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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

"She Said, She Said"

“Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!”
Trump; 6-28-2018


There is no question that Russia interfered in the 2016 elections. No intelligent person denies this. That, of course, leaves Trump and his most ignorant supporters. Let's focus on Trump: it is not that he actually believes that Russia didn't “meddle” in the election – for he and many others in his campaign actively coordinated with Russia.

Now, let's consider his hard-core base. Their level of understanding is defined by the synergism of ignorance, hatred, and fear. For who else would even consider James Woods' opinions on politics, much less be influenced by him? Surely no one with the capacity for rational thought. It is safe to say that this population is now, and will continue to be, played by Russian “meddling.”

Rational people agree that Trump, like Putin, appeals to “white nationalism” in order to reap financial, economic, and political power. It's not as if he or his family have anything in common with his followers beyond the color of their skin. The Trumps don't socialize with those fools. No. They exploit their ignorance, hatreds, and fears. And all the while, Trump is hurting those very people, with his tax-cuts, reductions in food stamps, and medical insurance. They are just too stupid to understand this.

Russian intelligence and organized crime continue to work to create the atmosphere that allows Trump and his ilk to exercise power. It is easy to see, especially among the Trump base. They are the foam dripping from a rabid dog's mouth, that serves to warn us of danger. But the Russian “meddling” in our social-political system is not limited to those fools.

They are intent, in cooperation with Trump forces, to further divide the rest of Americans, including within the Democratic Party. The last thing that they want to see is a unified party, where all segments coordinate to elect a variety of Democrats to the House and Senate. And, of course, governors and state officials. No, I say they are pulling out all the stops in their effort to disrupt.

They are equally intent upon dividing the party from its natural and potential allies. They need to prevent alliances where there is mutual benefit from ending Trump's rule. Instead, they will continue to try to focus on issues where groups have not seen eye-to-eye in the past and other fracture points. They will try to dose discussions with heated emotion, using issues just as insignificant as James Woods.

At this point in time, does anything that Peter Fonda says matter? Should we be sidetracked by debates on if his greatest social contribution was “Easy Rider,” which had a great sound track, or his inspiring John Lennon's song, “She Said, She Said?” Does anyone doubt that our real enemy will try to attack and divide us with such nonsense? Hoping people will give more than a rat's ass about if an individual named Susan Sarandon supported Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?

We need to keep our eyes on the prize, to borrow some wisdom from the past. Instead of allowing our actual enemy to divide groups where, like individual fingers that Trump & Co can break, we need to unite those fingers into a powerful fist. One that protects all of our rights. Now, I believe that we need to use the organized, non-violent, confrontation-of-injustice tactics of Gandhi and King. That allows us to symbolically understand Malcolm X's statement that sometime turning the other cheek may involve breaking the enemy's neck. Because that's exactly what we have to do in November at the voting booth.

The Russian-Trump effort will continue to focus on areas such as ignorance, fear, and hatred. Thus, we all need to be aware of any tendency we have to react to the actual enemy's appeals to divisive emotions. I know I do, just like everyone else. We all need to focus on what is most important, and that means keeping our eyes on the prize.

Peace,
H2O Man

New Growth, New Faces

“Nature repairs her ravages, but not all. The uptorn trees are not rooted again; the parted hills are left scarred; if there is a new growth, the trees are not the same as the old, and the hills underneath their green vesture bear the marks of the past rending. To the eyes that have dwelt on the past, there is no thorough repair.”
Mary Ann Evans (“George Eliot”)



I see new growth as a very positive thing. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's victory – which was not a surprise to anyone who was watching the contest for the last six weeks – is that new growth's coming into bloom. And Representative Crowley's powerful endorsement is a fine example of the manner in which all members of the Democratic Party should behave.

Last night, on MSNBC, I heard Alexandria described by Brian Williams as “the hard left.” Please. She used to work for Senator Kennedy. In 2016, she was at both Standing Rock and Flint, advocating for human rights. And this year, she was at the southern boarder, advocating for family values. She is, by definition, one of this era's FDR Democrats.

