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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 08:49 PM
Number of posts: 60,026

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"Mob Rule"

“History, as nearly no one seems to know, is not merely something to be read. And it does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes fromj the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do. It could scarcely be otherwise, since it is to history that we owe our frames of reference, our identities, and our aspirations.”
James Baldwin; “White Man's Guilt,” Ebony 1965


In the past week or so, I attempted to write about my thoughts on the Kavanaugh “investigation,” and the disgraceful manner in which Dr. Ford and others were treated by republicans. I found it difficult – not because of a lack of words – but because of the level of anger I was expressing. So I zapped each attempt, and eventually took to reading some of the works of one of this nation's greatest authors, James Baldwin.

You can't go wrong in reading any of Baldwin's works. I think the paragraph quoted above provides a powerful example. It's one that I benefit from, when trying to make sense out of how horrible things are right now. Because they are as awful as anyone reading this has thought or said they are. In fact, they are even worse.

What has been happening in the United States in recent times is problematic. A bad time in our nation's history, for sure. Thus, the only important thing now – and as the future unfolds – is what we are going to do about it?

I loved the demonstrations that took place in a variety of places in Washington, DC. I liked that our Senators stressed that the hearings were a job interview. Combined, it serves a clear message to those who were elected to represent us: we, the people, actually decide who we hire and fire on your job. The republicans, of course, are hoping that people will get tired or bored, and have low turn-outs on Election Day.

Trump and his ilk will try to fire their base up, and to discourage the united front we need to overwhelm them. Not just beat them. Even if they have a strong turn-out, we crush them. Send the message to those republicans not up for re-election in November. And that isn't idle talk, it is one of the possibilities that is open for us in four weeks.

Which possibility unfolds in November depends on what each of us does ever day between now and the elections. Find a family member or friend who doesn't vote, because they can't see the connection between “politics” and their daily life, and help empower them. Volunteer at campaign headquarters. Do what you are comfortable with. Participate in this chapter of human history, for the Civilized World is counting on us.

Peace,
H2O Man

Kavanaugh

should not be allowed to coach teenaged girls' sports. Just my opinion, perhaps, but I know I'm correct.

Note!

I just heard something that I believe people here may find interesting. A trusted associate said that a significant part of why Trump is holding his 5 pm/est press conference is related to his fuming at being laughed at yesterday at the UN. The synergy from this and his frustrations resulting from private conversations with Senate republicans has him freaking out. At this point, only Stephen Miller thinks the press conference is a good idea.

Enjoy the show!

"And, why?"

“And, why? Because here, in this Western world, and particularly in America, it has always been accepted that a man may possess immense knowledge but without ever having seriously considered his level of being. In America, it is acceptable that a man may be a Supreme Court Justice, a Doctor, a National and International Politician and/or Scientist, has the right to be a racist, or a petty, egotistic, caviling, mean, envious, vain and malicious snake!”
Rubin “Hurricane” Carter; June 26, 1979


The recent events involving the republican attempt to bulldoze Kavanaugh through to the Supreme Court reminded me of the above quote from a long letter Rubin wrote to me almost 40 years ago. I knew Rubin well enough to be fully confident that he would add “a sexual offender” to his list of character traits of the snakes he was describing.

The answer to the question – “And, why?” – is painfully obvious. They do not care. While it is theoretically possible that a tiny minority of republicans do not know that Kavanaugh is a sexual predator, the vast majority do. Most take the Lindsey Graham stance of “So what am I supposed to do? Ruin this man's life?” As if Kavanaugh is entitled to a seat on the Supreme Court, despite having inflicted severe damage on a woman's life.

One of the interesting things about Kavanaugh's Fox interview was his repeated denial of having done “this thing.” That conscious effort to separate himself from “this thing” is of special interest to those who have investigated sex crimes, and/or those who work in the field of psychiatry. I have had employment in both areas, including those involving a specific sect of Catholics. Decades ago, I had a case involving a priest. More, I have discussed the topic with an uncle who investigated several of the cases in Pennsylvania

In my conversations with my uncle – who was called the best investigator in the country in the 1990s, and who trained investigators in the FBI and CIA – he never mentioned the way alter boys dressed as a factor. But we did discuss But we did focus on the offenders' self-justification, based upon Romans 7:17-20. This says, in their interpretation, that if they want to do good, and still offend, it really isn't them doing “this thing.” Nope, it's all “the sin that lives in me.” Now, ain't that a fancy way to avoid taking ownership of your behaviors?

