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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 08:49 PM
Number of posts: 66,568

Journal Archives

Fried Chicken, the KKK, and Dick Gregory

“Last time I was down South I walked into this restaurant, and this white waitress came up to me and said, 'We don't serve colored people here.'

“I said, 'That's all right, I don't eat colored people. Bring me a whole fried chicken.'

“About that time these three cousins come in, you know the ones I mean, Ku, Klux, and Klan, and they say, “Boy we're givin' you fair warnin' ...Anything you do to that chicken, we're gonna do to you.' About that time, the waitress brought me my chicken. 'Remember, boy, anything you do to that chicken, we're gonna do to you.' So I put down my knife and fork, and I picked up that chicken, and I kissed it.”
Dick Gregory

The passing of Dick Gregory brought back memories from long ago. One in particular is somewhat unpleasant. I'd like to blame Abbie Hoffman, but our school library never carried his books. Anyhow, as there were two copies of Dick's biography – the one the above quote is found on page 144 – I stole one of the copies. Although I've donated other books to the school in the decades since, I still felt bad when I walked over to a bookshelf in my library, and grabbed Dick's book. But I suppose if I hadn't stolen it half a century ago, I couldn't have quoted from what remains one of my favorite pages in it.

Now that we've gotten past that, I'd like to recommend that everyone read pages 200-204, which contain one of my favorite presentations anyone gave in the 1960s, about the need for people to engage in peaceful public protests.

Dick was a supporter of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, long before it was a popular “cause.” And DU historians know about a specific conversation he had with Malcolm X – one Malcolm later said would have resulted in him punching anyone else in the mouth, had they said the things Dick did.

We've lost one of the Elders. But the wisdom he shared with us lives on.

H2O Man

A Time for Action

“Sir,I have great respect and admiration for one who has the nerve to tie his own hands and then walk out and let a brute brutalize him. I have to respect him, because he's doing something that I don't understand. What he's doing is beyond my power to even comprehend. It would be like putting handcuffs on me and putting me in the ring and telling me to fight Cassius Clay, or Sonny Liston, nonviolently. I don't think I could do it, and whoever could do it, you know – power to you.”
Malcolm X; Advice to a Nonviolent Heckler; January 7, 1965.

In his note to Wolf Blitzer, former CIA director John Brennan stated, “By his words and his actions, Mr. Trump is putting our national security and our collective futures at grave risk.” Five Joint Chiefs of Staff have put out individual statements, saying that anti-Semitism, racism, and other types of hatred are unacceptable. And informed sources have reported that the three Generals in Trump's cabinet – Mattis, McMaster, and Kelly – have agreed that if one resigns, the other two will follow suit.

Any one of these things would be highly unusual, by itself. Any two would seem to be sending a message. All three is a unique example of a coordinated message, both to the administration and congress, and to the American people.

When Trump was transitioning from candidate to president, it was reported that he asked the military leaders what good nuclear weapons were, if we never used them? This stands alone as the most extraordinarily ignorant question any president-to-be has ever asked. It has not slipped the minds of the JCS when Trump threatened nuclear war with North Korea.

It has also been reported that Trump is “unhappy” with the Generals' proposed plans for the US military in Afghanistan. This includes Trump's complaining that the US isn't allowed total access to Afghanistan's natural resources. What hasn't gotten enough media attention is that a small group in the White House has proposed allowing Erik Prince's mercenary forces to totally replace US troops there – on a “for profit” basis.

Keep in mind Prince's “secret meeting” with a Russian leader close to Putin, to set up communications between the Trump administration and Moscow. See below link:

Now, all of this could be coincidence – so long as we accept Malcolm Nance's rule that coincidence takes a heck of a lot of planning.

Retired FBI agent Michael German has been a guest on CNN since last weekend. He served as an undercover investigator who infiltrated the alt-right movement. He has stated that Trump is definitely sending dog whistles in the alt-right's direction. (He also questioned why a militarized police force was unleashed upon the Occupy Movement, and a more passive one was tasked with dealing with the armed alt-right in Charlottesville?)

