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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 07:49 PM
Number of posts: 62,592

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Indictments Today

Yesterday's indictments of 12 Russian military intelligence officers was outstanding. It's fair to say that Trump and others from his campaign and transition teams are “captives” of the Russian indictments. There has been some outstanding analysis, both in the media and here on this forum. I'd like to add a few thoughts to the discussion.

The first thing is that people should not get their hopes up that Trump et al will be charged with treason. In its common usage, “treason” is the most accurate description of what they knowingly did. In that sense – and that sense alone – people are correct in calling it treason. But in the legal sense, as defined by constitutional law, there is zero chance that they will be charged with treason.

It is apparent, however, that Malcolm Nance was correct many months ago, when he said the group will most likely be charged under the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (also known as the RICO statute). We've seen that Mr. Mueller has been charging groups of Russians twice now, which suggests that in the larger domestic case, he is likely to take the same route. And, as Mr. Nance has recently stated, this allows for the listing of Donald Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator. Since he has been absolutely correct on virtually everything since releasing his 2016 book on the hacking of America, I trust his insight and judgment.

Next, a good prosecutor builds a conspiracy case, as everyone knows, by chipping away, both from the fringes and from the weakest links. Then, he/she uses a systematic process to close in on the top targets. Thus, for example, they targeted General Flynn, a weak link. Then, they indicted a group of Russians for internet activities such as their program on Facebook. Next, they indicted the 12 Russian intelligence officers.

Was it a coincidence that these indictments became public yesterday? Malcolm Nance has noted that in intelligence operations, coincidence take planning and hard work. Mr. Mueller is prosecuting cases from counter-intelligence investigations. The indictments against the 12 Russians had been diled as sealed indictments some time ago, and were opened days before Trump meets with Putin. This is a national security issue, that shows how seriously Mr. Mueller considers the upcoming meeting.

Finally, the fact that Mr. Rosenstein had informed Trump that these indictments were coming, apparently the day before Trump left for the NATO business, is also important. It goes a long way in explaining why Trump's meltdown – when he accused Germany of being a captive of Russia – was so ugly. The old fellow is feeling the pressure of the Mueller investigation closing in on him. Likewise, it explains why the republicans questioning Peter Strzok were so unhinged: their attacks upon him target Mr. Mueller by way of Mr. Rosenstein.

These republicans are planning to try to impeach Mr. Rosenstein, to allow Trump cover to fire him. In their current plan, they do not want Mr. Rosenstein to actually face trial, since as he has said, this would allow him access to their e-mail accounts, etc. (Thus, in a congressional hearing, republicans asked if it were true he had threatened those advocating his impeachment.)

Things look bad for Trump and his co-conspirators. Very bad. So we can anticipate that they will attempt more foolish though destructive actions in upcoming weeks. Count on it. And count on Mr. Mueller to counter their desperate attempts to avoid the legal consequences of their criminal, treasonous behaviors.

Peace,
H2O Man

"The Pause of Mr. Claus"

Life is curious. Fifty years ago, Arlo Guthrie release his classic song, "The Pause of Mr. Claus," which featured a hilarious tribute to the FBI agents in the audience. I can remember sitting around with college friends, listening to this while we smoked the demon weed (careful not to inhale!) and drinking massive quantities of alcohol (but not swallowing any). There may have been sugar cubes dancing in our heads, too. Of course, it is important to place these behaviors on our part in context: this was the era of J. Edgar Hoover.

I kept thinking about that today, as I watched Peter Strzok testify before a congressional committee. Without any influence from the vitamins that my college friends and I took to help us study decades ago, I found myself laughing almost as hard today. As toxically obnoxious as the republicans were, I found the Democrats to be on point and impressive. Some of what they said, although totally serious, was funny. It exposes what pathetic assholes the republicans are.

More, I found Mr. Strzok to be honest, honorable, and highly intelligent. Without being disrespectful -- much less hostile -- he, too, exposed the republicans as petty, lying carp. Despite the "rules" being stacked against him on an unlevel playing field, he kicked their behinds. I was impressed.

