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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 08:49 PM
Number of posts: 70,917

Journal Archives

The Shallow State of Donald Trump

Among the many interesting issues being discussed in today's Senate committee hearing is the strange case of Carter Page. Numerous layers of misinformation and disinformation have been piled upon his role in the Trump campaign by the administration. Some are contradictory – Trump, for example, has both claimed that Page was the victim of FBI spying on one hand, and has claimed Page was spying on the campaign for the FBI on the other hand. A rational person might correctly note that both of these cannot be true. In fact, it is possible that neither are accurate.

Older forum members may recall previous discussions here, dating back to what now seems the distant past, about Carter Page in January, 2018. Ancient forum members might even recall similar conversations on Page dating back to late 2017. Then, in February 2018, Malcolm Nance spoke about what was becoming evident regarding Carter Page. And now, like an unlucky penny, he keeps popping back up.

We know that Page has a curious history of ties with Russian intelligence that date back years before he served on the Trump campaign. In fact, it has been documented that Russian intelligence had – at very least – thought they could exploit him, and possibly turn him into serving as an asset for their use. A couple of articles in the New York Times addressed this: “Russian Spies tried to Recruit Carter Page before he Advised Trump's Campaign” (4-4-17) and What (if anything) does Carter Page Know?” (12-18-17).

As a result of Page's dealings with Russian intelligence and publicly expressing disagreements with U.S. Policy towards Russia, he became the subject of a FISA warrant. It is essential to understand that numerous U.S. Intelligence agencies beyond the FBI were interested in just who Carter Page was, and exactly what he was doing. And to fully appreciate this, one must keep in mind that Page had served in the Office of Naval Intelligence for many years, including but likely not limited to his time in the Navy. And that, of course, places him along side with not only Malcolm Nance, but such figures as Mark Felt and Bob Woodward. Prehistoric forum members will recall interesting discussions on the topic of the last two from the Bush-Cheney era.

Now, let's consider the timing of Page's serving in the Trump campaign. Trump announced that Page was a foreign policy adviser in March, 2016. That, of course, was the very same month that Paul Manafort officially joined the campaign. Manafort has proven incapable of telling the truth, of course, but there is ample evidence that one or more of his connections with the Russian-Ukraine mob had assured him that Page was a solid resource.

For three months, Page reported to Corey Lewandowski, who was running the Trump campaign. Poor Corey was fired in June, and replaced with Paul Manafort. Readers may recall that in June of 2016, Manafort met with some friendly Russians in Donald, Jr's office, to hear how the Russian government could help Trump win the election. Page would travel to Russia and meet with a Russian operative during his time on the Trump campaign, before officially leaving the campaign in September.

At the same time the Trump administration has noted the FBI was spying on Page after he left the campaign, they have also stressed that Page actually had no role in the campaign. They say he never met Trump, which removed the possibility that Page was another mere coffee boy. And, as noted, Trump has claimed that Page was a deep state operative sent to spy on the campaign, which is very curious indeed, since Page did not approach the Trump campaign – they approached him.

At the time Page was associated with the Trump campaign, the U.S. Intelligence community was conducting a counter-intelligence investigation of Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election. It seems likely that this would include using someone connected to the IC who had cover – known in intelligence as a “legend” – that creates the impression that the IC does not trust them. Thus, in Page's case, it would seem to the Russians that he might be trusted. This is one type of a “double-agent.”

Due to the nature of today's technology, that can include having one or more FISA warrants on record, to indicate to invasive computer examinations to believe Page was not an IC operative. This would allow him to be involved in the counter-intelligence operations geared towards investigating the Russians' penetration of the 2016 campaign. And it would be likely that not every domestic IC member would know if a man like Carter Page was an ONI officer working under cover.

Lindsey Graham has enough organic intelligence to understand this. And his character is certainly low enough to try to exploit this, since he is fully aware that no individual from any intelligence agency could speak publicly to the issues. Indeed, that's what we've seen Graham doing today.

