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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 07:49 PM
Number of posts: 66,808

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It Don't Come Easy

“Got to pay your dues if you want to sing the blues
And you know it don't come easy
You don't have to shout or leap about
You can even play them easy
Forget about the past and all your sorrow
The future won't last
It will soon be your tomorrow,”
Ringo Starr; It Don't Come Easy

My (ex) sister-in-law and her husband took my sons and I to watch Ringo Starr's concert in Binghamton Tuesday evening. Every song the All Starr Band played was fantastic. There is something about watching the 78-year old former Beatle that brings back good memories. And I know that most of the audience – and the majority was of my generation – were reliving the same memories. Thousands of people were singing along, and hundreds were dancing throughout the arena.

In these strange and often terrible times, it is important to take time to recognize and experience the good that is around us. That's not to say we should ignore or somehow forget all the bad things around us – that is not possible. We are in one of the most intense conflicts in our nation's history. We see it played out in the media daily, with Trump, Kavanaugh, and the spineless republicans in the House and Senate. They are the spores of a poisonous plant that have taken root in too many communities across America.

Yet, at the same time, we are witnessing a powerful force on the rise. At great risk to herself and her family, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has come forward to expose Kavanaugh as the scum he is. I had watched part of his testimony to the Senate committee with my youngest daughter, a psychology major studying women's issues. My daughter said, “There's something creepy about this guy.” I said that there is generally something creepy about conservative christian republicans who obsess over, and seek to dictate, other adults' sex lives. Kavanaugh is a prime example. I am so thankful that Dr. Ford is stepping up despite the very real risks entailed.

Georgetown law professor Heidi Feldman started a GoFundMe account to pay for the security costs that Dr. Ford has due to the numerous death threats she has received. There is a powerful force rising, to counter the poison that is violence ….and making death threats is indeed an act of violence.

I'm impressed by Dr. Ford's attorney. Likewise, with the member of the House of Representatives and the Senator that have assisted Dr. Ford in bringing this issue to light. By no coincidence, all three of these people are women. They are channeling the power that is rising in our lands.

Likewise, it is no coincidence that those publicly supporting Kavanaugh are ethically-dehydrated old white men, those very conservative christian republican toxic spores. They seek to spread and empower the most negative base qualities of our species. They fear the power of Dr. Ford, as it threatens to bring their ilk's behaviors to a dead end.

I'm old now, older than any of the songs Ringo sang. I was disgusted by the way that Anita Hill was treated not that many years ago. Certainly, those dried republican snake skins in the Senate will attempt to disrespect and insult Dr. Ford in the very same manner they did to Anita Hill. That won't change. But everything around them is changing, and they are incapable of stopping this cycle of power from rising. In terms of the November elections, I am reminded of the old Irish saying: “They're fucked.”


My cousin and I traveled to the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Vestal, NY, to get copies of Bob Woodward's new book this morning. We arrived around noon. There were several people walking through the parking lot, thumbing through their copies. After picking up several copies for ourselves and relatives, we talked to several clerks, who happily informed us that the book had already set the record for the number sold in a day. The store opens at 10 am and closes at 9 pm, which suggests that lots more have been sold since we left.

This is a Good Thing.

I'm curious how many other people here bought the book, and if their experience was similar to our happy shopping experience?

Of Mice and Men

“In every bit of honest writing in the world there is a base theme. Try to understand men, if you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and nearly always leads to love. There are shorter means, many of them. There is writing promoting social change, writing punishing injustice, writing in celebration of heroism, but always that base theme. Try to understand each other.”
-- John Steinbeck; 1938.

Back in April of this year, I posted a brief essay on a small group within the administration that was secretly operating to lay the groundwork in preparation for Trump's removal from office. I identified VP Pence, UN ambassador Nikki Haley, and a shared-staff individual named Jon Lerner. You may recall that Lerner had no qualifications for either of the two full-time positions, other than his previous “Never Trump” efforts during the 2016 republican primaries. When Trump learned of this, he was quoted as asking why Pence would do that to him?


