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Bernardo de La Paz

Profile Information

Member since: Fri Jul 16, 2004, 11:36 PM
Number of posts: 28,216

About Me

Lived most of my adult life in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. Left a piece of my heart there.

Journal Archives

Impeachment Lessons: What saved Clinton from Nixon's fate


Pew Research wrote in 2009 (emphasis added):

The Public Saves President Clinton’s Job

Of all the opinions that polls have tracked in the modern era, none has been more remarkable than President Bill Clinton’s approval ratings rising on the news of allegations that he had carried on an affair with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. A Pew Research Center poll in mid-January 1998 found that 61% of its respondents approved of the way the president was handling his job.11 Two weeks later, Clinton’s ratings spiked to 71%, reflecting public outrage over the way the media had prejudged Clinton’s guilt.12 The same trend was recorded in Gallup and other national surveys. The Pew Research poll analysis found the public more discontented with the president’s accusers in the news media than upset by Clinton’s alleged misbehavior.13

The public’s unexpected rallying to Clinton’s side led to a transformation of the Washington establishment’s judgment of his political viability. Before news of Clinton’s polling boost, political insiders had all but written him off. Public support for the president allowed, if not encouraged, congressional Democrats to rally to his side.

The impact of Clinton’s standing in the polls along with growing antipathy toward the president’s accusers were also potent factors in the impeachment debate and the broader politics of that contentious midterm year. The public stood by Clinton through each chapter of the saga: his grand jury testimony, his admission of lying, the revelations of the Starr report, and ultimately the Republican vote to impeach him. He ended the year with a 71% approval rating. His party actually picked up eight seats in the House of Representatives — an unusual occurrence for a second-term president, let alone one about to be impeached. It is inconceivable to think that public opinion could have had such an impact in an era prior to the emergence of the media polls.
Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Mon Apr 22, 2019, 10:43 AM (15 replies)

The signal that will and probably should trigger impeachment. Tipping point. It's happened before.


One lesson from Watergate is that public opinion is crucial. When it does events move quickly, as they do when tipping points are reached.

During 1973 and 1974 Nixon's approval rating eroded and stayed low. Public desire for removal from office rose over that time.

1974 (via Pew Research and Wikipedia)

July 20 week: Public opinion crosses 50% in favor of removal from office
July 24: SCotUS rules Nixon must hand over tapes
July 27-30: House Committee recommends 3 articles of impeachment
Aug 5: White House releases unknown "smoking gun" tape
Aug 7: Two R Senators meet Nixon at WH.
Aug 8: Nixon resigns

Senators can sniff the wind.



Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Mon Apr 22, 2019, 09:47 AM (22 replies)

Mueller mystery: What are the other 12 criminal referrals?

Source: NBC News

Mueller mystery: What are the other 12 criminal referrals?

The Mueller report mentions that he's made criminal referrals in 14 cases. Only two are publicly known.ile
April 18, 2019, 5:55 PM EDT
By Dareh Gregorian

Over the course of its sprawling 22-month investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, the special counsel's team referred 14 criminal cases to other offices, Mueller's 448-page report revealed.

Only two of those referrals -- one involving former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, the other former Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig -- are public at this point.

"During the course of the investigation, the Office periodically identified evidence of potential criminal activity that was outside the scope of the Special Counsel's jurisdiction," the report says. "After consultation with the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, the Office referred that evidence to appropriate law enforcement authorities, principally other components of the Department of Justice and the FBI."

Information on the mystery referrals was redacted for potential "harm to (an) ongoing matter," the report said.


Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/mueller-mystery-what-are-12-criminal-referrals-n996166




Note well: Each referral can lead to multiple indictments and convictions of multiple people.

Also discussion in GD.

Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Thu Apr 18, 2019, 07:35 PM (7 replies)

Lots. It requires a deep realization that rage doesn't work. And I mean deep.

I sometimes act angry to overcome some obstruction that might crop up in an ordinary life, like a lazy official or somebody who needs to correct an error now rather than next year. But even though it is for effect, it is never acting hot anger. The feeling I project is great determination and focus.

Sometimes something happens and I get angry or even very angry, but as soon as I realize that is happening, I let it go. I take a deep breath or two and come back to basic concepts of equilibrium. Mind you I've been doing so for years. Meditation is a big help, though I rarely do formal meditation. Instead I cultivate a constant meditative frame of mind.