There is some confusion on just how much Rep. Crowley outspent her by in this campaign. Some sources say by 6 times, while others have gone by 18 times. The most accurate estimate, I believe, is by 10 times. What is not in dispute, however, is that Alexandria's financial support came from small, grass roots contributions.

The majority of Rep. Crowley's financial support came from corporations, through lobbyists. That is, of course, common among politicians from both parties. It is especially true for those who have been in office for numerous terms. Thus, Rep. Crowley is not different than many of our party's leadership. Yet, it is something that makes those at the grass roots who favor campaign finance reform uncomfortable.

There are old-growth party members who appear equally uncomfortable with what Alexandria represents. They are not alone, in the sense that among the eyes that dwell in the past, there are those who blame Bernie Sanders's supports, or the DNC, or Hillary Clinton supporters, for the crisis we are in today. But negative energy, by its very nature, cannot heal the political landscape. Only positive energy can result in new growth.

We often talk about wishing today's younger generation would be active at the voting booth. With no disrespect to Rep. Crowley, which type of Democrat do you think might excite young adults? He is a good man, but e does not hold the promise for the future that Alexandria clearly does. And I say that, fully aware of the benefits of his experience and understanding of how Washington works. Rather, I say it because we desperately need Washington to work differently.

In my opinion, one of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez's greatest strengths was her ability to focus her campaign upon the issues that are important to people. No one could question her sincerity. More, she avoided personalizing her campaign as anti-Trump, for she understands that the very topic of Trump is toxic. Instead, she spoke of new growth in the most positive and powerful way possible.

While I am an old, wrinkled-faced Irish-American – who has known the extended, Irish-American Crowley family for decades as good people – I am 100% in support of Alexandria. Nothing makes me happier than seeing her rising as new growth in our party.

Peace,
H2O Man

Sanctuary

“Can you give me sanctuary
I must find a place to hide
a place for me to hide
Can you give me soft asylum
I can't make it any more
the man is at the door.”
Jim Morrison; The Soft Parade


Older folks here will remember that the mistreatment of immigrants seeking sanctuary is not new. We fought this battle in the 1980, against the Reagan administration. And we won. However, our constitutional democracy is, by its very nature, an on-going struggle in which the conflicts of “good versus bad” tend to arise in cycles.

Now, Reagan's election was about as disheartening as Trump's. Just as surely as the sun rises in the east, Reagan's team stole the election, with a coordinated “October surprise” involving Iran. Again, similar in nature to Trump stealing the 2016 election. And the Gipper was the extreme right-wing of the republican party, to the right of Goldwater in '64.

The Reagan administration – which still holds the record for most criminal convictions, which may even hold against the Trumpsters – was big on the US involvement in the wars in Central America. At first, the increasing Reagan administration was opposed by relatively few Democrats in the House and Senate. The citizens who vocally were against the Reagan policies were dismissed as “the usual anti-war crowd.” But things changed.

In El Salvador, for example, US-trained troops assassinated Archbishop Oscar Romero, and raped and murdered four American nuns. Reports of massacres of entire villages also became more common, as the death tolls literally reached tens of thousands. When Congress did impose restrictions on the administration, the Reaganites engaged in the crimes known as the Iran-Contra scandal.

During this time, the administration attempted to stop an increasing flow of refugees seeking asylum at our southern border. Like the Trump administration today, they sought to define these people as immigrating for “economic” reasons, rather than as refugees from the terrible violence the administration was creating. Yet, in response, American citizens began defying the administration, by granting sanctuary to the families crossing the border.

More than 500 churches, for example, from a wide variety of denominations, provided safety to the human beings coming from Central America. An unknown number of other people secretly housed families. These actions were in the same spirit as the Underground Railroad, or the safe housing of Jewish families in Nazi Germany. People of conscience risked being prosecuted by the Reagan administration.

We are reaching that point today. Those opposed to the Trump administration's cruelty and lies are not limited to the “anti-Trump” people. In fact, the only ones who support the administration's policies are the “good Nazis.” The immigrants from Central America are not coming for economic reasons. They are coming to find safety from the terrible violence that is the result of American policies in their homelands for decades.