101 Refresher

“The duty of a true Patriot is to protect his country from its government.”
-- Thomas Paine

While watching today's House hearing, the kindest thing I can say about the republicans is that their behavior appears surreal on the surface. If we dig a little deeper, it seems bizarre. Let's take a moment to dig even deeper, to see if we might identify why they are acting like petty brats.

“Politics 101” teaches that in every political contest, there are three groups: those who always support you, those who always oppose you, and the undecided. The basic strategy is to campaign in a manner that makes your supporters happy, that doesn't rile your opposition into taking action, and convincing the majority of the “undecided” to support your position.

Now, using that context, what are the republicans doing today? It certainly does not qualify as an attempt to follow the concepts of “Politics 101.” Though it is not quite the exact opposite, it is clear evidence that the republican strategy is coming from a place of weakness. They are appealing only to the conspiracy theorists among their party – those who would support Trump even if republicans in the House and Senate admitted the president was 100% guilty as charged.

By today's performance, the republicans are making Trump's base their exclusive target. Attempts to muddy the waters with emotional turbulence will be unlikely to appeal to moderate republican voters. It will energize Democrats, from the grass roots to Washington, DC. And it will repulse the majority of the undecided citizens. It reeks of desperation.

Thus, it is important that we not be reactive to the republican emotion-based nonsense. We should not follow them there. There is no need to, for they are desperate. Instead, Daniel Goldman provides a proper role model here: a focused response. We can focus on exposing their weakness. In doing so, we help to protect our country from the Trump “government.”

H2O Man

The Trial of Donald Trump

“ Stated simply, impeachments are no place for small minds or low politics. …..Although the House and Senate are irreducibly political, the Constitution makes clear that impeachment calls for a profoundly different mentality. ….An impeachment along political party lines would only be acceptable where the president as captured or corrupted his own political party. ....Refusing to impeach a known tyrant out of partisan self-interest would constitute a failure of governance at least as profound as urging impeachment solely for partisan reasons.”
Laurence Tribe; To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment

My daughters asked me to compile a list of the books on impeachment that I do not have, as the holiday season is upon us. Hence, my dining room table has a variety of books, including those specifically on impeachment, and those about the Nixon and Clinton eras, piling up. By way of internet, I have found that there are four on the topic that I do not have in my library.

My son thinks it's a giggle to watch me pouring through those that now force us to consume our evening meal in another room. All of my children are used to hearing me talk to myself when reading or watching television, so I suppose it comes as no surprise when I'm in the middle of a heated debate with some paragraph and the boys say, “Will you please keep it down, Boomer?” My current response is, “Get out here! You won't believe this!” The older son finds it particularly annoying between the hours of 2 and 4 am/est. Last night, he told me if I didn't stop yelling at books, he would have to make an appointment at the local animal shelter to be put to sleep.

Hopefully, this helps to explain my long and tedious essays on DU:GD.

Today, I thought I'd talk about what we might expect in terms of format if and when the Senate hears the trial of Donald Trump in early 2020. While the Constitution grants the Senate the sole power to try impeachments, the ritual has only two examples in our nation's history. Thus, the path the trial will take is not as well defined as, say, a criminal or civil trial.

That is important to keep in mind for several reasons. Among them is the level of “proof” put into evidence needed for a conviction. In a criminal trial, of course, the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. That's an ill-defined level. In a civil trial, it comes down to the preponderance of evidence, which means if it's 51-49, the jury may go with that 51.

But as Laurence Tribe points out, the verdict for impeachment is somewhere in between. He notes that an impeachment of a president is evidence of a national crisis. In theory, every Senator should put country first, though obviously party and personal issues may influence their decisions. Unfortunately, we see republicans putting self first, party second, and country last when it comes to all things Trump. But calling the president rude-but-accurate names in off-the-record conversations clearly isn't enough in times of national crisis.

