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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 08:49 PM
Number of posts: 63,828

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About last night .....

Perhaps the most hideous thing yet was last night, when Alan Dershowitz bleated that everyone should vote to acquit Trump, because part of the country “would not accept” his being removed from office. Gosh, Alan, where is your heart-felt concern for the much larger group of citizens who will “not accept” it if Trump is not convicted? Or are you saying that Trump's cult members are much more dangerous than the majority of citizens? That if the rule of law as defined by the Constitution holds, Trump's unhinged minions will react with violent criminal behaviors? Is that really an acceptable response to threats of violence?

I keep thinking about this crap coming out of the mouth of the “expert” lawyer representing Trump. It's as if Charlie Manson's lawyer told the jury they must find Charlie “not guilty,” because his “family” was threatening violence if there was a conviction. In that case, we'd know those were Charlie's words coming through his lawyer's mouth. Just like this was Trump speaking through Dershowitz's mouth.

Ante Trump



Watching the Trump defense is peculiar. In general, I believe that defense lawyers should be afforded significant leeway. It's fine to highlight evidence the prosecution did not address. It's fair to try to raise reasonable doubt. However, I am not okay with outright lying. And thus far, I've heard way more lies than a “not guilty” client's defense requires.

As I listened to the defense lawyers lie, it was evident that their effort was to prevent the trial from being a search for truth by any means necessary. More, it is obvious that the vast majority of the republican Senators are serving as accomplices in the White House's effort to obstruct the trial from delivering justice. But the pressure on them to allow John Bolton to testify has increased dramatically. Thus, the White House will try to stop him from doing so.

The Democrats involved in the impeachment trial that are taking care of business. They are building momentum. This is a process where we keep winning what might be viewed as small victories. If we win a series of them, we will get the witnesses that are needed to improve the chances of Trump's conviction. Now, that is still a long shot, but only he who attempts the ridiculous can ever hope to achieve the impossible.

Two days ago, it was said that the republicans didn't have the votes to prevent witnesses from testifying. We cannot count on that. Whenever there is a flicker of decency from a republican, there will be an immediate party effort to derail it. There is extreme pressure being put on those republicans who might vote their conscience. More, there is a current effort to prevent Bolton's book from being published in its current form, due to “national security.”

What else are they protecting? This might sound like mere speculation now, but what an associate told me today is that Putin's shadow is on the holding up the military aid. When Zelensky won his election, Trump had conversations with both Putin and Erdogan about him. They told Trump that Zelensky was “weak” and a “clown.” The timing of his conversation with Putin holds the key.

This wasn't the initial Russian influence on the Donald & Rudy caper. We know that Rudy had already been spreading the “theory” that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 election. Rudy started spreading the Russian disinformation-misinformation campaign in early 2019, to prepare to create confusion if the Mueller Report caused a serious problem for Trump. Had Barr not stepped in to misrepresent what the report said, the Trump defense team was confident the then-leadership in Ukraine would have announced an investigation of the mysterious server hiding in Ukraine and related nonsense.

Dates are important here. Barr got the report on March 22, send his 4-page letter to Congress two days later, and the DOJ made the report public on April 18. The Trump forces saw no reason to have Ukraine announce an investigation at that point – indeed, they had another idea for it. At that time, they considered that two Democrats might pose the greatest threat to Trump's re-election: Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. If Hillary did announce, they were prepared to have the Ukraine “investigation” announced.

On April 25, Joe Biden did announce. The White House rats had thought they could have Ukraine announce an investigation that Rudy was pushing about Biden and his son. But, surprise, surprise, Zelensky had been elected president of Ukraine four days earlier, and they would have to deal with him. Thus, Trump called his two closest advisers – Putin and Erdogan – to seek their guidance.

For several weeks, Trump & Fiends were sure that they could pressure this “weak clown.” Rudy and the Three Amigos could simply hold out a White House visit for announcing investigations into both fake scandals. Trump, then Pence, opted out of Zelensky's inauguration in late May. But Zelensky wasn't willing to interfere is US domestic politics.

