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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 08:49 PM
Number of posts: 62,021

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Superstition



“When you believe in things
That you don't understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition aint the way”

Stevie Wonder



I find it odd that anyone – from dirt poor to billionaire – could still support Donald Trump in any way. There are a few who I know from my high school graduating class that are at least willing to suspend the Democrat versus republican context, however briefly, to at least consider this in terms of the Constitution. But they are the tip of the ice cube.

The nephew of a classmate who was logging a few trees from my property gets it. He told me that he had voted for Trump, because he had believed “he was just like us.” Now he knows better. I asked him if he thought that Trump had ever, in his life, worked as hard as the logger had today? “I guess my dad forgot to give me $400 million,” he answered. Yet that hasn't clicked in most Trump voters' minds.

I wondered why? What would it take? Is it even possible?

The first resource I looked to was an old favorite, “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors,” by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyam (Random House; 1992). Obviously, I have a limited understanding of this or any of Sagan's works, but they always get me thinking.

I like their comparing humans to “a newborn baby left on the doorstep, with no note explaining who it is, where it comes from, what hereditary cargo of attributes and disabilities it might be carrying, or who its antecedents might be.”

In this instance, it is about these questions they raise: “How did we get into this mess? How can we get out? Why are we so quick to distrust those different from ourselves, so given to unquestioning obedience to authority?”

I think from long ago, “modern” humans and some of our cousins were superstitious. They were using the new front of their brains to make sense of life. This combined with another part of the brain, closer to the stem, that seems to compel ritual. Prehistoric human beings seem to have engaged in hunting rituals, for example, that may seem quaint today. But they were an important part of the human experience, and in trying to exist within their environment. And these are not that different than some of the things people do today.

Many athletes have “lucky” socks or some other item of clothing. I have relatives who have lucky golf balls. As a youth, I had a favorite pair of boxing trunks that I associated with being unbeatable. At least I did until fighting a guy who was not a true believer, and who beat the hell out of me. Darned him.

These are examples of how human beings often look outside of themselves for “power.” This, of course, ties in with the concept in psychology of “locus of control.” An internal locus of control means that a person believes that they can exert a significant influence on how their life goes. An external locus of control means a person believes that outside forces control their lives. The majority of people fall somewhere in between on this spectrum. They recognize there are things they can control, as well as things beyond their ability to influence.

Now, let's consider this concept in an expansive manner that includes examining what we might call the religious and spiritual rituals that human-kind has been practicing since agriculture became a primary source for food for the community. This allowed groups of people to live in settled locations for extended periods of time, and as these groups became larger, created social stratification at levels greater than previous community life had. For example, this led to what is known as priesthoods, where rituals included a separation between the individual and the energies of life that was filled by the priesthood. This, of course, is by definition the creation of a mass external locus of control within the community. Even today, we witness people who believe that “eternity” comes after death, rather than understanding that we share in the eternal “Now” right here, right now …..for it has always been “Now,” is currently “Now,” and always will be “Now.” An internal locus of control allows one to recognize, for lack of better word, the miracle of participation in the eternal “Now.”

The same external locus of control allows for the separation between the individual and government. In a healthy society, that participation found in the internal locus of control is evident in democracy. It's not that true democracies do not experience and struggle with human and non-human problematic issues. Of course they do. But they do not contain large numbers of people who believe in things that they don't understand – which always and only results in masses of people believing that some heroic figure – be it a politician or god – will come to their rescue. Someone who will do for them what they are fully capable of doing for themselves. (A true “leader” does for those unable to do it for themselves.)

Now, let's toss in rituals. Professional, college, high school, and neighborhood sports are good exampples of social rituals. We are seeing an increase in violence in many of these contest, especially within the crowds that are watching them. There is hostility between the fans of opposing teams. This leads to fights, from within high school bleachers, to outside of stadium parking lots. There are behaviors associated with riots in cities where teams win national titles.

Now, I am a simple-minded man, incapable of deep thought. I tend to play one-dimensional solitaire. But I think that much or all of this can be accurately applied to “politics” today. There are two obvious teams, and there are sub-teams within each. Billionaire republicans do not view themselves as on the same team as poor white trash. Yet that poor white trash believes in their heart of hearts that they have more in common with those billionaires than with poor Democrats, especially those who are not white. Thus, they are easily exploited. The billionaires capitalize on their ignorance.