It is important to keep in mind that “anonymous” and the “resistance” spoken of in the NY Times' op-ed are the type of republicans that support much of Trump's domestic agenda, but would prefer to have the holy-rolling Pence as president. Their actions should be seen in the context of trying to remove Trump so that Pence is not severely damaged before 2020. They should never be confused as being allied with a surge of Democratic Party power, ethics in politics, or social justice.

The discussions in the media about if the individual or group that wrote the op-ed should identify themselves reminds me of Mahatma Gandhi's lesson on the cat and the mouse. The mouse submits to the cat in fear, not because of a grasp of the principles of non-violence. That mouse hates the cat, and would surely kill it, were the mouse capable of that. No mouse ever shouts, “Fievel, forgive that cat, for he knows not what he's doing.”

Now, I am enjoying the uproar that the op-ed –combined with Woodward's book – is causing. I love it. As indicated in my April essay, I prefer to view systems using the model of a mobile, hanging above an infant's crib. When one piece moves, the others shift to adjust. There are many pieces moving and shifting position in the Trump administration.

However, they are not what I view as “unsung heroes.” They are not honorable women and men. They are mice, infesting the executive branch as the cold looms in their near future. Most lack the postive attributes of mice, and need to be swiftly removed from government, for their only real contribution is toxic feces.

Back in 2017, in an essay I posted here, I told about the last time that Kellyanne Conway was on Morning Joe on MSNBC. As always, she rapidly delivered “talking points” like a rubber-faced robot while the cameras were on. Once they reached a commercial break, she began talking about what a flaming asshole Trump was, and how difficult her job was. She anticipated a sympathetic response, but was met instead with stunned silence. As soon as she left, the crew determined she would never be invited back.

Those details were not reported in the media. But they are likely to come back into the spotlight, if the administration looks closely at who is actively participating in the anti-Trump activities. And they are just the tip of the ice cube. Velow is a link to an interesting Newsweek article about Pence and Conway; though it isn't directly about the information in this essay, it's related.

(Note: I am also extremely impressed with the Democratic Senators in the USSC nominee hearings. Add our field of 2018 candidates, and our party is reaching its potential.)

Deepening State

“So full of artless jealousy is guilt, it spills itself in fearing to be spilt.”
Shakespeare; Act IV of Hamlet

Former federal prosecutor John Flannery made reference to the above quote Tuesday evening on MSNBC, during a discussion on Bob Woodward's new book. It is the second time that he has referenced Queen Gertrude's famous line, I believe, the last time being on CNN. The quote sums up the manner in which a guilty person's paranoia saturates their thought processes, and is projected upon everyone around them until it spills over.

Though less often quoted, the queen's previous line is essential for understanding this: “To my sick soul, as sin's true nature is; Each toy seems a prologue to some great amiss ….” This identifies the paranoid thinking that makes every new thing seem hostile and threatening. And that includes every report on CNN and MSNBC, every report in the New York Times and Washington Post, and every new book that exposes the dysfunction and corruption that defines Trump's presidency.

Hence, Trump becomes the second president to claim that Woodward is wrong – even lying – about how the people around him actually view him. Reagan was the first to go there, a place that Nixon never journeyed. Yet Reagan's outburst was limited to but one person who Woodward documented recognized Reagan as corrupt.

Woodward is a curious character. I have never found him to be as open and honorable a journalist as Carl Bernstein, his partner in helping to expose the series of crimes known as Watergate. The concept of “Deep Throat” being one person – Mark Felt – requires the long arm of rational thought to wrench itself out of socket. Woodward, as an Officer in Naval Intelligence, met regularly with Felt in the basement of Nixon's White House, shortly before taking Felt's recommendation to “retire” and become a journalist. Felt despised the press.

To believe that Felt alone was Deep Throat not only requires one to believe that the assistant director of the FBI fiddled with newspapers on Woodward's porch, but totally ignores Donald Santarelli. But this is the ancient history of my youth. Fair to say that Bernstein's famous report on intelligence assets in the media influenced my understanding of that era.

While I do not particularly like Woodward, I absolutely respect his work, and recognize that he is influential in the world of politics. His four books on the Bush-Cheney era were important reads, if only because they documented Woodward's unusual access to various levels of information. Hard to believe a mere journalist would enjoy such access. Very hard, indeed.