Consider all of this within the context of the recently released National Security Council memo, produced in May, titled “POTUS & Political Warfare. It claimed that the “Deep State,” aided by Marxists, were attempting a coup. Now, let's take that two steps forward: first, it claims the Mueller Investigation is an unfair attack on Trump; second, it was part of a larger, coordinated effort by Trump supporters to call the alt-right to take to the streets. See:

I will not link any of that nonsense here on DU. However, I note that Malcolm Nance recently spoke about it on the Stephanie Miller show. Mr. Nance stated that the intelligence community has been monitoring discussions on the “dark web.” People can access the same general information by googling pin head Roger Stone's recent guest appearances on some of the alt-right web programs, available on the “dull-wit web.”

More, when a shit head like David Duke tells Trump to look in the mirror, and remember white people elected him, we can dismiss it out of hand, because Trump got a larger percentage of both the black and Latino vote than either McCain or Romney …...or we can recognize that more than one half of white women, and almost two-thirds of white men, did vote for Trump. Now, that's crazy. He shouldn't have gotten more than 5% of the vote.

Thus, it is no coincidence that Trump exhibits a compulsive attraction to the other white nuclear power, Russia. Perhaps his worshiping of Putin influences his thoughts on the advantages of being cozy with Erik Prince and other neo-nazi/KKK types?

All of this brings us back to the quote from Malcolm. It is a sad fact that some of our community – including some people with good minds – are still bellyaching about who supported who last November. One person said that a group she dislikes aren't going to be “let off the hook.” We're all on the same hook, so long as Trump is in office. If you can't deal with that at this late date, you are handcuffing yourself. You are handcuffing your mind. And you are handcuffing your own ability to defend against the evil that is Donald Trump.

Wouldn't it be better if the DU community came together – now – and harnessed the strength that we have? If we engaged in on-going internet lobbying of elected officials and journalsts.

H2O Man

Ode to Our Viola

“There are some things so dear, some things so precious, some things so eternally true that they're worth dying for. And if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Syracuse University; July 1965

In February of 2015, the long-lost tape of King's speech at SU was found. It is an important historical artifact, that reflects Dr. King's thinking shortly after the Selma campaign. King spoke about, among other things, the importance of education in the civil rights movement. The violence in Selma, which resulted in several deaths and hundreds of injuries among the victims of racism, would serve to educate white Americans about the realities of the black experience.

King mentioned Viola Liuzzo, who had been murdered by the combined forces known variously as the KKK, the White Citizens Council, or the local police who wore blue uniforms by day, and white sheets after dark. It took the films of the assault on the bridge, and the deaths of Liuzzo and James Reeb shocked the nation. The February 18 murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson by Alabama State Trooper corporal James Fowler, inside a cafe, got far less coverage; Jackson's crime was having attended a peaceful demonstration with his mother.

I find myself thinking of Viola Liuzzo, when I learn about Heather Heyer. It is sad that it takes such a tragedy to really catch the public's attention. Too few realized that the alt-right poses a serious danger to civilized society, that they aren't just the harmless 3rd and 4th generation spawn of European boat people that this nation allowed to immigrate to its southern shores.

There will be attempts to soil Ms. Heyer's reputation, just as there were attempts to soil Liuzzo's. Whenever anyone attempts to blame a victim, rather than the perpetrator of a violent crime, you know that their mind is sick.

“In March 1965, Dr. King asked me, along with many others, to accompany him to Selma, Alabama. I refused to join those brave people. If the 'Hurricane' was attacked by dogs, batons, mounted police, or hoses, he would have to fight back and kill someone or, even more likely, be killed.”
Rubin “Hurricane” Carter; Eye of the Hurricane; 2011; page 83

I used to talk with Rubin about Selma. He was friends with both Dr. King and Malcolm X. We discussed Malcolm's telegram to George Lincoln Rockwell, the head of the US nazi party, in which Malcolm made clear that if Rockwell's forces brought any harm to Dr. King or his followers, Malcolm would bring forces to Selma to fight fire with fire.