This was anticipated. Thus, the Senators are required to take an oath to uphold the Constitution as the first step of an impeachment trial. This oath is distinct, as it is the only time a federal official is required to take an oath separate from their initial oath of office, for an official duty. This second oath is, in theory, to remind each Senator that their focus should be on country, rather than party of personal employment considerations.

The House will appoint those who will “manage” the case, acting as prosecutors. After the Senators are sworn in, the manager (or managers) will present an outline of the case. After this, the Senate calls upon the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court to oversee the case. In doing so, they remove the vice president from any role in the trial. Initially, this was done in part because the VP was whoever took second place in the election, not necessarily from the same party as the president, and who would have obvious potential conflicts of interest in the trial. More, it signals the importance of the national crisis that the Senate is tasked with resolving.

After that, the process is not defined, as noted before, to the degree that criminal and civil trials are. Thus, the Senate majority leader is in a position to exert great influence. The 2020 impeachment trial of Donald Trump will be under the influence of Mitch McConnell, a uniquely petty man who has been exclusively focused on personal power throughout his political career. His quest for power has overshadowed any beliefs of values that he may have once had.

Thus, in 2020, Mitch will be focused upon personal power, party, and country in that order. He wants to be re-elected and maintain his current position in the Senate. Knowing this, we can conclude that a fair trial in the Senate is not his priority. He wants to maintain the powers of the Elder Tortoise. Because advancing age has diminished his thought capacity, he is currently relying on his aides to help him assess the national mood.

The first thing he has them report upon is, of course, national polls. He is old enough to know that national polls on impeachment are relatively new – the first merely dates back to 1973 – and that they are rarely an accurate measure. If memory serves me correctly, a national poll in 2014 showed that the majority of Americans believed impeachment was mistakenly believed to be about the public's reactions to such things as economic policy. That is an example of the dangers of ignorance.

More important to Mitch are state-wide polls. Yet these, too, often reflect the level of ignorance that the citizens in a state – say, Kentucky – dwell within. Hence, Mitch's aides are also focusing on the levels of contacts that his flock of tortoises receive from the public. This includes phone calls, letters, and e-mails, weighted in that order. On-line petitions are given zero value.

Thus, in the upcoming impeachment trial, it is important to recognize that Mitch will no longer be representing one state. He will be working for all of us, Democrats, independents, and republicans alike, nation-wide. He will be, in other words, our employee. And it is essential that we let him know what job we want him to do – indeed, we forfeit the right to complain afterwards if we do not provide him with specific instructions.

Thus, the best thing that you and I can do this weekend is to write to Senator McConnell at the Russell Senate Office Building, 2 Constitutional Ave NE, Washington, DC, 20002, and tell him what to do. Keep in mind that even snail-mail letters are weighed differently: a hand-written letter is actually given more weight than a typed one.

Will you join me in this effort? Encourage family and friends to do the same?

Thank you for your consideration.
H2O Man

The Foreign Exchange Student

Years ago, when my daughters attended high school, we had a foreign exchange student from France stay with our family. It seemed possible that there would be more than a bit of “culture shock,” considering she came from a well-to-do background in Paris, and we live in the sticks. But from day one, it was a blast for all of us.

My daughters visited her in France this summer, and she is planning to come here next year. I always enjoyed talking about politics with her, and we continue this tradition on the internet. Since Trump “won” the presidency, there has been a lot to discuss. Not surprisingly, she says the people she knows think of Trump as a sick joke, and are concerned that the United States is experiencing a serious illness. I get messages from her that simply say, "Oh, Donald!" is a popular saying among young adults in France.

Last night, I told her to thank Emmanuel Macron for me.Her response has been laughter.

