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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 08:49 PM
Number of posts: 62,008

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Trump, Capone, & Syphilitic Dementia

“By late March, the crimes of Trump, his family, and his associates will much more fully exposed. More republicans will find it impossible to defend the Trump mob. The legal cases in the courts and the House committee investigations will be plowing the decaying feces known by the brand name “the Trump administration” under. And much of what might seem to be rotting will instead be understood to be part of the necessary process of germination. And between late March and June, those of us at the grass roots level will have the opportunity to plant the seeds of democracy as a follow-up to the fantastic efforts made for the last elections.”
H2O Man; White House Rats; 12-25-2018

https://www.democraticunderground.com/100211591082


A lot of people are concerned about the “end” of the Mueller Team's investigation. This includes many who are worried about what is being said about reports that this part of the investigation will not produce further indictments. And some are repulsed by the republicans gloating that there was “no collusion.” All of this, without any knowledge of what Mr. Mueller's report to Attorney General Barr says or doesn't say.

Let's take a closer look. To begin with, we know that what became the Mueller investigation started with a counter intelligence effort by the FBI. It expanded, due to evidence that numerous people connected to the Trump campaign were in contact with Russians and Russian-connected interests. This, as Malcolm Nance has pointed out, raised the question of if they were witting or unwitting dupes.

If they were witting dupes, it was possible that criminal charges would follow. If, on the other hand, they were merely half-wits being duped by Russia, their actions may or may not have been legal. An examination of this could lead prosecutors to charge them with other crimes related to their activities.

In either case, there are two factors to keep in mind. First, the counter intelligence investigation involved “intelligence” from both other domestic agencies, and information from at least three other countries. Much of this is from levels that federal prosecutors rarely, if ever, can use as “evidence” in a court case. Hence, we hear former federal prosecutors and intelligence people on the news making the distinction between “intelligence” and “evidence.”

This intelligence is almost never used when a related counter intelligence operation is ongoing. This can, unfortunately, tie the hands of prosecutors in a large case such as Mr. Mueller was investigating. Yet that does not equal the entire case being “over.” (Mr. Mueller's indictment of the Russian military intelligence members was based upon “intelligence.”)

The second factor is that federal prosecutors only indict when they know the evidence they have provides a higher level of certainty of a conviction than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” instruction a jury receives. This concept is essential for our understanding of what will be coming after the Mueller report. I've been told that a federal prosecutor needs to believe she/he has a 95% chance of getting a conviction to move forward.

There has been speculation -- from sources reliable and unreliable – that there were sealed filings in the court where the Mueller team filed indictments and other related documents. Based upon the sequence of those filings, some thought they might be indictments from Mueller. The fact that none were unsealed on Friday indicates they are not from Team Mueller.

However, recent court activities relating to Rick Gates, as well as Michael Flynn, indicate that investigations relating to the Trump crime family are on-going. As has been reported numerous times, Mr. Mueller began shifting cases to at least three other offices.

What does all this mean? I tend to listen closely to Nick Ackerman, when he is on MSNBC. I also have great respect for a retired investigator I speak with from time to time. Among other things, he helped put mobsters from the construction industry in the federal pen.

I like people who think outside the box. For example, can a president be indicted? The same part of the Constitution that addresses impeaching the president also covers the vice president and federal judges. Think Agnew. Consider a federal judge, Robert Collins, being incarcerated in 1991 before being impeached. No one is above the law.

Why no indictments for conspiring with the Russians? This can't be answered until Roger Stone's case is completed. But it may be due to the counter intelligence nature, as well as the 95% rule. Manafort's first trial showed that a single juror might disrupt justice. The Scooter Libby case showed that if one defendant refuses to tell the truth, even when facing conviction for lying, it makes it difficult to prosecute at the next level.

Yet, I was reminded that Patrick Fitzgerald openly called upon Congress to investigate VP Cheney's role per the Libby case. Justice requires coordination between those agencies and institutions tasked with insuring the rule of law.

