On the EDge: America’s crisis of the soul

OPINION – The United States finds itself, today, parked on the threshold of a constitutional crisis.

This wouldn’t be the first time this has occurred.

In fact, the nation has survived – barely – six of these, including one that resulted in the Civil War, one that came about as a result of voter fraud during the 1876 election and, of course, the Richard Nixon debacle.

There is, however, no equivalency to the one staring us in the face as we consider assertions by the Central Intelligence Agency that the Russians interfered with the 2016 election with the intent of placing Donald Trump in the White House.

The CIA said agents of the Russian government hacked the emails of the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, and turned the information over to WikiLeaks to boost the Trump effort.

The assertion was passed along to members of Congress before the election, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) who dismissed the report.

Trump denounced the CIA findings and, in the process, gave a startling, unprecedented condemnation of the CIA.

“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” Trump said. “The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and make America great again,” he said in a statement issued Friday.

Both parts of Trump’s statement are false.

At the moment, he holds a 306-232 lead in Electoral College votes, which does not equate to a landslide and actually ranks 21st in the 25 elections held during the last 100 years.

And, as far as the CIA and WMDs are concerned, his statement is also a falsehood. The information used by the Bush-Cheney administration to push troops into Iraq was cherry picked by the Bush administration from information gathered from two highly unreliable informants — Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, who became known in intelligence circles as “Curveball” because of his lack of veracity, and an informant named Muhammad Harith, whose information was also deemed unreliable by the intelligence community.

Because intelligence documents go to great lengths to include vast amounts of information, the statements of these two informants were included and pushed to the forefront by Cheney to build his case against Iraq and Saddam Hussein and ensure the windfall of government contracts he would help steer towards his old friends at Halliburton. The fact that the CIA released a more in-depth report four months after the initial document – a report that was skeptical of a functional or developing WMD program in Iraq – is lost on Trump and the Billionaire Boy’s Club Cabinet he is building.

This latest bit of drama adds to the growing list of reasons why members of the Electoral College will have a tougher decision than anticipated when they cast their votes next week.

They will ponder, of course, the fact that Clinton defeated Trump in the popular vote by more than 2.8 million votes.

They will have to consider the voices of nearly 5 million Americans who petitioned the Electoral College to follow the will of the electorate. It would take 37 Republican electors to switch their votes to Clinton to deny Trump the White House, a fairly large, and, presumably, unattainable number.

Then there are the courts.

In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a decision by a federal judge to overturn a Pennsylvania state senate election where the winner was ousted and the runner-up taking office on the grounds of massive fraud.

The outcome, no matter how this thing shakes down, will not be good at this point.

Should Trump remain the winner, he will clearly be operating without a mandate and will have difficulty even with a Republican Congressional majority.

Should he be denied office, you can count on civil chaos, insurgence and, worst-case scenario, blood in the streets.

The table is set for high drama and, as we have seen, anything is possible this election cycle.

The way the system is built, the United States should very well survive these troubling times. It could get very rocky, of course, and threatening, but there are still some calmer heads to help steer it all back onto course.
At least I hope so.

The most disconcerting thing I have seen is the movement among those from the far right – the Duck Dynasty types who are seemingly itching to pick up arms against the nation.

They call themselves patriots, but there is nothing patriotic in the stands they made at the Bundy ranch or in Oregon.

Look, I get it.

They didn’t like the idea of a black man in the White House.

There was a cultural discomfort, an unease, and it was all compounded because Obama was also a cursed Democrat.

The absolute worst part of all of this is that we, as a nation, have generated and harbored so much anger; have become so disrespectful of the foundation the United States was built upon; that we have become so polarized that we talk about such dreadful things as taking up arms against each other; that we have created a situation where we have backed ourselves into a corner.

And, the hypocrisy boils over.

Here we are in what is supposed to be the season of peace on Earth and good will unto all men and women, yet we are flashing switchblades at each other in a gutter fight escalating to the point that it can grow to proportions where we endanger the nation that was once a beacon for the rest of the world.

We once were able to fuss and fight amongst each other, then come together with the good solution, the right solution.

Now?

It’s all about payback and dealing out punishment and pain.

Forget the constitutional crisis.

Right now America has a crisis of the soul.

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: edkociela.mx@gmail.com

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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23 Comments

  • digger December 13, 2016 at 8:39 am

    Ed, save this, reread it in a year. I see you got all of this from the MEDIA, Hello??? you Home?? I think Not.

