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H2O Man

H2O Man's Journal
H2O Man's Journal
September 30, 2015

Nixon: Past & President

I just had my oldest son order me two books on Nixon and Watergate. The first one is “The Nixon Tapes: 1973,” by Douglas Brinkley. It’s the second of his series of White House transcripts (last year’s 759-page book covered the years 1971-72). The second is Geoff Sheppard’s “The Real Watergate Scandal: Collusion, Conspiracy, and the Plot that Brought Nixon Down.” Sheppard is a former Nixon staffer and attorney who presents a well-documented case that there was misconduct involving the judge of the Watergate defendant’s trial, and prosecutors involved in the cases.

As winter approaches, I always try to stock up on good reading material. Among my interests are the consecutive presidencies of Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. Like many of my generation, I liked JFK, and still wonder how different the world might be had he lived to serve two terms (and, of course, wonder the same about RFK); find LBJ a contradiction -- half-good, per the Great Society, and half-terrible, per Vietnam; and find Nixon wholly repulsive, a man who threatened the very foundations of our constitutional democracy.

Yet, for a variety of reasons, I find both LBJ and Nixon to be fascinating characters. They were, perhaps not coincidentally, the only two modern presidents who suffered complete breakdowns while in office. In that time period, common folk politely referred to such things as “nervous breakdowns,” yet as has been well-documented, both men had on-going episodes of psychosis while in the White House.

A common myth about Nixon and Watergate is that two inspired journalists uncovered the truth about the series of illegal activities known collectively as “Watergate,” and then Democrats in DC brought down the administration. And that sounds almost as noble as George Washington admitting that he chopped down a cherry tree. But, off course, it is far from an accurate history of what happened.

The Sheppard book has been cited by pale conservative Patrick Buchanan as evidence that “the left” was wrong -- terribly wrong -- about Richard Nixon. Baloney. The value of the book -- and I have yet to actually read it -- is that it destroys the lie that it was Democrats and “leftists” that knee-capped the Nixon administration. How thoroughly the author covers issues such as who characters like Bob Woodward and Mark Felt really were, as well as the “politics” of many of the major players in uncovering the scandals, remains to be seen. But I am really looking forward to reading the book.

I suspect that the average American citizen today would find the idea of reading 800+ pages of Nixon White House transcripts painfully boring. But I love it. I’d rather be reading that, than watching the latest update on Donald Trump’s nonsense on MSNBC or CNN. Of course, I am interested in the 2016 presidential election, and try to remain informed on the important issues. But, as a citizen of both the United States and world, I feel a responsibility to be as educated as possible about the combination of corruption in government, the influence of intelligence and police agencies on politics, and the ways that the corporate media distorts reality when reporting the news to the public.

September 17, 2015

The Republican Debate

(A) Junior Varsity

Rick Sanitarium
Opie Taylor’s cousin
Christian zealot
Rejected by his community

Bobby Jindel
Scarecrow puppet
Of Barney Fife

George Pataki
Greased rubber face
Utter contempt for
Little Ricky

Lindsey Graham
Scowling lollipop
National insecurity expert
Licking Nixon’s liver

(AA) Varsity

Jeb Bush
Maytag head
Dispensing plastic lies
The lonely repairman
Of the broken party

Chris Christie
Sopranos wanna-be
Flower of the toxic gutter
Tony Galento reincarnate
Hoping to deck the champ

Carly Fiorina
Eating toe dough bread
Her own enemies list
Dripping from her lips

John Kasich
Attempting to separate
From the pack
By sounding rational

Ben Carson
Trying to join the pack
Way out of place

Ted Cruz
Illegitimate spawn of
Senator Joseph McCarthy
Wrenched neck from
Licking Trump’s behind

Rand Paul
Steel wool poodle
muted on the sideline
Barking at shadows

Mike Huckabee
In Santa suit
Self-righteous sun head room

Scott Walker
Empty suit
Empty mind
Empty campaign

Marco Rubio
Pre-fight jitters
Sweat rag forehead
Water gulping guppy

Donald Trump
Scrawny tawny lion
Playing with the cubs
For the circus

Rick Perry
His best performance to date

September 12, 2015

Mayweather vs Berto

September 12, 2015
Las Vegas

Floyd Mayweather vs. Andre Berto, 12 rounds; Showtime PPV.

Tonight, Floyd Mayweather will defend his welterweight title against Andre Berto. Floyd, who is 48-0, is correctly a heavy favorite to defeat Berto, 30-3. However, I think it is likely to be one of the most interesting bouts in Floyd’s long reign as the pound-for-pound best fighter of his era. Let’s take a look at both boxers, and then I will answer some of the most common questions that boxing fans ask about this fight.

