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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 08:49 PM
Number of posts: 64,822

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Which Way the Wind Blows

I had two phone calls yesterday from upset people saying that Trump is seeking to steal the 2020 election. "Yes, of course," I said. It will be like 2016, both said. "No," I replied. "This is far worse."

As terrible as that theft was -- and we are experiencing the horrors this year -- the country did have a peaceful transfer of power in January of 2017. The theft of the 2020 election ends that democratic process necessary for constitutional government. This demands that we not limit ourselves to thinking about this in terms of "how," but expand to the "why?" For it is only from this context that we can understand the consequences beyond Trump's not wanting to face legal consequences for his criminal behavior.

Now, without question, avoiding legal consequences is an immediate goal. This includes Trump's concerns for his family members, not limited to those serving themselves from within his administration. To a lesser extent, it also includes non-relatives in his administration. But we cannot stop our analysis there, because that is merely one step. We need to go further.

The second step requires us to remember Steve Bannon's desire to destroy our state, meaning the federal government. Destroying the concept of a peaceful transfer of power after the presidential election is demanded by those with like minds. And is it not evident that one-third of the voters are willing, even eager, for exactly that? Keep in mind that at the time of the American Revolutionary War, 1/3 of the colonists supported the Patriots, 1/3 supported England, and 1/3 were neutral. How many eligible voters fail to exercise that right?

The third step is one we are all too familiar with. What type of world "leaders" does Trump show the most affection for? Dictators. Obviously, we all knew that Trump wanted to exercise unlimited powers as president. And that he has done his damnedest to destroy the very institutions that are intended to prevent any president from exercising that unlimited power. And he has had the willing help of republicans in the House and Senate who are willing to betray their oath of office and ignore the Constitution.

Now, let's consider the two ways in which those "leaders" Trump cuddles up to maintain their power. Some, like Putin, pretend to hold elections in which they "win" about 98% of the vote. The second is rule by dynasty, where totally unqualified family members enjoy insured political power.

It would be an error to think that the Trump plan is limited to Donald's desire to "win" by the biggest landslide in American history. Likewise, they are not only intent upon placing a christian zealot on the U.S. Supreme Court in order to advocate for Trump if the 2020 election results are contestted. It goes way beyond that, though that alone is surely unacceptable.

This is instead the rout by which democracies are overthrown, and nothing less. We are in a fight unlike any other in our nation's history. So it won't surprise those who know me if I connect this to the sport of boxing. In another conversation I had yesterday -- with a former heavyweight champion who now fights for social justice (and has recently begun reading DU) -- I brought up one of the last paragraphs of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s April 4, 1967 speech at the Riverside Church in New York City. Let me quote from it:

"Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter -- but beautiful -- struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we tell them that the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise,we must choose in this crucial moment of human history."

Hopi Message

(A Blackfoot friend shared this message with me today.)

Message from White Eagle, Hopi indigenous.

“This moment humanity is going through can now be seen as a portal and as a hole. The decision to fall into the hole or go through the portal is up to you.

If you repent of the problem and consume the news 24 hours a day, with little energy, nervous all the time, with pessimism, you will fall into the hole. But if you take this opportunity to look at yourself, rethink life and death, take care of yourself and others, you will cross the portal. Take care of your homes, take care of your body. Connect with your spiritual House.

When you are taking care of yourselves, you are taking care of everything else. Do not lose the spiritual dimension of this crisis; have the eagle aspect from above and see the whole; see more broadly.

There is a social demand in this crisis, but there is also a spiritual demand -- the two go hand in hand. Without the social dimension, we fall into fanaticism. But without the spiritual dimension, we fall into pessimism and lack of meaning. You were prepared to go through this crisis. Take your toolbox and use all the tools available to you.

Learn about resistance of the indigenous and African peoples; we have always been, and continue to be, exterminated. But we still haven't stopped singing, dancing, lighting a fire, and having fun. Don't feel guilty about being happy during this difficult time.

You do not help at all being sad and without energy. You help if good things emanate from the Universe now. It is through joy that one resists. Also, when the storm passes, each of you will be very important in the reconstruction of this new world.

You need to be well and strong. And for that, there is no other way than to maintain a beautiful, happy, and bright vibration. This has nothing to do with alienation.

