You bring up blending a bit - so, let me just say that the quotes on blending you have presented from Saotome and Dobson can also very easily fit into Dan's model of aiki as well. keep in mind there is external blending and there is internal blending. You appear to advocate external blending into uke and then doing something to uke to unbalance him. In internal blending, the blending starts in nage by the balancing of yin-yang within, when uke attacks, uke's energy is blended internally with nage, and uke and nage become one under the control of nage - nage then unbalances uke by moving nage - nage maintains his balance but uke comes along for the ride and is unbalanced as the result - at this point, feel free to apply the technique of your choice - oh, by the way, all this happens in an instant at the point of contact with uke - no large timing movements from nage to position for leverage, etc.
Greg, this is only the second time in this whole discussion that someone tried to put into words what is being advocated for.
I agree that what you are describing is PART of Aikido. Internal unbalancing work if very good. I only argue that it's not the whole of what is needed. It's one way of doing things in a given situation. When I say blending, however, I mean something different than what Mr. Harden and others seems to be describing, as they say it is not relational but only internal and automatic. Not what you do but who you are.
Most of the training for this is at the level of exercise, in my opinion. When applied to application it needs to be incorporated, that is internal unbalancing, into the things that make up waza. I would argue that the things that are called tricks are essential, that you can't escape them. I would disagree with the idea of yo ho that is described in that I think Ki is part of this. I believe Saotome Sensei has a drawing that corresponds to this idea, with fire on one side and water on the other, in Harmony of Nature, but he also shows the world, original Ki, and water below... if I remember correctly. Finally, I argue that the system of cooperative training is not what makes Aikido fake, but what makes it possible to learn what cannot be taught directly in Aikido. I argue that we have to trust the system. But there's nothing wrong with working in other arts or working in exercises to isolate particular skills. They just shouldn't replace waza system.
I don't say any of this for the sake of my ego. This is conventional "modern" Aikido that I describe, is it not?