At it's best, the Democratic Party is an alliance of many different sub-groups, that are united based upon common interests. That does not imply we all have the same life experiences, beliefs, and values. But we find things in common. Men and women are different, thank goodness. Black, brown, red, yellow and white people have some different experiences, but have the capacity to find common ground. Wealthy Democrats live very different lives than poor Democrats, yet they share many experiences.

There are tensions within our party. A great example was found when a young, poor, brown woman named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez challenged the old, wealthy, white man named Joseph Crowley in the 2018 primary. One doesn't need to look to the current rage that republicans aim at AOC …..re-read some of the discussions from DU at the time. Plenty of Democrats used to argue that she was too young, too “left,” and had no business challenging the established office-holder. The negative ritual of “party politics” came into play. Today, we see that AOC not only didn't “hurt” our party, but has instead improved it in numerous ways.

As we approach the 2020 elections, which includes contest ranging from presidential to the House and Senate to state and local offices – as well as primaries and general elections – it's important to remember that no single sub-group within the party has all the answers. We should not allow ourselves to be offended by those who think differently than ourselves. You might be in the Joe Crowley camp, or the AOC camp, but we should be on the same team. And we should remember that a logger works a lot harder for a lot less than a Donald Trump.

Peace,
H2O Man

RIP Elijah Cummings

“I myself have no power. It's the people behind me who have the power. Real power comes only from the Creator. It's in His hands. But if you're asking me about strength, not power, then I can say that the greatest strength is gentleness..”
Tadodaho Leon Shenandoah



Like many people, after seeing reports on advances the Democratic Party has been making towards holding Donald Trump accountable for his criminal behaviors, I've been in a generally good mood about domestic politics. I loved watching our candidates debate this week. The events in Syria have been horrible, of course, and is a constant reminder of the horrors of Trump's foreign policies.

Then I woke up to the news that one of the people I respect the most, Elijah Cummings, has died. Although I never met him, or had the pleasure of talking with him, I have enjoyed the opportunity to listen to him speak, and to watch him provide our nation with what I consider to be the highest form of true leadership. Indeed, he reminded me of Leon, a man I knew as “Uncle,” and that I still treasure the many hours I was able to spend with. Both were true Gentle Men.

It's a cold, rainy day here in upstate New York. Still, my dogs wanted to go for their daily walks. I found myself thinking how much we need Rep. Cummings' leadership at this difficult time in our nation's history as I walked Kelly down my driveway, across the street, and then down the old dirt road. It had been part of the second turnpike heading towards Ithaca after the Revolutionary War. A man who had been friends and business partners with Aaron Burr had been hired to create a route from what had been the “western front” into the territory the United States was taking from Leon's ancestors. Those were “the best and worst of times,” I suppose. It always is.

We walked along the creek to a spot where, in the early-to-mid 1800s, a cloth & carding factory had been. There has been so much rain that unless you knew they were there, you could hardly notice the waterfalls that powered the old factory. Daniel Dickenson, who would become a U.S. Senator of some note, worked there as a teenager. He would a eventually marry the daughter of Dr. Colby Knapp, who had lived in what is now my home. Dr. Knapp was an abolitionist when being one wasn't popular in these parts. Local history records that he and Daniel had heated debates on this issue right up until the beginnings of the Civil War. Eventually, the gentle strength of Dr. Knapp convinced the Senator that slavery was evil, and had to be stoppe. In the summer months, I like to tend to Dr. Knapp's grave, which had been hidden by plant growth when I moved here.

It's hard enough for me to keep pace with Kelly on a smooth, flat road. Walking on an old turnpike – with its 90 degree curves to assist horses pulling stage coaches up or down a mountain – is even harder. And then he decides to follow some stray scent along a deer path in the woods. I find myself thinking of how Burr's friend followed the Iroquois' woodland paths while making the turnpike. The Iroquois, in turn, had followed deer paths. It strikes me as funny, because last night I had a long conversation with my daughter about getting in shape for athletic competition, and telling her it was important to study how deer covered the greatest distance the fastest.

