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Tue Mar 26, 2019, 10:30 AM

The Shroud of Trump

“Maxim:
try it again
with a double axe.”
-- Thomas Merton; Notes for a Cosmic Meditation.”



I was reading some of Thomas Merton's “Raids on the Unspeakable” (1960). In fact, I brought it to the gym this evening, to keep reading more of it, as I helped train five boxers, ages 8 to 30. There are some periods where I have to concentrate on the training – especially sparring sessions – but shorter spots where I could read a few pages.

Towards the end of training, a women I met at work and remain good friends with stopped to ask what I was reading? I showed her, and said a few words about my impressions of Merton. She'd never heard of him. She's much younger than me, and it got me thinking how many young people are unaware of one of the great influences on my generation. I think it would help people put things in perspective, and help define what is possible – and what role we have to play.

In my mind's eye, which is admittedly limited, the combination of training people to fight in the ring while reading Merton, is similar to watching the news about the Mueller Report and reading Merton during commercial breaks. This became evident to me when I got home from the gym, and had a conversation with another friend.

I met this lady on the Democratic Underground many years ago. Although she, too, is much younger than I, she is familiar with Merton. However, yesterday she was feeling mighty frustrated with AG Barr's odd interpretation of the Mueller Report, and extremely annoyed by much of the media coverage it was getting. As I am of extremely little intellect and shallow grasp of understanding, I immediately responded by way of the discussion I had had an hour previous, with the two fighters that will be competing in the finals of the NYS Golden Gloves on April 14, for I am convinced that all that is important in life imitates the sport of boxing.

In a tough bout, there will be times when one's opponent unleases their best blows. At those times, one needs to keep moving, so as not to be a stationary target. Avoid as many punches as possible, and block those that you can't slip. Recognize that as unpleasant as this is, t is an essential part of the struggle. Do not watch your opponent's eyes; instead, focus on their mi-section. Know that the opponent will become over-confident – this being an important key – and thus will load up on their punches, which always results in their getting winded. Always. That is when you catch them coming into your power, as you dig in some hard body shots. When his/her hands come down (and they will!), you go to the head.

This weekend, our opposition started throwing punches at us. When Barr produced his brief interpretation of the Mueller Report, we could anticipate the over-confidence we saw on Monday. The republican base has been cheering wildly, assuming that meaningful shots are overwhelming our side. But most of those punches completely miss the mark, and the few that “land” are being blocked. More, we have some elected representatives landing some meaningful counter punches. And within a week's time, the Trump supporters will have shot their wad.

Now, back to the gym, at least figuratively. Before training, I had a rather long conversation with a close friend. He and I have worked on political activities for three decades or more. He asked for my impressions of what was going on per the Mueller Report, including the risks of accepting Barr's bit on face value. I will attempt to edit my long and winding response, as my response was even longer and more boring than my essays here.

Mr. Mueller determined that there was not enough evidence of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to warrant legal charges. It is not as if Mr. Mueller was unaware of Don, Jr's meeting, etc. Rather, the report shows that the Russians made repeated efforts to influence the campaign, and that the Trump people were by and large unwitting dupes. What type of people do the Russians mark as easy targets for such things? As Malcolm Nance has repeatedly said, they look for people who are greedy, ambitious, and narcissistic. Surely Mr. Mueller is aware of this.

Mr. Mueller did not include a conclusion regarding obstruction of justice. Instead, he laid out the evidence pro and con. He knew that the DOJ has a policy of not indicting a sitting president. There is no evidence that he took the steps he did, and included the documentation he put in the report, as a means of asking Barr if he would overturn policy, and indict Trump. That is a very weak interpretation of what happened.

Instead, Mr. Mueller laid the case out for Congress to consider. Indeed, in our political system, it is Congress that determines if a president has attempted to obstruct justice, and/or has abused the power of his/her office. One of the primary reasons for this is that obstruction and/or abuse of power does not have to rise to the 95% level of certainty that I spoke of in my last essay here, in order to press charges. It's clearly the responsibility of Congress, not Barr, to interpret this.

Thus, we see republicans parroting the line that grand jury testimony cannot be legally released. In general, of course, this is true. The reason, as we all know, is to avoid damaging the reputation of a person who testified, but was not charged by the grand jury. Yet, there are exceptions, and the republicans are terrified of them.

