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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 07:49 PM
Number of posts: 70,086

Journal Archives

Bend the Arc: Support Senator Warnock!

One of DU's very best, Faux pas, posted an OP yesterday about the need to keep our eyes on the prize, by focusing on what we can be doing now. Senator Warnock's re-election campaign is what is important right now.

While communicating with Faux pas, I happened to check my e-mail. I found a message -- linked below -- from my favorite social-political grass roots organization. It details how each one of us can help.

Thank you for your attention and hopefully participation in this important activity!


https://www.bendthearc.us/georgia_2022#calendar

Five Eyes

"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.


A while back, I quoted my late friend Rubin's saying that a mind with very little to compare, finds very little to understand. I explained that this was not intended as a comment on intelligence, but rather familiarity with a given subject. A person might be an expert at a system at one level, for example, but not familiar with the dynamics that come in play at a different level.

In order to not set one's self up for disappointment, it is important to understand the practices and rules governing the system being operated in. Let's consider an example that is currently at hand. For sake of discussion, perhaps we can start with the name Jack Smith. In doing so, based upon my reading of this forum, there seems to be two groups worth considering: those who have been so disappointed in past investigations, that they have lost hope in this one, and those who are hopeful at what I think is an unrealistic level.

First, let's look at a few cases so we have things to compare to the current situation. This may help us to understand what is possible, what is likely, and what will be very, very unlikely to happen. Many people of my generation wanted Richard Nixon prosecuted for his criminal actions in the vast series of crimes we know as Watergate. The myth is that Al Haig got Gerald Ford to agree to pardon Nixon, if poor Richard would just resign.

Like all myths, there is a thread of truth there. But Haig knew that Nixon'sdefense, if he was prosecuted, would have insisted they needed classified and highly classified documents on national security be turned over. There was zero chance that the highly classified documents would be turned over and made public. What Haig and Ford actually discussed was pardoning Nixon to put an end to "the long national nightmare" that prosecuting Nixon on the serious charges would have extended without success.

Some here have mentioned Patrick Fitzgerald's work on the Plame scandal. Although the operation was conducted out of the Office of the Vice President, many here at the time -- and definitely including myself -- were certain that George W. Bush was deeply involved. As it turned out, he wasn't. Dick Cheney was, however, neck-deep in what the OVP referred to as Scooter Libby's "black op." But because Libby refused to turn on Cheney, Fitzgerald was only able to prosecute and convict Libby.

At the time, no one was more disappointed than I was. I recall talking with one of my uncles, an investigator who had done trainings for both the FBI and CIA. He explained that Mr. Fitzgerald was going after Libby on the charges that were 95% likely to get convictions. And that Libby kept silent, because he was certain that Cheney could convince Bush to pardon him. Instead, my uncle pointed out, it resulted in Cheney being casterated within the administration, and Bush refusing to pardon Scooter.

At the same general time, there was another espionage scandal that was largely ignored by the mainstream media, involving the sharing of highly classified intelligence with a foreign country. It involved the Cheney policy towards Iran, and related to US miliary intelligence activities in Iraq. Without going into great detail, federal judge T/ S. Ellis ruled that the government would need to release highly classified intelligence to the defense teams, in order to move forward. The prosecution dropped the charges. The more highly classified the documents/ intelligence, the less likely a prosecution.

Others here have pointed out the Mueller Investigation. Although this led to the prosecution and conviction of numerous players involved -- including several of Trump's people -- many of us were hoping for a criminal prosecution of Trump. My uncle reminded me that Attorney General Barr was acting as Trump's personal lawyer and body guard, much as he had done to protect the players in the Iran-Contra crimes with Bush the Elder. He said that had Mr. Mueller openly said Trump had committed crimes, much less advocated the DOJ prosecute him, that Barr would have been able to dismiss the Mueller Report from being made public, and done more of a cover-up than he did when the heavily redacted report was published.

