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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 07:49 PM
Number of posts: 62,164

Journal Archives

Frankenheimer's Monster


“The Manchurian Candidate” was a novel that Richard Condon published in 1959. Three years later, John Frankenheimer directed the movie version. The story was about a Korean veteran who had been a POW and tortured, which was certainly a reality for too many young men sent to fight that war. Upon his return to the US, the man was unconscious of the fact that communists from China and the Soviet Union were exercising “mind control” over him. As an assassin, he would help take over the United States.

It is difficult for those who were not alive at that time to appreciate how frightening this movie was for many Americans. Both World War Two and the Korean War were recent history. The Soviet Union had tested its first atomic bomb ten years earlier. “Red” China, as it was known in the U.S. then, had openly intervened in the Korean War by 1950, literally sending waves of soldiers that made our forces run out of ammunition. US POWs were “brainwashed” – it is accurate to say our soldiers were terribly mistreated. China would have the atomic bomb by 1964. So all these factors made Americans uneasy.

How frightened were people at the time? My generation recalls “civil defense drills” as far back as elementary school, which included hiding under our desks, or sitting with our heads between our legs in a hallway. This was our version of today's “active shooter” drills scaring the heck out of children. It was considered rational at the time.

But irrational people reacted to the fear, as well. I remember some sad incidents in the rural neighborhood of my youth. A neighbor, who was a Korean War vet, also suffered from what was called “manic depression.” Most of the time, he was an off-beat but wonderful man. He was my best friend's father. But when he didn't take his medication, he was very afraid that the Chinese were inches away from invading our country. One afternoon, when my family returned home from somewhere, he was in our basement, destroying all of my father's tools that had the color red on them. Another time, he attempted to run over a neighborhood kid wearing a red tee-shirt. The reason I tell of this will be apparent shortly.

Yet, for many Americans, that was a fantastic era. Fathers worked, mothers were homemakers, and dogs almost always behaved. As 17-year old John Lennon wrote about England, it was a time “when belly-buttons were knee-high, and only shitting was dirty, and everything else was clean and beautiful.” We watched “Father Knows Best,” and white folks were comfortable in believing they knew their place in society. Women were expected to be obscene, but not heard.

It seemed really unfair for communists to want to destroy our country. Our leaders warned us that Martin Luther King, Jr., was certainly a communist trouble-maker. Darn him. The middle class was happy to pay high taxes so that the military could keep us safe. Ignore what Ike said at the end of his presidency, for he was old and confused. We could trust the CIA to not throw the bath water out the window with Frank Rudolph Olson. We were stronger than the communists.

In 1962, authors Fletcher Knebel and Charles Bey published the novel “Seven Days in May,” which quickly became President Kennedy's favorite. The authors had based the story upon some of their feelings resulting from events and interviews with Generals Edwin Walker and Curtis LeMay. It is about a military coup that results when a president tries to make peace with the Soviet Union. Kennedy pushed for it to be made into a movie. President Kennedy allowed part of it to be filmed in the White House. Frankenheimer was the director, and it was released in 1964.

Things remained pretty darned good in the USA, with but a few exceptions. Oh, there were some political assassinations, but they were deemed the work of white men. Then, like now, murderous white men were insane loners, and that made everyone feel safer. Well, perhaps not Fred Hampton, but he wanted little children to get free breakfasts, a sure sign of communist influence. Better dead than red., it was said.

Yet the commies remained intent upon destroying us. Southern ministers conducted studies of the Beatles' music, for example, and concluded it was written by communist mind-control evil geniuses. King and others engaged in the Civil Rights movement, which in J. Edgar Hoover's expert opinion was a communist plot. Then America's youth got upset about the war to save South Vietnam from Uncle Ho, who had helped the US during WW2. Clearly, too few of these young people were watching “Father Knows Best.”

The United States in 1968 was as divided as it had been since the Civil War. It was as divided as it is today. Many in the government, including LBJ, were convinced there was a coordinated effort to overthrow the government. The Youth International Party (YIPPIE!) named their paper Over Throw, after all. And YIPPIES never told jokes. It was a tense and frequently very violent time. But we survived.