Let's consider but one example. Take Hope Hicks, who quit the White House days after testifying in front of the grand jury. Gracious, I wonder why? Oh, that's right – among other things, Hope was with Trump on Air Force One when he dictated the cover-lie for Don, Jr., per the Trump Tower meeting. She has also admitted lying to help Trump. Now, if her testimony that is included in the Mueller Report is released – to both Congress and the public – it isn't going to hurt her reputation. No, there is still a future in plastics.

But it will knock the wind out of the republicans. And it is only one of a very large number of body punches that we are preparing to land …..because the law absolutely allows for the release of grand jury testimony in certain circumstances. And this is definitely one of them. It's coming.

Thomas Merton reminds us that we are participants in these great events. To not allow ourselves to be reduced to mere spectators, arguing the points that our opposition throws at us. No, it's time to work with our elected representatives in DC. Let's roll.

Peace,
H2O Man

33 replies, 2116 views

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 33 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Shroud of Trump (Original post)
H2O Man Mar 2019 OP
Uncle Joe Mar 2019 #1
H2O Man Mar 2019 #2
Uncle Joe Mar 2019 #4
H2O Man Mar 2019 #5
Uncle Joe Mar 2019 #7
H2O Man Mar 2019 #13
anarch Mar 2019 #3
H2O Man Mar 2019 #6
coeur_de_lion Mar 2019 #8
H2O Man Mar 2019 #14
coeur_de_lion Mar 2019 #20
H2O Man Mar 2019 #22
coeur_de_lion Mar 2019 #23
H2O Man Mar 2019 #24
malaise Mar 2019 #9
H2O Man Mar 2019 #15
malaise Mar 2019 #17
H2O Man Mar 2019 #19
coeur_de_lion Mar 2019 #26
H2O Man Mar 2019 #27
coeur_de_lion Mar 2019 #29
H2O Man Mar 2019 #30
MBS Mar 2019 #10
H2O Man Mar 2019 #16
Hekate Mar 2019 #11
H2O Man Mar 2019 #18
kentuck Mar 2019 #12
H2O Man Mar 2019 #21
kentuck Mar 2019 #25
H2O Man Mar 2019 #28
blm Mar 2019 #31
H2O Man Mar 2019 #32
blm Mar 2019 #33

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Mar 26, 2019, 10:45 AM

1. Kicked and recommended for sound advice.

Thanks for the thread H2O Man.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 26, 2019, 10:48 AM

2. Thank you!

Much appreciated.

How are things your way?

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #2)

Tue Mar 26, 2019, 10:54 AM

4. ...

I'm doing fine, thank you.

I hope you are as well?

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #4)

Tue Mar 26, 2019, 10:58 AM

5. Good!

Things are going well here. I'm glad that winter is coming to a close. It's a bright, sunny day, and I plan to spend most of the afternoon outside playing with my dogs.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #5)

Tue Mar 26, 2019, 11:06 AM

7. I couldn't agree more,

this has been the wettest winter in my lifetime.

https://fox17.com/news/local/tva-2018-wettest-on-record-in-129-years-for-tennessee-river-valley

https://watchers.news/2019/02/25/nashville-tennessee-wettest-february-2019/


I've had enough rain for a while that's for sure, bring on the sun.


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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #7)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 09:34 AM

13. Perfect song

for this weather. I saw about 35-40 robins on my neighbor's lawn yesterday as I drove by.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Mar 26, 2019, 10:53 AM

3. to extend the boxing metaphor though

I kind of feel like in this bout, the opponent has wrapped his hands with plaster of paris, took the padding out of the gloves and put broken glass all over the laces, is all juiced up on steroids and has taken something so that he can't feel pain, keeps head butting and punching low, kneeing us in the balls, and has also bribed the judges...but the ref just lets it all go, meanwhile calling us out for every little infraction of the rules.

Obviously we keep fighting, as hard as we can, but if one side simply doesn't respect the rules it's kind of hard to prevail as if it's a "fair fight." At this point we're getting closer to more of an all-out street fight...possibly in a literal sense, if everyone decides to just dispense with the rule of law and take a "whatever you can get away with" approach, as the current GOP leadership seems intent on doing.