By now, I was soaking wet, and Kelly was ready to head back home. I believe that we both agreed that the mountain that the turnpike travels towards our home is much steeper when walking up it. We finally reach the house, and by the time I've put on dry clothes, Kelly is fast asleep. So I take the opportunity to get on the computer. The first thing I see is a letter from my Little Sister, who asks, “I wonder how we can pay tribute” to Rep. Cummings?

I wish I knew “the answer.” I don't. As close as I can come to it right now is to say that we can honor him by carrying on the Good Fight that he was leading. I think of Dr. King's powerful message about our getting to the mountain's top without him, and I believe Elijah Cummings was leading us up that difficult trail. Perhaps the best way to honor him is to follow his lead.

Peace,
H2O Man

Last Night's Debate

My older son and I watched the debate last night. We are both registered members of the Democratic Party, as are my other three children. He supports one of our candidates, while I have decided that I am simply going to support the candidate that wins the nomination. We agreed that all of the candidates had a good showing.

It goes without saying that any one of the candidates on stage last night would be far superior to Donald Trump, but I found myself saying it repeatedly last night. More, each would be far superior to Mike Pence, should he be the republican's candidate. I think that is important to keep in mind.

Each of our candidates has strengths that would not only make them a good president, but could also make them a potential vice president or member of a solid administration. Each is capable of not only helping our nation recover from the disease that Trump has spread, but to move forward as we enter the post-Trump future.

None of our candidates is perfect, which is to be expected. There are no perfect human beings, and there never have been. Keep in mind that it is only those who are hypnotized that believe otherwise. Think of the fools who ignore all of Trump's personal failures, and believe he is perfect. Remember the old Irish saying that a saint is merely a dead sinner, whose life has been revised and edited.

There is not a truly charismatic candidate today. In my lifetime, we have produced but two – Kennedy and Obama – but it is essential to recognize that both had substance beyond charisma. Both understood the workings of the bureaucracy. And each of today's candidates has substance.

I think that is the important thing to focus on – a particular candidate's substance, their understanding of the the machine we call government, and their ability to unite the party next November. Whoever our candidate is, they will face a terrible mess when they take office. They will need to have the support and active participation of Americans at the grass roots' level to reconstruct the foundation of our federal government, no easy job.

Peace,
H2O Man

Trump's Ring Walk

“He can run, but he can't hide.” – Joe Louis; May, 1941

“Life don't run from nobody.” – Joe Frazier; March 4, 1968



When I was a kid, heavyweight champions like Joe Louis and Joe Frazier were among those I looked up to. Both rank high among the greatest champions in boxing history. Both were good men who made for great role models for youth. And both had a deep understanding of human nature within the context of intense conflict.

The Brown Bomber, considered by many the greatest heavyweight ever, was commenting on his upcoming title defense against light heavyweight champion Billy Conn. Although Conn was ahead on the scorecards after out-boxing Louis for twelve rounds, Joe flattened him in the thirteenth. Frazier's quote came after knocking out Buster Mathis for the vacant NYSAC heavyweight title, on his way to becoming the world champion. Mathis had given Joe – who he beat twice in the amateurs – a tough fight, before tiring from Smokin' Joe's intense pace, and getting flattened.

Now, this isn't an essay about boxing. It's not intended for DU's sports forums. It's about understanding human nature in the context of an intense conflict. It's about judging character, and using boxing – one of the very few things I know and understand – as a vehicle. I'll get to Trump soon.

Both Louis and Frazier were dedicated to long, hard training camps to prepare for each fight. A training camp is an isolated environment in the same sense that the White House is in a bubble. There is a relatively small group within each system. Louis and Frazier had employees, including advisers and friends, in their camps. But they were fully aware of the nature of the fight to come. They knew that when they took that walk into the ring, it would only be them doing the fighting.

They knew that the referee and the judges could play a role in the outcome of the fight. But each was intent upon forcing their own will upon the opponent, exploiting every weakness, and taking it out of the judges' hands.

Now, let's consider Trump. He has no connection to the sport of boxing, beyond hosting fights at his Atlantic City casino. He started doing business with Don King, the human parasite,starting in the mid-1980s. And Trump mistook his being around tough guys for being a tough guy himself.