Finally, I was reminded of the “Capone Rule.” Often, it is more of a “sure thing” to follow the money with mobsters, to get the sure conviction.

We don't know – yet – what the Mueller Report contains. It's unlikely we will, even if Barr shares his impressions with some in Congress today. Be patient. There is much more to follow.

Peace,
H2O Man

Yesterday & Today

Yesterday, Trump kept growling about how he “didn't understand” how a man “who got no votes” got to “write a report.”

Keep that in mind as you process today's event.

Things are good. More later.

Peace,
H2O Man

Rumors

“There are people who take rumors and embellish them in a way that can be devastating. And this pollution has to be eradicated by people in our business as best we can.”
-- Bob Woodward


A fact: George Conway tweeted that Trump is spinning out of control, due to psychological impairment, and thus poses a threat to U.S. National security.

A rumor: the White House is attempting to spin this in a way that distracts from Conway's message. With the help from some surprisingly silly journalists, the White House is attempting to make it all about trouble in the Conway marriage.

The truth: let's think back to something I wrote about here in 2017. Kellyanne Conway has on MSNBC's “Morning Joe” at the time the show's hosts were beginning to comprehend how horrible of a human specimen Donald Trump actually is. Ms. Conway vigorously and obnoxiously defended Trump ….while the cameras were rolling.

During a commercial break, however, Conway stuck a finger in her throat, then began yelping about what a horrible man he was, and how darned awful it was to work for him. I noted then, based upon the hosts' later off-air reactions that day, that Conway was unlikely to ever be invited back.

In September of 2018, a letter signed “Anonymous” appeared in the New York Times. The letter, which generally described Trump as a horrible man who is darned awful to work for. The op-ed was authored by someone who describes him/herself as serving in a heroic manner to protect America from the mad king. Despite attempts to identify who wrote and delivered the piece, which appears to have been done by someone with a legal background, the White House has been silent about their effort.

(Note: It is possible the letter was authored by a lawyer, and delivered to the Times by that lawyer's spouse. Especially if that spouse is also a noted lawyer. That would give the author plausible deniability, as he/she could honestly say that he/she did not deliver such a letter to the editors of the paper.)

In early 2019, former White House aide Cliff Sims published a book, “Team of Vipers.” Among other things, he called Conway a “cartoon villain,” and described how she was the source of various leaks to journalists. One in particular was curious – Sims described Conway's efforts to deny what had taken place off-camera on Morning Joe when she trashed Trump. Gracious!

The truth is that Kellyanne was complaining to George over the weekend about how horrible a person Trump is, and how darned awful it is to work for him. She was reacting to a number of things, not limited to his splattering of sick tweets. George, who has read at least part of Dr. Bandy X Lee's 2017 book, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” decided to take action.

This is not to say that there are not “issues” in the Conway marriage. They are both vile creatures. It's worth noting that before finding each other, George dated Laura Ingraham, and Kellyanne dated Fred Thompson. Eventually, Ann Coulter introduced George and Kellyanne. Also, although she lived in Trump Towers from 2001 to 2008, Kellyanne did not originally back Trump in 2016 – rather, she worked for Ted Cruz. Yikes!

So we are talking about two poison snakes. The reason that George attacked Trump this week in the manner that he did was entirely in response to what his wife told him over the weekend. Thus, there is absolutely no need – none whatsoever-- to go where Greg Gutfeld did yesterday on Fox's “The Five,” when he literally said he was thinking about the pair's sex life.

I apologize to any readers who were about to eat.

Peace,
H2O Man

Trump's Tingling Legs

“We're a miserably violent species. But we're also a profoundly empathic, compassionate species. How do we make sense of this.....how do we understand the biology of it?”
Robert M. Sapolsky

https://danablog.org/2018/04/23/sapolsky-on-the-biology-of-good-and-evil/


Robert Sapolsky is a professor of biological sciences, neurology, and neurological sciences at Stanford University. About a year ago, the Council on Foreign Affairs published his article “This Is Your Brain on Nationalism.” See:

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2019-02-12/your-brain-nationalism

Recent events have resulted in my reviewing the important information that Robert Sapolsky reported on a year ago. And it's not just New Zealand – although that alone would suffice. I understand why Jimi Hendrix sang,” And up in the clouds I can imagine UFOs jumpin' themselves, Laughin' they sayin' Those people so uptight, they sure know how to make a mess .'” I know why my brother called tonight to say, “You should be happy. It just means we are a failed species, soon to disappear from the evolutionary tree of life.”