Today, we face a serious threat to our national security that isn't just in people's imaginations. It is Donald Trump, his administration, the majority of the republican politicians, and a large segment of the republican party. We are seeing Trump not only openly violating the Constitution, but aiming “dog whistles” at a segment of his followers. It's not only to those who are suffering from serious mental illnesses. Rather, he is targeting others who are obsessed with the delusional threats that Trump is barking about. These are Trump's “candidates.”

Some may inhabit the margins, and mail bombs from their van in Florida. Others are simply angry, like the guy who murdered people at the Wal-Mart in El Paso. And still others are parts of the white nationalists groups that infect our culture. They are dangerous. Trump knows this. That's why he is signaling to them that they need to act out violently, to protect him.

It's a crazy time in this country. Trump will continue to be more dangerous until between Thanksgiving and New Year's. His unstable base will become more dangerous in 2020. It is what it is.

Still, we are in an increasingly good position within this tense situation. We have elected representatives who understand the use of creative tension. And we are more powerful than our opposition in every important way.

Peace,
H2O Man

Trump v Nixon

“Can you imagine what this man could have been had somebody loved him? Had somebody in his life cared for him? I don’t think anybody ever did, not his parents, not his peers. He would have been a great, great man had somebody loved him. “
Henry Kissinger on Nixon; interview with Hugh Sidey for TIME


I have had an interesting conversation with my friend Lynne on comparisons between Nixon and Trump. I've participated in some threads on this topic here in recent months. Probably thousands of people have had similar discussions in households across the nation in the past few days. And it's interesting to discuss each one's scandals, and the similarities and differences between them.

Some journalists and former prosecutors on the news have been making the same general comparisons. With the current horrors of seeing the damage that Trump is inflicting on our nation, it is tempting for me to think, “Nixon really wasn't THAT bad.” Thankfully, Lynne reminded me that he was. The truth is that they are both worse.

Let's start by considering what environmental factors in their early lives may have warped each beyond repair. Nixon grew up in a poor family. His religious mother was strongly opposed to “sins” such as dancing, drinking,or swearing His father had trouble making enough money to raise the family. His younger brother was sick, and eventually died. There is no reason to think his parents did anything less than their best, but it produced a young man with internal turbulence.

Trump was raised in the lap of luxury. However, he had a cold, reptilian father, while his mother – described by others as a socialite – seems to be missing in significance. This suggests a strict patriarchal family system. Reportedly, Trump acted out, and was thus sent to a military school for boys – another rigid patriarchal system.

I don't know if Nixon's parents provided the love and emotional support he needed. I don't think Trump's father, as a primary influence on his son, lacked the emotional capacity to love Donald, any more than Donald loves Eric. To be fair, it would be hard for any parent to love Dick, Donald, or Eric.

Nixon could have used his birthright as a Quaker to avoid military service. But he joined the Navy in 1942. Trump had bone spurs. Nixon made money playing cards in the Navy, an obvious rebellion from his mother's strict religious views. Trump played people to make (and lose) money, in an obvious attempt to please his father.

As adults, they share a number of traits. Both can be accurately described as paranoid, envious, and having a curious combination of inferiority and superiority complexes. Both are known as liars: Nixon when he believed it to be beneficial, Trump pathologically. Both used people for personal gain. Nixon had one friend, and Trump none. Both admired and conducted business with mobsters. Both believed themselves above the law, and were willing to sacrifice those close to them to avoid legal consequence. And both had a compulsive need to punish “enemies.”

That brings us to their crimes, as candidates for president and as president. (It would take far too long to examine their previous criminal adventures.) It's important to remember that Nixon, as a candidate in 1968, did have a campaign representative contact a foreign government in an illegal attempt to interfere in a US election.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/02/us/politics/nixon-tried-to-spoil-johnsons-vietnam-peace-talks-in-68-notes-show.html

Likewise, we know that the Trump campaign coordinated efforts with a foreign government to interfere with the 2016 election.

