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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 08:49 PM
Number of posts: 66,648

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House Select Committee

Between the House Select Committee's heand aring, the Department of Justice decision to allow cooperation, there was a heck of a good start in constructing the foundation for confronting the realities of the January 6 insurrection. As an old man whYesterday was a Good Day for America.o continues to watch youtube films of the congressional hearings that I've been addicted to since the early 1970s, I'd like to share some thoughts on why yesterday was so important.

Since that terrible January day, like many others on this forum, I've thought that Trump & Co. -- including republicans in DC -- were active participants to the lead up, beyond the big lie they had repeated since November, 2020. Yesterday, perhaps my favorite OP/thread on DU:GD was posted by Tennessee Hillbilly, asking if Liz Cheney knows "something?" Mt response, besides "recommending" the OP, was simply "Yes."

Now, I do not have any unreported information or insight on this. But there a value in applying common sense, logic, and rational thought when considering why the republican party is trying to distract from the Committee's hearings. This would clearly be information that will do damage to republican officials and the former president. To use a descriptive word popular in my youth, that information will be "heavy."

And that is exactly why yesterday's events are so important. In my youth, I used to do work on foundations. I assisted some guys who were more experienced with block, and was very good with stone. Old houses in this region generally have stone basements, and stone basements frequesntly require some up-keep every hundred years or so. Having government that respects the Constitution, honors the oath of office, and follows the rule of law, is one of those old houses, I suppose.

I remember one summer's afternoon, during my middle age, when the director of community services and I were watching the construction of two new buildings, one for the day treatment program, the other for the alcohol & drug abuse services. I told her the contractor's foundation was too shallow, and thus the ceilings would crack by spring. (I was right.) Was it not an effort by republicans, during negotiations for this select committee, to insure a shallow foundation?

The Department of Justice's decision to not oppose former officials testifying to the House Select Committee is a huge addition to the foundation being constructed to stabalize a heavy load. Should anyone decide to go to court in an attempt to avoid testifying, the DOJ will be on the opposite side.The federal courts are unlikely to go against the will of the two other branches of government.

One cay to use it to reinforce democracy and the rule of law. I realize it will not turn the vast majon surmise that the DOJ -- which includes the FBI -- knows quite a bit about the Trump cult's involvement in the planning and execution of the failed insurrection. There may be information that does not quite reach the level required for criminal prosecution. But it must be made part of the public record before 2022's mid-terms elections. When it is, it becomes our du Mantrity of the Trump cult to turn against him -- though some will flake off -- but it will help us to defeat them in future elections.

Peace,
H2O Man


Three Seats

"Since I've been writing to Pat, and he asked me not to let this prison explode, I've stepped forward and took control of the jail. Something that I never wanted to do, and of which is very dangerous to me ..... and now I am the director of the Rahway Prisoners Council on Penal Reform. So id tou and Pat and perhaps Russell P. really want to come into this pris"Since I've been writing to Pat, and he asked me not to let this prison explode, I stepped on and see what it is like ..... we can arrange a day in the near future. What the hell! If I can't come to you -- you come to me."
-- Rubin "Hurricane" Carter; letter to my brother Tom; 1974


I sat out at the edge of my lawn, and looked at where days of hard rain had created several streams. The water table has been full, and numerous springs on the hill behind me were gurgling, the fields saturated, and the run-off depositing deltas of organic materials on my lawn. These will soon be added to my compost pile for future gardens.

One of the streams that has run down near my driveway when the winter snows melt as long as I've lived here had cut a new channel the night before. It ran right into my garage, then a storage room, and next a gym, before starting to enter my kitchen. The rain was coming down at more than two inches per hour. My younger son had stopped in to use the gym, and was a tad surprised when he opened the door from the kitchen. He and his brother re-channeled the stream, then bailed out well over 150 gallons of water.

Both boys kept telling me to go sit down every time I attempted to help. Eventually I could actually feel the wisdom of their advice in my lower back and legs. While there is absolutely no scientific evidence proving my theory, I think all of this could be somehow related to my needing crutches today, and why I am limited primarily to sitting and thinking. I'm not even capable of bending down to feed the pride of neighborhood cats and kittens who hang out in my garage. I am thankful for my sons assistance.

