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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 08:49 PM
Number of posts: 57,760

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Onah

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


This quote is from Harvey Arden and Steve Wall's book, “The Wisdom Keepers: Meetings with Native American Spiritual Leaders.” I was fortunate to know Leon as “Uncle.” As the head of the Haudenosaunee's Grand Council of Chiefs, Leon dedicated his life to serving the people of the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. They were “the people behind” him.

It's interesting to compare and contrast the styles of leadership between Leon and the current president of the United States. One provided stability, even in troubled times; the other is central in creating instability. And that, as the old saying goes, is the difference between sugar and shit.

What is equally important is to examine very different approaches that traditional peoples take, in their relationship to leadership, and those in the United States. This goes beyond looking at the aggressively hostile, paranoid people who support the current president. In fact, we could even consider the attitudes and behaviors of some groups and individuals on various internet political-social discussion sites.

Let's take DU as an example. Within the people who participate on DU:GD, there are several sub-groups. Included are those who identify the Democratic Party's leadership with two distinct individuals: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Within each of these two sub-groups, there are many who are able to use rational thought, and recognize that both “leaders” and groups have an important role to play in the future. Yet there are others – frequently the most vocal in discussions – that are aggressively irrational, extremely hostile, and unfortunately paranoid about the “dangers” posed by those who have different thoughts, beliefs, and values.

It's worth considering what type of “people behind the leaders” we are attempting to be. Indeed, this is something that played a significant role in determining the outcomes of elections past, i9ncluding 2016, and will continue to be a major influence in elections in the future.

If Donald Trump and his administration are as corrupt, inept, and dangerous as everyone says – and I think they are much more dangerous than that – then it is essential that everyone harness their best potential, and focus upon creating a united front to combat the threats. That is the one alternative that we have – right now, today – towards advancing the Democratic Party to lead a coalition capable of bringing about the Great Society.

Peace,
H2O Man

Kaine

Yesterday, I read some OP/threads on DU:GD regarding Tim Kaine, and his position on abortion. Not all of the information on the thread was accurate, and so I thought it would be worthwhile to look into what his position actually is. It is an important issue, and it is essential that we have accurate information in order to be able to have meaningful discussions on how to protect people's rights, in the face of a republican White House, Senate, and House of Representatives,

Indeed, there is a possibility – even a likelihood – that the republicans will attempt to restrict reproductive rights, both at the state level, and with an eye on the US Supreme Court. For that reason, I believe that it is important that members of the Democratic Party have open and honest conversations about what actions people at the grass roots level can take to protect what should be recognized as established law.

In doing so, we must keep in mind that reproductive rights are closely associated with other rights in our society. I remember back in the 1980s, when a spokesperson for the “moral majority” (it was neither) said that pregnancy was God's punishment for women enjoying sex. Seriously. And there are a lot of unhappy people who want to control other people's lives in areas that are absolutely none of their business.

Here is a link with detailed information on Kaine's views on abortion:
http://www.ontheissues.org/Social/Tim_Kaine_Abortion.htm

His positions are clear: while he personally does not approve of abortion, he respects the fact that Roe v Wade is established law, and is opposed to efforts to change that. He does support three restrictions; these involve parental consent, informed consent, and restrictions on partial birth abortions.

I think that the Democratic Party needs to harness the strength of everyone who recognizes and respects Roe v Wade as established law. I do have serious concerns about “restrictions.” I view efforts to enact such restrictions on the state level for what they are: attempts to eliminate women's options.

I also disagree with Kaine's focus on “abstinence” education as a means of reducing unwanted/ unplanned pregnancies. While it could be included as a part of sex education in public schools, it is unrealistic to assume it is meaningful to most teenagers. More, education about birth control and access to contraceptives is essential.

That, of course, brings us to Planned Parenthood. There is an on-going effort to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood that is exclusive to the republican agenda. That is unacceptable.

I believe that our party's potential candidates can hold a range of personal beliefs about abortion, so long as they recognize that Roe v Wade is established law; that individual states do not have the “right” to restrict it; that they understand that access to birth control is essential; and that they support Planned Parenthood.

