H2O ManH2O Man's Journal
The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same form of mental pathology does not make these people sane.
Erich Fromm; The Sane Society
Let's take a look at the public's response to events resulting from the release of the Mueller Report. These include things ranging from the initial release, Barr's 3.5 page summary, Barr's press briefing, the release of the redacted report, news reports indicating that Mr. Mueller and others on his team were not satisfied with Barr's comments, to today's press briefing by Mr. Mueller.
We can safely dismiss the 30% of the voting public that always supports Trump. Remember, these people are willing to wear MAGA hats in public. And, as Fromm noted sixty-four years ago in the book quoted above, both the groups of people who desire an all-powerful leader, and those who seek those groups' admiration, share a serious pathology. We need not explore it further at this time.
There are other groups of citizens that are not following the news on the Mueller Report. They have various reasons for their lack of interest. We shouldn't ignore them, but we might put them on hold for right now. We will get to them later.
Instead, let's focus on those people who are concerned with the Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Those people who see the direct connection between the results of that election, and the rapidly increasing difficulties the US has had domestically and internationally since. For the sake of this discussion, on this forum, we'll focus on Democrats.
In fact, let's focus on those Democrats who are part of what is known as the grass roots. The majority of the grass roots recognizes that Trump poses a serious threat to our constitutional democracy. There are numerous other threats, but we'll stick with Trump and his administration of government. His presidency was brought about with the assistance of Russian interference, as the first part of the Mueller Report documents. Trump's foreign policy has shown a submissive posture to Putin since the days of the transition.
The Mueller Report documents in the first part that the Trump campaign was aware of Russia's role, and expected to benefit from their interference. More, there were numerous, on-going contacts between the Trump campaign and people associated with the Russian government. While there was not enough evidence to prove a coordinated criminal conspiracy, there is definite evidence of collusion.
The second part of the redacted report provides strong evidence that Trump knowingly and repeatedly attempted to obstruct the investigation. In fact, 1,000 former federal prosecutors have stated that it is enough evidence to have sustained a criminal conviction of anyone other than Trump. Republicans are attempting to distract from this by saying Trump knew he hadn't colluded with Russia, and thus could not obstruct. But the investigation documented in Part One of the report is about his entire campaign, not Trump as an individual.
It's a shame that so few people have actually read the entire redacted Mueller Report. This obviously applies to republicans in the House and Senate. It also applies to the citizens of this country. By not reading the most important document of this era, those who have not read it have failed in their responsibilities as citizens. And it shows when they talk about something they haven't even read.
Similarly, citizens have a responsibility to know how the Department of Justice works. Again, when people comment about the actions of individuals within the DOJ be it in a positive or negative way it is evident when they do not know what they are talking about. Indeed, at this late date, it can be accurately said that citizens have a responsibility to know how the DOJ operates, in order to grasp what the Mueller Report shows, and what Mr. Mueller said yesterday.
Now, there is ample evidence that Mr. Mueller was making clear that he was following DOJ policy yesterday. Let's look at some examples:
We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the President did commit a crime. The introduction to volume two of our report explains that decision. It explains that under a long-standing Department policy, a President cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office.
The Special Counsels Office is part of the Department of Justice and, by regulation, it was bound by that Department policy. Charging the President with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider.
So that was the Justice Department policy and those were the principles under which we operated.
Hopefully, everyone here can agree that Mr. Mueller is following DOJ policy. One may agree or disagree with those policies. But unless and until the policies are changed, they are what they are. Thus, it seems to me the real problem is with Barr's corrupt abuse of DOJ policy, something it is unrealistic to think Mr. Mueller is obligated to address by breaking the actual policies.
For example, the House is rightfully seeking access to the underlying investigation materials. Barr is blocking their access, not Mr. Mueller, as is made clear by this statement:
In addition, access to our underlying work product is being decided in a process that does not involve our office.
Mr. Mueller cannot testify to Congress about the underlying evidence until this is resolved. It appears unlikely that Barr will turn over the evidence, until directed to by the federal courts. The only potential exception for Mr. Mueller to testify about this information without that court order might be in the context of impeachment hearings. Yet Barr would attempt to interfere.