It's fascinating to see how human beings mentally process “others,” even though those are other human beings. I do not relate to that type of thinking. The vast majority of the human beings that support Trump - and the gunman in New Zealand – process this information in a primitive manner in their brains, a vestige of a response that may have played a significant role in human evolution long, long ago. As Carl Sagan pointed out in “Dragons of Eden,” our relatives seemed to die out (****except in the National Geographic DNA tests, which would surely surprise the white nationalists should it ever enter on their level of understanding).

The information Sapolsky presents should place Trump's recent comment about how “tough guys” love him, and might become “very bad” if there is an effort to remove him from the White House. I know that some are questioning if he was aware of what he was actually saying, or just rambling on in confusion. I think he knew exactly what he was saying. I think he has been waiting for a time to fit that message in.

I don't think I'm alone in having questioned if republicans are “fully human.” Sapolsky's studies say that yes, they are anatomically human, and behave in a manner that has been common in our species. Yet they are not “fully human,” in the potential described by enlightened people throughout history.. Their brains are functioning at a fight-or-flight level, minus the flight. When confronted with the image of someone outside of their herd, they become uncomfortable. Edgy. Anxious. Afraid. None of this allows much space for rational thinking.

These are robots, in a very real sense, that aren't programmed to have empathy when they see an “other.” They are entirely comfortable with having homeless brown-skinned people from Central America being confronted by the military when they try to enter the United States. They are good with putting little children in metal cages.

Trump is openly calling on those among these herds to be prepared to use violence to protect him if he is legally evicted from the White House. This call for sedition is aimed at a specific audience. He's not speaking to black people. Or brown-skinned Americans. Not Asian-Americans, or Native Americans. No, he's talking to white nationalists. The type that live in a van and send pipe bombs to Democratic leaders. The type that murder “others” in their house of worship. The type that makes posters of Rep. Omar with the Twin Towers, and make the unprecedented number of death threats against her.

In his 1973 book, “The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness,” Erich Fromm noted the danger of when a malignant narcissist – his term of sociopathy – leads those who views “others” in the manner described by Sapolsky. That's where we are today. And while white nationalism isn't the only problem we face at this time, it sure as hell ranks at the top for immediate threats.

The good news is that Sapolsky and Fromm's works show that many of us have brains that function on a higher level. That the human potential isn't limited to fear, hatred, and violence. These are, in fact, the very things that we should consciously avoid. Our priority is to civilize this country, in which incivility is all too common. That doesn't mean that we are okay with the actions of the Trump supporters. Or that we accept that type of ill-mannered behaviors.

At this time, the Democratic Party – though imperfect – offers the best options for civilizing our society. We need to do that, before we point fingers at other lands. It's a difficult, long term process, although it presents far less pain and suffering than any alternative. And it is an option that presents itself to us each and every day.

Peace,
H2O Man

Changing Times

“Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall ….”
Bob Dylan; The Times They Are A-Changin'



There is an interesting model that identifies three ranges of what can be called the “group consciousness” of humanity throughout our rather brief existence of a million-plus years on Earth. A person can, of course, find examples that do not fit neatly within the model. Yet it is worthy of our consideration, perhaps especially in the context of the extreme divisions within groups we are witnessing today.

In the early phase, generally when humans engaged in “hunting and gathering” to survive, individuals were, of course, conscious. But the groups existed, no matter what continent they inhabited, in what is referred to as “mythological consciousness.” More, as has been documented by experts such as Joseph Campbell, many of the mythologies share common themes and expressions.