Beware of Darkness

“Watch out now
Take care, beware of greedy leaders
They'll take you where you should not go
While weeping Atlas Cedars
They just want to grow, grow and grow
Beware of darkness (beware of darkness)”
– George Harrison; Beware of Darkness


Please allow an old Beatles' fan to speculate briefly upon the meaning of this song, and then offer a feeble attempt to connect it to some of the political debates found on this very day upon the internet. In my opinion, George was not giving a dire warning to Americans to be cautious of a candidate who is non-white. Others may disagree – some obviously do – but that's not my interpretation.

If one listens to the whole song, I think it's possible to believe that George was speaking symbolically, about the darkness found in people's hearts and minds. One might say that this darkness is engaged in warfare for the public's hearts and minds today. For example, the Trump administration has set up “relocation camps” for non-white asylum-seekers; these are not that different than the “reservations” for Native Americans, the camps for Japanese-Americans in WW2, or the misguided tactics in Vietnam. Now, it may be a sheer coincidence that all these human beings were non-white. But I don't think so. Maybe that's just me.

When Senator Obama ran for president in 2008, the majority of voters believed it to be a good thing. I was among them, and I never once thought, “Careful, Patrick! Listen to George closely!” However, a significant segment of citizens – almost exclusively white republicans – experienced great anxiety at the mere thought of a brown-skinned president. He was a socialist, an Islamic atheist (the worst kind!), and wasn't even born here. In my opinion, that was evidence of mental illness upon their part. As proof, I'd note these people frequently claim there was no racism in America until President Obama stirred it up.

Now, I don't think that Beatle George wrote that song for an intended republican audience. When he released it on his first post-Beatles effort, he was reaching a very different audience. I think it still has value for the general audience he spoke to. And that likely includes Democrats of every description. Thank you, George.

Today, there is fascinating news about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's victory in a NYS congressional district in which she was not even running. See below:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/ocasio-cortez-wins-second-primary-as-a-write-in/ar-AAzWms9

Now, various Democrats are going to interpret the true meaning of this. As a contributor to, and volunteer for Alexandria's campaign for the seat in the 14th district, I think it shows that many good people support the type of change that she represents. I expect that some in the corporate media will blabber on about it representing a massive divide within the Democratic Party. And there will be some well-intentioned party members who find Alexandria cause for discomfort.

Instead of focusing on the positive energy that an FDR-working class non-white female brings – note, for example, the dramatic increase in voter registration in her region – they express anxiety about her being in favor of “socialism” when it pertains to issues such as public education and health care. By no coincidence, FDR was attacked for his socialist “New Deal,” just as LBJ was for his “Great Society.” I'm okay with people attacking these things, I suppose, as long as they promise not to drive on public streets or highways. It may be difficult, though, for them to find enough privately-owned turnpikes these days.

Still other good people are upset that a non-white female candidate is reportedly lending support to a like-minded candidate outside of her district. Again, that would seem reasonable if they express the exact same moral outrage when other Democrats engage in the exact same activity. However, I haven't seen this, nor do I realistically expect to.

A small handful of Democrats are also out today, attacking Alexandria for her tweet about Joe Crowley. I'm willing to accept Mr. Crowley's saying there was a lack of communication between him and Alexandria's campaign. In fact, I'd like to take responsibility. For each and every time I've attempted to contact the top volunteers in the campaign, I've experienced no problem in getting through, and engaging in long conversations. Thus, I likely tied up the lines,preventing others from getting through. My apologies.

Others cling to misinformation and disinformation about an effort to promote an unwilling Crowley on a third-party ticket in November. It is not Crowley. It's just not. Rather, it is those corporate contributors that invested millions in his various campaigns for re-election. (Note: Crowley spread some of this to other Democratic candidates, similar to the current activities of the Ocasio-Coretz campaign today.) If one considers entities such as the Blackstone Group – which financed Trump's 2016 campaign – it should become obvious exactly who is opposed to Alexandria, and why.

