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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 08:49 PM
Number of posts: 56,339

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Roger Stone & Crosstown Traffic

"I'm not the only soul
accused of hit and run;
tire tracks all across you back
I can see you've had you fun."
-- Jimi Hendrix; Crosstown Traffic


I haven't seen much focus on the Roger Stone incident last week. There have been some indications that Stone is willing to sing to investigators. Then he became the victim of a hit-and-run "accident":

http://www.salon.com/2017/03/16/trump-adviser-roger-stone-fears-that-a-suspicious-hit-and-run-incident-in-miami-meant-someone-was-targeting-him/

Paul Ryan

“In April, 2011, shortly after the near-shutdown, Paul Ryan released his budget, the most radical policy blueprint to come out of official Washington in a generation. It simultaneously shredded the social safety net, swept away the country's seed corn of investments in the future, and adopted discredited supply-side economics. Even Gingrich called it 'radical right-wing social engineering.' ….In this first version, Ryan privatized Medicare entirely for those under fifty-five.”
Jonathan Alter; The Center Holds: Obama and his Enemies”; Simon & Schuster; 2013


Was it a sign of mental deterioration, as my son insists? Or can be be attributed to the cable news reports on the shared failure of Ryan and Trump to deliver as promised? Either way, while watching a report on Ryan, I said that there was an important paragraph in Jonathan Alter's book, on page 165. Instead, the above quote is found on page 163.

This was shortly after Ryan had expressed report for what President Obama had referred to as “an Ike budget.” Ryan clearly has no conscience. I find it offensive every time he talks about his ancestors immigrating from Ireland at the end of the Great Starvation. He is nothing if not the unethical heir to the “landlords” who ruled the Old Sod with cruelty.

President Obama responded in a speech at George Washington University, by saying Ryan's proposal wasn't “serious,” and pointing out that it “would lead to a fundamentally different America than the one we've known.” (Alter; pg 165)

The battle over health care certainly isn't over. It's important that citizens at the grass roots level continue to speak up, and inform their elected representatives – Democratic and republican – that the Ryan-Trump plan is unacceptable.

Trumptown

I wonder if current events are bringing up painful memories for House intelligence committee member Jackie Speier. As older forum members know, this is not her first confrontation with a megalomaniac. In November of 1978, she was part of a fact-finding mission as part of an investigation into abuses by Jim Jones, at the “People's Temple” in Guyana. She worked Congressman Leo Ryan, who represented the same general district that she does today.

In that tragic incident, Jones ordered a vicious attack on Rep. Ryan and others, as they attempted to board their flight to leave “Jonestown.” Five people, including Ryan, were killed by gun-fire; Ms. Speier was hit five times, and would lay wounded for 22 hours before help arrived.

This is not to suggest that Jones and Trump are identical twins. But they do share certain dangerous personality characteristics. Devin Nunes's attempt to distribute the kool aid to the media yesterday must have reminded Speier of 1978.

Trump and the alt-right must be removed from power by constitutional means. I would not be surprised if they then move to the jungles of Guyana.

Nunes

Devin Nunes's conversation with reporters is a good thing, no matter if he intended for it to be or not. The head of the House Intelligence Committee noted that he discussed reports he saw with House Speaker Paul Ryan this morning, although it is unclear of if Nunes shared information about the reports with Adam Schiff. Speaking to reporters about this may provide substance for the dwindling number of delusionals, who are outraged that President Obama wired Trump's phone ….but it also puts Trump on notice, very publicly.

Certainly, Trump and his carp will claim that this “breaking news” supports his wild lies. But the news does no such thing. Though I'm not a huge fan of mainstream news, I'd say that most of it has noted that Trump lied. That he changes the goal posts. And that his refusal to take ownership of his lies is not a positive character trait.

We all knew that Flynn was caught in discussions with the Russian ambassador the day that President Obama announced sanctions. We just had no idea of how many of the others were doing so. And the fact is that there are many, many connections being documented. It's still unknown how many times Trump was in contact with enemies of the United States. But the public may start finding out, sooner than expected.

So we can expect some blather from the alt-right. Rabid animals do foam at the mouth. But the average citizen knows that Trump is full of crap, that his presidency thus far is a failure, and that it is dangerous to allow him to continue. And Trump can be counted on to reinforce this in the next 24 hours. Big time.