Comparing these cases with that which Jack Smith is currently overseeing, we should be able to come to a realistic understanding of how the stolen documents part of the investigations -- there is also January 6 -- might be handled, as well as how it almost certainly will not play out. Yet to do so requires that one have an understanding of more than U.S. federa law, although we can all agree that Trump violated some in stealing intelligence documents. One has to understand, for example, the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, as well as ECHELON. For the most highly classified documents that Trump had involve more than the United States. Thus, one should be familiar with things such as The Fifth Estate's recent documentary on what Trump unleashed by stealing these documents, from a Canadian point of view.

When we take these factors into consideration, it should help us understand that while it is unlikely that Smith has been brought in to make potential charges against Trump disappear, it is equally unlikely that Trump will be charged with the highest potential charges. This has to do with both the 95% chance of conviction, as well as not exposing what is high-level intelligence beyond what is exclusive to the US. Hopefully, this makes sense to those who expect nothing and those hoping for everything. More, as other countries do have a stake in this, and absolutely want some criminal convictions as Trump's consequence for dangerous criminal activity, it sheds light on why I have held since the day Jack Smith was appointed, that he is the perfect choice.

A Rubin Quote

".... Because hate, like racism and color-prejudice, is not inherent, because nothing is inherent, but it has to be constantly cultivated in order to be brought into being -- for hatred demands existence! And he who hates must show his hatred in appropriate actions and behavior, and to a certain extent, he must become hate himself! And hatred, running amuck, is what you are witnessing today in America -- because America has become hate, itself, and therefore it is hated."
-- Rubin "Hurricane" Carter; letter to H2O Man; Tuesday, June 26, 1979; 9:45 a.m.


Last night I learned of another mass shooting, this one at a Walmart. The "official" reports by police were scant, and we were told more information would be presented this morning. The updates confirmed that it was yet another in the seemingly never ending out-of-control cycle of gross violence in America.

Unable to sleep, I found myself going back and forth between rooms, watching reports on the 24/7 news on television, and looking through several internet sites. This included coming to DU to check to see if there were any responses to an OP that I had posted on Monday, about mass shootings, with some information from the book "The Violence Project." The authors are intent upon educating the public about options for preventing mass shootings.

Hoping to engage in conversation, I was happily surprised to find there were two new responses. That faded quickly, however, when two new members made identical posts that I assume were from those who don't belong here on DU. Later in the morning, I was happy to see that both "people" had been shown the door.

The more I watched the news and read things on the internet, the more I realized I could benefit more from (re-) reading some of the series of letters I got from Rubin, dating from the times he was in solitary. Some of those letters were only about seven or eight pages long, and others were twenty to thirty. The above quote is from one of them.

Rubin did not think that a violent self-destruction was the only option that this country had. Rather, that it was the one that was almost certain if people did not make the conscious effort to change, and not return hatred for hatred. But that it was never too late to make the conscious change in direction.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you & yours.
H2O Man

"The Violence Project"

“Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation.” -- Coretta Scott King


Over the weekend, I had read a post about Martin Luther King, Jr., on -- of all places -- an internet boxing forum I like. The resulting discussion had me making a mental outline for an essay regarding Dr. King for this forum. But that changed in the early morning hours, when a good friend messaged me that there had been a "shooting at the Colorado Spring's Q bar last evenig."

Like millions of Americans, I am horrified by the seemingly never-ending mass shootings that have become so common. And like too many of us, my life has been effected by shootings where less than four people are killed. So much so, in fact, that I decided to use one of my favorite Coretta Scott King quotes to start this with.

Please allow me one paragraph on boxing, an often brutal and ugly sport. It remains the sport most connected with US politics, though not nearly as much as it was years ago. We can think of Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali. Or Dr. King talking on the telephone with Ali when the champion took an anti-war stance based upon conscience. Likewise, my late friend Rubin Carter was friends with both Malcolm and Martin, but had a longer and closer relationship with Coretta.