This is a resistance strategy. In shamanism, there is a rite of passage called the quest for vision. You spend a few days alone in the forest, without water, without food, without protection. When you cross this portal, you get a new vision of the world, because you have faced your fears, your difficulties.

This is what is asked of you:

Allow yourself to take advantage of this time to perform your vision-seeking rituals. What world do you want to build for you? For now, this is what you can do -- serenity in the storm. Calm down, pray every day. Establish a routine to meet the sacred every day.

Good things emanate; what you emanate now is the most important thing. And sing, dance, resist through art, joy, faith, and lov

RBG




Rest in peace, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. You fought the Good Fight. Thank you for that. And you left us the lessons of your example.

Now, a simple message to the DU Community: The death of this powerful lady is surely a heavy blow. It hurts. It would be foolish to attempt to deny this. But it is not the end of the fight.

Admittedly, I'm not the smartest person in this room. But I'll bet a dollar to a doughnut that I have the most experience in fighting. And in 329 boxing matches -- and thousands of rounds sparring -- I do have some experience in getting hit hard and being hurt. Yes, I do!

I just watched a film of RBG working out in a gym with Stephen Colbert. I believe the film was taken after her first round fighting cancer. Now, there was one tough lady. I'm sure she hurt, but she was 100% focused on fighting. That was an important lesson we must keep in mind.

Somewhere in this large, old house, there are films of a few of my boxing matches. Fortunately, they are on 8 mm film, so I can't subject you to them. Instead, above is film of one of the toughest men to ever fight, Smokin' Joe Frazier. But before I comment on the above film, a little background.

Joe had lost twice in the trials for the 1964 Olympics to Buster Mathis. However, because he broke his hand in the second bout, Mathis declined to represent the USA. This allowed Joe to, despite the fact that he, too, had broke his hand in that second fight. Joe won Olympic Gold. Buster went on to be a top contender in the professional ranks, and Joe went on to be the world heavyweight champion.

The above film is of his first fight with tough Jerry Quarry. The first round was one of the most explosive in boxing history, with Jerry landing bombs that hurt Joe. On his way back to his corner when the round ended, Joe smiled to himself, and hit himself a couple times on his head. Why? Because he knew he was in for a really tough fight, and even though part of it would be difficult, he welcomed the opportunity to prove he could pull out the victory.

RBG had that same fighting spirit. Her death is sad, and comes at a bad time. There are, in my opinion, two options: we can fight for the title, despite having a broken bone in our hand, or we can wring our hands and give up. By fighting the Good Fight, we can honor her spirit.

Machine Gun



Jimi Hendrix died fifty years ago today. There are so many great songs by him that it would usually be difficult to select one to use to head an essay. But after watching both Barr and Trump's public utterances this week, Hendrix's New Year's Eve "Machine Gun" strikes me as the best bet, for we have a president, assisted by the attorney general, actually expanding their war on the United States. "Great googlamoogla," as Rubin Carter used to say when we discussed very strange things.

I've found Trump's attempts to wrap himself in the flag mildly annoying. Republican shitheads have been doing that since the days when Jimi Hendrix amazed crowds during concerts in the 1960s. I agreed with the hippies and YIPPIES! that recognized that the American flag really belonged to us, not the creeps on the right-wing. Jimi recognized this concept, most famously with his powerful version of the Star-Spangled Banner at Woodstock.

But this week, both Barr and Trump went way too far in their attempts to ignite violence in the streets of the United States, by -- among a dirty laundry list of nastiness -- laying claim to the U.S. Constitution. I say, "Fuck that" -- instead, I propose wrapping them in the confederate flag until they are firmly encased in our nation's septic system of shame.

I had a curious thought this morning, as I listened to a Hendrix CD. What does Donald Trump dream about? For I have never read any study of the dreams of sociopaths. Does his utter lack of conscience prevent his subconscious from relaying meaningful messages to him? Is there any connection between his dreams and his noted tendency to avoid sleep? Or does he simply have wet dreams of McDonalds products? Wet dreams of raping and ravaging America?

