tuesday's testimony before the House Intelligence Committee -- former CIA Director John Brennan would have been led away in a straitjacket or given the role of General Jack D. Ripper in a remake of the Cold War dark comedy, "Dr. Strangelove." Instead, Brennan's Russo-phobic ramblings were made the lead story in the Times, the Post and other major American newspapers.
While General Ripper worried about Russian operatives polluting our "precious bodily fluids," Brennan warned that any conversation with a Russian or some Russian intermediary might put Americans on a treasonous path even if they "do not even realize they are on that path until it gets too late."
He also testified, "I know what the Russians try to do. They try to suborn individuals and try to get individuals, including U.S. individuals, to act on their behalf, wittingly or unwittingly." In other words, any American who has some contact with Russia or Russians may be a spy or mole whether he or she knows it or not. Subversion or possible subversion is everywhere. Trust no one.
Yes, I'm sure those devious Russ-kies do what all intelligence agencies, including the CIA, seek to do. And, in many cases, there is nothing wrong with the process. Unofficial give-and-take between adversaries can increase understanding -- and that can be especially important to the future of humankind when the United States and Russia are still armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons.
Indeed, such informal contacts may have helped avert nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis when Washington-based KGB station chief Aleksandr Feklisov approached ABC News correspondent John Scali with a plan to dismantle missile bases in Cuba in return for a U.S. pledge not to invade Cuba. Though there remain historical questions about the significance of that initiative, it shows the value that such contacts can have despite the alarmist concerns raised by the likes of Brennan. In the New Cold War, we'd have to investigate Scali's loyalty.
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