I understand that other people may have different beliefs, that influence what candidates they will support or not support. This is an issue that, like several others, many people place at the top of their list of priorities. Building the coalition that can win elections at all levels has to be the Democratic Party's goal, and that obviously involves addressing those essential issues.

"Shattered"

 "That was the single most illustrative moment of what this campaign was,” one aide says. “Here’s something Donald Trump did and said and was arguably disqualifying to a lot of voters — something that could put the race away — but within moments, a factor related to emails comes around and puts a thumb on the other side of the scale."
http://time.com/4747256/hillary-clinton-shattered-book/


My library includes a large section of books by and about U.S. Presidents. Among them are numerous books that focus exclusively on the campaigns in primary and general elections. I will not, however, place any books about Donald Trump – at least not until any come out regarding his impeachment.

While I recognize that he is “the” president, he is in no way “my” president. Everything associated with his approaching “100 days” mark confirms that he is grossly unqualified for the duties of that office. His campaign was definitely aided by Russia, creating divisions in the US that allowed his campaign to exploit weaknesses within the Democratic Party.

The fact that these weaknesses allowed the least qualified candidate in American history to “win” in the electoral college is reason enough for people to make an honest assessment of what went wrong. To do so, we must move beyond the bitter emotions that serve to entrench those divides within what in 2008 and 2012 was known as the Obama coalition.

The new book, by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, looks like a valuable resource for understanding – and accepting – what went wrong in 2016. It appears to be similar to John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's 2010 “Game Change.” The authors of the new book used conversations with approximately one hundred people, most of whom were insiders in the Democratic Party's campaign. I ordered a copy of their book yesterday.

I'm curious if other forum members are reading, or have read, the book?

Primary Structures

“If my poetry aims to achieve anything, it's to deliver people from the limited ways in which they see and feel.”
-- James D. Morrison


One of the more interesting and important discussions taking place within the Democratic Party involves its structure – from the local to state to national levels. Much of the current debate is rooted in the experiences of the 2016 presidential primary, though the focus is on the future. It includes issues ranging from who exercises “control” of the party; the potential for primaries at various levels; and the unacceptable number of lost seats in recent elections, including governors and state legislators, as well as in the House and Senate.

As a long-time member of the Democratic Party who identifies with the Democratic Left, I am convinced that everyone has the right to her/his opinion. And the responsibility to voice their beliefs, and to act upon them. That includes those who strongly disagree with my opinions. And, for that matter, for those who simply disagree with me as a person.

Obviously, changes will occur. No organic entity on earth remains the same. Those that attempt to never change become stale and stagnant, and suffer from rot and decay. When we think of the most successful candidates from our party, they tend to campaign on the promise of positive change. When we think of the worst republican candidates, they often campaign upon the lie that society can go back to some imaginary “better time” – or, in some instances, they promise a better future, but deliver decay and rot, like Trump.

The Democratic Party contains a wide range of people: going from left to right, for example, there are progressives, liberals, moderates, and conservative party members. Thus, it should come as no surprise that there will be a corresponding range of ideas, beliefs, and values. At the same time, there are some basic ideas, beliefs, and values that bind us together. It's important to be able to discuss both in an open and honest manner.

Yet, in some venues – perhaps primarily the internet – such discussions are frequently acrimonious. That's a shame. In fact, it would seem that this could only benefit the opposition, making it a double-shame. Let's consider the other potential this has for the Democratic Party.

“Republicans” are a sub-species of human beings, though anthropologists disagree on where exactly they fit on the “family tree.” But there is agreement that they exist in a semi-conscious state, with a marked ignorance and fear that results in herd behaviors. A mutation of a socially-spread disease has resulted in high rates of anti-social behaviors – the most common behavior being an obsessive-repulsive need to insult anyone who believes differently than them. Those who believe in science, for example, are almost always attacked.

