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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 08:49 PM
Number of posts: 66,174

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Back to the Garden

It's a bright, sunny day in rural upstate New York. A bit cold out there, turning yesterday's snow melt into a sheet of ice on my sidewalk and driveway. I carry a bag out to the compost pile near my garden, happy to be beyond the ice. The birds that feast upon left-over cat and dog food call out warnings as my steps make crunching noises as I crush the crust on the snow. After dumping the organic waste on the large compost pile, I turn and look at the snow-covered garden. It glistens in the sun shine.

Today is February 19, I say to myself. The month is two-thirds over, and March is coming up. I'm looking forward to start work on the garden that my son constructed for me last year. Although it is much smaller than the gardens I have had over the decades, it still produces a fair amount of healthy food, and to grow some roses. I love growing roses.

There are large stacks of firewood at the eastern edge of the garden. Oak, locus, pine, maple, and others are stacked near the 7' by 7' fire pit my son built for me. There is a picnic table and benches nearby, which get good use when my children visit me. I also enjoy sitting alone at night, watching a fire, during the warmer months. Because there is no one within hearing distance, I begin to sing “Woodstock (Back to the Garden).”

Back inside, Sam's tail is wagging. A faithful dog, he actually seems to enjoy my attempts to sing. Greater love has no dog than this. Looking out a window, I see a flock of starlings has returned to the clonal colony of sumac, picking through the panicles for seeds. As I turn on the television, Sam pushes his enormous head onto my lap, insisting upon my undivided attention.

As I watch reports on Trump's pardons, I have the sensation of the couch beginning to move. I think that I've left America, and entered the 4th dimension of parasomnia, far beyond night terror. I see Bill Barr grinning as he begins eating the Constitution. Donald Trump has worked himself into a trance-like state as he calls upon the spirits of Adolf Hitler and Idi Amin to make themselves comfortable in the White House. A crowd of people chant, “We must nominate Mitt Romney! Only he can save us!” Then I hear Lawrence Welk singing Jimi's question: “Is it tomorrow, or just the end of time?”

I turn off the television, and instinctively put on Hendrix's version of All Along the Watchtower. “There must be some kind of way out of here, said the joker to the thief. There's too much confusion – I can't get no relief.” I feel myself being hurled through a long, dark tunnel, towards a bright light. Suddenly, I realize I am on my couch, staring out the window at the sun. “Toto, you're here!” I say, as I pet Sam's belly. My eyes search the room for friends and relatives, and then remember I'm here alone with my dogs.

Somewhat grounded into reality, I avoid the risks of watching television for the rest of the day. But at 9 pm/est, I turn on the Democratic debate. I find myself thinking that the panel asking questions are largely characters from my earlier waking-nightmare. Most of their questions have little to do with how we deal with the horrors that Trump has inflicted upon the nation, much less what another four years of his madness would bring into being. Instead, they are baiting our candidates, looking to create petty fights that risk dividing our party.

I take three phone calls during the debate. Each one involves a friend asking, “What the fuck is going on?” By no coincidence, this is the exact question that my son keeps asking as we watch the debate unfold. My response is admittedly sparse: rather than seeking to unite our party in identifying the candidate who is best prepared to defeat Trump in November, this “debate” risks dividing the supporters of the various candidates in a manner that threatens unity in the Democratic Party.

Is that a real risk, you may be asking? Good question. For an answer, read through much of the hostility being voiced on DU:GDP last night and this morning. Keep in mind that a divided Democratic Party is Trump's wettest dream. Read the Senate Committee on Watergate's report, specifically the large section on how Nixon's CREEP infiltrated the various Democratic primary campaigns, seeking to destroy the possibility of party unity before the national convention. Remember what the Russian's accomplished in 2016.

Turn away from that direction. Each and every single candidate we have is far superior to Trump. Each one could beat him in a general election, if we remain united in our purpose. This does not imply advocating for your favorite one. But it does mean not participating in attacking any of the others, or insulting other Democrats who prefer a different candidate. It means making a conscious effort not to repeat or spread the half-truths and outright lies that are being injected into the public debate by our opposition.