Linsey's Proposed Compromise

“The divisions among Republicans were clear on the television talk shows today as Senator Slade Gorton, a Washington State Republican, defended a plan he had drafted with Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, a Connecticut Democrat, to condense a trial into a matter of days.”
– New York Times; January 4, 1999


“I can say with 100% certainty that Senate republicans have been having these things researched, and have quoted Byrd in recent off-the-record conversations among themselves and with Democrats. They seek to justify voting to not convict Trump, and some are hoping that Democrats will accept the compromise of censure.” – H2O Man; November 22, 2019


Yesterday, I read an OP by Miles Archer, titled, “Lindsey discusses 'bipartisan support' of a censure to spare country of 'trauma' of impeachment trial.” The OP/thread can be found at the link below:


This immediately brought two things to mind: the above quote from an essay I posted in November about an effort by some republican Senators to convince Democrats to compromise on the upcoming impeachment by agreeing to censure Trump, and the long-forgotten effort by two Senators, Slade Gorton and Joe Lieberman to convince the Senate to make a similar compromise in the Clinton impeachment case.

I thought it might be of some interest to review the Gorton-Lieberman compromise plan. This should not be mistaken for an endorsement of the plan then, or more importantly, of the plan that Graham is advocating now. Rather, it is simply to supply some historical context.

After the House had impeached President Clinton, the members of the Senate knew from the giddy-up that there was no chance of it getting the two-thirds of the votes necessary to convict. Rather, they knew that what would unfold was an ugly trial that could only serve to divide the country and damage the public's faith in the institutions of government.

Two Senators, Gorton (republican) and Lieberman (Democrat at the time), put their heads together to try to identify a way forward. The plan they agreed upon was to have the trial's “opening statements” made, to take a preliminary vote that would fail to reach the necessary two-thirds, and to formally end the trial, with a vote for censuring President Clinton.

This plan had significant support among Senators from both parties. However, when House republicans got wind of the plan, they put extreme pressure on the republican Senators to kneecap the effort. The rest is history.

Keep this in mind as the process unfolds in Washington. The fact that Senator Graham would mumble about censure as a compromise, like his saying that Russia, rather than Ukraine, infected the 2016 election, shows a divide between the Senate republicans and Trump. They know that they cannot call Trump's call “perfect.”

H2O Man

Our House

“What do you have when a wise man argues with a fool? Two fools!”
Rubin “Hurricane” Carter; letter to H2O Man; 1974

Fairly frequently, I see an OP/thread on DU:GD about a community member spanking a Trump fan in a debate. I always take pleasure in reading these. There are a significant percentage of Trump supporters, primarily republicans but some independents as well, that not only ask for – but actually beg for – our nailing them in a manner that provides entertainment.

I read an OP/thread today, posted by a long-time good friend, about responding to aggressively ignorant Trumpets. I believe it is up to the individual to determine, based upon context, is that individual. That context includes both how the individual is feeling at the moment, and the setting of the particular incident.

Debating, and even arguing, can be fun. I grew up poor, in a family that viewed debating and arguing to be a fine art. In particular, this included arguing with our father about politics and social issues, and debating my older brothers about boxing. Being the youngest and smallest, I learned to anticipate the exact moment to stop when someone became furious, as I have never enjoyed being punched.

These days, I do have some interaction on Facebook with some old high school friends and one very distant relative who like Trump. They are furious about the impeachment process, and ready to insult anyone who thinks differently. Growing up with absolutely no social graces, I always view these as an invitation to join in on their conversations.

My angry friends like me, so they tolerate my contributions. One is a prison guard, who doesn't so much like Trump as he hates the Democrats in office. Every day, it seems, he posts some bizarre “meme” on FB. I take one to two paragraphs to explain why it is someone purposefully lying to him. I ask him if he has seen the conspiracy theory of the day reported anywhere else? Even Fox? Then I ask if he likes being lied to?

With others, I suggest that we discuss impeachment not as Democrats or republicans, but as Americans who respect the Constitution. That this will allow for discussion, rather than debate or argument, because as long as we are discussing the Constitution and its history, it can be a learning opportunity for each and every one of us.

Now, perhaps as a result of leading a boring life, since 1973 turned into 1974, I have found the topic of impeachment fascinating. And there are rational differences of opinion on a range of things contained in this document. And that is the perfect reason for studying how the section on impeachment came into being.