Floyd is 38 years old. He made his pro debut at the age of 19. Coming from a family of boxers, he had begun his amateur career at the age of 7. He was a national amateur champion in his teens. Thirty-one years is a long time to compete in the sport of boxing.

Berto is 31 years old. After an amateur career of over 200 fights -- in which he, too, was a US national champion, and represented Haiti in the 2004 Olympics, he turned pro at the age of 21.

Floyd, at 5’ 8”, is an inch-and-a-half taller than Andre. Mayweather’s 72” reach is 3.5 inches longer than Berto’s. Both are physically very strong individuals. Both have good footwork, and impressive hand-speed. Berto appears slightly top-heavy, but displays adequate upper-body movement. Still, Andre is not hard to hit, and has taken far more punches than Mayweather. Floyd has uncanny abilities to avoid punches, and land solid counter-punches.

When it comes to “punching power,” it is safe to say that either man is fully capable of hurting the other with a single punch. Yet neither is a “one-punch knockout artist.” Both men’s power is found in combination-punching, in which each punch thrown becomes progressively harder. This creates the opportunity to land the punch the opponent doesn’t see coming, which is always the one that does the most damage.

Berto typically looks to overwhelm and stop his opponents; Floyd prefers to outbox his foes, and win lop-sided decisions. There are some indications Floyd is looking to score a knockout here, which brings up each man’s ability to take a punch. Berto has three loses, including one by TKO. However, he was stopped in round 12 of a bout in which he tore his shoulder in an early round.

Berto has been decked several times in his career, including twice in his loss to Victor Ortiz; he decked Ortiz twice in that fight, as well. Two things stand out: first, he has always been floored as he is coming in throwing punches; and second, he’s always gotten up and fought back. Floyd has one official knockdown on his record, when in an early pro fight, his glove hit the canvas. The closest thing in recent years was when Shane Mosley hurt him twice early in their fight, and Floyd was “wobbled,” but clinched, and then came back strong.
Now, let’s consider a few questions people have about this fight. The first one is: has Floyd picked a weak opponent, or can Berto actually make a fight of it? The truth is that Berto has earned his shot at Mayweather, and will almost certainly make a far more competitive fight than Manny Pacquiao did in May. Berto has been among the top fighters his weight in recent years. He’s actually held titles. And of particular importance, he’s never ducked anyone.

Some “experts” claim Floyd should be fighting Amir Khan. Yet Khan has been knocked out several times. He has a history of ducking tough opposition -- in fact, he’s not even the top in his division in England. He refuses to fight Kell Brook, of England, who holds one of the titles. Khan simply wants to capitalize on the huge payday he would get from being in the ring with Mayweather. Most people familiar with Amir recognize that he lacks the mental toughness to fight Floyd. He’d freeze during the referee’s instructions.

Unlike Pacquiao, who was satisfied to avoid being counted out, or Khan, who can’t function under pressure, Berto is going to fight his heart out. It will be among the most “fan-friendly,” entertaining of Mayweather’s career.

Next, people ask if Floyd shouldn’t be fighting Golovkin or Thurman? Floyd is looking to seal his record as the greatest fighter of this era. Those two young warriors are of the next generation They both have the potential to become great champions. Although a loss to Floyd now would not derail that potential, both are simply too young at this point. Floyd would easily outpoint them in what those who do not favor his hit-and-don’t-get-hit style would then complain was boring and meaningless. In a year, GGG would be ready to fight Floyd; Thurman needs two more years. There is no benefit to rushing them.

People ask if it is important to Floyd to “beat” Marciano’s record of 49-0? Floyd, like those who are actual students of boxing, know Rocky’s retiring undefeated is a myth. As I have documented here, and elsewhere, Rocky lost five of his first ten professional fights. I’ve documented the dates, opponents, and how much he was paid each time. And I have photos of one of those fights. His manager “removed” these from his record as he rose in the ranks. (More, the judges scored one of his bouts a draw; the commissioner changed it to a decision favoring Rocky.)

Rocky’s record is, like Columbus Day, a myth that appeals to a specific audience. Many were offended when I showed the truth. The truth is that Marciano was exactly as great a champion as he was, no matter what his record as a novice in the pro ranks was.

Will Floyd fight again? I think he is sincere about retiring. He feels the damage the sport has done. Plus, he sees Uncle Roger, who is suffering the damage from the punches he took in his career. Floyd wants to retire with his brain undamaged -- well aware that great fighters like Ali and the real Sugar Ray took lots of punches by fighting too long.