We've got to get back to the garden. Together.

H2O Man

Debate Survey

“If you can't say something nice, say something surrealistic.” – Zippy the Pinhead

Below are five general questions on debates in a presidential contest, including in both primaries and general election contests. I am interested in people's opinions. There are no “wrong” answers, only correct ones.

I will post my very favorite moment below.

How important do you think that debates are?

Do you watch all of the debates that are televised?

Are debates among primary candidates either more of less important than those of candidates in the general elections?

Is talent in “debating” an important skill for presidential (and vice presidential) candidates?

What was your favorite debate ?

Thank you,
H2O Man

Your Opinion, Please.

“Reality distorts my sense of television.” – Zippy the Pinhead

It is interesting to compare and contrast that which is reported on CNN and MSNBC, to what gets posted on DU:GDP, when it comes to the primaries. Frequently, over the years I have been here during primaries – 2004, '08, '12, '16, and now – some of the DU community will state that this forum does not accurately represent “the party.” And, in the sense that there aren't governors, or members of the House and Senate posting here, that is absolutely correct.

However, in another sense, DU:GDP does represent large segments of our party. We have members who advocate – often intensely, and perhaps more so than than is helpful – for a specific candidate; they are representative of those who work for or volunteer with a candidate's campaign. Indeed, on the television, we see campaign representatives who make solid points for their candidate, and some who tend to focus on insulting other candidate.

We've witnessed some of the dynamics that create tensions within the Democratic Party being intelligently discussed here. For an obvious example, at the start, there were a number of non-white, non-male candidates. Today, the field of candidates is all white. Yet, it includes two strong women, and a young gay man. At the same time, the republican party is stuck with a ball & chain named Donald Trump. I'm mighty happy to be a Democrat.

I have a few questions for anyone who cares to take the time to respond. There are no “wrong” answers, only people's opinions. I appreciate any and all responses.

How important is it to have volunteers making phone calls and going door-to-door in a campaign? Does it make any difference if it is a primary or general election contest?

In terms of financing: do you favor funding with small donations, corporate money to PACs, a combination of the two, or self-funding?

Do you think the party should focus more upon appealing to non-party members to the left, the right, or both about equally?

Which general age group, if any, should be the central GOTV focus – 18 to 39, 40 to 62, or 63+?

Again, there are no “wrong” answers. And this should not be mistaken for a scientific survey by any means. But it is of interest to me, and perhaps others. Thank you.

H2O Man

All Together Now (Part Two)

Late last night, I found myself thinking of the question that Beatle John posed to Paul on an early morning phone call: “What if Ringo was being followed by a yellow submarine?” Within a matter of weeks, this resulted in the song “Yellow Submarine,” which eventually resulted in the movie of the same title. The above clip is from the end of that film.

Today, of course, we know that the germ of Blue Meanie has undergone several mutations, and so we are confronted with the dangerous strain best identified as the Orange Meanie. We know that it spreads rapidly throughout crowds of stupid people. Social scientists have determined that the spread of the disease does not require intimate contact, although sharing the same 12-pack of Budweiser increases the risk of transmission. The Orange Meanie virus rapidly attacks the frontal lobes of its victims, making logical though difficult if not impossible. Sadly, evidence indicates those suffering from this anti-social disease become addicted to Fox News.

Due to the very real dangers this virus poses, I do not think we have time to keep its victims in our thoughts and prayers. It is too late for that. Instead, we have to focus upon not allowing this disease to spread and destroy our society. There are two steps that we need to keep in mind. Let's look at them.

The other night, I watched MSNBC's Chris Hayes telling his audience not to fall for the republican effort to portray Trump as unbeatable in 2020. As Mr. Hayes correctly noted, virtually every one of our current candidates kick's Trump's fat, flabby ass in every poll. More, by examining those times when Trump's popularity dropped in polls over the last three years, we identify the issues our party needs to campaign against him.

By staying intensely focused upon these issues, we are able to safely take that second step. Think about this: when is an asymptomatic carrier of a disease – such as the Russian internet virus that attacked the 2016 election – most dangerous? The simple but certain answer is when it finds divisions within the body of the Democratic Party. It attaches itself to any and every division it finds, knowing that in a certain percentage, it finds a host that allows it to divide the party. Male versus female. Skin color. Progressive versus liberal. Sexual orientation.