No matter if we are religious, spiritual, or atheist, it is time to join together to both protect innocent human beings, and oppose the criminals in our government. The only people who should be locked up are those in the Trump administration.

Peace,
H2O Man

Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law

http://www.centerforhumanrights.org/index.html


The above link is to the Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law. While there are other good organizations engaging in important parts of the legal case against the Trump administration's abuse of parents and children, I find this to be the most important. The lead attorney, Peter Schey, has significant experience, success, and standing in the federal courts on these issues.

Peter has been interviewed a couple of times on MSNBC's “The Last Word,” with Lawrence O'Donnell in the past week. These interviews provided information on how to defeat Trump in court. I think that this is not only important, but urgent, as Trump is attempting to militarize the prisons for immigrants seeking asylum.

If you are looking for a way to participate in this struggle, please review the web site. If possible, make a donation. While I am currently poor, I am confident that even my small contribution is meaningful.

Thank you for your consideration.

H2O Man

The Good Fight!

“Sociopaths generally have a limited range of real emotions.”
H2O Man; 6/22/2018


I assume that everyone reading this would agree that Trump in no way feels bad about the suffering of the families that he and his administration are causing. However, I accept that everyone who reads DU is not a Democrat, or opposed to Trump.) Part of this is because everything he says is a lie, and no thinking person believes a word that comes out of his mouth. It is only the Pavlovian alt-right that agrees that it is “good” to incarcerate children; the more they express this, the more the public identifies their drooling as evidence of moral rabies.

What Trump finds upsetting is that rather than being viewed as “tough,” he is seen as a very little, weak, and cruel individual. That view is shared both domestically and internationally. And this is on top of his already recognized as a pathetic excuse for a human being.

It's not that Trump has the ability to feel anything for these children. Sociopaths are restricted to viewing others as either extensions of himself, or as inanimate “things” to be used to suit his purposes. It's said that they know the lyrics, but not the tune; thus, Trump says the words that he thinks (or has been told) sound right. But they fall flat. No one believes him, not even his supporters.

Let's consider the people who surround Trump. Kristjen Nielsen will follow “authority,” no matter what line she crosses. Her complaining in private does not relieve her of her moral-ethical obligations. John Kelly is a bitter, flint-hard person, who worships violence. Jeff Sessions is a hate-filled gnome who delights in torturing non-white people. And that brings us to Stephen Miller.

Let's remember that Miller sat with Trump to write the first letter to justify firing James Comey. This document focused upon Mr. Comey's continuation of the Russian probe. The White House attorney would recommend having the Justice Department produce two letters that used Mr. Comey's mistreatment of Hillary Clinton during the campaign, since identifying the true reason would clearly be obstruction. Mr. Mueller has a copy of Miller's letter, though, which proves beyond doubt the truth of why Trump needed to fire Comey.

So, Miller is definitely not intelligent. In fact, he is beyond the anti-social personality type so common in the administration. Like Trump, he is a sociopath. His emotional range is limited to anger, self-righteousness, and a giddy enjoyment of cruelty. Trump and Miller are able to work together, because each sees the other as an extension of himself. In fact, Miller often fantasizes that he is the president of the United States, his wettest of dreams.

There is literally zero chance that any Good can come from Trump or his administration. A system can only produce what its nature is. Dogs never give birth to kittens, nor do chickens lay vulture eggs. The Trump administration is saturated with evil, and is thus entirely incapable of doing anything but evil.

Yet, despite all the horror they unleash, we are witnessing the power of good people responding to the cruelty of incarcerating little children. The majority of citizens are strongly opposed to incarcerating innocent people, especially children. We see that even some republicans, aware of the consequences of the public response, publicly disagreeing with Trump. But this is primarily out of self-interest.

The most important factor – one that you and I can participate in – is the legal challenges to the Trump policy. Keep in mind that Trump has a very poor record when it comes to court cases. As citizens, we are not limited to the legislative branch in the fight against Trump: the judicial branch provides another avenue. And that is the only realistic path to reuniting these families, and outside of an incarcerated status.