Last week, I was invited to dine with an old friend, who was a professor at a “radical” west coast university way back when. The other guest was a retired “energy” engineer, who had spent years in prison as a consequence of his activities as a member of the Weathermen. Though you really don't need an old Weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing, I agreed with this fellow's firm belief that Trump is going down in 2019.

The strength of Woodward's new book isn't that it will confirm what three aging members of the Democratic Party think about Trump. Each of us is already engaged in activities to promote our party's candidates in November, and recognize that this is essential for insuring that the various investigations bring about justice. Rather, the book will reach those who are the “undecideds.” Some might have voted for Trump in 2016. Others might be independents, who are recognizing that only Democratic candidates can put Trump in check. The more attention the book gets in the media, the better for us. I look forward to buying the book next week.

Steele & Broken Glass

“Steel and Glass”
John Lennon

There you stand with your L.A. tan
And your New York walk and your New York talk.....
Well your mouthpiece squawks as he spreads your lies
But you can't pull strings if your hands are tied
Well your teeth are clean but your mind is capped
You leave your smell like an alley cat
Steel and glass
Steel and glass

It was wonderful to learn that Trump spent the weekend “calling people and screaming.” He reportedly “feels boxed in” by recent events, and “sees no way out.” This is a good thing. And it will continue to get better.

Donald Trump is a sociopath. Thus, he has a remarkably limited range of emotions. He gets positive feelings from “winning,” which in his decaying mind, includes striking out at “enemies.” This allows him to feel in control. But when he faces any form of opposition, he becomes frustrated, and strikes out in anger. Hence, we have witnessed literally hundreds of examples of – be he happy or enraged – his corresponding behaviors are the same: lashing out at others.

There is a third emotion that Trump has recently been dealing with: paranoia. While it is true that paranoia has been a feature of his personality throughout his life time, it has recently become elevated. It is important to recognize that the paranoid thinking associated with interpersonal relationships and business dealings is different that that associated with fearing that one's criminal behaviors are being investigated and pursued in the legal system.

In general, when investigators are seeking evidence required to prosecute crimes committed by an organized group, efforts are made to increase the levels of paranoia within the group. This holds particularly true for the group's leadership. Frequently, the target will increase the efforts to both not make a mistake, and to hide evidence of their guilt. Yet, due to the elevated paranoia, they are actually more likely to expose their guilt.

Now, there are obviously serious differences in the power of, for example, a mob boss and a president to try to cover their tracks. While both may attempt to seek assistance from a corrupt person in government – and there are corrupt individuals within all three branches – a president does have the power to fire people. Richard Nixon exercised this power, in a gross example of what is known as “abuse of power.” Nixon also dangled pardons in front of co-conspirators he wanted to keep silent. And he attempted to manipulate two intelligence agencies to cover his tracks.

The best investigators and prosecutors recognize the patterns of behaviors that criminals exhibit. This includes mob bosses as well as presidents. Hence, they prepare well in advance of the elevation of paranoid thinking. Thus, they are able to correctly anticipate what actions their prey will take. And they are able to respond to those actions.

I can say, with zero risk of error, that Mr. Mueller has a far greater understanding of what makes Trump tick, than Trump does of Mr. Mueller. For a sociopath can only view others in the context of themselves, with others being mere objects. Yet Mr. Mueller has taken Trump's measure in a far broader perspective.

Screaming weekend phone calls, renewed threats to fire Sessions and McGahn, and the attack on “Google” are among the expected range of elevated paranoia expressing itself. Attempts to thwart the Mueller investigation will surely increase. But it is too late. Trump will only increase his legal jeopardy between now and the November elections, and it will skyrocket in the days after the election.

Keep on fighting the Good Fight!
H2O Man

The Manical Misery Tour

As a Good Friend posted on facebook, Helsinki was just a month ago. Clearly, a lot of information about the Trump-Russian scandal has come to the surface since then. Tuesday's events were outstanding. The pace of events combined with the good work of journalists increases the value of internet discussions. Yet it can be difficult to identify the “best” place to start.