Now, she was actually more "radical" in her thoughts on the changes required to bring about social justice than Martin was. Thus, because I consider myself to be on the left edge of the Democratic Party, I have the utmost respect for her. More, I understand that we are not sitting on some tremulous wall, where some will fall while other factions survive, I try to concentrate on what progress is possible -- with a deep understanding that it requires as united an effort as possible.

Back to mass shootings. We know that organizations such as the NRA have and will continue to create divisions that prevent progress by yelping about the threat to Amendment 2. Dispite the fact that even most NRA members would like to keep guns out of the hands of mass shooters, this remains an emotional hot-button that prevents real progress. While I'm not suggesting that we simply step around this stumbling block, I think we need to recognize that it is not the only step we need to take as a society.

Recently, while watching a pre-trial hearing for James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of a school mass shooter, I was extremely impressed by Dr. Jillian Peterson. I am disappointed that Judge Cheryl Matthews ruled the prosection cannot use her to explain "pathways to violence," I do understand that not everyone understands the concept. Obviously, if some see no connection between the parents buying their son a gun, and overlooking his drawings that hinted at mass shooting,, there is a need for more education. Far more.

Luckily, Dr. Peterson and Dr. James Densley have authored a book, "The Violence Project," that provides an in-depth study of the factors involved in mass shootings. I immediately ordered the book, and am reading it now. It is a topic that holds great interest for me. I find that this book helps me to organize the fragments of insight I've gathered over the years, and also taught me new things. I strongly recommend this book.

I'll focus on just one of the issues now -- though I am hoping to interview the authors to share on DU. The majority of young men who engage in mass shooting usually have "leakage" at some point close to the event. They tell someone they trust, or post something on-line. If these result in an intervention, it can prevent the event from happening. If an intervention does not happen, or is mishandled, the results are tragiv. Crumbley could have been stopped. The guy from near Binghamton, NY, that did the mass shooting in Buffalo in May had an inadequate intervention less than a year before. And I am aware of a current case, being mishandled by a well known college in the northeast.

I find mass shooting disturbing, along with a heck of a lot of the social decay. I understand the guy on the boxing site wishing King were here to lead us. But I know that a significant part of both Martin and Malcolm's genius was in teaching people to act differently ..... and that if you want people to act different, you must first make them think differently. To teach them that they have more power than the system has convinced them they have. Then, when people begin to think and act differently, they make changes all around them.

Cutting down on mass shootings is something that can be done. We go in knowing that it would take a miracle to end most, if not all, mass shootings. But as Rubin said in Washinton, DC on July 4, 1976, "Miracles do happen. But they take a dog-gone lot of work.

Peace,
H2O Man

The Good Fight

"The enlightened leader is heedful, and the good general full of caution." -- Sun Tzu


You've likely heard that Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed Jack Smith to act as Special Counsel to oversee the investigations of January 6 and the stolen documents. There have been a few OP/threads discussing if this is a good or bad thing on DU: GD. I've even scattered a few comments on a few of them, and decided I might attempt to put some of them together.

The OPs and responses tend to fall into two groups: those who think it is a good thing, and those who think it is a bad thing. Those who think it is bad may have been disappointed by the outcomes of relatively recent investigations' failure to prosecute people they think were guilty as sin, that social status prevents indictments, and/or that AG Garland is weak. Or that this by definition means "delay" -- although the fact that the exact same group from the DOJ that was investigating is still investigating at the exact same pace indicates the opposite.

Situations such as this remind me of something Rubin "Hurricane" Carter told me in 1974, that "those with very little to compare, find very little to understand." To be clear, that does not imply that "those" people are other than intelligent -- it is information on a specific topic. For example, how many DUers knew who Jack Smith was before the announcement? Might the majority agree that knowing him provides more to compare, and perhaps understand, in why this appointment might turn out to be a good thing? Isn't there a clear distinction between Robert Mueller's inability, due to DOJ policy, to prosecute a sitting president, and this investigation of an ex-president?