We know that Donald is paranoid, certainly to a degree that is at least equal to the two most paranoid presidents of the modern era. Both Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were paranoid, even in their most relaxed times as president. And both had an anti-social flavor to their thoughts and actions in the White House. We know little if anything about Nixon's dreams -- possibly this is related to his late-night alcohol consumption -- though we do know that on at least one night, he prayed that he would die in his sleep. Most historians and social scientists would agree with me that this is not only pathetic bt definition, but that it is not the night-time prayer that we would want any president before Trump to engage in.

LBJ, on the other hand, would tell some of the people that he kind of trusted about his haunting dreams. They fell into two distinct types, neither of which require Freud's 1899 book, "The Interpretation of Dreams," to understand. Let's take a look at these two types, shall we?

The first were dreams of paralysis. These had actually started in 1955, after his heart attack. He was 46 at the time, and had just been selected to serve as the Majority Leader in the Senate. But towards the end of his first term as president, they increased in frequency. And they became a nightly event in his 1964-68 term, playing a significant role in his decision not to seek re-election.

The "paralysus" dreams took various forms. They included being chained to his desk in the Oval Office, being caught in a river where he could only swim in circles and never reach the shore, and variations of his head being attached to Woodrow Wilson's body. I would suggest that these indicate he felt a bit trapped as president.

The second type can be classified as LBJ's "stampede" nightmares. The first example was his dreaming that he was in a pasture on his ranch, when suddenly he became aware that a large herd of cattle were coming in his direction, about to run him over. The second was a variation on this theme, that began shortly after the 1968 New Hampshire primary. His aides had informed him that he was going to lose the upcoming April 2 Wisconsin primary. The following morning, he told Doris Kearns Goodwin that:

"I felt like I was being chased on all sides by a giant stampede. I was being forced over the edge by rioting blacks, demonstrating students,marching welfare mothers, squawking professors, and hysterical reporters. And then the final straw. The thing I feared from the first day of my presidency was coming true. Robert Kennedy had openly announced his intention to reclaim the throne in memory of his brother. And the American people, swayed by the magic of the name, were dancing in the streets."

Again, I have no idea of what -- if anything -- Trump dreams about. But I think that it is our patriotic duty to serve as his worst fucking nightmare. Thus, the combined forces of Black Lives Matter, college students, poor people, school teachers and college professors, journalists, average American citizens, and others should begin dancing in the streets (with face masks and practicing social distancing) in preparation for the November election.

Peace,
H2O Man

Positive Vibrations




Let's see: the west coast in flames, the gulf being flooded, corona virus, racial tensions, economic crisis ..... 2020 has been a hell of a year. On one hand, the Bob Marley message seems the exact opposite of the growing list of awful things. However, in a very real sense, they fit togather -- much like Paul and John's lyrics on the 1967 song "Getting Better."

Paul: "It's getting better all the time."
John: "Can't get much worse."

How bad is it? Even the Trump cult members, including on those sad, sad saps that worship at the alter of Q-anon, know the country is in real trouble. Still, in an important way, it is indeed getting better, if not all the time. We are seeing Trump melt-down on live television, as it unfolds.

We know that he will try to steal the election. The nonsense with mail-in voting being a "threat." The shit with the US Post Office. (My mailwoman took a couple pictures of my MoveOn "We Love the Post Office" bumper-sticker this afternoon and posted them on facebook.) He will welcome help from foreign nations, not limited to Russia. More help will come from the Middle East.

It's important to recognize that the 2016 help from Russia, particulary the misinformation and disinformation inserted on the internet, will not be as effective this year. While it's true that 25% of the population will be fooled by them, all conscious, thinking people know the deal. And there are more of us than there are of them, including in the states we need to win in November. And we have more reason to vote than they do.

Because Donald is a sociopath -- many experts are saying the most important in US history, maybe wotld history, and that he is a very stable genius -- and so we can't be overconfident and let our guard down, there aren't many other things he can do, except lie, whine, hold rallies, and call in to Fox & Fiends and Hannity. But he lacks the talent, insight, and ability of a Nixon, or even Reagan, in terms of governing, for good or for bad.

The books and tapes that have recently been published upset him. Those loyal to him are discouraged, and beginning to turn on one another. One slob is "on leave," after posting a paranoid post on the internet. Those that are not loyal to him will express their frustrations in an increasing series of leaks to the media.