This changed – slowly in real time – with the advent of horticulture and especially agriculture. Humanity then entered a phase known as “theological consciousness.” It is, I think, important to view this as a new layer of consciousness, not unlike that which our ancestors' experienced long ago as the brain grew and added new capacities. The myths of the past became more formalized when script was introduced, which is an extremely important factor.

Clearly, not all of the Earth's peoples entered the new level of consciousness at the same time. There tended to be the growth of this new layer near the equator, in different parts of the world. This, of course, had the potential to create tensions and conflicts with differing groups.

The third phase comes into play around the time of the industrial revolution. It created within the groups experiencing this what is known as “ideological consciousness.” It is also connected to the changes in communications created by the printing press. The ideologies of these groups – which are a new layer – were rooted in the myths and theologies of the past. But without question, these ideologies created great tensions and conflicts within the human populations.

Today, with advances in technology such as the internet, there is a new level of consciousness coming into being. It has the positive potential of allowing individuals to appreciate that we are all human beings, taking part in the eternity of “time,” here on Earth. Within this context, we have the ability to recognize and rationally confront the problems associated with human life. These include everything from climate change to poverty.

There is also a very negative potential …..Trump's election is profound evidence of this. One might consider it the result of the collective negative forces of some of the myths, theologies, and ideologies of the past, gurgling up from the collective unconscious human energies.

I'd like to see a specific group of human beings, known collectively as the Democratic Party that exists within the United States, avoid the pitfalls that are associated with that negative potential. This doesn't mean that we all will agree with every other Democrat on every single issue. But it does require that we have the maturity to discuss (and even debate) isues rationally, without dismissing or demonizing those who may honestly and sincerely disagree with us …..even on those issues that have the potential to strike an emotional nerve that is connected to the myths, theologies, and/or ideologies that are important to us.

Let me give but one example. There are a variety of Democrats in the House and Senate who have been elected to represent us. And in 2020, there will be elections ranging from local to state to the national level. Even for president. I would suggest that in the primary season, we focus on rational discussions and debates, without attacking those who think differently than we as individuals do. And once a primary is concluded, we join together and work hard to elect all the Democratic Party's candidates. I can't identify a better option than this.

Peace,
H2O Man

RICO Slobby

Every so often, it can be useful to update things that were discussed before. In this instance, I'm looking back almost two years. On Sunday, March 26, 2017, I posted an essay titled “RICO Suave” on DU:GD. In this essay, I noted that my favorite source of information on the Trump-Russian scandal, Malcolm Nance, had said the FBI was conducting a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) investigation.

https://www.democraticunderground.com/10028855710

We have heard numerous opinions on if a sitting president can be indicted. This is unsettled law. However, in the 1990s, it was determined that a sitting president could be forced to defend civil charges. This is important, because RICO charges can include both criminal and civil charges.

I had assumed at the time that James Comey was in charge of the investigation that would lead to RICO charges. A few weeks later, I anticipated that it would be charged by Mr. Mueller. Even after Mr. Mueller handed off the Michael Cohen business to the Southern District of New York, I figured that Mr. Mueller would handle the RICO bit.

A number of people – including guests on MSNBC and CNN – kept saying the SDNY was actually more of a threat to Trump than Mr. Mueller. This included several people that I have a lot of respect for. Being rather dull-witted myself, I decided to ask a few people with far greater insight than myself about why the SDNY was more of a threat?

Their answers, as best as I understood them, were three-fold. First, top prosecutors tend to charge and try those cases that they are very confident they will win. Those charges are not always for the exact crimes they had investigated. A prime example of this was Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation of possible violations of the Intelligence Identities Protect Act in the Plame scandal. He ended up prosecuting Scooter Libby on charges of perjury, obstructing justice, and lying to the FBI and grand jury.

I had hoped there would be more charges. Mr. Fitzgerald had, for example, suggested that Congress investigate VP Cheney's role. However, as one of those smarter-than-me people told me, Libby ended up a convicted felon, and Cheney was left a toothless old dog. (Curious that Trump pardoned Scooter.)

