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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 07:49 PM
Number of posts: 58,381

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Trump Today

“It used to be, everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. But that's not the case anymore. Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything.”
Stephen Colbert

“In both law and politics, I think the essential battle is the meta-battle of framing the narrative.”
Ted Cruz


During the 2016 republican primary and general election, Donald Trump was able to exercise control over the narrative. In the primaries, he was assisted by the media; in the general election, by Russia. An objective appraisal would conclude that neither the media or his campaign's Russian connections are aiding him in his presidency.

There are, of course, a group of people who are entrenched in their support of Trump. They are the right-wing of the republican party and others who are further to the right of that party. Though they are a minority nation-wide, they represent an important voting block in several states.

There are also many people who opposed Trump as a candidate, and as president. They are the majority in our country. Currently, the mainstream media and Russian investigations benefit their cause. If they find unity of purpose they will be the most important voting block nation-wide.

The facts are entirely on our side. The media – especially the Washington Post and New York Times – report on facts uncovered by the investigations on an almost daily basis. If the law and politics were completed rooted in facts, there would be no support for Trump, other than that of his family, business associates, and their Russian buddies.

Trump and his supporters have reacted by resorting to his campaign tactics. He is appealing to his base to support him, despite the facts. But the White House narrative is failing dismally on every level except the alt-right.

However, using some simple campaign strategies and tactics can serve the Democratic Party quite well. This can – and should – be done in coordination with the upcoming congressional elections. Let's consider the most basic rule of any type of political and/or social campaign. There are always three groups: those who will always support your cause, those who will always oppose you, and those who are either undecided, or who might change their position.

We want to energize the first group; generally ignore the second group; and convince the third group. Thus, the narrative used to communicate to each group has to be flexible. We benefit from having the first group being active participants in a coordinated effort to damage Trump & friends to the point where impeachment and criminal convictions become reality. The vehicle that allows us to do this is Amendment 1.

In discussions between those in group one, there are a wide range of topics worthy of our attention. We have no need to speak to the second group, but we can often use their words against them while communicating with the third group. Trump's tweets provide a great example of this option.

Trump continues to whine that the investigation is a witch hunt, carried on by Democrats who are sore losers. And it's true that a serious case can be made that Trump would not have won the electoral vote without the Russian's aid. But, in conversations with group three, we should stick to two important points that do not involve any speculation: the intelligence community was investigating Russia's role well before the election, and no patriotic American should be okay with foreign intrusions on our elections. It's really that simple to put Trump's argument in check.

Next, just as Trump used nicknames to label his opponents, we have the opportunity to label him and his merry band of fools. While talking with others from group one – such as here on DU – I do not hesitate to refer to Trump as a flaming asshole, etc. But in speaking to the general public, I prefer a different approach. I've noted that Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson has been referring to the administration as mobsters. That is simple, accurate, and powerful. It combines well with references to the current scandal resembling Watergate, and the question, “What is Trump trying to hide?” As it becomes part of the narrative, it communicates a clear message to group three.

This is, as so many have noted, a strange and dangerous time. Trump clearly wants to fire both Rosenstein and Mueller. The more the pressure is applied to him and his son-in-law, the more his reactions will be out of control. The more out of control he becomes, the more damage he does to himself, and to VP Pence. There is no nobler cause today than participating, at the grass roots level, with the further destabilizing of the Trump administration. Let's get busy.

Peace,
H2O Man

Trump Card

It's not often that people from both sides of the Trump-Russia scandal agree on anything. Did former FBI director James Comey's testimony help or hurt Trump? It is hard for me to believe that those saying it supported the president actually believe what they are saying. Rather, it is evidence that they have volunteered for ethical lobotomies.

Yet, among the republican lies, one man actually hinted at the truth: Newt Gingrich. Over the weekend, Newt voiced the panic that Trump supporters should be experiencing when they consider the legal team that Robert Mueller has put together. By no coincidence, an essay on LAWFARE notes that the worst thing that happened to Trump et al was not Mr. Comey's testimony – but the newest additions to Mueller's team:

https://lawfareblog.com/worst-thing-happened-donald-trump-week?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=sendto_newslettertest&stream=top-stories

In addition to this, consider Preet Bharara's weekend interview, in which he detailed Trump's attempts to exert influence over him:



His description of Trump's contacts with him – and Trump's firing him for non-cooperation – are near identical to Comey's experience. By no mere coincidence, Mueller was fully aware of the details that Bharara shared publicly. Certainly, Trump's behavior falls into a pattern that Mueller understands. And, as always, it's not just the “how” things are done, it's the “why?”