After the initial reactions on the media, at least one informed source noted that it was done in response to Trump's entering the republican nomination in the 2024 presidential primaries. And that President Joe Biden intends to run for re-election. Trump has already called the DOJ investigations "political." Obviously, he will continue to do so. And so will a number of republicans in DC. It had been a planned response for when Trump announced, rather than :just happening."

I mentioned this on another thread. A person noted that not only were they surprised that anyone could possibly believe that, but also surprised that anyone would say such a thing on DU:GD. In my mind, I heard Rubin laugh and say, "Told you so!" After the Trump presidency, one can be forgiven for being unfamiliar with DOJ attempts to conduct business in a non-political manner. Indeed, the possibility of a former president is uncommon in our nation's history. The bringing in a prosecutor from the Hague to oversee these investigations is outside of any experience in our lifetimes.

On several other OP/threads, some of our good friends in the DU community correctly pointed out that a number of the experts we all respect had previously stated they were opposed to a Special Counsel. That is part of the meaningful discussion we should engage in on this forum. Brooklynite provided an important part of that needed discussion with Laurence Tribe's statement that he had at first thought a Special Counsel should be appointed, then later thought it was too late, but now thinks that AG Garland did exactly the right thing at the right time.

In other words, in these situations, you have to be flexible in both your thinking and strategy. For rigid things snap under pressure, and rigid behaviors are easily countered by an opponent. The very best boxers -- those who stand at the highest level -- never enter the ring with just their A plan. No, they have B, C, and D, because dynamics change in tough fights, and one has to be flexible, and adjust strategy to win. And in that sense, AG Garland ranks high among the "ring technicians" of my long lifetime. Just my opinion -- worthy no more or less than anyone's.

Balk Fore

"Balk the enemy's power; force him to reveal himself." -- Sun Tzu

Election Day revealed that while "normal" republicans had been unabled to beat maga challengers in earlier primaries, Democrats could beat them in general elections. This was bad enough for their party, that a growing number of influential republicans spoke publicly about the obvious: Donald Trump is a toxic ball & chain holding them back.

The most important example of a Trump-like candidate being exposed and defeated was Kari Lake. Had she won, I thought that it was likely DeSantis would pick her as his 2024 running mate, in an attempt to keep republicans united. In the final weeks, the closeness of the race forced Lake to expose her true nature. The below article illustrates the significance of her defeat.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/11/15/kari-lakes-loss-is-biggest-2022-blow-maga-yet/

Lauren Boebert may or may not win re-election when all the votes are counted. One of my dearest friends who lives in that state has been telling me she thought that they would defeat Boebert. It appears there will be a re-count, stretching out the closest Congressional race of the season. It looks like Boebert will win, though maybe not.

It is disgraceful that trash like that is in the House. I so hope she loses. But even if she does win, we make use of her. The republicans tried to make "The Squad" the face of the Democratic Party. Now, they are my favorite politicians. My daughter was out campaigning with one of them this fall. But they aren't representative of our party's elected officials. I think we make use of characters like Boebert, Majorie Taylor Green, and Herschell Walker. The Trump Triplets are the voice of the republicab party.



"If you are far from the enemy, make him believe you are near." -- Sun Tzu

I don't live in Georgia. But as a Democrat, a Citizen of the United States, Member of the Human Race, and Earthling, I am among thousands of medium - to low-income members of our that -- despite the coming winter and holidays -- that will find a way to contribute to Raphael Warnock's campaign. It might be a little money, phone-banking, or in some other manner. It will add up to an extremely important victory.

The more we contribute, the more pressure will be on Walker and Trump. They will claim that out-of-state interests are involved in promoting Senator Warnock, and harming the Walker campaign. That will be the only true and accurate words either will utter in their life-times. We might live far away, but we'll be there. Count on it.