Fight the Good Fight!
H2O Man

"Look ...."

“Look what you made me do!”

In three decades of employment in human services, in a variety of positions, I found the above quote to be a signature line of cowardly, violent offenders. It was common among those spouses, partners, and parents, who sought to convince their victims that they – the victims – were entirely responsible for the offender's violence and cruelty. I think of that every time I hear Trump say that the Democrats are responsible for his separating children from their parents.

I also had numerous violent offenders say, “Yeah, but what about …...,” in weak attempts to shift the focus of our conversations. My response was simple: “We are not here to talk about what anyone else did or didn't do. We are only here to talk about you, and what we know you did.” That's the same thing that I would say to my children when they were young, and we discussed some misbehavior on their part. It's sad to see adults today using, or falling for, this type attempted distraction.

There was one fellow who attempted to justify his vile actions by self-righteously quoting bible verses. I did not need much time to evaluate this guy before making my recommendation to the court. I did, however, tell him that I hoped that he would consider reading the gospels while he was incarcerated. I have the same hope for Jeff Sessions.

The Trump administration's policy is the very definition of domestic abuse. It is unacceptable. It can not be blamed on the victims, or other people's previous actions. And it cannot be justified by bible quotes.

Back to the Garden

Matthew 18:1-7 : At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. If anyone causes one of these little ones-those who believe in me-to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”


At this point in my life, I generally try not to refer to, or quote, religious and/or esoteric texts to make political points. But when I see people from the Trump administration attempt to justify their evil behaviors by quoting the bible, I feel that I can – perhaps, must – make an exception. I'll try to keep this brief, which isn't my usual style, either. For I can discuss religion and spirituality for hours on end. But I try to do that only while talking to myself.

I found Session's pathetic attempt to use the exact quote that was used to “justify” slavery in this country offensive. It is a common practice, of course, for those of little understanding to try to apply “higher teachings” to “lower actions.” I'll end by noting that, while in the garden shortly before his “legal” trial and death, the prophet Jesus called this error “Satan.”

I could, of course, go on and on. In fact, I will ….but in a conversation with myself, as I do some chores out in my garden.

Peace,
H2O Man

America

When facing an unresolved issue or situation, many people in modern society imagine the worst case scenario. That's natural. Yet, it is more common for those issues to conclude in a manner distinct from that worst case scenario.

But not always. In a literal sense, Trump being “elected” president was the worst case scenario of this American generation. It was as if the orange pus of an abscess had oozed to the surface of our society, and infected the social order. Indeed, our nation – and the world community – is being held hostage to the disease known as Trump.

Thus, I understand and appreciate when people, including on the internet, express concern that Trump and his fellow zits on society will grant pardons, fire Mr. Rosenstein and or Mr. Mueller, or take any other action to disrupt his eventual impeachment. Indeed, with the mounting tensions that have come over the past week – involving Cohen, Manafort, the NYS Attorney General's filing, and the ongoing SDNY and Team Mueller federal investigations – it is difficult to imagine the orange pus limiting himself to merely tweeting lies.

More, the lawyers that had previously advised him to avoid pardons and interfering with the Justice Department (and who made clear they could no longer represent him, if he did) are gone. Instead, there are four delusional lawyers, with pus for brains.

A number of (relatively) sane republicans in the House and Senate have also told Trump that his interference would be unacceptable. But they are, obviously, a timid minority within their party. A rational person could believe their warnings are as impotent as Trump himself.

So it it fair to say that we are experiencing a time with great risks.

However, I believe that what we are experiencing is necessary. Issues of toxic hatred, be they sexism, racism, etc, have been at the surface of our society for a long time. That is not to say that progress hasn't been made over the decades. Rather, we have yet to fully disinfect the abscess. It's more like we were prescribed an antibiotic, but failed to take the full amount once we started to feel better. The infection may have been less visible – especially if we weren't looking at it in our daily lives – but it was there.