In 1998, a group of 17 racist white men in upstate New York had viciously assaulted my nephew, a black high school scholar-athlete, in a dark field serving as a parking lot for the General Clinton Canoe Regatta. Their cowardly surprise attack was witnessed by a lady who was inside her car, who described it as similar to a pack of wolves. They left my nephew – with his hands still inside his pockets – unconscious on the ground, assuming that he was dead. He lived, though he suffered permanent physical injuries.

Thus, I understand the urge to retaliate. To fight fire with fire. Yes, I do. As Rubin said, that was my first nature. Yet, I had to make it my second nature ….to respond to this ugly crime in a higher nature, to harness my better potential, so that the violence did not continue to gain a force of its own, beyond our control.

Instead of going to the thugs' community for “revenge,” I focused upon two things: trying to get justice through the legal system, and using the media to educate the public about the insidious nature of racism. The court hearings went from June to October, and crowds from over 50 miles came, every week, to insist that justice be served. My friend Robert Kennedy, Jr., issued a statement calling for the maximum legal prosecution for this hate crime. Newspaper, radio, and television reporters provided significant coverage of the case.

At first, my nephew's friends questioned the wisdom of this approach. They knew that this would be handled very differently than if a group of black men had assaulted a white teen. I had a couple of men offer to take care of business if I but said the word, and I knew they were serious. But such violence could only lead to more violence.

I've said all of that, to say this: I understand why young people felt the need to fight fire with fire at the Ku Klux Klown – nazi demonstration. I absolutely appreciate the human right to engage in self-defense when attacked. And I admit that, were I young, I would have loved to have been there, and non-violence would have been the last thing I'd have considered.

But I'm not a young man. Haven't been one for many decades now. And so I recognize that, when passions flow, young people might not consider my voice worth listening to. And that's fair. But I hope they will consider what Martin Luther King said, and to look at the lessons of Selma. Evaluate that important historical series of events. Honor Heather Heyer.

"War is a Failure"

I'd like to share an interview that my daughter Chloe did for The Weave, a St. Lawrence University journal that she contributes to. I'm posting a link to it for three reasons: first, it is a good example of the necessary connection between the older and younger generations; second, she conducted the interview while attending a Hiroshima Memorial event (where an unhappy passer-by called the local fire department to lodge a complaint, despite the group's having a valid permit); and third, because I am extremely proud of my daughter.

Since she was wee-little, I recognized that she was what is known in Ireland as a Changeling. While she was enrolled in grade school, I remember our discussions as we sat out on the lawn. Her mother made her and her sister attend the local church, and Chloe didn't want to hurt her mother's feelings, but felt the adults there didn't grasp what the prophet Jesus attempted to teach. At nine, she stood up during the sermon, and said, “Now, if we really believe Jesus, we need to make things like food and clothing free for poor people.” (It was one of the rare times I attended, and I remember the Elders telling me I had a special daughter after mass.)

In middle school, we attended an “Impeach Bush & Cheney” teach-in at Binghamton University featuring Elizabeth de la Vega and John Nichols. Here, too, Chloe got up to speak, and Elizabeth told the audience they had just heard from their future Senator. Both she and John gave Chloe autographed copies of their books.

Chloe continued as a scholar/athlete in high school, and was her class's valedictorian, then went on to St. Lawrence. All through the years, she continued to be a dedicated social-political activist. Though she now lives outside Boston, this past summer she helped plan a fund- and awareness-raiser for the people of Standing Rock here in upstate New York. I was among the speakers, and was mighty proud when Chloe performed “Imagine” on acoustic guitar.