"If your opponent is of choleric temper, irritate him." -- Sun Tzu

Mike Pence was more charismatic and dynamic than Trump in their most recent public events. The two represent two very different wings of the republican party. Neither are going to beat DeSantis for the 2024 nomination.

Both Trump and DeSantis have an overstuffed ego. Pence knows that God wants him to be president. Trump and DeSantis define choleric temperment. Pence is attempting to play the Elder Statesman, though his essence is that of a nasty man. Because Trump, for a variety of reasons, threw his hat in the ring for the 2024 republican primaries, we can start taking a wholesome approach to irritating him and the other two after Senator Warnock wins. In fact, figuratively stapling Trump's diaper-rashed faced on Walker, or Walker's on Trump, provides irritation.

The War Ain't Over

"In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” -- Sun Tzu


If I consider both sides of my family, I've had relatives fight in every war from the Revolution to Vietnam. Most of those I knew did not talk about their experiences. My maternal grandfather, however, would tell my brothers and II about WW2.

Pappy had been training to be a minister, he said, but found the various sins he learned about more attractive. Eventually, he entered the military, got out, and then re-enlisted for WW2. Being older than most, he was called "Pappy." He became a drill instructor, and then went into combat. He would suffer serious injuries, but continue to serve in occupying the Pacific theater as the war ended.

The Pappy I knew was not child-friendly. I knew he had worked in construction, and was a union organizer and activist. He thought that strong workers' unions were the key to preserving democracy in what was then the modern age. It was only later when my brothers and I helped him tend his massive gardens, while consuming massive quantities of beer, that we really got to know him.

We asked him about being a drill instructor. He said that it was essential to weed out those who were "weak," because they were the ones that got everyone killed in combat. And that those few who died during basic training on that island had died for their country.

Pappy's concern for this country before he died was of what he saw as an internal threat, of the same nature as that of he fought against in Europe in WW2. He loved history and politics, and was certain that the time would come when this threat would rise to the surface in the United States. He said that citizzens participating in democracy was the antidote. That if enough patriotic people were active participants, they would outnumber those posing the threats

It wasn't until the final weeks of his long life that I became aware of how haunted Pappy was from having to kill (or be killed) in WW2. I realized that it isn't just those, for example, that throw themselves on the enemy's grenade that give their lives to protect others. Whatever life Pappy may have had if duty had not called was sacrificed. And that is the higher meaning of "greater love no person has, than to lay down their lives for others."

It's that willingness to go beyond one's first nature, to give up the security we find in our daily lives ..... to not only do more, but to be more. Now, please think about that in the context of today. A week ago, how many people here recognized the threat of fascism in America? Saw a growing number of republicans channeling their inner nazi? Democracy stopped many of them in their tracks, on local, state, and federal levels. But the threat remains, despite being stifled at the voting booth.

The threat remains. Right now, the single most important point where we must apply positive pressure is in Georgia. We do not have the luxury of sitting back, content that we did much better than the "experts" had predicted. Every single one of us can contribute, in some manner, to make sure that Raphael Warnock defeats Herschel Walker in their December run-off. As a community -- as a country -- we need to rise up to that level.

Keep on fighting the Good Fight!
H2O Man

48 Hours

"We must seek out the spiritual people, because only that is going to help us survive. We have a great force -- a great brotherhood. And this involves all living things. And that, of course, includes us all. We are talking about the natural world, the natural force, with the trees, everything that grows, the water. That is part of our force.
"But when you gather spiritual force in one place, you also gather th negative force. We begin to perceive the enemy now, the power and presence of the negative force.
"There is a great battle comng." -- Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper, Onondaga


I do not claim that I can tell the future. Vut I will speculate the next 48 to 72 hours may involve some anxiety and stress for many good people. In discussing this with a friend here, and a group of friends on facebook, I thought of this quote by my old friend Oren. It has led to some interesting discussions over the last day through now.

