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H2O Man

H2O Man's Journal
H2O Man's Journal
July 29, 2021

House Select Committee

Between the House Select Committee's heand aring, the Department of Justice decision to allow cooperation, there was a heck of a good start in constructing the foundation for confronting the realities of the January 6 insurrection. As an old man whYesterday was a Good Day for America.o continues to watch youtube films of the congressional hearings that I've been addicted to since the early 1970s, I'd like to share some thoughts on why yesterday was so important.

Since that terrible January day, like many others on this forum, I've thought that Trump & Co. -- including republicans in DC -- were active participants to the lead up, beyond the big lie they had repeated since November, 2020. Yesterday, perhaps my favorite OP/thread on DU:GD was posted by Tennessee Hillbilly, asking if Liz Cheney knows "something?" Mt response, besides "recommending" the OP, was simply "Yes."

Now, I do not have any unreported information or insight on this. But there a value in applying common sense, logic, and rational thought when considering why the republican party is trying to distract from the Committee's hearings. This would clearly be information that will do damage to republican officials and the former president. To use a descriptive word popular in my youth, that information will be "heavy."

And that is exactly why yesterday's events are so important. In my youth, I used to do work on foundations. I assisted some guys who were more experienced with block, and was very good with stone. Old houses in this region generally have stone basements, and stone basements frequesntly require some up-keep every hundred years or so. Having government that respects the Constitution, honors the oath of office, and follows the rule of law, is one of those old houses, I suppose.

I remember one summer's afternoon, during my middle age, when the director of community services and I were watching the construction of two new buildings, one for the day treatment program, the other for the alcohol & drug abuse services. I told her the contractor's foundation was too shallow, and thus the ceilings would crack by spring. (I was right.) Was it not an effort by republicans, during negotiations for this select committee, to insure a shallow foundation?

The Department of Justice's decision to not oppose former officials testifying to the House Select Committee is a huge addition to the foundation being constructed to stabalize a heavy load. Should anyone decide to go to court in an attempt to avoid testifying, the DOJ will be on the opposite side.The federal courts are unlikely to go against the will of the two other branches of government.

One cay to use it to reinforce democracy and the rule of law. I realize it will not turn the vast majon surmise that the DOJ -- which includes the FBI -- knows quite a bit about the Trump cult's involvement in the planning and execution of the failed insurrection. There may be information that does not quite reach the level required for criminal prosecution. But it must be made part of the public record before 2022's mid-terms elections. When it is, it becomes our du Mantrity of the Trump cult to turn against him -- though some will flake off -- but it will help us to defeat them in future elections.

Peace,
H2O Man


July 24, 2021

Three Seats

"Since I've been writing to Pat, and he asked me not to let this prison explode, I've stepped forward and took control of the jail. Something that I never wanted to do, and of which is very dangerous to me ..... and now I am the director of the Rahway Prisoners Council on Penal Reform. So id tou and Pat and perhaps Russell P. really want to come into this pris"Since I've been writing to Pat, and he asked me not to let this prison explode, I stepped on and see what it is like ..... we can arrange a day in the near future. What the hell! If I can't come to you -- you come to me."
-- Rubin "Hurricane" Carter; letter to my brother Tom; 1974


I sat out at the edge of my lawn, and looked at where days of hard rain had created several streams. The water table has been full, and numerous springs on the hill behind me were gurgling, the fields saturated, and the run-off depositing deltas of organic materials on my lawn. These will soon be added to my compost pile for future gardens.

One of the streams that has run down near my driveway when the winter snows melt as long as I've lived here had cut a new channel the night before. It ran right into my garage, then a storage room, and next a gym, before starting to enter my kitchen. The rain was coming down at more than two inches per hour. My younger son had stopped in to use the gym, and was a tad surprised when he opened the door from the kitchen. He and his brother re-channeled the stream, then bailed out well over 150 gallons of water.