Might he return in a year? Yes, of course. That is distinct from how he feels about it now. It may be very difficult for Floyd to not be the center of attention, as he currently is. If he were to return to the ring, I think it would be to beat Pacquiao again, for $300 million.

Who will win tonight? Obviously, Floyd is the favorite. I think that the fight will resemble his fight with Ricky Hatton.

Where will he rank in boxing history? As the very best of his era. As the fighter with the most wins against current or former champions. As a guy who established himself as a unique talent, when he separated himself from other elite champions on 1-20-01, when he dropped Diego Corrales five times, knocking him out in the tenth round. As perhaps the greatest defensive fighter in the sport’s history

Because of the combination of his defensive style and his offensive personality, the boxing community will not evaluate him objectively for many years after he retires. Even then, people will enjoy debating who would have beaten who, in fantasy fights pitting the greats from different eras. But one thing is already certain: Floyd Mayweather would have been tough for any of the great welterweights in boxing history.

Enjoy the fight!

September 4, 2015

Serve Yourself

“It's still the same old story.
A Holy, bloody, War, you know, with the Pope and all that stuff.
A fight for love and glory.
Ain't gonna study no more war.
A fight for God and country, and the Queen, and all that.
We're gonna set you free;
Bomb you back into the fuckin' Stone Age
If you won't be like me, you know, get down on your knees and pray.
Well there's somethin' missing in this God Almighty stew…”
-- John Lennon; Serve Yourself

I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about the relationship between politics and religion. This combination adds up to a large segment of any culture’s level of being, and helps define the level of social justice found within. The opinions are, of course, my own, and for sake of discussion, I welcome comments from those who disagree or agree, alike.

The reason that I am writing this is because of curious case of Kim Davis, which is currently in the news. I would prefer the media focus more upon the victims of Ms. Davis’s crude behavior, or even legal scholars who can inform the public on the power of Constitutional Law, or historians capable of pairing her with the southern racists who defied the law in efforts to deny black citizens their rights. However, I recognize the coverage of the case, as it is, as being more important than the coverage of the republican primary. And I was mighty pleased when the judge opted to incarcerate Ms. Davis.

Discussions about the role of religion, spirituality, and ethics can be difficult in the context of American society. Older forum members like myself will recall the fuss in the US when John Lennon made an insightful comment on the current cultural values per “Beatle-mania,” and accurately described Jesus’s followers as “thick and ordinary.” That is an apt description of Ms. Davis’s insensitive and cruel belief system, if one thinks she is sincere.

Let’s consider what is too often overlooked when the religious tradition known as Christianity mixes with our society. There are as many sub-types of Christianity as there are leaves on a tree, but for this discussion, we’ll focus on but two. The first, and perhaps better known, view the historical figure of Jesus as separate from humanity, and believe he set down a strict set of rules that “believers” must follow, in order to obtain a reward in the afterlife. This Jesus is the Son of the one true God, a god who always resembles the projections of a patriarchal society -- often angry, mean, and ready to punish wrong-doers.

The second type view the historical Jesus as fully human, and as bringing a collection of guidelines that assist in one’s spiritual/ ethical development, in order to obtain a higher level of consciousness here and now. This is the same general set of guidelines that, as Erich Fromm pointed out, other enlightened historical figures, in diverse places, at different times, taught.

Ms. Davis obviously belongs to the first group, which is her right as defined by Amendment 1 of the Constitution. Yet, even within this rather rigid set of rules, she violates Jesus’s “command” to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. As a government worker, she is bound to follow the rules. Indeed, she swore an oath to do just that.

As most rational people can see, she always had the option of resigning, if she was sorely offended by her job duties. Instead, she is seeking to gain an “earthly reward” of financial gain, by playing a role designed by the money-changers of the religious right. And she is willing to trample the human rights of citizens who are equally entitled to the protections of the law -- and more, are surely more ethical, spiritual, and/or religious as her.

I am not all about punishment. That’s not why I favor her being incarcerated. I do believe in consequences. Recently, my dog Samuel ate off of my plate, when I had my back turned briefly. I am convinced that Sam is both kinder and more insightful a being than Ms. Davis. Hence, I scolded him. I didn’t enjoy doing so, but there needs to be consequences. For the only legitimate purpose of discipline is to instill self-discipline. Thus, for the 45 seconds following Sam’s “sin,” he likely saw me as something akin to the god of the Old Testicle.

It would be wonderful if Ms. Davis -- against her will -- had a moment of enlightenment while incarcerated. I hope she has a transformational experience, where she can actual grasp how hideous and truly obscene her behaviors have been. But I won’t hold my breath, for in breathing, we participate in the miracle of life that is one with the universe.

H2O Man

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