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Response to anarch (Reply #3)

Tue Mar 26, 2019, 11:03 AM

6. Valid point.

You might find this interesting .....my son's opponent in the heavyweight division on 4-14 has, for two years in a row, fought with Loaded" handwraps. The USA Boxing rules are clear, and his trainer breaks them. Last year, and earlier this year, I reported this to one of the state commissioners. Earlier this month, I told him that I had purchased the exact illegal materials the guy uses. If they allow him to enter the ring wearing that stuff, my son will, too.

I agree fully that our opposition cheats like hell. They are "dirty" fighters. But we are stronger, faster, and much smarter. And we have the truth on our side. We will kick their ass.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Mar 26, 2019, 06:41 PM

8. Thomas Merton said

"Anxiety is the mark of spiritual insecurity."


So here we are, insecure, mad as hell, worried sick that the great orange blob will get away with selling us to the Russians.

We have to wait until the report comes out, and we can throw Individual 1's words right back in his face. Until then we are just gonna have to have faith in our Democratic leaders.

Merton also said, "The light of truth burns without a flicker in the depths of a house that is shaken with storms of passion and fear."

The truth is the truth. All this crowing about "total exoneration" is bullshit and the truth WILL come out.

I say that now but I was the one freaking out yesterday.

Fredo is so good at lying he is able to get other people to lie for him including Barr. But Pelosi will wring the truth out of that report, count on it.

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #8)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 09:41 AM

14. I don't know if

I've ever mentioned this to you, but one of my very best friend's great uncles knew Merton well. In fact, he was instrumental in getting Merton to expand upon his writings for publication. (It's a long story, that we can discuss in greater detail later.)

One of the interesting news reports is that the grand jury continues its investigation. Too many people had apparently forgotten that Mr. Mueller had recently secured an extension for this, and were unaware of the distinction between a grand jury and a DOJ investigation. If I remember correctly, some time back, when I posted an OP regarding a grand jury's status as part of the judicial -- rather than executive-- branch, we discussed how federal judges respect and protect the power of the grand jury. Especially an investigative grand jury. But, as always, my memory isn't what it used to be, and maybe I'm confused, and we've never discussed that topic.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #14)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 10:06 AM

20. Smart alec

Thank you for the clarification.

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #20)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 10:10 AM

22. Seriously.

My memory has been poor since the head injury last April. I think that I've talked to you about that. Haven't I?

There are some outstanding responses here, and I've tried to put meaningful replies to them. (Have I ever mentioned to you that while I'm not particularly smart -- nor named Alec -- I try to be nice.)

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #22)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 10:16 AM

23. You definitely have a better grasp of

The special Counsel and the grand jury than I or most others on DU. Glad to be schooled.

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #23)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 10:27 AM

24. One of the things

that I think is important to keep in mind, and that I have posted about here on DU:GD, is that people in and around DC know more than is being reported daily in the media. Parts of this amounts to rumors and speculation, of course, but most of it is essentially accurate. Thus, if one can communicate with a couple of those people, be they in the media, or working as a staff member to someone in Congress, one tends to have a slightly different understanding of events.

Also, being able to communicate from time to time with people with superior knowledge of the legal system is helpful. For there is a difference between what is clearly right versus wrong, and what are system is capable of producing, both good and bad.

Sadly, I have none of these advantages, and have a terrible habit of speculating. Luckily, there are good people here who corret and refocus our attention.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Mar 26, 2019, 06:45 PM

9. Great post

Rec

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Response to malaise (Reply #9)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 09:43 AM

15. Thanks, Buddy!

I suspect that most folks here realize, after more reporting in the media, that things aren't so bad as it may have initially appeared after Barr gave his empty report.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #15)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 09:47 AM

17. Agree

In fact the Con lying about being exonerated may have made it worse.

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Response to malaise (Reply #17)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 09:57 AM

19. Right.

I expected him to react in about that manner. It kept Trump and his legal team happy. But if his legal team considers the longer term consequences, they will not be happy at all. I don't view Barr's four page summary as a stumbling block that we cannot get over. Not at all.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #19)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 12:13 PM

26. So what are Nancy Pelosi 's legal options

We know she gave Barr until 4/2 to hand over the Mueller report.