Beware of darkness. Avoid being a Blackstone tool.

Peace,
H2O Man

A Question......

I'm wondering: how is Manafort's legal team purposely assisting their incarcerated client to violate a federal court order any different than if they had brought him a cake with a hack-saw blade inside? I recognize that today's technology is more advanced, of course. But both examples seem equally unethical to me.

Speculation (part 17)

Like many people here, I had no interest in watching the Trump show last night. It was a cheap imitation of when LBJ attempted to build suspense before the 1964 Democratic National Convention, regarding his choice for vice president. But President Johnson – for all of his faults – was a master politician, whereas Trump “ain't a pimple on a good man's ass” (to quote LBJ).

I was invited to sit down at a small meeting among grass roots activists in the early afternoon today. We had people from three different counties in rural upstate New York. These are all registered members in the Democratic Party, who write letters to elected representatives, make phone calls, attend public rallies, go door-to-door, and who always vote. After hearing some sad, yet humorous stories about acquaintances who do not grasp the implications of a news report in the biggest regional newspaper, that documented the unethical behaviors of a republican state senator from our region, we got down to work.

Our focus was twofold: to coordinate efforts to prevent Trump's USSC candidate from being confirmed, and plans to get the maximum possible voter turnout in support of Democratic Party candidates at all levels in November. And we even had a woman there that one of the county party's has asked to run for a town seat next year. Every election is important.

The conversation eventually turned to the Mueller investigation, and the nonsense that Rudy G has been spouting over the past few days. The main question was will Mr. Mueller subpoena Trump to testify in front of the grand jury, if he refuses to meet with prosecutors? That is an interesting question, of course, and at this point, one can only speculate. Thus, as I do from time to time, I speculated on one possibility that may prove to be true.

There are two factors to consider. The first is Rudy's seemingly unrealistic demand that Mr. Mueller provide any evidence that Trump may have committed a crime. Now, any good criminal defense lawyer is going to know what's up, if police want to interview their client – or if the client is called before a grand jury, where the lawyer can't be in the room. But this is distinct, in part because Rudy is a no-good criminal, who works on Trump's criminal defense team.

Rudy contradicts himself by saying they need this evidence from Mr. Mueller, and then claiming they already know everything Mr. Mueller has. It can't be both, and is most likely neither. They have communicated with the lawyers representing some other witnesses. But, even in that case, some have cut connections with Trump's team, and pleaded guilty. Flynn and Gates, for example, are cooperating with prosecutors. Rudy doesn't have a clue what they have shared.

The second factor relates directly to something Rudy does know. Trump dictated the original letter to fire Mr. Comey; Stephen Miller wrote it up. The White House counsel strongly advised not sending it. He did not do so because it provided evidence of how upset Trump was by the way Mr. Comey damaged the Clinton campaign. Rather, the focus was on the Russian investigation. And Mr. Mueller has a copy of that original letter. It is evidence of Trump's attempt to obstruct justice.

That letter is not the lone piece of evidence of obstruction. Rudy does know that. He also knows that the Justice Department has a policy that prosecutors do not subpoena targets of investigations to testify in front of a grand jury. If Rudy believes – or knows – that Trump has been upgraded from a person of interest to a target in recent weeks, he knows that it is very unlikely that Mr. Mueller would attempt to ignore that policy. More, if Mr. Rosenstein were to give Mr. Mueller the green light to subpoena Trump, it could serve as grounds to fire Rosenstein.

Rudy has said that the Trump team is focused upon public opinion, because they believe there will be an attempt to impeach Trump in 2019. Their activities with the media are in line with that. More, Malcolm Nance recently stated that the grand jury will soon indict more people, and that Mr. Mueller's report to Congress will identify Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator. Perhaps Mr. Nance also thinks that Trump has become a target of the investigation.