One of her political science professors told me that she was surprised that Chloe had the most experience with activism of any student she has taught, because Chloe is so soft-spoken and gentle. I said those qualities are among her greatest strengths. I think that comes through in this interview with a Vietnam veteran, who became a peace activist.

I hope people enjoy it.

H2O Man


Green Eggs & Spam

The republican party's committee raising funds for the 2018 congressional races is already more than $2 million behind where they anticipated being on August 1. Sean Hannity is attacking Shepard Smith at Fox, for not supporting Trump; Smith responded that the “facts do not support (Sean's) narrative.” The recent exchange of insults between Trump and McConnell has House republicans concerned that there will be a suppressed republican voter turn-out in 2018. On CNN, republican guests engage in heated arguments with one another about Trump's utter lack of qualifications to serve as president.

The intelligence community tracked internet attempts to stir hatred of Malcolm Nance and Joy Reid to actors in St. Petersburg, Russia, who pretend to be California residents. They are encouraging the brain-dead alt-right to take “actions” to “protect their freedoms.” It is a clear call for the most unstable to become violent.

And here, on DU:GD, we still have groups that chose to feast upon the rancid bacon and decaying green ham that infected the Democratic Party in 2016. What's wrong with this picture?

We need not look to Dr. Stockmann to find out what force benefits from the scurvy this injects into healthy approaches to winning in 2018 and 2020. Nor is there any benefit from arguing if Clinton or Sanders' supporters represent the “real” Democratic Party. A good Democrat might value the opinions of either Thom Hartman, Rachel Maddow, or of both. Likewise, they might prefer the original “Ma and Pa Kettle” movies, or they might hope that Rachel McAdams stars in a re-make of the classics.

Mr. Nance is preparing to publish a book on the coordinated attempt to destroy liberal democracy in western Europe and the United States. If one believes that Nance is an informed, reliable source – and combines that with an understanding of what they have seen in western Europe and this country in the past couple of years – it raises a couple of interesting questions:

What is the best investment of your time and energy in terms of protecting (and advancing) our constitutional democracy? And how far are you willing to go?

The Constitution of the United States provides the best blueprint for our democracy. Amendment 1 lays out the exact tactics we should all be engaged in.

The Weight of Our Generation

“The traditions of all dead generations weigh like a nightmare on the minds of the living.”
Karl Marx

Yesterday I recognized that Trump was occupying too much room in my thinking. I thought I could get benefit from a Thoreau period at the pond. Easier said than done! On my walk, I encountered my son, who was busy with a new ax, chopping up an enormous tree that recently fell. Chopping wood is, of course, a valuable task for a boxer to engage in to increase punching-power in the boxing ring. I made my usual attempt at humor, noting that I could charge young boxers for the opportunity to train here.

Then he asked me – very seriously – what I thought about Trump's threatening North Korea?

Later in the evening, when my daughter arrived home, she said that she had been listening to the news on her drive. She, too, was concerned about Trump's idiotic threats.

I am old enough to have lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis – although like most Americans, I was unaware of just how close we came to war. Thank goodness JFK was president, for surely the two before and most after him would not have resolved it peacefully.

I also either got under my desk, or went into school's hallway, during “civil defense drills.” I was too young to understand that in 1953, the Saturday Evening Post did a feature story on our little community, noting it was “the town we can't do without.” A defense industry that had been opened after WW1 was credited for its essential role in WW2. It also made the village a top-eight target in WW2, and certainly remained a target when I attended school.

Trump would be in his glory if he thought he could create the same level of fear from that bygone era. It's important that we not allow that. Not to say that Americans should be any less concerned with Trump than is the human family around the globe. He is a dangerous fellow: he wants to take health care away from millions of others, simply because he resents President Obama for delivering it.