Over the past four decades, I've been an environmental activist. I was born in a town with a terrible amount of toxic industrial pollution, including several large dumps. The largest is over 120 acres. For years, local industry disposed of toxic wastes by dumping them either in or very near the small lakes that served as water reservoirs. I've worked with local grass roots groups, the local, state, and federal government, and even provided witnesses for the EPA when the largest industry brought them to federal court to fight the MSW law.

During much of the time, I served as the top assistant to the Onondaga Nation's Chief Paul Waterman. The majority of this work involved burial protection and repatriation issues. That is, of course, related to other environmental issues. A more current example of this is the conflict at Standing Rock. I have been pleased to see some of our party's elected representative standing in unity with the Standing Rock Sioux.

I think that a good many of the non-Indians who supported Paul, or who support Standing Rock, recognize that the traditional Native American leaders provide a very different type of leadership than the vast majority of “elected representatives” in state houses and Washington, DC. This is not to suggest that we plan to primary every current politician in 2018 and 2020. It does mean we will be investing our efforts in electing reasonably pro-environment candidates. And to identify and promote some from the grass roots willing to run for office.

A few years back, outside a public hearing on a proposed pipeline in this area, a gentleman that I don't know informed me – in front of others – that the tea party, pro-fracking group he belonged to were going to target me. I felt sorry for him, for being so filled with hatred. For hatred is a toxin that contaminates the vessel which contains it, as Rubin Carter once told me.

In recent times, science has documented the damage that human beings are inflicting on the environment. Yet, some within the Democratic Party have expressed distrust of the environmental movement. Some in the intelligence agencies, in documenting Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election, have suggested that the environmentalists – especially those who oppose fracking – are promoting Putin's agenda. I have met hundreds of pro-environment, anti-fracking people, and not one only held these thoughts, beliefs, and values, after watching RT tv.

In my own case, I can say that I enjoy watching Abby Martin. I respect her for her intellect, and find her thinking interesting. But I have been a grass roots activist within the Democratic Party since long before Ms. Martin was born. That's because I respect the traditions of Chief Water and the research of scientist; it is also because I am opposed to people like Putin or Trump being in any position of power.

Still, when I've expressed my thoughts on these general topics – which do present challenges to the world's population – I've actually been accused of being a promoter of Russian influence, by a member of the Democratic Party. Gracious! I can't take such nonsense seriously. But I do believe that this type of thinking and behavior presents far more of a threat to the party's chances in 2018 and 2020 than any primary contest could. Primaries are about the open and honest debates, and party members have a need to know, for example, who is pro-environment, and who is pro-fracking and pro-pipeline – particularly if they get contributions from the energy corporations.

Peace,
H2O Man

NYS Golden Gloves

On Saturday, my son fights in the finals of the upstate Golden Gloves. He's looked very good in training. Most of his sparring has been with another young man, who lives a few miles away, who is also in the finals at a lower weight class. We'll be heading to Buffalo on Friday afternoon, and competing Saturday evening.

Trump Mobile

“While you're saving you're face, you're losing your ass.”
President Lyndon B. Johnson


The events in Washington, DC, are unfolding with such speed that it can be difficult to keep track of them. Every day, the media reports information on both the Trump administration's relationship with the Russians, and/or either the House or Senate intelligence committee's investigations. It is important to recognize the importance of each revelation, and to understand each report's relationship to the others.

To do so, it is beneficial to view the Trump administration by using the model of a mobile hanging over an infant's crib. The mobile attempts to maintain its balance, yet each time one piece shifts its positions, all others must move. If the other pieces attempt to remain entrenched in their position, the mobile is forced to cut off the piece that is moving ….an action that still causes a further shift, as the initial castration of General Flynn illustrated.

It is also important, in the Trump mobile, to recognize that everything they claim is a lie. One is reminded of Groucho Marx's saying, “I deny everything I say, for everything I say is a lie, and everything I deny is a lie, too.”

In the past 36 hours, we have seen Steve Bannon demoted, and Devin Nunes “step aside” as the head of the House intelligence committee. The White House claims that Bannon had merely been placed on the NSC to babysit General Flynn. In fact, Flynn had advocated placing Bannon on the NSC; Flynn was fired long ago, yet Bannon remained on the NSC; and Bannon threatened to quit the White House when informed of this demotion.

