H2O ManH2O Man's Journal
Apologies if this type of information has been posted already. A friend contacted me about supporting the people of Ukraine. It is great that the US and European countries are providing support for the military of Ukraine. I think that there are a lot of people like myself who want to do something. My friend said the group in the below link is a good resource for doing so.
Thank you for your consideration.
Years ago, my father asked my brother and I to assist him in the basement. A rat had literally broke through the cement floor, and had taken up room in the pool table. When we had it trapped in a corner, it quite literally attacked my father. I used a coal shovel to remove and eliminate the threat. I found myself thinking of that corner rat today while looking at Putin.
Now, although the Russian attack on Ukraine came as no surprise, it still made me feel sick when I saw coverage. I felt sick all day. Since my head injury three years ago, I have not experienced "anger," and am disappointed that my doctors said that emotion is unlikely to return. I decided to test that, by reading and watching a number of things on Putin.
This included "old" stuff on youtube. Some of those -- including several from other countrie -- were very impressive in their analysis of Putin. Yet others, such as a speech by John Mearsheimer, were very wrong. Now, John has been called "the most influential realist of his generation. On many issues, he has great insight. So, how could he be so wrong, while others were right on target, when it came to Putin?
I think the answer is thus: John thought entirely in the context of geo-politics among rational human beings. Intelligence sources include psychological assessments of various world leaders. I thought of my 2020 series of three interviews with Dr. Bandy Lee about Trump, his spporters, and finally the likelihood Trump would instigate violence if he lost to Biden. How I've been saying that Putin is the sociopathic thug that Trump dreams of being, since hearing the "genius" bit. So my primary focus was on listening to assessments of Putin that blend military and psychological concerns.
In between, I watched news updates, talked on the phone, and communicated with people on the internet. I was pleased to know that my west coast brother had been watching some of the same reports on Putin that I have been. I'm confident that everyone has an accurate opinion of Putin, and just how dangerous he is. While the Putin invasion of Ukraine is not going as he anticipated, we must recognize that he might intensify the violence And he has access to terrible weapons.
The pictures and reports of his recent meeting with his gang were curious. The distance between him and them would seem to at least hint that he prefers some degree of isolation. I was reminded of a clip from the movie "The Untouchables," linked below:
The only difference is that Putin carries a bigger stick. He sees the public rejection of his war, not that he cares if people like him. He counts on instilling fear by killing critics. He wants people to be too intimidated by his threats of violence to oppose him. But it is evident that he has miscalculated. Government leaders are not fleeing -- they are taking up arms. The people of Ukraine are determined to fight. NATO is not divided. He expected that fear of him would play a decisive role, and that isn't happening.
We hear the the next 72 hours will be extremely important. Of course that is true, but this will not be over any time soon, unless Putin is removed. I hope someone near him steps up. I know that sounds harsh, but I think it would be best. Yet we have witnessed that those surrounding Trump were too cowardly -- and often too greedy -- to do so, and it seems less likely anyone in Putin's inner circle will step up to the plate. Thus it is likely that Putin will demand an increase of violence, in the manner of a cornered rat.
" Our apologies, good friends, for the fracture of good order, the burning of paper instead of children . . . We could not, so help us God, do otherwise . . . thinking of the Land of Burning Children. Then came the lines that tore through the consciences of many like me. How many must die before our voices are heard, how many must be tortured, dislocated, starved, maddened . . . When, at what point, will you say no to this war? " -- Daniel Berrigan, quoted by James Carroll (link below)
My daughter called today, one of several who expressed outrage about Putin. Three people also visited me today, unscheduled, who are similarly outraged. My daughter said she was frustrated, because she could not identify anything she could do to make the madness stop. My cousin is upset by film of frightened children, huddled in a bomb shelter.
That reminded me of Daniel Berrigan's poem from a bomb shelter in another "country" that a large country declared existed, and sending up peace-keeping forces. A few weeks after that, he led the group to destroy draft records, explaining it with the above quote. I have the pleasure of communicating with Daniel and Phillip in the 1980s, and their example opened up a new world of thought for me.
A foreign power had done the same thing Putin is doing today on the island of most of my ancestors. Some of my relatives on our island fought and died in the resistance. A distant relative from a US city used to deliver goods to his friend Bobby Sands. My ancestors had been active in the war for their nation for generations. But contact with the Berrigan brothers both allowed and forced me to re-evaluate my thinking. Not about self-defense, mind you. But about war as a historic ball & chain that the human race drags along, with the corpses of burned children, to paraphrase some poet.
I saw on FB some people saying, "Yes, but what about _____?" I taught my children, by the age of five, that if I was discussing their behavior, it was unacceptable to say, "Yeah, but what about ____?" My son who works with kids in crisis at a school tells me that lesson is one that he frequently uses with teens. I find it pathetic that some adults' thinking is still stuck in the weak mindset. I suppose a good argument could be made that this isn't really "thinking." Some are incapable, for example, of recognizing the differences between Gorbachev in 1991 and Putin today.