A good prosecutor, when considering what (if any) charges to bring, looks for what is both easiest to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, and what carries a penalty that ensures justice is served. At times, this creates a degree of controversy among the public. Let's consider a fairly recent example.

When Patrick Fitzgerald investigated the Plame scandal, it was evident that two individuals were the primary culprits: Scooter Libby and Dick Cheney. The easiest case to prove was that Libby lied repeatedly to the FBI and grand jury. Those convictions resulted in a significant penalty, although President Bush saved him from incarceration. More, Fitzgerald strongly recommended that Congress go after VP Cheney – he offered to share the files from his investigation with them – but Congress failed to take appropriate action.

Now, let's look at Mueller and the Trump-Russian investigation. The easiest charge to prove against Trump at this time is obstruction. Hence, Mueller will present this specific matter to a federal grand jury – possibly the one in West Virginia, possibly a new one. They will return a sealed indictment. Mueller will inform the House of this, providing them the opportunity to consider articles of impeachment against Trump.

Mueller knows that the House republicans will view such an option in an entirely political manner. This includes a primary focus on what is in their own best interests. There is perhaps a 50-50 chance that, in such circumstances, they will impeach Trump, and send it to the Senate to try.

However, if they opt not to do so, Mueller is now prepared to pursue the matter. This is why he hired Michael Dreeben. And Newt Gingrich knows this. Mueller will pursue criminal charges against Trump in federal court. The White House will hold that a sitting president cannot be charged. And there used to be a tradition that a sitting president should not be distracted from his duties with any court case involving him as an individual. But Dreeben will argue that President Clinton was forced to participate in a civil trial rooted in past conduct, which definitely distracted from his presidency, and that Trump's conduct consisted of behaviors he engaged in as president.

Both sides can agree that Trump is in serious trouble. And it's of his own making.

"....of investigative interest."

The news media has provided a good amount of coverage to James Comey's testimony to the Senate committee. However, there is one issue that should get some more focused attention – why he did not inform Trump that it was wrong to pressure him on letting the Flynn business stop, nor come out in protest immediately afterwards. Why, instead, did he immediately start to document it on a secure laptop, and then only share the information with top FBI officials?

To understand the actual reason, we need to look closely at one short sentence Comey uttered, which has not been appreciated by the media: “It was of investigative interest.”

More, we need to place this in the curious context of events involving the FBI investigation, and the Trump administration. We know that Comey had rehearsed, with those same FBI officials, possible responses to potential odd questions that Trump might pose to him. Surely, he could have told the president that it was unethical to discuss anything about the FBI investigation of people associated with the campaign and transition team with him. Instead, he opted to say that Trump himself was not a target of the investigation. Why?

There are two reasons: first, Trump was not officially a target at that time, simply because investigators were working their way up the chain; and second, investigators are not obligated to be honest with either suspects, or potential suspects. For example, police can separate two suspects during questioning, and tell each one that the other has already ratted on him.

Comey was investigating potential crimes. Flynn was a target. And Trump was closely associated with Flynn and his activities. Imagine an investigator at a social event, who encounters an associate of someone being investigated for a crime. If that suspect's associate asks, “Am I a suspect?,” the investigator will say no, as to do otherwise informs the friend that anything he says can be used against him, and that he needs to hire an attorney. If the associate is in a chatty mood, the investigator will listen closely, so that he can remember the associate's exact words, and then immediately document them. Why? Because the encounter is of “investigative interest.”

What precisely does “investigative interest” mean? There are but two closely related explanations. The first is to gather more evidence against the suspect (Flynn). The second is to gather leads to help identify other potential suspects – in this case, meaning Trump's attempt to obstruct the on-going investigation.

And that is exactly why Mr. Comey responded to Trump's unethical and illegal behaviors, and why he answered the Senators' questions in the public forum in the exact manner in which he did.