Our country is in serious trouble. How we make use of every day counts. We do not have time to waste. We do not have the luxury of being uninformed or ill-informed .for that results in wasted time with emotional reactions rather than rational responses. And an uneducated public is far, far easier to control and capitalize on than an educated population for tyrants like Trump.
It's time to start impeachment.
America cannot understand the Middle East, because America did not understand Malcolm X.
Dick Gregory, 1980
Yesterday, CNN reported that tensions are growing between John Bolton and Mike Pompeo. The two are apparently competing to see who has more influence on foreign policy. The only thing they seem to agree upon is in regard to the aggressive stance towards Iran.
It's a strange and dangerous time in the United States, which translates into a tense situation within the global community. Bolton and Pompeo are taking advantage of Trump's being obsessed with the investigations by Democrats I the House, to try to insure another war in the Middle East. Attacking Iran has long been Bolton's wet dream, while Pompeo appears focused on the tendency of the American public to support a president in times of war.
It is fair to assume the majority of the world is not counting on Donald Trump to provide sanity to this insane situation. In the past 48 hours, we have witnessed the behaviors I described previously on this forum, regarding how a sociopath acts out when under extreme pressure. Although I find myself laughing out loud at some of the rant clips on the news, I know that it really isn't funny.
One good thing, however, is that the US population is being exposed to a variety of voices of truth and reason. It was unethical to place Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. Yet the public was able to hear from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Now, it's true the republicans in the Senate refused to hear her, but the majority of Americans did. The 2018 elections are proof of that.
Republicans in DC are pretending that they can't hear Nancy Pelosi's concerns about the Mueller Report. Some in the media say that the report didn't move public opinion. Odd, a Fox survey showed that over 50% of their viewing audience believe that Trump is lying about the report. I am confident that the undecided and independent voters are hearing Speaker Pelosi's voice.
Even within the Democratic Party, we are hearing new voices. Early in the 2018 primary season, I opted to support a little-known candidate who was challenging incumbent Rep. Joseph Crowley, the Democratic Caucus Chair. Her message made some in our party, though not in her district, uncomfortable. But she not only won the primary and general election, but she has inspired and provided a voice for many people who normally feel excluded from politics. She has quickly become a national voice of conscience, and is able to coordinate with Speaker Pelosi remarkably well.
Most Americans eventually came to recognize that our last official war in the Middle East when Dick Cheney and George Bush ordered the military invasion of Iraq was not a cake-walk. Fewer are aware of the current extent of US involvement in that region of the world. Our history in that area including with Iran isn't good. But we do have voices, old and new, discussing the need to adjust some of our policies that are not working. I do not see the leaders of Saudi Arabia as better than those of Iran. I'm horrified at what is happening in Yemen. Syria, too. So I'm glad that Ilhan Omar is serving in the House of Representatives.
There are a lot of good voices on CNN and MSNBC. That doesn't mean every host and guest, of course, but there is real value there. I'm mainly grateful for those at the grass roots level who are stepping up and saying, This is not normal, nor will we allow it to become normalized. This country needs to listen.
There are people that we need to have speaking on a larger platform..A great example is Angela Rye. She is the exact type of voice we need being heard on college campuses across the country. Her powerful voice can help us win not only the White House in 2020, but control of the Senate and numerous state and local offices.
There are other people that must talk. That includes Robert Mueller ..in a public hearing. The media is reporting that he prefers to meet behind closed doors with Congress, with a transcript to be released later. I easily understand why he believes the public hearings, with their five minute segments, often involve political theater. Then help us put that nonsense in check, Mr. Mueller. It's more important right now that you speak to the public, and this is the designated forum. Step up to the plate.
There are some voices that are toxic. Donald Trump is the most obvious example. I keep thinking of his former associates, Michael Cohen and Donny Deutsch, saying Trump will not go willingly. I don't trust either of them on much of anything, except for how unstable and dangerous Trump is. They know that Trump is capable of calling upon groups like the union million man militia for protection.
Finally, among the many voices we need to hear more from today are those who contributed to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Bandy Lee's 2017 book, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump. There are the works of 27 mental health professionals who warn of the clear and present danger that Trump poses to the nation. I'll speculate that none would venture that Trump transforms into a calm, extremely stable genius under great pressure. I know that some of the Democrats in DC have met with Dr. Lee and other experts about this. It shows in the way Speaker Pelosi has been kicking his ass since she again became Speaker of the House.