How about a review regarding the chances that Trump agrees to meet with Mr. Mueller? A factor to keep in mind – one not being discussed recently in the media – is that Trump did meet with Mr. Mueller in May of 2017.Both of them remember that discussion It is actually the primary reason that Trump says that Mr. Mueller is “conflicted.”

First, Trump outlined his vision of what the FBI should do during his administration. Then Trump offered the former director his old job – to replace Mr. Comey, who Trump claimed had done the job wrong. But Mr. Mueller was not interested. In fact, the following day he was appointed to his current position in the Justice Department.

Both men have measured the other. Trump is far too much of a coward to agree to meeting Mr. Mueller. What is interesting to consider now is how much Trump fears Mr. Mueller “communicating” with Donald, Junior. We can watch films of both Trumps being deposed as recently as the summer of 2016 on YouTube. Neither would fare well with Mr. Mueller; Junior is even weaker than his father.

And that brings us to Michael Cohen. He was the trouble-shooting, tough guy for “the Family.” He has worked with Trump's three best-known spawn, as well as Jared, for years. This included during the campaign. We know that the operation to silence two women during the campaign, by way of illegal campaign contributions, included Cohen, Trump, and at least one other member of the campaign. It sure as hell wasn't Tiffany or Barron.

Yesterday's news that state agencies are focused upon interviewing Cohen after his guilty plea to SDNY federal charges, places Trump and the three spawn in further legal jeopardy. Since Trump can't pardon them for state charges, it must be a rather uncomfortable time in Trump world. Please join me in sending thoughts and prayers – for convictions, of course.

Will Trump pardon Manafort? It is likely. However, doing so will work against Trump as soon as the new Democratic majority is seated in the House of Representatives. While we can anticipate Trump acting out in ways that are damaging to our nation, keep in mind that it is a clear sigh that the end is near.

Hopefully, that will signal the end of Rudy Giuliani and Alan Dershowitz's appearances on television. Often in a long life, all that is left in the last stages is the person's essence. Both men are disgusting.

Finally, is there a possibility that Mr. Mueller and Mr. Rosenstein will decide that, due to extreme circumstances, Trump should be indicted? It would seem unlikely that the thought hasn't crossed both men's minds. I believe that it is likely that Mr. Mueller will file sealed indictments, to be opened the moment Trump is removed from office.

Don McGahn

The New York Times story about Don McGahn's cooperating with Mr. Mueller's investigation is outstanding news. On its surface, just the fact that McGahn believed that Trump was planning to try to pin all charges of obstruction of justice on him suggests that McGahn, too, sees connections between the Trump-Russian scandal and Watergate. The Nixon White House counsel, John Dean, recognized that the president was planning to blame him for the Watergate cover-up.

But it is far better than that. Though the media hasn't commented on this – yet – keep in mind that it was McGahn who told Trump not to issue the document of why Trump was firing James Comey. Trump and Stephen Miller had authored that original text, which would be replaced by the Sessions and Rosenstein papers.

Keep in mind that Mr. Mueller has a copy of the Trump-Miller paper. He has surely discussed it with McGahn. And asked him exactly why McGahn insisted it not be released, and instead had the baloney about Trump's being upset about how Mr. Comey treated Hillary Clinton.

I'd wager that Mr. Mueller will talk to McGahn about Trump's targeting Mr. Brennan and the others that he blames for investigating the Trump-Russian scandal.

Here is a Newsweek article:


A Tenney for Your Thoughts

There has been some interesting news regarding the race in New York State's 22nd Congressional District in the past 36 hours. Yesterday, for example, self-identified “Tea Party” republican Claudia Tenney “postponed” a campaign stop in Norwich, Chenango County's seat, for the second time in a week. Her official reason was because of “public safety” – although Norwich is overwhelmingly republican, she was concerned about the protest rally planned to greet her.


Why, you might be asking, would a republican member of the House of Representatives be so concerned about public safety in a place that has a City Police force, the sheriff's department, and a State Police station? Perhaps “public safety” isn't the reason? Let's look closer.