Trump's familiarity with the great sport was entirely related to his wanting to make millions of dollars. In this, of course, it is no different than his approach to anything and everything: how can he make money? This is, of course, is the exact approach he has taken in both campaigning and winning national office.

Trump knows less about the federal government than I did when I was in the 6th grade. I mean that. He was convinced that being president would give him unlimited power to exploit economic opportunities. And he surrounded himself with low-lives like Stephen Miller, He considered Miller's ilk to be what he needs in DC. Think about the quality of people who have served in this administration. Think of the quantity who have served in certain important decisions.

His “biggest” success before running for president was on “reality TV,” where he pretended to be the person he fantasized of being. He transformed that role into the politician he played in the campaign. Enough people who cannot distinguish between “reality TV” and reality voted for him, that he won the republican primaries, then placed a distant second in the general election. Thus, he became president, a real life role he is entirely unfit for.

There is zero evidence that Trump's grasp of the realities of being the head of one of the three co-equal branches of the federal government since he took office. He has no self-discipline, invests no effort in being president, and shows no potential ability to become better at it.

Trump has never been in a real fight. He's always relied upon thugs like Michael Cohen to fight for him in potential legal cases, and Keith Schiller to serve as his personal body guard. Schiller infamously removed a journalist who asked Trump an uncomfortable question. And Trump folded in virtually every tough civil case he was engaged in. This is not the stuff of a tough guy.

Trump said he wanted to meet with Robert Mueller, but chickened out. Even with the Mueller Report, Trump depended on his personal attorney, Attorney General Barr, to advocate for him …..and by “advocate,” I mean lie faster than a horse can trot.

All of this added to his delusion sense of being untouchable. Obviously, if he watched the movie “The Untouchables,” he didn't understand it. But now he is finding out that he is not untouchable.

The White House is Trump's dressing room. As he looks around at the group of people there, he becomes aware that a growing number of his team have abandoned him, many joining the opposition. He knows that he hasn't done his roadwork, opting to play golf instead. Ivanka, his personal trainer, tells him that all he has to do is go the distance, as the majority of the judges are republicans sure to score the fight for him.

Soon it is time to take that walk to the ring. He knows that Ivanka and Jared are talking to him, but he cannot hear what they are saying. His thoughts are racing. The three Big Macs he ate are churning in his gut. For the first time in his life, Donald Trump feels completely alone, despite the fact that it is the biggest crowd ever (according to Sean Spicer) waiting to watch the fight.


In the early 1970s, at a fight card in Binghamton, NY, my brothers and I got a giggle out of seeing how nervous a guy in the dressing room was. He fancied himself a tough guy, as he beat a lot of drunks up in a local bar – usually attacking them from behind. As he sat with sweat rolling off his forehead like a creek in the spring, my older brother asked him, “You aren't afraid of this guy, are you? He's never won a fight?” The fellow attempted to answer, but his vocal chords were too tense.

We watched him approach the ring when it was his time to fight. He took the steps up to the ring, turned quickly, and ran back to the dressing room. There are certain situations in life when one's character – or utter lack of it – are on full display. My bet is that Trump won't make it into the ring. I've seen this before.

Fear Defined

https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/09/politics/donald-trump-impeachment-mitch-mcconnell/index.html

The above link to the news story on Trump calling McConnell up to three times a day to warn him about disloyal republicans is important. It was updated an hour ago.

Keep two things in mind. First, Trump is obsessed with impeachment. He is afraid. Second, Moscow Mitch obviously hasn't assured him that all republicans have his back, or Trump wouldn't be calling to update his threats.

"Most Peculiar"

Let's start with a few lines from William Shakespeare's famous play, “King Lear.”


"Meantime we shall express our darker purpose." – Act 1, Scene 1

"O! let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven; / Keep me in temper; I would not be mad!" – Act 1, Scene 5

"I fear I am not in my perfect mind." – Act 4, Scene 7

"Is this the promised end? – Act 5, Scene 3


George Bernard Shaw said that “no man will ever write a greater tragedy than Lear.” I like that Shakespeare's “King Lear” is based upon the Celtic king Leir of Britain, who probably lived somewhere around the 8th century AD. And the fate of Leir – like the character King Lear” – is tragic, indeed.