Most of these gentlemen have not looked at the Constitution since we were in junior high social studies class. They can paraphrase Amendment 2, but nothing else. They may still believe in the mythology we were taught in our youth, about all of the Founding Fathers being super-humans. And certainly, a few were extraordinary people, and as a group, created a great document. Yet it was a group of men committing “treason” against the English, discussing, debating, and arguing about ways to form a more perfect union.

Why, I ask these fellows, did they pick the House of Representatives to have the sole power of impeachment? How did this relate to the earlier Articles of Confederation? What other options were considered first? What is the connection between their choice of the House and the electoral college?

It may surprise you – perhaps even shock you, so I hope you are sitting down – that only one of the guys has correctly answered one of those question. And he is a republican who thinks that Trump has committed numerous impeachable offenses, and needs to be removed from office as quickly as possible. More, he is the only one of the guys who thinks that my proposal that we meet as a group to discuss these issues as Americans concerned about the threats to the Constitution is a good idea.

The idea of impeachment is obviously rooted in the concept that no one is above the law. The majority of the Founding Fathers were opposed to the idea of an American political leader who was equal to a king, after all. Within the proposed republic, the House would be the only office selected democratically (popular vote for the Senate came much later). Thus, the House served as “the voice of the people.”

Other nations and even states had taken the route of allowing their judiciary to be involved in removing an elected official. Yet the federal judges in the US were to be appointed, not elected. Hence, there could be conflicts of interest (consider Nixon), and it would not represent the will of the people.

But, you might say, neither does the electoral college. True, that. The electoral college, as we know, was a compromise to convince smaller states to join the union. What is too often forgotten is that among the leaders thinkers of the Constitutional Convention, there was the expectation that few if any presidential elections would be decided by the electoral vote. There wasn't the technology we enjoy today that allows for instant communications, nor were there but two major parties. Indeed, the electoral college was initially set up to avoid its determining the outcome; instead, “undecided” elections would be decided by the House – the voice of the people.

In other words, they believed they were giving the House the power to elect and to impeach the president. Now, this doesn't even begin to explain how it was that they picked the Senate to hear the trial, including having the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court be at the head of the trial. Generally speaking, by now most of my high school friends who have morphed into Trumpets recognize that they are not able to debate or argue with me on these topics. But I'm happy to discuss these fascinating topics with them. Indeed, it is only through such discussions that they might begin to change their minds.

I think our nation requires such discussions. The House and Senate can debate the issues involving Trump and Fiends. But there is no benefit to a hostile, non-factually-based, national argument.

H2O Man

Speaking of Thanksgiving ......

“I remember sitting down to Christmas dinner eighteen years ago in a communal house in Portland, Oregon with about twelve others my own age, all of whom had no place they wished to go home to. This house was my first discovery of harmony and community with fellow beings. This has been the experience of hundreds of thousands of men and women all over America since the end of WW2. Hence the talk about the growth of a 'new society.' “
Gary Snyder; Earth House Hold New Directions Publishing; 1968

I think about this quite a bit during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season. This year, I've been talking to several good friends who, for a variety of reasons, are experiencing difficult times. In some instances, it is related to interactions (or none) with family members. Others have told me about problems with old friends and neighbors. Sometimes I think that the holiday season is the most difficult for good people.

Earlier today I was remembering a Thanksgiving some thirty years ago. I was a single father with custody of my two young sons, but they were spending Thanksgiving day with their mother. I hadn't thought it would be different than any other day I didn't have the boys. I had thought that I'd find plenty to do. But on that day, I couldn't.

I remember listening to Jimi Hendrix's song, “Burning of the Midnight Lamp,” especially the haunting lyrics, “All my loneliness, I have felt today; it's a little more than enough to make a man throw himself away.” Looking back, of course, I don't feel sorry for myself. But I remember that empty feeling, and of thinking about Paul McCartney's lines about “all the lonely people.”