Both boys kept telling me to go sit down every time I attempted to help. Eventually I could actually feel the wisdom of their advice in my lower back and legs. While there is absolutely no scientific evidence proving my theory, I think all of this could be somehow related to my needing crutches today, and why I am limited primarily to sitting and thinking. I'm not even capable of bending down to feed the pride of neighborhood cats and kittens who hang out in my garage. I am thankful for my sons assistance.

Local communities located on the river flats had significany damage resulting from the rain and flooding. Bridges on the highways were washed out. While not as severe as the two major "floods of a century" in less than twenty years, it again shows that the environment is changing -- which implies that human behaviors must change if we are to adopt to climate change.



Next, I sit on a rock-solid stone wall on the other side of my house. The Guinea fowl and assortment of chickens gather in front of me, anticipating the bread I feed them for their mid-day snack. One rooster, who follows me like a dog on those days I can walk around, does the infamous sideways shuffle around each handful I toss on the ground. Only a young banty rooster -- clearly a game cock -- stands up to him. The rest of the flock moves like a school of fish, almost as an individual organism. I am fascinated between the similarities between the birds and the sick republicans inhabiting our towns and cities.

When feelings of anger, anxiety, and fear saturate the minds of human beings -- when they experience an inability to exercise any wholesome control over events that flood their lives, the result can be a prison riot like Rubin experienced in Trenton, or the freaks invading DC on January 6. What primitive brain function transforms humans in the manner that certain species of grasshoppers turn into locusts? To be convinced that aggression and weapons provide the best insurance of survival when the social environment changes? To draw a disturbed man from the security of his mother's home, to don a cheap and insulting version of a holy man's ceremonial outfit that Edward Sheriff Curtis photographed a century ago? What motivates a person to believe that will give him an honored status on January 6, when it could only identify him as severally disturbed?

Spending so many hours sitting provides me ample opportunity to think about these things. I remember a clip from Lawrence O'Donnell on "The Last Word," reporting on Trump's ugly rant at a prayer breakfast (see below). Perhaps that single clip provides the evidence I seek. For it is hatred that turns fear and ignorance into the locust rage.





I decide to go out to the pond, to make sure the western bank held up to the rain. Navigating on crutches becomes more difficult as I make my way through an area that in normal times is a swamp. As I get to the chair at the water's edge, I can see my own reflection on the pond's surface. The pond is in fine shape, and the fish that felt the vibrations from my steps gather in front of me, eager for the food they associate with my being there. It takes time for my eyes to adjust so I can see the fish at various depths in the water. But the cedar rocking chair my son has placed there for me is comfortable.

It was while sitting near water that Onondaga Nation Chief Paul Waterman would speak to me about past events in Iroquois history, when his ancestors' ancestors experienced phases where the social order faltered. These periods were marked by violence that pitted tribe against tribe, leading to clan against clan. Around 450 ad, the second Iroquois prophet, known as the Peace Maker, reached out to the leaders of various groups, and taught cooperation's advantages over conflict. This included ceremonies that were highlighted by burying weapons of war under white pines, leading to the saying about burying the hatchet.

When Rubin was running for the director's position of the inmates' council, he approached the leaders of the various groups of inmates with a similar message. As director, he got concerned people, including state politicians and forensic psychologists, to visit Rahway. In my files, I have a lot of the paperwork he sent me copies of back in 1974. With the cooperation of the leaders of the inmate factions, they gathered weapons from inmates, and turned them over to the administration. As a direct result, he was sent to the notorious Vroom Psychiatrict Building, as in a sick environment, few good actions go unpunished.

In his second book, Rubin noted that as a young man, he had favored the Malcolm X approach to that of Martin Luther King. By now, however, he understood that King had demonstrated the correct path to resolving social conflict. We used to have long, late night phone conversations about King's using three of the Greek words for "love," for Martin was as human as any of us, and is known to have made hilarious jokes about some of his opposition, most famously Eugene "Bull" Connor.