Nixon had an “enemies list” of people to be targeted by the executive branch; it consisted of political opponents and journalists. Trump has made a similar, if less formal, hit list.

https://www.businessinsider.com/nixons-enemy-list-trump-security-clearance-2018-8

The Nixon tapes document his plans to have goons attack protesters at his 1972 re-election campaign rallies and the RNC convention. There were actually plans to kidnap some leaders of the “New Left” and drop them off in Mexico so that they could not attend the convention. We all remember Trump's comments about assaulting protesters at his rallies.

When pressure was being put on each, and their criminal escapades about to be uncovered, both abused the power of office to attempt to cover their tracks by firing investigators. Nixon had the Saturday Night Massacre, Trump fired FBI director Comey, and attempted to fire Mueller.

Both administrations were exposed to the media by a series of leaks to journalists. Both presidents became extremely paranoid about the military-intelligence “spying” on them. In both cases, their fears were justified. A too often forgotten episode of the Nixon experience was the Moorer-Radford Affair.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/the-men-who-spied-on-nixon-new-details-reveal-extent-of-moorer-radford-affair

The whistle-blower who exposed Trump's call to Ukraine is a CIA analyst. And the crimes he reported are substantiated by documents the White House attempted to hide, not unlike the Nixon tapes. And the tapes were revealed by Alexander Butterfield, a retired Navy officer and associate of Al Haig.

Nixon and Trump differ in their behaviors in the White House when the pressure of investigations increased. Despite some press conferences – including the infamous “people need to know if their president is a crook” bit – Nixon became an isolated, tortured man who drank far too much. Trump is publicly taking the stance that it is legal for a president to break the law, and he doesn't drink.

However, both men blamed their problems on “enemies,” and expected subordinates to take the blame for them. And that brings us to one last similarity: in a healthy society, neither man could possibly be considered fit to exercise political power, as both would be recognized as pathetic, failed human beings.

DU:GD Question (with bonus feature)

We know that Donald Trump believes himself to be a significant person in American history. And he will soon be faced with a choice that will cement his place in our nation's history. Which of the two options do you think he will pick? (There is no “wrong” answer, as this is merely opinion at this point in time.)

Will Trump prefer to be:

A. the first US president to be impeached and convicted? Or ….

B. The second president to resign in disgrace before being impeached and convicted?



Added bonus feature: Jim Morrison send a message to republicans from beyond:

Trump on Fire

"There has never been a system yet that would not gladly sacrifice one of its own for a moment's peace, no matter how brief. If the system is to be changed, then those who would change it should pinpoint its weak spot, its blockage points, and place all pressure on that one point until the blockage is cleared."
Vine Deloria; We Talk, You Listen; Macmillan; 1970; page 6.


Note: Before I get started, I'd like to say that watching Maya Wiley and Nick Akerman on MSNBC's “The Beat with Ari Melber” was extraordinary yesterday.

Now, on to Trump. One of the things that most people here are aware of is that Trump's brain does not function in a healthy manner. He does not interpret reality in the same manner that rational people do. Add to that the fact that he is ignorant, and he has frequently put his ignorance of the presidency on full display. For example, he believed that individuals and groups, including the Attorney General, the FBI, and the larger intelligence community, worked for him.

He said that the Attorney General was “supposed to protect” him, as he believed Robert Kennedy and Eric Holder had done. He spoke of needing a Roy Cohn, the infamous mob lawyer. Trump believed that being president would make him a powerful mob boss, on par with Vladimir Putin.

In other words, Trump imagines himself to be Tyrannosaurus Rex. And in a sense – beyond his hands – that is accurate. For Trump's behaviors are largely dictated by the reptilian section of his brain, a trait that holds true for sociopaths. Thus, I'd like to engage in some informed speculation on how the sociopath-in-chief and his enablers might behave in the days and weeks to come.

To begin with, let's focus upon some of his recent reactions to current events. Clearly, he feels threatened to an extent that has caused a change in his usual behaviors. The obvious example is his allowing Congress access to documents and individuals from the executive branch, which is distinct from what we have seen with House committees investigating his other crimes.