Speculation on my part.
H2O Man

Mueller vs Manafort

Mr. Mueller's team has evidence that Manafort's bank fraud case is indeed tied directly to the Trump campaign. See:

https://wgno.com/2018/07/06/manafort-bank-fraud-trial-does-have-trump-campaign-connection-muellers-team-says/

Call it speculation on my part, but I bet this will be a big story this weekend. This makes, I believe, two days in a row that Team Mueller has filed court documents on Manafort. Today's appear to me to be more significant than Thursday's.

Church vs State

“... but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
-- Article VI, Clause 6; U.S. Constitution


Charles Pinckney of South Carolina introduced this clause to Article VI, because he was aware of the dangers that “religious tests” posed to true democracy. He understood this, because he had witnessed not only the experience of the Church of England's control, but also various states – including his own – restrictions. These included allowing only christians, often only Protestants, and sometimes only conservative Protestants, to hold office.

While Clause 6 only applied to the federal government at that time, it serves as definitive proof that the Founding Fathers sought to build a wall between church and state. The clause was passed without any serious opposition, despite the fact that Pinckney did not promise that Mexico would pay for the wall. Thus, even before the Establishment Clause of Amendment 1, we see that the framers of the Constitution were intent upon separating church and state in terms of the federal government.

Today, we are witnessing the gross violation of this original intent. Despite White House puppets saying that Trump is not asking potential Supreme Court Injustices about Roe v Wade, it is well-documented that he is picking from a list of candidates that were approved by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation. Both of these groups favor only those who share their religious views on abortion. More, Trump himself said that overturning Roe v Wade would be the inevitable outcome of his selecting Justices.

Clearly, any objective person would recognize this as a violation of Clause 6. And it bends the Establishment Clause to the breaking point. It seeks to impose a minority's religious views upon the majority, including religious and non-religious citizens. It is, in a literal sense, no different than if President Kennedy had sought to make the Catholic Church's rule of “no meat on Fridays” a federal law, by having the Knights of Columbus screen potential nominees. (Luckily, God changed his mind about that dietary restriction.)

Women's health care is not an issue for religious fundamentalists to decide. That includes access to abortion, as well as birth control. By their very nature, fundamentalists have very unhealthy beliefs on sexuality – starting with their own, and spilling over onto everyone else's. But a combined church and state never stops at a woman's vigina. It seeks to dictate everything from the bedroom to foreign policy.

If I am facing a medical crisis – or even basic health care – I'd much prefer the doctor goes by science than religion. If I am involved in a legal battle, I would prefer that it is determined by criminal or civil law, than by someone's religious beliefs. That provided justice in Muhammad Ali's Supreme Court victory over Uncle Sam, where fundamentalist christians sought to impose their rigid belief system upon a man with sincere minority beliefs. And, considering the long history of “religious” wars, I damned sure do not want fundamentalist religious beliefs determining US foreign policy in, say, the Middle East.

For these reasons, I am doing everything I can to stop Trump from packing the US Supreme Court.

Peace,
H2O Man

Working Class Hero/ Peasants Revolt


“Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you're so clever and classless and free
But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see
A working class hero is something to be.”
John Lennon


I started paying close attention to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's the day that I saw a film clip of her outstanding campaign commercial. After listening to her speak a few more times, even though she was considered an underdog, I thought that there was a chance that she'd pull off the upset. One of the things I was most impressed with was her consistently saying that she represents working class values.

On a few conversations here, I noted that I like her history and her platform. I admire her ability to reach people while campaigning. And I believe her working class values reflect a significant part of the soul the Democratic Party had when I was young, and needs to recapture. She has said that she is an FDR Democrat. She worked for Senator Kennedy She supported Bernie in 2016.

