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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 08:49 PM
Number of posts: 60,502

Journal Archives

Trump's Tingling Legs

“We're a miserably violent species. But we're also a profoundly empathic, compassionate species. How do we make sense of this.....how do we understand the biology of it?”
Robert M. Sapolsky


Robert Sapolsky is a professor of biological sciences, neurology, and neurological sciences at Stanford University. About a year ago, the Council on Foreign Affairs published his article “This Is Your Brain on Nationalism.” See:


Recent events have resulted in my reviewing the important information that Robert Sapolsky reported on a year ago. And it's not just New Zealand – although that alone would suffice. I understand why Jimi Hendrix sang,” And up in the clouds I can imagine UFOs jumpin' themselves, Laughin' they sayin' Those people so uptight, they sure know how to make a mess .'” I know why my brother called tonight to say, “You should be happy. It just means we are a failed species, soon to disappear from the evolutionary tree of life.”

It's fascinating to see how human beings mentally process “others,” even though those are other human beings. I do not relate to that type of thinking. The vast majority of the human beings that support Trump - and the gunman in New Zealand – process this information in a primitive manner in their brains, a vestige of a response that may have played a significant role in human evolution long, long ago. As Carl Sagan pointed out in “Dragons of Eden,” our relatives seemed to die out (****except in the National Geographic DNA tests, which would surely surprise the white nationalists should it ever enter on their level of understanding).

The information Sapolsky presents should place Trump's recent comment about how “tough guys” love him, and might become “very bad” if there is an effort to remove him from the White House. I know that some are questioning if he was aware of what he was actually saying, or just rambling on in confusion. I think he knew exactly what he was saying. I think he has been waiting for a time to fit that message in.

I don't think I'm alone in having questioned if republicans are “fully human.” Sapolsky's studies say that yes, they are anatomically human, and behave in a manner that has been common in our species. Yet they are not “fully human,” in the potential described by enlightened people throughout history.. Their brains are functioning at a fight-or-flight level, minus the flight. When confronted with the image of someone outside of their herd, they become uncomfortable. Edgy. Anxious. Afraid. None of this allows much space for rational thinking.

These are robots, in a very real sense, that aren't programmed to have empathy when they see an “other.” They are entirely comfortable with having homeless brown-skinned people from Central America being confronted by the military when they try to enter the United States. They are good with putting little children in metal cages.

Trump is openly calling on those among these herds to be prepared to use violence to protect him if he is legally evicted from the White House. This call for sedition is aimed at a specific audience. He's not speaking to black people. Or brown-skinned Americans. Not Asian-Americans, or Native Americans. No, he's talking to white nationalists. The type that live in a van and send pipe bombs to Democratic leaders. The type that murder “others” in their house of worship. The type that makes posters of Rep. Omar with the Twin Towers, and make the unprecedented number of death threats against her.

In his 1973 book, “The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness,” Erich Fromm noted the danger of when a malignant narcissist – his term of sociopathy – leads those who views “others” in the manner described by Sapolsky. That's where we are today. And while white nationalism isn't the only problem we face at this time, it sure as hell ranks at the top for immediate threats.

The good news is that Sapolsky and Fromm's works show that many of us have brains that function on a higher level. That the human potential isn't limited to fear, hatred, and violence. These are, in fact, the very things that we should consciously avoid. Our priority is to civilize this country, in which incivility is all too common. That doesn't mean that we are okay with the actions of the Trump supporters. Or that we accept that type of ill-mannered behaviors.

At this time, the Democratic Party – though imperfect – offers the best options for civilizing our society. We need to do that, before we point fingers at other lands. It's a difficult, long term process, although it presents far less pain and suffering than any alternative. And it is an option that presents itself to us each and every day.

H2O Man

Changing Times

“Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall ….”
Bob Dylan; The Times They Are A-Changin'

There is an interesting model that identifies three ranges of what can be called the “group consciousness” of humanity throughout our rather brief existence of a million-plus years on Earth. A person can, of course, find examples that do not fit neatly within the model. Yet it is worthy of our consideration, perhaps especially in the context of the extreme divisions within groups we are witnessing today.

In the early phase, generally when humans engaged in “hunting and gathering” to survive, individuals were, of course, conscious. But the groups existed, no matter what continent they inhabited, in what is referred to as “mythological consciousness.” More, as has been documented by experts such as Joseph Campbell, many of the mythologies share common themes and expressions.