King was not talking about "love" in the sense of one's partner, nor of the type we feel for other realtives and friends. Rather, he advocated for a general love of humankind, and a recognition that people ruled by hatred are victims of their own ignorance. That hatred and the related negative emotions are parasites that eat upon one's good qualities. And that would be the message that Rubin sought to spread in his second life.

Storm clouds begin coming in from the western sky. Using my crutches, I stand up and take a last quick look at my reflection on the pond's surface. The rain begins to fall as I am struggling to get by the swamp's edge. I laugh to myself, and remember that Rubin dedicated his second book to every human being who bravely looks within to try to heal without.

Peace,
H2O Man
July 15, 2021

Bells

“Are you a communist?"
"No I am an anti-fascist"
"For a long time?"
"Since I have understood fascism.”
-- Ernest Hemingway; For Whom the Bell Tolls


I had hoped that after arrests started for the January 6 insurrection, the Trump cult activities would begin to dissipate. That our legal system would function as a strong social medicine, and that the threat would disolve, rather than diffuse. Being hopeful can be a good thing. However, recognizing that the FBI had arrested 13 Trump cult members on October 8, 2020, and charged them with planning the violent overthrow of the Michigan state government -- including kidnapping Governor Gretchen Whitmer-- raised doubts. It is perhaps more realistic to recognize the very real potential for violence to metastisize.

When there are attempts to overthrow a state or federal government brewing within, say, four months, we recognize that there is a problem. We know that the wettest dream of the Trump cult militias is to have a civil war, with the military and law enforcement side with them. Indeed, there were members and former members of both participating in the January 6 attack on this country.

However, as events on January 6 showed, to the traitors' surprise, a lot of police actively opposed the insurrection. Thus, their "Blue Lives Matter" beliefs were put on hold, as they viciously attack those brave officers. Today, of course, we hear republicans calling the violence something akin to tourism, and many of those arrested expressing feelings of betrayal -- by the very system they sought to overthrow. The republican politicians are attempting to create a diffusion of responsibility, both on the law-breakers and their own parts. The law-breakers are equally pathetic in their whimpering.

"Diffusion of responsibility" is a sociological-psychological concept that defines almost every state and national republican politician in the country today. Their reaction to January 6 is to try to further deny citizens the right to vote. This restricts their right to vote in any and every local, state, and national election. They are bowing to the madness of the extreme white, er, right-wing of decaying corpse of the republican party.

So, we should ask, what is next? Jill Wine-Banks, the Watergate Girl, said earlier this week that there is a fair chance of further political violence, possible at the state level, in August. I think she is one of the most important voices in the United States today, using her unique mix of education and experience to reach her opinions. I tend to rely upon the sociological - pstchological models to reach mine. In this instance, I recognize that those here with military experience may well have somewhat different opinions which are valid and important for our understanding of current events and predictions for our future.

In the models I prefer, it is important to note that "warfare" is not limited to, for example, the Civil War, with two identified armies engaging in a series of military actions. This type is, by definition, limited to city-states. But warfare also includes raids, feuds, guerilla warfare, and terrorism. The first two define most of the pre-1492 warfare in North America, while last three defined the civil war in Ireland over the centuries. The city-states in Central America pre-1492 also had standing military that were able to conduct war.

In my lifetime, there have been numerous examples of guerrilla -- or irregular -- warfare. The Vietnam War, "the Troubles" in Northern Ireland, and conflicts in the Middle East are examples. But we need not look beyond the United States for such things. Para-military groups such as the Ku Klux Klan conducted operations, primarily in the southeast, to terrorize non-white citizens. In time, the KKK members engaged in terrorist activities without wearing their bed sheet uniforms, including numerous bombing and arsons, of homes and churches.

In the late 1960s through early '70s, there were left-wing groups that engaged in irregular warfare in our country. The Weather Underground is the most obvious example. However, Bryan Burrough's 2015 book "Days of Rahe: America's Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence" (Penguin) documents how widespread it actually was.