A Capital Idea

“You own your lies. Even if it takes a while, every lie you tell will eventually catch up to you. So try very hard to tell the truth. That's what I think. It's better to tell the truth.”
Onondaga Chief Paul Waterman


The opening quote originally came from an interview I did with Paul that was published in 1994. It is very important in traditional Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy) culture for the leadership to be open, honest, and trustworthy. If a chief were to tell a purposeful lie to smear another person's reputation, there would be consequences. First, it's possible that a Clan Mother would give him a stern verbal warning. It is also possible that she would “de-horn” him, meaning formally removing him from his status as chief.

Several of the most influential of this nation's Founding Fathers had modeled modeled our government after the Iroquois Confederacy. This is evident in the 1754 Albany Plan of Union, the Articles of Confederation, and then the Constitution. Under President George Washington, some in Congress believed that treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton had “misused” funds. Thus, Congress used its power to vote on a resolution to censure Hamilton. The vote fell short, but this action established their right to censure. Although the Constitution addresses the process to impeach, Congress does have the power to make resolutions.

Although censuring may seem merely symbolic, the fact that Congress has a limited history of even voting on such resolutions suggests it is viewed seriously. Being formally denounced by Congress in a public manner has a sting to it. It's interesting to note that even a congressional committee has the ability to vote upon a resolution to censure.

After yesterday's initial congressional hearing on the connections between the Trump campaign and administration, and Russia, there appears to be potential cause for impeaching the current president. Those connections certainly require a remedy that goes far, far beyond a censure. And despite the public utterances of republicans these days, the vast majority of those in the House and Senate would prefer that Trump would disappear.

This process will require several more steps. Republicans are not to the point that they believe Trump is wounded to the extent that they can safely impeach him. We can be confident that both the FBI investigation, and Trump's behavior, will continue damage his presidency. Yet, as citizens, we have the responsibility to assist the president in his foul self-destruction.

Trump's claims that President Obama wire-tapped him were disgraceful. His refusal to admit that he lied is disgusting; his attempts to move the goal-posts results in his aides humiliating themselves by pretending his rant was reality-based. And that becomes dangerous, when they repeat nonsense about President Obama using British intelligence to spy on Trump. And the continue to insult the two intelligence officers who testified to the House committee yesterday.

He can't stop himself. He lacks the intellectual and ethical capacity to change.

We will not accept him, or his behavior. And we have a unique opportunity now, that we should try to take full advantage of. Clearly, the Democrats on the House Intelligence Community, not only know Trump's presidency is corrupt and dangerous, but they find his refusal to apologize to President Obama unacceptable.

We should focus our grass-roots' efforts right now on contacting the offices of Representatives Adam Schiff and Terri Sewell, and urging them to introduce a resolution, within the House intelligence committee, to censure Trump. He needs to have consequences for that lie, and the damage it has done.

We can't be sure that our efforts will work, of course, but it's worth a try. Let's see how the system works in 2017. Surely, if it does, Trump will react in an even more out-of-control manner. And that will move things closer to impeachment hearings.

Power

When a person purposely engages in lies that are intended to incite emotions in the manner of Trump, the results follow a general path: first, a majority of the people find his behavior embarrassing; then a growing number find his behavior insulting; and then his behavior becomes dangerous to people – including, in this case, in the context of the peoples of other nations. The only question regarding how much suffering that person will cause to others is answered by how long it takes people to remove him from power.

In many cases around the globe, that removal from power requires some degree of violence. Yet in the United States, there is a non-violent method defined by the US Constitution. By no coincidence, Trump and his band of merry fools hold the Constitution in utter contempt. Indeed, the current part-time occupant of the White House clearly views himself as superior to any previous president, and instead humiliates himself in his sycophantic adoration of another “leader.”

One need not be a liberal of progressive, a member of the Democratic Party or the Democratic Left, to find this – in and of itself – troubling. Many hold the Russian people in high regard, with respect for Russian history, yet still find Putin to be a terrible human being. Indeed, the only people who share Trump's love for Putin are either seeking personal economic benefit, or are those dip-shits who “like” Putin's government because they see it as a white button on a multi-colored shirt. These are the off-spring of those who hated the Soviet Union because it was “red.”

During his campaign, Trump spoke of purposely damaging NATO. Who would benefit? Putin. During the republican national convention, Trump's people removed the plank about assisting the people of the Ukraine from their party's platform. Who benefits? Gosh, who did Jeff Sessions meet with at that time? After the November election, President Obama announced increased sanctions against Russia. The same day, Flynn had five (5) telephone conversations with the Russian ambassador. He did so with president-elect Trump's support.