This changed – slowly in real time – with the advent of horticulture and especially agriculture. Humanity then entered a phase known as “theological consciousness.” It is, I think, important to view this as a new layer of consciousness, not unlike that which our ancestors' experienced long ago as the brain grew and added new capacities. The myths of the past became more formalized when script was introduced, which is an extremely important factor.

Clearly, not all of the Earth's peoples entered the new level of consciousness at the same time. There tended to be the growth of this new layer near the equator, in different parts of the world. This, of course, had the potential to create tensions and conflicts with differing groups.

The third phase comes into play around the time of the industrial revolution. It created within the groups experiencing this what is known as “ideological consciousness.” It is also connected to the changes in communications created by the printing press. The ideologies of these groups – which are a new layer – were rooted in the myths and theologies of the past. But without question, these ideologies created great tensions and conflicts within the human populations.

Today, with advances in technology such as the internet, there is a new level of consciousness coming into being. It has the positive potential of allowing individuals to appreciate that we are all human beings, taking part in the eternity of “time,” here on Earth. Within this context, we have the ability to recognize and rationally confront the problems associated with human life. These include everything from climate change to poverty.

There is also a very negative potential …..Trump's election is profound evidence of this. One might consider it the result of the collective negative forces of some of the myths, theologies, and ideologies of the past, gurgling up from the collective unconscious human energies.

I'd like to see a specific group of human beings, known collectively as the Democratic Party that exists within the United States, avoid the pitfalls that are associated with that negative potential. This doesn't mean that we all will agree with every other Democrat on every single issue. But it does require that we have the maturity to discuss (and even debate) isues rationally, without dismissing or demonizing those who may honestly and sincerely disagree with us …..even on those issues that have the potential to strike an emotional nerve that is connected to the myths, theologies, and/or ideologies that are important to us.

Let me give but one example. There are a variety of Democrats in the House and Senate who have been elected to represent us. And in 2020, there will be elections ranging from local to state to the national level. Even for president. I would suggest that in the primary season, we focus on rational discussions and debates, without attacking those who think differently than we as individuals do. And once a primary is concluded, we join together and work hard to elect all the Democratic Party's candidates. I can't identify a better option than this.

H2O Man

RICO Slobby

Every so often, it can be useful to update things that were discussed before. In this instance, I'm looking back almost two years. On Sunday, March 26, 2017, I posted an essay titled “RICO Suave” on DU:GD. In this essay, I noted that my favorite source of information on the Trump-Russian scandal, Malcolm Nance, had said the FBI was conducting a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) investigation.


We have heard numerous opinions on if a sitting president can be indicted. This is unsettled law. However, in the 1990s, it was determined that a sitting president could be forced to defend civil charges. This is important, because RICO charges can include both criminal and civil charges.

I had assumed at the time that James Comey was in charge of the investigation that would lead to RICO charges. A few weeks later, I anticipated that it would be charged by Mr. Mueller. Even after Mr. Mueller handed off the Michael Cohen business to the Southern District of New York, I figured that Mr. Mueller would handle the RICO bit.

A number of people – including guests on MSNBC and CNN – kept saying the SDNY was actually more of a threat to Trump than Mr. Mueller. This included several people that I have a lot of respect for. Being rather dull-witted myself, I decided to ask a few people with far greater insight than myself about why the SDNY was more of a threat?

Their answers, as best as I understood them, were three-fold. First, top prosecutors tend to charge and try those cases that they are very confident they will win. Those charges are not always for the exact crimes they had investigated. A prime example of this was Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation of possible violations of the Intelligence Identities Protect Act in the Plame scandal. He ended up prosecuting Scooter Libby on charges of perjury, obstructing justice, and lying to the FBI and grand jury.

I had hoped there would be more charges. Mr. Fitzgerald had, for example, suggested that Congress investigate VP Cheney's role. However, as one of those smarter-than-me people told me, Libby ended up a convicted felon, and Cheney was left a toothless old dog. (Curious that Trump pardoned Scooter.)

The SDNY will have a much easier time prosecuting the Trump “family business” on RICO than Mr. Mueller could have proven, beyond an ill-defined “reasonable doubt,” Trump's direct participation in conspiring with Russia. More, the SDNY will include the Trump business relations with Russian interests. This allows them to reach the goal of charging all of those involved. It will include things that were done before Trump entered the republican primaries, the entire campaign, the transition, and the corruption since Trump took office.

