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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 07:49 PM
Number of posts: 62,158

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Outrage

“Contrary to common belief, the presumption of innocence applies only inside a courtroom. It has no applicability elsewhere.”
Vincent Bugliosi; Outrage; Island Books; 1996; pages 21-22.



Friday, there was widespread discussion of Cesar Sayoc's being arrested for the MAGAbombings. These discussions began around the time that federal investigators indicated that they believed Sayoc was guilty of mailing the bombs. Some took a more Lou Dobbs approach, and interpreted Sayoc's arrest as certain evidence that the Deep State was out to stop Trump from deciding the mid-term elections.

Sayoc drove and inhabited a van. Even before the bombs were mailed, the van concerned some people. They recognized that it represented the bad potential lurking in the bowels of the Trump movement. Since yesterday, many view it as the defining essence of the alt-right. Still others see it as proof that the Deep State's involvement. These group sees the “caravan” as posing the existential threat to the US, rather than what Sayoc's van represents.

Thus, yesterday we witnessed the terrible attack on human beings in Pittsburgh. A 22-year veteran of the FBI said it is “the most horrific crime scene” he has ever seen. Robert Bowers reportedly believed the people in the synagogue were “the enemy,” who supported treating refugees humanly. This brutally ugly mass-murder, along with the mail bombs, perfectly defines the nature of the struggle within the United States.

Both of these situations are examples of social problems, which involve – among other things – our legal system. Hence, rational people can express their opinion that Sayoc and Bowers are guilty of extremely serious crimes. We can be sure that irrational people – with minds twisted by hatred – are talking about these two as “patriots.” And yet, I've seen a few people state that commenting on their guilt somehow violates the concept of “innocent until proven guilty.”

One person went so far as to say that “the facts” will come out in Sayoc's trial, which will prove if he is “guilty or innocent.” Such a statement disqualifies the person from being taken seriously, since – as we all should know – a criminal trial is restricted to verdicts of “guilty” or “not guilty.” The level of ignorance that holds otherwise is, sad to say, the same as found in those who think Alex Hones is being denied his constitutional rights if a newspaper or other media source refuses to carry his bullshit.

Sayoc and Bowers are entitled to fair trials. The jurors are instructed to decide if a defendant has been proven to be guilty by the prosecution. According to the bar's Rules of Professional Conduct (3.6), neither the prosecutor or defense lawyers should comment outside of the courtroom about the defendant's guilt or innocence. Likewise, as many of us remember from Nixon's infamous quote on Manson, public officials from other branches of government should not comment on an on-going case.

The general public is free to discuss issues of crime. The media is free to report on crime. If a trial judge suspects that “local” public discussion and media reports could prevent a defendant from getting a fair trial, one remedy is a change of venue. Another is to sequester the jury. Our legal system is, of course, imperfect: innocent people are sometimes convicted, and guilty people are sometimes found to be “not guilty.” Yet, these are reasons that we should have discussions about the legal system in general, and some cases in particular.

Yesterday was a hard day for my family. It marked four years since a man shot my cousin and his son in a “road rage” incident. Many forum members here would contact the court asking that the accused be denied bail. In fact, the court received more correspondence from DU members, than it had ever received from the public on any case. The defendant was eventually found guilty by the court. That verdict merely confirmed my opinion that the guy was a murderer.

For the sake of open discussion, I will note that one of the people that Sayoc had focused his hatred upon before his bombing campaign was someone I've been friends with for 30+ years. My friend's identity isn't important; the fact that Sayoc was threatening many, many people, and then attempted to carry out those threats, is important. It deserves discussion. The fact that Bowers acted upon his sick hatred for Jewish people demands serious discussion.

This is a strange essay. We are in strange times. I don't pretend to know all the answers, much less The Answer. But one thing I do know is that the sickness that inspired Sayoc and Bowers is widespread. It has infected a significant group of people known as alt-right nationalist. And they have infected the larger society. It is something that we need to continue to discuss openly.