It would be an error, in my opinion, to think that the alt-right will cease violent activities in their war on the United States. Indeed, they are convinced that paragraph two of the Declaration of Independence not only justifies, but demands their activities. Thus, the most important antidote to the threats they pose is the combined and coordinated efforts of local, state, and federal law efforts to investigate, expose, and prosecute -- as we have seen in Michigan and in the January 6 insurrection. Yet there are obvious issues relating to this, when we consider the identities of the insurrectionists, including some that were in the Trump misadministration at the time.

Be awake. Be alert. And stay same.
H2O Man

July 9, 2021

Good News: Road Rage #7

I had some good news this morning, that I'd like to share with the DU community. You may recall that in October of 2014, an intoxicated, off-duty officer shot my cousin and his son in a "road rage" incident. My cousin's 26-year old son died in my cousin's arms. My cousin underwent surgery that saved his life, though obviously, his life would never be the same.

When the thug -- who had a history of threatening people with guns, including shooting towards teenagers on 3-wheelers who were not on his property, and at least two other drivers on local highways -- had a bail hearing, members of this community contacted both the DA and judge to say no bail. This effort more than doubled the previous high number of citizens who had voiced an opinion on a previous case. Although the thug likely wouldn't have gotten bail, and surely faced conviction, that DU response really caught the attention of the county's legal community.

After the thug was convicted, my cousin became determined to file in civil court for damages. The convict's wife had divorced him, and had accessed 50% of his pension from the New York City police department, from which he had "retired" under circumstances that remain sealed. The first PI attorney we met with said he was passing on the case for two reasons: it wasn't a "deep pocket," and it would be unlikely my cousin could ever collect, even if he won the case. He said that the NYC police and the group handling their pension fund had an impenetrable wall surrounding them.

The second attorney said it was possible to win a judgement, but there was less than a 5% chance of ever collecting a dime. He would rsearch every previous case he could regarding pensions, and said it would be a long and frustrating case with little chance of a satisfactory ending. Then he said he didn't care if the thug's only resource was an old wheelbarrow, let's get started.

They won a civil case in NYS Supreme Court. And the state appeals court upheld the thug's conviction. Still, Mr. Thug attempted to appeal the civil court judgement on his own, in hand-written papers from his prison cell. No surprise that failed. Thus began the five and a half year effort to collect. My cousin wasn't interested in the potential money itself, but rather was opposed to the thug having any funds to make his incarceration less unpleasant. And t has been a hell of a legal battle from day one.

But today, my cousin got the first check. It looks like he will be able to make larger monthly donations to the two local animal shelters, which was his son's passion in life.

Peace, H2O Man

July 4, 2021

Allen's Cell

https://actupny.org/reports/prisons_map.pdf


I can't say what Allen Weisselberg is thinking about this weekend. That would be mere speculation on my part. But I wonder if, for the first time in his life, he might be thinking about New York State's prison system. I will go out on a limb here, and say that he hasn't socialized with anyone who has spent time in the system of maximum, medium, and minimum security facilities who could tell him of their personal experiences.

Since visting a bud in one of those facilities isn't likely something Allen has done, he is perhaps dimly aware of two types of people in them: guards and inmates. Little people and losers. None in his elite social class. Not the type of people he would sit next to at a Yankee's game.

Through a combination of employment and personal life I've visited a number of these facilities. I've had friends employed at a variety of them, as well as friends who were incarcerated in them. I'm not going to focus on my thoughts about the state's prison system -- I'm just saying they are unpleasant at very best, and not the type of place Allen would do well in.

In times long since past, members of organized crime had an honor code that demanded that they serve their time with their lips sealed. I note that experience never resulted that, upon release, they were reformed, or even the same as the day they entered. For prisons are horrible places that either takes a person to a more intense level, or destroys them completely. And that level of intensity presents both good and bad potentials.

