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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 07:49 PM
Number of posts: 62,636

Journal Archives

Post-Election Numbers

I like numbers. Always have, so long as I can remember. Even on a local level, they are important. When I served on the local school board, for example, even though the superintendent had a strong dislike for me, he trusted me on how the numbers played with the public, in terms of passing a budget. You have to take other things into consideration – including social- economic issues – and have an understanding of the vote totals from past budgets, in order to be able to present a budget that will pass.

Now, here's an interesting number: 1974. If we take into account federal, state, and local elections, Democrats won more mid-term elections in 2018 than we have since 1974. I think that helps to put into the proper perspective just how powerful the Blue Wave was this week. In 1974, of course, it was in large part a response to Richard Nixon's humiliation; in 2018, a response to Trump's corruption.

I worked on four contests this year. The candidates I worked for won all four. (I did not work on my son's local campaign, in which he won as well.) I cannot say I worked harder than ever before, as I am old and have been dealing with health issues. However, I was encouraged by the hard work of a number of college students. As an old man, nothing makes me happier.

There are many, many people who worked much harder than me on elections where Democratic candidates did not win. Their efforts are extremely important. For what we all participated in was democracy in action. And we need to keep that momentum going.

Back in 1974, citizens were concerned by what was called “the imperial presidency.” Kennedy family historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., had published a book with that title the year before. He documented how most presidents – Democrats as well as republicans – had expanded presidential powers beyond what the Constitution intended, always justifying it by claims of national security in times of war.

Today, this same phenomenon is taking place under Trump, although in this case, the president has an “undeclared” war on the Constitution and our form of federal government. He continues to attack the institutions of the government, the free press, and the rule of law. Firing Sessions was an expected attempt to interfere with the Mueller investigation; appointing Whitaker is proof positive.

The potential for Whitaker to abuse this position to protect Trump and others – the exact purpose for Trump appointing him – is real. It presents a threat to the rule of law. It may be that entities outside the executive branch can prevent him from doing so, but there is no question that obstruction is his primary goal.

Still, in the current context, it is actually better that Democrats will control the House of Representatives in 2018-2020, than the Senate. If the republicans ran the House, there would be no chance of them impeaching Trump, and sending it to the Senate. But the Democrats can, if the Mueller Report documents the just cause to do so. (It will.) Whitaker may attempt to hide the report, but the House can access it.

Then, Senate republicans will face a test that surpasses that in their ethical failure on Kavanaugh. The 2020 elections in the Senate will hold a greater opportunity for Democrats, regardless of whatever Whitaker may or may not do. Thus, the Senate republicans will be forced to make a decision – not based upon ethics or the rule of law, but entirely upon self-preservation: do they want to hitch their re-election hopes on Trump's wagon?

And that brings us back to numbers. The 2018 elections shows the power of democracy begins at the grass roots' level. In order to repair the damage that Trump has done, and continues to do, it is essential that the Democrats in the grass roots remain active now and in the days to come. The public demonstrations in support of Mr. Mueller are outstanding. But we need to apply pressure as individuals on the current House and Senate, including republicans in office. Phone calls and e-mails are good, but actual postcards and letters are even better. Let's increase those numbers.

I suspect that Mr. Mueller is preparing to file at least two more indictments soon; I'm hoping for one to be unsealed today, though it may not happen until late next week. At least one is currently “sealed” in status. There is nothing Whitaker can do to stop it. But, if not before another is filed (which I believe that Mr. Rosenstein has already given the green light to), Whitaker will almost certainly attempt to try to derail the on-going investigation.

Our side, however, is not only stronger, but we are right. Let's continue to exercise our strength. It's the right thing to do.

Peace,
H2O Man

One Small Town Result

My younger son won the election for town justice; the results were 514 to 5 in his favor.

Positive Vibrations

“Make way for the positive day
'Cause it's a new time, a new day
It's a new feeling, a new sign
Oh what a new day!”
Bob Marley; Positive Vibration


Yesterday morning, I heard one of my dogs barking. Looking out the window, I could see his tail wagging in a rapid circle, which indicated a friend was walking up my long driveway. I walked outside, and met a young lady, who I would estimate to be around 70 years old. She said that she hated to bother me on a Sunday morning, but wanted to encourage me to vote for Democratic candidates on Tuesday.