The combination of a sense of entitlement with the failure to take personal responsibility adds up to the self-righteousness we witness today. And what else could explain the republican support for Trump, who admitted on tape to sexual offenses? Though Trump later claimed it wasn't him on the tape, the republicans didn't think it was”the sin living in him.” No, they justified voting for a man who “lives in sin,” so long as it benefited them.

They also resent those who question their sense of entitlement. Indeed, they seek to discourage those who question their character, by engaging in vicious character assassination. We remember Anita Hill, who could only be described as a nice, honest, intelligent and brave lady. Yet she was subjected to yet another assault when she testified. And, in the time that followed, jackasses like David Brock and Orlando Patterson continued attacking her.

When confronting opposition such as these, no individual should stand alone. Because, really, this struggle is less about the past, than about today and the future. It impacts all of us, and thus demands a united front. And that includes recognizing that we combat the unacceptable – not only on one front, but on all fronts.
Two brave women have come forward. They did this, knowing full well what price Anita Hill and countless others were and are subjected to. We need to respect their decisions, including each of them selecting their own legal representatives. A third woman is scheduled to come forward within the next 24 hours. She has decided what lawyer she believes can best represent her. We should respect that decision, at the same level we respect the first two women.

I find it curious that some find fault with her choice of Michael Avenatti. I think that he has done a good job representing Stormy Daniels. The two of them helped to focus attention on Michael Cohen, and to expose crimes that led to Cohen's plea. And that has resulted in some exposure of Trump. Thank you, Michael. Thank you, Stormy.

If Avenatti helps put a glaring spotlight on Senate republicans, that's a good thing. I feel safe in speculating that the woman who retained his services was fully aware of his tactics. There is an absolute zero chance that her decision to come forward will hurt the opposition to Kavanaugh, or somehow help him get confirmed.

Thus, if they don't like Michael Avenatti, that is fine. As long they don't hire him, and avoid watching him on television, I'm confident that they will be okay. But please respect the fact that one of the victims of Kavanaugh's sexual assaults did hire him.

Fight the Good Fight – keep calling Senators!
H2O Man

"Strange Cars" (Please Help!)

Can you help an old man? Please? I need help with getting a story that is showing just how low the alt-right republican campaign of Rep. Claudia Tenney has become.

I will summarize their campaign is going, and encourage people to read the below linked article in full:

http://www.uticaod.com/opinion/20180921/our-view-latest-tenney-attack-another-cheap-shot

A staff memo was purposely leaked to the media, in which it states that campaign members are at risk, because her Democratic opponent, Anthony Brindisi, is an Italian-American from Utica, NY. Obviously, according to the memo, this translates to his being linked to the mafia. Staff is warned to be on double-extra high alert, and be afraid of virtually everyone.

Be afraid of Brindisti supporters. Be afraid of everyone on the street that you don't immediately recognize as a Tenney supporter. You may be being followed by scary mobsters without even knowing it. The memo even encourages staff to watch outside their homes for “strange cars.”

Although their campaign claims to have been victimized by ruthless violent people, area police agencies have noted there has not be a single report of this happening. Obviously, that is proof of how vicious these mobsters are.

I know Anthony Brindisi. I've met his family. They are outstanding people. Anthony is exactly the type of person we need to represent the NYS 22nd district in the House. He is the type of Democrat that appeals to everyone in our party.

I also know enough about Claudia Tenney that I can say that even those outside of the 22nd have good reason to actively oppose her. She is cut from the same clothe as Alex Jones: paranoid conspiracy theories are her language, and lies her tongue.

More, I'm enough of a “local history” buff to be very familiar with the experiences of the Italian and Irish immigrant families in central New York. In fact, my first book focused upon this. I understand the connection between this history, and Tenney's vicious attacks on Anthony. Utica has, with Brandisi's assistance, become known as a “refugee city.” And it serves as an example of how by welcoming, encouraging, and supporting immigrant families, a city can create an expanding job market, which allows for improvements in the public education system.