Perhaps the only thing he has left as an option is to lsten to Stephan Miller, and start a war -- directly or indirectly -- and declare it a national emergency, hoping to gain "patriotic" votes. As if we aren't already confronting a half-dozen domestic national emergencies.

Winning the White House is essential. At this time, we are in very good position, and Trump is in a terrible position. And it's getting better all the time.

Peace,
H2O Man

The Smallest Bird

"Be a good neighbor. If my garden is ready before yours, we should share mine now, and yours later. Too many people don't understand the power of sharing. You have to remember that all of the earth is the Creator's garden, and he shares it with us. That's why I say that sharing is divine intervention.

"And we sometimes miss the song of the smallest bird. We do not listen closely enough. But that song of the smallest bird is the prettiest. It lifts the Creator's spirit to hear her song. Now that is divine intervention that people overlook every day."

-- Chief Paul Waterman, Onondaga Nation


I was thinking about the above quote -- from my 4th interview with him -- after talking to my daughter this weekend. She had been on her daily walk in a Boston park when she saw a man in distress. She told me that other people were making wide circles to avoid him, before learning that he had lost his cell phone. She tried to help him find it, as he explained it is his lifeline. He is homeless, and has a record of non-violent offenses that makes getting employment difficult. So my daughter gave him money for a new phone, and he called her an angel.

Her mother had called her as my daughter was helping the man. Her mother said the guy will probably spend the money on drugs, and that my daughter shouldn't have tried to help him. I reminded her of back when she was ten, and we were out on the lawn talking. She told me that she went to church with her mother, because she didn't want to hurt her mother's feelings -- but that she didn't think her mother or the others at the church understood Jesus's message. I reminded her that the Irish know that Jesus comes to us as the poor, and that Gandhi said he believed in no God but the God of the poor and suffering. And that Chief Waterman, who she considered her grandfather while growing up, said that sharing id divine intervention.

I read something on the internet today, where a person expressed the belief that Trump supporters were mentally ill. I will suggest that rather than viewing them as individuals with a psychological illness, there is more benefit found in considering it as a group behavior best understood in a sociological context of a cult. For while many Trump supporters have what was known as an axis 2 personality disorder in my day, many others are relatively "normal" people.

Cults have a long history in this country, and an even longer one in human history. There are many that form around a charismatic leader, often having a religious nature. Many disolve after the leader's death. Others become somewhat institutionalized, in a bureaucratic manner. Sociologists recognize several general types, including destructive cults (the Manson family), political cults, doomsday cults, and racist/terrorist cults. Thus, when we consider the Trump, we see the blending of the four, as well as the dangerous synergy of this toxic combination.

By their nature, cults must control the thinking of their members, in order to control the group's behaviors. To accomplish this, the cult members must willingly give up an increasing part of their individual identity, and as a result, decrease their sense of individual responsibility. Thus, for example, a person who sincerely thinks they are Christian will totally ignore the teachings attributed to Jesus, and walk wide circles around a human being in need, or be okay with locking children in steel cages .....and, at the same time, dismiss the Black Lives Matter protests and talk about individual responsibility.

Thus, we are not looking at individual mental illness, so much as we are confronting the shared delusions of a group psychosis. That is a distinction that is essential to understand, in order that our society might begin to heal. In order to begin to heal a sick society, we have to start as individuals. That includes sharing, and taking the time to listen to the song of that smallest bird.

Peace,
H2O Man

Morrison's Thumb

“A sociopath, on the other hand, has the same regard for financial obligations as he does to personal ones: no remorse, no conscience. Get what you want now, and damn the consequences later.”
― Mary Jo Buttafuoco


This morning, I heard from an old friend who is a teacher in a southern state. As of Tuesday, she was one of 39 people diagnosed with Covid 19 .....you know, that virus that just disappeared when the sun came out in April. The "old gang" very concerned, since another otherwise healthy friend died from it in the spring.

There have been some interesting conversations among us in the two hours since our friend shared this news. She is furious, as many in her community still believe Trump's lie that the virus is a hoax. Other friends are debating if Woodward is a hero or a villian for the information documenting that Trump knew the truth as far back as February. (In fact, Trump knew as far back as at least December, 2019, but ignored the coming crisis.)