As she was listing the Democrats who will be on the local ballot – including my younger son – I asked her how she thought the contests would go? She said that she was cautiously optimistic, but very nervous. As the day turned to afternoon then evening, I had about a dozen phone calls from associates around the region; all of them gave the same answer to my question: cautiously optimistic.

My favorite call of the day was from my cousin, who survived the “road rage” shooting that killed his son. My cousin is set to drive elderly people from the rural areas surrounding his home town to the polls tomorrow. He is one of a number of such Democratic volunteers throughout our county. He is also cautiously optimistic about the local and nationwide elections.

Looking at “fave book,” I see that student activists that I am in regular contact with are also volunteering to provide rides to those in need. These young people are from a variety of public and private universities across upstate New York. My younger daughter – my only student at this point – had called me two weeks ago, when she sent her ballot in. In both of the contests where a republican was running unopposed, she did a write-in for me. “No republican should ever be unopposed,” she told me.

Her brother looks to be a pretty safe bet to win his election at the town level. He and his brother did virtually all of his campaign work. They have a lot of experience, and I am proud that they showed me that they are entirely capable of carrying on our family tradition. In another four years, they will be running my son for state office.

I went to the grocery store to pick up enough food for the next few days. I prefer to go late at night, when the store is near empty, but went in the early afternoon instead. I ran into a couple old friends. They both wanted to talk about the elections. Both were cautiously optimistic.

I like that all of these people are cautiously optimistic. I respect that. However, I am very optimistic. I think that we will recapture the House of Representatives. Win some governors' races. The Senate may or may not change; however, in 2020, we are in a very good position to take the Senate. And the republicans planning to run for re-election know that. That is important.

Other than voting tomorrow, there is only one thing left to do: I want to thank everyone here who has worked for Democratic Party victories, and who has or will be voting.

Peace,
H2O Man

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

Kavanaugh

should not be allowed to coach teenaged girls' sports. Just my opinion, perhaps, but I know I'm correct.

Note!

I just heard something that I believe people here may find interesting. A trusted associate said that a significant part of why Trump is holding his 5 pm/est press conference is related to his fuming at being laughed at yesterday at the UN. The synergy from this and his frustrations resulting from private conversations with Senate republicans has him freaking out. At this point, only Stephen Miller thinks the press conference is a good idea.

Enjoy the show!

"And, why?"

“And, why? Because here, in this Western world, and particularly in America, it has always been accepted that a man may possess immense knowledge but without ever having seriously considered his level of being. In America, it is acceptable that a man may be a Supreme Court Justice, a Doctor, a National and International Politician and/or Scientist, has the right to be a racist, or a petty, egotistic, caviling, mean, envious, vain and malicious snake!”
Rubin “Hurricane” Carter; June 26, 1979


The recent events involving the republican attempt to bulldoze Kavanaugh through to the Supreme Court reminded me of the above quote from a long letter Rubin wrote to me almost 40 years ago. I knew Rubin well enough to be fully confident that he would add “a sexual offender” to his list of character traits of the snakes he was describing.

The answer to the question – “And, why?” – is painfully obvious. They do not care. While it is theoretically possible that a tiny minority of republicans do not know that Kavanaugh is a sexual predator, the vast majority do. Most take the Lindsey Graham stance of “So what am I supposed to do? Ruin this man's life?” As if Kavanaugh is entitled to a seat on the Supreme Court, despite having inflicted severe damage on a woman's life.

One of the interesting things about Kavanaugh's Fox interview was his repeated denial of having done “this thing.” That conscious effort to separate himself from “this thing” is of special interest to those who have investigated sex crimes, and/or those who work in the field of psychiatry. I have had employment in both areas, including those involving a specific sect of Catholics. Decades ago, I had a case involving a priest. More, I have discussed the topic with an uncle who investigated several of the cases in Pennsylvania

In my conversations with my uncle – who was called the best investigator in the country in the 1990s, and who trained investigators in the FBI and CIA – he never mentioned the way alter boys dressed as a factor. But we did discuss But we did focus on the offenders' self-justification, based upon Romans 7:17-20. This says, in their interpretation, that if they want to do good, and still offend, it really isn't them doing “this thing.” Nope, it's all “the sin that lives in me.” Now, ain't that a fancy way to avoid taking ownership of your behaviors?