Some of you may remember Tenney for her curious claim that mass murderers are Democrats. Yes, she has gotten her insights from watching Alex Jones. This has not made her wildly popular with the establishment republicans in the district. Nor has her extreme-right stances on issues that impact the communities in our region. More, the local government officials – mostly republicans – are frustrated by her ignoring their attempts to even communicate with her. She has been too busy rehearsing for a role in the Trump administration.

I like to look at numbers. In 2016, Trump carried our district by 16%. Tenney won the seat vacated by Richard Hanna by 6%. Thus, about one in ten Trump voters did not support her. Hanna, a moderate republican – the type that Democrats in our district were able to work with on some issues – has endorsed Anthony Brindisi. In the link below, Hanna addresses the reasons that Tenney has become increasingly unpopular with republicans since she took office:


Up until her fund-raiser with Trump earlier this week, Tenney had been running commercials attempting to discredit Brindisi by claiming he is a puppet for Nancy Pelosi. At a campaign meeting in Chenango County on Sunday, a couple of people raised the issue of if Nancy should maintain her leadership position in 2019. One brought the Binghamton newspaper, and read a letter-to-the-editor that quoted Tenney's position. I pointed out that because this is a republican talking point, we should all ignore it. When Anthony faces questions about Rep. Pelosi, he should note that she is not a candidate in the 22nd, and pivot to the issues most important to our district.

I noted that while the internet has changed where many people get their news, that newspapers are still important. And, during campaign season, that sales increase, and the letters-to-the-editor become the most read part of the newspapers. Hence, even a relatively small group of people can organize a coordinated letter-to-the-editor campaign aimed at every newspaper in the district. Usually, these are to energize the base, and attract the support of undecided independents. In this case, it will also be to peel republican votes from Tenney.

Luckily, Tenney is helping to make this easier. Since meeting with Trump, she has switched from talking against Rep. Pelosi, to claiming that Brandisi is “far too close to organized crime” to be elected. (The Daily Star; Oneonta, NY; Aug 14, 2018; “Trump treks upstate to back GOP incumbents; pages 1-2.) When asked to back her claim, she said that Anthony's elderly father, also a lawyer, had once represented a person reputed to be a mobster. This was before Anthony was born, a fact that seems to be stretching the “far too close” claim a tad too far. It's this type of thing that resulted in the Oneida County Executive – a republican – to call Tenney a “national embarrassment.”

Tenney is now scheduled to appear in Norwich next Sunday. I hope she actually does. From the phone calls and e-mails that I've had today, I know there will be a very large crowd waiting for her.

Fight the Good Fight!
H2O Man

Democracy Rising!

The last thirty hours have reinforced my beliefs that the Democratic Party is set to make great advances this year. Yesterday, I met and attended a meeting with Anthony Brandisi, the Democrat who is opposing Claudia Tenney in my congressional district. And today, along with my daughter and cousin, I attended the powerful ant-Trump/Tenney rally in Utica, NY.

Now, in our district, there are more republicans registered than there are Democrats. However, there are enough independents registered, that we can fill that gap three times over. Equally important in terms of upstate New York contests, a significant number of republicans strongly dislike Tenney. The last person to hold that office, a republican, has already endorsed Anthony. Republicans on small town boards are quietly supporting the Brandisi campaign.

The group in Utica numbered between 1700 and 2000. There was a pro-Trump group of seven on the other side of the street. Our group was composed of a wide variety of people, from young to old. The group was black, brown, red, yellow, and white. Every sub-group within the party was represented, and everyone got along beautifully. The signs and posters were great.

This is democracy rising. It's a powerful force.

A few Trumpets invaded our space during the rally, attempting to provoke disruptions or fights. I was punched in the chest at one point. Out of two thousand people, I must be the guy who people want to punch. I don't know. But it didn't get more of a response beyond laughter. And some ass-clowns were throwing water on the crowd from a window, until the police visited them.

On Sunday, we met in the village square of small-town America. Today, it was a city. I love the smell of democracy in America. Reminds me of victory!