On a more chipper note, years later my sons hosted Thanksgiving, with their mother and her new husband, their sisters, and I, and we had a great time. But that would be their mother's last Thanksgiving, as she died seven months later. Although he doesn't mention it, I know that both Thanksgiving and Christmas are hard for my sons. The older will be preparing our Thanksgiving meal here, and his brother and his girlfriend will join us. (Her daughters will be at their father's, and her mother hates the holidays and doesn't want to see anyone.)

When I was a kid, the maternal side of the extended family all gathered at my grandparents for a feast on both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Those are some of the very few times in my childhood that I can look back upon with some happiness. But those days are long gone, and while three of my four siblings live but a few miles away, we do not communicate.

I used to enjoy talking to my friend Rubin Carter on Thanksgiving – especially in the years that Marvin Hagler flew in to Canada from Italy to spend the holiday with the Hurricane. Rubin had an interesting take on the curious systems that are known as “family of origin.” I can hear his words now: “You are born into the exact circumstances that you must overcome in life.”

I like Gary Snyder's approach. If you don't have family and friends to hang with today, the internet provides a form of community that we couldn't have dreamed of when I was young. If you are having a good holiday, please think of those who might be alone – even those who are alone in a crowd. Take the time to reach out. And one last thing to keep in mind this holiday season: Trump is being impeached!

H2O Man

Letter from the Grass Roots

The RNC has identified Rep. Anthony Brindisi, of NYS's 22nd congressional district, as one of the top-ten vulnerable Democrats in 2020. Over the weekend, Steve Bannon spoke on the “news” about targeting Rep. Brindisi. And currently, in our region, there are frequent television commercials telling people to call Brindisi's office to tell him to vote against impeaching Donald Trump.act, to inflate the numbers of anti-impeachment calls, they are urging people outside of our district to call.

The 2020 contest looks to be a rematch between Rep. Brindisi and Claudia Tenney. You may recall Tenney as a rabid supporter of Trump. In 2018, numerous area republican leaders refused to endorse her, in part because she had done nothing in Washington to help local communities. People were also disgusted with her paranoid attacks on Anthony's Italian-American heritage, claiming he was with the “mafia” and that she and her campaign workers' safety was at grave risk.

As proof, she noted that automobiles her staff didn't recognize drove by her Utica campaign headquarters. Yikes! I'm sure that she and her staff could identify every vehicle that had the right to travel upon the city's streets. Or maybe it was something else …..perhaps projection?

Along with some family members, I attended a rally in Utica to protest when Donald Trump came to town to endorse Tenney. We have since learned that Trump had brought an old friend with him, to help support Tenney's campaign. That friend's name is Lev Parnas, the now-indicted buddy of Rudy Giuliani. Small world.

I will be working on a few campaigns in 2020. And I've already been putting in time at the grass roots' level on Anthony's campaign. Because our district has a surprisingly high number of independent voters, I focus quite a bit on outreach to them. I also will be speaking with the students at the area's colleges and universities. In fact, I've set aside time to communicate today with some faculty and student leaders about the need to support Anthony, including calling his office to express support for impeaching Trump.

I have only known Anthony Brindisi for a few years. However, we have a couple of friends from the Utica area in common – one is an attorney I've know for over 40 years – who told me that they have the highest opinion of him. During the 2018 campaign, I got to hang out with him and get to know him and his family. They are wonderful people. And, of course, I've remained in close contact with his DC office, local offices, and now his re-election campaign staff.

Should anyone here wish to call his office to express support for impeaching Donald Trump, I would suggest using this number: 607-242-0200.

Thank you for reading this!
H2O Man

Fixing a Whole

“Donald Trump truly has the most dangerous form of mental illness that you can find in a leader,” Gartner told KrassenCast. “He suffers from a personality disorder called malignant narcissism.  Malignant narcissism was actually introduced by Erich Fromm, the famed psychoanalyst, who himself narrowly escaped the Nazis. Malignant narcissism was his attempt to explain the psychology of dictators like Hitler or Stalin or Mussolini.”
Dr. John Gartner


John Gartner is a psychologist who specializes in personality disorders. He worked for 28 years at John Hopkins University, and now focuses on private practice. In early 2017, his petition of over 40,000 mental health professionals stated that Donald Trump was unsuited to serve as president, and that Trump posed a threat to our nation. He has since formed the political action committee, “Duty to Warn,” to educate members of Congress and the general public about the threats that Trump poses.