Initially, the White House and Department of Justice attempted to hide any mention of the whistle-blower and his/her complaint Then the flood gates opened. After telling reporters a few versions of why he withheld funds from Ukraine, none of which had the ring of truth, Trump called Speaker Pelosi to ask if they could make a deal to avoid her upcoming statement on impeachment? After Speaker Pelosi told Trump that he should tell his people to obey the law, he was furious. He told reporters that Ms. Pelosi was no longer the Speaker of the House. One can safely identify this as projection.

Trump also insisted that his poll numbers have gone up since his shit hit the fan. A rational person would recognize that no meaningful poll has been undertaken, completed, and reported upon in the past 48 hours. These polls exist nowhere but between Trump's ears.

It is essential to remember that Trump isn't lying in the usual manner that he does. Sociopaths under extreme pressure frequently experience brief episodes of psychosis. Add to Trump's break from all contact with reality his tendency to invest in conspiracy theories. In this instance, there is reason to believe Rudy first convinced Trump that there was a Biden-Ukraine scandal available to exploit in the 2020 election.

Even under the abnormal circumstances of his presidency, we have seen that Trump fully expects those close to him to fall upon their swords to protect him. There is no one he will not throw under the bus. And this includes Rudy, his long-time bud. See film below:



The president's advisers will tell him to circle the wagons, and send only trustworthy individuals out to try to spin and distract. But Trump will prove incapable of that. He will tweet, and continue to rant to reporters. Some in the administration will refuse to sacrifice themselves on the alter of Trump, while others will carve swastikas in their foreheads if Trump does. Trump will attack those who “betray” him, and throw all others under the bus.

I, for one, do not want this disturbed jackass determining issues such as a possible military strike on Iran. Just my opinion.

The Time to Break Silence

“The inspector general said he requested authorization to at the very least disclose the “general subject matter” to the committee but had not been allowed to do so. He said the information was “being kept” from Congress. These decisions, the inspector general said, are affecting his execution of his duties and responsibilities.

“Illinois Rep. Mike Quigley, a member of the panel, said Atkinson said that the complaint was 'based on a series of events.'”

https://www.apnews.com/48f63d46490a409ca20aecc1c4fdf573



I called a friend today. Actually, I called his office in DC, and he wasn't available. I wasn't surprised, because I know it's busy where he is.

I've only known him and his family for a couple of years. He is friends with an old friend, who I've known for 40+ years. When he decided to run for a seat in the House of Representatives, I was happy to contribute to and participate in his campaign. He won, which was very impressive considering he ran in a district with a large republican majority.

The number of registered Democrats in the district is even lower than those registered independent, which makes winning an election a lot of hard work. It was while engaging in that work that I came to know him better. We talked about the possibility of impeaching Trump for the Russian scandal, among other things.

For a variety of reasons, including thoughts on running for re-election, my friend has not publicly endorsed impeachment. I understand that. I appreciate his reasoning. And so while I have maintained regular contact with his office, I haven't said he needs to.

Until today. There comes a time, as Martin Luther King, Jr., said in his April 1967 speech “A Time to Break Silence” (aka “Beyond Vietnam”) that there comes a time when silence is betrayal. King was quoting the group Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam, though the quote is frequently attributed to him. C&LCAV had requested that King add his powerful voice to their movement.

This is not the first time that I have recommended the congressman change his position. Twice while he was campaigning, in answer to questions from the audience, he had said he would not vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker. Both times I said he needed to reconsider, and explained that Ms. Pelosi was working to put together a great legal team they would need if Democrats became the majority in the House. It's the type of team needed if Trump refused to cooperate with investigations.

Push has come to shove. I told the gentleman I was talking to that is essential the Democrats get the whistle-blower's complaint. Not just a White House transcript of the single phone call. I said that we can not settle for a “Stennis Compromise,” then realized that he was too young to know what I was talking about.

I'm hoping to hear back, at least from my friend's office, within the next 24 hours. Although they already have my contact information, the young man added it to my message to the Congressman.

