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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 07:49 PM
Number of posts: 62,296

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The Rule of Law

“I was serving time in the universal mind
I was feeling fine.”
Jim Morrison


A month or so ago, I was talking with a good friend who I met on this forum. We were discussing the Mueller investigation, and she expressed concern that things were going too slowly, that there had been little progress reported in the media. I said that I believed things were going pretty darned well, and that there were some “big” reports that were coming up soon, which would be extremely damaging to Trump and his associates.

My friend, who by her nature does not totally subscribe to my belief that – to quote a Rubin Carter letter I received in 1974 – everything under the sun is as it should be, or it wouldn't be, asked how I could be sure? I noted that there is a lot of information known in Washington, DC (and NYC) that is true, but that investigative reporters must nail down before putting it in print. There s also a lot of rumors that are not accurate. One must consider the sources.

Does anyone doubt, for example, that “retired” ONI officer Malcolm Nance knows far, far more than he has stated on record? And to really appreciate that, you should read or re-read his book on the plot to hack the 2016 election. Or that David Corn and Michael Isikoff do not have access to information far beyond the amazing amount they included in their recent book? Why, just last night, my cousin called me to say that, based upon the little grin tugging on Maya Wiley's face when she appeared on MSNBC, that “that lady knows things she isn't sharing just yet.”

Back when talking to my friend, I said that Jeff Sessions had been willingly “flipped” by Team Mueller. My understanding was that Mr. Mueller had played a central role in this. My buddy asked if I was certain of this? Yes, I said. Consider how investigators approach any case with a group of suspects. They not only start at the bottom, but they identify weak links. Sessions is the very definition of a weak link in the Trump organization.

As then-Senator Al Franken's questions revealed, the Trump campaign had “dipped” Sessions in the Russian plot during the campaign. Watch those hearings again, and you will see that it dawns on Jeff that he is in an unanticipated tight spot. Thus, his recusal, followed by Trump's vicious attacks upon his person. Now, I view Sessions as a scum, but it is still obvious that he had no intention of “protecting” Trump by putting himself in further danger.

Earlier this week, my friend asked what I thought Mitch McConnell what do in terms of protecting Trump from impeachment? That's an interesting an important question. Let's place it in the context of the current view that republicans are far different than they were in the Nixon era. There is a myth that those in the House were long intent upon impeachment, and that three Senators, led by Goldwater, convinced Nixon he had to resign.

Those of us old enough to remember – along with those who have watched the House committee hearings, found upon Youtube – know that many of them were every bit as toxic and unethical as today's crop. It was only when enough information had been made public, that they surrendered to the Rule of Law. More, Nixon had already decided to resign; the Senators simply confirmed that he needed to do so soon.

Mitch McConnell is much closer to a “Nixon republican” than to a “Trump republican.” In fact, in the shallow recesses of his mind, he not only strongly resents Trump as an individual, but he views him as a threat to the republican party he has invested in, and profited from. “Cocaine” Mitch has seen enough evidence – including what is public, and what is private – to know that it is very likely he and his friends would have to publicly stand against the Rule of Law, should they seek to protect Trump.

There are other issues that may come into play. An example would be if Trump was successful in getting North Korea to agree to a deal that is not in their national interests. That would increase his support within the party. Yet it is unlikely that Trump will succeed. (Obviously, Mitch liked the tax-cuts that benefit the opulently wealthy, at the expense of the country.)

Thus, at this point, Mitch is considering options for if the Mueller report comes out by mid-September. He favors a middle-of-the-road approach, neither helping not hurting Trump before the elections. He will speak about that rule of law that no individual stands above. Like Trey Gowdy, he will only go so far in commenting on Trump's wild conspiracy theories.

Depending upon the outcome of the fall elections, and the public opinion that Rudy G babbles about, Mitch will be happy to stick it to Trump. He has hinted just that to a few of his closest associates.