I particularly like the above quote, because he identifies Erich Fromm as the person who coined the label “malignant narcissism.” Fromm used this to describe those people referred to as psychopaths or sociopaths in North America, who pose the greatest danger to society. Older forum members may recall that I've spoken of how Fromm's description fits Donald Trump on numerous OP/threads here since Trump became president.

“That's all good and true,” you may be thinking, “but are there features of this dangerous disorder that may help us anticipate what behaviors we may anticipate if the House impeaches him, and it goes to the Senate for trial? How might he behave in the context of the trial, and in his other duties as president?” Those are good questions. Let's look closer, shall we?

The place we might start is from something that a number of women here had said when Trump was the republican candidate: he is abusive to others publicly, as batterers tend to be behind closed doors. Hence we hear him, and his republican family members, parroting that the Ukrainian president said he didn't feel any pressure from Trump to investigate the Bidens. As if it would have been any safer for Zelensky to say that Trump was pressuring him, than it would be for a wife in couple's therapy to say her husband was battering her, in front of his face. That's not a safe setting.

So no thinking person is surprised now that Trump is verbally abusive towards witnesses who have testified against him, or the Democrats conducting the hearings. We know that his attacks will not only continue, but to increase as days turn into weeks. For he is not only a weak man, but he is a malignant narcissist who was unable to control himself even when House republicans asked him to, while they questioned the female ambassador that he smeared and removed from office. There are two key points there: he is especially prone to vicious attacks on women, and he lacks self-control even when it may be to his benefit.

Despite his bluffs, Trump does not want to be impeached. He is aware of what that means in terms of his place in history. We know that, despite his being a conspiracy theorist, his primary goal in attacking the Ukrainians who supported Clinton in 2016 isn't because they violated the law like the Russians did – rather, he wants to punish anyone and everyone who has ever opposed him.For he is a spiteful, cruel malignant narcissist.

His primary motivation in the context of a Senate trial will be to disrupt it as often as possible, by cheap attacks on any witnesses, Democrats, and anyone tangentially associated with the case against him. Now, that's a lot of people. But he will attack each one, and insist that all republicans join in with him.

The House committees have more information that documents Trump's corruption than has been made public at this time. Also, there will continue to be more leaks coming from the administration – especially the White House – in the weeks ahead. The sum total will make it more difficult for republicans to pretend it was a “perfect phone call,” rather than an illegal operation. This obviously will result in Trump's becoming more angry, and more intent upon attacking witnesses. He will become a dog in the late stages of rabies, seeking to bite enemies real and imagined with every step he takes.

And this brings us to the threats he poses domestically and on the international scene. Again, his nature compels him at attack those he sees as now supporting him. He will nor restrict himself to trying to intimidate them. Instead, he will hyper-actively seek to punish them with every power of the presidency. And even that will not be enough: he will attempt to exercise powers that no president has.

We've been in a dangerous time since the day he was sworn in. And we are entering a new phase of heightened threat. Yet with those dangers comes opportunity. We have the ability to kick the shit out of the Trump presidency.

H2O Man

Impeach & Convict Trump

“ Simple logic can point one way while wisdom may be in quite a different direction.”
Senator Robert Byrd

Question: Do you have time to read books? If so, which ones would you recommend?

Biden: My goodness, let's see. There's Mr Putin, by Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy. Insightful.”
VP Joe Biden in “Joe Biden: The Rolling Stone Interview”

How, one might ask, do these two apparently very different quotes relate directly to the impeachment of Donald Trump? More specifically, how do they relate to conversations that various Senators were having in the evening, after yesterday's hearings? Or are they only connected in the mind of an old man who posts confused essays on this forum?