Recently, when General Kelly became Trump's chief of staff, people hoped Kelly could bring some stability to the White House. Time has indicated that Trump remains spiraling out of control. I think it is as if a social worker was tasked with working with a dysfunctional (fucked-up) family daily. As long as Old Dad continues to be abusive – especially at night, when the social worker wasn't around – and tried to bully and abuse family and neighbors, as well as the entire community, that family is going to remain sick. Dad will continue to remain the source of problems in their neighborhood and community.

Imagine if Dad was the social worker's boss, and it's obvious that Dad simply wants to use him to intimidate others.

Now, imagine that some local police and the prosecutor were investigating Old Dad for criminal activities. As citizens in the neighborhood, we should be doing our best to send Old Dad to jail. We should recognize that as our civic duty, and our duty to the (world) community. And that is especially true if the old shithead starts raising his voice, and threatening anyone and everyone, and insisting that the police and prosecutor stop bugging him. It's good to be aware of how potentially dangerous he absolutely is – thus, the need to restrain him on his way to his cell.

What's taking place between Trump and his clone in North Korea isn't good, obviously. And it's not only Trump that is the problem. I'm reminded of the threats of Iraqi's WMDs – the mushroom clouds and other nonsense – from Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice. There's too much of an effort being made by the media and others in the military-industrial complex to make it look like the Cuban Missile Crisis. Obviously, I'd much prefer that jackass in North Korea not pursue nuclear weapon capabilities. Just like I wish the jackass Trump had no say in the potential use of such weapons.

My son, keeping a very straight face, said, “Sorry, Old Man. But Trump will bring about the end of the world in September. Nothing we can do about it.” Dark humor sometimes helps.

My Choice

Being a male may prevent me from being an expert on “women's issues.” However, I have learned a few things from teachers, especially those who are patient. Two that I have in mind are my daughters. They are both in their twenties now, and are both social-political activists, with a particular interest in women's issues. Both are university-educated, and share information with me.

Now, when well done, parenting is a unique educational experience, with both boys and girls. I learned a lot from all four of my children, since they were itty-bitty. And I did my best to encourage their being curious, self-confident, and happy. Of course, I was not perfect, no one ever is. But we made their childhoods an adventure. Those are times I can look back on with real happiness.

Raising teenagers is – at least in my opinion, though others likely agree – distinct from raising pre-teens. There comes at time, somewhere around 16, when boys experience with identity formation resulted in my sons concluding that I was not the smartest, strongest, absolute coolest man who ever walked the earth. On one hand, I missed the earlier times; on the other, I encouraged them (except when they challenged me to box).

My daughters' mother had more difficulty with them as teens, and abandoned them. That was tough, because no matter how good I might be as a parent, teenage girls tend to do better with a stable mother figure. But I did my best, and am pleased that both continued to think of me as both human and someone who has added to society. At her university, the youngest even published an essay that referred to me as her hero. That surely made me happy.

I so wish that my father knew my daughters. But he died, and their other three grandparents have never been part of their lives. Thus, I've been lucky to have extended family that has filled various roles. My aunt and uncle served as “grandparents” to two little girls without grandparents. Another aunt, 88, and uncle, 89, are also wonderful with all my kids. Plus my siblings, my nieces and nephews, and my cousins, etc.

Not a single female relative they know accepted being treated as unequal to males – either in family life, or the larger society. That doesn't mean they didn't face discrimination. So few things have pleased me more than to sit back and listen to my 88 year old aunt tell the family history of strong women. In a book I published years ago, about the Irish immigrant experience in the northeast, I documented how much of the anti-Irish dynamics were due to the equal role of women in traditional Irish society.

My children all share my passion for the environment. In my opinion, it is impossible to fully appreciate nature, if you don't appreciate that male and female are absolutely equal, though not exact. This is part of understanding human nature. It allows us to appreciate the potential benefits and problems of both patriarchal and matriarchal societies. It prevents the perverse attitudes that sex is dirty, and that we should be restrictive in assigning gender roles. It provides opportunity to understand the history of human migration patterns, including environmental and human factors.