Trump was stewing. A growing number of Democrats in the House were calling for impeachment hearings, based on the obstructions of justice documented in Part Two of the Mueller Report. He was furious about the commercial that the Biden campaign released that spoke of a battle for the soul of America. And he was outraged by polls showing Biden or others would kick his ass in the next election.

Thus, Trump began to think of how he could up the ante. He thought back to the soothing advice from Putin. As a candidate, Trump had expressed his belief that Russia's taking of Crimea was fine – which led to the Ukraine ambassador penning an editorial opposing this, which was the full extent of “interference” in the campaign.

Where did Trump get the idea to withhold military aid to Ukraine? As of yet, no one has identified who put this idea into Trump's head. But we know that Trump is no more capable of having an original idea than is a can-opener. The limits of his awareness in such a situation are twofold: to repeat an idea someone else has brought to his attention, and to threaten anyone he views as posing opposition to him reaching a goal.

On July 24, Mr. Mueller testified before Congress. The next day, Trump asked Zelensky for “a favor, though” in his imperfect phone call. A very short time later, the aid was officially put on hold.

I asked my old friend if Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff would be able to identify who had inserted the stupid idea of withholding military aid to Ukraine? “I doubt it,” he said, “because Trump insists on there being no record of his private conversations with Putin.”

Peace,
H2O Man

On Revolutionary Chickens

Process:
Noun – A series of actions or operations conducted to proceed to a particular result.
Verb – To subject to a specific routine, to manufacture.


I tend to view things in two simple ways: “systems” and “process.” I think of various systems – be it a family, a school, a work place, or a community – like a mobile that hangs over an infant's crib. Every system seeks to find balance, in order to conduct the process for which it is intended. Healthy systems engage in processes that result in positive outcomes, while unhealthy systems produce negative outcomes.

The current US Senate is an unbalanced system, with 53 republicans versus 47 Democrats. Hence, on the first day of the impeachment trial, we saw numerous 53 to 47 votes on every proposed amendment by the Democrats. That was the expected outcome of these votes, since a system can only produce that which it contains. As Malcolm X noted, a hen cannot lay a duck egg ….and if a hen ever did, we would all agree that it is a revolutionary hen.

However, that Senate mobile is now engaged in a process that contains more than Senators. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is another piece on the larger mobile. The House Democrats prosecuting the case and the president's defense team are two other additions. Each has a unique process goal. And we can add yet another system – the public – which includes several sub-systems, including those hoping for conviction, those opposing conviction, and those not paying attention.

The president's defense team is playing to two groups, the first being those who are not paying attention. Thus, part of the defense is focused on discouraging people from paying attention, a common trait for those with republican tendencies. They say it's boring. The republican Senators proved this while the Democratic managers presented their case.

The second group is those who see what is going on, but understand nothing beyond emotion. Like magicians attempting to trick an audience, they stimulate people to see without perceiving. Forum members here perceive what they are doing, and understand why they do this. For these magicians want to convince this second audience that good is bad, and bad is good. It is that frustratingly simple.

These charlatans want the public to see no reason for the trial to include documents and witnesses. They know the republican Senators can ill-afford the public to perceive the absolute necessity of any documents or witnesses. So they insist the Democrats are being unreasonable. The defense team members are snake oil salespersons, who rely upon emotions to overshadow facts to sell their worthless product.

Our floor managers are making it hard on Trump's defense mobile. About 70% of the public that is paying attention understand the need for documents and witnesses. That's bad for the defense team, the republicans in the Senate, and it is even worse for the White House. Because that 70% perceive exactly why the republicans are trying to avoid a real trial.

We are witnessing the Democrats doing a great job of expanding the process. It will be hard for all of the republicans in the Senate to vote against the call for documents and witnesses. A number of them face uncertain re-election campaigns. They are trapped in a purgatory, not fully in Trump's camp, nor comfortable in being true to themselves.