When Trump accused President Obama of tapping his phone, he went well beyond being a fucking national embarrassment, and became purely insulting. It's not that he hadn't insulted people his entire life, including in the republican primary and general election campaign. To his discredit, he insulted large groups of people that he consciously was attempting to appeal to for their votes. Yet, most of the time, he purposely insulted people, because he holds them in the same contempt as the Russian prostitutes he paid to urinate on.

After both democrats and republicans in Congress stated that there is zero truth in his lies about President Obama – no more so than his crude “birther” horseshit – he and his administration sought to move the goalposts. “He pot it in quotes.” Only in two of the four tweets to his twits, not that it matters. “Microwaves.” No comment necessary. “Andres Napolitano said ...” Either poor Andrew is too fucking stupid to be trusted to pour a glass of water, or he purposefully lied. He didn't even put it in quotes.

In fact, intelligence officials from two European nations – both members of NATO – had informed US intelligence sources about a number of meetings between Russians of interest and some people engaged in the Trump campaign. One wishes that James Comey could speak openly and honestly to Congress and the American people on Monday. But, he has to follow the rules.

Likewise, one wishes that H. R. McMaster could speak openly about the dangers Trump poses. Yet, when he was forced to accept that position, as he was active military, that three retired military officers had declined, he was surely aware that his job was to play the same role Al Haig did in the Nixon White House. But he, too, has to follow the rules of his trade. I'm confident that being put in the position of apologizing to England wasn't a high-point in his career.

What various leaders, intelligence, and military officials think and do is important – be they foreign or domestic. Still, I find myself thinking about what the common, decent human beings of the world are thinking. Surely, they are wondering if the American people will stand up and force the machinery of the government to remove Trump from power. They know that, as Vine Deloria, Jr. said, there is no system on earth that will not gladly sacrifice one of its own for a moment's peace. And the US Constitution provides a lawful, peaceful method of doing so. When a president violates every sense of common decency, it indeed fits the definition of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

The stakes are obviously high. At his least damaging, Trump will play Robin to Putin's Bat Man: favoring the military and energy corporations owned by the opulently wealthy, while cutting all services to human beings. Allowing this to happen will decrease the possibility of non-violent change in America. No, we can not sit by and allow this to happen.

People ask me what they as an individual can do? That's a fair question. A sincere question, too. My response is to ask what are they good at? What issues do they care the most about? Focus upon these talents and issues. Do not allow a shithead like Trump to make you feel like your issues aren't just as important as the next person's. Chances are, there are plenty of people around you who value that same issue. Our goal isn't to limit us to any one front, but to fight on all fronts, as Malcolm X taught. And while Trump believes he has true “power,” that's his delusion. You have true power. Exercise it.

Keep your eyes on the prize!
H2O Man

An Irish Proverb

“You, my lord (Norbury), are a judge, I am a supposed culprit; I am a man, you are a man, also; by a revolution of power, we might change places, tho we could never change characters.”
Robert Emmet,

William Jennings Bryan included Emmet's speech – made upon his conviction for “high treason” for his participation in the 1798 Uprising in Ireland – in his classic “The World's Famous Orations.” (Funk & Wagnalls Co.; Vol. VI, pages 137-148; 1906) Emmet was my great (x7)-grandfather's cousin. My grandfather was also sentenced to death by that same court of injustice.

Trump's delivery of his “favorite Irish proverb,” which comes from a poem by Albashir Alhassan of Nigeria, highlights the need for an actual Irish proverb on this day.

Bligh's Bounty

“How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy,"
Donald Trump


Donald Trump is not the first US president to believe that he was spied upon by the previous president. By no coincidence, the other fellow who made similar claims – though in private – was Richard M. Nixon. As a candidate in the fall of 1968, Nixon had received information from Henry Kissinger that President Johnson was close to reaching an end of the war in Vietnam. As Hubert Humphrey was closing the gap between the two candidates, Nixon recognized a peace treaty late in the campaign would insure a Democratic Party victory.

Thus, Nixon and H. R. Haldeman tasked Anna Chennault with convincing South Vietnam to hold out for a better deal from a Nixon administration. When LBJ called Nixon to confront him on the obvious violation of the Logan Act, Nixon did what he often did: he lied, denying any involvement. After the incident, Nixon was convinced that Johnson was listening in to Nixon's conversations on his campaign plane.

This is the thinking of a paranoid, devious individual. And, in that sense, and that sense only, Trump was correct in saying, “This is Nixon/Watergate.” For devious, paranoid individuals always project their own behaviors upon their opposition.

