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Letter: Trashing our institutions only helps Putin

December 2008, a Saturday morning meeting of the American Olympic Committee, Chicago: Sochi was named for Putin's vanity Winter Games. This was Putin's first public relations win and was considered by many Americans to be President Elect Obama's first loss. The Republicans celebrated with cheers and high fives all around. An African American president? What? Oh, we can't have that, can we? I want my country back!

Many authoritarian, highly privileged, well-to-do white men were determined to stop whatever President Obama proposed, never mind if it was for the common good. Derogatory racist campaigning coupled with conspiracies and outright lying ensued. All the while Putin was cultivating his garden with the weeds of Murdoch and Company. Surrogates and allies like John Sununu, Roger Ailes, Bill O'Reilly, Hannity and Coulter; all the ditto-heads were dancing cheek to cheek. Rudy Giuliani was bragging up Putin's (authoritarian) leadership style. What's going on?

I was privileged to serve in the United States Army for eight years, in Asia and Europe. Our foreign policy was about containment of communism (authoritarianism). My service then and now is dedicated to equal rights, civil rights, 'common good' and the values of our country. What's going on?

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been directed to conduct a very necessary criminal and counter-espionage investigation into Russia's meddling in our nation's electoral process. We have a number of Republicans that wish to undermine and stop it cold. What's going on? Are they protecting Putin or Trump? Which is it? Why are they denigrating and trashing the integrity of Mueller and the FBI? The American FBI works solely for our common good and is the pre-eminent law and justice agency in the world. What's going on?

Has the Murdoch and Huckabee crowd, along with Nunes and Florida Rep. Rooney, been co-opted and become allies and subordinates of Putin? Have they become the Putin weeds in the garden of democracy? What's going on?

Several guilty pleas and indictments have been issued, with more to come. International money laundering, racketeering coupled with espionage are being looked at on a worldwide basis. All of our allies are also investigating, because this business is affecting their interests and 'common good' as well.

A very blurred line exists between criminal behavior, authoritarianism and fascism. World history bears that out. I feel that we are well within that dangerous gray area. All anyone needs to do is listen to Steve Bannon, the Murdoch crowd and those talking of purges and disassembly of the institutions that make our country and government work. That's what's going on!

Fake news, voter suppression, gerrymandering, bullying, the Roy Moore/Huckabee (Rasputin) crowd, and other religious extremists have been employing tribalism to undermine our well-established institutions for many years. So for those of you involved in the Resistance and Me Too movements, please proceed. The common good needs all of you!—Leland Jenson, Detroit Lakes

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