– H2O Man

Summer's Almost Gone

“Summer's almost gone
Summer's almost gone
Almost gone
Yeah, it's almost gone
Where will we be
When the summer's gone?”
-- Jim Morrison

Despite all of the horrors associated with the Trump presidency, I believe that we will be in a good place as we approach the fall elections. I'm confident that the Mueller investigation will continue to provide documentation of the gross corruption of the Trump campaign, transition team, and administration. This will include the closely related Southern District of New York's case against Michael Cohen. I think that the current political environment provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Democrats to make significant progress at the state and national levels.

There have been a number of interesting – though at times acrimonious – discussions about various types of Democrats on this forum in recent weeks. I tend to self-identify as a Kennedy Democrat, and still wear the tie clip that Robert F. Kennedy handed out on the steps of the Chenango County Courthouse steps back in 1964, during his campaign for Senate. However, at this point in time, I think it is essential that we drop everything but “Democrat.” We need to kick it into higher gear, and work together to elect all of the Democratic candidates.

I have two invitations, one for tomorrow and another for the middle of next week, to meet with candida I've been asked to help attract the support of the Democratic Left (progressives independents). In this tes and their campaign leaders for two state offices. Though I am not in either candidate's district,region of the state, there are more independent voters than registered Democrats, making it necessary to “unite the tribes” in order to achieve victories. This approach allowed local Democrats to achieve unprecedented victories in the past decade.

There are three candidates in NYS districts running for seats in the House of Representatives that I am focusing on. I think that the three provide the model necessary to not only maintain our party's strength, but also to expand it. And it is expanded by offering more seats at the table, seats that offer better representation to a wider variety of Democrats. More, the three illustrate the potential strength of unity, versus the self-defeating nature of divisions within the Democratic Party.

The first campaign I have joined and continue to support is that of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She has brought great excitement to the 2018 elections, by advocating for the progressive change that a large segment of our party wants. There has been some grumbling, including on this forum, about her identifying as a Democratic Socialist. In fact, a few forum members have posted a splattering of anti-Alexandria information on a daily basis. Now that the contested primaries are over, I hope that this divisive activity stops. We need to be united.

On Sunday afternoon, I will be meeting with Anthony Brindisi and his campaign. He is running against Claudia Tenney in NYS's 22nd Congressional District. Some in the RNC are calling this one of the most important contests in the country. Brindisi has a very good chance of unseating Tenney, who is one of the most toxic republicans today. In fact, she is so desperate that it was announced this week that Trump will be coming to Utica on Monday to campaign for her.

This is being organized by none other than Carl Paladino, the chairman of Trump's NYS campaign. This is the same Carl Paladino that ran a failed campaign for governor (among other positions), and who was removed from his local school board for racism. Utica's republican leaders, aware of the the depth of anti-Trump sentiments in the area, pressured Paladino to change the original plans for the Trump rally – it has since been announced that it will be a closed meeting of only “donors.” There was an attempt to keep the time and location secret. That effort failed, and our side will be outside, peacefully protesting against Trump and Tenney.

(I should note that after redistricting, Maurice Hinchey represented the district in Congress. My aunt served as his top aide for many years. Democrats can win this district, especially with a strong candidate like Anthony Brindisi.)

Paladino, of course, is from western NYS. While I do not know if he is a blood relative of Rep. Chris Collins, it is safe to say they are from the same family. Their family businesses have overlapped for decades. Collins was more successful in politics, because he has been slick, while Paladino is a dim-wit. But both are Trump republicans.

By being indicted on federal charges this week, Collins is now damaged goods. Paladino and Collins are convinced that Collins can win re-election in the 27th District by claiming that organized crime does a lot of good for communities. However, although it is beneath the surface, a significant number of republican leaders in the 27th are asking that Collins step aside. They've noted that if Collin accept a nomination for a local position, such as town clerk, their party can legally replace him on the ballot for Congress.

Either way, this creates a great opportunity for the Democratic candidate, Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray. At this time, McMurray's campaign is in need of grass roots' donations. We can be sure the republican party will be heavily financing Collins or any candidate that might replace him. Thus, I am going to send a donation to his campaign that matches what I donate to Alexandria and Anthony Brindisy. And if others are in a position to help McMurray's campaign, linked to below, it's a much-needed investment in democracy.


Thank you for your consideration. Unite, and fight the Good Fight!

H2O Man
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