If possible, I would like people here to help me bring this story to the attention of Ari Melber at MSNBC. It would be appreciated if you could send him the above link, and ask that he investigate and report on this. It is part of a two-pronged effort I'm making to get national attention of what the republican party ranks as one of the most important House elections in 2018.

Ari's e-mail is:

ari@msnbc.com

Thank you very much!
H2O Man

It Don't Come Easy

“Got to pay your dues if you want to sing the blues
And you know it don't come easy
You don't have to shout or leap about
You can even play them easy
Forget about the past and all your sorrow
The future won't last
It will soon be your tomorrow,”
Ringo Starr; It Don't Come Easy


My (ex) sister-in-law and her husband took my sons and I to watch Ringo Starr's concert in Binghamton Tuesday evening. Every song the All Starr Band played was fantastic. There is something about watching the 78-year old former Beatle that brings back good memories. And I know that most of the audience – and the majority was of my generation – were reliving the same memories. Thousands of people were singing along, and hundreds were dancing throughout the arena.

In these strange and often terrible times, it is important to take time to recognize and experience the good that is around us. That's not to say we should ignore or somehow forget all the bad things around us – that is not possible. We are in one of the most intense conflicts in our nation's history. We see it played out in the media daily, with Trump, Kavanaugh, and the spineless republicans in the House and Senate. They are the spores of a poisonous plant that have taken root in too many communities across America.

Yet, at the same time, we are witnessing a powerful force on the rise. At great risk to herself and her family, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has come forward to expose Kavanaugh as the scum he is. I had watched part of his testimony to the Senate committee with my youngest daughter, a psychology major studying women's issues. My daughter said, “There's something creepy about this guy.” I said that there is generally something creepy about conservative christian republicans who obsess over, and seek to dictate, other adults' sex lives. Kavanaugh is a prime example. I am so thankful that Dr. Ford is stepping up despite the very real risks entailed.

Georgetown law professor Heidi Feldman started a GoFundMe account to pay for the security costs that Dr. Ford has due to the numerous death threats she has received. There is a powerful force rising, to counter the poison that is violence ….and making death threats is indeed an act of violence.

I'm impressed by Dr. Ford's attorney. Likewise, with the member of the House of Representatives and the Senator that have assisted Dr. Ford in bringing this issue to light. By no coincidence, all three of these people are women. They are channeling the power that is rising in our lands.

Likewise, it is no coincidence that those publicly supporting Kavanaugh are ethically-dehydrated old white men, those very conservative christian republican toxic spores. They seek to spread and empower the most negative base qualities of our species. They fear the power of Dr. Ford, as it threatens to bring their ilk's behaviors to a dead end.

I'm old now, older than any of the songs Ringo sang. I was disgusted by the way that Anita Hill was treated not that many years ago. Certainly, those dried republican snake skins in the Senate will attempt to disrespect and insult Dr. Ford in the very same manner they did to Anita Hill. That won't change. But everything around them is changing, and they are incapable of stopping this cycle of power from rising. In terms of the November elections, I am reminded of the old Irish saying: “They're fucked.”

FEAR

My cousin and I traveled to the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Vestal, NY, to get copies of Bob Woodward's new book this morning. We arrived around noon. There were several people walking through the parking lot, thumbing through their copies. After picking up several copies for ourselves and relatives, we talked to several clerks, who happily informed us that the book had already set the record for the number sold in a day. The store opens at 10 am and closes at 9 pm, which suggests that lots more have been sold since we left.

This is a Good Thing.

I'm curious how many other people here bought the book, and if their experience was similar to our happy shopping experience?

Of Mice and Men

“In every bit of honest writing in the world there is a base theme. Try to understand men, if you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and nearly always leads to love. There are shorter means, many of them. There is writing promoting social change, writing punishing injustice, writing in celebration of heroism, but always that base theme. Try to understand each other.”
-- John Steinbeck; 1938.