  • Common Sense December 13, 2016 at 9:05 am

    Ed, calm down. I agree America is in a Crisis but for different reasons. We have been headed down this path for over 100 years. The only good president in that time in my opinion was Reagan. The president elect we have now is a direct result of the path we have been going down. Hopefully he can repair some of the damage the liberals and democrats have forced on us these last 100 years. The deficit is no joke. Our youth not knowing or respecting our history is sad. Who’s fault is that? I would think it would be mainly your generations fault. My parents raised me with a strong back ground of our nation and government and how it is SUPPOSED to work. There are a lot of reasons we are in this mess. Trust me, we are better off without Hilary. It will be Okay.

  • wilbur December 13, 2016 at 9:17 am

    Ed;

    We won, you lost, get over it.

    America

    • 42214 December 13, 2016 at 5:36 pm

      Wilbur is right Ed. Would you like a participation trophy, coloring book and safe space. Would that ease the pain Ed?

  • 42214 December 13, 2016 at 10:09 am

    If the Russians did hack the DNC emails and Podesta’s too, all they did was reveal the truth about their inner workings. It just exposed how vile and deceitful they are. Then you can’t resist playing the race card as usual saying they didn’t like a black man in the white house. White mother, black father equals black man? Tiger Woods, Thai mother, black father equals black golfer?Elizabeth Warren and 1% Indian equals Pochahontas? The left is without soul. Plays race card and every ism there is to shut down debate. Riot in the streets and cry like snowflake babies. Sad state of affairs the coastal elites have created.

  • Real Life December 13, 2016 at 10:18 am

    A very one sided “call for peace”. Calling out “Duck Dynasty” types while no mention of Black Lives Matter, George Soros, or even anthem kneelers. There are bad extremes on BOTH sides Ed. There are actually three sides to this. Your side, their side, and what really goes on.

    • .... December 13, 2016 at 11:06 am

      10:18 am ? pfffft get a job !

  • Dolly December 13, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Ed, what a drama queen! A tantrum, whether displayed by banging one’s head on the floor or by whining in the pages of a media publication, is still a tantrum. Perhaps you need a time-out.

    • godisdead December 13, 2016 at 8:03 pm

      Dolly,
      Read my other comment. If you voted for Trump you support racism, bigotry, misogyny, and hate. There is NO getting around this.
      I applaud anyone, like ed, with the integrity you obviously DON’T have.

  • godisdead December 13, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    Washington county voters for trump was over 70%, the highest percentage for Trump in all of Utah counties. What does that say about our neighbors?
    Anyone who voted for Trump is a supporter of, or an enabler of racism, bigotry, misogyny, and hate. They voted for principles totally at odds with the teachings of Jesus.
    Since the election, we have had trump settle the trump university lawsuits, proving he is a conman and liar. He promised to release his tax returns, if elected. The evidence that Russia manipulated the election to get their man in office. What the hell ? Where is the outrage ?

    • 42214 December 13, 2016 at 7:12 pm

      If your diatribe was meant to be an indictment of Trump supporters all I can say is thanks for the compliment. Jesus and the Russians had nothing to do with this election.

    • 42214 December 13, 2016 at 7:47 pm

      I’ve got bad news for you, a small percentage of the world’s population cares what Jesus would do.

    • ladybugavenger December 13, 2016 at 8:04 pm

      HaHa! Go back to watching CNN

      Hmmmm I thought the same about Obamanation and Hitlery….its your turn…suck it up cupcake.

    • ladybugavenger December 14, 2016 at 2:33 pm

      My other comment was to get your goat. Here I am going to be serious for a moment. I don’t know if you have been to another state with out of that state plates. I have. I’ll use Utah as an example, I came to Utah with California plates and it’s like sharks circling the water. I stick out like a sore thumb, an outsider, I am. Police in Utah profile out of state license plates. With questions to themselves, what are the doing here? do they have drugs? where are they going? And after their profiling, they will run the plates to get more info……you get my analogy? It’s no different than illegal immigration. A lot of Americans want to know the same things: who’s coming in to this country. Why are they coming? Do they have drugs? Where are they going?

      Picture Trump as Utah highway patrol, county sheriff, and city police and immigrants as drivers with out of state plates.