No matter what one thinks about Woodward -- older forum members may recall detailed conversations about his role in reporting on Watergate in the days of the "Plame threads," when I provided the information that informed on my opinion of him -- his new book has added pressure on Trump as an individual, and on his administration. This is, of course, distinct from the Trump cult members, who are still confident that the covid hoak will dissipate in April, 2020.

We did not need a Q-anon to predict the responses of the ilk of Kayleigh McEnany, who has assured the public that Trump's lying to the public is proof positive of his heroic status. Surely her description of Trump brought an image of a flock of angels, tears in eyes, leading a standing ovation along with their recently deceased relative. I could fucking puke.

Of more significance, in my opinion, is how we can anticipate Trump reacting. The old boy is already under pressure from a number of things. Covid is still raging, and will surely pick up in intensity as we approach Election Day, much the same as a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico before it hits land. The economy isn't good, despite what the White House pretends is real. The polls, both national and more importantly in states, indicates that Biden will win the election.

Trump's hopes for a bump in the polls from the republican confederate convention proved as disappointing as a premature ejaculation before their party could get their trousers unzipped. No hump, no bump there. But Woodward's new book is only one is a series of releases that expose the tawdry Trump family.

The most important of the books, in my opinion, will likely appeal to a fairly small audience, which is a shame. "Compromised: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump," by Peter Strzok, is essential reading. The threat that Trump poses to our national security obviously did not disappear in April -- like magic. (I'm hoping that Peter will agree to do an interview for this forum soon.)

Since the release of Dr. Bandi Lee's book, "The Dangerous case of Donald Trump," I've spoken here about the increased level of danger that a sociopath under pressure presents. We can hope that, because Trump is a cowardly man with limited abilities, he will stick to telling increasingly outrageous lies ......that if Biden wins, the Democratic Party will outlaw Christmas, force white men to undergo abortions on command, incarcerate innocent people in cages near the Mexican border, and give antifa caravans all of the guns an explosives that the Q-anon militias now have. We can deal with that.

However, Trump will be open to doing far worse things to avoid the consequences of losing the November election. Even as I write this, I know that dick-dripping Stephan Miller has Trump's ear. And I don't put anything past a sociopath who is being advised by a nazi.

Peace,
H2O Man

Summer's Almost Gone




I've just come in from picking my daily meal from my garden. I had been pulling some weeds, too, which serve as a constant reminder that the Earth is alive, and constantly bring new life. I heard my chickens and Guinea hens making a fuss, and looked up to see a very large bald eagle soaring overhead. Against the blue sky, it made a beautiful sight. I tried to assure the birds that the eagle wasn't interested in them, but their noise continued until the eagle was long gone.

It is in the low 80s here today in the northeast. Summer is coming to an end, and soon it will be fall. Even in the relatively short time I've been alive, there has been changes in the climate here. But, overall, the seasons come one after another, and with this, life forms come and go. We all have a turn.

On Sunday, I was told that my last blood uncle was very sick. My son took me for a ride to visit the rural farm, where he and my father grew up. The family had lived in Nutley, NJ, until the Great Depression resulted in NYS being unable to pay Grandpa's construction company for the latest highway going into NYC. His company had also put in the piping that brought water to the city from an upstate reservior. At age 58, Grandpa moved the an already old farm, which had neither running water nor electricity. While we were there, I got word that my uncle had died.

One can learn about life by watching the endless cycles. I have a picture hanging on the wall, of my great grandparents and their children after arriving from Ireland. I have pictures of my grandfather with his family, up at the farm. And on and on, though generations. Each had their turns in the eternal now.

I check DU for a news update. An OP/thread about CNN's Brianna Keilar catches my eye. I watch qa clip of herfrom earlier today:

https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2020/09/08/keilar-military-attacks-sanders-lies-fact-check-vpx.cnn

Trump isn't the first president to lie. He just does it more frequently, with less talent, but with better results with his supporters, than anyone before him. And, by no coincidence, like the worst liars of the past, this president is surrounded by criminals, for he is a criminal. It is possible that he is the "greatest" liar and criminal to ever inhabit the Oval Office. More, unlike Nixon and Reagan, "many experts" have noted he has accomplished this in record time.