It is most likely that Trump will be listed as an unindicted co-conspirator on the criminal charges, and faced with civil charges. However, I was told that the SDNY might actually try indicting Trump. If so, it would likely be sealed until he is removed from office.

Finally, I was told that while Trump is accurately being described as behaving as a mob boss, there were two important things to keep in mind: He's not that bright. Trump had no real understanding of what the powers and responsibilities of the presidency included when he decided to run. And second, he's a fucking slob in all he does, who anticipates everyone else has to clean up his messes.

Guerrillas in the Midst

“You must believe me, because madmen always tell the truth.”
Ernesto Che Guevara; May 26, 1964

I watched Trump's “state of emergency” speech. Like literally millions of Americans, I know that the crisis we are confronted with is not the poor Central Americans attempting to enter our country for a safer, better life ….it's the Trump-Russian caravan that has invaded county and taken the White House hostage. They are the ones that seek to destroy the concepts expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. They are the ones attempting to subvert the institutions of our nation.

We've witnessed recent hate rallies, where Trump tries to whip up the passions of the mentally dead – to where they threaten and attack journalists. Or to where they construct crude pipe bombs to send in the mail, hoping to take out a large portion of the Democratic Party's leadership. Dangerous as they may be, these are merely the zombie troops being used by a more sinister force. The more serious threat right now comes not from the puppets, but from the puppeteer.

In the past three years, the Trump-Russia dynamic has pulled more than the mentally dead into its orbit. Its gravitational force has hypnotized what was once known as the republican party, and reduced their leaders in DC to babbling sheep. By gosh, that's somewhere near a quarter of the adult population of voting age being led astray by this awful force. There will be a puppet vs zombie conflict during the 2020 primary season. I doubt we can rescue the vast majority of them. Probably too late for our thoughts and prayers at this point, so let's invest our energies elsewhere.

Who dares to confront this beast? Well, let's see: Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and lots and lots of Democrats in the House and Senate, for starters. And I assume everyone here does, too. But we are engaged in a struggle in which our opposition is using irregular warfare. We can “surprise attack” them using Amendment 1 of the Bill of Rights. It's our very best weapon between now and the 2020 elections.

Here is my idea for this week. I hope that others here will consider joining me. I think we need guerrillas in our midst, using the social-political weapons found in Amendment 1. Ordinary, every-day citizens by day, who will exercise their Amendment 1 rights from their homes. I'm going to buy a book of twenty US postage stamps, get twenty sheets of paper and a pen, and send twenty letters to elected representatives in the House and Senate.

Ten will be to Democrats, saying keep up the good work in fighting Trump on his wall. And ten will be to republicans who are up for re-election in 2020, telling them to stand for the Constitution – and against Trump – or face the consequences. I will ask the republicans for written responses, which I will use in the local/regional/state media sources, as a concerned citizen.

If one other forum member joins in this grass roots effort, it would double the impact. Think of if five or ten people here took up this worthy cause. We could have some fun posting the responses. Documenting their positions well before 2020 in a manner the republicans do not anticipate. For that is the very essence of the non-violent guerrilla warfare that is required at this time.

H2O Man

Octopus's Garden

“Every species and every society represent a column of pilgrims not only traveling in space, but also in time.
Jacques Rousseau; Movement of Plants under the Influence of Man; University of Toronto Press; 1966; page 98.

One of my very favorite human beings and I were discussing boxing and politics today. We decided that I would attempt to write up some of our discussion into an essay for this forum. The above quote, from a book I read years ago, seems to connect with that conversation. While the United States seems to be spinning too close to out-of-control, we need to take time to tend our own gardens. That includes, when possible, taking time to hang out with different species – plant and animal – and to take in the healing properties of the life-force of Earth.

It is good to spend time in what society calls nature, or the forest, out in the “wild.”. It is,in my opinion, it is more civilized than the species of republicans inhabiting Washington. It's good to spend time with people you enjoy and respect. I'm currently training two boxers for the finals of the NYS
Golden Gloves. A flock of children watches them working out at the YMCA. A handful of nine year old boys have gone from filming the fighters spar and posting it, to respectfully asking to be taught how to box.

As I watch these youngsters doing their very best imitations of my son, I'm reminded of the polliwogs in my pond in that in-between stage – when they still have a tail, but their back legs have sprouted. Their ambitions surpass their coordination. A number of these young fellows' parents stop in to talk to me, some briefly, others for longer periods. A few speak about the lack of recreation available for kids, some are happy that their sons are exercising rather than just focusing on a cell phone, and others recognize their boys need the self-discipline.