Have a good weekend!
The genius of impeachment lay in the fact that it could punish the man without punishing the office.
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
I've heard a number of people in real life, on the television, and on the internet say that Trump is goading the Democrats to impeach him. A number of these people are convinced that this alone is reason enough to not try to impeach and convict him. I respectfully disagree.
Although I am an old man who believes strongly in non-violence, I am reminded of a time in my life when I was neither ..as a young man, I really enjoyed fighting. This was mainly in the boxing ring, but not always. While in my late teens, for example, there were a number of times when in social settings (bars or a party) when I had a verbal disagreement with someone, and they would say,You don't look that tough.
Their next sentence was usually, Hell, I don't 'box' in a street fight, as if I expected a referee to appear. No, sir. If I knew a fight was bound to happen, hearing, Go ahead you hit me first was music to my ears. The next thing they heard was my fists sizzling through the air, marking the beginning of their impeachment ...er, beating.
Perhaps there is some truth to be found in Joseph Campbell's telling Bill Moyers that most of Irish history can be found in the question, Is this a private fight, or can anyone join? But I outgrew this stage in my early twenties. By the time I became a father, though I was bigger and stronger than in my teens, I had stopped fighting in or out of the ring. And as a father, I taught my sons and daughters that is better to walk away from a fight, if possible.
Of course I taught them how to defend themselves if attacked. Malcolm X was correct in saying that sometimes, the best way to turn the other cheek is by breaking the other fellow's jaw. Now, Malcolm often used stark visuals to communicate symbolically. He knew how to call a cruel, violent bully's bluff. And that is what Trump is a cruel violent bully. And his goading of the Democrats is a bluff. Nothing but a bluff.
I was talking with a close friend last night. We talk about politics on an almost daily basis. She said that she is feeling increasing frustrated by the pace of the Democrats in DC in terms of holding Trump accountable, and hopeless about her ability as an individual to have any influence on these events. Now, I understand this. Yes, I do. In fact, I think that is the same general fatigue that quite a few good people are experiencing. That's why it's good to take rests every so often, just the same as boxers do between rounds.
Do not get fatigued to where you are burning out. No, your mind can play tricks on you then. Your mind is more likely to process in-coming information incorrectly. It may be that you mistake Trump for a Teflon don. He isn't. In fact, he knows he is in trouble, and that is exactly why that shit stain on the American fabric is bluffing so loudly. Do not be fooled. Listen to George Harrison's Beware of Darkness.
In between rounds of boxing, I did three things: breathed deeply, listened to my coach, and determined what plan to execute in the next round. I was calm in knowing that I could set a pace that my opponent could not keep up with. Patience was key. When the right time came, the last thing he would hear would be my punches sizzling towards him ...and then the referee saying, ....8, 9, 10.
We are approaching that point with Trump. Beatle George sang, Beware of greedy leaders, they take you where you should not go. And Trump was moving this country in that wrong direction. But America is uniting to bring itself in the right direction, and that includes plucking Trump from office. This includes the grass roots, the local Democratic Party headquarters, the state representatives, and our elected representatives in DC. More, it includes the thousand former federal prosecutors that signed the letter, and the federal judges who are deciding the cases where Trump seeks to further obstruct justice.
It's happening. Maybe not as quickly as some want, but it's happening. And it's happening far quicker than Trump wants, because it is at a pace where he cannot keep up.
Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.
Malcolm X was born on this day in 1925 in Omaha. His life story would influence not only American society, but he became significant internationally in his final years. I like to reflect upon his life year-round, but especially on this day.
I remember Malcolm from his days advising a young boxer named Cassius Clay. I still have the May 31, 1963 Life magazine with an article on Malcolm and the Nation of Islam. I have a copy of the February 22, 1965 New York Times, reporting on his murder. His autobiography changed the way I saw and interpreted the world around me.
Since those times, I've collected a large number of books of his speeches, and books about him. I have a five LP set of records of his speeches. I love that I can watch many of those speeches and his appearances on a variety of television shows. More, I had a long friendship with a man who was friends with both Malcolm and Martin Luther King.
