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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 07:49 PM
Number of posts: 63,515

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A Path in the Woods

“Human nature will not change. In any future great national trial, compared with the men of this, we shall have as weak, and as strong; as silly and as wise; as bad and good. Let us, therefore, study the incidents of this, as philosophy to learn wisdom from, and none of them as wrongs to be avenged.”
President Abraham Lincoln


I was thinking about Joy Reid one morning this past week, as I was preparing to go for a walk. Admittedly, I am not entirely objective when it comes to her. She is someone that I hold in high esteem. But, no matter if you like or dislike Joy, you are invited to stroll along this path I took.

Before heading out, I took my dogs out to “do their business.” As Samuel and I reached his favored spot at the north end of my lawn, we saw a large deer staring at us. She recognized that we intended her no harm, but continued to watch us until we headed back inside the house.

My son had left me some broccoli to feed the baby rabbits that live under my front porch. Their mother is a wild rabbit, and their father is my younger daughter's pet; he escaped from his cage last summer, and enjoys hanging out with our cat.

Then it was off to pick up a friend, and walk one of our favorite trails. He had been reading one of my books on Mohawk leader Joseph Brant and the Revolutionary War, while recovering from a recent amputation. This path is one Brant traveled upon back then. As we hobbled along, we noticed some very recent prints in the soil: a bear had come through the bushes, and walked along the path for a good distance, before heading back into the heavy brush. (The next morning, a friend who lives about 1/8th a mile away posted a photo of a bear, approximately 350-400 pounds, dining from his garbage cans, on Facebook.)

Brant has been incorrectly recorded as a Mohawk chief by non-Indians since the Revolutionary War. He was never a chief (this would have required the Mohawks and then the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy) Grand Council of Chief's approval …..which could only have come after the Clan Mothers approved of him. But the Clan Mothers, who look for potential leadership qualities in children from an early age, determined he lacked the essential qualifications. (Brant did have a title that translates to “chief warrior” among the large and diverse group of Indians and escaped slaves that he led in the war.)

Selecting “leadership” qualities is a complicated process. It involves the entire community …..and even then, one's past mistakes were always known by somebody, and thus brought into the discussion. But past mistakes did not always keep a man or woman from a leadership position. They recognized that even the Chiefs and Clan Mothers were human beings, and would therefore be prone to making mistakes. It's how they deal with being human that matters.

Indeed, the first Tadodaho – the head of the Grand Council – had been recognized as an evil man before being transformed by the Power of the Good Mind (which comes from the community putting their heads together for the good of the people). Onondaga Chief Waterman told me that it was only from being so “bad,” that the Tadodaho could become so “good.”

So, because in my old age – experienced in this aging bag of bones – I try to walk those paths, like the one I was walking with my friend, slowly. In doing so, we both found a few flint projectile points, dating from approximately 800 ad back to 1800 bc ….proof, I suspect, that walking slowly can be a good thing.

Now, of course, I'm back resting inside of my home. Reading DU, I note that some people are expressing outrage about Michelle Wolf's recent presentation. I assume that most are concerned about her jokes about Kelly Ann Conway, when she said that she hoped a tree would fall on her, pinning her down, but not injuring her. Although it seemed like a joke to me, later in the week, I'll go for another walk in the woods.

Peace,
H2O Man

Going Mobile

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
Newton's Third Law


I'm not a scientist, by any means. So, instead of a discussion with either atoms or solar systems as a model, I shall instead use a mobile hanging over an infant's crib. This is easier for me, a simple person of limited insight and understanding on a good day …..much less so in recent days.

With such a mobile, as we know, if one piece moves, all others must shift their position, in order to maintain balance. In “mobiles” composed of human beings – be they families, communities, schools, government agencies, or the Trump administration – there is another dynamic that can take place: if one piece attempts to move, some or all of the other pieces may attempt to remain entrenched. And, if that entrenched piece (or pieces) enjoy powerful positions, they may even “cut” right off the mobile.

We've witnessed an example of this very thing when Nikki Haley, the UN ambassador, announced that there would be more sanctions against Russia. Although meetings among high level administration officials had agreed to this, one piece on the mobile became entrenched in opposition to this shift after Haley spoke publicly. That piece, of course, was Donald Trump.

On the surface, it might appear that Trump's lone reason for doing so is his relationship with Putin. And that should always be considered, in the context of every move Trump makes. Indeed, Putin provides the context for the entirety of Trump's presidency. But there is another factor that lies just beneath the surface, one that the media has not fully taken into account, simply because of the rapid pace of “breaking news.”