Just for fun, I thought I'd reveal something else that is known, but not reported yet. It sounds insane, because it is. But we are dealing with extremely paranoid minds, that are under intense pressure. Trump's nonsense about the “Deep State” placing a spy in his campaign (and, though unsaid, his administration), is more than a Hannity-Bannon tactic to arouse his mentally-dead flock of followers. Trump himself is convinced that Sessions is the deep state spy. Hence, the next three weeks will be highly entertaining.

Peace,
H2O Man

Memorial Day

“It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”
James Baldwin; No Name in the Street; 1972.


It's been a curious couple of weeks, in terms of the Mueller investigation and related issues. At the core of the overlapping issues is if people in the Trump campaign – either as individuals or in groups – conspired to coordinate efforts by Russia to elect Trump in 2016. US foreign intelligence had learned of possible interference in the election by the combination of the Russian intelligence and mafia ( the Russian “shallow state”), and considered the fact that Trump had openly sought “business” dealings with them in years prior. Hence, the FBI was appropriately tasked with investigating Trump's campaign.

A year ago, in an attempt admittedly seeking to end this investigation, Trump fired FBI director James Comey, in an act that resulted in Mr. Mueller's appointment to investigate any conspiracy before the election, as well as attempts at a cover-up during the transition and Trump's presidency. The growing pressure from Team Mueller's investigation, along with its sibling (the Southern District of NY's investigation of Michael Cohen), has resulted in some desperate behaviors on Trump & Fiends part. It is in this context that we should consider some recent events.

The most glaring example involved Trump's attempt to revive the corpse of his earlier lie that President Obama “wire-tapped” Donald's phones. The new version was the empty bluster about the FBI planting at least one spy in his campaign, which – like the lie about wire-taps – Trump deemed “bigger than Watergate.” In truth, of course, the FBI had made use of an old CIA confidential informant, who talked with three individuals connected to both the campaign and, to different degrees, Russia's attempt to assist Trump.

Yet the dangerous potential of ignorance and power (along with purposeful unethical behaviors) did do damage to our system of government, and the rule of law. This was accomplished when two White House employees, including a lawyer representing Trump on the Russian investigation, attended at least part of the two meetings between the DOJ/FBI and members of the legislative branch.

While it seems likely that Emmet Flood attended primarily to put on the record that the White House was not seeking specific information on “methods and sources,” this contradicts Trump's demands for both. Attorney Flood is aware that the president's aggressive plan, which non-lawyers including Sean Hannity and Steve Bannon masterminded, crossed the line of obstruction of justice. Flood's attemp to mitigate the damage actually created more.

There is rational concern about Rod Rosenstein's allowing the two meetings to take place. Many intelligent people believe that he should have drawn a line in the sand, and either resigned, or forced Trump to fire him. I appreciate these beliefs, and would have supported him if he had done so. However, I also understand and support the choice Mr. Rosenstein made. I'm confident that he knows the investigation is at a stage where it needs to stay on course and focused, and that Congress will come to see Trump's move as a gross abuse of power, requiring specific remedy.

I know that Nancy Pelosi recently stated that impeachment is not on the Democrats' agenda. I understand why many Democrats find this troubling. I also know that republicans will attempt to use impeachment divisively in this year's elections, no matter what she actually says. Yet, I believe that it was proper for her to say what she said. Many of our candidates will campaign on the rule of law, without specifically advocating for impeachment …..at least until Mr. Mueller's report reaches them. Others will have more flexibility in what position they take, which is a good thing.

Finally, we've seen Rudy Giuliani doing what one comedian refers to as his imitation of Colonel Klink from the old show, “Hogan's Heroes.” In a recent OP on this forum, “kentuck” correctly noted that some polls show the combination of Trump and Rudy's nonsense about “spygate” has caused some republicans to doubt the value of Mr. Mueller's investigation. This is, I believe, to be expected. For as the investigation gets closer and closer to Trump and his spawn, we should anticipate that his team will react more and more harshly. Indeed, they will seek to do more damage to our nation, in hopes of avoiding legal consequences.

