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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 08:49 PM
Number of posts: 64,811

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Bligh's Bounty

“How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy,"
Donald Trump

Donald Trump is not the first US president to believe that he was spied upon by the previous president. By no coincidence, the other fellow who made similar claims – though in private – was Richard M. Nixon. As a candidate in the fall of 1968, Nixon had received information from Henry Kissinger that President Johnson was close to reaching an end of the war in Vietnam. As Hubert Humphrey was closing the gap between the two candidates, Nixon recognized a peace treaty late in the campaign would insure a Democratic Party victory.

Thus, Nixon and H. R. Haldeman tasked Anna Chennault with convincing South Vietnam to hold out for a better deal from a Nixon administration. When LBJ called Nixon to confront him on the obvious violation of the Logan Act, Nixon did what he often did: he lied, denying any involvement. After the incident, Nixon was convinced that Johnson was listening in to Nixon's conversations on his campaign plane.

This is the thinking of a paranoid, devious individual. And, in that sense, and that sense only, Trump was correct in saying, “This is Nixon/Watergate.” For devious, paranoid individuals always project their own behaviors upon their opposition.

More, Trump was aware that more and more information about his campaign's misdeeds will continue to leak to the press, and that both the House and Senate were scheduling investigations of the campaign's ties to Russia. Hence, his desperate attempt to re-frame the issue into one of that foreign-born, atheist Muslim ISIS-founder Obama's “spying” on a political opponent. Surely Nixon is smiling as he looks down from hell at Donald Trump.

The bad news for Trump is, of course, that even the republicans in congress realize that they must “investigate” the assertion that President Obama tapped candidate Trump's phone. As this claim only exists as a possibility in the slimy region between Trump's ears, congress will quickly document that in reality, it didn't happen. However, the witnesses that congress calls upon can and will provide testimony that various agencies were documenting Trump campaign contacts with Russian intelligence. And there is a possibility that these include Trump himself, conversing with Russians. Yet none of this involves President Obama, as Trump claimed.

There are congressional hearings scheduled for March 20, that will be televised. In a very real sense, it is essential that as many of these hearings as possible be available for public viewing. This would be beneficial for the three general groups of citizens: those who support Trump, those who oppose him, and the “undecideds” who are concerned about the administration's ties to Russia, but are unsure of the extent.

Older readers will recall the value of the televised Senate Watergate hearings. The vast majority of the “three groups” were convinced that Nixon had to go. As a result of these hearings, the House began to draft their articles of impeachment, causing Nixon to resign in utter disgrace.

The Senate Watergate Report includes quotes from two important US Supreme Court decisions that define constitutional law regarding congress's duty to “inform the public.” While technology has changed since those court rulings, the principles remain constant. Let's take a look at these, found in the report's introduction. Both are in the context of their recognizing “that the ultimate impact of its work depended upon obtaining and keeping public confidence.” (page 49)

Now, let's consider a quote from United States v. Rumely (1953), which was actually taken from Wilson's “Congressional Government” (page 303): “It is the proper duty of a representative body to look diligently into every affair of government and to talk much about what it sees. It is meant to be the eyes and voice, and to embody the wisdom and will of its constituents. Unless Congress have and use every means of acquainting itself with the acts and disposition of the administrative agents of the government the country must be helpless to learn how it is being served, and unless Congress both scrutinize these things and sift them by every form of discussion, the country must remain in embarrassing, crippling ignborance of the very affairs which it is most important that it should understand and direct. The informing function of Congress should be preferred even to its legislative function.”

Next, let's consider a quote from Watkins v. United States (1957): “{There is a} power of the Congress to inquire into and publicize corruption, maladministration or inefficiency in agencies of the government. That was the only kind of activity described by Woodrow Wilson in 'Congressional Government' when he wrote: 'The informing function of Congress should be preferred even to its legislative function.' From the earliest times in its history, the Congress has assiduously performed an 'informing function' of this nature.” (Both quotes are taken from page 40 of the Senate Watergate Report.)

As citizens, it is our responsibility to write, call, and e-mail our elected representatives – who in theory work for us – and instruct them to encourage and engage in congressional investigations to document the issues of Trump and his campaign and administration's ties to Russian interests. This should include the obviously false claim that President Obama “tapped” Trump's phone. It should include General Flynn, his being an agent of a foreign nation, and his relationship with various Russians – including the five (5) calls he had with the Russian ambassador the day President Obama sanctioned Russia.

Again, all Americans need to learn the truth here.

Sessions Unplugged

“Coincidence takes a lot of planning.”
Malcolm Nance

I've seen a number of interesting discussions on the internet recently, about the “troubles” that the Trump administration is experiencing. Everyone seems to realize that a segment of the intelligence community is engaged in an effort to destabilize the administration. The part of this program that is visible to the public comes by way of coordinated leaks to various news sources. There is, of course, a significant amount of activity behind the scenes, that we do not see. Yet.