Lately, some parents have expanded these conversations to include their beliefs about society and politics. They are good and decent people, and I enjoy conversing with them. Yet I am aware that many of them are largely ignorant of the dynamics of the issues that concern them. Thus, I focus upon asking them questions that may promote their thinking outside the box that contains their current thinking.

It's true that it is terrible that Donald Trump plans to end US compliance with a agreement to limit production of certain types of nuclear weapons. If he indeed came to this decision, as many believe, that would be frightening. But, I ask them, what if that is simply something that he and Putin agreed upon during one of their private conversations? Is that not frightening in a very different way?

Trump wants to build a wall. He wants to keep immigrants out of the country, he says repeatedly. Good people recognize the racism in Trump's speeches on this topic, and oppose Trump's wall. But what if this hate and fear is merely the delivery system for a belief that Trump has gotten from some of his advisers? We know that, besides being a racist and sexist, Trump is uniquely stupid. But not everyone around him is stupid – many are simply evil.

For example, Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller are evil. But they understand science, much like many republicans in Washington do. Being republicans, they also believe in lying to the grass roots republicans regarding this. Hence, these vile creatures pretend they do not believe in climate change. Yet they make plans for how the US can deal with the mass migrations that are sure to take place when the oceans rise. Hence, the hate and fear are encouraged, in order to build a wall to keep people from Central America from getting in, in a manner that allows them to deny the reality of climate change.
This doesn't mean that Trump has a full grasp of what he is doing. He's just pleased to follow Putin's lead on weapons, and spread the disease of hatred for the wall.

Why are both Cohen and Manafort refusing to testify honestly about specific interactions relating to Russians and/or the campaign? Cohen used to boast about being “connected” to the Russian mob. A few journalists are speculating that Manafort is still hoping for a pardon. Isn't an obvious possibility – even probability – they both fear for their own and their families' safety if they cross the Russian intelligence/ mob?

We are in a strange and dangerous time in the United States. Though it is imperfect, this country is still rooted in good concepts that can be put into practice to create a more perfect union. But we have some traitors, headed by a sociopath, in DC. Weeding them out creates tensions that threaten the garden. We are at a high-risk point, and the next two to three weeks will be very significant – not just for Don Jr., but for the nation.

Be awake. Be alert.
H2O Man

NYS Golden Gloves

My son scored a devastating second-round knockout today in the semi-finals of the heavyweight division.


“While we are laughing the seed of some trouble is put into the wide arable land of events. While we are laughing it sprouts, it grows and suddenly bears a poison fruit which we must pluck.”
John Keats

Well before the mainstream media was reporting connections between Roger Stone and the Trump-Russian criminal scandal, members of the DU community were discussing his role. And months before Trump said publicly that he would be proud to shut down the government, members of the DU community were discussing the inevitable “crisis” Trump would create to distract public attention from upcoming results from the Mueller investigation. That is an example of what, in my opinion, makes this such an important forum.

Today's news is bigger than most Americans could possibly recognize.

Thank You, Nathan Phillips

“ 'The men told me there weren't any human bones; it was a prehistoric campsite, not a burial ground; they had a right to dig, and I had no business there since it was private land. But looking at all those craters, well ….I know amateurs don't destroy whole sites like that. These people were literally mining the place. It had every sign of a commercial operation.' “
Sgt. Mike Hart; Who Owns the Past?; National Geographic; March, 1989; page 378.

This weekend's incident involving a gang of Catholic students, a small group of black people, and a Native American Elder reminded me of an event in Kentucky in the 1980s. As reported in National Geographic, ghouls excavated more than 650 Indian graves. The Slack Farm had been a major village site between approximately 1450 and 1650.

That some of the students from the Kentucky school shouted, “You stole the land from the indigenous people” struck me as central to understanding the conflict. And while that conflict began in the ignorance of the students, the weekend incident highlights the potential for violence that has seeped to the surface of American society since Trump began campaigning for the presidency.