Likewise, Nunes said that he stepped aside because “leftists” filed ethic complaints against him, for when he recently exposed himself as a willing lap dog for the White House. It is true that complaints have been filed for ethics violations. The violations involve Nunes's participation in a Bannon- engineered “intelligence operation.” The operation involved three other NSC individuals tied to Bannon, including one with ties to Nunes.

Keep in mind that the Iran-Contra scandal primarily involved the Reagan White House's efforts to consolidate policy and operations within the NSC. They, not coincidentally, operated with mercenaries from around the globe. These mercenaries included an international mafia of weapons dealers. It kind of sounds familiar to the Trump White House.

Going back to the Days when Flynn was part of the NSC, a “shadow NSC” was created. The White House, of course, has denied this. Were they lying? The “headquarters” of the “shadow NSC” has been identified as room 169 in the Eisenhower building since the administration's denial.

It has further been documented that the incoming Trump administration was represented by Erik Prince at a curious meeting on a privately-owned island in the Indian ocean. Erik is, of course, the (former) head of the mercenary group Blackwater. He is also the sibling of Betsy DeVos, who heads the education department. Even more, Prince – who donated in the Trump campaign – has a long history with Bannon. The pair is convinced that they, like VP Cheney and Scooter Libby, have the right to run illegal operations through the White House.

Now let's consider two others in the Trump administration. The first is Trump's personal body guard, Keith Schiller. He recently represented the administration, along with Jared Kushner, in meetings with the Kurdish, something that should have been done by the State Department. You may remember Schiller from when he hit a protester outside of Trump Towers in 2015. He has a military and law enforcement background, along with a history of being sued. He appears to be active in the “retired alt-right military/ law enforcement group” based in NYC, which is currently tasked with creating new lies for the White House to spread.

The last one we should consider is the one responsible for Bannon's humiliating demotion, H. R. McMaster. If anyone has been doing any “babysitting” in the NSC, it's him. Keep in mind that, after Flynn was placded in this extended time-out, Trump asked three retired military leaders to serve as his National Security Adviser. All three turned him down. Because McMaster was active duty, he could not turn Trump down. Clearly, McMaster recognizes that the band of ass-clowns -- around and including Trump – presents a threat to our country.

One more thing: the alt-right's attempt to smear Susan Rice is important to recognize for exactly what it is. There are a number of reasons they selected her, including the fact that she is a black female. They have attacked her in the past with lies and smears. And they feel the need to now, because if she does end up testifying – to the House, Senate, or criminal prosecution of the trumpets – she will destroy them. Ms. Rice is a highly-intelligent person, who knows things about them not from a “political” agenda, but from national security concerns.

Water Maniacs




Speaking of Erich Fromm, I'd recommend his wonderful book “The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness” (1973) as a guide to how Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election. The book describes, in historical terms, the very nature of the Trump campaign. It also provides a valuable blueprint of how Trump – and Bannon, etc – intend to rule.

Before we discuss that book, it would seem important to look at one of Fromm's previous books, “On Disobedience: Why Freedom Means Saying 'No' to Power.” It is a collection of Fromm's essays on the topic from the early 1960s. In this book, the author describes how a society becomes vulnerable to such an authoritarian leader.

The concept of “disobedience” has a curious interpretation in western society. Western culture has been influenced by both the Hebrew and Greek concepts. Human history, according to the Hebrew mythology, began with an act of disobedience that resulted in their being expelled from harmony within the natural world. And the Greek fable of Prometheus defines human civilization as being a result of disobedience.

But before considering the power of disobedience, let's consider “obedience,” as Fromm speaks of it. He notes that there are two types of obedience: “Obedience to a person, institution, or power (heteronomous obedience) is submissive; it implies the abdication of my autonomy and the acceptence of a foreign will or judgment in place of my own. Obedience to my own reason or conviction (autonomous obedience) is not an act of submission but one of affirmation. My conviction and judgment, if authentically mine, are part of me.” (page 5)

From this, we can see how enough Americans submitted to the Trump campaign's promise to “make America great again.” Of course, the majority of voters did not support Trump. Hopefully, they will continue to say “no” to his insanity. The biggest question remains as to if they can do so in a coordinated, unified manner.