It is not a coincidence that the very issue the Orange Meanies hope to divide us on, are the very issues that unite their ranks. Think about that.

Do not allow the Orange Meanies to define reality. Instead, remain focused on crushing Donald Trump and his band of merry fools in November. If you favor a specific candidate, than advocate for him/her by identifying their strengths. Avoid insulting those who support another candidate, no matter how tempting it is to take a cheap shot at them. Stop saying that any of our candidates “can't” beat Trump, for as Joe Biden recently noted, we could run Mickey Mouse and defeat him.

The path to victory was mapped out in the movie “Yellow Submarine.”

All together now,
H2O Man

All Together Now

As I wait for the results from New Hampshire, I find myself confidently thinking that any one of our candidates would kick Trump's fat, saggy ass. I watched some of Chris Hayes of MSNBC recently telling an audience not to fall for the republican attempt to make Trump appear impossible to beat. He noted that each of our candidates is beating Trump in current polls. Mr. Hayes is an intelligent man, who understands that by checking when Trump's popularity has dropped in past polls, we can identify the issues to campaign on.

Since I decided not to back any primary candidate, but to instead focus entirely on campaigning for whoever our party picks to head our ticket in November, I've found myself liking each of our candidates for many reasons. It's not just that anyone is better than Trump. Each one would make a solid president. I thought I'd take a minute to say something positive about each one.

Joe Biden: I first became aware of him in the mid-1970s. My extended family self-identified as “Kennedy Democrats.” An aunt and uncle from Scranton, both university professors, were keen on any Democrat that originally lived in Scranton. They told me that Biden was likely to become “the next RFK.” Biden is a good man, with great experience. Much of the world would be relieved to see him as president.

Michael Bloomberg: Back in the period where town of Sidney supervisor Bob McCarthy threatened to force a Sufi community to destroy its cemetery, I helped in organizing a united front to get him and his mutant tea party buddies out of office. Bloomberg sent representatives there, to watch how we accomplished that feat. His people were particularly impressed with my nephew. Though he had beliefs and practices that I disagreed with in the past, I recognize that people can change. Robert Kennedy is a great example.

Pete Buttigieg: Young, and creating excitement. He has military experience, and was in the Office pf Naval Intelligence. He is talking about our future in an understandable, intelligent way. He is a strong campaigner.

Amy Klobuchar: This lady has a lot of positives. Her record is impressive. She has shown the ability to work across the aisle to get results. She's popular in a region we need to win in November. I'd love to see her make Trump cry in a debate.

Bernie Sanders: I first met Bernie in 1983, when he was a mayor. His values and positions have been consistent since then. He has wide appeal among the “under 40” voters, and represents a significant segment of our party.

Tom Steyer: He has come across as a nice guy in the debates. He has an interesting history. His group NextGenAmerica has done good work on the environment, immigration, education, and health care. While fund-raising for President Obama in 2012, he expressed his strong opposition to the Keystone pipeline.

Elizabeth Warren: My great aunts were FDR Democrats, and union activists. Although I never met them, I do know a lot about them. Several times, I've found myself remembering them, when I listen to Senator Warren speak. I know that they'd love Elizabeth Warren, just as my daughters do.

Andrew Yang: Some time back, my youngest son stopped in to see me. I could see that he was excited. He said, “Patrick, I've got a guy you really have to listen to!” We watched Andrew talk about automation taking jobs, and how that impacted the 2016 elections. My son likes that Andrew Yang has helped create jobs, and understands what employment will be like in the future. I like how he communicates on important issues in a logical way that is easy to understand.

Good luck to each of the candidates who are participating in New Hampshire! And good luck to everyone's choice in the future primaries.

H2O Man

Never Forget

“Remember that all through history, there have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they seem invincible. But in the end, they always fall. Always.” -- Gandhi

Never forget that Donald J. Trump is the only president that has been impeached in the 21st century. And there isn't anything that he can do to change that.