Before I focus on the weekend, I'll take a minute to discuss the Slack Farm. This was on Shawnee territory. Native leaders called upon, among others, representatives of the Haudenosaunee, or Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy, to conduct the repatriation ceremonies. When Tadodaho Leon Shenandoah and Chiefs Vince Johnson and Paul Waterman arrived in Kentucky, the governor said he had no idea who they were, or what right they had to be there. Vince had a copy of the September 1987 Nation Geographic with him; the article “The Iroquois: Keepers of the Fire” convinced the governor that the three men had jurisdiction.

The grave-robbers were intent upon were focused on finding “artifacts” to market. The National Geographic article showed, for example, a small pipe that sold for $4,500. They were not interested in the human remains. Thus, there were huge piles of skulls, of jaw-bones, etc. I'll never forget Paul's telling me about the largest pile of jaws. The only good that came from this outrageous situation is that it helped us get the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act passed into federal law in 1990.

But for every action, there is a reaction. The reaction mimicked the corporate strategy, still in use, to justify taking mineral wealth from, and/or putting pipelines through, Indian territory. The outdated theory that paleo-era people entering North America killed large game at a rate that caused mass extinctions – hence Indians were not “conservationists. The original theory that connected the melting of glaciers, the peopling of North America, and the extinction of many large mammals was started by scientists in the mid-1900s. However, as Vine Deloria Jr. wrote in “Red Earth, White Lies,” the myth of the Pleistocene Hit Man ignored the many small animals and tiny creatures that also became extinct in that era of great environmental change.

Likewise, theories about where the original inhabitants to the Americas came from, along with when and how, has been expanded in recent decades by serious scientists. Without question, groups of people did walk across the Bering Strait, and this accounts for much of the population that resulted. But there are theories about other means, including small boats with people who traveled along the coastline. More, just as the once popular myth that Columbus was the first European to reach the Americas have been proven incorrect, scientists have theorized on other people coming to the North American coasts, both east and west, primarily to trade.

There is one more myth that comes into play with this weekend's events. After the end of the US v Indian wars in the west, a curious factor effected many white families in America. This was best described by Deloria in another of his outstanding books: these families claimed they had an Indian in their family tree. Usually, it was a Mohawk, a Cherokee, or a Sioux, perhaps because were the most famous for having produced “noble savages.” Curiously, there was no common claim of an Agrican or Asian ancstor.

The combination of the loss of access to burial grounds to plunder, combined with a shallow understanding of the reality of science, took the old”family tree” myth a giant step further. The pseudo-science that too often plays on the History Channel, and claims, for example, that the Cherokee are Hebrews, has convinced these people that Europeans were the “first Americans,” and that Indians stold their land from them. Thus, the sad call that the Native Americans stole the land from the indigenous people. (The Cherokee, by the way, were from Iroquois peoples who moved south, just the same as their relatives, the Susquehannock, around 2,000 bc.)

The viciousness that we witnessed over the weekend should remind us that it is but a thin veil between civilization and barbarism. Nathan Phillips stood as the conscience against the mindless hate that threatens to destroy that veil.

H2O Man

Speaking of BuzzFeed

One of my closest associates told me about the BuzzFeed article minutes after it was published. I said, “That makes sense.” He said, “Be careful on this one.” I said that they had broke important stories on the Trump crime family. He agreed, and noted they have some outstanding journalists working for them. So I asked what the problem was? He said to look closely at two things: first, the article hinted that there were sources from the Mueller team, and second, there is a significant difference between Trump personally telling Cohen to lie, and someone like Jared telling Cohen that Trump wanted him to lie. Or, possibly telling Cohen to inform others in the White House that he would testify that the Trump Tower Moscow business ended in January,so that they would parrot the same lie.

After discussing some related issues, I thought I should pen a quick essay for this forum. I decided to write it after training my two fighters for their January 27 bouts in the Golden Gloves. However, being old, tired, and forgetful, I did not. I want to be clear here: I had originally believed the report was likely accurate, but considered passing on another person's advice. It wasn't something that I came up with myself.

Let's look at a few issues objectively. I know that good people can have different views that they feel very strongly about. But let's put feelings and emotions to the side. There are no sources from the Mueller Team passing secrets to any journalist. There may be sources who work, or have worked, with FBI investigators on other cases, and they may believe what they told the two journalists. Or the journalists may have misunderstood what they said. Or the sources may have fed them misinformation, especially if the sources are connected to a small group of active and retired investigators from the NYC area.

