H2O ManH2O Man's Journal
There's a future in plastics, Mr. McGuire told The Graduate in the classic 1967 movie. Think about it. I thought about that as I watched Jared Kushner approach his discussion with Congressional aides on Monday. But when Kushner spoke to the cameras in front of the White House, I was reminded of a vampire, one of the leaders of a coven seeking to suck the life-force out of America.
Although the White House circus has been in high gear this week especially from the middle to the end it was Kushner's Tuesday interview that is most important. The Senate committee now has evidence suggesting that Don, Jr. and Manafort may have had follow-up communications (if not meetings) with at least two of the people at the dirt on Hillary meeting. (It is unclear if it was Kushner or Manafort who provided the new information.) Hence, the need to distract.
This does not mean the later events are not significant. Obviously, they are. Interestingly, the one that may have the most long term damage was the one that was an attempt at pure distraction : Trump believed that his cowardly attack upon the transgender community would be popular. Perhaps it is with a shrinking section of the population, but it has backfired. The majority of people found Trump's tweet disgusting. An associate with military background called me to say that many in the service are deeply unhappy with Trump's attempt to use them for political gain.
I also had an e-mail from another source, who said that the slow-motion version of the Saturday Night Massacre was set to begin. Hours later, Trump tweeted about replacing Reince Priebus with General John Kelly. Trump has been looking to replace Priebus since mid-May. He had originally considered tapping CIA director Mike Pompeo for the position, but had also spoke to Kelly about it.
As failure after failure came on health care, others in the White House lobbied Trump to separate from republican party influence. Hence, Sean Spicer and Priebus were removed., and pressure has been placed upon Jeff Sessions to leave the Department of Justice. Yet, the pressure on Sessions has reulted in some problems with republicans in Congress, which has worried others in the White House.
Thus, the plan which is still being debated in the White House to move Sessions to fill Kelly's position at Homeland Security, and then appoint a new Attorney General. This would save Trump from the anger of republicans, if he simply fired Sessions. It still would be a transparent attempt to derail the Mueller investigation.
It also raises a question as to why General Kelly took the new position. The media has hinted at this, by reporting that for about six weeks, Kelly has told Trump he was not interested in doing so. The on-going failures, plus the addition of the highly toxic Anthony Scaramucci, obviously makes the new position far less attractive.
Let's consider one possibility. To do so, we should consider the dog that hasn't been heard barking. To do so, let's start with global1's OP from July 19, discussing the potential naming of Jon Huntsman as ambassador to Russia:
On this thread, forum member Me and I discussed my opinion that Huntsman might serve as the eyes and ears of the machine, which is highly suspicious of Trump & Co. Like with Nixon (especially in the second term), the machine has babysitters keeping track of an unstable president. It's worth noting that Nixon's chief of staff in 1973-74 was also a General, Al Haig.
As I explained to Me, a related role was assigned to General H. R. McMaster. Yet, in recent weeks, Trump has become increasingly paranoid about McMaster. Trump doesn't dare firer McMaster, but he has reduced his role in the White House. Thus, Kelly was encouraged to take his new position.
Now, back to the phone call from my friend. He noted that the military is concerned that Trump may try to spark the fuse to a confrontation with North Korea. It's not that they view North Korea as a stable, non-threatening state. Rather, they are fully aware of what a military confrontation would actually mean to humanity. And they are not looking to cause death and suffering to simply protect Trump from the legal consequences of the Trump-Russian scandal.
I do have concerns about Generals active or retired playing such influential roles in the federal government. For that matter, I have concerns with the expanded role the military and intelligence community plays in the media. Carl Bernstein warned us about that decades ago. And my concerns do not reflect any disrespect to them in their areas of expertise. Yet, in the current circumstance, I do appreciate their role, because our nation is absolutely confronted with an internal enemy of our constitutional democracy.
And, although I am very confident that we can come through this stronger and I especially mean the Democratic Party and the Good that it must stand for I expect the next two months to be highly unstable. And that is dangerous.
Be awake! Be aware! And keep on fighting the Good Fight.
After watching the morning news, I found myself remembering what a Clan Mother told me many years ago: when the world starts spinning faster and faster, take time to slow down and clear your mind. In times past, Friday through Sunday were usually slow news days, with an occasional news dump. That is something that has changed since Trump took office.