We are in a tough fight. But the sociopath in the Oval Office has gone too far this time. And he needs to feel the consequences.

Triage

“How to Recognize and Treat an Infected Wound” by Alana Biggers, MD
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325040.php


I think it is important –even urgent – that people learn how to recognize and treat an infected wound. I say that in the context of the OP I posted yesterday, whining about the impact of aging on this old bag of bones. For that is one of the two things my friends and I do these days …..complain about every ache and pain, along with dreaming about what we would do if we were young. While that may appear to be an unattractive existence to everyone who is not an old man, it creates status within our sub-culture.

My friends and I take pride and pleasure in whimpering to one another on the internet, the telephone, and especially forming flash mobs when we run into each other in the grocery store. Yet lately, we have noticed that one of our uncles has a terribly infected wound that requires immediate attention. For it is oozing orange pus, and threatens to spread. And, yes, it is Uncle Sam that needs emergency treatment.

What we need to do right now is clean that disgusting orange pus from the surface of the wound. Agreed? Agreed. Phew! Now, let me “think out loud” – a polite way of describing talking to myself, an occupational hazard among retired folks. A person I believe is an old soul (though not old man) named Greta is stressing a clean environment. So we need clean water to begin to tend to this wound. And we need to heat it up, because is it essential to put heat on infected wounds like this one, which is oozing orange pus.

Okay, what else? Let me think …..clean air. It is good to expose the infection to clean air. In this case, we need to clear the air in the most public manner possible. Report and comment on the internet, the media, among friends, etc. Keep applying heat to draw the orange pus, and then exposing the wound.

There are, as Dr. Biggers makes clear, infected wounds that require emergency treatment by medical professionals. Our insurance cards imply that we are covered when we seek professional treatment for this type of infected wound, with it's oozing orange pus, from our elected representatives in Congress. We need to do this before Uncle Sam is more seriously damaged by way of sepsis:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sepsis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351214

According to this, sepsis is a life=threatening condition involving the body's response to the spreading infection. You, like I, may find the symptoms listed in the link are happening now: a change in mental state, a rise in blood pressure, and pressured breathing. I experience these every time I see Trump on television.

Will you join me in applying efforts to get certified in first aid, and help heal our Uncle Sam's infected wound? Our first aid kit is found in Amendment 1 of the Bill of Rights. Let's flush Septic Trump down the drain.

Thank you for your consideration.
H2O Man

Death of a Notion

“The beast in us must be wheedled: ethic is necessary, that we be not torn to pieces/”
Friedrich Nietzsche


Being old and feeble, I have more doctors' appointments than I care to think about. I've developed a technique to make them more pleasant: I start conversations about politics as soon as the medical professionals enter the room. Although each and every nurse and doctor knows I'm attempting to distract attention from why I'm there, the tactic is successful.

I remember back in January of 2017, one gentleman who was a registered republican at the time told me that he was confident that Donald Trump would rise to the occasion of being president. This was, I knew, a whimsical notion. It died within the next year, and by the time of the 2018 midterm elections, this doctor told me he had registered as an independent.

The “beast” we know as Donald Trump wheedled. He has no ethics. Rather, he is convinced that he is entitles to tear the Constitution to pieces in a manner that feeds his ego as it lines his pockets.

I have some friends and associates who have not shared my belief that the Democrats in the House of Representatives needs to impeach Donald Trump. Be patient, they have said, and focus upon the 2020 presidential election. Any impeachment would be sure to not only fail to result in a conviction in the republican-led Senate, but it would divide the country. It's safer and more prudent to wait to beat Trump at the ballot box.

Until this week, although I strongly disagreed with their concept of “safer” and “prudent,” I respected their right to their opinion. I wasn't sure how they thought impeachment would “divide” the country more than it very obviously already is. It seemed a strange notion.

Hopefully, in light of the news about the whistle blower, Trump's conversations with the leader of Ukraine, and the White House's attempt to bury the story, all Democrats will recognize that the notion we should wait until the 2020 elections has died.