In talking with my 92-year old maternal Aunt, I am reminded that in some distant chapter of our family's history, a Ukraine girl really knocked one of our grandfather's out. I am not saying that this was the root of McCartney's line in his classic "Back in the USSR." But it was similar. Two former heavyweight champions -- the Klitschko brothers -- and a current heavyweight champion, Oleksandre Usyk, are currently in Ukraine, supporting the resistance. Vitali Klitschko is, of course, the mayor of Kiev. These are all good men. Yet even on internet boxing forums, some Trump supporters insult them today. Asswipes.
I have, for years, though that our country was on the path to experiencing "the Troubles" that Ireland did. It seems likely to me that, for years to come, the people of Ukraine will have a similar experience. Children will grow up suffering from the hell of war. Like my daughter, I wish I could make it stop. But reality is knocking on the door. I told my daughter -- and everyone else that would listen -- the most important thing we can do now is to become fully invested in working for Democratic Party victories at all levels in November. For the only option is that the republican party, now Trump's party, supports Putin's violence. I do not think that all republicans at the grass roots are good with that. Nor do I pretend that all Democratic politicians are "perfect." But, as Rubin used to say, it's the difference between shit and sugar.
Hang in there. Take care of yourself. I split my television time between "news" and coverage of the theater-popcorn murder trial. We are currently in a theater of the absurd, and the unsettling previews have ended. The movie has just started. Be safe.
I've been listening to some Paul McCartney today. His works with the Beatles and since is amazing. A lot of great songs. Listening to this today, I was thinking ..... if everyone here works together and with others in our communities, we'll be as happy as this McCartney song come November.
But if we fail to, we risk being more in the mood of John's "Plastc Ono Band" LP, commonly known as Lennon's "primal scream album."
I could be wrong, as I sometimes am. Other times, I'm right. And I'm pretty sure this is one of them. I know that these are frequently stressful times for many, many people. And I think we could all agree that the direction that stress and anxiety is leading the republican party just isn't good. Or safe. So it's up to us, even though we may be dealing with tough things, to be busy between now and November. That doesn't mean a 24/7 concentration of effort, of course. But it does mean supporting those Democrats at every level running in campaigns this year. And putting in a good effort, no matter where you live, or what status you may hold.
When I was a kid, I enjoyed major winter storms. While this essay is not about the storm, I will say that as an old man, I still try to enjoy them. So in the early morning hours, before going to bed, I took the dog outside in the stormy weather. She discovered dome rabbit tracks around the chicken coup -- doubtlessly in search of a meal -- and followed them deep into the woods.
Normally, in a snow storm, the woods are silent at nice. I love that. However, with freezing rain, I was treated to one of nature's songs. All seemed good, until I approached the edge of the woods, and watched as a town truck purposefully knocked my mailbox down at 5:15 am/est. Hence, as I came in to lay down "hairy as a dog, for a good bite's sleep" (Lennon), I thought about how, as we walk the path of life, we are bound to encounter some idiots. They may be mad at their boss, frustrated by life's circumstances, or possibly idiots on their best of days
Now to my focus today. Like many of us, I remember when -- after the Columbine massacre -- videos of Harris and Klebold practicing their deadly assault were found. People said it was a shame these weren't found earlier, or there might have been an intervention that could have prevented the massacre. The majority of us are fortunate enough to not have encounters with jackasses like them.
Last week, a couple local guys -- one a high school senior, the other in his first year of college -- made a film that was chillingly similar to the Columbine videos. Their expressed targets were black human beings. The film was made in the county I reside in. More, the one guy attend the school my daughters graduated from. Where I did a few terms on the school board, at the request of the teachers union. Where I have many friends today.
Luckily, the video was posted on social media -- an option not available to Harris and Klebold. The school's administration immediately contacted law enforcement, and there has been an intervention. It remains to be seen what the eventual result of that intervention is, but at least there wasn't a massacre.
I'm in contact with a wide number of people that work in this region's schools. It is a stressful time for them. For, at almost every school, there are kids that are mad at their parents and authority figures, and frustrated with their lives. In life, I have learned one thing for certain: even good teen-aged boys are prone to do stupid things, without a hint of consciousness regarding consequences. It may be their duty, the same as dogs barking, birds flying, and the rabbit coming to the chicken coup for a nice meal. Yet they are still good kids.
Others are simply the type of guys who knock over mailboxes for a giggle. This may be particularly true for those with parents who believe Mike the Pillow Guy is an authority on elections, and who believe that January 6 was noble. Kids from those homes may believe knocking over mail boxes is the highest form of political expression -- the type 'ole Dad would be proud of.
But there are still others who are prone to think about assaulting others with dangerous weapons. Some will even discuss this option with a trusted friend. And a few will rehearse their assault. Like in Columbine, the pair will follow the same personality types, just as with the little girls in the "slender man stabbing" of 2014.
I was pleased to see the governor spoke about this situation. (link below) But it something that a politician, law enforcement officer, or a school superintendent alone cannot resolve. That needs to happen on the local level with an effort coordinated with county, state, and federal resources.
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