They know that if the republicans vote 53 to 47 against having documents and witnesses, the Democrats – floor managers and Senators – are prepared to ask Chief Justice Roberts for a ruling. They have the right to request this, and Roberts has the right to rule that a fair impeachment trial requires documents and witnesses. At that point, the republicans need to consider – as a group and individuals – if they really want to vote 53 to 47 to overrule the conservative republican Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

It's an open question. Each must consider it in terms of their own political career, and how they want to be remembered. Many will prefer to avoid running the risk of having their head on a pike on the mar-a-logo golf course, by voting to overrule Roberts. But for several, openly disrespecting Roberts increases the risk of losing the next election. What is a moral coward to do?

Perhaps they should pay attention to the film of Adam Schiff talking about Robert Kennedy and moral bravery. And focus on perceiving, not just seeing. Most of them won't, but we should keep calling their offices, and demanding that they do. Because the momentum of the process has begun to shift, and if we get get four republicans, the momentum shifts more. In fact, we really only need three, to make a 50-50 ties that Roberts – not Pence – decides. Then, it's a whole new ball game. With documents and witnesses, we just might see what Malcolm X would agree are revolutionary chickens when it comes to convicting.

Peace,
H2O Man

Susquehanna

“God stands in the congregation of the mighty;
He judges among the gods.
How long will you judge unjustly,
and adopt the persons of the wicked? “
-- Asaph; Psalm 82


I went out for a walk with my dog a bit earlier than usual today, as I have the last three days. This allows for me to watch the entire impeachment hearings, from beginning to end, each day. The downstairs of the main section of my house is open, circling around an enormous central chimney with three fireplaces facing different directions, in the manner of a late 1700's stage coach station. Thus, while the trial is on, I can listen to the television while on the phone or computer, even when I cannot see the screen.

Yesterday, for example, I read with interest an OP/thread where a few community members called the hearing “boring.” I was thinking about that as Kelly and I ventured up the long abandoned turnpike's trail through the woods, where I have walked hundreds of times before. It is difficult for me to understand being “bored.” I could no more be bored during these historic trial hearings, than I could be bored walking on the old turnpike. In fact, I cannot think of a single time I have ever been bored, as my mind has always found plenty to ponder, no matter where I find myself.

I don't view that as either an advantage or disadvantage to the manner that other people experience life. But I will say that it was helpful for me, for example, when I used to get called as a witness to court cases when I worked in human services. I remember a co-worker unhappy when we sat for eight hours in the waiting room one day, only to be told to return the next day. Being paid to read a book seemed good to me.

My dog loves to follow tracks in the snow, and so soon we turned off onto an old logging road. Most of the tracks were from deer, with some from coyotes, fox, and various rodents. We encountered one spot where a rabbit had met its fate, when a bird of prey nailed it. From the size of the wing-pattern in the snow, I think it was a medium-sized hawk.

The majority of the tracks followed a small stream, in places but a trickle above ground, back to its source. It is one of two sources of fresh water that eventually enters my pond.. Since my childhood, I've been fascinated with the springs, streams, and creeks that can be found high up on the mountains in this region of upstate New York. I think that it is not just “wildlife” that has recognized their value.

About a decade ago, my son found a handful of pristine artifacts at the far end of a field across from the intersection of two rivers. These were all made from material found in Pennsylvania. Thus, I traveled 4.5 miles up the smaller river (heading north), to where two large creeks reach the river on opposite sides. I travel a distance uphill, approximately as far from the water as my son had been, until I found open springs that produce water year-round. There are huge boulders next to the springs. There, I was able to find some more of the Susquehanna artifacts, similar to those my son found.