But I don't carry rage.

I don't feed rage. North American First Nations would say "Feed the good wolf."

For me, zen philosophy was the purest distillation of what needs to be done. Life is short. Why fill the Now with rage and anger and fuming? Especially since it doesn't work. Understand that and you will be released. Keep coming back to that.

Another excellent distillation is this: "Give me the power to change what I can, the peace to accept the rest, and the wisdom to tell the difference between the two."

Two books were key for me understanding zen:

"Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" by Shunryu Suzuki
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few."

I say always be beginning, even when you have great skill.

"The Zen Experience" by Thomas Hoover
I just now see it is republished in a millennium edition with a foreword by 14th Dalai Lama

A long time ago I heard a zen monk say to imagine opening a door or window in your mind and letting a breeze blow the emotion out. That has been helpful over the years. Letting out the deep breath is a breeze and it can carry out the emotions.

However, simply letting go is not enough. The irritant is still there so something needs to replace the rage, otherwise it will soon be back. That's why I say replace it with "cold calculating loathing" re tRump and the Republicon-Trump Party. This is feeding the good wolf. Loathing, because the irritant is still a problem that must not be neglected, in this case a big problem. Loathing is not being enraged, no seeing red, no blood pressure issues. Cold, so that there is no rage. Calculating to devise and execute actions.

"Nothing works for long"? If it works even for a short time, keep doing it (except self-medicating!). Practice is key. Never get angry at yourself for failing. Get up, carry on.

Musashi was a duellist (non-firearms) in old Japan and never lost, even though his opponents were fearsome and formidable. Musashi on using anger, great story. I got carried away on the quotes below, but use what helps and read the Book of Five Rings if you at all can.

On self

“If you wish to control others you must first control yourself”
― Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy

“If you are not progressing along the true way, a slight twist in the mind can become a major twist. This must be pondered well.”
― Miyamoto Musashi, The Complete Book of Five Rings

On speed (a frequent result of rage)

“Whatever the Way, the master of strategy does not appear fast….Of course, slowness is bad. Really skillful people never get out of time, and are always deliberate, and never appear busy.”
― Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy

Fighting (apply this to political fights)

“The primary thing when you take a sword in your hands is your intention to cut the enemy, whatever the means. Whenever you parry, hit, spring, strike or touch the enemy's cutting sword, you must cut the enemy in the same movement. It is essential to attain this. If you think only of hitting, springing, striking or touching the enemy, you will not be able actually to cut him.”
― Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings
I apply this one to impeachment of tRump: If you can't cut him down with conviction in the Senate, impeachment that fails will only make him stronger.

“When your opponent is hurrying recklessly, you must act contrarily and keep calm. You must not be influenced by the opponent.”
― Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy

“In strategy it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things.”
― Miyamoto Musashi, Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy

“The heart of Stepping on the Sword, something used principally in the martial arts, is that even with bows and firearms, you must act quickly while they are being discharged: if you charge quickly, it will be difficult to notch another arrow to a bow or discharge a firearm. In all things, when your opponent sets up a tactic, respond to it immediately according to its own principles and, stepping on his actions, defeat him...This is, therefore, the mind of taking the initiative in everything. It does not mean attacking at the same time as your opponent. Stepping on the Sword is taking your action immediately upon your opponent's action.”
― Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings
Note: This requires preparation (analysis) and planning.
"Chance favors the prepared mind." -- Louis Pasteur

Public justice

“The important thing is to polish wisdom and the mind in great detail. If you sharpen wisdom, you will understand what is just and unjust in society and also the good and the evil of this world; then you will come to know all kinds of arts and you will tread different ways. In this manner, no one in this world will succeed in deceiving you. It is after this stage that you will arrive at the wisdom of strategy. The wisdom of strategy is entirely distinct. Even right in the middle of a battle where everything is in rapid movement, it is necessary to attain the most profound principle of strategy, which assures you an immovable mind. You must examine this well.”
― Miyamoto Musashi, The Complete Book of Five Rings

On alertness and spirit

“Both in fighting and in everyday life you should be determined though calm. Meet the situation without tenseness yet not recklessly, your spirit settled yet unbiased. Even when your spirit is calm do not let your body relax, and when your body is relaxed do not let your spirit slacken. Do not let your spirit be influenced by your body, or your body be influenced by your spirit.”
― Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy

“In the Way of the Martial Arts, do not let your frame of mind be any different from your everyday mind. In both everyday and military events, your mind should not change in the least, but should be broad and straightforward, neither drawn too tight nor allowed to slacken even a little.... Do not let your mind stand still even when you are in repose, but do not let it speed up even when you are involved in quick actions. The mind should not be distracted by the body, nor the body distracted by the mind.”
― Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

"1. Accept everything just the way it is.
3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling.
4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
5. Be detached from desire your whole life long.
6. Do not regret what you have done.
7. Never be jealous.
8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.
9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself nor others.
...
18. Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age.
20. You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honor.
21. Never stray from the Way.”
― Miyamoto Musashi
Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Fri Apr 12, 2019, 07:18 PM (1 replies)

Yes, next decade will be a bit bumpy & the one after a bit more so. The solution is ...


... one that the anti-socialist anti-communist anti-poor pro-tax-cut Trump-Republicon Party will hate.

... one that truly perceptive capitalists will embrace.

... one that is tried and tested and has (in smaller form) had big benefits for the US already.



I think what is needed is for society to guarantee a basic floor with the big three: Housing, health care, and a basic income for expenses.

EVERYWHERE THIS HAS BEEN TRIED IT HAS HAD POSITIVE EFFECTS: reduced policing needs, lower health costs, higher employment, fewer social problems. It saves money!

Hypocritical moralists and greedy people are blind to the fact (proven many times) that, when given the big three, people don't goof off and quit jobs and laze around. Quite the opposite. With a stable situation including less interruption due to health crises, people seek and find more jobs and work harder.

If the big three are taken care of for ALL residents in a nation, then capitalists would be much freer to introduce production and service systems that we can expect to lead to job losses and job transformations.

The nation can afford it. It truly can and the synergistic effects are wonderful. Look at the huge boom in the 1950s and 60s when massive GI housing, health care, and education expenditures were operative.

Pay attention capitalists! The alternatives all include social unrest in varying and greater degrees.

Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Sat Mar 2, 2019, 09:08 AM (0 replies)

All part of the income & wealth inequality that is the biggest undiscussed problem the USA faces.


When the 0.01 % squeeze the 47 % with the help of their corrupt RepubliCon-Trump Party politicians and unqualified ultra-conservative judges, this is the result.

It will get worse before it gets fixed. I'm hoping it gets fixed peacefully and democratically. It will undoubtedly take Democrats to do it.

Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Fri Mar 1, 2019, 05:08 PM (0 replies)

So good to see. Absolutely possible to support all four women. Pelosi is very gracious.


Some here and elsewhere tried to sharpen differences between Pelosi and the wings (caucuses) those women represent.

It seems to me that every move Pelosi has made has run counter to that narrative; Pelosi has united the Party and among the elected members it is running very efficiently.

Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Thu Feb 28, 2019, 08:14 AM (0 replies)

Only way left for tRump's wall is holding US govt workers hostage. tRump has got nothing but failure

He's had two years leading his party in complete control of the Congress, yet he has been unable to fulfill his central campaign promise: Trump's Folly: his wall.

Central Trump promise: a wall.

He failed.

He can't even get a simple wall built while having complete control of Congress.

Trump is a failure. His base will begin to abandon him now. His demise draws nearer and will be swift in action.

Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Sat Dec 22, 2018, 11:52 AM (1 replies)

Now is the time for all the discussion about who is best for the Ds & policies, etc.


When we ask for unity in advance of elections, it is after the primaries and during the time when candidates with Ds beside their names are in front of the voters.

The flip side is that outside of those times we MUST discuss leadership and policies. Have it all out now so that later we can be united again when it counts.

Discussion of leadership and policies can be divisive but it MUST occur. Now is the time.

Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Tue Nov 13, 2018, 05:05 PM (0 replies)

Robots & Lean Manufacturing techniques are NOT going to die. Get used to it. Yesterday if not sooner


Shouting for them to die is as wise as commanding the sea to calm itself. It would be as successful as demanding that we go back to hand assembled vacuum tube radios.

It's not going to happen. It's not the problem. It's a solution and a good thing.

The problem is the inequality of distribution of wealth and income. Too much is concentrated in too few hands for the good of society. A civilization as powerful and capable as on that has robots and Lean manufacturing techniques is one that can afford health care for all and a roof over every head with clean water and comfort in old age.

Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Sun Nov 4, 2018, 12:46 PM (0 replies)
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