Nixon set the bar for corruption very high. He was the 1961 Roger Maris of crooked politics. Today's experts will note that Nixon served a longer season than some of the earlier presidents. But his administration's record seemed destined to hold for a century:

https://watergate.info/analysis/casualties-and-convictions

Then came Reagan-Bush. As hard as it was to believe, their administration out-did the Nixon team's record:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reagan_administration_scandals

Others would attempt to set a new record when George W. Bush's supervisor, V.P. Dick Cheney, was running the show. But the system, imperfect as it is, held until Barack Obama took over. The country had eight years of Obama-Biden to heal, although there was an under-current of rabid republican hatred growing.

The 2016 election delivered a four-year season of hate in America. We have endured the worst liar in the White House. And, while we can't be sure of just how many more of his administration will face legal charges after Biden and Harris take office in January, 2021, this may be the most corrupt administration ever. And that makes the thought of crushing them in November very attractive, indeed.

While Walls Tumble

"The moment of triumph had turned catastrophic. What should have been a peaceful march through the heart of black Memphis to the steps of city hall had exploded into a full-on riot. Looters ran wild. The police moved in with Mace, nightsticks, and tear gas. A sixteen year old boy was shot to death by the police. Fifty other people were injured and another 120 arrested. The governor called up four thousand National Guardsmen to restore order and the mayor virtually sut down the city."
-- Tavis Smiley


The above quote, taken from Smiley's important book, "The Death of a King," tells of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Thursday, March 29, 1968 aborted march in Memphis. Smiley's book focuses on the difficulties King encountered in his last year on earth, including the only time that a King-led march involved protesters engaging in violence. Because events drom when King returned to Memphis for another march, scheduled for a week after the first, is generally overlooked when MLK is remembered.

The majority of the marches that King led involved tension and violence. But it always came exclusively from the white "counter-protesters" that gathered to oppose the Civil Eights movement. King was even stabbed with a letter-opener while giving a speech. And, of course, he was assassinated while in Memphis when he returned for the second march. Indeed, the only time that King was involed in a march without tension was the Augest 28, 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

How did the March 29 march turn violent? The media reported that a gang known as the Invaders had with the protesters, and they were identified as the ones that initiated the violence that ended the march. King and his closest associate, Ralp Abernathy, knew that the national media would blame King for the riots. Much of the press had turned on King after his April 4, 1967 speech at the Riverside Church in New York City, and conected the war in Vietnam with racial and economic issues in the US. It was one thing to integrate a bus or a lunch counter, but quite another to question the county's economic and foreign policies.

King and Abernathy would lear "why" the rioting started the next morning. Three members of the Invaders came to Martin and Ralph's motel room to apologize. At first, Abernathy told them that King was sleeping, and that they could not see him. Ralph was protective of Martin, and patted the young men down to make sure they were not carrying weapons. Then he told them how much harm they had done, not only to Martin Luther King, Jr., but to efforts to bring social justice in their city. (Ralph Abernathy; When the Walls Came Tumbling Down; Harper & Row; 1989; pages 420-421)

King also spoke with the three young men. He learned that the sixteen year old killed by the police was one of the Invaders. He also learned about the gang members' frustration with their being left out of the planning of the march. This was rooted in the tensions between representatives of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, local community leaders, and the Invaders.

The national leadership of the SCLC had not been active participants in the planning of the first march. They were busy planning for King's proposed "Poor People's Campaign," scheduled for Washington, DC, that summer. Thus, it was regional SCLC leaders that were involved in the brief planning -- they did not conduct, for example, workshops on non-violent protest.

More, there were tensions between the SCLC leaders, Memphis's community leaders, and the Invaders at the few planning sessions. This, of course, is natural under the best of conditions. It was more of a factor under the harsh circumstances in Memphis. An example of the disagreements came when the Invaders requested SCLC funds to rent hotel or motel rooms. Local community leaders thought they were asking for help to avoid the police. (Steven B. Oates; Let the Trumpets Sound: The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.; Mentor; 1982; pages 460 - 470)

King recognized that the young men were sincere in their apologies. He knew that the Invaders' violent outburst were the result of their frustrations in thinking they were left out, plus the lack of the non-violent workshops. King recognized that frustrated young men, especially in crowds, sometimes make poor choices. So he invited them to participate in the non-violent march that had to happen the next week. (David J. Garrow; Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Perennial; 1986; Chapter 11, The Poor People's Campaign and Memphis 1967 - 1968)

King did not live to participate in the second march, or the Poor Peopl's Campaign. His final speech, in Memphis the night before he was assassinated, still haunts America. If we are ever actually able to make it to the top of the mountain, we need to recognize and honor the human Martin, rather than the plaster of paris image that tends to separate him from humanity. For he was far more than the "I Have a Dream" speech. Far, far more. This includes his interactions with the Invaders.