Extraordinary Popular Delusions

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”
Charles MacKay; Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds (1841)

They would later say the crowd was so loud that they couldn't hear themselves tune their guitars. They were used to screaming during their concerts, but it was becoming more intense. Being the Beatles, they could afford the strongest marijuana available, and had gotten high before going on stage. As they were playing, John noticed that he could get waves of madness from the audience, by moving the neck of his guitar.

John realized then that the audience was an organism, rather than a collection of individuals. He had become increasingly unhappy about touring. This sealed it for him. In a short time, the Beatles would stop going on the road.

I was thinking of this when Trump read the state of the union address. Like every conscious human being who listened to it, the speech that Stephen Miller wrote for him was disturbing. And how could it not be? For Trump and Miller are highly disturbed individuals.

This morning, I was thinking about the people who support Trump. The republican chant, “Four more years” was pathetic. Some are true believers with a shared goal of destroying the Constitution ( **except Amendment 2), others are moral cowards afraid of their own shadows. And, of course, the 40% of voters who support him.

Trump tipped the neck of his guitar at the brain-dead fans of Rush Limbaugh. Steve Bannon and Alex Jones surely are next on Trump's list of American heroes. I recognized that I was thinking about this too much. I needed to “turn off my mind, relax, and float downstream.” So I laid on the couch, and watched two old documentaries.

The shows were about Jim Jones, of Guyana infamy. Bad choices if one did not want to think about the Trump cult. Jones and Trump speak the same language. They share the same skill-sets, and though their paths are different, both will lead their flock to the lowest of elevations of the plain of Shinar.

The major difference between the two is that Jones had, as a young adult, actually done some good work with the poor and marginalized. But power went to his head, and he mistakenly mistook himself as the source of Good. This delusion and significant substance abuse combined to reduce him to Trump's level of being. He preyed upon people's weaknesses, and used some basic techniques to reduce his flock into sheep. The end result was much what Trump's path will lead to, without intervention.

Eventually I turned the television off. My dog Sam got off his chair as I got off the couch, He knocked three books off of a book shelf. As I picked them up, I noticed one was C.G. Jung's 1968, “Analytical Psychology: Its Theory & Practice.” Immediately, I though this collection of his lectures would afford me a vacation from Trump.

After sitting down and opening the book, I was reminded that 23 years ago, my oldest daughter, then 3, decided to read my book. Crayon in hand, she made notes to herself and future readers, scribbling on almost every page of about a fifth of the book. Were Jung alive, I'd ask him what he saw in the lines and lopsided attempts at circles my daughter made.

Instead, I turned to the back of the book, without any scribbling on it. I went to Lecture Five, starting on page 151. I find Jung fascinating, and was convinced that this would allow me to let my mind wander where his lecture led the audience. Enough time wasted thinking of Trump, I thought. But then on page 183, he said that all of the things that happen consciously are merely the surface, that “what the unconscious really contains are the great collective events of the time.” In that part of the human mind, he said, “history prepares itself; and when the archetypes are activated in a number of individuals and comes to the surface, we are in the midst of history, as we are now.”

That sounded uncomfortably close to the current situation. Way too close. Jung went on to explain that as the groundwork was being set in place below the surface in Germany before WW2, he recognized ripples rising up in people's subconscious. As early as 1918, he wrote that the “blond beast” was rising from the collective unconscious of the German people. He knew that something terrible would change world history as a result.

****************** ********************

I didn't finish this last night, so I'll try to wrap it up this morning. I just saw a clip of Trump attacking Nancy and Mitt at the payer breakfast. It fits in with the theme of this essay in a curious way. Perhaps that is fitting for an non-curious specimen like Trump.

The sacred texts of the world generally fall into two types: the generally subjective interpretations of the group's history, and psychological road signs pointing the route to eventual enlightenment. Since we all know how the 2016 election was stolen, we will focus upon the latter. For sake of this discussion, one does not need to be “religious,” or “spiritual.” Indeed, while this encompasses religion and spirituality, it is also a form of humanism.