Every individual who reads it will, of course, interpret it based upon their own level of understanding and being. And that is okay. Even generally good.

Stay strong.

Hey Jude/ Revolution

"Take a sad song, and make it better." -- Paul McCartney, 1968.


It would be sad, indeed, if the November election were to serve as democracy's swan song. I'm confident that it isn't going to be. I am not concerned polls or "experts" predicting otherwise. As long as people are getting out the vote, we should win the majority of the contests.

It is a strange day in a strange week in a strange time. The news of Mr. Pelosi being attacked by a thug with a hammer is being reported on the news. I talk with some friends when I pick up tickets for my son and I at at event tomorrow night. A couple say we must win elections to stop the violent maga crime. I respond that it is important to recognize the violence will actually pick up -- at least initially -- if we do win.

The reality is that we are experiencing a dangerous level of a massive shared psychotic disorder. Somewhere near one and three Americans adults believe Trump. It is important to understand the nature of our opposition. Many of these people believe that "God" wants them to engage in a holy war -- and while most of these people are not going to commit violent crimes, there are those in every community, from small towns to large cities, who are on edge.

Much of the media plays sad songs. Kanye West's display of the manic symptoms of bi-polar is substituted for news. Herschel Walker is the republican candidate for Senate in Georgia. The public is frequently exposed to his attempt to tell a story about cows and a fence. And there are actually people who listen to this and think, "That man has my vote! He speaks for me!" I expect Walker to recite Mother Goose's "Hey, diddle, diddle" at some point, for the cow has jumped over the moon. But he doesn't care for children.

A bit later in Paul's classic "Hey Jude," he notes that, "The movement you need is on your shoulders." That's a better image than the weight of the world. It keeps me going when the fatigue of post-covid advocates otherwise. Besides local contests, I've focused on working for Josh Riley's campaign for the House of Representatives. This brief clip from his campaign explains why:

"Following his clerkship, Josh returned to Washington to serve as General Counsel to U.S. Senator Al Franken on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Despite partisan gridlock and division in Congress, Josh successfully ushered two bills through the legislative process from introduction to the President’s desk, where they were signed into law. One of those bills created new rights for survivors of domestic violence to protect them from homelessness. The other bill provided new funding for addiction treatment and mental health programs."

There is more, of course. Because I exist in an upstate New York region where registered republicans, followed by independents, I have focused more attention on reaching those who are independent and to the left of the Democratic Party. For the flip-side of that first Apple 45 release was Lennon's "Revolution," complete with the lyric, "You say you'll change the Constitution, well, you know, we all want to change your head." I ask my progressive leftist friends if they really can't see any difference between Al Franken and Herschel Walker?

As I walk door-to-door, I hear myself thinking, "C.S. Lewis was right! Chesterton was apologetic! His saying we make 'God mad, for all (our) wars are merry, and all (our) songs are sad'. Fucking Chesterton even got the title wrong -- it's "The Ballot for the White House'." We take sad songs and make them better.

Trump vs Slender Man

“There are crimes of passion and crimes of logic. The boundary between them is not clearly defined.”
― Albert Camus


Among other things, crimes and trials help to define an era. I don't mean the petty crimes that society takes for granted. No, it's the type that one watches documentaries and reads books about. Most if not every meaningful work on the decade of the 1960s in the US, for example, will include the murders of JFK, MLK, RFK, and the Manson family. No study of the 1970s can ignore the crimes of Watergate, including a former Attorney General being incarcerated and a president resigning in disgrace.

Rubin used to say to me that it is near impossible for a person to have an objective view while standing within the picture frame. Yet, today, we can be sure that the crimes of Trump and his cult add definition to our society, so much so that the manner in which they are confronted will determine the nation's future. Among the questions being asked is how can so many people who previously appeared sane worship at the altar of Trump?