Last summer, my second cousin visited me one day. He and I have partner in a variety of political and social issue campaigns over the decades, and he was interested in the film of Malcolm that I was watching when he arrived. After about twenty minutes, he said that he was surprised, because he had always had a view of Malcolm's being a fiery speaker,who advocated violence. Instead, he was listening to a highly intelligence, often humorous man who was talking about how America could avoid violence.
Even among those who are familiar with Malcolm in general, too few know about his communications through an attorney with King regarding shifting their efforts from civil rights to human rights, and making it an issue at the United Nations.
It is a shame that Malcolm X was assassinated in the prime of his life. It would also be a shame if the lessons that he taught were lost.
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.
. Amendment XVII to the Constitution.
I recently had a brief interaction with a forum member who insists that impeachment is a political process, rather than a legal action. As the person's posts posts verged on insults, I decided to address the topic in an essay here. I have no need to argue about this topic, much less to point out that that someone who believes differently may be ignorant of what the Founding Fathers inserted into the Constitution to protect against a corrupt federal official. Yet the fact that federal judges can be impeached and indeed have been should provide a hint that the process is intended to be a legal remedy.
Impeachment is a legal process. It is a civil rather than criminal trial. Indeed, the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court hears the trial when it takes place in the Senate. This is obviously consistent with a legal procedure, as the Chief Justice has no official role in anything outside of issues of law.
This does not mean that politics might not infect impeachment. Only the most uninformed among us could think that politics has not infected both criminal and civil cases throughout our nation's history. For example, the infamous Mann Act was passed in 1912 as a means to prosecute heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, who was immediately charged and convicted of violating that law. Politics were deeply involved as were sports yet it was a legal process.
In the mid-1950s, the case Browder v Gayle was decided in federal court. It was a civil case. Yet politics were involved. This is but one of many legal cases dating from the Civil Rights era, where politics were influential in civil law cases. Yet, were one to argue that these were merely political cases, and not legal cases, we would know the person making such a claim did not have a clue as to what they were talking about.
In the 1960s, as older forum members will recall, there were numerous cases that reflected the infection of politics into legal matters. Muhammad Ali's draft case and the trial of the Chicago Seven are but two. Ali would win in the Supreme Court in the '70s, after a clerk had one Justice read The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Hence, it was a legal case about religious freedom.
Now, let's look a bit closer at impeachment in the context of a president, and why having at least a shallow grasp of Amendment 17 is important. But even before we go there, let's look at some important information found in Sean Wilentz's 2005 book, The Rise of American Democracy. It has to do with then tensions between being a republic versus a democracy.
Wilentz explains that in its infancy, the US was a republic, but the republic was not democratic. The word republic comes from the root res publica public thing meaning to secure the common good through the ministrations of the most worthy, enlightened men. The word democratic comes from the root demos krateo, meaning rule of the people. This was considered dangerous, because it gave the power to he impassioned, unenlightened masses. (page xvii)
Hence, in the context of impeachment, the civil case would be heard by the worthy, enlightened men of the US Senate. And the US Senators were not elected by the impassioned, unenlightened masses until Amendment 17 was passed (with a couple of minor exceptions just before it became the law of the land). Now, one common error is that many people believe that before the amendment, all US Senators were old, rich, white men from the exclusive ruling class. Yet not all were old there were middle-aged rich white men in the Senate, as well.
As we know from reading Akil Reed Amar's 2005 book, America's Constitution: A Biography, the Founding Fathers provided the Congress powers to 'try' and 'judge' sundary issues of law and fact in cases of impeachment. (page 211) More, we know from the precise wording of the section of the Constitution that impeachment could involve criminal matters, as well as behaviors that do not reach that level. Laurence Tribe's recent book on impeachment documents that the number one concern of the Founding Fathers was that someone be elected president likely an old, rich white man who was compromised by financial entanglements with a foreign power that would influence his foreign policy.
The House of Representatives would serve as something similar to a grand jury and determine if the president should be impeached akin to indicted for things that include high crimes and misdemeanors. Hence, a person claiming that impeachment is indeed a political process could point out that those elected to the House by the impassioned,unenlightened masses were prone to act upon purely political motives. And, indeed, we can see today that republicans in both the House and Senate are trying their best to convince the impassioned, unenlightened masses that impeachment is exclusively a political issue.