Hence, I decided to work on my lawn-mower, at least until I found I had purchased the wrong-sized part. So I went out to the pond with my dog Kelly. On the walk out, I saw a young buck, which had been a fawn last year, eating the corn and sunflower seeds at the bird feeders. He watches us closely as we take a different path, and goes back to eating.
Kelly picks up a scent of great interest to him. I assume that he is following the path of the gray fox that come daily to our lawn, to scavenge any left-over cat and dog food. They have come since late April, when the female was clearly very pregnant. In the past week, the male and female come at the same time, and so I expect to see the kits by the end of the month.
As hot and humid as it is strolling along the path through the swamp, it is even hotter at the pond. Kelly immediately goes in for a drink and a quick swim. This signals to the fish that they are about to be fed. The Koi arrive first; the two largest ones always come very close to Kelly's legs. On this warm a day, even though I've brought extra fish food, it disappears within minutes.
There are numerous dragon flies, including one large, colorful fellow that found me curious when I tossed the fish food in. The Onondaga named them mosquito hawks. About a dozen of them are doing their duties around the pond.
Kelly is busy sniffing around, digging a hole here, rolling in the mud there. He reminds me of what is associated with a four-year old child's development: he plays for 5 or 6 minutes, comes over to interact with me, then goes back to playing for 5-6 minutes, then checks in again. Eventually, it's time to feed him, and we head back to the house.
My youngest daughter had mowed a section at the edge of our lawn, and built a nice fire pit from the stones she gathered nearby. We had used up the firewood she gathered the evening before, when we had cooked out and listened to her favorite Beatles' songs. While Kelly eats, I gather enough fire wood to last late into the night, for her and a friend who is coming over when they get off work on their summer jobs.
After supper, I turn on the television. Friday nights have changed. Like clockwork, I say to myself, as I listen to reports on Sean Spicer and Jeff Sessions. The president is a Clockwork Orange.
(A) It is possible that Trump is furious about the past recusal, and that the current hearings have him more upset than usual. But it is also possible and even more likely, I think that Trump has attempted to speak to Sessions about the investigations, and that Sessions is refusing to engage in these.
That would seem to be a more realistic reason why Sessions would offer to resign at this time. Simply changing the Attorney General now would not stop the investigation. But the offer to resign would be a polite way for Sessions to tell Trump that he's looking out for his own best interests now, not Trump's.
Sessions; June 7, 2017
Rumors serve as currency in Washington, DC. However, as tempting as it may be to speculate that Trump is planning to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions with OJ Simpson, I won't go there. For yesterday's NY Times interview with Trump provided far more important information that should be of real interest to us.
First, it is evident that Trump is becoming increasingly paranoid. Clearly, he is paranoid by nature: he projects his own underhandedness upon those he views as competitors. As his sense of his ability to control events and others evaporates, he applies his tactics to people like James Comey. In his mind, Mr. Comey became J. Edgar Hoover reincarnate. Comey was looking to hold information over him.
Second, Sessions has become a bigger problem than he had ever imagined when Trump appointed him. It's not that Trump was unaware that, at very least, Sessions had a conflict of interest that would cause him to recuse himself; Trump felt that Sessions should simply lie, no matter what. In Trump's mind, such lying is a sign of loyalty to him.
But after Trump fired Mr. Comey, with Sessions' loyal assistance, people in the administration began to quietly lawyer-up. This included Sessions. And then, as we've seen, Trump began to direct much of his anger at Sessions.
That anger has recently grown into rage. Trump expressed his dislike of Sessions and Rosenstein in an interview that he knew would become public immediately. This, at a time when Mueller's team has likely begun discussions with the pair about what Trump said when he tasked them with providing him cause to fire Comey .because Donald was upset with how Comey spoke about Hillary Clinton the previous year.
Rosenstein has said previously that he recognized he may become a witness in Mueller's investigation. This could only apply within the context of his experience since Trump appointed him. He will not lie to help Trump. Sessions' role is obviously longer and far more involved; it goes back to early in the Trump campaign. Judging by his brief press conference today, he is not going to place Trump's well-being above his own.