Local communities located on the river flats had significany damage resulting from the rain and flooding. Bridges on the highways were washed out. While not as severe as the two major "floods of a century" in less than twenty years, it again shows that the environment is changing -- which implies that human behaviors must change if we are to adopt to climate change.



Next, I sit on a rock-solid stone wall on the other side of my house. The Guinea fowl and assortment of chickens gather in front of me, anticipating the bread I feed them for their mid-day snack. One rooster, who follows me like a dog on those days I can walk around, does the infamous sideways shuffle around each handful I toss on the ground. Only a young banty rooster -- clearly a game cock -- stands up to him. The rest of the flock moves like a school of fish, almost as an individual organism. I am fascinated between the similarities between the birds and the sick republicans inhabiting our towns and cities.

When feelings of anger, anxiety, and fear saturate the minds of human beings -- when they experience an inability to exercise any wholesome control over events that flood their lives, the result can be a prison riot like Rubin experienced in Trenton, or the freaks invading DC on January 6. What primitive brain function transforms humans in the manner that certain species of grasshoppers turn into locusts? To be convinced that aggression and weapons provide the best insurance of survival when the social environment changes? To draw a disturbed man from the security of his mother's home, to don a cheap and insulting version of a holy man's ceremonial outfit that Edward Sheriff Curtis photographed a century ago? What motivates a person to believe that will give him an honored status on January 6, when it could only identify him as severally disturbed?

Spending so many hours sitting provides me ample opportunity to think about these things. I remember a clip from Lawrence O'Donnell on "The Last Word," reporting on Trump's ugly rant at a prayer breakfast (see below). Perhaps that single clip provides the evidence I seek. For it is hatred that turns fear and ignorance into the locust rage.




I decide to go out to the pond, to make sure the western bank held up to the rain. Navigating on crutches becomes more difficult as I make my way through an area that in normal times is a swamp. As I get to the chair at the water's edge, I can see my own reflection on the pond's surface. The pond is in fine shape, and the fish that felt the vibrations from my steps gather in front of me, eager for the food they associate with my being there. It takes time for my eyes to adjust so I can see the fish at various depths in the water. But the cedar rocking chair my son has placed there for me is comfortable.

It was while sitting near water that Onondaga Nation Chief Paul Waterman would speak to me about past events in Iroquois history, when his ancestors' ancestors experienced phases where the social order faltered. These periods were marked by violence that pitted tribe against tribe, leading to clan against clan. Around 450 ad, the second Iroquois prophet, known as the Peace Maker, reached out to the leaders of various groups, and taught cooperation's advantages over conflict. This included ceremonies that were highlighted by burying weapons of war under white pines, leading to the saying about burying the hatchet.

When Rubin was running for the director's position of the inmates' council, he approached the leaders of the various groups of inmates with a similar message. As director, he got concerned people, including state politicians and forensic psychologists, to visit Rahway. In my files, I have a lot of the paperwork he sent me copies of back in 1974. With the cooperation of the leaders of the inmate factions, they gathered weapons from inmates, and turned them over to the administration. As a direct result, he was sent to the notorious Vroom Psychiatrict Building, as in a sick environment, few good actions go unpunished.

In his second book, Rubin noted that as a young man, he had favored the Malcolm X approach to that of Martin Luther King. By now, however, he understood that King had demonstrated the correct path to resolving social conflict. We used to have long, late night phone conversations about King's using three of the Greek words for "love," for Martin was as human as any of us, and is known to have made hilarious jokes about some of his opposition, most famously Eugene "Bull" Connor.

King was not talking about "love" in the sense of one's partner, nor of the type we feel for other realtives and friends. Rather, he advocated for a general love of humankind, and a recognition that people ruled by hatred are victims of their own ignorance. That hatred and the related negative emotions are parasites that eat upon one's good qualities. And that would be the message that Rubin sought to spread in his second life.