In fact, this coordinated effort by the republican supporters of Trump can be best understood in the context of a perception management campaign the issue I addressed in my last essay here. And this is how politics can infect the processes that define the rule of law in our modern society. Please do not fall for republican misinformation and disinformation talking points.
For the Founding Fathers determined that the cases of impeachment would be heard and ultimately decided by the US Senate you remember those most worthy, enlightened rich white men who work for the common good where mere politics would not be at play. These men were not elected by the impassioned, unenlightened masses that were at risk of confusing impeachment as a political process.
Amendment 17 was intended to make elections for the US Senate a democratic process. It was not intended to infect the rule of law with the corruption that would make impeachment a political, rather than legal, process. It was assumed that the Senate would behave in a manner that would secure and promote the common good.
Today, of course, we are witnessing a coordinated republican attempt to re-define impeachment, and reduce it to mere politics. We saw the insidious nature of putting politics into that process in the 1990s. We should not support or promote the republicans' effort by parroting their current line that the potential impeachment of Trump is only political. We need to hold this issue to a higher standard. A much higher standard, known as the rule of law.
P.S. : Isn't it curious that the Tea Party (now known as the alt-right) is strongly opposed to Amendment 17? That, too, is rooted in gross ignorance, but of a slightly different nature.)
Rainy day, rain all day
Ain't no use in gettin' uptight
Just let it groove its own way
Let it drain your worries away yeah
Lay back and groove on a rainy day hey
Lay back and dream on a rainy day
- Jimi Hendrix
As I prepare my first cup of coffee this morning, I look out the kitchen window. It has been raining for days and days, and my lawn has rapidly grown far beyond needing to be mowed. It is the only thing that the word rapid could be applied to around here. I then plop down in front of my computer and go to Face Book while I sip my cup of coffee. A friend from college has posted a drawing of a lady saying, Ow, my neck! I slept wrong! and underneath it, Getting Older Checkpoint: when you get hurt from sleeping.
After the first cup, I take my dogs out and feed them. Next, I feed the growing array of cats that inhabit my garage. Most of them are stray cats from God only knows where. I've had people in cars drop off two in my driveway when they were kittens; one of these now has kittens roaming around the garage. The cat population seems to come and go in cycles. My daughter's rabbit, which escaped its coop two years ago, hangs out with the cats.
Hobbling back inside, I pour my second cup of coffee. I complete my morning routine of stretches, and laugh when I realize that I am not alone in waking up sore in the morning. I had recently run into the lady who was my secretary at the clinic, who had just turned 85. She is active every day, and drives for four hours every week to visit her son. So I suppose not all of us share the same limitations.
Years ago, I remember that another spry older woman an Iroquois Clan Mother said that when the outside world is spinning at a rapid rate, it's important to enter a space within yourself to slow things down. Hence, I decide to avoid the television and computer, and even the book of the Mueller Report, and instead sit and listen to the rain. I cannot remember ever being bored perhaps I'm not smart enough for that and I've always enjoyed the opportunity to just listen to the rain and let my mind wander.
Still, I'm thinking about that report, and why the Trump administration is so intent upon hiding the evidence they claim exonerates Trump. We know much of the information contained in the two parts that have been released in redacted form. Yet, as Rachael on MSNBC continues to point out, we don't have anything from the counter-intelligence, national security investigation. Or do we? Would Bob Mueller's testimony assist us in recognizing those parts that have been released?
I think about Attorney General Barr's public activities. If we were to consider it in the context of an intelligence program, we could only conclude that it has been a perception management campaign, aimed at misleading the public into believing the Mueller Report is the exact opposite of what it really is. That's curious, because I remember when I was first reading Malcolm Nance's book The Plot to Hack America, I recognized that the Russian intelligence was running a perception management campaign within the United States. As I think of it now, I realize that Mr. Nance's outstanding book was actually an extremely accurate version of Part 1 of the Mueller Report.