(B) Spider webs are fascinating. They come in various shapes and sizes. Often, one can see the spider that constructed the web sitting, waiting patiently. But, even if the web appears empty, one can be sure that a spider built the web. For there are no spider webs without associated spiders.
There are no criminal webs without criminals. At times, these webs of corruption and deceit are seen sans the criminals that have constructed them. Thus, investigations to untangle such criminal webs can take time. Investigations want to identify all the evidence required to trap the criminals in their web, and to convict them.
Spider Webs; June 20, 2017
As a child, I learned how to judge if a storm was coming and how close it was by watching a spider's web, to measure if it was shaking. It is about as accurate as the Weather Channel.
The web that Donald thought he was building to empower himself and his family members is beginning to shake more often, and with more intensity, than it has in previous months. There is a storm coming. And, as ignorant as Trump is about the Natural World, he seems to be aware of this coming storm.
Like previous tyrants in human history, Trump spread himself too thin. He has obligations within the United States, as well as to the tyrant in Russia. His inability to repay Putin's investment in his campaign as promised is also beginning to shake that web. Hence, his curious decision regarding the US role in Syria, and today's visit to the Pentagon.
Enjoy the storm!
I don't feel bitterness. I don't feel anger towards anybody. Fighting is never emotional to me.
It has been a fascinating week in terms of watching the Trump mob beginning to decompose before our very eyes. If we think of the Trump campaign and administration as toxic chemical compounds, we know to look for them to break down under the stress, into smaller components. Let's take a brief gander at but two events other than the Donald, Junior show.
The first involves Trump's lawyer, Marc Kasowitz. He had an issue with anger this past week, where he sent some threatening e-mails to a fellow, as detailed in the below link. Like Trump, he clearly has anger issues. It seems he is under some pressure. Some people have attempted to excuse this, by mentioning his ongoing battle with alcoholism. That's not a defense when it comes to things like DWI, assault, or threatening people, however.
The second involves Trump's long-time friend, Roger Stone. He was set to testify to the House committee investigating the Trump-Russian scandal. However, on a radio program, he made some threatening statements about two Democratic members of the committee. He, too, shares Trump's anger issues.
The ancient philosopher Confucius said that when anger arises, one must consider the consequences. Buddha taught that one will not be punished for becoming angry, but that one will instead be punished by that anger. These are concepts that the Trump crew are incapable of grasping, as their anger over the Trump-Russian scandal creates increasing pressure upon them.
In the weeks ahead, we will witness more outbursts of anger, and as Lawrence O'Donnell has pointed out, these result in further breakdowns between groups and individuals within the Trump team.
Mr. Mueller and his team, however, are not acting out of anger.
Enjoy the show.
I was actually agitated..
Donald Trump, Jr.; July 11, 2017
As the headmaster reported to me
My son he really can try as they do to find function
John Lennon; Revolution 9; 1968
When I joined the Democratic Underground, I was confident that Patrick Fitzgerald's grand jury would return indictments on July 14, 2004. It didn't happen that way.
Towards the end of June, 2017, I was sure that either the New York Times or the Washington Post would release a weekend bombshell about the Trump-Russian scandal. A few journalists were aware of a big story that seemed ready to break. But it didn't happen that way.
However, at that time, Fox News was promoting a curious theory that, even if the Trump campaign did collude with the Russians, it wasn't illegal. It came as no surprise that Sean Hannity took this stance. But it was disappointing when former human being Brit Hume followed Hannity's lead.
This week, of course, we've learned why these Trump apologists had taken such a strange stance. The lawyers for Kushner had discovered the series of communications that Donald, Jr. released, and immediately recognized they were explosive. The White House began its outreach to friendly journalists, in an attempt to prepare for the possibility of the information becoming public.
Gossip within the White House saturated all the cliques, and soon others were talking off the record, of course to other journalists. A legal expert from CNN, for example, was aware of parts of the story. It became merely a matter of time until a reporter got enough to nail the story. And, as we have seen, the shit hit the fan this weekend.
Some of the most interesting reporting on the issue, in my opinion, comes from MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell. He has been focused on the conflicts between a couple of the cliques in the Trump administration. Indeed, these are creating tensions within the Trump family.
Older forum members will recall that it was when there were similar tensions within the Nixon administration, when they were attempting to identify who would be sacrificed, that their efforts at a cover-up came apart at the seams. The same dynamics are at play today. The pressures are growing: consider the unseemly outburst from Marc Kasowitz being reported upon in the past 24 hours.
