But the basic story line is clear. It was clear in real time—and it’s clearer than ever after the Hamburg summit. Whatever exactly happened at the meeting between Trump and Putin, the president’s Sunday morning Twitter storm confirms: Trump has accepted Putin’s denials as the final word on the matter.
Why would not Trump accept it? He has insisted that the accounts of Russian interference in the US election are a “made-up story,” a hoax by sore-loser Democrats. Putin told Trump nothing that Trump did not already believe—or anyway, that Trump wanted everyone else to believe. If there was any question before Hamburg, that question was settled at Hamburg: There will be no consequences for Russia. They attacked American electoral processes and succeeded. The president Russia helped to install will not punish Russia for helping to install him.
It's shit like this that would drive me to drink if I ever developed the habit of liking alcohol. But I'm so sober it's a goddamned curse.
To quote a saner, hopefully sober Betty Cracker from Balloon Juice:
I don’t expect to like any Republican president’s policies. And Trump is a person of exceedingly low character, so I expect him to behave in an embarrassing manner. But sometimes I wonder if my antipathy toward the man distorts my view of his performance. Is it possible that, while he routinely fucks up and brings shame upon the country, Trump’s presidency isn’t the unmitigated disaster I think it is?
Then I watch something like this summary from an Australian analyst, and I think, nah, it’s not just me...
A compromised, incompetent, deranged buffoon is the president of the United States. The president is surrounded and enabled by amoral, unpatriotic, power-hungry people who will paper over his gaping deficiencies and corruption to pursue their own agendas.
That’s bad, obviously. But the normalization of the situation poses its own dangers.
To pick on NBC for a moment, how could a “top-5 takeaways” piece fail to mention Trump’s insane assertion that “everyone” at the G-20 was talking about John Podesta, which also indicated Trump has no idea what role Podesta played in 2016 or, more alarmingly, the CIA’s role in investigating crimes against U.S. citizens? How could a round-up piece not include the weird and unprecedented insertion of Trump’s knockoff bag and shoe peddler spawn into the conference? Or his capitulation to Putin on an attack on U.S. sovereignty?
My complaint isn’t just about the sorry state of Beltway coverage. We’ve been kvetching about routine hackery for decades and will for decades to come, I suspect. But living in a country run by a madman and his accomplices warps reality for everyone, including the people whose job is to provide facts that help shape our perceptions. It’s probably easier for news sources outside the U.S. to frame the Trump menace accurately. But this interminable national crisis will require all of us to keep a grip on what’s real and what’s an illusion...
Ye Gods. Lemme bring up that Australian reporter's rant:
This is what a power vacuum looks like, America: We have a preening, self-absorbed and self-deluded con artist running things. trump wants to keep selling his agenda of being cozy with Putin and Russia, that "there's no collusion" and no conspiracy to subvert our electoral process... even as the real-world evidence piles up that collusion happened.
trump wants us to believe Russia didn't hack our elections, and even wants to team up with Russia on a joke of a "joint" Cybersecurity project that would likely expose our nation's own security protocols. He's doing this even as Russia is hacking our nation's electric power grid.
I'm with Abed on this: We've gone down the Darkest Timeline in this Multiverse, where a vain madman is in control of the United States, aided and abetted by a partisan Congress and a blind mainstream media.
I want to find the portal back to the Normal Timeline, please.