All of my kids got to know my mentors, Onondaga Chief Paul Waterman and Rubin “Hurricane” Carter. The boys grew up thinking Paul was their grandfather. All of them knew Rubin as a wise uncle. I say this, because our current society encourages the breakdown of family systems – despite the pious crap about “family values” – and there is a much-needed option of redefining what family means.

As the saying goes, human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights. That shouldn't be debated any more than Black Lives Matter. Or that the Standing Rock Sioux have the right to say no to a pipeline. Or that human beings are not, by definition, “illegal.” We need to translate these truths into our social and political reality.

This is why I have stated on several DU:GD threads that I'm opposed to trying to expand the party by way of welcoming anti-choice politicians.

H2O Man


“He has no idea what he's up against.”
Malcolm Nance on Trump

I really like Malcolm Nance. I've respected him since the first time I heard him speak. But the more I listen to him, the more I like him, which is different – though often overlapping – than respecting someone.

It's interesting: there have been a few discussions about “purity” on DU:GD in recent days. Hopefully, you haven't seen them, and I don't think they are worth looking for if you haven't. But, for those of you who have unfortunately suffered through them, let me make clear I'm not a purist. I certainly haven't lived the purest life …..committed many impure acts, have impure thoughts, and generally have enjoyed them all.

In no sense do I agree with Mr. Nance on every issue. In fact, I disagree with him on some very important ones, primarily related to the environment and environmentalists. I have no idea how pure he has been in his adult life, though I speculate his career has included experiences few of us can imagine. Yet he is a purist, in the sense of his understanding of intelligence. This in no way keeps me from both liking and respecting him. And really, really appreciating the role he is playing in our society today.

This evening, I was watching some films of his recent interviews with non-mainstream media. Unlike Mark Felt, who inhabited the shadows, Mr. Nance is very open to the public. I've been thinking about interviewing him for DU.

Tonight, among other things, after noting that Trump hasn't got a clue about what he's facing, Mr. Nance noted that Trump is exactly the type of would-be “king” the Founding Fathers worked to prevent from accessing power. Thus, he said, Trump is up against the democratic traditions that have been in place since 1783.

He noted that up until now, the public has only heard intelligence, and not evidence. But Mr. Mueller is now working with a talented team, to transform intelligence into evidence for criminal trials. He said that evidence will result in criminal convictions for espionage and RICO violations for a number of people in the White House.

Asked how much longer Trump will be president, he said, “Ten to twelve months ….unless he tries to fire Mueller. If he tries that, six months.”

H2O Man


Today's press conference by Attorney Genital Elfin Sessions brings the nation's focus to the issue of “leaks.” By attempting to publicly kiss Trump's ass publicly, Sessions has raised the question of if he will now replace Sean Spicer as a soft target on Saturday Night Live. We'll have to wait, of course, because of Sessions's stern lecture on dangerous media leaks.

In the mean time, let's take a brief look at “leaks,” before the weekend reports on Trump's tantrums. There are, of course, several types of leaks: those that endanger individuals, those that endanger national security, and those that are associated with whistle-blowers. Sessions seeks to roll them all into one type, which translates into what is known as an “outright lie.” Clearly, he knows that his boss has a deep affection for purposeful lying.

The vast majority of the leaks pertaining to the Trump-Russian scandal are coming directly from the White House now. From late January until mid-May, the majority came from individual whistle-blowers inside the intelligence community. Why the shift? Let's use one example to illustrate, shall we?

The information that journalists received regarding Donald, Jr.'s meeting with the Russian attorney came from Jared Kushner's legal team. They were aware it would come out anyhow, and so they attempted to deflect responsibility from Jared to Junior. When Junior released a pathetic statement that claimed the meeting was about adoption, it did not hold up any longer than Trump's initial claim as to why he fired James Comey.