Back in April of this year, I posted a brief essay on a small group within the administration that was secretly operating to lay the groundwork in preparation for Trump's removal from office. I identified VP Pence, UN ambassador Nikki Haley, and a shared-staff individual named Jon Lerner. You may recall that Lerner had no qualifications for either of the two full-time positions, other than his previous “Never Trump” efforts during the 2016 republican primaries. When Trump learned of this, he was quoted as asking why Pence would do that to him?

https://upload.democraticunderground.com/100210509861

It is important to keep in mind that “anonymous” and the “resistance” spoken of in the NY Times' op-ed are the type of republicans that support much of Trump's domestic agenda, but would prefer to have the holy-rolling Pence as president. Their actions should be seen in the context of trying to remove Trump so that Pence is not severely damaged before 2020. They should never be confused as being allied with a surge of Democratic Party power, ethics in politics, or social justice.

The discussions in the media about if the individual or group that wrote the op-ed should identify themselves reminds me of Mahatma Gandhi's lesson on the cat and the mouse. The mouse submits to the cat in fear, not because of a grasp of the principles of non-violence. That mouse hates the cat, and would surely kill it, were the mouse capable of that. No mouse ever shouts, “Fievel, forgive that cat, for he knows not what he's doing.”

Now, I am enjoying the uproar that the op-ed –combined with Woodward's book – is causing. I love it. As indicated in my April essay, I prefer to view systems using the model of a mobile, hanging above an infant's crib. When one piece moves, the others shift to adjust. There are many pieces moving and shifting position in the Trump administration.

However, they are not what I view as “unsung heroes.” They are not honorable women and men. They are mice, infesting the executive branch as the cold looms in their near future. Most lack the postive attributes of mice, and need to be swiftly removed from government, for their only real contribution is toxic feces.

Back in 2017, in an essay I posted here, I told about the last time that Kellyanne Conway was on Morning Joe on MSNBC. As always, she rapidly delivered “talking points” like a rubber-faced robot while the cameras were on. Once they reached a commercial break, she began talking about what a flaming asshole Trump was, and how difficult her job was. She anticipated a sympathetic response, but was met instead with stunned silence. As soon as she left, the crew determined she would never be invited back.

Those details were not reported in the media. But they are likely to come back into the spotlight, if the administration looks closely at who is actively participating in the anti-Trump activities. And they are just the tip of the ice cube. Velow is a link to an interesting Newsweek article about Pence and Conway; though it isn't directly about the information in this essay, it's related.

https://www.newsweek.com/pence-conway-morning-joe-clueless-710516
(Note: I am also extremely impressed with the Democratic Senators in the USSC nominee hearings. Add our field of 2018 candidates, and our party is reaching its potential.)

Deepening State

“So full of artless jealousy is guilt, it spills itself in fearing to be spilt.”
Shakespeare; Act IV of Hamlet


Former federal prosecutor John Flannery made reference to the above quote Tuesday evening on MSNBC, during a discussion on Bob Woodward's new book. It is the second time that he has referenced Queen Gertrude's famous line, I believe, the last time being on CNN. The quote sums up the manner in which a guilty person's paranoia saturates their thought processes, and is projected upon everyone around them until it spills over.

Though less often quoted, the queen's previous line is essential for understanding this: “To my sick soul, as sin's true nature is; Each toy seems a prologue to some great amiss ….” This identifies the paranoid thinking that makes every new thing seem hostile and threatening. And that includes every report on CNN and MSNBC, every report in the New York Times and Washington Post, and every new book that exposes the dysfunction and corruption that defines Trump's presidency.

Hence, Trump becomes the second president to claim that Woodward is wrong – even lying – about how the people around him actually view him. Reagan was the first to go there, a place that Nixon never journeyed. Yet Reagan's outburst was limited to but one person who Woodward documented recognized Reagan as corrupt.

Woodward is a curious character. I have never found him to be as open and honorable a journalist as Carl Bernstein, his partner in helping to expose the series of crimes known as Watergate. The concept of “Deep Throat” being one person – Mark Felt – requires the long arm of rational thought to wrench itself out of socket. Woodward, as an Officer in Naval Intelligence, met regularly with Felt in the basement of Nixon's White House, shortly before taking Felt's recommendation to “retire” and become a journalist. Felt despised the press.