It is also legitimate to look closely at one or both of the journalists. In this case, although it was more than a decade ago, one of them engaged in a series of actions that discredited him. However, it is also important to remember that people can and do learn from mistakes and change. Not everyone does, of course …..something Rubin Carter said to me years ago comes to mind: “Wise people learn from others' mistakes. Most of us have to learn from our own. And fools? Fools never learn.”

Both sources and reporters can be accurate 95% of the time. That's important. But that other 5% is important, too. One should consider if these are honest mistakes, careless errors, seemingly correct conclusions on realistic theories, or purposeful misleading efforts to discredit an individual, group or organization, or movement. Everyone has the right to their own opinion on this. I see no need to express my own at this time.

However, I would like to say that we are at a point in this country where there is benefits found in removing emotion to the extent possible, and taking an objective look at events as they unfold. Try to think of various options that may be involved. This will help us to realize that, despite a few more bumps in the road up ahead, the Trump presidency is in shambles, and will soon come to an abrupt end.

H2O Man

Fahrenheit 784

“History is to the nation what memory is to the individual. Honest history is the weapon of freedom.”
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

Is the Trump presidency just a nightmare? How might it end?

On June 17, 1972, five men were arrested after they broke into an office complex in the Watergate building in Washington, DC. On August 9, 1974, Richard Nixon's resignation became official at noon. This 784 day period was among the most important in our nation's history.

Those of my generation will never forget those times. Younger people interested in politics likely have learned about that era, including from some outstanding coverage in recent times. I have not seen all that others have told me about, as I have limited access to television. And so I apologize if much of this repeats what you have recently watched. I'm going largely from the internet films of the Senate and later House hearings on Nixon and Watergate.

There are, obviously, differences between Nixon and Trump, and the nature of their criminal behaviors before, during, and after elections. Nixon was not schooled in “white collar” crime by his father, who apparently was a hard working, though not financially successful, man. Perhaps more importantly, Nixon's mother's existence had a positive influence on him.

There are some interesting similarities. During his first term, an officer from Naval Intelligence used to meet with a “former” INO officer, then serving in the FBI, in the basement of the White House. The pair were Nob Woodward and Mark Felt; they made a greater impact on Nixon's second term. Also, in December of 1971, Nixon learned that a young man in the Navy who worked for Henry Kissinger was spying on the president, and turning materials over to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Trump, of course, knew by the transition period that, at very least, the FBI was aware of the Trump-Russian scandal. While Nixon was too intimidated to call out the Joint Chiefs, Trump has publicly – and usually incorrectly – been accusing the intelligence community of conspiring against him.(Neither had a secretary named Lincoln or Kennedy, however.)

Being “watched” played upon both men's natural predisposition to being paranoid. They share this trait with others who have both superiority and inferiority complexes. This results in having few, if any, true friends, as opposed to associates. Nixon had one friend, Charles “Bebe” Rebozo; Trump has had zero true friends in his adult life. (Through Rebozo, Nixon came to spend time in Florida, in what the press called the Winter White House. However, he spent less time than Trump spends in Florida.)

Both Nixon and Trump showed personality pathology before being elected, that was related to crimes they committed during their campaigns. Nixon injected himself into the peace negotiations involving the US and Vietnam in 1968; Trump was dealing with Russia in 2016. Nixon, being anti-social, would later show some loyalty to select associates involved in his many crimes; Trump, a sociopath, has zero loyalty to his co-conspirators.

Now, let's look at a few important dates. In July of 1970, Nixon signed off on the infamous “Huston Plan” for illegal domestic spying on his enemies. The plan called for the FBI, CIA, Defense Department, and National Security Agency to conduct the types of “investigations,” using the same types of tactics the “plumbers” would employ a year or so later. Hoover, who was aware of Nixon's interference in the 1968 Vietnam peace talks, refused to sign off on it. Instead, he noted his objections/ Nixon, as John Dean later noted, never officially ended the program.

Hoover kept track of the Huston program, because he could use it to blackmail Nixon, had the president attempted to force him to retire. However, on May 2, 1972, Hoover died. While in and of itself, his death was surely a good thing, it allowed for Nixon to put his illegal activities into action at a higher level. His re-election committee, known as CREEP, hired a “retired” CIA man named Hunt, who Nixon was familiar with since his days as vice president.

Hunt hired another CIA veteran, James McCord, along with a former FBI agent named G, Gordon Liddy. One fact that is too often overlooked is that soon after being hired, McCord made an effort to befriend Martha Mitchell, the wife of the Attorney General. Then, they became operational, hiring some Cuban-American associates that Hunt knew from Nixon's vice presidential era. They broke into a number of places, including quite likely Dan Rather's home.