He has no plans to meet the deadline.

What are his consequences when he fails to hand it over?

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #26)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 12:26 PM

27. When the Democrats

in the House were selecting who would be Speaker, I wrote about Rep. Pelosi's experience in assembling a legal team to successfully challenge a president who refuses to turn information over to a House committee. I knew of some of the team she was putting together. And that is huge.

It's not like she will make a cluster of confrontations on this front. She was preparing for the Big Dance. And we are almost to the dance floor now.

Barr's behaviors are curious. At best, his consequence will be being closely connected to Trump's crimes.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #27)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 12:36 PM

29. How long do you think it will take

For Dems to actually see the report?

Asking for a friend.

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #29)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 02:17 PM

30. I'm not sure.

A subpoena comes next. Then a court case, which could take a bit. Or, Barr might just decide to follow the law.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 02:14 PM

10. What a fine and wise piece.

Thanks, H2O Man.You made my day.

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Response to MBS (Reply #10)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 09:46 AM

16. Well, thank you!

Reading your response has made my day! I truly appreciate that!

I've got a lot on my plate for the next 72 hours, but hope to get a post on the on-going grand jury investigation soon. I'd posted about the unique powers of federal grand juries before, but reading some of the comments and questions on a few recent OP/threads, I think it might be worth focusing on that again.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 05:23 PM

11. As always, thanks

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Response to Hekate (Reply #11)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 09:54 AM

18. Thank you!

I'm thinking of an essay on the on-going grand jury, and one on the general theme of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's recent statement regarding Trump and what we are faced with.

As an old social worker, I am reminded of the risks taken in only identifying one factor in a complex situation that involves numerous interlocked issues. If that makes sense.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 07:48 AM

12. " It's clearly the responsibility of Congress, not Barr, to interpret this."

And it follows that if the DoJ cannot indict, it also cannot exonerate. They are two sides of the same coin.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #12)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 10:07 AM

21. You hit the nail

on the head. In two sentences, you summed this up perfectly.

It's curious that Trump is in such a hurry to change the subject of public discussion now. I suppose that when the best day of his presidency comes as a result of his not being indicted, he has good reason to shift to medical insurance. While our party has a large advantage in public support, the insurance & drug industry favors axing "Obama Care."

Between that, the tax cuts for the opulently wealthy, and cutting of environmental protection regulations, the corporate world isn't anti-Trump. And that is a huge factor that I don't see being discussed on DU in a meaningful way. Indeed, it is only when we consider the distinction between the concepts of "deep state" versus "shadow government" -- and they are not the same -- than we can actually identify why Trump is still in office, why republicans in Congress defend him (besides fear of being primarie), and the true nature of the upcoming 2020 elections.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #21)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 10:52 AM

25. I think it is logical...

That if the DoJ is prohibited from declaring a verdict in one way, they would be prohibited from a verdict that declares innocence. I believe the Courts would rule to that effect.

By the way, great boxing tips. Also, I have known boxers that could look at the slightest movement of your feet and anticipate the punches coming.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #25)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 12:28 PM

28. Exactly.

Logical and rational thinking is necessary ....despite republican attempts to deny it.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Mar 29, 2019, 08:12 AM

31. Important read.

Thank you, Waterman.

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Response to blm (Reply #31)

Fri Mar 29, 2019, 10:44 AM

32. Thank you!

I think that what much of the media is reporting now, towards the end of the week, sets differently with the good people of DU, who were understandably upset by reporting at the beginning of the week. There is a lot more of the interpretation of the Mueller Report coming to the surface. And there's a heck of a lt more, that will soon surface.

The most obvious example will be when Democrats in the House get ahold of the report. But I will suggest there is more than that we can anticipate. Mr. Mueller's public testimony, for example. Add to that the distinct possibility of "leaks" from some who are not pleased with Barr's stance. This might start, sooner than we think. There might be a couple people communicating with two journalists with long, complicated, and little-understood connections to intelligence agencies as we speak.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #32)

Fri Mar 29, 2019, 07:10 PM

33. We're on the same page, Waterman.

.

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