To the Editor:
Imagine the owners of a mutual banking association met to elect a new board of directors and president of the association. They selected a president who demonstrated outstanding success in financial matters, easily eclipsing any member of the new board of directors.
The relationship between the new president and the new board of directors was antagonistic from the start. The board accused the president of embezzling millions of dollars. The president denied any such crime and resisted the board’s efforts to delve into his personal finances. The board insisted the bank’s books and the president’s personal finances be examined by an independent auditor.
The president resisted the audit as a waste of time and money. The independent auditor found that no money was missing and the current and previous boards had set up procedures that produced inadequate reports and, in fact, opened the door to embezzlers.
They board found that they had the power to fire the unpopular president under the association’s articles of incorporation for lack of cooperation with the board. Rather than correct inadequate procedures, the board fired the president and left the door open for embezzlers.
For centuries, Russia has meddled in the societies of other countries, including interfering with political elections. The tsarist foreign intelligence services were infamous for circulating an anti-Semitic tract in 1903 titled “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”
This document, purporting to prove that the Jews are in a conspiracy to rule the world, is still being circulated in Europe in many languages. It asserts that the Jews are conspiring to control the press and economies as well as undermine the morals of gentiles, a belief shared by many Russians today.
Perhaps the tract reflects a Russian conspiracy. not a Jewish conspiracy.
Russia has always used propaganda, otherwise known as fake news, to promote its policies. The famous Russian newspaper title, Pravda, or Truth, is considered by many to be quite the opposite.
Vladimir Putin wrote a thesis for his law degree titled “The Most Favored Nation Trading Principle in International Law,” not something one would expect from a young communist, but useful for the promotion of disinformation on this subject.
Russian entities produce some of the most extreme pornography in the world to be distributed in the West, but not in Russia. I invite the reader to search the assertions on the internet to learn more about Russian efforts in meddling.
President George Washington had a testy relationship with the press whom he called “infamous scribblers.” One June 5, 2019, the Chicago Tribune republished excerpts from letters to the editor of the newspaper written by one of its readers sharply criticizing the newspaper’s reporting. That reader was Abraham Lincoln.
Fake news or propaganda has been with us since before the invention of the printing press. Our most revered presidents have made public statements that were shocking at the time. Newspapers were brutal in their reporting of these statements. Many accused these presidents of tyranny.
Colonel Fred Benson in his commentary published in the of May 23 Mount Desert Islander paints President Trump as a tyrant based upon criteria developed by The Constitutional Society.
I could not verify the criteria, much less put these criteria into context because I could not find such an organization on the internet or listed by The Library of Congress.
The application of criteria logically requires a context. In any case, these criteria could be used to paint any U.S. president as a tyrant by altering the context.
Benson also asserts that “Our founders would be disappointed to see that the United States is not living up to the expectations set by them 232 years ago.”
I would not attempt to speak for our founding fathers that in their day enacted the controversial Logan Act to limit the power of the president, supported slavery and considered making George Washington a king.
We live in the twenty-first century at a time of the internet with all is misinformation generated by government agencies worldwide and social networks that instantaneously transmit gossip.
President Trump is the tweeter-in-chief. He uses social media more that any past president. If Washington or Lincoln had access to such tools, Benson could have written a similar commentary about them.
President Trump is like the bank president. He was accused of collusion with a foreign power, ordered to produce documentation to support these unfounded accusations and consistently denied that any collusion occurred. He ordered subordinates to cease wasting time and money to investigate a crime that never occurred.
Nevertheless, under pressure from the Congress, an exhaustive investigation continued and concluded that no collusion occurred.
Members of Congress and others are now charging President Trump with obstruction of justice and want him impeached.
I’m not a lawyer, just a lowly mathematician, but how can there be obstruction of justice when there was no underlying crime and an exhaustive investigation of the alleged crime concluded without interference?
The Congress is proceeding down a dangerous path by attempting to remove the President but not removing the defects in our system that allow interference in our elections by foreign powers.
Reasonable people will ultimately recognize the absurdity of such a path and we may be subjected to four more years of a tweeter-in-chief.
Benson is right about one thing: this controversy is best resolved at the ballot box.
David W. Lind