Leir/ Lear cannot be mistaken for Trump. The king questioned the wisdom of important decisions he made previously. He had a sense of foreboding as his mental decline approached. Trump is unaware of the fact that he owns his errors, that blaming others won't resolve the problems he created, and that he will be held accountable.

Still, those lines quoted above seem an apt description of the past couple of weeks. And it is clear that a nation's population can experience a great tragedy from a mad king.

Two of Trump's recent actions indicate that the pressure of the pending impeachment are taking a toll on the old boy. Both have to be viewed within the context of his awareness that he has done something wrong. His consciousness of guilt is visible by the administration's failure to comply with congressional committee's requests, with their changing of reasons for the phone call with the president of Ukraine, and with his attempt to throw Rick Perry under the bus. A person does not attempt to blame another for his actions if he is not fully aware that they were wrong, and will lead to negative consequences.

Now for the two activities that display the growing pressure he is under. The first is the rash decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, which Trump made at night without consulting anyone in his administration. It was, of course, a reflexive return to a decision he had made last December, before the strong republican opposition resulted in his reversing course. This week's spur-of-the-moment decision was not only an attempt to distract attention from his looming impeachment, it was a desperate attempt to win approval from his base. So what if a few thousand Kurds had to be sacrificed?

The second, closely related thing was the curious tweet in which Trump attempts to describe himself in pseudo-biblical terms as having “great and unmatched wisdom.” Even Lindsey Graham cannot explain this as a joke by Trump. Keep in mind that not only has Graham proven himself more than willing to humiliate himself by publicly kissing Trump's fat fleshy ass – but Lindsey hasn't had to be instructed on which cheek to target. He has repeatedly gone directly to the sphincter.

In the past, I have noted in essays here that sociopaths under pressure sometimes experience relatively brief episodes of psychosis. Thus, their already disturbed thinking becomes detached from the realities confronting them. In these instances, while we can generally identify their goal – to escape from the cause of their inner-tension and discomfort – the tactics they may take are less easily identified. So while we knew Trump would attempt to shift the focus from his role with Ukraine by blaming others or attempting to define himself as a significant international statesman, we couldn't be sure of exactly how he would do this.

I would not have placed Rick Perry, for example, on my “top ten” suspects for his scapgoat. It's hard for me to picture Perry as a mastermind of any plot. I think more of Perry's infamous maple syrup moment:



Likewise, I assumed that on the international front, Trump would call for a military strike on Iran. I did not even consider the possibility of removing troops from Syria. That thought never entered my mind.

Last week, I noted that I thought Trump would become the most dangerous between Thanksgiving and the New Year. In light of what is happening now, that's a scary thought. Hopefully, people in Washington will castrate him before that happens.

“Strange days, indeed! Most peculiar,” as John Lennon sang.
H2O Man

Frankenheimer's Monster


“The Manchurian Candidate” was a novel that Richard Condon published in 1959. Three years later, John Frankenheimer directed the movie version. The story was about a Korean veteran who had been a POW and tortured, which was certainly a reality for too many young men sent to fight that war. Upon his return to the US, the man was unconscious of the fact that communists from China and the Soviet Union were exercising “mind control” over him. As an assassin, he would help take over the United States.

It is difficult for those who were not alive at that time to appreciate how frightening this movie was for many Americans. Both World War Two and the Korean War were recent history. The Soviet Union had tested its first atomic bomb ten years earlier. “Red” China, as it was known in the U.S. then, had openly intervened in the Korean War by 1950, literally sending waves of soldiers that made our forces run out of ammunition. US POWs were “brainwashed” – it is accurate to say our soldiers were terribly mistreated. China would have the atomic bomb by 1964. So all these factors made Americans uneasy.

How frightened were people at the time? My generation recalls “civil defense drills” as far back as elementary school, which included hiding under our desks, or sitting with our heads between our legs in a hallway. This was our version of today's “active shooter” drills scaring the heck out of children. It was considered rational at the time.