These basic ideas are, obviously, not limited to our current situation involving Donald Trump. We can apply these same concepts to other groups and individuals, including family, school, workplace, internet groups, church, etc. And there is a large range of locus on control spanning between fully internal and external in individual human beings.

To better understand this wide range, Fromm notes that we must understand how it involves the individual's conscience. There are, he explains, two distinct types: “One is the 'authoritarian conscience' which is the internalized voice of an authority whom we are eager to please and afraid of displeasing. This authoritarian conscience is what most people experience when they obey their conscience. It is also the conscience that Freud speaks of, and which he called 'Super-Ego.' This Super-Ego represents the internalized commands and prohibitions of father, accepted by son out of fear. Different from the authoritarian conscience is the 'humanistic conscience'; this is the voice present in every human being and independent from external sanctions and reward. Humanistic conscience is based on the fact that as human beings we have an intuitive knowledge of what is human an inhuman, what is conductive of life and what is destructive of life. It is the voice that calls us back to ourselves, back to our humanity.” (page 6)

Because each human life is distinct, and people's beliefs are rooted in their individual life experiences – family, education, etc – humanistic conscience provides for more than one option for individual thinking, beliefs, and values. Only authoritarian conscience holds that there is one, and only one, legitimate set of thoughts, beliefs, and values. On its surface, this is weak, because any time two people's thinking is exactly alike, it means only one is thinking. More, in practice it is tragic: for if all people thought and acted exactly alike, humanity would decay in short order.

This is not to suggest that people should disobey any and all rules of social order. Clearly, those who are incapable of following what Martin Luther King, Jr., correctly called “just laws” create problems. It is the disobedience of “unjust laws” that King advocated, including the willingness to accept the consequences nonviolently. King grasped that this form of appeal to humanistic conscience possesses the power to advance social justice.

Fromm notes that the Hebrew prophets understood history as the period of time required for people to become fully human. When humanistic conscience is shared, then humanity enters “the end of days,” which indicates the ability to live in peace with one another, and in harmony with the natural world. It does not mean that all people will think and act alike. It does mean having respect for other people having the right to identify, for themselves, what type of person they favor for representing their interests and values in “government.”

"Baby, You're a Rich Man"

Elite: a group of persons exercising the major share of authority or influence within a larger group:
the power elite of a major political party.


There are some interesting discussions on DU:GD as of late, often focusing on the words “liberal elite,” that include attempts to marginalize Democrats who were/are participants in the Sanders Revolution. As someone who continues to support Bernie – I have since first meeting him circa 1982 – I thought it might be worthwhile to express a few thoughts here. I understand that the majority of current forum members will likely disagree with what I say here, and that is fine. I have never been concerned about if my opinions are in the majority or minority. As Gandhi noted, even if one is alone in their understanding of Truth, they should speak.

Every group with more than eight members will have a hierarchy. If a group has millions of members, it will, by definition, include “a group of persons exercising the major share of authority or influence within (the) larger group.” Therefore, it would be reasonable to believe that the Democratic Party has “elites,” and unreasonable to hold that it doesn't.

All organizations with millions of members must, by definition, operate by means of a stratified bureaucratic system. That includes the Democratic Party. That stratification involves having some that are at the top. However, the lower levels also have power. In an organization that works well, those at the different levels work in a coordinated manner, to increase results that benefit everyone.

There are, of course, more than two levels within the party. Between the grass roots and the national leadership are local, county, and state Democratic Party committees. While this structure is similar to that found in the republican party, its functions are distinct: republicans as a rule campaign and vote for whoever their candidate is, while Democrats frequently invest their energies in those candidates that most represent their opinions, beliefs, and values.

If we consider why the Democratic Party has lost so many House, Senate, and state elections in recent years, it would seem important to assess if these levels are coordinating to benefit all. That requires that we understand, accept, and respect the fact that there are a variety of opinions, beliefs, and values involved here. Pretending that anyone who has different opinions, beliefs, or values than ourselves must be a “bircher” or enemy of the party is to be part of the concrete thinking that prevents positive change – and positive changes are clearly required if our party is to start winning more elections.