More recently, I followed one of the creek 4.5 miles upstream, to near my property. Approximately the same distance up the mountain, Kelly led me to a the springs from the artesian aquifer that, like on the previous site, flows out from the edge of an enormous boulder. I will try to find out this summer if it, too, was an ancient campsite. I would expect Susquehanna artifacts, if it was.


https://wikivisually.com/wiki/Susquehanna_broad_projectile_point

Because one side of the boulder is covered by the mountain, I was able to stand on it, watching Kelly drink his fill below me. He is compelled to re-load in order to mark various trees and shrubs on our walks. Next he begins sniffing the various tracks in the snow, eventually funding what I assume are feral cats. A large number such “barn cats” live in the long abandoned barns from farms of a previous era on the mountain.. Just as their ancient ancestors did, these cats tend to visit sources of water about twice a day, to drink and hunt. Now Kelly is snorting into the snow to stir the scent for proper evaluation. Then he begins digging a hole in the ground.

I'm thinking heading home to prepare for the trial, when I think to myself, “Follow the water.” Immediately, I catch myself, and hope no one overheard me thinking that. Perhaps it would be better to be bored. Instead of following the logging road and turnpike, we head through the fields, brush, and woods, following to where the small stream gurgles into my pond. Kelly drinks there,too, as the constant flow of water has prevented ice from covering this section of the pond.

Thoughts about water continue to flow my mind when I get ready to watch the trial. As I wait for it to start, I am subjected to a clip of Jay Sekulow, the christian hypocrite-attorney that I find particularly offensive. And I think of the words of the ancient prophet Amos – who lived around the same time as the people who left those Susquehanna artifacts near springs – “But let justice flow on like a river, and righteousness like a mighty stream.” Amos is one of my favorite social justice warriors.

And as I watch today's hearing, I am encouraged by the Democrat's presentation. As powerful as it is, I know that many republican Senators – men and women who know that Trump is guilty as sin – will refuse to hold him accountable. These are the hypocrites that Asoph referred to in his song. We need to flood their offices with phone calls and e-mails. It is relatively easy to “google” any/every state capital, and find both a zip code and what county it is in, in preparation of a call being answered. Make them understand that they have more reason to listen to the public than the president. Let them know that there will be harsh consequences for supporting Trump, come their next election.

Back to listening to Adam Schiff!
H2O Man

"Juicy Fruit"

For many people, “Juicy Fruit” was the most memorable line of the 1975 movie, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.” The movie made the general message of the 1962 novel accessible. Author Ken Kesey, who had voluntarily taken LSD and mescaline as part of the infamous government “mind control” studies known as MK Ultra, had made an insightful statement on how society exercises control over the thinking of the general population.

So how, one might ask, might this 45-year old flick relate to the impeachment trial? Or is simply the incoherent ranting of an aging YIPPIE! Who chewed too much nicotine gum during the eleven hours of televised trial hearings yesterday? Perhaps all of the above? Or is Mitch McConnell actually nothing if not a character based upon the dehydrated corpse of Nurse Ratched? How can we be sure?

I think that the most important line of the movie comes from near the end. Randle Patrick “Mac” McMurphy has attempted to lift a huge stone sink, to throw through a window to allow the gang of inmates to escape the institution. But when he was not able to accomplish this goal, a couple others who do not really want to escape begin to mutter about the foolishness of Mac's attempt.

It is then that McMurphy says, “At least I tried.”

In the end, Will Sampson's character, “Chief” – Kesey's metaphor for the real America – lifts the sink, breaks out, and runs to freedom.

It may be that Nurse McConnell will prevent justice from being delivered in the Senate trial. His gang of republicans are clearly far too institutionalized to think for themselves, much less act as individual human beings. Time will tell. But one thing is for sure: Adam Schiff and others are doing a hell of a job.

At least they are trying. And, worst case scenario, if they cannot break through the corruption, the real America will do so come November.

Today in History

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I found the gun rally in Virginia rather peculiar on the Martin Luther King holiday. I understand that there is a tradition in that state of lobbying on this day. Amendment 1 allows for adults who dress themselves in the same manner as they dressed their GI Joe dolls in the childhoods to hold a rally. It's better they do that during the day, rather than don a white sheet at night. And at least they weren't yelling, “Jews will not replace us” and carrying torches.