But irrational people reacted to the fear, as well. I remember some sad incidents in the rural neighborhood of my youth. A neighbor, who was a Korean War vet, also suffered from what was called “manic depression.” Most of the time, he was an off-beat but wonderful man. He was my best friend's father. But when he didn't take his medication, he was very afraid that the Chinese were inches away from invading our country. One afternoon, when my family returned home from somewhere, he was in our basement, destroying all of my father's tools that had the color red on them. Another time, he attempted to run over a neighborhood kid wearing a red tee-shirt. The reason I tell of this will be apparent shortly.

Yet, for many Americans, that was a fantastic era. Fathers worked, mothers were homemakers, and dogs almost always behaved. As 17-year old John Lennon wrote about England, it was a time “when belly-buttons were knee-high, and only shitting was dirty, and everything else was clean and beautiful.” We watched “Father Knows Best,” and white folks were comfortable in believing they knew their place in society. Women were expected to be obscene, but not heard.

It seemed really unfair for communists to want to destroy our country. Our leaders warned us that Martin Luther King, Jr., was certainly a communist trouble-maker. Darn him. The middle class was happy to pay high taxes so that the military could keep us safe. Ignore what Ike said at the end of his presidency, for he was old and confused. We could trust the CIA to not throw the bath water out the window with Frank Rudolph Olson. We were stronger than the communists.

In 1962, authors Fletcher Knebel and Charles Bey published the novel “Seven Days in May,” which quickly became President Kennedy's favorite. The authors had based the story upon some of their feelings resulting from events and interviews with Generals Edwin Walker and Curtis LeMay. It is about a military coup that results when a president tries to make peace with the Soviet Union. Kennedy pushed for it to be made into a movie. President Kennedy allowed part of it to be filmed in the White House. Frankenheimer was the director, and it was released in 1964.

Things remained pretty darned good in the USA, with but a few exceptions. Oh, there were some political assassinations, but they were deemed the work of white men. Then, like now, murderous white men were insane loners, and that made everyone feel safer. Well, perhaps not Fred Hampton, but he wanted little children to get free breakfasts, a sure sign of communist influence. Better dead than red., it was said.

Yet the commies remained intent upon destroying us. Southern ministers conducted studies of the Beatles' music, for example, and concluded it was written by communist mind-control evil geniuses. King and others engaged in the Civil Rights movement, which in J. Edgar Hoover's expert opinion was a communist plot. Then America's youth got upset about the war to save South Vietnam from Uncle Ho, who had helped the US during WW2. Clearly, too few of these young people were watching “Father Knows Best.”

The United States in 1968 was as divided as it had been since the Civil War. It was as divided as it is today. Many in the government, including LBJ, were convinced there was a coordinated effort to overthrow the government. The Youth International Party (YIPPIE!) named their paper Over Throw, after all. And YIPPIES never told jokes. It was a tense and frequently very violent time. But we survived.

Today, we face a serious threat to our national security that isn't just in people's imaginations. It is Donald Trump, his administration, the majority of the republican politicians, and a large segment of the republican party. We are seeing Trump not only openly violating the Constitution, but aiming “dog whistles” at a segment of his followers. It's not only to those who are suffering from serious mental illnesses. Rather, he is targeting others who are obsessed with the delusional threats that Trump is barking about. These are Trump's “candidates.”

Some may inhabit the margins, and mail bombs from their van in Florida. Others are simply angry, like the guy who murdered people at the Wal-Mart in El Paso. And still others are parts of the white nationalists groups that infect our culture. They are dangerous. Trump knows this. That's why he is signaling to them that they need to act out violently, to protect him.

It's a crazy time in this country. Trump will continue to be more dangerous until between Thanksgiving and New Year's. His unstable base will become more dangerous in 2020. It is what it is.

Still, we are in an increasingly good position within this tense situation. We have elected representatives who understand the use of creative tension. And we are more powerful than our opposition in every important way.

Peace,
H2O Man

Trump v Nixon

“Can you imagine what this man could have been had somebody loved him? Had somebody in his life cared for him? I don’t think anybody ever did, not his parents, not his peers. He would have been a great, great man had somebody loved him. “
Henry Kissinger on Nixon; interview with Hugh Sidey for TIME


I have had an interesting conversation with my friend Lynne on comparisons between Nixon and Trump. I've participated in some threads on this topic here in recent months. Probably thousands of people have had similar discussions in households across the nation in the past few days. And it's interesting to discuss each one's scandals, and the similarities and differences between them.