And they will surely cause more damage. While that is cause for some concern, keep in mind it is because they are in a world of trouble, and out of desperation, will try to do anything to prevent the certain outcome. But they will fail. Believe it. And act upon it. Now is the time for citizens to do their part in the democratic process.

Peace,
H2O Man

Impeachment

“But in Nixon’s case, the list of actions that together were deemed to constitute impeachable obstruction reads like a forecast of what Trump would do decades later — making misleading statements to, or withholding material evidence from, federal investigators or other federal employees; trying to interfere with FBI or congressional investigations; trying to break through the FBI’s shield surrounding ongoing criminal investigations; dangling carrots in front of people who might otherwise pose trouble for one’s hold on power. “
Laurence Tribe; Washington Post; May 13, 2017

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-must-be-impeached-heres-why/2017/05/13/82ce2ea4-374d-11e7-b4ee-434b6d506b37_story.html?utm_term=.07ad847f90f9


In order to be more fully prepared for campaigning for candidates from the Democratic Party in the upcoming election season, I am trying to review various books on the issues involving impeachment. This includes Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz's new book, “To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment.”

The authors believe that there is a strong case for impeaching Donald Trump, although the book does not focus primarily upon that belief. Rather, because of the divided nature of the nation, discussions about the possibility of impeachment demand that the public be informed about the history and intent of the process.

There are, the authors note, dangers if the process is abused by elected representatives. The obvious example of a politically motivated abuse of the process was the republican impeachment of President Clinton. There are also unanswered questions regarding how things would play out if the Senate convicted a president. These are, of course, important to consider today for two reasons: first, we have a president who has no respect for either the rule of law or the US Constitution, and second, there is a significant, armed minority in this country that would mistake the impeachment of Trump for a coup by the “deep state.”

Yet, the authors recognize that there are times – and this appears to be one – where the failure to impeach and convict poses far greater dangers to our nation, than doing so. I agree with that. More, I believe that a significant and growing number of citizens believes that, too. It is clear that issues regarding impeachment will play a role in the 2018 elections.

Republicans will use impeachment as an issue to energize the alt-right. And there are certainly some congressional districts in which a Democratic Party candidate cannot take an aggressive position on the issue. Yet, all Democrats can advocate for the rule of law, and a willingness to objectively fulfill their duties if elected. Indeed, any candidate that attempts to side-step or avoid these issues will fail to energize a significant portion of voters.

It will be difficult to engage in rational discussions about impeachment, based upon facts, at a time when emotions rooted in ignorance, and inflamed by lies, saturate the thinking and behaviors of so many people. “But all noble things,” Spinoza reminds us, “are as difficult as they are rare.” It was Benjamin Franklin who advocated most forcefully that impeachment be included in the Constitution. And so we would do well to remember his saying that, “When passions drive, let reason hold the reins.”

Peace,
H2O Man

Our Date with Destiny

“There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt


A lot has been said about Judge Ellis since last week's hearing on the Manafort case. What I haven't seen, either in the media or on this forum, is any mention of what was perhaps the most important case that was tried in his court …..the one that, incidentally, may be the most important in terms of understanding his comments about the Mueller investigation. I should say from the giddy-up that I have mixed feelings about Judge Ellis, and will attempt to not allow this to influence this essay.

Back in 2005-2006, as older forum members may recall, Judge Ellis presided over what was commonly known as the AIPAC espionage case. Lawrence Franklin, a neoconservative working for Douglas Feith in the Defense Department, was charged with passing classified information to two members of AIPAC. This information was largely connected with intelligence on Iran.

During the trial, the prosecution held that it could not reveal some of the classified information regarding Franklin's two co-defendants. This created an obvious conflict with the Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights of the co-defendants. Judge Ellis became the first judge to allow a limited use of the “silent witness rule,” although the prosecution would eventually drop all charges against the co-defendants. That resulted in Judge Ellis's significantly reducing Franklin's sentence.