We are being tasked with a huge obligation to ourselves and our society …..and the global society. It can seem overwhelming. Trump is the very definition of the worst case scenario as president, and he calls forth the most irrational, hate-filled people in our country. But the actual worst case scenario would be if citizens, like you and I, believed the lie that we are powerless in the face of that orange pus.

In the next two weeks, we will definitely witness Trump reacting harshly to the increasing pressure he and his children are facing. That is certain. But do not allow yourself to become discouraged. For we are going to win this fight.

Peace,
H2O Man

A Fly in the Ointment

I'll start by saying I have great respect for good lawyers. Over the decades, I've had the opportunity to work with a number of outstanding lawyers on both criminal and civil cases, in state and federal courts. I have some cousins who practice law. And one of my daughters currently works in a law office.

I also like many “average” lawyers. They do a lot of important work. And it definitely takes intelligence and self-discipline to earn a law degree and be admitted to the bar. It's a tough job, and thus many individuals with a law degree end up not practicing law.

That brings us to Michael Cohen.

My brother has said that one in ten lawyers graduated in the bottom 10% of their class. In Cohen's case, we can agree that one in a hundred graduated in the bottom 1% of their class. Hence, while Cohen must have a degree of intelligence, and had some self-discipline, he ended up working for Trump, though not as Trump's lawyer.

Since the FBI raided Cohen's home, office, etc, and confiscated literally millions of documents and recordings, it is commonly recognized that Cohen is in dire legal trouble. It's safe to say that Cohen's troubles are likely to create serious legal problems for Donald Trump. So let's take a look at the nature of their relationship.

Trump, being a sociopath, only has relationships based upon how useful an individual can be to him. This includes his seeking to identify the individual's weak points, to exploit as needed. Cohen has more than a few weak points, but let's focus upon his adolescent need for a hero/ father-figure. Cohen, in this sense, demonstrates the same level of maturity that a 13-year old boy displays when thinking that wearing a Michael Jordan jersey will improve his game.

Trump exploited this tendency. He encouraged Cohen's adolescent identification with television and movie “tough guys,” in order to get Cohen to willingly inhabit the muck and mire of Trump's business interests. Cohen, as federal investigators have documented, even told friends that he was “connected” to the Russian mob. He fancied himself as the new Roy Cohn. He even believed that he was part of the family, Trump's adopted son.

Existing in this delusional state caused Cohen to believe that, like on a cheap movie, everything he did for Trump was “protected” in the context of attorney-client communications. Thus, his education in the legal field resulted in his keeping extensive records of his work for Trump, including with shady characters and illegal activities.

Cohen was confident his experience in the gutter would insure a major position within Trump's administration. He was so sure of this, that he actually said that Trump should not bring Jared and Ivanka into the White House. Not surprisingly, those two advised Trump to not bring Cohen to Washington, though he was unlikely to anyhow. Trump wanted to keep the janitor of the gutters out of public view, other than appearances on Sean Hannity's show.

When the shit hit the fan in April, Cohen thought his legal team's coordinating with Trump's on the documentation the FBI gathered, meant they were on the same team. The Trump team had already been covering much of Cohen's legal expenses. So Cohen was willing to lie to his own lawyers, in a pathetic attempt to protect Trump. He didn't grasp that there was a divide between who the two legal teams were representing.

In time, it began to dawn on Cohen that this was not reel life, and that in real life, he was in serious trouble. When Trump's legal team became fully aware of the documentation that the FBI had secured for the SDNY federal investigators, the “father-son” relationship fractured. Perhaps Cohen recalled the line from the movie “Braveheart,” when the mad Irishman tells William Wallace that “the Lord says he might get me out of this, but I think you're fucked.”

Part of the reason Cohen is separating from his legal team is because he can't pay them. But it's more than that. Good lawyers generally do not appreciate clients that lie to them. Or clients who beg them to keep Sean Hannity's identity secret in federal court, for that matter. Indeed, the only way for a good lawyer to represent Cohen at this point, is to try to secure the best deal possible for him. And even that will be difficult --- for what might Cohen's team use as a proffer to investigators and prosecutors, that they haven't already documented through the FBI raid and previous surveillance ?