Some journalists and former prosecutors on the news have been making the same general comparisons. With the current horrors of seeing the damage that Trump is inflicting on our nation, it is tempting for me to think, “Nixon really wasn't THAT bad.” Thankfully, Lynne reminded me that he was. The truth is that they are both worse.

Let's start by considering what environmental factors in their early lives may have warped each beyond repair. Nixon grew up in a poor family. His religious mother was strongly opposed to “sins” such as dancing, drinking,or swearing His father had trouble making enough money to raise the family. His younger brother was sick, and eventually died. There is no reason to think his parents did anything less than their best, but it produced a young man with internal turbulence.

Trump was raised in the lap of luxury. However, he had a cold, reptilian father, while his mother – described by others as a socialite – seems to be missing in significance. This suggests a strict patriarchal family system. Reportedly, Trump acted out, and was thus sent to a military school for boys – another rigid patriarchal system.

I don't know if Nixon's parents provided the love and emotional support he needed. I don't think Trump's father, as a primary influence on his son, lacked the emotional capacity to love Donald, any more than Donald loves Eric. To be fair, it would be hard for any parent to love Dick, Donald, or Eric.

Nixon could have used his birthright as a Quaker to avoid military service. But he joined the Navy in 1942. Trump had bone spurs. Nixon made money playing cards in the Navy, an obvious rebellion from his mother's strict religious views. Trump played people to make (and lose) money, in an obvious attempt to please his father.

As adults, they share a number of traits. Both can be accurately described as paranoid, envious, and having a curious combination of inferiority and superiority complexes. Both are known as liars: Nixon when he believed it to be beneficial, Trump pathologically. Both used people for personal gain. Nixon had one friend, and Trump none. Both admired and conducted business with mobsters. Both believed themselves above the law, and were willing to sacrifice those close to them to avoid legal consequence. And both had a compulsive need to punish “enemies.”

That brings us to their crimes, as candidates for president and as president. (It would take far too long to examine their previous criminal adventures.) It's important to remember that Nixon, as a candidate in 1968, did have a campaign representative contact a foreign government in an illegal attempt to interfere in a US election.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/02/us/politics/nixon-tried-to-spoil-johnsons-vietnam-peace-talks-in-68-notes-show.html

Likewise, we know that the Trump campaign coordinated efforts with a foreign government to interfere with the 2016 election.

Nixon had an “enemies list” of people to be targeted by the executive branch; it consisted of political opponents and journalists. Trump has made a similar, if less formal, hit list.

https://www.businessinsider.com/nixons-enemy-list-trump-security-clearance-2018-8

The Nixon tapes document his plans to have goons attack protesters at his 1972 re-election campaign rallies and the RNC convention. There were actually plans to kidnap some leaders of the “New Left” and drop them off in Mexico so that they could not attend the convention. We all remember Trump's comments about assaulting protesters at his rallies.

When pressure was being put on each, and their criminal escapades about to be uncovered, both abused the power of office to attempt to cover their tracks by firing investigators. Nixon had the Saturday Night Massacre, Trump fired FBI director Comey, and attempted to fire Mueller.

Both administrations were exposed to the media by a series of leaks to journalists. Both presidents became extremely paranoid about the military-intelligence “spying” on them. In both cases, their fears were justified. A too often forgotten episode of the Nixon experience was the Moorer-Radford Affair.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/the-men-who-spied-on-nixon-new-details-reveal-extent-of-moorer-radford-affair

The whistle-blower who exposed Trump's call to Ukraine is a CIA analyst. And the crimes he reported are substantiated by documents the White House attempted to hide, not unlike the Nixon tapes. And the tapes were revealed by Alexander Butterfield, a retired Navy officer and associate of Al Haig.

Nixon and Trump differ in their behaviors in the White House when the pressure of investigations increased. Despite some press conferences – including the infamous “people need to know if their president is a crook” bit – Nixon became an isolated, tortured man who drank far too much. Trump is publicly taking the stance that it is legal for a president to break the law, and he doesn't drink.