A public discussion about the Bill of Rights, and the entire Constitution, can be a good thing. The symbolism of yesterday's rally on the King holiday communicates what those people believe. If we truly believe in the message of King's life, we must respond to their message that clearly advocates violence as the means of securing “rights.”

In every generation of our nation's history, there have been conflicts between those who seek to expand upon social justice, and those who would deny rights to other groups of people. Previous generations of citizens lived their lives the way that they did – not only to secure rights in their lifetimes – but to insure those rights for future generations. King and others lived their lives the way they did, so that you and I can live the way we do. And they expected us to carry that torch forward.

It's our turn. We are in one of the most intense generational struggles in American history. The Constitution provides the tools we need to win the fight. That includes impeachment, and it is very important to recognize that, despite what the Senate does, is a huge victory. As Speaker Pelosi said, for the rest of history, Trump was impeached. And everyone from the grass roots to the Democrats in the House of Representatives took part in that.

In the past, good people fought to expand the Constitution to include more than wealthy white men. The struggle was to provide more groups with the rights promised by that Constitution. In a curious twist, the Trump position is that he does not need to follow the Constitution, but is a monarch, instead. We are seeing this general right-wing dynamic at play in other countries where democracy is being attacked.

In his final, and most intense year of life, King connected the struggle for Civil Rights domestically with the fight for Human Rights internationally. King was not the first to grasp that important connection. Perhaps most significantly was the role of Malcolm X. Despite attempts to identify Martin and Malcolm as complete opposites, the two influenced each others thinking. (Karl Evanzz 1992 book, “The Judas Factor” documents this in fascinating detail.)

We find ourselves as part of a global struggle today. It includes everything from the rise of authoritarian power to global warming. It would be easy to feel overwhelmed by all of this. Indeed, there were times when King felt overwhelmed. There were times when he dealt with fear. More, there were times when Malcolm felt overwhelmed, and when he experienced fear. They were, after all, human beings, living in uncertain and often violent times.

What can we learn today from Martin Luther King's example? While none of us will be great in the manner that King was, he did set out examples for us to both study and practice. Each one of us has the capacity to conduct ourselves as if Martin were here leading the way. That's an option available to each and every one of us. And we can do this as the trial that just started in the Senate unfolds.

No matter how this process unfolds, and the eventual outcome, it is essential that each one of us works hard, between now and November, to make sure that the Democratic Party wins both the White House and Senate, and holds on the House. Again, that is one option that is available to us, if we all do our best to make it happen. It won't happen, however, if we as individuals leave to to others to do, or worse yet, leave it to fate.

It will not be easy. Nothing of real value ever is. Impeaching Trump wasn't easy. But it has real value. And it's a heck of a good start for 2020.

Enjoy the trial,
H2O Man

Life with the Liars

“Washington is deeply frustrating because so many of the positions politicians hold are a product of ephemeral self-interest. They reverse themselves for themselves, all the time.”
-- Ari Melber


For the sake of this conversation, I shall focus strictly upon republican politicians. Though not all Democrats in our nation's history have been without fault, the current crises we face nationally and internationally are the sole property of the republican party. One crisis that is particularly glaring today is described accurately by Ari Melber's above quote.

Republicans of late have displayed a remarkable ability to “reverse themselves” in two areas of interest: relationships with other republicans, and with fundamental republican principles. There is, of course, significant if not total overlap with both. It is much in the model of the “flexibility principle” found in accounting information systems. Republican values are as flexible as fundamental christian values in our society, as well.

The vulgarian president is best known as a pathological liar, without principles, who will throw any friend or associate under the bus if he believes it suits his immediate needs. When Trump first entered the republican primaries, much of the media did not take him seriously. Other candidates and party leaders considered him a joke.

As Trump's campaign began to rapidly metastasize within the bowels of the party, more than a few republicans would begin to attack him publicly. Not all were presidential candidates – Rep. Gym Jordan spoke of the problems in the environment that spawned him, and Senator John Thune demanded that Trump be removed from the ticket, and replaced with Mike Pence.