Storm clouds begin coming in from the western sky. Using my crutches, I stand up and take a last quick look at my reflection on the pond's surface. The rain begins to fall as I am struggling to get by the swamp's edge. I laugh to myself, and remember that Rubin dedicated his second book to every human being who bravely looks within to try to heal without.

Peace,
H2O Man

Bells

“Are you a communist?"
"No I am an anti-fascist"
"For a long time?"
"Since I have understood fascism.”
-- Ernest Hemingway; For Whom the Bell Tolls


I had hoped that after arrests started for the January 6 insurrection, the Trump cult activities would begin to dissipate. That our legal system would function as a strong social medicine, and that the threat would disolve, rather than diffuse. Being hopeful can be a good thing. However, recognizing that the FBI had arrested 13 Trump cult members on October 8, 2020, and charged them with planning the violent overthrow of the Michigan state government -- including kidnapping Governor Gretchen Whitmer-- raised doubts. It is perhaps more realistic to recognize the very real potential for violence to metastisize.

When there are attempts to overthrow a state or federal government brewing within, say, four months, we recognize that there is a problem. We know that the wettest dream of the Trump cult militias is to have a civil war, with the military and law enforcement side with them. Indeed, there were members and former members of both participating in the January 6 attack on this country.

However, as events on January 6 showed, to the traitors' surprise, a lot of police actively opposed the insurrection. Thus, their "Blue Lives Matter" beliefs were put on hold, as they viciously attack those brave officers. Today, of course, we hear republicans calling the violence something akin to tourism, and many of those arrested expressing feelings of betrayal -- by the very system they sought to overthrow. The republican politicians are attempting to create a diffusion of responsibility, both on the law-breakers and their own parts. The law-breakers are equally pathetic in their whimpering.

"Diffusion of responsibility" is a sociological-psychological concept that defines almost every state and national republican politician in the country today. Their reaction to January 6 is to try to further deny citizens the right to vote. This restricts their right to vote in any and every local, state, and national election. They are bowing to the madness of the extreme white, er, right-wing of decaying corpse of the republican party.

So, we should ask, what is next? Jill Wine-Banks, the Watergate Girl, said earlier this week that there is a fair chance of further political violence, possible at the state level, in August. I think she is one of the most important voices in the United States today, using her unique mix of education and experience to reach her opinions. I tend to rely upon the sociological - pstchological models to reach mine. In this instance, I recognize that those here with military experience may well have somewhat different opinions which are valid and important for our understanding of current events and predictions for our future.

In the models I prefer, it is important to note that "warfare" is not limited to, for example, the Civil War, with two identified armies engaging in a series of military actions. This type is, by definition, limited to city-states. But warfare also includes raids, feuds, guerilla warfare, and terrorism. The first two define most of the pre-1492 warfare in North America, while last three defined the civil war in Ireland over the centuries. The city-states in Central America pre-1492 also had standing military that were able to conduct war.

In my lifetime, there have been numerous examples of guerrilla -- or irregular -- warfare. The Vietnam War, "the Troubles" in Northern Ireland, and conflicts in the Middle East are examples. But we need not look beyond the United States for such things. Para-military groups such as the Ku Klux Klan conducted operations, primarily in the southeast, to terrorize non-white citizens. In time, the KKK members engaged in terrorist activities without wearing their bed sheet uniforms, including numerous bombing and arsons, of homes and churches.

In the late 1960s through early '70s, there were left-wing groups that engaged in irregular warfare in our country. The Weather Underground is the most obvious example. However, Bryan Burrough's 2015 book "Days of Rahe: America's Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence" (Penguin) documents how widespread it actually was.

It would be an error, in my opinion, to think that the alt-right will cease violent activities in their war on the United States. Indeed, they are convinced that paragraph two of the Declaration of Independence not only justifies, but demands their activities. Thus, the most important antidote to the threats they pose is the combined and coordinated efforts of local, state, and federal law efforts to investigate, expose, and prosecute -- as we have seen in Michigan and in the January 6 insurrection. Yet there are obvious issues relating to this, when we consider the identities of the insurrectionists, including some that were in the Trump misadministration at the time.