More, Trump was aware that more and more information about his campaign's misdeeds will continue to leak to the press, and that both the House and Senate were scheduling investigations of the campaign's ties to Russia. Hence, his desperate attempt to re-frame the issue into one of that foreign-born, atheist Muslim ISIS-founder Obama's “spying” on a political opponent. Surely Nixon is smiling as he looks down from hell at Donald Trump.

The bad news for Trump is, of course, that even the republicans in congress realize that they must “investigate” the assertion that President Obama tapped candidate Trump's phone. As this claim only exists as a possibility in the slimy region between Trump's ears, congress will quickly document that in reality, it didn't happen. However, the witnesses that congress calls upon can and will provide testimony that various agencies were documenting Trump campaign contacts with Russian intelligence. And there is a possibility that these include Trump himself, conversing with Russians. Yet none of this involves President Obama, as Trump claimed.

There are congressional hearings scheduled for March 20, that will be televised. In a very real sense, it is essential that as many of these hearings as possible be available for public viewing. This would be beneficial for the three general groups of citizens: those who support Trump, those who oppose him, and the “undecideds” who are concerned about the administration's ties to Russia, but are unsure of the extent.

Older readers will recall the value of the televised Senate Watergate hearings. The vast majority of the “three groups” were convinced that Nixon had to go. As a result of these hearings, the House began to draft their articles of impeachment, causing Nixon to resign in utter disgrace.

The Senate Watergate Report includes quotes from two important US Supreme Court decisions that define constitutional law regarding congress's duty to “inform the public.” While technology has changed since those court rulings, the principles remain constant. Let's take a look at these, found in the report's introduction. Both are in the context of their recognizing “that the ultimate impact of its work depended upon obtaining and keeping public confidence.” (page 49)

Now, let's consider a quote from United States v. Rumely (1953), which was actually taken from Wilson's “Congressional Government” (page 303): “It is the proper duty of a representative body to look diligently into every affair of government and to talk much about what it sees. It is meant to be the eyes and voice, and to embody the wisdom and will of its constituents. Unless Congress have and use every means of acquainting itself with the acts and disposition of the administrative agents of the government the country must be helpless to learn how it is being served, and unless Congress both scrutinize these things and sift them by every form of discussion, the country must remain in embarrassing, crippling ignborance of the very affairs which it is most important that it should understand and direct. The informing function of Congress should be preferred even to its legislative function.”

Next, let's consider a quote from Watkins v. United States (1957): “{There is a} power of the Congress to inquire into and publicize corruption, maladministration or inefficiency in agencies of the government. That was the only kind of activity described by Woodrow Wilson in 'Congressional Government' when he wrote: 'The informing function of Congress should be preferred even to its legislative function.' From the earliest times in its history, the Congress has assiduously performed an 'informing function' of this nature.” (Both quotes are taken from page 40 of the Senate Watergate Report.)

As citizens, it is our responsibility to write, call, and e-mail our elected representatives – who in theory work for us – and instruct them to encourage and engage in congressional investigations to document the issues of Trump and his campaign and administration's ties to Russian interests. This should include the obviously false claim that President Obama “tapped” Trump's phone. It should include General Flynn, his being an agent of a foreign nation, and his relationship with various Russians – including the five (5) calls he had with the Russian ambassador the day President Obama sanctioned Russia.

Again, all Americans need to learn the truth here.

Sessions Unplugged

“Coincidence takes a lot of planning.”
Malcolm Nance


I've seen a number of interesting discussions on the internet recently, about the “troubles” that the Trump administration is experiencing. Everyone seems to realize that a segment of the intelligence community is engaged in an effort to destabilize the administration. The part of this program that is visible to the public comes by way of coordinated leaks to various news sources. There is, of course, a significant amount of activity behind the scenes, that we do not see. Yet.

I think it might be fun to have a talk about both the context of such an operation, including a bit of history to assist us in defining some of the terms we hear – and will continue to hear – in coming months. In doing so, I think it is beneficial to be as objective as possible. Thus, I'll do my best to avoid including my own “value judgments,” other than to say here that I favor a constitutional government.

Journalists talk about the “Deep State.” This is best understood as the machine that runs this country. It is basically what Eisenhower famously warned of in his farewell address. It's worth noting that in almost all of the thirty-plus rough drafts Ike made, he identified the danger of the “military-industrial-congressional complex.” In more recent decades, it's understood to mean the military and intelligence community.