      It’s not that Americans don’t want immigrants it’s that they want them to come here legally. Just like the police will pull you over for expired tags. It’s not that they don’t want you to drive, it’s that they want you to drive legally.

      I hope one day you can stop your name calling and know that it’s not bigotry or hatred to protect your territory. This is the United States of America and not the United States of Muslim or Mexico.

      The country did well with Reagan. I don’t know anyone who has said different. We all know that it has gone down hill since.

      You may not like Trumps arrogance but that’s who he is and you would see it’s amusing if you would get past the name calling. we voted for what he’s going to do for America. If he doesn’t do well there is another election in 4 years.

      I really hope you have a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. We have our differences and that’s ok. It’s what life’s about- learning and growing and agree to disagree but still remain peaceful. Godisalive

  • r2d2 December 13, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    I guess you could call me a God fearing Duck Dynasty dude. Trump won fair and square. Ed, go back to Mexico.

    • Real Life December 13, 2016 at 10:00 pm

      6:46? Pffffffft, who are you fooling?

  • Henry December 13, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Uh Ed, did you notice that the whole premise for your story disappeared this afternoon? Reuters just published an article titled “Exclusive: Top U.S. spy agency has not embraced CIA assessment on Russian hacking – sources”.

    The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) oversees the 17 agencies of the U.S. intelligence community (including the CIA and the FBI). The ODNI declined to accept the CIA’s analysis. The FBI has also refused to accept the CIA’s analysis.

    Better luck with creating your next “crisis”.

    • Chris December 13, 2016 at 8:47 pm

      Maybe you need to read a little more carefully, instead of just looking at headlines. The ODNI is declining to endorse the CIA assessment, but it is not denying nor refuting it.

      • Henry December 14, 2016 at 4:22 pm

        What a shallow and uninformed response. If you had actually read the article, you would’ve seen that I used their exact verbiage in my response. You also would’ve seen that the article said that “the assessment by the CIA, which has not publicly disclosed its findings” was not endorsed by the ODNI or the FBI “because of a lack of conclusive evidence”. Making statements without supporting evidence is regarded as speculation by most people.

        Perhaps you would prefer a source more on the Left? Glenn Greenwald is a respected left-leaning investigative reporter whose work has regularly been featured in progressive publications like The Guardian and Salon. Here are some of Greenwald’s comments from a Washington Post article he wrote about the Russian hacking claims:

        “The key claims are based exclusively on the unverified assertions of anonymous officials, who in turn are disseminating their own claims about what the CIA purportedly believes, all based on evidence that remains completely secret.”

        Greenwald notes that even the Post’s own Russian hacking article mentions that the anonymous sources upon which it (allegedly) relies, report CONFLICTS between the members of the CIA over questions that still haven’t been resolved. The article also states that intelligence agencies have NO intelligence that the Kremlin issued orders to hackers or leakers.

        Greenwald writes what he believes to be the true reason for the Russian hacking claims: “The Democrats—still eager to make sense of their election loss and to find causes for it other than themselves—immediately declared these anonymous claims about what the CIA believes to be true, and, with a somewhat sweet, religious-type faith, treated these anonymous assertions as PROOF of what they wanted to believe all along: that Vladimir Putin was rooting for Donald Trump to win and Hillary Clinton to lose and used nefarious means to ensure that outcome.”

        It’s heartening that even a true Progressive journalist like Jeff Greenwald can be committed to exposing the truth, regardless of whatever ideological prejudices he may hold.

        • 42214 December 14, 2016 at 5:59 pm

          Henry, change your name to the Terminator because you eviscerated Chris. Good job.

          • Henry December 14, 2016 at 10:25 pm

            If I’m the Terminator, you’re the Enforcer. (G). Debates should be based upon verified information rather than questionable innuendo. Keep up the good fight.

  • commonsense December 13, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    You are splitting straws. It was a landslide. Consider also the races for both houses of Congress, landslide. Governors 33 Republican. State legislatures, landslide. This election was a referendum on liberal media and failed Obama policy. There is no evidence that Russia influenced the election. It’s call “fake news” Ed. Democrats are desperate and should be embarrassed.

  • Ron December 13, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Ed, St. George is NOT going to provide you with grief counseling for Hillary losing the election. If you want that, go to New York. The commie Mayor there will comfort you and provide you a “crying” room if you like. How do you like knowing your Hillary is a 3 time loser?? The USA is much better off without her as president.
    Trump won, you lost….get over it!!

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