There are other stories that journalists are working on now that will continue to surface and inflict severe damage on the administration. Some people will attempt to distance themselves from the Trump-Russian scandal, as VP Pence tried to do when he noted that Junior's meeting took place before he officially joined the team. Still others will continue to leak to reporters, providing information they hope will harm other cliques, and save their own skin.
Enjoy this weekend!
Tension is the great integrity.
R. Buckminster Fuller
With so many details of the Trump-Russian scandal being made public, it can be difficult to keep them in order. It is important to remember, for example, that on the day before Trump fired FBI director Comey, agents from the FBI's cybersecurity and representatives from the CIA interviewed Trump's sons. The pretext was that the investigators were concerned about a possible cyber attack on the Trump Organization.
This week, we are learning more about Donald, Jr.'s curious meeting with a Russian intelligence operative. This Russian lawyer was a NOC, or non-official cover; hence, the Trump and Russian denial that she was representing Putin. But that thin cover story has dissolved rather quickly.
The investigators have also information from Paul Manafort regarding the meeting with the Russian agent. He is looking to protect himself at this point, not the Trumps. Hence, it is unlikely that his version of events is identical to Donald Jr.'s.
My father used to say that if you tell the truth, you don't need to worry about keeping lots of stories straight. I suspect that this is something that Trump never taught his offspring, considering that it is a concept that he clearly has no grasp of. And if it is difficult for the public to keep track of all the details of the Trump-Russian scandal, it is impossible for a dull-witted ass clown like Donald Jr. to keep his lies straight.
When liars such as the Trumps see their stories unfolding, with their lies exposed, it creates tension within their cluster. Investigators watch closely, documenting the ever-changing series of lies they tell. More, the investigators monitor the liars' actions, to identify attempts to cover up the last lie told.
Thus, while there is zero chance that Trump or his children could channel anything close to integrity, the events currently being exposed and reported upon will result in positive actions from Mr. Mueller and his team. And while we all would prefer to see charges against the administration now, knowing what is unfolding allows us the opportunity to enjoy the process. We are living in historic times.
I recently attended a training for grass roots organizing with the Democratic Party chairpersons of towns from four counties. The presenters were a state university professor and a retired high school teacher, both of whom have been activists within the party since their involvement in the 1972 Nixon vs McGovern election. Group members included activists who had participated in the 1968 presidential election, to those who have come of age in time to vote for Obama in 2008.
It was nice that I was invited, despite being the only person there who was not a chairperson. I always appreciate the opportunity to learn new things. Thus, during the day-long program, which involved a lot of group participation, I only spoke once. And although I didn't learn any new methods or tactics, it allowed me the chance to listen closely to other people's opinions.
The most interesting topic involved the on-going divide between some sub-groups within the Democratic Party. Most of those who spoke about this considered it to be rooted in the tensions that came to the surface in 2016. Being old, I know that in each presidential election that we have lost since 1968, there were similar divides; more, each one we've won has been when most party members put differences behind them, and unite in common cause.
In 1968, Nixon won a close election over VP Hubert Humphrey. Now, Humphrey had not entered a single primary. There had been a serious division between the Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy camps up until June. Those entrenched divisions, plus resentment towards Humphrey, allowed Nixon to win. Curiously, exit polls showed that a significant number of people who supported RFK in the primaries ended up voting for George Wallace; this disproves the theory that RFK's support was limited to yound adults and minorities.
In 1972, in large part due to the series of felonies known collectively as Watergate, Nixon defeated George McGovern. In this instance, the majority of the Democratic Party's establishment not only failed to support their nominee, they actually voted for Nixon.
In 1980, there were deep divisions, even within the party's establishment. The result was Reagan beat President Carter. In 1984, Reagan defeated Carter's former VP, Walter Mondale, in what amounted to a re-match.
On July 4, 1988, I was in the Boston park when Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis met with Jesse Jackson. In many ways, the two represented the same sub-groups that the two candidates in the 2016 primary had. Dukakis failed to bridge the divide; Bush the Elder became the last republican to win a first term with majorities in both the popular vote and electoral college.