Most of us older folks remember that the idea of subliminal advertising was a hot topic in the late 1950s through the early '70s. (I'll wait here until you return with popcorn and coke.) The Beatles' fans may recall Rev. David Noebel, the author of both Communism, Hypnotism, and the Beatles and The Beatles: A study in Sex, Drugs, and Revolution, warning us of the subliminal messages that Russian scientists inserted into the Beatles' songs. Ringo's drumming was especially dangerous, because it led unsuspecting girls to dance with wild abdomen.
On October 20, 1977, Carl Bernstein published a story on The CIA and the Media in Rolling Stone. It remains one of the most important works of journalism in modern history.
Luckily, these days we don't have such an influence on the way the media reports stories, unless you include the numerous retired intelligence officers hired by virtually every cable news outlet. One might question the media's role in George H. W. Bush's war with Iraq to that of his son's. But one important difference is that everyone lied for the Elder, while some tried to warn the nation before W's war. Indeed, the Office of the Vice President's attempts to silence critics resulted in a large scandal.
Leading up to the 2016 presidential campaign, Russian military intelligence was focused on interfering with our election process. Trump's entering the race was icing on the cake. It provided the opportunity to move beyond creating discord, and then harming Hillary Clinton who they anticipated would win to actually helping Trump win. And it is essential to understand, as Malcolm Nance has pointed out, that this was their sequence of goals: first, disrupt, second, hurt Clinton, and eventually third, to help Trump.
Thus Russian military intelligence assessed several things: the divisions in each party during their primaries, the unfavorable burden each candidate in the general election carried and that is not dependent upon if it is an unfavorable that is justified by facts, the current technology that allows for mass communications including tasking organizations to provide bots to spread discord, and Wikileaks to publish stolen documents, identifying the best lies and misleading information to cause disruptions and acrimony, and perhaps the most significant, groups in the US that will be helpful in peddling information, disinformation, and misinformation to specific target audiences.
Each of these goals was met at a level that allowed Trump to win.
It's interesting, at least to me, to think back to some of the strange things that happened in 2016. The Mueller Report raises questions, I think, about the more than 200,000 voters purged from the rolls in Brooklyn in the six months prior to the primary vote. That has never been explained.
The good news in all of this reminds me of the cure for subliminal advertising: if you know it's there, you won't respond to it (or o they say). Democratic voters in 2018 were aware of events two years before, and we sure as hell voted accordingly. We need to keep this in mind as 2020 approaches, and not only in the presidential primaries and general election.
Thank you for reading this.
Walton said in court Tuesday he could ask to review the highly anticipated document in full confidentially, after the Justice Department releases a redacted version to the public and Congress on Thursday, and then subsequently give it to organizations that requested it under FOIA. That type of review would be a win for those suing for the document because it would bring in a judge to check the executive branch's decision-making on redactions.
With the rapid pace of new information being placed in front of us daily, it can be hard to remember all of the important details that became public two years, one year, or even one month ago. Even the media which I think is as good as it's been since the Watergate era often fails to provide the recent historical context of their important breaking news stories. That's one of the things that I have long valued about this forum .while there are not the long and detailed OP/threads we enjoyed in the days of the Plame scandal, there is still room for long-winded old folks to post such information.
I'll start by saying I value William Faulkner's works, especially Requiem for a Nun. It contains the wonderful quote, The past is never dead. It's not even past. We recall that Senator Barack Obama made use of this in A More Perfect Union, which I consider to be one of the greatest American speeches.
On March 1, 2017, the New York Times reported that the Obama administration had rushed to preserve evidence that Russia had interfered with the 2016 election. This was due to justifiable concerns that the Trump administration would attempt to make that evidence disappear. This is important to keep in mind, as we consider other more recent events.
There were also efforts to keep some intelligence from the Trump administration once he took office. It wasn't hard to keep reports from Trump, who dislikes reading. However, others in the White House who can read including family members had access classified information, and were likely to inform Trump of issues. Because several key people were being investigated, attempts were made to keep the information secret.
Also, as shown when Trump met with the two Russians in the Oval Office soon after firing James Comey, and revealed top secret intelligence from Israel, Trump's big mouth poses problems in terms of relationships with allies. This intersects with Trump's anti-NATO positions, which are Putin-inspired. More, several of our NATO allies had red-flagged information about contacts between those in the Trump campaign and individuals in the Russian military-intelligence orbit. These came well before the Steele dosier.