Impeach Trump

Washington (CNN)In a previously undisclosed secret mission in 2017, the United States successfully extracted from Russia one of its highest-level covert sources inside the Russian government, multiple Trump administration officials with direct knowledge told CNN.
Jim Sciutto; September 9, 2019

https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/09/politics/russia-us-spy-extracted/index.html


While reports on the CIA asset in Russia shifted slightly – including the anticipated denials from both sides – the nature of the genesis of the “Trump-Russian Scandal” has come into clearer focus for those who have been following it closely. Many people, including a number on this forum, knew that it had not started with George Papadopoulos – although that is likely when the FBI officially became involved.

The Steele dossier came after Papadopoulos's involvement, despite the Trump administration's claim that it started the intelligence investigation. It contains “raw” intelligence – the type of information that typically leads to closer examination to verify potential evidence needed in counterintelligence investigations. Parts of it remain unverified, and one section found inaccurate. Yet it indicates that people involved in intelligence were interested in the Trump campaign's connections with Russia in a manner far different than mere campaign opposition research.

The spy was extracted shortly after Trump fired FBI director James Comey. Trump then had the meeting with two Russians in the Oval Office, where he bragged about this. He would then tell Lestor Holt on national television that he fired Comey due to “the Russia thing.” The result of this was not limited to the CIA taking its emergency action to extract the spy: acting FNI director Andrew McCabe opened an investigation to consider the possibility that Trump was an active Russiian asset, while Rod Rosenstein of the Justice Department appointed Robert Mueller to head its expanded investigation.

The significance of this cluster of activity by intelligence agencies should not be overlooked. Also, that while those in the White House often say that the administration cooperated fully with the investigation, that Mr. Mueller reported that some individuals refused to be interviewed, and others lied to investigators. Several of the liars were indicted and convicted. And most significantly, Trump refused to be interviewed.

The Mueller Report was divided into two sections: the first regarding the Russian operation, and potential conspiracy with the Trump campaign, the second on Trump's obstruction of justice during the investigation. Part one concluded that, based upon the evidence, prosecutors were not confident that they could get a conviction for a conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign. It did not conclude that there was no coordination between them, including the infamous Trump Tower meeting led by Donald, Jr. More, it is important to recognize that information that intelligence agencies other than the FBI had gathered would be too sensitive to use in a domestic prosecution.

Part two of the report detailed Donald Trump's on-going efforts to obstruct the Mueller investigation. The report clearly stated that while DOJ guidelines do not permit the indictment of a sitting president, the report did not clear Trump of potential charges of obstruction of justice. Rather, the report provided a road map for Congress to investigate Trump.

After issuing the report, Mr.Mueller remained in his position to complete his contribution to the counterintelligence report. This report has not been made public, of course, as it is highly classified. Only a very few members of the House and Senate intelligence committees are aware of a limited amount of the information contained in it.

Several House committees are currently investigating the “potential” crimes of Donald Trump. As we have seen over the past months, the White House is refusing to cooperate with the House as it fulfills its constitutional duties. Attorney General Barr is playing point for the stonewalling. Indeed, Barr is attempting to abuse the powers of the Justice Department by investigating Trump's “enemies.” It appears that this includes a failed attempt to get a grand jury indictment of Mr. McCabe. The curious timing of Sciutto's report suggests that the intelligence community is sending Barr a message to stop his nonsense.

Yesterday, we were subjected to Corey Lewandowski's performance before a House committee. It provided a glaring example not only of the administration's on-going attempts to obstruct the investigation by claiming the right to claim privileges it is not legally entitled to, but of the willingness of Trump's true believers to lie while under oath. In the last half-hour, we were treated to the dismantling of Lewandowski when questioned for more than five minutes by a prosecutor.

The Trump administration's refusal to follow the law also includes its refusal to provide the head of the House Means and Ways Committee with the president's tax returns. The law is crystal clear regarding their legal obligation to provide these. As we all know, the law states the administration “shall” provide them, and Democrats agree on the meaning of the word “shall.”