Sessions

My father used to say, “If you give a little man a little power, you'll have big problems.” In that context, I have been listening to reports on how Trump is furious with Jeff Sessions, and suspecting that this involves factors beyond Sessions recusing himself from the Russian investigation. This is not to say that Trump doesn't hold grudges. Surely he does, and for both real and imagined slights. More, by his cowardly nature, Trump instinctively attacks those he views as weaker than himself.

Jeff Sessions is definitely a repulsive human being. We need not attribute a single positive quality to him – in fact, not even a neutral one – to identify where it is most likely he has recently upset Trump. The elfin Attorney General's entire political career has been shameful. One hopes his career ends with legal charges this summer.

Sessions was, of course, Trump's first supporter from the Senate. And he was clearly involved in relations between the Trump campaign and the Russian ambassador. Sessions clearly knew his actions were suspect, and thus lied during the confirmation hearings. When caught in the lie, he had to recuse himself from anything to do with the Russian investigation.

Keep in mind that two Senators have made repeated requests that a possible third meeting with the Russian ambassador be investigated by the FBI. Also, that Sessions was involved in the firing of Comey. Note that it was shortly after this that Trump began seeking private legal representation. More, that the media reported that others in the White House were hiring lawyers.

What are the chances that Sessions sought legal counsel? It would seem more likely that he did, than he did not. Would his lawyer recommend that he continue to engage in discussions with Trump on any topic related to the Russian investigation, or that he avoid such potential conversations?

It's known that Trump has communicated with Flynn in recent weeks. His message was, “Stay strong.” Is it possible – even likely – that Trump has attempted to deliver a similar message to Sessions? Especially in light of reports that the two have had several heated discussions recently?

It is possible that Trump is furious about the past recusal, and that the current hearings have him more upset than usual. But it is also possible – and even more likely, I think – that Trump has attempted to speak to Sessions about the investigations, and that Sessions is refusing to engage in these.

That would seem to be a more realistic reason why Sessions would offer to resign at this time. Simply changing the Attorney General now would not stop the investigation. But the offer to resign would be a polite way for Sessions to tell Trump that he's looking out for his own best interests now, not Trump's.

Your thoughts?

Re: Comey and Mueller

Dick Cheney: “How can you possibly be reversing course on something of this importance after all this time?”

James Comey: “I will accept for purposes of discussion that it is as valuable as you say it is. That only makes this more painful. It doesn't change the analysis. If I can't find a lawful basis for something, your telling me you really, really need to do it doesn't help me.”

Dick Cheney: “Others see it differently.”

James Comey: “The analysis is flawed, in fact facially flawed. No lawyer reading that could reasonably rely on it.”

David Addington: “Well, I'm a lawyer, and I did.”

James Comey: “No good lawyer.”

Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency; Barton Gellman; Penguin; 2008; pages 295-296.



As we wait for Mr. Comey to testify on Thursday, I thought it would be fun to review his interactions within the Bush-Cheney administration. Most people remember his intervening when two White House officials attempted to illegally get John Ashcroft to sign on to an enhanced “patriot act” from his hospital bed. But the confrontation detailed above – which took place a few days before – is less well-known. Gellman's book is perhaps the best resource regarding this chapter in our history.

VP Cheney was attempting to keep information on the upgraded domestic spying program secret from everyone in the administration, except a very few individuals. Indeed, unlike the “patriot act,” this program was classified at the highest level, just like the code word information Trump recently leaked to his Russian buddies. Cheney hoped that the pressure to replace the current program, set to run out in a couple days, would force the Justice Department to sign on.

Cheney and his friends were not happy that Ashcroft said he would not sign on, unless Comey was brought in. Thus, the tense meeting noted above, in which Addington shouted, “If you rule that way, the blood of the hundred thousand people who die in the next attack will be on your hands!” at Comey. The following day, when Comey arrived for another meeting with Cheney, he was refused entrance. And this is what led to the infamous conflict at Ashcroft's hospital bed.

Ashcroft's wife had instructed the hospital that absolutely no calls were to be put through to her husband's room. Andrew Card and Alberto Gonzales attempted to get through, but their call was rejected. Either one of them, or perhaps Cheney, got President Bush to call – he got through – and inform the Ashcrofts that Card and Gonzales were on their way over.

Comey was informed of their plan, and he rushed to Ashcroft's hospital room. What hasn't been reported on very often is that Comey called the FBI director, Robert Mueller, and had him inform thew guards at Ashcroft's room that Comey could not be removed when the White House ghouls arrived.