Trump's knowledge of some of these issues resulted from two sources Rep. Devon Nunes, and Senator Richard Burr running to the White House to report everything they learned in intelligence committee meetings. It is safe to speculate that some of this information has played a role in Trump's hostility towards NATO. And it is safe to say that the intelligence community is aware of this.
Two days ago, a friend from DU asked me about Rep. Adam Schiff's saying that the House intelligence committee has not formally heard from the intelligence community in some time. This is the result of Barr and especially Nunes's big mouths. But it should not be taken as evidence that Rep. Schiff does or has not have/had access to intelligence individually. Thus, his previous statements about collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia.
This may also explain much of the timing of events that are now unfolding. I respect that some Democrats (in DC and the grassroots) want to move faster, and others slowly, towards impeachment. And still others think it shouldn't happen, and we should focus on 2020 elections. One factor is the republicans in the Senate. We are all disgusted by their refusal to put country before Trump.
However, there are some positive signs. Senator Burr subpoenaing Donald Jr. is good. Better yet are the 800+ former federal prosecutors signing the letter about Trump's obstruction of justice. Many of these people are republicans. And I'd add to these something that is now happening and we know it, although it isn't being covered in the media in any detail.
There are four Democratic House committee chairs with good reason to bring Trump to court, for his refusal to honor congressional subpoenas. One option would be to select the strongest case, and file that. Another option is to combine the cases, which might actually make for a stronger case.
There is a very good chance that case would be heard by the Senior US District Judge in the District of Columbia, Reggie Walton. Back in 2007, some on this forum were concerned when Judge Walton heard the Lewis Libby case. I said he was a good choice, because although he is a conservative republican, he believes in the rule of law. Indeed, he had a harsh sentence for Libby, which was interfered with by others, including Presidents Bush and later by Trump pardoning Scooter.
Judge Walton is familiar with Barr. He has known Barr since at least 1980. Therefore, he is familiar with Barr's actions including misleading Congress and advocating for pardons for felons. It's important to understand that Judge Walton, like Mr. Mueller, believes that public servants should be held to the highest of legal standards. He is considered to be non-political while on the bench, and believes harsh sentences deter future crime. I will speculate that he isn't a fan of felons' sentences being commuted or their being pardoned.
We also know from articles like the one quoted from and linked to at the top, that Judge Walton has serious concerns with Barr's handling of the Mueller Report. If you read that article, I think you'll agree that it would be best if he oversees the Democrats' case against the Trump administration.
The movement you need is on your shoulder.
Paul McCartney; 1968
As we are edging towards seven hundred former federal prosecutors signing the statement about Trump having committed obstruction of justice, there are three things that I think we should keep in mind. First, this statement did not happen in a vacuum. Many of these individuals, including some involved in starting and promoting the letter, have worked with various people on the Mueller Team. Thus, they saw how Attorney General Barr ignored the team members who voiced dissatisfaction with Barr's 3.5 cover (up) letter. They watched Barr mislead the nation in his press conference, and a Senate committee while testifying. And they listened to Barr insult Robert Mueller.
Second, these individuals are fully aware that the investigation relating to Part One of the Mueller Report was not exclusively aimed at identifying Trump's role. Rather, the investigation involved documenting the role of Russians in contaminating the election process, as well as what if any role anyone in the Trump campaign may have had in conspiring and coordinating with the Russian effort. Thus, while this has been overlooked recently by the media, Barr's claim that Trump knew there was no collusion is simply false.
Trump if he was truly not involved and unaware of the numerous contacts between Russians and his campaign could only be certain of his knowledge and actions. It is, of course, difficult to believe that Trump was unaware of Don, Jr., Jared, and Manafort's meeting to get dirt on his opponent, especially in light of the timing of Trump's saying he would be holding a press conference to release Hillary's corruption. However, even if Trump actually is as stupid as he often appears to be, this does not grant him a license to obstruct the investigation. Thus, another bald-faced lie by Barr.
Third, it is important to recognize that there is direct links between members of the Mueller Team (indirectly) conveying the message to the media that they were unsatisfied with Barr's 3.5 summary, Mr. Mueller's letter to Barr, and the new letter signed by hundreds of former federal prosecutors. More, it is essential that we understand the letter is not simply to apply pressure to those in the House and Senate who continue to say the investigation cleared Trump of any wrong-doing.