Later on the night of King's death, Senator Robert Kennedy was scheduled to give a campaign speech in Indianapolis. The city's police chief warned RFK that he could not provide adequate protection if the gathering crowd became violent. Kennedy went ahead, and spoke to the crowd of an estimated 2,500 from the heart. In his improvised speech, he told the people -- who were unaware at the time -- about King's murder. He spoke about his own experience, losing his brother to similar violence. He talked about the need to combat hatred in America.

That night, Indianapolis was one of the few large American cities to not endure riots. Across the country, there was more violence than at any time other than the Civil War. At the same time RFK was addressing the Indianapolis crowd, the Pentagon had begun to put into place a plan developed after the Watts riot, to take control if black citizens were to engage in rioting in a given city. By morning, enough cities were on fire that the plan was primarily focused on protecting Washington, DC.

Also that night, President Johnson told governors and mayors to not over-react. However, by the following day, LBJ ordered the Army and National Guard to be mobilized, primarily to protect Washington, DC. In transcripts of the White House tapes from that day, there is a heated conversation between the president and Chicago's Mayor Daley. LBJ is demanding a strong military intervention, while Daley explains that would create more wide-spread violence.

(Note: I do not support the rioting, burning, and looting associated with recent protests. But I do understand it. With the exception of the violence started by boogaloo boys and militia nerds, those engaged in such activities do not see any connection between "politics" and their lives. While it is true that we do not have a Martin Luther King or a Robert Kennedy at this time, we do have people in leadership positions within the Democratic Party, community leaders, and people at the grass roots that can deliver similar messages. That is an important part of restoring democracy, and bringing about social justice.)

The Troubles

“This morning from a dewy motorway
I saw the new camp for the internees:
A bomb had left a crater of fresh clay
In the roadside, and over in the trees

Machine-gun posts defined a real stockade.
There was that white mist you get on a low ground
And it was deja-vu, some film made
Of Stalag 17, a bad dream with no sound.

Is there a life before death? That's chalked up
In Ballymurphy. Competence with pain,
Coherent miseries, a bite and sup:
we hug our little destiny again.
-Whatever You Say Say Nothing."
― Seamus Heaney, North


In his 2002 book, Irish author Tim Pat Coogan noted that what are referred to as "The Troubles" began three centuries before Columbus landed in the Americas. I have been watching as the news reports on events in the United States, that suggest that a domestic version is an option that this country is heading towards. As much as I love reading Irish history, I am hoping that we can turn this around.

My late friend Rubin "Hurricane" Carter often said that there is only one race -- the human race. Though not an orginal thought, he would expand on this theme based upon his own insights. Within our race, he said, there are several tribes: the black tribe, the brown tribe, the red tribe, the yellow tribe, and the white tribe. The white tribe was subjected to extended-family conflicts over the centuries, such as when the French fought the German, or the Irish fought the English. Yet, for most of history, if one of the non-white tribes attack one of the white families, the entire white tribe would unite to devastate that non-white tribe.

In American history, there has been resentment from many in the white tribe against those whites who advocated for, and even stood with non-white individuals and tribes. It led directly to violence, for example, during the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. Thus, the violence we see spreading throughout our country -- our "Troubles" -- has been here since Columbus sailed into the Americas.

My son bought me a copy of a book that I've been wanting to read. The book is, "White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America," by Nancy Isenberg (Penguin Books; 2016). It documents a "family secret" that played a role in American history, which we inherited from British society. Just as the ruling class in Britain believe the white tribe was superior to all non-white tribes, they were convinced that the white tribe was stratified in terms of value as human beings. They refered to those they defined as the lower levels as "white waste," and eventually as "white trash."