In the Trump era, only one man kept his mouth shut while incarcerated, Paul Manafort. By no coincident, the reulsive Manafort is clearly the most gangster of the Trump circle. Phone taps showed that Michael Cohen mistook himself for gangster while bullying people for Trump, but that weak shit melted under heat. There aren't any G. Gordon Liddy-types around Trump. No, these are house cats that rarely leave their pillowed lives, and never set foot in the wilderness.

Even the minimum security facilities are nothing that Allen's life experiences have prepared him for. Again, as I said, I have no idea what he is thinking about this weekend. I suspect that tomorrow, a lot of Americans will be thinking about the meaning of "freedom." Maybe Allen likes fireworks. But I think that at some point between today and sentencing, Allen will think about New York State's prisons.

Peace,
H2O Man
June 22, 2021

Critical Rage Theory

"We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream."
-- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; I Have a Dream; 1963 March on Washington


It's rather odd for me to compare and contrast the two most significant citizens' actions in Washington, DC, in my life-time: the peaceful march that contained Dr. King's historic speechk, and the January 6 insurrection. My favorite part of Dr. King's speech was his use of the teachings of the prophet Amos, who advocated for social justice. My favorite thing relating to the January 6 insurrection is the criminal charges that hundreds of the thugs are now facing.

Like everyone reading this, I want to see serious consequences for those who participated in the attempted insurrection, especially the leaders. And that includes those who not only invaded the Capitol, but the slim that was actively involved in the planning of this treasonous event. These individuals, all members of the Trump cult, are currently being investigated by the Department of Justice. I would like them to face the harshest legal consequences possible.

In a telephone discussion with a friend yesterday regarding this very topic, I found myself explaining an important factor when it comes to both penalizing such criminal behaviors, as well as deterring others from engaging in these behaviors in the future. It is a factor that I learned many decades ago, in both sociology and criminal law classes in college. Keeping it in mind helps me balance my appreciation for what we are seeing in response to the insurrection.

What is more likely to deter people from engaging in criminal behavior? As a general rule, it is the certainty of getting caught, more so than a potentially harsh punishment. This isn't a blanket truth that holds true in every individual or group situation -- an obvious example of citizens willingly engaging in "illegal" behaviors despite the certainty of consequences can be found in the public actions of Dr. King and his followers in many of their campaigns. Those who participated were willingly facing arrest, and with the understanding that the consequences could include arrest and incarceration, as well as going to the emergency room or even the cemetery. Taking a brave stand for Truth often interrupts one's life.

The Trump cult, on the other hand, was attempting to interrupt democracy as defined by the Constitution. They were willing to disrupt the rule of law. Yet, they did not anticipate the consequences of their actions -- that they would likely face the disruption of their lives that criminal charges bring about. No, they thought the police, the national guard, and the president, would have their backs. They thought they would be heroes, but now they find themselves paying the price for their crimes.

The growing number of arrests is a good thing. It indicates a likelihood that most of herd will hesitate to follow their leaders over the cliff. That is extremely significant. I view it in the context of a general rule regarding groups of twenty men: those keeping an eye on the group will easily be able to identify the leader, and if he is separated from the other nineteen, the groups threat is reduced by inertia.

In our society today, there are quite a few of those one-in-twenty out there, still furious about Joe Biden's clear victory over Trump. Many, though not all, are disappointed by Trump's failure to declare martial law on January 6, and are beginning to recognize that Trump is a cowardly false prophet decaying before their very eyes. But to accept that Joe Biden won would mean that they have to recognize that they are failures and fools.

This, of course, brings us to Critical Rage Theory, something that every FBI agent and other federal law enforcement officials are aware of. It involves the 5% of the Trump cult that will continue to engage in their battle against democracy. Some are in state or national office, and will actively participate in efforts to prevent non-white citizens from voting. Others are either in or retired from law enforcement and/or the military. Still others are in militias and other secretive cells.

They may have put most of their activities on pause, but they will not go away. They will attempt to identify and engage in activities that have a reduced likelihood of their being caught. I think it is a good thing that we currently have an Attorney General who's previous DOJ experience was investigating and prosecuting a couple of fellows involved in a bombing attack on the federal government that killed 168 human beings, and injured 680 more. In my opinion, that experience will be of great value in the future.