The differences between the two major groups within the party can best be understood by recognizing the differences between “liberal” and “progressive” members. Liberals believe the political-economic-social structure is basically sound, and merely requires some fine-tuning in order to be more fair to all. Progressives believe that structure prevents social justice, and requires a major overhaul. This core difference causes tensions within the party. This is where the Democratic Party faces its greatest challenge: if both sides work together for the commo0n good, we will win the vast majority of future elections; if we are divided, we will lose, even to the worst opposition possible – as the election of Donald Trump demonstrated.

When progressives speak of the “liberal elite,” we are talking about those with the economic, social, and political position that allows them to be “more equal” than the grass roots voters. There is no better example of “liberal elites” than the “super delegates” that decide our presidential primaries. Another example from 2016 was, obviously, the DNC. Liberals tend to believe what the elites say, and that what they do is for the common good. Progressives tend to think of the James Baldwin quote, “I can't believe what you say, because I see what you do.”

Consider, for example, the issues involved in fund-raising. Few members of the Democratic Party speak in favor of the Citizens United decision. Without question, corporate money has an unhealthy influence on democracy. It is safe to say that the liberal elite in DC listens closer to the corporations that donate thousands to their candidate and “Super PACs,” than to the individual who donates $10 or $20. And that is not just in the general elections – it holds just as true in the primary season. So as uncomfortable as it may be, we have the obligation to ask: if corporate money has an undemocratic influence on general elections, should it be allowed to determine the outcome of primaries?

Any politician can talk about protecting the environment. Donald Trump says he is protecting the environment, while doing virtually everything possible to advocate for the financial interests of the corporations that are destroying the natural world. We can't believe what he says, because we see what he is doing – not that any rational person ever believed him to begin with.

There are liberal elites who speak passionately about the environment. And, to be fair, some of them advocate for environmental issues with their actions. Yet there are many others who merely talk the talk, and fail to walk the walk. Some even express contempt for environmentalist when they are behind closed doors. This is not mere speculation, nor is it a paranoid conspiracy theory. In 2016, documents made public proved this beyond question. More, we saw what politicians supported the people in Standing Rock. We know who was there.

We are at a point where the grass roots progressive community is saying “no” to those who mistakenly believe they have the authority to dictate the “rules” they seek to enforce on others, but are unwilling to follow themselves. If we examine this within the context of the Democratic Party, that translates to people refusing to be an unconscious cog in a corporate machine. Some people understand that; others simply do not.

It includes the reality that Bernie Sanders is not merely a leader in the Democratic Party, but he is a member of the party. Bernie is as much a member of the party today as I am. And I am every bit as much a member of the Democratic Party, with an equal right to my opinions, beliefs, and values, as any other forum member. I recognize that I am not in any position that could be mistaken for “elite.” I'm proud to be an average member of the grass roots, at the lowest level of stratification.

My focus is empowering the grass roots within the Democratic Party. I accept the fact that I will never be invited to a fancy DC cocktail party, to bump shoulders with those beautiful people Lennon sang about in “Baby, You're a Rich Man.” I'm not at risk of either getting or accepting such an invitation.

I will, however, continue to attend rallies and demonstrations; speak to groups, including college students and environmentalist; and assist regional Democratic Party committees, send $10 or $20 to the individual candidates I trust, and invest my time and energy in their campaigns. I'm confident that this allows me to work within a large segment of our party. I am at peace with the reality that there are others who do not agree with me as an individual, and who do not support the issues that are most important to me. They have the same right to their opinions as I have to mine; more, they own their actions, just as I own mine.

Peace,
H2O Man

Twisting in the Wind

I remember my father pointing out that whenever a republican administration is in deep shit, they will select someone to serve as a lightening rod. The idea is to make someone other than high-ranking administration officials be the center of controversy. The best example of this came during the Watergate years, when John Ehrlichman said of acting FBI director L. Patrick Gray, “I think we ought to let him hang there. Let him twist slowly, slowly in the wind.”