It has to do with the dynamics within the mobile. Let's consider this in terms of individual pieces, before looking at the entire mobile. If one piece explodes – say, “attorney” Cohen – another pieces will implode – say, Sean Hannity. It is never a coincidence that the exploding and imploding pieces are closely related to one another.

Now, briefly, let us examine a “quiet” news story:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/13/us/politics/pence-jon-lerner-nikki-haley.html

VP Pence had decided to hire Jon Lerner – top assistant to Haley – as his new national security advisor. Now, Lerner has no background and zero qualifications to serve either in the United Nations position, or as a national security adviser. His experience is in being a republican pollster who led the “Never Trump” movement of the republican primary season of 2016. On the surface, he is a strange choice. Under the surface, it was even stranger: Lerner, we learned, would continue with Haley, as well as with Pence. Only in this administration could an unqualified person be assigned two full-time positions.

When Trump learned of this, he asked, “Why would Mike do this to me?” Surely, Trump remembered that Lerner strongly opposed him during the primaries. And just as surely, he remembers that during the general election campaign, the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape surfaced, Pence had quietly told republican leaders he was prepared to become their presidential candidate.

Now, let's focus on the entire Trump mobile. As the pressures on the entrenched central piece become greater, we have seen his “trusted circle” become smaller. He communicates less and less with individuals such as John Kelly, or the other semi-establishment people in his administration. Thus, those people communicate more and more with one another – for example, Kelly, Haley, Sessions, and Pence.

It has dawned upon Trump that these people are preparing for other forces to clip Trump, remove him from the mobile, and have Pence assume his position. Hence, his attempt to humiliate Haley in a very public manner, that all of the others can see.

In time, Trump will indeed be removed from office. In a very real sense, that is a good thing. However, it is a bad thing that shit-stains such as Kelly, Haley, Sessions, and Pence would assume more power, thus allowing for them to become entrenched for the 2020 elections.

And that is why – exactly why – we need to harness all of our potential strength to re-institute constitutional democracy in 2018, 2020, and beyond. There is no time to waste.

Peace,
H2O Man

Comey's Book

“There is no such thing as 'coincidence'.”
H2O Man


On Wednesday morning, reports that former FBI director James Comey referred to Donald Trump as a “mob boss,” in a soon-to-be aired interview on ABC.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/11/politics/james-comey-donald-trump-mob-boss/index.html

Hours later, on a show promoted by a Trump tweet, Sean Hannity ran an implosive report on the “deep state crime family,” headed by Mr. Mueller.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/04/12/trump-touts-hannitys-show-on-deep-state-crime-families-led-by-mueller-comey-and-clintons/?utm_term=.c1d7e5a8b7f9

It's said that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. In this instance, however, Hannity's limitations in thinking capacity render that door shut.

Rachel Maddow's recent reports – which included copies of former acting Attorney General Dana Boente – prove that Mr. Comey's version of his conversations with Trump were accurate.

https://www.mediaite.com/tv/rachel-maddow-obtains-notes-ex-senior-doj-official-reportedly-took-corroborating-comey-testimony/

What more interesting prologue might there be for Mr. Comey's book? In theory, the book could serve as a weapon of mass discussion, capable of informing even the misinformed and uninformed of exactly why Trump must be removed from office, and incarcerated. However, in today's political climate, there are stumbling blocks that may prevent that from taking place.

A survey of Trump supporters, which asks which is a bigger problem in America – ignorance or apathy? – would surely produce the answer, “I don't know, and I don't care!” Likewise, among a segment of non-republicans who blame Mr. Comey for Trump's victory in the 2016 election, the wisdom of Mark Twain's saying that the problem today is not one of ignorance, but of people knowing so darned much that just ain't true, comes into focus. Thus, a wide range of citizens who should read the book, won't – though they will certainly express their biases (though not opinions) – clinging to the imagined safety of “my mind is made up, so don't confuse me with facts.”

Just one example, for sake of discussion: a frequent question, asked in the media and on the internet, is why James Comey remained silent about the investigation of the Trump-Russian scandal during the election season? After all, he did address the issues involving Hillary Clinton. Hopefully, we could all agree that this raises a valid question, one that deserves a serious answer.

By no coincidence, not only will Mr. Comey's book address this important question, but the answer is already available to any person who sincerely has asked that very question. It can be found, for example, in Corn & Isikoff's book, “Russian Roulette.” And, again by no coincidence, the answer is unlikely to be processed in the minds of those already convinced the Trump-Russian scandal id “fake news,” or by their counterparts who are invested in despising the image of Mr. Comey who exists only between their ears.