Almost immediately, it was leaked that Trump had assisted in creating Junior's lie. The White House denied this with wild abdomen, which indicated that Trump played an even larger role. Leaks from within Trump's team documented that the president actually dictated most of Junior's initial lie. For Trump is, if nothing else, consistent in his pathological lying.

All of this clearly caught the attention of Mr. Mueller's team of investigators. It not only provided definite proof that three of candidate Trump's top people were eager to obtain dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government, but the story fit into Trump's pattern of attempting to obstruct justice. Hence, Mr. Mueller sought a federal grand jury, which has almost unlimited power to obtain documents, as well as to compel testimony, relating to the meeting.

No one from Mr. Mueller's team, or from the grand jury, leaked the news that was reported upon yesterday. That didn't happen. Instead, we can look to Jared's legal team – they who have been contacted by the grand jury – for the identity of the leakers.

This is not to suggest that Mr. Mueller was surprised or upset by the leak. He anticipated it, and knew who would be most likely to leak. This is the tension phase of the investigation, when prosecutors seek to turn up the heat. This White House is notorious for having little groups of little people fighting over turf ….and now they are increasingly prone to turning on one another. Jared, for example, has no qualms about turning on Junior and Manafort – because he believes Trump will surely pardon his reproductive error. And Jared never wants his hands to get dirty.

Now, let's consider the topic of “leaks” within the context of an OP I posted here yesterday evening, titled “A Secret Team.” Historically, the art of leaking was mastered by the intelligence community during WW2. But let's look at two more recent examples – though both date back to before WW2. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover was a champion at leaking. His unhealthy obsession with other people's sex lives comes to mind. He used information on politicians, including President Kennedy, to try to maintain his unholy power in Washington.

Hoover was deeply offended by Martin Luther King, Jr.'s love of sex, and often attempted to peddle his smut to journalists and others. When he failed in these attempts to discredit King, he ordered a tape and letter to be sent to King's home, that literally told Martin to kill himself. Hoover himself authored the incoherent letter.

The other example is Richard Helms. He learned the craft of strategic leaking from Allen Dulles. However, during Helms's career, he far surpassed his former supervisor. He learned that leaking was the single most powerful tool he had for “perception management” in both domestic and foreign adventures. Again, Col. Prouty details this in his book, “The Secret Team.”

President Trump is, by far, the most ignorant person ever to serve in the Oval Office. He does not have even a seventh-grader's grasp of American history. (Sad.) But several of the people he has surrounded himself do. These people fit into two groups: the first are the paranoid Bannon-types, who are dimly aware of what is taking place, and who support Trump, and second, those who support the United States ….and who leak.

Prepare for an entertaining weekend.

A Secret Team

I thought it might be interesting to say a few words about the news that Mr. Mueller is running a federal grand jury that is looking into the Trump-Russian scandal, including a focus on administration attempts to obstruct justice. Although I am bone-tired, as well as sore from falling backwards onto a downed tree on my lawn last night, I am hoping this attempt is coherent. Or semi-coherent, as the case may be. Please excuse any confusing statements or errors in thinking, for I am old and feeble.

Before addressing the federal grand jury directly, I'd like to suggest forum members read a 1973 book, titled “The Secret Team,” by Fletcher Prouty. At the time, Col. Prouty's book detailed some of the history of the intelligence community's destabilizing and overthrowing foreign governments. At the time, of course, it was of special interest to those who were following the series of crimes known collectively as the Watergate scandal.

However, before the 1974 events that “resolved” Watergate, the book literally disappeared. Copies were even removed from the shelves of public libraries across the country. Luckily, it was re-published in 2011. It is definitely worth reading today.

The “secret team” is those who carry out specific operations for what some call the “shadow government,” or the “machine.” And that's made up of a variety of individuals who are connected to large corporations (including, of course, the military-industrial complex), intelligence agencies, and also found within major universities and the news media.