One could hold that there are differences between an ally interfering with how our government works, and a competitor/enemy. Yet, Judge Ellis is correct in demanding that federal prosecutors submit the documentation to bring a case. Still, his comments on the “purpose” for prosecuting Manafort were way out of line: the charges against Manafort are serious, and Ellis's personal beliefs about politics has no place in the courtroom.

Another significant factor in today's cycle of human events is Trump's foolish decision to opt out of the multi-national deal with Iran. In a previous cycle, of course, Iran was an ally of the United States. That was when the US subverted democratic elections, and installed the shah as dictator. And Iran was almost a friend again, when Ollie North was selling arms to fund the Contras, with the assistance of another Middle Eastern nation.

But Iran is an enemy now, especially since Trump hired John Bolton, who was closely associated with Douglas Feith and the merry crew of freedom fighters associated with VP Dick Cheney when they opted to invade Iraq to protect the world from WMD in the form of mushroom clouds. Thus, Trump was able to deliver this cycle's yellow cake recipe for aggression, complete with a reference to the recent bad-faith presentation of outdated documents provided by the leader of the only nuclear power in the Middle East.

The big difference in this cycle appears to be that the vast majority of our friends around the globe are opposed to what Trump has done. People around the globe recognize that it is Trump and his enablers that pose the most serious threat to civilization. And for good reason.

Donald Trump is the most uninformed person to ever walk through the White House. He could not, for example, locate Iran on a map. He has no understanding of Iranian history. Nor does he have the slightest grasp of current events. Rather, his focus on the Iranian deal is rooted in his raging hatred of Barack Obama. And it has become more dangerous, as Trump feels the heat of the current investigations into his campaign, his finances, and his serving as Putin's pawn.

Trump is desperate for a major distraction, as well as the support from any group. Thus, he is convinced that threatening Iran – even if it results in warfare – can save his mangy hide. And that is exactly where we find ourselves today.

The sane people of the earth are hoping that the American people will stand up to Trump. Our date with destiny is upon us.

Peace,
H2O Man

Flowers & Race

The Cold Within
Six humans trapped by happenstance
In bleak and bitter cold.
Each one possessed a stick of wood
Or so the story’s told.

Their dying fire in need of logs
The first man held his back
For of the faces round the fire
He noticed one was black.

The next man looking ‘cross the way
Saw one not of his church
And couldn’t bring himself to give
The fire his stick of birch.

The third one sat in tattered clothes.
He gave his coat a hitch.
Why should his log be put to use
To warm the idle rich?

The rich man just sat back and thought
Of the wealth he had in store
And how to keep what he had earned
From the lazy shiftless poor.

The black man’s face bespoke revenge
As the fire passed from his sight.
For all he saw in his stick of wood
Was a chance to spite the white.

The last man of this forlorn group
Did nought except for gain.
Giving only to those who gave
Was how he played the game.

Their logs held tight in death’s still hands
Was proof of human sin.
They didn’t die from the cold without
They died from the cold within.
--James Kinney


I've been reading the various OP/threads about white people here on DU:GD over the past couple of days. As my late friend Rubin “Hurricane” Carter was born on this day, some 81 years ago, I thought I'd add one of his favorite poems to the conversation. Anyone who had the pleasure of listening to Rubin's public addresses in the last year of his life will remember the passion in his voice while he recited the verses.

I heard that same passion upon answering the telephone late one night (for Rubin's calls were almost always placed around 3 am/est): “Pat! You've gotta get up here! You won't believe how beautiful my flower garden is!” I asked what type of flowers were blooming? “Oh, all different colors,” he said, before listing an array of shades. I asked the names of the flowers? “Just like you, Pat,” he replied, laughing. “I don't call them 'Caucasians' or 'Negroes.' They are just flowers!”