Mr. Comey had indeed penned an op-ed documenting his concerns, which was scheduled for publication on September 11, 2016 in the New York Times and/or the Washington Post. This was clearly about two months before the election, hence plenty of time for the media to investigate and report further upon it. However, there were disagreements within the Obama administration, as to how to – if at all – publicly address the issue of Russian interference. Due to the 9/11 date, Mr. Comey's op-ed was pushed aside by the White House.

Might the publication of this op-ed changed things? One can only speculate. However, I find one idea expressed by David Frum in his book, “Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic” worth keeping in mind. And I say this as someone who never anticipated buying a book by Frumj. But in the book, he makes the point that the political elite have fallen in love with the concept of “Game Changers,” and have even convinced many people that such things commonly exist. They don't – true game changers are rare, (A primary example would be from 1988, when leading candidate Gary Hart sailed upon “Monkey Business.)

Instead, we should focus upon voters – both dependable, and potential voters, who we need to get to the voting booths in November.

Peace,
H2O Man

The Gathering Storm

“There's a storm coming.”
Anne Hathaway (Cat Woman); The Dark Knight Rises; 2012


Last week, there was a strong wind “storm” here in the northeast. It caused a fair amount of problems in many areas. I had two very large trees at the edge of my lawn blown over. Our neighborhood – if anything this rural can be rightly called a neighborhood – lost electric, phones, and the internet.

The phone and electric were fixed by the end of the second day. That was nice, as it allows for heat and running water in the house. I could access clean water outside, and have fireplaces to stay warm, but not the internet (which was off for six days.) I'm used to such indoor comforts. I never fail to notice when I don't have such things. And I realize that many, many people here on earth live, or have lived, a less-comfortable existence.

I watched a DVD last night. It was “The Dark Knight Rises.” I've seen it before, but had preferred “The Dark Knight.” It was a commentary on modern society, and the dangers posed by an Usama bin Ladin-like figure. Someone who couldn't be bribed, because he took too much delight in burning the jungle down to ever stop. Ultimately, it showed what happens to the “Good Guys” when they pursue such a “Bad Guy.” It was a timely look at our recent history.

But last night, I realized that “The Dark Knight Rises” is equally valuable – if not more so. Because it predicted what would be happening in the world, including here in the relative comfort of the United States. And it is done in a fashion that Joseph Campbell, Erich Fromm, and Carl Jung would appreciate.

Early in the movie, we learn that a reclusive Bruce Wayne has found that his associate, representing the military complex, is attempting to gather the newest technology into a safe place, to prevent the wrong type of people from gaining access to it. Wayne has become a hermit, no longer serving his community as Bat Man, over the years since the long-time hero had his reputation wrongly destroyed in a criminal-political scandal.

All appears well in the city, at least upon the surface, so long as the public believes in the myth that made the hero a violent criminal, and a violent criminal a hero. But then, at a social gathering of all the beautiful people, an attractive thief informs Bruce Wayne that a storm is coming, that will change the social order into disorder. More, we see some respected financial operators who, in search of even larger profits are willing to break the law. Indeed, they are eager to deal with the dark side of human nature for ultimate power.

The lower levels of human potential is represented by a prison in the form of a deep pit, created by the squirearchy's prince of darkness, far from Bruce Wayne's city. No one there, to paraphrase Jim Morrison, gets out alive. In the pit of hardened criminals are four figures of particular interest; two are older wise men, such as can be found in every American penal institution, the type of men who could have made valuable contributions to a healthy society had circumstances been different. The third was a child born in the pit, representing those children shackled by the negative forces of poverty and violence. Finally, there is the anti-hero, a man so bad that he could scare Sonny Liston's dad, and make young Mike Tyson appear civilized.

The anti-hero becomes the child's protector, as so often happens in our own culture, when “proper” society turns a blind eye to innocent children attempting to survive in the inhumane circumstances that are created to mirror the opulent wealth and life-style of the 1%. Thus, the innocent child grows to view the violent anti-hero as a courageous hero.

Fast forward, and the anti-hero, like the child before him, has escaped the pit of doom. He has now acquired, through violent force aimed at a scientist, the awesome power of a nuclear weapon. He and his organized crime associates bring this weapon of mass destruction – the very type that Dick Cheney and Condi Rice once warned us could become a mushroom cloud! – to Bruce Wayne's city. This sets the scene for the anti-hero's power grab.

The anti-hero makes public his intentions on any given Sunday, at a football game. Thousands of residents, under the narcotic-like effect of being paying spectators at the large event, express their patriotism after hearing a young boy sing the national anthem. And then the kick-off, followed by the very ground collapsing under the feet of both teams, leaving but a lone black athlete alive.