After being caught in the second break-in at the Watergate, a number of entities would begin investigating what the heck they were up to. However, these investigations would not influence the outcome of the 1972 presidential election, any more than the on-going investigations of Trump-Russia did the 2016 election. We can only speculate how the voting public might ave reacted in both cases, had they been fully informed.

A couple of newspapers began investigating the break-in, leading to a bit of competition between reporters from the Washington Post and New York Times. The Post had an advantage: Bob Woodward had become a reporter for them. A few years before, in the White House basement, Mark Felt had advised Bob to become a reporter – despite the fact Felt despised the media. And Felt would be assisting Woodward as he and Carl investigated Watergate.

Besides the reporters and DC police, the FBI was investigating the break-in. At Nixon's direction, several aides contacted CIA director Richard Helms, asking him to stop the FBI. Helms could have done so, by declaring a secrecy privilege based upon national security. Nixon said the investigation could bring up issues related to the “whole Bay of Pigs thing.” Like Hoover, Helms had come to distrust Nixon, and refused. The White House requests came back to haunt poor Richard.

The Watergate burglars had been tried in front of Judge John Sirica, starting in January of 1973. He did not believe the defendants had been acting on their own. Eventually, James McCord presented him with a letter that helped uncover the CREEP and White House's role.

On May 16, 1973, Nixon's Secretary of Defense – and nominee for Attorney General – Elliot Richardson contacted Archibald Cox to ask him to serve as the Special Prosecutor in the Watergate investigations. Because Cox was subpoenaing White House tapes, he fell victim to theSaturday Night Massacre on October 20. However, his replacement, Leon Jaworski, would carry on the fight for the tapes, much to Nixon's surprise.

The US Senate would hold televised investigation hearings on Watergate. The tesimony of two witnesses in particular caused severe damage to the White House attempts at a cover-up: John Dean and Alexander Butterfield. Dean told of Nixon's corruption, while Butterfield told of the taping system. These hearing began on May 17, 1973, lasted through the summer, and resulted in a 1,250-page report the following June.

The result of these sources of information – the media, the televised hearings, and more – led to a growing number of citizens believing that their president was a crook. It was no longer just the political left – which was a combination of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and the New Left. It included some of the moderates in our party, and even some republicans.

It's important to note that there were several attempts in the House to introduce the topic of impeachment, before it would be taken seriously. Some were not about Watergate. On May 9, 1972, Rep. William Ryan introduced a resolution, and the following day, John Conyers introduced one; both had to do with other abuses of power. On July 31, Rep. Robert Drinin introduced a resolution, based on Nixon's illegal bombing of Cambodia. At the time, Drinin recognized his resolution would lose 400-20, had there been a vote. But these leaders were confident that the tide would turn ….and it did. The Democrats on the Judiciary Committee were well prepared: in September and October, they put together a 718-page history of impeachment.

Still, when on February 6, 1974, the House voted to have its Judiciary Committee to begin hearings to consider possible articles of impeachment, there were many who believed Nixon would survive. This included Nixon himself: he considered the members of the Judiciary Committee to be “bench players,” and that he would maintain the active support of both the republicans and southern Democrats on the committee.

However, the requests for tapes had not ended with the Saturday Night Massacre. Neither the public nor Jaworski were satisfied with what Nixon was willing to give. When Jaorski subpoenaed additional tapes, the White House appealed directly to the US Supreme Court. Nixon was confident, based largely upon the number of Justices he had appointed, that he would either win,or, at worst, lose a split-decision that he could call inconclusive in regarding to executive privilege.

The Judiciary Committee's hearings were acrimonious. Even as the tide had turned on Nixon, many republicans aggressively supported the president. But the Supreme Court would rule against Nixon on July 24, 1974, thus ordering the release of the tapes. These included what was called the “smoking gun.” On July 27, 29, and 30, the Judiciary Committee voted on five articles of impeachment, passing three. (Those on Nixon's tax problems and bombing Cambodia failed.) A little over a week later, Nixon resigned.

The Nixon presidency was not brought down by any one thing. T was a combination of the polic, the press, the intelligence community, the House and Senate, Cox and Jaworski, and the public outcry. And, of course, from Nixon's criminality. The same factors are bringing Trump down now, before our very eyes.
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