This is distinct from the concept of a “shadow government,” although some members of the deep state are also found in a shadow government. But the shadow government is identified as those who pull the strings on the puppets who serve in elected office. On occasion, members of the shadow government have stepped from behind the curtain, and served in elected or non-elected office. This has included Nelson Rockefeller and James Baker, as well as some military generals (both retired and active).

The issues confronting Trump et al are more similar to what Nixon faced in Watergate, than Reagan – Bush in Iran-Contra, or VP Cheney in the Plame scandal. So let's review a few things from the Nixon White House. First, early on, two people who would play significant roles in destabilizing the administration met regularly in the White House's basement: Bob Woodward and Mark Felt. At the time, Woodward was an officer from the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI). Felt, also an ONI officer, had “retired” to take an Assistant Director's position in the FBI.

Older readers will recall that Nixon learned that military intelligence was spying on him. This certainly upset poor Richard, yet he failed to actually address the issue. Around the same time, Felt suggested that Woodward retire and take up journalism – a curious idea, as Felt despised the media, and Woodward had absolutely no background in journalism. Yet, in a brief time, Woodward would be hired by the Washington Post. (his WP partner, Carl Bernstein, would eventually write an article that documented how the intelligence community had spread through the major medias of the day.)

According to Woodward, he had a “secret source” in DC, who “leaked” confidential information to him. He referred to this source as “Deep Throat.” Decades later, he identified Felt as Deep Throat, although it would have been impossible for Felt to have run the operation Woodward described alone. It was an operation that involved a group that sought to use the media to destabilize the Nixon administration, forcing the legislative branch to begin to take the actions that resulted in Nixon's resigning in utter disgrace.

Fast-forward to the Trump campaign. It is widely believed that “Russian intelligence” hacked the computers of the DNC and Clinton campaign, in hopes of finding “dirt” to harm the Clinton campaign. One can only speculate on if the materials leaked played any significant role in the choices that citizens made in the voting booths. However, although the DNC and Clinton campaign were private groups – not “government” entities – this is of concern to the intelligence community. Members from several agencies – including military intelligence – quickly became aware of suspicious connections between members of the Trump campaign, and some Russians they took interest in.

It is important to recognize that Russia also has a “deep state” and a “shadow government,” that are similar to those in the US. What the intelligence community found is described in detail in Malcolm Nance's recent book, “The Plot to Hack America.” Nance has become a regular guest on a number of television news programs. He is recognized as an expert in intelligence, being that he is a “retired” high-ranking ONI officer. As he notes in the book, he communicates with other retired and active members of the intelligence community.

The information that his book provides about the Trump campaign's connections to various Russian individuals and business interests is important. The on-going discussions between the campaign is, of course, closely connected to these financial ties. More, the discussions strongly indicate that the Trump people were promising accept Russian plans to “resolve” the conflict in the Ukraine, and to lift sanctions …..though for what, exactly, is not as clear.

The recent information about Sessions' meeting the Russian ambassador – at the republican convention, a trip which Sessions used campaign money to pay for – and his lying to try to hide it, fit in with the narrative that the campaign was coordinating efforts with the Russians. Likewise, the information regarding other campaign operatives systematic communications with the Russians provides further evidence of this. And the Russian ambassador's attending the Trump speech was clearly to hear the candidate confirm the deal they had agreed upon.

Keep in mind that European intelligence groups have provided the US intelligence community with even more evidence, which they gathered when Trump campaign representatives met “secretly” with Russians. Expect the domestic investigations to include the information from the fellow from MI5, which was originally gathered for the Jeb Bush campaign.

Note that Sessions now “remembers” that the ambassador and he got into a “heated debate” about the Ukraine. That is not a clever lie. Although his role may have been limited to the two meetings with the ambassador to discuss the Ukraine, it will be further exposed as being a significant piece in the larger puzzle.

It is important that both houses of Congress investigate this. It should be a special, select committee, not just the intelligence oversight committees, since the public would never see the real results. And, of course, that a truly independent prosecutor be appointed, although at this point, this would come by way of the Justice Department.

Even the republicans who speak in favor of Trump today will sacrifice him in time. This is not only true of those up for re-election in 2018, but those who want to stay in the majority as well. Most would prefer to work with VP Pence.

Boxing

I got word this morning that my son has a fight in Albany on Saturday, to be followed by the Golden Gloves in Buffalo next weekend.

Rumble, Young Man, Rumble!
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