The combination of a sense of entitlement with the failure to take personal responsibility adds up to the self-righteousness we witness today. And what else could explain the republican support for Trump, who admitted on tape to sexual offenses? Though Trump later claimed it wasn't him on the tape, the republicans didn't think it was”the sin living in him.” No, they justified voting for a man who “lives in sin,” so long as it benefited them.

They also resent those who question their sense of entitlement. Indeed, they seek to discourage those who question their character, by engaging in vicious character assassination. We remember Anita Hill, who could only be described as a nice, honest, intelligent and brave lady. Yet she was subjected to yet another assault when she testified. And, in the time that followed, jackasses like David Brock and Orlando Patterson continued attacking her.

When confronting opposition such as these, no individual should stand alone. Because, really, this struggle is less about the past, than about today and the future. It impacts all of us, and thus demands a united front. And that includes recognizing that we combat the unacceptable – not only on one front, but on all fronts.
Two brave women have come forward. They did this, knowing full well what price Anita Hill and countless others were and are subjected to. We need to respect their decisions, including each of them selecting their own legal representatives. A third woman is scheduled to come forward within the next 24 hours. She has decided what lawyer she believes can best represent her. We should respect that decision, at the same level we respect the first two women.

I find it curious that some find fault with her choice of Michael Avenatti. I think that he has done a good job representing Stormy Daniels. The two of them helped to focus attention on Michael Cohen, and to expose crimes that led to Cohen's plea. And that has resulted in some exposure of Trump. Thank you, Michael. Thank you, Stormy.

If Avenatti helps put a glaring spotlight on Senate republicans, that's a good thing. I feel safe in speculating that the woman who retained his services was fully aware of his tactics. There is an absolute zero chance that her decision to come forward will hurt the opposition to Kavanaugh, or somehow help him get confirmed.

Thus, if they don't like Michael Avenatti, that is fine. As long they don't hire him, and avoid watching him on television, I'm confident that they will be okay. But please respect the fact that one of the victims of Kavanaugh's sexual assaults did hire him.

Fight the Good Fight – keep calling Senators!
H2O Man

"Strange Cars" (Please Help!)

Can you help an old man? Please? I need help with getting a story that is showing just how low the alt-right republican campaign of Rep. Claudia Tenney has become.

I will summarize their campaign is going, and encourage people to read the below linked article in full:

http://www.uticaod.com/opinion/20180921/our-view-latest-tenney-attack-another-cheap-shot

A staff memo was purposely leaked to the media, in which it states that campaign members are at risk, because her Democratic opponent, Anthony Brindisi, is an Italian-American from Utica, NY. Obviously, according to the memo, this translates to his being linked to the mafia. Staff is warned to be on double-extra high alert, and be afraid of virtually everyone.

Be afraid of Brindisti supporters. Be afraid of everyone on the street that you don't immediately recognize as a Tenney supporter. You may be being followed by scary mobsters without even knowing it. The memo even encourages staff to watch outside their homes for “strange cars.”

Although their campaign claims to have been victimized by ruthless violent people, area police agencies have noted there has not be a single report of this happening. Obviously, that is proof of how vicious these mobsters are.

I know Anthony Brindisi. I've met his family. They are outstanding people. Anthony is exactly the type of person we need to represent the NYS 22nd district in the House. He is the type of Democrat that appeals to everyone in our party.

I also know enough about Claudia Tenney that I can say that even those outside of the 22nd have good reason to actively oppose her. She is cut from the same clothe as Alex Jones: paranoid conspiracy theories are her language, and lies her tongue.

More, I'm enough of a “local history” buff to be very familiar with the experiences of the Italian and Irish immigrant families in central New York. In fact, my first book focused upon this. I understand the connection between this history, and Tenney's vicious attacks on Anthony. Utica has, with Brandisi's assistance, become known as a “refugee city.” And it serves as an example of how by welcoming, encouraging, and supporting immigrant families, a city can create an expanding job market, which allows for improvements in the public education system.

If possible, I would like people here to help me bring this story to the attention of Ari Melber at MSNBC. It would be appreciated if you could send him the above link, and ask that he investigate and report on this. It is part of a two-pronged effort I'm making to get national attention of what the republican party ranks as one of the most important House elections in 2018.

Ari's e-mail is:

ari@msnbc.com

Thank you very much!
H2O Man
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