Schwab: Moscow’s a paradise, Trump is Navalny, and up is down

If it’s difficult for some in the GOP to keep up with shifts in allegiances, Trump and Tucker are here for it.

By Sid Schwab / Herald Columnist

Vladimir Putin is a murderer, killing with impunity, by defenestration, poison, bombs on planes, imprisonment in life-threatening circumstances. Whatever the proximate cause of death, and no matter the length of his arm from Alexei Navalny, Putin, to whom Trump seems ready to hand Ukraine, is directly responsible for his death.

Navalny was praised and mourned by every leader of the free world. Except Trump, Putin’s biggest fan other than North Korea’s Kim and China’s Xi. The Kremlin attributed Navalny’s death to “sudden death syndrome,” a practically meaningless medical term. After three days of silence, using the Kremlin’s exact words, and then, per usual, making it all about himself, Trump wrote: “The sudden death of Alexei Navalny has made me more and more aware of what is happening in our Country. It is a slow, steady progression, with CROOKED, Radical Left Politicians, Prosecutors, and Judges leading us down a path to destruction.” No mention of Putin. None of what Navalny stood for. He died a day after Trump invited Putin to invade any of our NATO allies he chooses.

If Trump ignored Putin’s role, Tucker Carlson, Putin’s most enthusiastic osculator outside the Trump’s circle and Republicans of Congress, excused it. Asked about Navalny and the many journalists similarly dispatched, Carlson said, “Every leader kills people. Some kill more than others. Leadership requires killing people.” Which raises the obvious question: What does Carlson know about Jeffrey Epstein’s “suicide” that the rest of us don’t?

Visiting Moscow, Carlson rhapsodized over Russian subway stations and a supermarket where goods are cheaper than here, finding himself “radicalized” against America’s leaders, as a result. A self-described “journalist,” he’s evidently unaware that the average weekly income of Russians is equivalent to $200, and that a majority spend half of that on food. Residing in clean and groceryful parts of Russia comes at a cost: living where dissidents die or disappear; where people peacefully protesting their government’s actions are arrested by the hundreds. This is Putin’s governance, admired by MAGA Republicans. Not unlike the use of government for vengeance against his critics, as promised by Trump.

Not to be outdone by Fox’s formerly biggest star, Newt Gingrich, probably the individual most responsible for the degradation of his party into scorched-earth, dishonest, no-compromise behavior, chimed in: “Watch the Biden administration speak out against Putin and his jailing of his leading political opponent while Democrats in four different jurisdictions try to turn President Trump into an American Navalny.” Trump is already trying.

That perfidious piece of deceitful excreta is no outlier among MAGA Republicans, who consider the convicted Jan. 6 criminals “political prisoners,” and investigating Trump’s criminality equivalent to Navalny’s summary imprisonment and death. That’s more than just dishonest, more than “hardball” politics. It bespeaks either appalling but intentionally created ignorance of America’s system of justice or rejection of it: the indispensable foundation of our enduring democracy. It confirms what many, including me, have said, time and again: MAGA Republicans’ view of America is the opposite of patriotic. Echoing Trump and his congressional enablers, they’d prefer Putin-style dictatorship, as long as it’s Trump, revered leader of the cult, pusher onto enraptured believers of outdated, useless, $19 high-top tennis shoes for $400.

When Navalny was poisoned, twice, he barely survived. Later, he was arrested and sent to prison, where he died. Public mourners have been rounded up and arrested; but treated, so far as we know, somewhat less terminally. Unlike Navalny, Trump and the J6 insurrectionists have been duly investigated and represented by counsel. (For those who believe the lie that President Biden is behind it all, note that many of the charges are state-level, not federal.) Evidence has been presented to grand juries comprised of ordinary citizens who concluded indictments were warranted.

In some cases, subsequent law-following juries have found Trump, et. al., guilty. Because our system allows nearly endless appeals and delays for those who can afford it, unlike the J6ers, Trump remains at large. In the unlikely event of imprisonment, like members of previous Republican administrations, he’ll probably enjoy a gentlemanly one. To see Trump as comparable to Navalny in any way is to love Putin and Trump too much and America too little.

Now, an important subject-change: Adding to his string of unexpectedly exculpatory witnesses, House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer’s star testifier to Joe and Hunter Biden’s “corruption” has been indicted by the same Republican special counsel who’d praised his believability, for lying about everything he said, spreading lies fed to him by Russian agents (X: tinyurl.com/fedlies4u).

Similarly, “True the Vote,” the MAGA group whose claims of election fraud in Georgia were and remain central to Trump’s continuing big lie, admitted in court that they have no proof of anything they’ve said, including ballot stuffing in Georgia (Associated Press: tinyurl.com/welie4u)

Fortunately for Trump, Fox “news” still pushes the lies, and MAGAs can’t see the difference.

Email Sid Schwab at columnsid@gmail.com.

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