Peace,
H2O Man

June 17, 2021

Ripple Synergy


Synergy : The interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.


"Synergy" can be either negative or positive, and I suppose it could, in theory, be neutral. Before examining the negative and positive potentials we have in today's social-political world, let me give another example that might be useful. Frequently, if one is prescribed certain medications, the doctor will advise against using it in combination with other drugs such as alcohol. This is because the synergy of substances can have a multiplying effect.

In today's post-Trump presidency, a blood test would indicate that there is still a high level of his hate and paranoia in our socio-political system. In fact, it remains at a dangerous level. The reasons why this is so is due to the lingering -- even entrenched -- combination of toxins that his administration administered to the public.

It would, in my opinion, be dangerous to view things including the Russian meddling in the 2015 and 2020 elections, the Q-anon-type media, the spying upon journalists and politicians exposing the administration's misdeeds, and January 6's insurrection as distinct things that add up. They have actually multiplied the insanity, and remain a grave danger. This, of course, is the negative potential of synergy.

On the positive side, we won significant election contests in both 2018 and 2020. This was due to a very large effort on the part of numerous, diverse groups and individuals. That combination was far greater than the mere sum of its parts -- although elections are indeed won by the votes counted, except in a couple recent presidential contests. It was the synergy that makes democracy possible.

An average citizen could easily list twenty serious problems that we face. We can identify the republican party as the current, most obvious stumbling block that seeks to prevent the current administration from making progress in dealing with each problem. They aren't the only problem, but certainly the toxins of Trumpism need to be countered. This, I think, is why President Joe Biden said that our democracy is in peril last month.

I'm reminded of Senator Robert F. Kennedy's June 6, 1966 speech in South Africa. He noted that few individuals ever change the arc of history, but that groups of people are more often able to make those changes. He spoke of individual efforts as sending a tiny ripple of hope, and those ripples joing together to create a powerful wave. And that is exactly the synergy we need today, is it not? Is it possible to imagine anything short of this that will defeat Trumpism?

Each one of us has a talent. But none of us has the best answer to every problem confronting our society. Or the time to fully confront them. So we to identify what meaningful activity that we, as individuals, are best at. Every one of us has an important contribution that we can make in this effort. The only contribution that is "too small" is the one that isn't made. All of the rest are Good.

There may very well be more than one area that people can engage in. Individuals may already work with or within some of the numerous groups and organizations that are currently doing outstanding work. Even those who are not part of any organization other that the Democratic Party can coordinate their activities with group efforts they are interested in. These are the ripples of hope that Senator Kennedy spoke of. They are also ripples of power.

Peace,
H2O Man
June 12, 2021

Implausible Deniability

"Democracy itself is in peril, here at home and around the world."
-- President Joe Biden


It is often said that you cannot have democracy without fair elections, nor can you have fair elections without democracy. At a time when the Biden administration and the Democrats in the house and Senate are attempting to both repair the damage the Trump cult has done to the institutions of the federal government, while dealing with numerous other current issues such as voting rights, it is essential that citizens have a solid understanding of how "government" works.

The more accurately citizens are informed, the better the chances the government will function properly. The less informed citizens are, the chance of good government decreases. And the more misinformed citizens are, the more likely it is that democracy will cease to exist. "Information" comes from a number of sources, ranging from formal education to the free press mentioned in Amendment 1 of the Bill of Rights.

Let's briefly consider three types of information. There is accurate information, which consists of facts. There is misinformation, the type that Mark Twain spoke of when he said that the problem today is not one of ignorance, but of people knowing so darned much that just wasn't so. And there is disinformation, the purposeful lies told to an unsuspecting public, such as we see coming from the Trump cult when they claim Donald won the 2020 election, or that the January 6 insurrectionists were mere tourists.

In the context of today's complex, high-tech society, the public has constant exposure to all three of these. The more accurate information an individual has, the more they can compare -- and contrast -- with misinformation and disinformation. Hence, the more they can understand.