It is well known that Comey prevented Card and Gonzales from accomplishing their goal. More, as Gellman documents, Card would order Comey to go straight to the White House later in the evening. Comey told Card that after what he had witnessed at the hospital, he would refuse to meet with Card without the solicitor general of the United States present.

Comey would then hold an emergency meeting at the Justice Department. If the Cheney forces got Bush to over-rule him, Comey would resign. Numerous others stated that they would, too. This group included FBI director Mueller. Earlier in the evening, Mueller had said, “There comes a time in every man's life when the good Lord tests him.” Comey, Mueller, and the others passed that test.

Gellman writes about how the Cheney people tended to bad-mouth Comey, increasingly in the days leading up to the showdown, including around Bush. Interestingly, Bush was known to say, “Oh, Cuomey? He's a great guy!” – mistakenly mispronouncing Comey's name in the manner of team Cheney (who attempted to connect him with Andrew Cuomo, who they despised).

In fact, when Bush met with Comey in the days after the hospital conflict, and learned about the potential resignations, Bush would agree with Comey's position, rather than Cheney's. And, as we all know, in time the decision was made to appoint Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate the Plame scandal, an illegal attempt by the Office of the Vice President to conduct a “black op.”

From this episode, I think it is safe to say that Comey and Mueller are willing and able to confront the abuse of executive power. Indeed, they coordinated their efforts in the past, and they are coordinating their efforts now.

Twilight of the Idles

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity, but of balance, order, rhythm, and harmony.”
Thomas Merton

“If you're interested in 'balancing' work and pleasure, stop trying to balance them Instead, make your work more pleasurable.”
Donald Trump


Over the years I've participated on DU, I've frequently spoke about viewing systems by using the model of a mobile hanging over an infant's crib. The model is of value when considering systems such as a family, a classroom, or a workplace. It may also be useful when considering the unpleasant spot that Trump finds himself in.

By their nature, a mobile seeks balance. If one piece moves, others must adjust to maintain that balance. If a piece is added, or removed, there must be a corresponding adjustment to reach a new balance. This is rather simple in the context of a mobile over an infant's cribe, but much more difficult in terms of a system comprised of human beings.

Trump believed that the president was the central, most important piece on the DC mobile. He assumed that a republican House and Senate would automatically fall into the balance he dictated. He was convinced that with his ability to appoint a USSC justice, that his intended balance would face no meaningful opposition. He was aware of the corporate influence on the balance of power in Washington ….and, of course, was sure his family could capitalize upon this.

What he didn't understand was that the DC mobile is much larger than what he assumed it was. The number of elected officials, for example, is far smaller than those within the bureaucracy. And these are the people who – as pieces of the mobile – are the most entrenched in their positions, and most likely to resist his dictates.

Indeed, to Donald's surprise, these are the people who are making his presidency anything but pleasurable. And try as he might, Trump finds himself incapable of effectively combating their resistance to his rule. For these people know that both Trump and his top campaign and administration are corrupt to their very core.

Those disrupting his administration are not doing so for political reasons; rather, they recognize his ilk as a threat to our nation. But it is important to recognize that underneath that, not all of these individuals are “on the side” of the Democratic Party. Still, it is enjoyable to watch them apply pressure on the White House.

More, it is a reminder that sometimes you find yourself agreeing with, and being on the same side of an important issue with someone you generally are not in agreement with. That was something that Onondaga Chief Paul Waterman often spoke of. Understanding that in a large society with many sub-groups – or sub-systems – that you have to be flexible, not rigid.

This includes knowing that even in tense times, there are opportunities to advance a group's cause. Martin Luther King and Gandhi were masters at using creative tension. As the intelligence community applies increasing pressure on Trump & Co., they know that most criminals revert to “fight or flight” mode. Trump, being a bully by nature and nurture, keeps attempting to fight. (A good criminal holds tight.)

Certainly, his firing Sally Yates, and then James Comey, suggests that he will continue to try to up his game in the only manner he knows: striking out at his “enemies.” That includes the press, the intelligence community, and will soon focus upon the Senate investigation. He has more influence with the House committee, and will increase his attempts to control it.

His action on the Paris deal was a desperate call to his base, the rabid right wing of the republican party.