Events this week demonstrate that the Trump administration assigned this role to Devon Nunes. More, it is apparent that they were willing to sacrifice any potential political career that Nunes may have been able to buy. Throughout the week, Nunes has been hung out for media attacks. More, he lacks the intellectual capacity to realize he has been left to twist slowly in the wind. At very best, he will become a footnote in history, a punching bag reduced to a punch line.

Despite the implosion of the House intelligence committee, it actually served its purpose. This was accomplished by last Monday's public hearing, particularly when director Comey spoke about exactly what the FBI is currently investigating. More, Nunes's panicked behaviors since last Friday have back-fired on him. His canceling of this week's meetings exposed the White House's attempt to derail a serious investigation.

While much of the media has focused upon Nunes's actions, the reporting has been largely negative. There have been increasing calls for him to, at very least, recuse himself from this investigation. Even another republican has called on him to step down. Nunes's recent media interviews have been awkward, as he refuses to answer questions about the relationship between himself and those who “shared” the intelligence reports that upset him so.

Further, the White House attempted to prevent Sally Yates from testifying to the House intelligence committee. And Nunes canceled the meetings the committee had scheduled for this week, without providing an explanation to the other members.

Fortunately, the Senate intelligence committee has begun their public hearings. This is where the public is likely to learn much more about the issues involving the Trump campaign/ administration's relationship with the Russians.

Also, it is being reported that Michael Flynn is attempting to secure a deal for himself: apparently, he will testify if he gets immunity. If the Trump administration felt it necessary to attempt to prevent Sally Yates from testifying, they have to be freaking out at the mere thought of Flynn testifying. By no coincidence, the administration was willing to sacrifice Flynn early on, and reportedly were ready to blame him for anything else that may come up. As terrible of a human being as he is – and he is horrible – he could do severe damage to all of the president's men. And the president.

A Rolling Stone

"Dig It"
Like a rolling stone
Like a rolling stone
Ah like a rolling stone
Like the FBI and the CIA
And the BBC, BB King
And Doris Day
Matt Busby
Dig it, dig it, dig it
Dig it, dig it, dig it, dig it, dig it, dig it, dig it, dig it

[That was "Can You Dig It" by Georgie Wood. And now we'd like to do "Hark The Angels Come".]
-- The Beatles


I did a brief presentation for a area Democratic Party committee this evening. The group was doing preparation for this November's elections, when they will be running a number of good candidates for “local” offices. Although I do not reside in the county where their elections will be held, I always enjoy the opportunity to break bread with them.

It's funny: on Monday, in another county, I was asked to attend a historical society's board of trustees meeting. There had been some rather unpleasant arguing at recent meetings, and some people there thought I might be able to help resolve the on-going problems. There were twenty people there, who took turns arguing with one another. One problem was that the majority of them were talking all at once, for most of the 90 minutes we were there.

There were about the same number of Democrats at tonight's meeting. There was no arguing. People were respectful when any other person spoke. I found this interesting, because I knew about half the people there, and they had been divided between Clinton and Sanders in the last presidential primary. But that hasn't resulted in hard feelings between them, nor does it prevent them from working together now. They know what is important.

That strikes me as a key point. These are the people that do the yeoman's work. They build the foundation of the Democratic Party. What is important to them is, in my opinion, of far greater significance than the sum total of the anger and hurt feelings dividing that historical society. They recognize that both Clinton and Sanders had a huge amount of support last year, and that it is essential that these groups – both firmly within the Democratic Party – work together today.

Next month, another group in that community has asked me to speak about the numerous toxic industrial waste dump sites in their township. The leader of the neighborhood groups I'll be speaking to recently told me a county official “begged” her not to have me speak. She asked me if I was still willing to speak to the two neighborhood groups? Gracious! I'm more than willing. In fact, I'll probably mix in a few statements noting that they should, among other things, vote for the Democratic candidates in November, since their current representatives are owned by fossil fuel.

Peace,
H2O Man
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