Among the candidates that spoke ill of Trump in the primaries were Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, and Rick Perry. Christie was soon kissing candidate Trump's ass, seeking a position in the Trump administration, before again reversing himself, and speaking about Trump's ignorance and assorted weaknesses. Cruz, Perry, Paul, and Perry went from party watch dogs to presidential poodles, and remain so. Only Jeb hasn't praised Trump, though he as quietly faded out of public view.

Yet no one has illustrated the shallowness of today's republican party than Lindsey Graham. During the primary season, Graham used what he considered to be “fighting words,” calling Trump a jackass and a kook. Trump survived this sad attempt at viciousness, but Lindsey's self-respect did not. Poor Senator Graham has been transformed by Trump's gravity into a eunuch golf partner.

When human beings such as these are willing betray their values for a rarely comfortable role as Trump's foot warmers, they are hoping that the president will never throw them under the bus. They've seen what's happened to people in his administration. They remember Michael Cohen, and they see what is happening to Lev Parnas. This is especially true for Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham, as the impeachment trial begins.

The image of a red-faced Lindsey – during the Kavanaugh hearing – suggests that he takes his official role as Trump's anal cellulitis seriously. Paul actually has expressed some disagreement with the administration's assassinating the Iranian general. Thus, there is a possibility that he might dare to vote with a few other republicans to hear witnesses during the trial. Probably not, but it is possible.

It seems unlikely to me that Lev Parnas will be called to testify, if witnesses are called. But it would be great if he was, and Democrats used texts showing Parnas's communications with Jay Sekulow.

But the most important potential witness is still John Bolton. The former ambassador is the neoconservative blend of Dr. Strangelove, General Ripper, and Major Kong, who once believed that his brilliance would allow him to convince Trump of the ultimate truth of his world view. Yet his time in the administration was acrimonious at very best, and in time led to Bolton's leaving. Trump, as always, claimed he fired John, while Bolton insisted he quit.

Since then, we have learned that Bolton quit because of his opposition to Trump's corrupt Ukraine operation. He called this a “drug deal.” Then it was announced that Bolton was writing a “tell-all” book about his experiences in the White House. Bolton flirted with testifying before the House committees investigating the Ukraine scandal, but ended up working on his book instead.

Two things are important to keep in mind. First, the House is controlled by Democrats, while the Senate is controlled by republicans. This appears to be one reason that Bolton is now willing to testify. The second is that Bolton is reportedly almost finished putting the final touches on his book, which is expected to be released around the time of the republican national convention.

Al Sharpton recently pointed out that Bolton would not tell a different story on the witness stand than the one in his book. More, Sharpton noted that no publisher would pay as much as Bolton is getting, for a book that praises the president, and says the infamous phone call was “perfect.” Instead, both the book and potential testimony will expose Trump's guilt ….and throw others under the bus.

Would Bolton's testimony influence the trial's outcome? The odds are against there being enough votes to convict Trump, but it remains the best chance we have got. I'm glad the Democratic Party is willing to play this hand, and hope they can deal Bolton in.

Peace,
H2O Man

Dr. Jekyll & Robert Hyde

Definition of mobster: a member of a criminal gang.

Definition of mafia: (a) a secret criminal society of Sicily or Italy; (b) a similarly conceived criminal organization in the U.S. Or elsewhere.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary


I do not think any forum members here were surprised by the news about former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. I could be wrong, of course, though I doubt it. But I do think that lots of Americans are shocked.

Before I talk about this, I'd like to share a short story. A number of my father's thirteen siblings had careers in law enforcement and intelligence. One, a senior investigator in the NYS BCI, was experienced in investigating the mafia. Being a first-generation Irish-American, his specialty was not the Italian mafia, but the Irish mob that infected numerous large cities in the US. I remember listening, from my bedroom door, as he told my father one episode in particular.