The SDNY will have a much easier time prosecuting the Trump “family business” on RICO than Mr. Mueller could have proven, beyond an ill-defined “reasonable doubt,” Trump's direct participation in conspiring with Russia. More, the SDNY will include the Trump business relations with Russian interests. This allows them to reach the goal of charging all of those involved. It will include things that were done before Trump entered the republican primaries, the entire campaign, the transition, and the corruption since Trump took office.

It is most likely that Trump will be listed as an unindicted co-conspirator on the criminal charges, and faced with civil charges. However, I was told that the SDNY might actually try indicting Trump. If so, it would likely be sealed until he is removed from office.

Finally, I was told that while Trump is accurately being described as behaving as a mob boss, there were two important things to keep in mind: He's not that bright. Trump had no real understanding of what the powers and responsibilities of the presidency included when he decided to run. And second, he's a fucking slob in all he does, who anticipates everyone else has to clean up his messes.

Guerrillas in the Midst

“You must believe me, because madmen always tell the truth.”
Ernesto Che Guevara; May 26, 1964



I watched Trump's “state of emergency” speech. Like literally millions of Americans, I know that the crisis we are confronted with is not the poor Central Americans attempting to enter our country for a safer, better life ….it's the Trump-Russian caravan that has invaded county and taken the White House hostage. They are the ones that seek to destroy the concepts expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. They are the ones attempting to subvert the institutions of our nation.

We've witnessed recent hate rallies, where Trump tries to whip up the passions of the mentally dead – to where they threaten and attack journalists. Or to where they construct crude pipe bombs to send in the mail, hoping to take out a large portion of the Democratic Party's leadership. Dangerous as they may be, these are merely the zombie troops being used by a more sinister force. The more serious threat right now comes not from the puppets, but from the puppeteer.

In the past three years, the Trump-Russia dynamic has pulled more than the mentally dead into its orbit. Its gravitational force has hypnotized what was once known as the republican party, and reduced their leaders in DC to babbling sheep. By gosh, that's somewhere near a quarter of the adult population of voting age being led astray by this awful force. There will be a puppet vs zombie conflict during the 2020 primary season. I doubt we can rescue the vast majority of them. Probably too late for our thoughts and prayers at this point, so let's invest our energies elsewhere.

Who dares to confront this beast? Well, let's see: Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and lots and lots of Democrats in the House and Senate, for starters. And I assume everyone here does, too. But we are engaged in a struggle in which our opposition is using irregular warfare. We can “surprise attack” them using Amendment 1 of the Bill of Rights. It's our very best weapon between now and the 2020 elections.

Here is my idea for this week. I hope that others here will consider joining me. I think we need guerrillas in our midst, using the social-political weapons found in Amendment 1. Ordinary, every-day citizens by day, who will exercise their Amendment 1 rights from their homes. I'm going to buy a book of twenty US postage stamps, get twenty sheets of paper and a pen, and send twenty letters to elected representatives in the House and Senate.

Ten will be to Democrats, saying keep up the good work in fighting Trump on his wall. And ten will be to republicans who are up for re-election in 2020, telling them to stand for the Constitution – and against Trump – or face the consequences. I will ask the republicans for written responses, which I will use in the local/regional/state media sources, as a concerned citizen.

If one other forum member joins in this grass roots effort, it would double the impact. Think of if five or ten people here took up this worthy cause. We could have some fun posting the responses. Documenting their positions well before 2020 in a manner the republicans do not anticipate. For that is the very essence of the non-violent guerrilla warfare that is required at this time.

Peace,
H2O Man

Octopus's Garden

“Every species and every society represent a column of pilgrims not only traveling in space, but also in time.
Jacques Rousseau; Movement of Plants under the Influence of Man; University of Toronto Press; 1966; page 98.



One of my very favorite human beings and I were discussing boxing and politics today. We decided that I would attempt to write up some of our discussion into an essay for this forum. The above quote, from a book I read years ago, seems to connect with that conversation. While the United States seems to be spinning too close to out-of-control, we need to take time to tend our own gardens. That includes, when possible, taking time to hang out with different species – plant and animal – and to take in the healing properties of the life-force of Earth.