I've said all of this, in order to focus now on the issue of if the Democrats should impeach Trump. The Constitution clearly states that in instances where the president commits high crimes and misdemeanors, the Congress “shall” impeach the president. The majority of Democrats in the House recognize that the word “shall” is consistent in federal law and in the Constitution. And they know that the Constitution does not include a clause that recommends delaying this duty for political purposes.

I do appreciate that others are entitled to opinions that differ from my own on a whole host of issues. But the need to impeach Trump seems glaringly obvious to me. What do you think?

Peace,
H2O Man

The Old Laughing Lady





I've been listening to Neil Young today, as I prepare some flower gardens for the winter months. I planted some of them, while others are from those who lived here before. One lady who resided here in the 1940s planted flowers around the boundary of the lawn, covering over 1,000 yards. She died here in the house in 1951; some residents in the 1980s used a lot of her flowers in their landscaping business, though a good many remain and have spread.

I get three wheelbarrows full of contributions to the compost pile, as well as a couple of handfuls of plants I will use for tea during the winter. I also pick four hot peppers for my oldest son, who will be cooking out at the fire pit with me tonight, watching the full moon. We have a good supply of firewood on hand, thanks to my younger boy. And there is plenty of kindling from a wooded section where the ground is covered with myrtle.

There are times when I find it frustrating that I can't do as much work as I could as a young man. Today isn't one of them. I'm content to do a little today, and a little more another day, and again another. And so I take a break and watch some news reports on a young lady named Greta Thunberg. I have read about her, of course, but an Elder told me to watch a few film clips of her being interviewed. She spoke about Greta's gift and her call to consciousness.

I started thinking about the goodness and decency of the youth who have joined with her in a call to action. School students. College students. University students. They remind me of my own children. I think of the old croquet balls that my dogs found in the myrtle over the past few days, and remember watching my kids playing various games, much like the lady gardener must have enjoyed seeing her children play on the lawn. Childhood should not be spent despairing about the horrors that human beings have inflicted upon the environment.

The next thing I know, my younger son is tapping my arm, singing, “Waking Up is Hard to Do.” He reminds me that I wanted to get up early to go to ceremony. A quick call to my friend, who says the fire is raging and the rocks are starting to glow, and the ride blend together – I'm focused more on the message of Greta. The media attention she is getting would be tough for almost any 16 year old. But she is strong, and has a gift.

My friend had called me a week ago, saying it was time to prepare to work at the grass roots' level for 2020, with an environmental message being central. He went to New Hampshire to get fifty nice pieces of granite for today. He runs the ceremony so that I can focus. My son will bring in the stones. They glow in the dark lodge.

I am thinking about Onondaga Chief Paul Waterman. He used to encourage me to organize those on the margins of society, with confidence that leadership would rise within them. And some human qualities found among the marginalized that are considered burdens by “proper” society actually become strengths. Society heals as individuals heal, he said, and it cannot be otherwise.

Rubin used to say that all of organic life on this planet exists entirely for the Earth's purpose. That human beings are the highest level of consciousness on Earth, but that if we remain merely mechanical, we will self-destruct by damaging the environment and all living things we share it with. He often talked about the need for people to heal, as part of the positive potential of evolution.

After four hours, we leave the lodge. My friend tells me that I look better than I had the last time. I tell him that I've been training to compete in the “50+” Golden Gloves in 2020. For a brief second, he suspects that I might be serious. I tell him that when I was a kid, I loved to listen to old people, and now that I'm an old person, I learn more listening to kids. And that there's a bigger bout coming up.

Back home, I go out into the garden area of my front lawn. I think the lady who planted those flowers and shrubs would approve of my effort to keep it going. Tomorrow I will concentrate on a small rose garden. For now, I watch the sun go down, and listen to the noises one hears in the woods when it gets dark.

A few hours later, I go inside and watch some of the weekend's news. As always, I am repulsed by reports regarding Trump, as I consider him to be profoundly immoral. Much the same for all those who support and enable him. But I'm fully confident that we are going to take care of business between now and November, 2020.

Boxing

My son and I hung out with Zab Judah and his father today in rural upstate New York. They want my son to move to Brooklyn for them to train and promote. Great guys.
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