His reactions will make him more vulnerable – legally, politically, and socially. The grass roots then has the option to exert its influence on those three levels as well. We need to restore a healthy balance in society. And now is the time to accomplish the beginning of that much-needed change.

(Note: Trump's morning tweet storm per the travel ban was reported after I completed this essay ….but is yet another example of his reacting under pressure.)

Who Spies on Presidents

It's interesting to consider “who spies on US presidents?” in a historical context. Let's look at two examples, both of which can be found in books of White House tapes. The two are Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. It's worth comparing how both of them responded, compared with Donald Trump.

For LBJ, we'll look at “Reaching for Glory: Lyndon Johnson's Secret White House Tapes, 1964-1965,” (Simon & Schuster; 2001), the second of Michael Beschloss's series. On March 29, 1965, LBJ calls Nicholas Katzenbach, the Attorney General. It has become obvious that Johnson and others in his administration have had their phones tapped.

“I'm a red-hot, one-million-two percent civil liberties man, and I'm just against them I guess you've got to have them in treason or something,” Johnson tells him, but he demands – repeatedly – that the Attorney General shut down other FBI taps.

Katzenbach tells LBJ that he thinks the CIA taps phones, but not within the United States. Time would prove him to be wrong on that. He also notes that military intelligence is the likely source of the White House taps. Johnson is only mildly surprised, but it is evident he will not challenge the military on this issue. (See pages 251-256)

In a too frequently overlooked chapter in the Nixon administration, we look to Douglas Brinkley & Luke Nichter's “The Nixon Tapes,” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 2014), the first of two volumes of Nixon tapes. On December 21, 1971, Nixon speaks with Erhlichman and Mitchell, after learning that the Joint Chiefs had placed a spy in Kissinger's office.

Nixon calls this “a federal offense of the highest order.” He demands an immediate investigation. However, he soon decides he does not want to go after military intelligence, and opts to merely reassign the spy to a different location. (See pages 331 – 339.)

There are, of course, other examples of presidents being spied upon and/or investigated by various intelligence agencies. And there were other presidents who had strong disagreements with the military and/or intelligence agencies. Yet Trump is the first who has openly attempted to do battle with them in a very public way.

I'm used to scoring boxing matches, round by round, until either it goes to a decision, or there is a knockout. Thus far in the Trump presidency, I think it's fair to say the Trump administration is losing every minute of every round. And the president and his buds are looking tired, bruised, bloody, and hurt. Though I'm still keeping score, I think that a knockout is coming very soon.

The Phaedrus

“Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many; the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden.”
Plato; The Phaedrus

News reports indicate that the FBI investigation into the Russian-Trump scandal has begun to focus more attention on the president's family members. Recent media coverage has indicated that on the day before Trump fired FBI director Comey, two FBI investigators visited the sons at the family's business. The “official” purpose was to discuss an attempted “hack” of their business computers. There is a very good OP/thread on this, found here:
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10029121270

There's another good OP/thread regarding the FBI's focus on the son-in-law, regarding meetings he attended between the election and Trump being sworn in. See:

https://www.democraticunderground.com/10029121394

While reading these stories, or hearing about them on television news, keep a few things in mind. First, the FBI agents were not obligated to tell the sons the complete and accurate reasons for their visit. A visit such as this can be to unsettle a person in the friendliest of ways. Some criminals get spooked to the point that they attempt a stupid move in the hours and days that follow. (If I could find a link to one of the OP/threads coming the Trump sons to Beavis & Butthead, I'd post it, as I think that's accurate.)

Also, in regard to the excellent article on Jared Kushner, keep in mind this April 3 article from the Washington Post. It's about Kushner and Flynn's sending Erik Prince to an island off of Africa, for a secret meeting to develop secret lines of communication between the White House and Russia.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/blackwater-founder-held-secret-seychelles-meeting-to-establish-trump-putin-back-channel/2017/04/03/95908a08-1648-11e7-ada0-1489b735b3a3_story.html?utm_term=.1a5c3bba9e64

Although the media reports suggest the FBI is particularly interested in two other meetings Kushner had with the Russians,be aware of their relationship to the island meeting. For that island retreat is surely one of the Trump family jewels.