In 2000, the USSC selected Bush the Dunce after Al Gore had won a close election. Mythology holds that Nader voters elected Bush. The accurate history can be found in Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.'s Journals: 1952 2000 (Penguin; 2007). Gore's VP selection had disgusted too many of the establishment people, who thought that Bush couldn't do much harm in four years.
In the elections that the Democratic Party won, Carter, Clinton, and Obama were able to united enough sub-groups within the party (and get the support of numerous non-party voters) to win the popular vote and, more importantly, the electoral college.
If we limit our thinking to 2016 to the present, we risk getting a subjective view. One must step outside of the picture frame to view it properly, Rubin used to tell me. I suspect that if we look at 1968 to present, we can see a clear pattern. United, we win; divided, we lose. That's clearer than the face in the tree from the old Weekly Readers we read in school.
Now, this isn't only important in presidential elections. All of us at the meeting were residents of upstate New York. Though we are generally outnumbered by both republicans and independent voters, it's true that this is a safe state in presidential elections. It is, for us, more important in the context of how we can compete in local and state elections. That is how we build the foundation.
We do not have the luxury of holding tight to petty grudges. We need to work on building our foundation for 2018. That means working on coalition-building within the various sub-groups that make up the party. No single group or individual -- is greater than the whole. Alone, w3e are like individual fingers that our enemy can easily break; united, we form a powerful fist capable of protecting all of our interests.
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
Happy 4th of July!
By the powers of the earth, I do declare that Trump et al are not a legitimate part of the United States' constitutional democracy: they are a separate, cancerous growth that must be surgically removed. The method of their removal is defined by the Constitution as impeachment. We are on the path to that remedy today.
There are, understandably, many good people who are impatient with the process. They believe that because of the dire threat Trump poses, he should be removed immediately. I share their belief that Trump & Co. should be incarcerated, so that political scientists could study the disease they transmit to the nation.
I also recognize that the application of modern technology is allowing this process to go at a faster pace than it has in any of the previous three national experiences where impeachment was considered. (It was unfortunately taken off the table in two other recent instances, involving Reagan-Bush and Bush-Cheney.) Let's take a holiday look at where it stands today.
There are, of course, three investigations going on: the House, the Senate, and Mr. Mueller's. For the sake of our holiday pleasure, we'll focus on Mr. Mueller's investigation. We know that Mueller has hired an array of talented prosecutors with experience in different specialties. This is important when we consider it in the context of what Malcolm Nance has described as the distinct (though at times overlapping) layers that Mueller has identified.
One thick layer involves the financial aspects. It includes Michael Flynn, Jared Cushner, and Paul Manafort. It also includes Carter Page, J.D. Gordon, and Marc Kasowitz. And, as the investigation has proceeded, it has begun to examine VP Pence.
Layer two involves operations. This includes people found at the margins of the campaign, such as Roger Stone and, to an extent, Corey Lewandowski. These are the people who, believing the Russians had Ms. Clinton's missing e-mails, were convinced they were a pot of gold that would insure a Trump victory. This group includes those involved in the coordinated release of what materials the Russians had accessed.
Another layer involves those attempting to provide cover for the coordinated operations. Michael Cohen is a good example of a weasel promoting a Ukraine peace plan.
Next is active foreign agents. General Flynn is but one example.
Then there is a key focus: who was advocating for Flynn to begin with? Two names stand out: Kushner and Pence. This raises the question of why?
When investigating the body of a crime the how? one looks for the connections in what is there. When investigating the why? especially in terms of financial interests one examines the body of evidence, with a focus upon what is missing, that under usual, non-criminal circumstances should be there. This is precisely what the Treasury investigators have been tasked to identify. And they are good at that. Really good.
The next level involves determining who, at the time of the campaign, was aware of the on-going activities. The public wants to know, for example, if Trump was involved. The investigation is considering two possibilities: first, was Trump actively involved, and second, was he aware of, but not actively involved, the operations?
Finally, for this meager discussion, is the activities that lumped together would be consider a cover-up. This, of course, is obstruction of justice. Trump in particular has taken high profile actions such as firing James Comey that stand out. But it is not limited to Trump. The pathetic operation with Devin Nunes is being considered. And there are others.
We at the grass roots should be playing an active role, too. The Constitution tells us how. And the Declaration of Independence tells us why.
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