Friday should prove interesting, both for Cohen and Paul Manafort.

Peace,
H2O Man

Showdown

“Remember, the best defense is a hellova offense, and catching your opponent coming into your strength always results in that man being hurt.”
Rubin “Hurricane” Carter; Thursday, September 27, 1973; 3:35 pm


There is a showdown coming in America. The “main event” features Robert Mueller versus Donald Trump, of course, in a battle that represents a much larger conflict raging within our country. As the tension builds, we see Trump engaging in an increasingly out of control attack on Mr. Mueller, which reminds me of the above line from one of Rubin's letters advising me on boxing strategy 45 years ago.

The majority of the crowd gathered for the fight favor Mr. Mueller. They see Trump as more than just an obnoxious blowhard: they recognize him as a toxic threat to our constitutional democracy. They see a cheap, dirty fighter – willing to break any rule – who is as controlled by the mob as in boxer was in history. Only this time, it's the Russian mafia calling the shots.

They have seen that many “officials” – with the republicans in the House and Senate serving in roles similar to a boxing commission and referee – are unwilling to enforce the rules. Instead, they reward him for his flagrant fouls. In this case, though, it has to do with the Rule of Law, and their failure to address Trump for his openly corrupt behaviors.

Thus, unless Trump's corner throws in the towel, saying their guy has had enough, and has lost this fight by TKO, the majority of Americans have to hope that the judges – in this instance, federal court judges – render a just decision in favor of Mr. Mueller.

There is also, of course, a minority of Trump fans watching the bout. They view Trump as a hero, and their champion. They would prefer that the fight be called off before it actually starts, and Trump be declared the winner. Being unfamiliar with the rules, they support any dirty tactic Trump resorts to, and every crime he commits. They threaten the commissioner and referee for even considering enforcing the Rule of Law, in terms of their next primary. Republicans court and fear these unstable “fans.”

Despite the fact that the outcome of the fight will likely go to the scorecards of the judges – most of whom were appointed by the republican commission – the Trump fans are not going to accept it, if their decision goes against Trump. In their minds, the federal courts will be viewed as part of the “deep state.” It's a plot, don't you know.

Trump's fans do not allow “facts” to interfere with their perceptions. And it is a fact that Trump has not been wildly successful in the court system, be it with his “university” or his Muslim travel ban. He will face far more significant and humiliating defeats when the judges announce their decisions in the Trump vs Team Mueller competition.

Now, I'm familiar with more than boxing. In the past decade, for example, I've witnessed a stark increase in “fans” acting out – sometimes violently – at a variety of school sports competitions. The two things that have led to the majority of violent outbreaks have been when one of their players gets called for a foul, or when a non-white athlete on the opposing team scores points. These have resulted in fights in the stands, and in parking lots. There have been men and women taken away in handcuffs. There was even what law enforcement has called a riot, in a small town where local police had to call for back-up from county and state police.

Not all republicans will be upset when Trump loses his attempts to avoid speaking with Team Mueller. It appears likely that he'll continue to avoid doing so, and will thus get an invitation from the grand jury. His legal team will try fighting that, and lose. It's possible Trump will still refuse. But, either way, he won't survive long. And, at that point, fewer republicans will support him.

Those who will still support him are largely of the same stock as those who start fights at high school sports or boxing matches. Their actions are rooted in emotions, as opposed to the intelligence required to engage in rational thought. In the deep recesses of their minds, they will view the Rule of Law as a threat to the Constitution and Old Glory. This is largely due to their never reading more than the Second Amendment, and mistaking a piece of cloth for the concepts it symbolizes. In Freudian terms, they are the American Id.

Expecting these sad people to behave beyond impulse would be like expecting your dog to meow, or your cat to bark, or Trump to be honest. It's not in their nature. Yet they remain a minority. There are more of us, than there are of them. Some are at the Ego level, and others represent the Super Ego. Thus, it's a matter of combining those two forces, and not just come November. We need to be more than silent spectators of this fight. And that requires the best efforts of every individual.

Peace,
H2O Man
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