AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
President Barack Obama meeting with president-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office in November
In his farewell speech—delivered last night to thousands of adoring supporters in sweet home Chicago—President Barack Obama gave us one last dose of his idealistic view of what America is and can be.
"Yes, our progress has been uneven," the president said, as many in the crowd wiped away tears. "For every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back. But the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all, and not just some."
Meanwhile, as he spoke, the Internet was exploding over allegations, published in full by BuzzFeed
, that the Russians have been blackmailing Donald Trump—the man our electorate, in its infinite wisdom, has chosen to replace Obama.
I'm talking about the not-so-confidential and unverified intelligence report
, supposedly written by an unnamed former British intel officer on behalf of Trump's political opponents, that features, among other things, salacious allegations of prostitutes giving the president-elect a golden shower in the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Moscow.
Damn. Now there's some stuff they never taught us about back in seventh grade social studies at Nichols Junior High.
Talk about a tale of two countries. Obama's view of America is like a novel by John Steinbeck, filled with good, stolid, hardworking men and women of faith.
In contrast, the intel report reads like the script to a cheap Harry Reems porno flick, where the sleazy leading man gets blackmailed for doing stupid shit in a hotel room bugged by Russian spies.
In his speech, Obama appealed to our better instincts, as he spoke of "the power of faith" and "the quiet dignity of working people in the face of struggle and loss."
Not once did he mention Trump by name, even as he enumerated the threats Trump's presidency poses to immigrants, Muslims, the environment, health care, and the fight against intolerance.
I was hoping he'd rip Trump up and down, as I know Trump would have done to Obama if the roles were reversed.
But that's not Obama’s style. As Michelle famously put it, "When they go low, we go high." She said that on the campaign trail when Hillary Clinton was ahead in the polls. So a lot of good that strategy did.
The report presents another side of politics. It's an unvarnished, bare-knuckled attack on the credibility and character of the man who's now the incoming leader of the free world.
The memo, supposedly based on unverified interviews with unnamed sources, has been circulating among journalists and elected officials for the last several months and has "acquired a kind of legendary status,"
according to BuzzFeed.
As always, the people of America are the last to know what's going on.
According to CNN, the memo was the source of an intelligence report delivered to both Obama and Trump over the last few days.
In its introduction to the report, BuzzFeed notes that "the allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors." But they decided to publish it in its entirety anyway, so "Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government."
Better late than never, I suppose.
According to the memo, Trump has allegedly become Putin's puppet because the Russian president is blackmailing him with the footage of that golden shower:
"According to Source D, where s/he had been present, Trump's (perverted) conduct in Moscow included hiring the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel where he knew President and Mrs. Obama (whom he hated) had stayed on of their official trips to Russia, and defiling the bed where they had slept by employing a number of prostitutes to perform a 'golden showers' (urination) show in front of him. The hotel was known to be under FSB [Russian Federal Security Service] control with microphones and concealed camera in all the main rooms to record anything they wanted to."
The FSB is sort of the CIA of Russia. If you want to know more, read the memo
Is it true? Trump vehemently denies it, tweeting
"FAKE NEWS - A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!"
And this morning:
"Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to 'leak' into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?"
Try to wrap your head around that last one. It's all very ironic, coming from a guy many fear will usher in an era of American fascism, and who started his own political career trying to convince America that Obama was really born in Kenya.
Plus, Trump also vehemently denied
making fun of a disabled reporter, even though it's on the Internet for anyone to see.
Do I think the memo's legit? At the moment, I'm skeptical. It seems a little too good to be true, as though some Trump opponent said, "I know, let's fabricate a smoking gun!"
On the other hand, I'd never imagine that Trump would allow himself to be caught boasting about "pussy-grabbing." So all bets are off when it comes to America’s next president.
What we need is more investigation. And here's some more irony for you: as Obama exits stage right, John McCain, his all-but-forgotten opponent from the 2008 presidential campaign, becomes more relevant than ever.
As the chairman of Senate Armed Services Committee, McCain has vowed to hold hearings into allegations of Russian hacking the computers of the Democratic National Committee.
In contrast to Trump, McCain is no fan of Putin.
I never thought I'd be looking to John McCain—who stuck America with Sarah Palin—to save us from ourselves.
But then, I never thought I'd be looking to Democratic party boss Michael Madigan, of all people, to save Illinois from the ravages of Governor Rauner
I'm telling you, man, the world keeps getting weirder and weirder.