The quote from Senator Byrd comes from the impeachment trial of President Clinton. While I disagreed with Byrd's belief that Clinton deserved to be impeached, I came to appreciate his reasoning for voting against impeachment in this case. Let's briefly consider what he meant in the above quote.

From the beginning, various experts have interpreted the Constitution differently. Hence, in such instances, it often has resulted in conflicts of interpretation being decided by the US Supreme Court. The court's decision define “constitutional law.” The majority of these important case tend to focus on those conflicts over the interpretation of the Bill of Rights. (There is a fascinating book, “The Bill of Rights: Original Meaning and Current Understanding,” with contributions from serious scholars edited by Eugene Hickok, published by the University of Virginia in 1991, that everyone should read.)

There are few decisions concerning the impeachment of a president, because such events are rare. But thoughts on various legal scholars' opinions can be found, and should be studied. There is general agreement that offenses requiring impeachment in the House are outlined in the Federalist Papers # 65 and 66. In fact, any of the nonsense we hear from House republicans today can be rejected because they ignore those instructive opinions.

However, when tried in the Senate, those offenses can be viewed in a larger context. This context is intended to ask what is best for the nation? Sadly, at this point, it may wrongly expand to include what is best for the political party, and equally wrong, what is best for the individual's chance for re-election.

Potential impeachment and conviction can therefore be viewed, in theory, as weighing the damage of the offense to the disruption the impeachment process would cause the nation. Again, opinions will always vary in any individual case being considered. Let's start with the fairly recent example of Ronald Reagan and the Iran-Contra scandal. Without question, everyone knew this involved impeachable offenses. So why wasn't Reagan impeached?

A large number of republicans in DC believed – rightly of wrongly – that coming on the heels of Nixon, it would destabilize government institutions. A smaller number of republicans found common ground with the Democratic leadership on three things: Reagan was involved in negotiations on nuclear weapons with the USSR that would be disrupted by impeachment, that Reagan was half-way through his second term, and that he was highly unlikely to engage in such corrupt behavior again.

These are similar in nature to what Senator Byrd said about President Clinton. Byrd was furious with some of Clinton's behaviors. But he knew that convicting him in the Senate would be divisive, that Clinton was about half-way through his second term, and that he was unlikely to repeat his offense. Thus, while his logical choice was to vote to convict Clinton, he recognized that was not a wise choice.

I can say with 100% certainty that Senate republicans have been having these things researched, and have quoted Byrd in recent off-the-record conversations among themselves and with Democrats. They seek to justify voting to not convict Trump, and some are hoping that Democrats will accept the compromise of censure.

And this, my friends, brings us to Fiona Hill, her testimony yesterday, and her book on Putin. Even if we were not where we are today, I would strongly recommend her book (get the updated second edition). The book contains a deeply disturbing psychological profile of Putin, which is necessary to understand not only “what” Putin does, but more importantly, “why” he does things in the manner he does. In other words, the “why” is essential for predicting his future behaviors.

That exact same approach must be taken in evaluating the impeachment and possible conviction of Trump. Anything less than conviction and removal from office is unacceptable. First, he is not near the end of a second term, nor is there any evidence he would not repeat the same corrupt behaviors if he remains in office. Indeed, the timing of his Ukraine phone call, coming the day after Robert Mueller's public testimony, documents just the opposite. More, when asked about the possibility of similar calls with other foreign leaders, Fiona Hill responded by saying presidential privilege prevented her from answering. There are more. Many more.

In closing, I'd like to say that the Constitution provides for citizens to take an active role in determining the outcome. It's not only our elected officials who have the responsibility of studying and acting upon these issues. Over the holiday season, we can lobby Senators to let them know our thoughts on the need to convict and remove Trump. We can bombard the media with letters and phone calls. We can do this either as individuals, or in a coordinated group effort. And personally, there is no group of citizens I'd rather coordinate with than the DU community. Believe it or not, I've been giving this a lot of thought, and combined with others' ideas, I think we could have some fun.

H2O Man
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