He attended a meeting at the top floor of a high-rise. When everyone had arrived, the top man became very serious, and said that they knew for certain that one man there was a cop, and he thought he knew who. The room became very quiet for a moment, before they grabbed some poor bastard, tied rope around his ankles, and let him hang outside from a window to get him to admit his dishonorable role.

I remember my father saying, “Jesus! You must have been scared to death!” “No,” my uncle said, “I was too busy saying 'drop the son-of-a-bitch' to be nervous.” The immoral of this story is that membership in organized crime is a high-risk life style.

I also remember my uncle saying that organized crime depended upon two things: loyalty and keeping your mouth shut. The most successful mobsters in the days of old knew to keep a low profile. The flamboyant John Gotti was the exception to the rule, at a time when organized crime was undergoing significant changes in America.

Now, you can imagine how frustrating it was for my brothers and I – poor, dumb kids from a small farm in the sticks – when almost every time an urban boxing promoter showed serious interest in us, my father had his brothers come and speak to us. We'd say how nice these guys treated us great. Another uncle who was a BCI senior investigator said, “Off course they are. But that changes once you are indebted to them.” This uncle sent one promoter my brother and I hung out ringside at Madison Square Garden for the second Ali vs Frazier bout, to the federal prison. He told us that once you are in debt to these guys, you rarely get out. That's not how they grow their business.

One of Trump's business relationships that stands out to me was when he partnered with Don King to promote top boxing matches in his Atlantic City Casino. In the early 1950s, he began running a bookmaking operation in Cleveland. King had killed two men, one in 1954 and one in 1967. He shot his first victim in the back, and stomped the second to death over a $600 debt. He went to prison.

Upon Don's release in the early 1970s, he began working to promote boxing in Cleveland. In a really short time, he promoted the “Rumble in the Jungle” fight between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali in Zaire. Within years, he was so powerful a promoter that he was able to get a 1983 pardon from Ohio's republican governor James Rhodes. It's not good to have a murder conviction on one's record, if one seeks a license to manage boxers.

In time, King connected with Trump. Lots of King's champions fought in top fights in Trump's casino. Millions of dollars were made, although in at least seven cases, King would later be sued for hia failure to pay his fighters. You can see why Don and Donald got along so well.

This wasn't a one-time relationship to organized crime. We know that Trump dealt with the mob when he hired construction companies for building projects. They were the only group that he paid in full. That was when Michael Cohen was representing Trump. Cohen was introduced to those representing Russian interests in the US. In his post-bankruptcy days, these interests helped Trump access the only bank loans available to him.

It's also known that the Russians actively interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Trump is the only person who denies this. Those Russian interests supporting Trump is the unholy trinity of government, military intelligence, and the mob. They have, through Putin, exercised power over Trump as needed since he took office. There is a significant amount of evidence about this that isn't made public, largely due to its classification. But another stumbling block has been an unwillingness of republicans to look into Trump's corruption.

And how could they? Take, for example, Devin Nunes. Again, forum members knew Nunes was involved in the Ukraine scandal. We didn't need to see Lev Parnas being interviewed by Rachal Maddow to know – as important as that interview was. But the public needs to see it, and the related information being made public. And we all need to know about Robert Hyde.

Trump has been attempting to create an administration based upon the Putin model. In doing so, he has severely damaged the US government domestically and internationally. By using the mob organizational structure, he was able to avoid responsibility for the Trump-Russian scandal. He became emboldened to try the same gig with Ukraine. Trump did his best impression of a tough guy, an act he literally only drops when he interacts with Putin. For Trump is a loud-mouthed, disloyal, petty mobster, who quivers in fear when he encounters Putin. There is a reason.

Now that the true nature of the administration is being exposed, we are witnessing the biggest mafia melt-down of our times. It involves the impeachment trial of the president, and other things being pulled in by Trump's gravitational pull – such as Parnas's criminal case. We will not see the players remaining silent out of loyalty, for that silence can only come from fear of the Russian mob, not the president's operation. Members of that group of fools will be hung out to dry.