By the late 1600s, the British elite were loading the "white trash" onto large boats, and sending it across the Atlantic. There were investments on the potential to exploit the "New World's" resources. They had anticipated an experience as easy as the Spanish had in Central America at first, and were caught off-guard by the red tribe's people, who practiced a woodland form of democracy. The resulting conflicts would mark the birth of the first twin of America's Original sins. The second twin, of course, was the importing of slaves.

The colonial era up through the 1880s, the American experience is best understood as red, white, and black. By no coincidence, Gary Nash's 1974 book, "Red, White, and Black" provides fascinating information on the inter-relationships between these three tribes. Whites viewed blacks as domestic animals, to be kept on plantations for commercial exploitation. And the whites recognized the risks involved in blacks held in slavery learning to read. Whites viewed Indians as wild animals, creating problems for whites intent upon taking (re: stealing) their lands. Besides hunting Indians, there were efforts to "civilize" them, including by teaching them to read -- this at a time when literacy was not a common feature among white trash.

The single biggest conflict in US history came with the Civil War. The south wanted to expand slavery into the new territories. Lincoln, among other reasons, wanted to use these new territories to expand employment opportunities for the growing number of European boat people arriving on American shores. The result, with some significant exceptions, was a fight between the south's Scotch Irish and the north's more recent immigrants from the Irish starvation ships. This resulting in the freeing of the blacks held in slavery, and unleashed violence on those Indians living in a manner on their territories that got in the way of "manifest destiny."

This planted the seeds of resentment among much of the "confederacy's" white trash and elites. The resentment has flowered over the generations, and even pollinated white trash in other regions of the country. Thus, in the 20th century, other than being involved in two huge family feuds known as WW1 and WW2, the American elite whites were in an ongoing competition that involved the European elites of the white tribe to control and exploit the non-white tribes.

This included the domestic non-white peoples. To do so, the elite whites relied upon a trick: turn the white trash's resentments towards the non-white people. This was highlighted by the white trash's violent resistance to the Civil Rights Movement. In many parts of the country, it was impossible to tell the difference between the police and the KKK. Those alive at the time remember this; younger people are aware of this today.

A curious dynamic began after WW2. While there had long been a fringe of the white tribe that advocated for non-white people, the Civil Rights Movement increased these numbers, especially among the white youth. There were still some issues -- members of the black and red tribes recognized that they could identify leadership within their own communities, and some whites had difficulty in understanding why this was essential. But over the decades, a significant balance -- not perfect, as it involved human beings -- began to form.

An important part of this process began during the 1960 presidential campaign. Martin Luther King, Jr., endorsed John Kennedy, and soon the majority of black Americans became Democrats. Soon, LBJ passed the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, although he knew his party would lose the southern elite and white trash that had long been Democrats.

Though imperfect, the Democratic Party began to represent the non-white minorities. The party would find both leadership and an important voting block among black citizens in particular. The republican elite -- almost exclusively white -- determined that they would need to create more hostility among the white trash, in order to win elections. And here we are today.

The connections between "race" and economic class warfare on the part of the white elites, would cause them to lose their grip on power, should white trash learn should white trash -- and the white middle class -- realize they had more in common with most non-whites, than with the self-appointed elites. That would take the fuzz right off their peach. And so the white trash in particular has been encouraged to think that they have more in common with a Donald Trump than a George Floyd.

The white trash cannot tell the difference between King's March on Washington and the Watts riot. And some middle class whites say that good people should use King's tactics to advance, woefully ignorant of either King's economic message or the terrible violence that he and his followers were met with. Both have an inability to understand that the riots, with burning and looting, is not connected to the Democratic Party.

The white trash today, in identifying with Trump, also view the non-white peaceful protesters as dangerous, and the white ones as traitors to the white tribe. Thus, we are seeing the white supremacists -- often with at least low-level support and cooperation from some police -- are convinced that they have license to attack and kill the "enemy." As this cycle increases in strength, we are moving as a society to a domestic version of "The Troubles."

We have three options. We can say, "That's terrible" when we see reports of the increasing violence, and hope we are not the next victim. We can put into practice Malcolm X's say,"In the jungle, there are hunters. There are also those who hunt the hunters." Both lead directly to The Troubles. Or, we can engage in non-violent activities, those covered in the Constitution, and work to revive a civil society. That is the only way.

Peace,
H2O Man
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