It is also a serious effort to inform the public, and to spark citizen action. The success of their effort will be determined, in large part, on the public's response. They are counting on citizens concerned by the corruption in the White House and Department of Justice to speak up, loud and clearly. Contact all of your elected representatives in Washington, DC, and demand action. Write a letter to the editor of all of your local and area newspapers. Be actively involved, knowing that our constitutional democracy is at risk.
One last thing: we will win.
You own your lies. And even if it takes a while, every lie you tell will eventually catch up to you. So try very hard to tell the truth. That's what I think. It's better to tell the truth.
Onondaga Chief Paul Waterman
The above quote is from my first interview with the late Chief Waterman. At the time, he was in the hospital in Syracuse, having suffered a stroke 36 hours earlier. In time, I would conduct three more interviews with Paul, which were first published in a Native American newspaper, and later in a book.
I worked as Chief Waterman's top assistant for decades. In doing so, I was frequently reminded of the differences in character between native leaders, and many of those in our local, state, and federal representatives. Let's consider the case of William Barr. Were I composing a memo on Barr's character for Chief Waterman's consideration, or to send a Democrat in the House, here are a few things I'd include:
Barr has donated more money to political campaigns than any other Attorney General. He gave $55,000 to the Jeb Bush political action committee, then another $2,700 to the Trump campaign, during the 2016 campaign. This raises obvious questions about the extent that his personal political beliefs influence his overall thinking.
It's not just that he is on the record saying the Supreme Court made the wrong decision in Roe v. Wade, or that he is strongly against the legalization of marijuana. Barr is on the record as saying that Hillary Clinton should rightfully be investigated for crimes, and that Trump should not have been. We will return to this shortly, but keep in mind Senator Kamala Harris's questioning of Barr earlier this week.
Barr penned an op-ed for the Washington Post on 10-31-2016, titled James Comey did the right thing. A sub-heading notes Barr was supporting Donald Trump for president. In commenting on the FBI director's notice to Congress that he was re-opening the investigation of Clinton e-mails, Barr refers to Democrats' concerns as flatly wrong and absurd. Always prone to self-righteousness to the point of delusion, Barr states that the need of the moment was for honesty and truthfulness.
On February 1, 2017, Barr had another op-ed published in the Post, arguing that Trump was right to fire Sally Yates.
Michael Isikoff reported that in the late spring of 2017, Trump sought to hire Barr as his personal attorney, to represent him in the Mueller investigation. They met at the White House, but Barr did not accept the position at that time. Yet this did not stop communications between the White House and Barr.
Barr would tell the media that there was nothing inherently wrong with Trump's demand for a criminal investigation of his political opponents. This is, of course, a view shared by the alt-right, but unheard of in a democracy. Due to Barr's comments supporting Trump the Trump White House stayed in touch with Barr about joining Trump's personal defense team. They wanted him to join the personal defense team, but there was a change in plans when they hired Rudy Giuliani. (see Isikoff)
It was then that Barr submitted his unsolicited 20-page memo to Trump's defense team, attacking the Mueller investigation. More, he had discussions with Trump's personal legal team regarding his memo.
Now, let's do a quick mental exercise. Why might Trump have then nominated Barr to become Attorney General? And are there any possible conflicts of interest that might have called for Barr to recuse himself from the Mueller investigation? Is there any hint of a glaring conflict between first saying that James Comey did the right thing with the e-mail case, but then claiming Trump was correct in firing Comey for having done the right thing? For claiming there was a conflict of interest for some of the Mueller team, because they had donated to the Clinton campaign?
There's a lot to, um, grapple with there. That's probably why Barr was unable to answer Senator Harris's rather pointed question regarding if anyone in the White House including but not limited to Trump had advocated for investigations and prosecutions of other people. Had Barr gone in front of the House committee, he would have been asked specifically about discussions he has had with the White House about investigating and prosecuting individuals such as Hillary Clinton and James Comey. And he knew it.
The difference between a Chief Paul Waterman and an A.G. William Barr, as the old saying goes, is the difference between sugar and shit. And those are rather distinct choices in any food for thought.
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