It's curious for me to think back upon my 40+ year friendship with Rubin. It started when a white kid from rural, upstate New York wrote to a wrongly incarcerated, black middleweight prize fighter. It ended up two old men discussing flower gardens in the middle of the night. We had some adventures in between!

Christopher Hitchens used to recommend that everyone take the National Geographic DNA test. That is a good idea. I've taken it, as well as another. I suspect that the amazing amount of information that one can learn from these wonderful scientific tests helps to create the foundation necessary for a meaningful discussion on topics of “race.”

Peace,
H2O Man

The Trump & Rudy Show

It must be really uncomfortable to be Michael Cohen right now. That discomfort has to be increasing in intensity each and every day. I wonder what he is thinking about when he sees his wife and children. Do they talk about the day's news? Do they understand just how much trouble he is in? Does he?

If his wife watches the news, she probably thinks that his options are to either silently accept incarceration, to protect Donald Trump, or to cooperate with the federal investigators, with hopes of avoiding a lengthy prison sentence. She may even be saying this to him late at night, when his constant pacing about keeps her from sleeping. He cannot explain to her that there are factors he is unable to share with her. For she is, by definition, a “mafia wife,” unaware of the full nature of the trap Michael finally realizes he is in.

Let's take a look at some of the dynamics that are just beneath the surface of what is being reported in the media. And, to be sure, most of the journalists and experts they speak to are aware of these issues. But, at this point, they are only able to toss out a few hints. For example, Cohen likes to identify with a fictional tough guy from television. Or, more importantly, he has told some associates that he is connected with the Russian mafia. For years, he believed he was grooming a reputation that allowed him to intimidate others.

It wasn't as if Cohen could intimidate others with his intellect. He's clearly not in a league with Michael Avenatti, for example. In fact, he wasn't smart enough to recognize that the Russian mobsters were actually grooming him, to exploit as one of several pathways to influence Donald Trump. (Paul Manafort is an example of another pathway.)

They played Cohen in a classic manner: they moved him into debt to them. Real mobsters are good at doing this to businessmen, lawyers, politicians, and even judges. More, in doing so, they are able to compromise some individuals in law enforcement. For a couple of historic examples of this, consider the book (and movie) “Serpico,” or how Whitey Bulger played FBI agent John Connolly.

Some law enforcement officials further compromise themselves by transitioning into post-retirement positions where they work for either mobsters, or others they have compromised. While they, like Cohen, imagine themselves as cinematic players, they tend to be more like Dr. Simone Bar Sinister's sidekick, Cad Lackey, in the “Underdog” cartoons. I imagine that at this point, readers are thinking of Keith Schiller. Or the nest of vipers in New York, connected to the Trump & Rudy show. (Consider the implications, from the summer of 2016 to Rudy's recent unhinged Fox appearances, and the implications per why these people are desparate to protect Trump.)

For Michael Cohen to cooperate with the investigators from the Southern District to the level they demand, he would not only have to turn on Donald Trump ….he would have to testify honestly about his connections with the Russian mob. Thus, he is not simply being pressured from two different sides – the FBI and Trump. He is under triangulated pressures.

Sucks to be him.

Have a good day, and a better weekend!
H2) Man

Remember the Alamo!

“I'd like to take a walk
But not around the block
I really got some news
I met a man from Mars.
He picked up all my guitars
And played me traveling songs.
And when we got on ship
He brought out
something for the trip
And said, It's old but it's good
Like any other primitive would.”
Neil Young; Ride My Llama



I was listening to this song, and it got me thinking. Neil Young's music does that, I suppose. I was thinking about the issues that political – social activists are confronted with today, compared to back when I was young.

Keeping in mind that John Lennon's favorite Harry Nilsson quote is, “Everything is the exact opposite of what it really is,” it seems like things are almost the same, and way different, at the same time. And that's because human beings, as part of the natural world, experience cycles and stages. Understanding those cycles and stages, as did Kennedy family historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. did, can provide advantages when considering today's challenges.