While the tactics the secret team used in under-developed countries in the 1950s and '60s are somewhat different in appearance to those used in more modern times, they share many common threads. Obviously, advances in technology have also created new opportunities to destabilize a country. Indeed, one of the two primary goals of the Russians who aided the Trump campaign was to stir the pot in the US, to destabilize our constitutional democracy.

Note: I do have some friends and associates who ask me if it is not hypocritical to be outraged by Russia doing to the US what the US has done in other countries? Or who ask if the DNC and campaign documents hacked and released were not true? My answer is simply that I believe in the concepts defined by The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution – especially the Bill of Right – and believe they are worth protecting. The Founding Fathers, imperfect as they were, expressed valid concerns about the potential for foreign influence in our system of government.

I'm also pretty keen on that Statue of Liberty that has been discussed in the past 36 hours. My matertnal grandfather helped quarry the stone it sits upon. I love that wonderful poem – which Jesse Jackson quoted at a Democratic National Convention years ago. These things have meaning to me. They illustrate the Power of Ideas.

Now, before addressing the history of the Magna Carta – an associate employed in an east coast law office that is currently opposing the Trump administration recommended a good book on it yesterday, while we were discussing “current events” – let's consider one more tactic of destabilization of “civilized” nations. The idea is to place one or more reliable people in an office that will try to facilitate a bloodless transfer of power shortly before a crisis reaches its climax stage. That person (or persons) are someone the targeted leader tends to trust, at least initially.

If, for example, we were looking at a new chief of staff for a leader, we might expect him to assure someone at risk – say, an attorney general – that he is not going to be fired, and should not resign. This would not be because of any respect for that person, who we might refer to as “Sessions” for this discussion. It's because that chief of staff – let's call him “John Kelly” – is insuring the on-going operation is not derailed by a paranoid president.

A federal investigator-prosecutor might also take steps to make such attempts to derail her/his on-going investigation, by impaneling a federal grand jury. To add a little context, a number of elected representatives in both houses of Congress have discussed creating a legal challenge if Trump attempts to have Mr. Mueller fired. Such an attempt is certainly not beyond Trump. It could create a constitutional crisis that might well need to be settled in the courts.

One of the institutions most respected within the federal legal community is that of the federal grand jury. This is one of the stones that serves as a foundation for our legal system. It is described in Amendment 5. And, of course, it is a concept that dates back to the Magna Carta.

Grand juries consider evidence in serious crimes. They do not look into misdemeanors or violations. Federal grand juries, for example, tend to investigate matters involving organized crime – including those involving government corruption.

One of the easier charges to consider in the Trump-Russian scandal would be any administration attempt to obstruct justice. A federal judge picks the jury (no one “applies” for a seat on the jury). The prosecutor explains the particulars of what is being looked into to the jurors, then calls witnesses. First, she/he will question a witness, then the head juror has the option, then the rest of the jury can. A witness can refuse to answer, based upon the Fifth, but a grand jury can also compel testimony by granting immunity to prosecution. However, a person representing a group (say, a bank) can not refuse to testify or produce documents requested by the grand jury.

A number of legal experts are correctly reporting on television this evening that a federal grand jury does not always return an indictment. While true, this is extremely rare. And it definitely is not going to be the case here.

On the issue of the Trump associates coordinating with the Russians, it seems likely that Mr. Mueller has more than enough to present on both Manafort and Flynn already. The only issue there is which one has enough information of value to be granted a deal to implicate someone higher up. Keep in mind that both are notorious liars, and might not be a compelling witness without other sources (individuals or documents).

Perhaps most encouraging is that the grand jury is investigating the June, 2016 meeting with Russians that involved Don, Jr., Kushner, and Manafort. I can say that the grand jury is not interested in adopting the administration's cover story. However, I can say with confidence that they are mighty interested in the documents that the Russian attorney brought to the meeting. And to document the other communications and meetings that took place after that initial get-together.

We are living in historic times.
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