I think it might be fun to have a talk about both the context of such an operation, including a bit of history to assist us in defining some of the terms we hear – and will continue to hear – in coming months. In doing so, I think it is beneficial to be as objective as possible. Thus, I'll do my best to avoid including my own “value judgments,” other than to say here that I favor a constitutional government.

Journalists talk about the “Deep State.” This is best understood as the machine that runs this country. It is basically what Eisenhower famously warned of in his farewell address. It's worth noting that in almost all of the thirty-plus rough drafts Ike made, he identified the danger of the “military-industrial-congressional complex.” In more recent decades, it's understood to mean the military and intelligence community.

This is distinct from the concept of a “shadow government,” although some members of the deep state are also found in a shadow government. But the shadow government is identified as those who pull the strings on the puppets who serve in elected office. On occasion, members of the shadow government have stepped from behind the curtain, and served in elected or non-elected office. This has included Nelson Rockefeller and James Baker, as well as some military generals (both retired and active).

The issues confronting Trump et al are more similar to what Nixon faced in Watergate, than Reagan – Bush in Iran-Contra, or VP Cheney in the Plame scandal. So let's review a few things from the Nixon White House. First, early on, two people who would play significant roles in destabilizing the administration met regularly in the White House's basement: Bob Woodward and Mark Felt. At the time, Woodward was an officer from the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI). Felt, also an ONI officer, had “retired” to take an Assistant Director's position in the FBI.

Older readers will recall that Nixon learned that military intelligence was spying on him. This certainly upset poor Richard, yet he failed to actually address the issue. Around the same time, Felt suggested that Woodward retire and take up journalism – a curious idea, as Felt despised the media, and Woodward had absolutely no background in journalism. Yet, in a brief time, Woodward would be hired by the Washington Post. (his WP partner, Carl Bernstein, would eventually write an article that documented how the intelligence community had spread through the major medias of the day.)

According to Woodward, he had a “secret source” in DC, who “leaked” confidential information to him. He referred to this source as “Deep Throat.” Decades later, he identified Felt as Deep Throat, although it would have been impossible for Felt to have run the operation Woodward described alone. It was an operation that involved a group that sought to use the media to destabilize the Nixon administration, forcing the legislative branch to begin to take the actions that resulted in Nixon's resigning in utter disgrace.

Fast-forward to the Trump campaign. It is widely believed that “Russian intelligence” hacked the computers of the DNC and Clinton campaign, in hopes of finding “dirt” to harm the Clinton campaign. One can only speculate on if the materials leaked played any significant role in the choices that citizens made in the voting booths. However, although the DNC and Clinton campaign were private groups – not “government” entities – this is of concern to the intelligence community. Members from several agencies – including military intelligence – quickly became aware of suspicious connections between members of the Trump campaign, and some Russians they took interest in.

It is important to recognize that Russia also has a “deep state” and a “shadow government,” that are similar to those in the US. What the intelligence community found is described in detail in Malcolm Nance's recent book, “The Plot to Hack America.” Nance has become a regular guest on a number of television news programs. He is recognized as an expert in intelligence, being that he is a “retired” high-ranking ONI officer. As he notes in the book, he communicates with other retired and active members of the intelligence community.

The information that his book provides about the Trump campaign's connections to various Russian individuals and business interests is important. The on-going discussions between the campaign is, of course, closely connected to these financial ties. More, the discussions strongly indicate that the Trump people were promising accept Russian plans to “resolve” the conflict in the Ukraine, and to lift sanctions …..though for what, exactly, is not as clear.

The recent information about Sessions' meeting the Russian ambassador – at the republican convention, a trip which Sessions used campaign money to pay for – and his lying to try to hide it, fit in with the narrative that the campaign was coordinating efforts with the Russians. Likewise, the information regarding other campaign operatives systematic communications with the Russians provides further evidence of this. And the Russian ambassador's attending the Trump speech was clearly to hear the candidate confirm the deal they had agreed upon.

Keep in mind that European intelligence groups have provided the US intelligence community with even more evidence, which they gathered when Trump campaign representatives met “secretly” with Russians. Expect the domestic investigations to include the information from the fellow from MI5, which was originally gathered for the Jeb Bush campaign.

Note that Sessions now “remembers” that the ambassador and he got into a “heated debate” about the Ukraine. That is not a clever lie. Although his role may have been limited to the two meetings with the ambassador to discuss the Ukraine, it will be further exposed as being a significant piece in the larger puzzle.

It is important that both houses of Congress investigate this. It should be a special, select committee, not just the intelligence oversight committees, since the public would never see the real results. And, of course, that a truly independent prosecutor be appointed, although at this point, this would come by way of the Justice Department.

Even the republicans who speak in favor of Trump today will sacrifice him in time. This is not only true of those up for re-election in 2018, but those who want to stay in the majority as well. Most would prefer to work with VP Pence.
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