Let's consider one example, that of the DoJ's current position regarding a civil trial involving E. Jean Carroll and Donald Trump. If one has a full understanding of Paula Jones' civil case against President Bill Clinton, one can both compare and contrast the two. That provides the necessary foundation for understanding that, while one can disagree with Merrick Garland's position, that there are both potential benefits and problems with it -- just as there are for the opposite position. Many times, it isn't a black and white situation, but rather, it is in a gray area.

Now let's consider another extremely serious issue -- the DoJ's spting on journalists and Democrats in Congress. The closest example of an administration spting on "enemies" was found in the Nixon administration. I had posted a lengthy response on the similarities to the Watergate era two days ago (see link below), and was pleased to see similar comparisons being made on MSNBC yesterday. Nixon set a standard for corruption that my generation has compared and contrasted other White House scandals to ever since.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=15515115

As Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. documented in his 1973 classic, every president up until that time had sought to expand presidential power, almost exclusively on "national security" -- both real and imagined. Jimmy Carter was the only president since who completed a full term without such an attempt at expanding executive power. Thus, we should recognize that such attempts are as likely to happen under good presidents as with bad ones. The contrast is thus between sincere and corrupt motivation -- which, to quote the Hurricane, is the difference between sugar and shit (also 1973).

Corrupt presidents generally start with attempts to expand their power by having their administration engage in activities in that gray area between clearly legal and illegal. As the corrupt begin to experience pressures, those activities migrate from gray to the clearly illegal. In the modern age, this has obviously involved the spying upon and aggressive attempts to destroy their political enemies. This was true in the wide range of crimes known as Watergate, in the Office of Vice President Dick Cheney's infamous "black op" known as the Plame scandal, and in the Trump administration's spying on journalists and politicans they have identified as "enemies."

During the investigations of the enormous series of criminal activities of the Reagan-Bush administration known as the "Iran-Contra scandal," the American public became familiar with the concept of "plausible deniability." This concept had been available to presidents before, and has long been a staple of intelligence agency operations. VP Bush brought it to a new level. We have been subjected to the Trump administration's "implausibe deniability," thanks to William Barr (who had helped cover-up criminality in Iran-Contra investigations).

Now, let us take a look at the man that is currently in charge of the Department of Justice, including both cleaning house and prosecuting those who violated the law. That, of course, is Merrick Garland. Most know that President Obama had nominated Garland to the US Supreme Court, only to have a serious nomination stiffled by republicans. Among his solid qualifications, Garland had served in a senior position in the DoJ from 1993 to 1995. The highlight, at least in my opinion, when he supervised the prosecution in the Oklahoma City bombing case, where rabid right-wing-nuts conspired to attack the federal government.

Did "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" come out from those prosecutions? Perhaps it is important to know that "the truth" comes out in the context of the rules of the judicial system. And there is a range of imperfections in that system, that include everything from a police officer shooting a man for being black, to a USSC decision that selects a president, or rules that corporations are people.

I enjoyed reading an OP/thread about the entities that provided the records of journalists and Democrats (and others), that included questions about why the entities did not fight the subpoenas? An accurately informed community member explained the differences between a DoJ subpoena and a grand jury subpoena. Again, we see the benefit of being familiar with government, specifically the power of grand juries. For it seems very likely that the DoJ is now making use of more than one grand jury. Thought they move slowly, it is safe to say that in a relatively short time, we will be exposed to accurate information, misinformation, and disinformation regarding what they determine.

Peace,
H2O Man

June 6, 2021

Crossroads

The Democratic Party is at a crucial crossroads. This is, of course, in the context of Joe Manchin. Though the Democrats have the 50 + 1 majority in the Senate, on the current path, Manchin will always betray our party by voting with the republicans on important issues.. The alternative path, as Manchin's supporters point out, is to risk Manchin losing his now comfortable spot to a republican, who will vote exactly like Manchin on every important issue. One path leads to the destruction of democracy in our country, and the other to the destruction of democracy in our country. Let us chose wisely, without ever considering that there are other options.