The anti-hero then takes to the edge of the collapsed field, and publicly executes the scientist who provided him with that ultimate knowledge that makes the unthinkable possible. All that is required is for the anti-hero to convince the masses that they can “take back the city, which is rightfully theirs'.” Guns are distributed. The result was certain: the city enters its Killing Field Days.

The city's police force is unable to control the outbreak of violence. The nation's military is impotent so far as a counter-strike goes. Instead, the nation seals off the city, even threatening to open fire on a bus-load of children, should they seek to escape from the city's limits.

It rapidly becomes a dangerous time for the beautiful people who had previously been convinced that their wealth served as a wall to protect the comfort and pleasures of their life-styles. Heck, even the organized crime-businessmen who believed that they could control the storm found themselves victims of the anti-hero and the street justice of the people's courts.

Of course, only Bruce Wayne's inner Bat Man can save the city. But he no longer believes in himself, until he meets a young detective who reminds him that years ago, in an orphanage, visitor Bruce Wayne inspired him to lead a positive, productive life. This, of course, reminds Wayne of his similar experience, when after his parents were murdered, the police commissioner was kind to him. The branch does grow in the direction the twig is bent, regardless of if the hand that guides it is on a proper role model, or an anti-hero in a pit.

Bruce Wayne is inspired to return in the role of Bat Man, and after a long and difficult struggle, saves the day. With the assistance of the young detective, and of Cat Woman – who has become a responsible citizen, rather than a thief – justice prevails. The hero's journey is complete …..at least until the next movie.

It would be wonderful, kind of, if there was a Bat Man who could rescue our nation – that city on the hill – from Trump and his band of misfits. But there's not. The closest thing we appear to have is Mr. Mueller and his team. And at this time, when he seems to be closing in on Trump et al, the unhinged anti-hero Trump seems more than willing to light any fuse that may result in an explosion that protects him, if only for a moment.

The elected representatives in Washington, along with the non-elected bureaucrats in various agencies, seem incapable of mounting a proper challenge to the mad president. To a very large extent, this is because the system, like that of the city in the movie, has become corrupt. The combination of comfortable careers and profit motives has eroded the ability of the minority of sincere government officials to harness the strength to institute meaningful change.

The most hopeful sign at this time seems to be coming to the surface today would be the young people who are demanding meaningful gun laws, to reduce and eventually eliminate, the terrible violence being inflicted upon their classmates in school. Surely, there is no more intense sign that our culture is sick, than the deadly outbursts at schools across the country. And that horrible violence is being unleashed in many other public places. It is an outgrowth of the violence that has simmered in the pits of violent homes for too long, and is finally boiling over.

By no surprise, these young people are being attacked by the slime from the bowels of the alt-right, rabid republicans. This includes elected republicans in DC and state office, the swine of the NRA, the fake news such as Fox, and the unclean hordes inhabiting the muck and mire of the nation's ethical decay. This for exercising their constitutional rights.

Yet those young people have become a powerful force, working in the same direction that many of us grass roots members of the Democratic Party have for many decades. But it will take a certain type of candidate, in local, state, and national elections, to insure that they will be inspired to vote for our party. They know that things cannot change by doing the same things, over and over. Indeed, just as individuals cannot create change by staying the same, so it goes for our party.

Finally, if you are not prone to watching Bat Man movies, you can instead study the fall of the Weimar Republic. Or get ahold of Madeleine Albright's new book, “Fascism: A Warning.” Then, as she stated on this morning's news, “If you see something, say something. Then do something.”

Peace,
H2O Man

Easter Uprising

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=yolanda+king&view=detail&mid=56A0DF9C62C097B91DF656A0DF9C62C097B91DF6&FORM=VIRE


“And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.”
Isaiah 3:4


It wasn't until 24 hours before the March that Yolanda King – the 9-year old granddaughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. – learned that she would be a guest speaker in front of hundreds of thousands of people. That's very little time to prepare for such a presentation. Yet this little angel put together a remarkable tribute to both her Grandfather, and today's movement. How, I wondered, did Yolanda accomplish this?

Then, I saw an amazing interview, in which she explained. The night before finding out that she would be speaking, she had a dream. She was in a museum, looking at a statue of her Grandfather. Suddenly, the statue came to life. Immediately, there were reporters surrounding Dr. King, hoping to interview him. But Dr. King only sought to speak to his granddaughter. He told her that he would always be with her, and with that, the dream was completed.

Thus, 9-year old Yolanda – though admittedly nervous as she came out on stage – quickly became comfortable in delivering her “I Have a Dream” speech.

To the entire DU community, I wish you a happy Easter Uprising!

Peace on Earth,
H2O Man
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