It is good to spend time in what society calls nature, or the forest, out in the “wild.”. It is,in my opinion, it is more civilized than the species of republicans inhabiting Washington. It's good to spend time with people you enjoy and respect. I'm currently training two boxers for the finals of the NYS
Golden Gloves. A flock of children watches them working out at the YMCA. A handful of nine year old boys have gone from filming the fighters spar and posting it, to respectfully asking to be taught how to box.

As I watch these youngsters doing their very best imitations of my son, I'm reminded of the polliwogs in my pond in that in-between stage – when they still have a tail, but their back legs have sprouted. Their ambitions surpass their coordination. A number of these young fellows' parents stop in to talk to me, some briefly, others for longer periods. A few speak about the lack of recreation available for kids, some are happy that their sons are exercising rather than just focusing on a cell phone, and others recognize their boys need the self-discipline.

Lately, some parents have expanded these conversations to include their beliefs about society and politics. They are good and decent people, and I enjoy conversing with them. Yet I am aware that many of them are largely ignorant of the dynamics of the issues that concern them. Thus, I focus upon asking them questions that may promote their thinking outside the box that contains their current thinking.

It's true that it is terrible that Donald Trump plans to end US compliance with a agreement to limit production of certain types of nuclear weapons. If he indeed came to this decision, as many believe, that would be frightening. But, I ask them, what if that is simply something that he and Putin agreed upon during one of their private conversations? Is that not frightening in a very different way?

Trump wants to build a wall. He wants to keep immigrants out of the country, he says repeatedly. Good people recognize the racism in Trump's speeches on this topic, and oppose Trump's wall. But what if this hate and fear is merely the delivery system for a belief that Trump has gotten from some of his advisers? We know that, besides being a racist and sexist, Trump is uniquely stupid. But not everyone around him is stupid – many are simply evil.

For example, Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller are evil. But they understand science, much like many republicans in Washington do. Being republicans, they also believe in lying to the grass roots republicans regarding this. Hence, these vile creatures pretend they do not believe in climate change. Yet they make plans for how the US can deal with the mass migrations that are sure to take place when the oceans rise. Hence, the hate and fear are encouraged, in order to build a wall to keep people from Central America from getting in, in a manner that allows them to deny the reality of climate change.
This doesn't mean that Trump has a full grasp of what he is doing. He's just pleased to follow Putin's lead on weapons, and spread the disease of hatred for the wall.

Why are both Cohen and Manafort refusing to testify honestly about specific interactions relating to Russians and/or the campaign? Cohen used to boast about being “connected” to the Russian mob. A few journalists are speculating that Manafort is still hoping for a pardon. Isn't an obvious possibility – even probability – they both fear for their own and their families' safety if they cross the Russian intelligence/ mob?

We are in a strange and dangerous time in the United States. Though it is imperfect, this country is still rooted in good concepts that can be put into practice to create a more perfect union. But we have some traitors, headed by a sociopath, in DC. Weeding them out creates tensions that threaten the garden. We are at a high-risk point, and the next two to three weeks will be very significant – not just for Don Jr., but for the nation.

Be awake. Be alert.
H2O Man

NYS Golden Gloves

My son scored a devastating second-round knockout today in the semi-finals of the heavyweight division.

Roger

“While we are laughing the seed of some trouble is put into the wide arable land of events. While we are laughing it sprouts, it grows and suddenly bears a poison fruit which we must pluck.”
John Keats

Well before the mainstream media was reporting connections between Roger Stone and the Trump-Russian criminal scandal, members of the DU community were discussing his role. And months before Trump said publicly that he would be proud to shut down the government, members of the DU community were discussing the inevitable “crisis” Trump would create to distract public attention from upcoming results from the Mueller investigation. That is an example of what, in my opinion, makes this such an important forum.

Today's news is bigger than most Americans could possibly recognize.
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