To believe that Felt alone was Deep Throat not only requires one to believe that the assistant director of the FBI fiddled with newspapers on Woodward's porch, but totally ignores Donald Santarelli. But this is the ancient history of my youth. Fair to say that Bernstein's famous report on intelligence assets in the media influenced my understanding of that era.

While I do not particularly like Woodward, I absolutely respect his work, and recognize that he is influential in the world of politics. His four books on the Bush-Cheney era were important reads, if only because they documented Woodward's unusual access to various levels of information. Hard to believe a mere journalist would enjoy such access. Very hard, indeed.

Last week, I was invited to dine with an old friend, who was a professor at a “radical” west coast university way back when. The other guest was a retired “energy” engineer, who had spent years in prison as a consequence of his activities as a member of the Weathermen. Though you really don't need an old Weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing, I agreed with this fellow's firm belief that Trump is going down in 2019.

The strength of Woodward's new book isn't that it will confirm what three aging members of the Democratic Party think about Trump. Each of us is already engaged in activities to promote our party's candidates in November, and recognize that this is essential for insuring that the various investigations bring about justice. Rather, the book will reach those who are the “undecideds.” Some might have voted for Trump in 2016. Others might be independents, who are recognizing that only Democratic candidates can put Trump in check. The more attention the book gets in the media, the better for us. I look forward to buying the book next week.

Steele & Broken Glass

“Steel and Glass”
John Lennon

There you stand with your L.A. tan
And your New York walk and your New York talk.....
Well your mouthpiece squawks as he spreads your lies
But you can't pull strings if your hands are tied
Well your teeth are clean but your mind is capped
You leave your smell like an alley cat
Steel and glass
Steel and glass


It was wonderful to learn that Trump spent the weekend “calling people and screaming.” He reportedly “feels boxed in” by recent events, and “sees no way out.” This is a good thing. And it will continue to get better.

Donald Trump is a sociopath. Thus, he has a remarkably limited range of emotions. He gets positive feelings from “winning,” which in his decaying mind, includes striking out at “enemies.” This allows him to feel in control. But when he faces any form of opposition, he becomes frustrated, and strikes out in anger. Hence, we have witnessed literally hundreds of examples of – be he happy or enraged – his corresponding behaviors are the same: lashing out at others.

There is a third emotion that Trump has recently been dealing with: paranoia. While it is true that paranoia has been a feature of his personality throughout his life time, it has recently become elevated. It is important to recognize that the paranoid thinking associated with interpersonal relationships and business dealings is different that that associated with fearing that one's criminal behaviors are being investigated and pursued in the legal system.

In general, when investigators are seeking evidence required to prosecute crimes committed by an organized group, efforts are made to increase the levels of paranoia within the group. This holds particularly true for the group's leadership. Frequently, the target will increase the efforts to both not make a mistake, and to hide evidence of their guilt. Yet, due to the elevated paranoia, they are actually more likely to expose their guilt.

Now, there are obviously serious differences in the power of, for example, a mob boss and a president to try to cover their tracks. While both may attempt to seek assistance from a corrupt person in government – and there are corrupt individuals within all three branches – a president does have the power to fire people. Richard Nixon exercised this power, in a gross example of what is known as “abuse of power.” Nixon also dangled pardons in front of co-conspirators he wanted to keep silent. And he attempted to manipulate two intelligence agencies to cover his tracks.

The best investigators and prosecutors recognize the patterns of behaviors that criminals exhibit. This includes mob bosses as well as presidents. Hence, they prepare well in advance of the elevation of paranoid thinking. Thus, they are able to correctly anticipate what actions their prey will take. And they are able to respond to those actions.

I can say, with zero risk of error, that Mr. Mueller has a far greater understanding of what makes Trump tick, than Trump does of Mr. Mueller. For a sociopath can only view others in the context of themselves, with others being mere objects. Yet Mr. Mueller has taken Trump's measure in a far broader perspective.

Screaming weekend phone calls, renewed threats to fire Sessions and McGahn, and the attack on “Google” are among the expected range of elevated paranoia expressing itself. Attempts to thwart the Mueller investigation will surely increase. But it is too late. Trump will only increase his legal jeopardy between now and the November elections, and it will skyrocket in the days after the election.

Keep on fighting the Good Fight!
H2O Man
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