Alexandria went to Standing Rock and Flint in 2016. She was an early visitor to the southwestern border, to advocate for families seeking asylum in the US. She is highly intelligent, a talented organizer, and an extremely hard-worker. She is talented in delivering that powerful message during the flood of media attention that she is getting. And she got a lot of voters that normally do not vote in primaries to the voting booth. It's obvious that she is a working class hero who represents the values and beliefs of a significant portion of our Democratic Party.

The response to Alexandria's upset victory over one of the most powerful Democrats in the House was telling. Rep. Crowley displayed the type of class that one can only hope to see, in congratulating and endorsing Ocasio-Cortez. Trump showed an utter lack of class, by taking a cheap shot at Rep. Crowley, and pretending to be happy Alexandria won. His ilk are hoping that Ocasio-Cortez represents a fracture-line within the Democratic Party that they can exploit. In fact, she represents just the opposite.

The number of losses that we have suffered in state and federal elections over the past decade or so is unacceptable. We should never be comfortable with continuing down the same path that put the majority of Americans in this intolerable position. Continuing to engage in the same thinking and actions that allowed Trump to “win” in 2016, and damage the social fabric every day since, is insanity. And only those who are comfortable in losing could possibly argue otherwise.

The media's reaction to Alexandria's impressive victory has included nonsense about it posing a threat to Democratic Party unity. Some want to ignore Joseph Crowley's endorsement, which demonstrates unity, and pretend this impressive victory represents a challenge to unity, when it is clearly proof of the power of a unified Democratic Party. Having progressives like Alexandria winning in some districts does not translate into their demanding to be in the driver's seat. Rather, it means if your driver makes a wrong turn to the right, they be willing to listen to their passengers.

Rep. Crowley was not alone among Democrats in DC that have for years accepted corporate contributions. He accepted an average of $3 per election cycle from Wall Street, big pharma, and luxury land developers. In fact, many of his biggest contributors are the exact same as those who funded the Trump campaign. Alexandria simply said that there is another alternative – let's try turning left, and finance campaigns with grass roots' contributions. And the people in the 14th district agreed.

When a candidate's campaign is financed by people, that politician works for the people. If a candidate's campaign is paid for by “big business” – such as the Blackstone Group – that politician becomes an employee of big business. It is as simple as that, and the proof is found in Washington, DC. This is a truth that should not be viewed as a threat to the Democratic Party, but rather as an opportunity to institute change. Economic injustices cannot be gained without turning in that direction.

To get people to contribute to Democratic candidates' campaigns – including donating time and money, and showing up in large numbers at the voting booths – we need the energy and excitement brought by knowing that everyone has a stake in the game, and will have a seat at the table after election day.

Voter participation among blacks and Hispanics was down in 2016, from where it had been in the two previous presidential elections. Many of the young voters who participated in the 2016 Democratic primaries sat out the general election. And too many white people – including Democrats in key states that decided the election – voted for the charlatan All of this is unacceptable. But rather than taking a stick-in-the-mud approach that lays all responsibility for the many loses the Democratic Party has suffered in recent times upon those voters, the party's leadership needs to take their fair share.

If things are as bad as most people here think they are – and I believe they are far worse – than we do not have the luxury of being divided by petty resentments. And that includes groups such as the supporters of both Bernie and Hillary who continue to lay blame and responsibility for our troubles at the feet of the other group. Indeed, it is that shallow thinking that poses the largest stumbling block to potential progress.

Although Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is “merely” running in New York State's 14th Congressional District, she is creating the type of excitement that our party desperately needs. The media attention she has had since winning her primary demonstrates this. The republican machine will attempt to use her as a means of dividing our party. And they will use the media in their attempts. Don't fall for that trap.

Again, divided we are like individual fingers that our enemy can easily break. United, those fingers form a powerful fist, capable of protecting all of our interests.

Happy 4th of July!
H2O Man

Locus of Control

In considering the current crises in American society, in which we are dealing with the disease of Trump, it may be useful to understand a concept from the field of “personality psychology.” It is the concept of “locus of control,” first identified by Julian Rotter in 1954. In the decades since, it has become an essential part of “health psychology,” and as we are currently in an extremely unhealthy place and time, it might be worth thinking about.