To understand this, in my opinion, requires some of the other crimes of the general era. This includes trends such as increases or decreases in violent crimes, but also the outliers, the crimes that appear -- to quote Jimi -- "beyond the will of God and the grace of the king." To do so here, for example, let's consider Waukesha, Wisconsin.

There is a criminal trial that will start there on Monday, which obviously is what got me thinking about this. It involves Darrell E. Brooks, who is charged with six counts of first-degree intentional homicide and 77 other charges, for driving through a holiday parade in November of last year. In pre-trial hearings, Brooks proved himself to be psychologists Rhonda Feinberg and James Greene called "the intractable client" in their 1997 study. They noted that "people with personality disorders usually ‘dig in’ and maintain their rigid attitudes and perceptions throughout the legal process." (page 355)

Brooks is determined to represent himself in the trial. His mother has told the judge and the media that he should not be allowed to, because he is mentally ill. In the pre-trial hearings, although Brooks is clearly an obnoxious fellow seeking to turn the trial into a circus, he has not shown symptoms of a major mental illness. It's not that he is incapable of assisting an attorney, it is that he wants to pursue a defense rooted in conspiracy.

There are no studies, for obvious reaons, that document the percentage of people who represent themselves -- other than in small claims court, where one cannot be represented by an attorney -- have Cluster B personality disorders. But as a group, these people are more likely to represent themselves, with the same extremely low chances for a positive outcome. In this case, Brooks intends to put on a "Sovereign Citizen" defense. Polite society may think of them as dinks who annoy cops who pull them over for driving without a license, insurance, etc. But let's take a closer look.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says the following:

"The roots of the movement are racist and antisemitic. It was founded by William Potter Gale, former member of the John Birch Society. Potter formed a group of antigovernment Christian Identity adherents who mistrusted state and federal officials. They believed that non-white people were not human, and that Jews possessed a satanic plot to take over the world. They identified themselves as Posse Comitatus, which is Latin for “power of the county” and centers on the idea that county sheriffs are the highest governmental authority. ....

"The activities of Potter’s Posse, many of them crimes, included refusal to pay taxes, filing property liens and committing violence against public officials. These actions, which were established by Gale’s group, have become customary in today’s sovereign citizens movement.

"The contemporary sovereign belief system is based on a decades-old conspiracy theory. Sovereigns believe that the American government set up by the founding fathers, under a common-law legal system, was secretly replaced. ..... Some sovereigns believe this perfidious change occurred during the Civil War, while others blame the events of 1933, when the U.S. abandoned the gold standard. Either way, they stake their lives and livelihoods on the idea that U.S. judges and lawyers, who they believe are foreign agents, know about this hidden government takeover but argue against it, denying the sovereigns’ motions and filings out of treasonous loyalty to hidden and malevolent government forces."
https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/sovereign-citizens-movement

They start sounding like the older siblings of the Trump cult, eh? Perhaps a difference in degrees to your neighbor, co-worker, or relative that you no longer want to talk to. But close enough for me to reinforce the truth of one of Rubin's favorite Mark Twain quotes, "The problem today is not one of ignorance, but one of people knowing so much that just isn't true." How can any person believe these things, the very foundations of the gospel of the Trump cult? Might another Waukesha crime and trial provide some insight?

I'd think the May, 2014 brutal stabbing attack on a 12-year old girl just might hold some clues. She was viciously attacked by her two 12-year old friends. The two were making a sacrifice to Slender Man, a fictional character that caught the imaginations of children at the time. One of the girls in this case was clearly suffering from a major mental illness that involved a delusional disorder. She believed fully in Slender Man. The other assailant was found to suffer from a shared psychotic disorder, in this instance, about the need to make a sacrifice to Slender Man.

This is not to say that Donald Trump is Slender Man. Maybe his porky sibling. But his threat is real, because a number of people in this country share the delusions of "sovereign citizens" because their projected fears prevents their prefrontal cortex from functioning above the level of pre-teens.
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