Be awake. Be alert. And stay same.
H2O Man

Good News: Road Rage #7

I had some good news this morning, that I'd like to share with the DU community. You may recall that in October of 2014, an intoxicated, off-duty officer shot my cousin and his son in a "road rage" incident. My cousin's 26-year old son died in my cousin's arms. My cousin underwent surgery that saved his life, though obviously, his life would never be the same.

When the thug -- who had a history of threatening people with guns, including shooting towards teenagers on 3-wheelers who were not on his property, and at least two other drivers on local highways -- had a bail hearing, members of this community contacted both the DA and judge to say no bail. This effort more than doubled the previous high number of citizens who had voiced an opinion on a previous case. Although the thug likely wouldn't have gotten bail, and surely faced conviction, that DU response really caught the attention of the county's legal community.

After the thug was convicted, my cousin became determined to file in civil court for damages. The convict's wife had divorced him, and had accessed 50% of his pension from the New York City police department, from which he had "retired" under circumstances that remain sealed. The first PI attorney we met with said he was passing on the case for two reasons: it wasn't a "deep pocket," and it would be unlikely my cousin could ever collect, even if he won the case. He said that the NYC police and the group handling their pension fund had an impenetrable wall surrounding them.

The second attorney said it was possible to win a judgement, but there was less than a 5% chance of ever collecting a dime. He would rsearch every previous case he could regarding pensions, and said it would be a long and frustrating case with little chance of a satisfactory ending. Then he said he didn't care if the thug's only resource was an old wheelbarrow, let's get started.

They won a civil case in NYS Supreme Court. And the state appeals court upheld the thug's conviction. Still, Mr. Thug attempted to appeal the civil court judgement on his own, in hand-written papers from his prison cell. No surprise that failed. Thus began the five and a half year effort to collect. My cousin wasn't interested in the potential money itself, but rather was opposed to the thug having any funds to make his incarceration less unpleasant. And t has been a hell of a legal battle from day one.

But today, my cousin got the first check. It looks like he will be able to make larger monthly donations to the two local animal shelters, which was his son's passion in life.

Peace, H2O Man

Allen's Cell

https://actupny.org/reports/prisons_map.pdf


I can't say what Allen Weisselberg is thinking about this weekend. That would be mere speculation on my part. But I wonder if, for the first time in his life, he might be thinking about New York State's prison system. I will go out on a limb here, and say that he hasn't socialized with anyone who has spent time in the system of maximum, medium, and minimum security facilities who could tell him of their personal experiences.

Since visting a bud in one of those facilities isn't likely something Allen has done, he is perhaps dimly aware of two types of people in them: guards and inmates. Little people and losers. None in his elite social class. Not the type of people he would sit next to at a Yankee's game.

Through a combination of employment and personal life I've visited a number of these facilities. I've had friends employed at a variety of them, as well as friends who were incarcerated in them. I'm not going to focus on my thoughts about the state's prison system -- I'm just saying they are unpleasant at very best, and not the type of place Allen would do well in.

In times long since past, members of organized crime had an honor code that demanded that they serve their time with their lips sealed. I note that experience never resulted that, upon release, they were reformed, or even the same as the day they entered. For prisons are horrible places that either takes a person to a more intense level, or destroys them completely. And that level of intensity presents both good and bad potentials.

In the Trump era, only one man kept his mouth shut while incarcerated, Paul Manafort. By no coincident, the reulsive Manafort is clearly the most gangster of the Trump circle. Phone taps showed that Michael Cohen mistook himself for gangster while bullying people for Trump, but that weak shit melted under heat. There aren't any G. Gordon Liddy-types around Trump. No, these are house cats that rarely leave their pillowed lives, and never set foot in the wilderness.

Even the minimum security facilities are nothing that Allen's life experiences have prepared him for. Again, as I said, I have no idea what he is thinking about this weekend. I suspect that tomorrow, a lot of Americans will be thinking about the meaning of "freedom." Maybe Allen likes fireworks. But I think that at some point between today and sentencing, Allen will think about New York State's prisons.

Peace,
H2O Man
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