However, both men blamed their problems on “enemies,” and expected subordinates to take the blame for them. And that brings us to one last similarity: in a healthy society, neither man could possibly be considered fit to exercise political power, as both would be recognized as pathetic, failed human beings.

DU:GD Question (with bonus feature)

We know that Donald Trump believes himself to be a significant person in American history. And he will soon be faced with a choice that will cement his place in our nation's history. Which of the two options do you think he will pick? (There is no “wrong” answer, as this is merely opinion at this point in time.)

Will Trump prefer to be:

A. the first US president to be impeached and convicted? Or ….

B. The second president to resign in disgrace before being impeached and convicted?



Added bonus feature: Jim Morrison send a message to republicans from beyond:

Trump on Fire

"There has never been a system yet that would not gladly sacrifice one of its own for a moment's peace, no matter how brief. If the system is to be changed, then those who would change it should pinpoint its weak spot, its blockage points, and place all pressure on that one point until the blockage is cleared."
Vine Deloria; We Talk, You Listen; Macmillan; 1970; page 6.


Note: Before I get started, I'd like to say that watching Maya Wiley and Nick Akerman on MSNBC's “The Beat with Ari Melber” was extraordinary yesterday.

Now, on to Trump. One of the things that most people here are aware of is that Trump's brain does not function in a healthy manner. He does not interpret reality in the same manner that rational people do. Add to that the fact that he is ignorant, and he has frequently put his ignorance of the presidency on full display. For example, he believed that individuals and groups, including the Attorney General, the FBI, and the larger intelligence community, worked for him.

He said that the Attorney General was “supposed to protect” him, as he believed Robert Kennedy and Eric Holder had done. He spoke of needing a Roy Cohn, the infamous mob lawyer. Trump believed that being president would make him a powerful mob boss, on par with Vladimir Putin.

In other words, Trump imagines himself to be Tyrannosaurus Rex. And in a sense – beyond his hands – that is accurate. For Trump's behaviors are largely dictated by the reptilian section of his brain, a trait that holds true for sociopaths. Thus, I'd like to engage in some informed speculation on how the sociopath-in-chief and his enablers might behave in the days and weeks to come.

To begin with, let's focus upon some of his recent reactions to current events. Clearly, he feels threatened to an extent that has caused a change in his usual behaviors. The obvious example is his allowing Congress access to documents and individuals from the executive branch, which is distinct from what we have seen with House committees investigating his other crimes.

Initially, the White House and Department of Justice attempted to hide any mention of the whistle-blower and his/her complaint Then the flood gates opened. After telling reporters a few versions of why he withheld funds from Ukraine, none of which had the ring of truth, Trump called Speaker Pelosi to ask if they could make a deal to avoid her upcoming statement on impeachment? After Speaker Pelosi told Trump that he should tell his people to obey the law, he was furious. He told reporters that Ms. Pelosi was no longer the Speaker of the House. One can safely identify this as projection.

Trump also insisted that his poll numbers have gone up since his shit hit the fan. A rational person would recognize that no meaningful poll has been undertaken, completed, and reported upon in the past 48 hours. These polls exist nowhere but between Trump's ears.

It is essential to remember that Trump isn't lying in the usual manner that he does. Sociopaths under extreme pressure frequently experience brief episodes of psychosis. Add to Trump's break from all contact with reality his tendency to invest in conspiracy theories. In this instance, there is reason to believe Rudy first convinced Trump that there was a Biden-Ukraine scandal available to exploit in the 2020 election.

Even under the abnormal circumstances of his presidency, we have seen that Trump fully expects those close to him to fall upon their swords to protect him. There is no one he will not throw under the bus. And this includes Rudy, his long-time bud. See film below:



The president's advisers will tell him to circle the wagons, and send only trustworthy individuals out to try to spin and distract. But Trump will prove incapable of that. He will tweet, and continue to rant to reporters. Some in the administration will refuse to sacrifice themselves on the alter of Trump, while others will carve swastikas in their foreheads if Trump does. Trump will attack those who “betray” him, and throw all others under the bus.

I, for one, do not want this disturbed jackass determining issues such as a possible military strike on Iran. Just my opinion.
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