“Locus” means, of course, location. In this case, we can use a straight line for our model. On the left is “internal,” and to the right is “external.” The line measures the sense of control a person believes they have over events – including their role in the event itself, and how they respond to it – in their lives. These events include everything from small to large, and everything in between.

A person with an internal locus of control takes responsibility for their life. This does not mean they believe they can control all external events, such as other people in their family, school, workplace, or on the highway. Rather, they prepare for events in their lives, and take responsibility for their own actions.

A person with an external locus of control believes that he/she is a powerless victim of circumstance. They find excuses for their own lack of preparation and their unwillingness to attempt to make changes in their lives. “I've tried that, and it didn't work,” is a common mantra among them. More, there are two other behaviors found among them: they blame their suffering exclusively upon others, and are prone to putting responsibility on anyone and everyone but themselves.

Most people, of course, fall somewhere in between the two extremes. Only a fool would believe that they have the ability to exercise control of everything in their life. Only a sociopath would want to control everyone around them. Likewise, only a sad or angry Eeyore seeks to avoid any and all responsibility, and place all blame upon others.

Trump, by the way, is atypical, in the sense that he believes he should have the ultimate power to control virtually everything, and yet at the same time, seeks to blame others for his own failures. Thus, anyone who “dares” disagree with him on any issue, large or small, is subject to his wrath. If he cannot “control” their thoughts and actions, he wants to punish them. Again, he is a sociopath.

When an individual is facing a serious illness or injury, the medical field recognizes that “locus of control” will play a significant role in their recovery. Trump is a social disease that has caused serious injury to this country. Our “locus of control” will determine if we are successful in recovering and creating a healthy culture.

Peace,
H2O Man

People's Court (All Rise!)

“The President wants me to argue that he is as powerful a monarch as Louis XIV, only four years at a time, and is not subject to any of the processes of any court in the land except the court of impeachment.”
James D. St. Clair


Older readers will immediately recognize St. Clair's statement to Judge John Sirica in federal court, while attempting to justify Nixon's refusal to comply with the subpoena for tapes of White House conversations. Judge Sirica denied Nixon's motion, and shortly thereafter the case went to the US Supreme Court. The rest is history.

Several of the Supreme Court Justices had been appointed by Nixon. They included Burger, Blackmun, and Powell, all of whom were part of the unanimous decision against Nixon. (Rehnquist, who served in the Nixon administration before being appointed to the court, recused himself.)

The court's decision came about three weeks after they heard arguments, which in and of itself was telling. It was later revealed that all eight agreed to rule against Nixon immediately, but needed the time to adopt a decision that each would sign on to.

What does that have to do with the upcoming battle between Team Mueller and Donald Trump? Quite likely very little …..for Nixon was a “crystal-clear” gemstone of a human being/ president, compared to Trump. And Trump is attempting to stack the deck with ultra-right-wing zealots on the Supreme Court.

If we work very hard between now and November, of course, the results will place Trump smack-dab into that “court of impeachment.” And it will handcuff Pence, who is as corrupt a man as was Nixon. But it would still leave a stacked, “religious right” Supreme Court, that will inflict severe damage upon our society.

In no area would this be more harmful than in women's health care rights. Everyone knows that the protections of Roe v Wade would be overturned in at least a dozen states in a matter of months. But it goes beyond that. The zealots want to deny women – be they single or married – options for birth control. These are sick people who wring their hands at the very thought that adults might enjoy sex.

So, everyone on this forum should be active – now – in lobbying members of the Senate, to demand that no replacement for Kennedy be confirmed before the next Congress is seated. That really should include group efforts that coordinate contacting any Democrat who might stray from the party, as well as those republicans that might be tempted to support us. There are some that are not running for re-election, who do not like Trump. And it doesn't matter if we are from their state or not.

Let's do this.
H2O Man
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