Peace,
H2O Man

Corsi & Stone

Strange times, eh? I think this is the most intense election year since 1968. That, despite this being a mid-term versus '68 being a presidential election. From my perspective, the greater that Democratic gains look to be, the more negative energy will be released by republicans. The terrorist bomb threat, as terrible as it is, isn't surprising ….yet it raises the question of what else they will do in the next two weeks.

When things get strange, perhaps more so when people are working hard on our candidates' campaigns, it can be good to take short mental vacations, and think about positive things. Like the reports of Mr. Mueller's interest in Jerome Corsi, and his campaign work with Roger Stone. There is, of course, nothing good about Corsi. Yet the news about him is important.

It reminded me of an essay I posted on DU:GD on March 26, 2017. In paragraph five, I noted a part of the role that Corsi was playing in the Trump-Russian scandal. In comment #71, murielm99 recognized the significance of what Corsi's involvement suggests. I could be wrong, of course, but I believe that we will be learning much more about Jerome and Roger's “pranks” shortly after the election. (My prediction in the second-to-last sentence in the essay was interesting – I said that within a month, a special prosecutor would be named.)

Keep in mind that Mr. Mueller has a number of other witnesses, beyond their friends that have been interviewed recently. And that there is no sense of loyalty among those from the campaign, the transition, and/or the administration. While it may not have been otherwise, Trump's behavior has ensured that.

Trump knows what the Mueller investigation has found, because he was a participant. Same with the SDNY and NYS investigations. He knows what it means when our party takes back the House of Representatives. And this, obviously, is why he is stirring the pot, purposely trying to spark violence. It is questionable if the current trend of escalation will get turned down before Election Day. But it will not slow us down, or distract us.

We'll keep our eyes on the prize. Let's win the elections, and then get rid of Trump.

Peace,
H2O Man

https://www.democraticunderground.com/10028855710

"Mob Rule"

“History, as nearly no one seems to know, is not merely something to be read. And it does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes fromj the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do. It could scarcely be otherwise, since it is to history that we owe our frames of reference, our identities, and our aspirations.”
James Baldwin; “White Man's Guilt,” Ebony 1965


In the past week or so, I attempted to write about my thoughts on the Kavanaugh “investigation,” and the disgraceful manner in which Dr. Ford and others were treated by republicans. I found it difficult – not because of a lack of words – but because of the level of anger I was expressing. So I zapped each attempt, and eventually took to reading some of the works of one of this nation's greatest authors, James Baldwin.

You can't go wrong in reading any of Baldwin's works. I think the paragraph quoted above provides a powerful example. It's one that I benefit from, when trying to make sense out of how horrible things are right now. Because they are as awful as anyone reading this has thought or said they are. In fact, they are even worse.

What has been happening in the United States in recent times is problematic. A bad time in our nation's history, for sure. Thus, the only important thing now – and as the future unfolds – is what we are going to do about it?

I loved the demonstrations that took place in a variety of places in Washington, DC. I liked that our Senators stressed that the hearings were a job interview. Combined, it serves a clear message to those who were elected to represent us: we, the people, actually decide who we hire and fire on your job. The republicans, of course, are hoping that people will get tired or bored, and have low turn-outs on Election Day.

Trump and his ilk will try to fire their base up, and to discourage the united front we need to overwhelm them. Not just beat them. Even if they have a strong turn-out, we crush them. Send the message to those republicans not up for re-election in November. And that isn't idle talk, it is one of the possibilities that is open for us in four weeks.

Which possibility unfolds in November depends on what each of us does ever day between now and the elections. Find a family member or friend who doesn't vote, because they can't see the connection between “politics” and their daily life, and help empower them. Volunteer at campaign headquarters. Do what you are comfortable with. Participate in this chapter of human history, for the Civilized World is counting on us.

Peace,
H2O Man
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