Living in the northeast, an obvious example of a cycle is the four seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter. It's been a fairly consistent cycle for the past 1200 years or more. That doesn't imply those seasons are always the same; some summers are warmer, some winters bring much more snow. Yet, we recognize the cycle as it progresses.

Within the cycles, there are stages. Some are distinct to one part of the cycle, while others overlap. An example that fits our current example of “spring” would be the tiny frogs, known as “peepers,” singing their song when the sun goes down. Despite what the calander says, every farmer knows that the true warm season does not begin until there have been three “freezes” (frost, ice, and/or snow) after the first peepers do their duty.

Only then will the next stages take place: the wood frogs, then the toads, then the pickerel and leopard frogs, then the cricket frogs, followed by the green frogs, and finally the bullfrogs will sing their songs. And when those bullfrogs are doing their duties, you are enjoying the summer weather. It's the same sequence every year, although the frogs do not follow our calanders.

Every person who has an intimate relationship with the natural world here knows that, as a direct result of climate change, some plants and animals are behaving in manners we interpret as “confused.” Farmers, gardeners, hunters, and those who go fishing – and pay attention – notice the differences. This is a reality that we can ignore, but not avoid. The Supreme Court cannot overturn Natural Law. Even a president cannot claim executive privilege.

However, those who hold the real power – people – can address the environmental realities we face. And while this includes things like individuals re-cycling, composting, etc, it requires that people have an understanding of the social-political cycles of our society, including the options for doing our duties in stages within each cycle. For while we inhabit the eternal “now,” an understanding of the past allows us to prepare for a better tomorrow.

We are, for example, witnessing a large segment of “the system” attempting to expel a president, not unlike when a previous phase of that system spit Richard Nixon out. Nixon and Trump are both the same and different simultaneously. Older forum members may feel like they are watching a re-make of a classic film.

Nixon's “plumbers” broke into Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office, looking for “dirt” to make public, before eventually breaking into the Democratic Party's headquarters in the Watergate. Trump's mob associates broke into Democratic Party computers, and then his thugs raided his personal physician's office for files on Trump, to hide dirt.

Both Nixon and Trump can correctly be identified as having paranoid personalities. This includes a marked demand for loyalty from others, equal in measure to their willingness to sacrifice those same people for personal benefit. Nixon feared his brother's financial misdeeds would be tied to him; Trump worries about his children and son-in-law's criminal deeds. Both presidents fired at least one person investigating the series of crimes associated with their campaigns and administrations. Both considered the options of presidential pardons to protect themselves from legal consequences.

Trump, like Nixon, is attempting to use”executive privilege” to avoid their criminal nature from being exposed to investigators, a grand jury, and prosecutors. Nixon's attempts led to a US Supreme Court ruling that determined a grand jury's rights are more important that executive privilege. Trump will be exposed to a similar ruling, rooted in the Nixon case. There is something almost humorous about Trump's legal team preparing to oppose the Trump Department of Justice and FBI in the Supreme Court.

After allowing ourselves a brief giggle over Trump's fate, we still must consider the environment in Washington, DC, as well as in our state houses, and county, city, and town governments. For these are as connected just as are small streams, rivers, and oceans. Indeed, toxic politicians dumped into the local environment often flow downstream to Washington, polluting everything along the way.

We can change things. We have to, because the alternative is unthinkable. So let's consider some important cycles, including the 2018 and 2020 elections. Let's consider using stages to begin turning Washington from a swamp to a garden. There are, of course, valuable plants in a swamp, and we want to not only keep those, but encourage and nurture their growth. There are also some toxic weeds, collectively known as republicans, that we need to weed out, and toss upon the compost pile. Now, that's not something that can possibly happen quickly, or all at once. It takes place in stages, and each of those stages, within each cycle and overlapping two cycles, takes a lot of hard work.

We need gardeners across the country, willing to turn the soil, and plant the seeds of change. Perhaps we should form a DU Garden Club?

Peace,
H2O Man
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