June 4, 2021

Old Dirt Roads





The grass looks greener after a brief shower. Along with one dog, one rooster, and one cat, I fed the fish and birds out at the pond. A week ago, parts of the pond had a large quantity of algae growing on the surface, but today the water is clear. This makes it easier for me to evaluate how much fish food I need per day.

The wind from the northwest picks up, and the leaves of the poplar trees turn upside-down. Dark clouds are moving in rapidly. I've had enough broken bones over the years that I don't need a weather man to tell me which way the storm clouds blow. My mother had drilled it into my head throughout my childhood that I was too stupid to come in out of the rain. But I am wearing my water-proof hat.

The cat seeks shelter near the cabin, and the rooster is hurrying back on the path. The dog and I begin to head back to the house. The rain from earlier makes the flowers -- blue, yellow, and white flowers blanket the field -- appear even more alive. This includes both the wild flowers, and those in the flower beds surrounding the house. Suddenly, a kitten bounds out on her back feet, waving her front paws as she carries out this imaginary ambush. The dog is startled by this furious ball of cotten's attack.

I can hear the rain coming down as I struggle to put dry clothes on. Things that one takes for granted can change at different paces as time goes on. But the sound of rain today is soothing. I'm remined of when I was a homeless teen, stationing myself in the hay loft of an old barn, listening to the rain hitting the tin roof. I consider taking an afternoon nap, even though I'm not really tired. But, instead, I turn on the news.

Sidney Powell assures an audience that she has a secret plan to re-instate Trump as president. Mike Flynn tells an audience that a domestic military coup isn't a secret plan. Donald Trump has been telling people that he expects to be back in office by August. Republicans in DC refuse to support the investigation of the January 6 coup attempt. They say those arrested by the DOJ were mere tourists, now being persecuted by the DOJ.

It would be easy to laugh at Powell et al. In my youth, we would call such clowns ' antics "a gas." But Abbie Hoffman warned us that laughing gas is no laughing matter. While Powell herself may be no more dangerous than a dancing kitten, Flynn and his para-military followers are a serious threat. The information being released on members of perhaps the most dangerous of the far-right, anti-government groups' role in the January 6 insurrection comes to mind.

In the days and weeks that followed January 6, older forum members may recall that I said that those who were rioting believed that Trump would declare a national emergency and impose martial law. The messages that the founder of the Oath Keepers that have been released document that his group had been led to believe this, too. Stewart Rhodes expected that a fight between his group and "antifa" would set this plan in motion, and that Trump would declare the Oath Keepers as his official militia to institute lawn and order. I would suggest that this goes a long way in explaining why members of the administration -- Mike Flynn's brother, for example -- were hesitant to send in the National Guard.

Luckily, the country didn't go down that road. But we came mighty close, and there are still those hoping to hijack our future. They include those tourists that were carrying the confederate rag, and those attacking police officers with American flags. They include the republicans who refuse to support a commission to investigate areas where individuals in Congress helped the Oath Keepers and their ilk prepare for the insurrection. And state officials working to deny non-white citizens their right to vote.

Ignoring what happened on January 6 can only make us vulnerable to another ambush and attack upon democracy. For this fight is not over. It's true that in the months since the insurrection, with the Biden administration leading the country, the grass seems greener, and the flowers are coming into bloom. But there are storm clouds gathering on the horizen. This struggle continues.

I watched an interview with Ben Rhodes, someone I have great respect for. He was discussing his new book, "After the Fall: Being American in the World We've Made." Ben points out the road that we must travel to save democracy here, in coordination with those struggling in other lands. In the age of twitter and memes, its 320 pages may seem unrealistic to some. And that's a shame. But I am looking forward to reading it, and encourage others to read it, too. It is exactly the type of book that used to make for valuable discussions on this site.

Peace,
H2O Man

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