The Wall Comes Tumbling Down

“I deny everything I say, because everything I say is a lie. And everything I deny is a lie, too.”
– Groucho Marx


Rational people knew that candidate Trump was lying when he told gullible crowds that he would build a wall between the Unites States and Mexico. More, he appealed to these people's ugliest instincts, promising them that Mexico would foot the entire bill for this wall. Trump, of course, must have known that this would never happen. His actual purpose was to stir the pot of hatred and fear that – if it boiled over – might help make him to “win” an election.

Trump's campaign and his presidency have attempted to create other walls within America. He has exploited divides between citizens. He's attacked individuals and institutions. In doing so, he serves as a perfect illustration of the reality that those who hate, become hate, and thus are hated. And this is the only quasi-positive thing that can be said about him.

Past presidents have been notorious liars. Lyndon Johnson lied to his friends, Richard Nixon to his enemies. But Trump is by far the worst ever. Likewise, there have been serious divisions between Americans before. The Civil War is an obvious example. The 1960s – '70s is another. The significant difference is that today, there is a president who purposely has added fuel to the fires of division.

One hundred and twenty-two days into the Trump presidency, the chickens are coming home to roost. The pace of the unraveling of the lies and corruption of the campaign/administration is building momentum. We are living in historic times.

A number of people – mainly young, but also some of my generation – that I communicate with are expressing frustrations that the process is taking too long. Actually, it is moving along at the best pace possible. A key to that is found in a second concern expressed: republicans in DC are unlikely to move to impeach Trump.

Last week, MSNBC's Joy Reid (an absolute treasure in the mainstream media) made a point that deserves far greater attention than it has received. Those republicans facing re-election campaigns next year are already contacting their major donors. And those donors are becoming increasingly upset by the circus of ass-clowns in the administration. They are unlikely to invest in an effort to protect this self-destructive administration.

I've frequently advocated that people read Malcolm Nance's book on the Russian-Trump connections. What we are witnessing today is exactly what he spoke about in his wonderful book, and has said on various news programs in recent months. In a very real sense, this is much like the intelligence community's destabilizing of foreign governments in the past.

Reports that the Assistant Attorney General's naming a Special Counsel do not name Trump's son-n-law, but he is the fellow inside the White House that is of special focus. This is due to his coordination with Eric Prince, and attendance of the secret meeting on the island off the African coast. This was an attempt to create an outside-of-government operation to coordinate with Russian interests – much like the Reagan-Bush administration's Iran-Contra operations.

The intelligence community is also relying upon evaluations of Trump's personality traits. Trump does not, as we all know, deal with “bad news” well. Hence, the early morning tweets, etc, that his administration tries to normalize. And Trump's uncanny compulsion to publicly contradict their efforts within 24 hours. Thus, morale within the White House is sinking lower and lower daily, and the hiring of personal legal representation is increasing at the same pace.

The wall that Donald Trump attempted to build is tumbling down.

The Good Fight

“Wise people learn from others' mistakes; most of us must learn from our o0wn; and fools? They never learn.”
Rubin “Hurricane” Carter


At this strange and dangerous time in our nation's history, it is important to be aware of past events that are similar to today's. For it is said that history does not repeat, but instead, rhymes. Many people are correctly comparing today's events to Watergate; however, it is equally important to consider some of the dynamics of the Iran-Contra scandal.

Because that scandal was so complex, and because Congress opted to not “follow the money,” let's simply focus on one central issue. Within the Reagan administration, the National Security Council began operating as a “shadow government.” Its members determined that they could get away with breaking the law, ignoring the Congress, and even by-passing the State Department, in foreign affairs. They opted to do business with foreign governments, and mercenary groups, using foreign sources for money and weapons.

It was, in the most literal sense, an attempted coup. Their actions were exactly the type of thing that the Founding Fathers hoped to prevent, when making our Constitution. The failure to “follow the money” by Congress was an error that allowed the germ of Iran-contra to remain, embedded within our federal government. In this context, the Trump-Russia scandal is the natural result.

Luckily, those in the Trump circle have not learned from others' mistakes, or their own. It is not an administration that is deep in talent. And those who grasp what is happening are not able to influence Trump.

We are living in a historic era. It's important to not be a mere spectator. Instead, be a participant. The grass roots being active participants in our government, and the greater society, is a vital part of our constitutional democracy. Every generation is faced with the specter of losing those rights and responsibilities required to keep our democracy alive. A heck of a lot has been lost in our lifetimes. Let's fight the Good Fight, and improve things for the future.
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