Today, for example, our understanding of brain chemistry allows us to recognize that people once considered to be “possessed” are suffering from mental illness. Columbia University's Professor of Clinical Psychiatry Michael Stone uses gradations of “evil” to rank violent criminals on a scale, though not in a religious context. Our understanding of human behavior is no longer defined, to use a Carl Sagan line, by shadows of forgotten ancestors.

Thus, when we view the unconscious group force that Trump is attempting to call forth in America today, it is the “monster” or “beast” that ancient texts speak of. It has risen and fallen throughout the tides of human civilization. It's not a red devil with a long tail, horns, and a pitchfork. No, today it's a fat old fool in a suit with a long necktie, blurting threats directed at anyone and everyone he deems as his enemy. It's the amoeba-brained republicans cheering, “Four more years.” It's the people who think Rush Limbaugh deserves a medal.

We are the conscious majority. Our resistance is the democratic response to the threat to the Constitution. Our duty is to render Trump and the cowards in DC soon-to-be forgotten missing links.

Peace H2O Man

Triumph in DC


Best of luck to all of our candidates tonight. Each one is both an attractive and capable alternative to the current madness.

I like that the name of Iowa comes from the Indian name for the river, and translates to “one who puts to sleep.” One of our candidates will eventually go on to head the Democratic Party's ticket that will put the Trump presidency to sleep. That is the way to deal with a rabid dog that poses a vicious threat to a community.

I will be proud to support the candidate that our party nominates. I like all of them

Ten Fingers United

“In boxing, I had a lot of fear. Fear was good. But, for the first time, in the bout with Muhammad Ali, I didn't have any fear. I thought, 'This is easy. This is what I've been waiting for'. No fear at all. No nervousness. And I lost .”
George Foreman

A number of my friends and associates have told me that they fear for the future of our country. Some are depressed. I understand that. These are unsettling times. There are a few things that I think are important to keep in mind.

I'll start with something I said on another thread recently. Look at the members of Trump's defense team from the impeachment trial. Do you recognize them? They are the kids that you couldn't stand when you were in school. The kid from school may have had a different name, but you knew a Pat Cipollone. You probably called him other names. Jay Sekulow may have had a different face, but you knew him, too. You probably had the urge to punch him in that smug face.

Now, we've watched Adam Schiff versus Pat Cipollone in the past few weeks. My favorite part was when Chairman Schiff called his counterpart out after Pat was identified as being in the Oval Office when Trump ordered Bolton to make a phone call to get Rudy G access to the new president of Ukraine.

We've heard Patrick Philbin talk about the administration's constitutional rights to not testify or release documents. He is talking about Amendment 5. Please read Amendment 5:

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. “

That speaks about not having to be “compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” This is not a criminal case. It may well lead to criminal cases in 2021. Even then, a defendant does not have any right whatsoever to determine the prosecution cannot access or use his documents in the case, because they may tend to incriminate him.

We've also heard from Jay Sekulow, Pam Bondi, Alan Dershowitz, and other poodles. These pampered pups are convinced their papers make them a superior breed. They were outraged when Adam Schiif rolled up Cifollone's papers and spanked him with them.

We were not “afraid” of these shitheads when we were in school. We should not fear them now. Yet, we recognize that their being registered with the AKC has put them in positions where they can do severe harm to this nation. And that is the cause for our alarm, our fears for the future of America, and why some of us are depressed by the Senate trial.

Now, the legendary boxing trainer Cus D'Amato used to say that the hero and the coward feel the same fear. The hero channels that fear into the fuel that brings him to victory. But the coward is destroyed by fear. It causes him to doubt himself, to see the opponent as all-powerful, and meekly submit.

Patrick Philbin is not Big George Foreman. Rather, he is a poodle. Mitch McConnell is not Muhammad Ali. We've never even heard that old, dehydrated shit-stain recite poetry like The Greatest did. Yes, we need to size them up, identify the republicans' strengths and weaknesses, and prepare to knock the stuffing out of them in November.

I'll end with something that Onondaga Chief Paul Waterman used to tell me. Alone, we are like and individual finger that our opposition can easily break. But together, we form a powerful fist that is capable of protecting all of our rights.

H2O Man
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