Peace,
H2O Man

That was a good debate.

I think that each and every candidate on stage tonight demonstrated that they be superior president than Trump. That should be obvious to each and every Democrat watching the debate. None of these candidates is "perfect," and every voter will not have their first choice nominated. But there is every reason to be confident that we will have a strong and capable ticket in November.

The only question, in my opinion, is how far we are all willing to go to win the White House? What that translates to, again in my opinion, is if we as individuals are willing to focus on why the candidate we support is the best option. What are her/his strengths, what policy differences she/he may have with other candidates, and how she/he is the strongest candidate for the fifty state elections that combine to make the presidential race.

That's how we keep our eyes on the prize. The other things are distractions that lack the ability to benefit the Democratic Party's ticket in 2020.

Peace,
H2O Man

Everything Ain't Swell

Reports today are confirming what was hinted at last night on the news: both Iraqi and US forces had been given two days' notice before the missile attack. Why was this, and what does it mean in the days to come? There are benefits accrued from stepping outside of the frame to get an accurate and objective view of a picture, and I'd suggest that this is the case today.

Last night, both on this forum and in other communications, I said that I did not think things were as bad as they appeared to be – although they did seem terrible, and there was a very negative potential. The greatest danger, in my opinion, was that Donald Trump's mushroom would cloud reality. But I noted that sane people, including some from the US, though more from other nations, were stepping up to prevent Trump from igniting the Middle East.

One such man would be the now “retired” British diplomat William Patey. He is the type of person that we should be listening closely to. I'm not sure how many people remember him from his service in Afghanistan during 2010 to 2012, when he coordinated his efforts with the Obama administration.

Patey has many years of experience in the Middle East, starting back in the late 1970s. He served in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan. He advocated for democratic evolution, rather than violent revolution. And even in retirement, he has kept up to date on issues involving the US and Iran.

Thus, he knows that before the recent events in Iraq that have resulted in escalating tensions, there was actually progress being made – indirectly – at bringing the world community back to the negotiating table to resolve the issues involving the US and Iran. Moderate voices within Iran had been gaining some degree of power, and were expressing willingness to talk about more than the nuclear deal. There was a very real potential for negotiations to include the much larger problems with violence in other Middle Eastern countries.

While I do not know this for sure, I will speculate that NATO countries were most likely not sharing daily updates with this progress with Donald Trump. Hence, it is possible, even very likely, that Trump was clueless about what he was actually damaging. Admittedly, I could be wrong, but this would seem consistent with Trump's overall ignorance, and our allies' contempt for him.

By assassinating General Soleimani, Trump upset the balance that men and women like Patey were advancing. There is no question that this action resulted – at least temporarily – in the more conservative Iranian leaders gaining more influence inside their country. It was immediately obvious that Iranians would demand a military response to Soleimani's death.

By way of sane people – thus, unknown to Trump, although some in the US were aware – a negotiated Iranian response was agreed upon. The Iraqi militias with ties to Iran actually warned the Iraqi military in advance, and their military was among those who warned the US military: missiles would fly, and do some damage. But no US or Iraqi people would be killed. And that is exactly what happened last night.

Ambassador Patey has noted that this has altered the dynamic, both in the Middle East and the rest of the world. Though the missile attack was not what it had first appeared to be, it does allow the conservative Iranian leadership to convince their people that they not only hit back hard, but that they struck the last blow. More, events further cemented the view of US allies that Trump is dangerously imbalanced, and poses a severe threat to any prospects for peace in the Middle East.

Indeed, Patey has said that all in all, Iran came out ahead in recent events. Meanwhile, America's reel life Zippy the Pinhead has re-focused his rage back to President Obama. I think it's possible that Trump will text that US intelligence is investigating if Obama was born in Iran. And I'm sure he will demand a Nobel Peace Prize for the mess he has made.

Peace,
H2O Man
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