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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 08:49 PM
Number of posts: 71,535

Journal Archives

Thank you, President Biden!


" Last week, the White House released its national strategy to counter antisemitism, with hundreds of recommendations. ...."

I find "Bend the Arc" to be among the most important organizations in the country today.

The Fire this Time

"Those born to die by fire never drown." -- Irish proverb

Mid-August last summer, Rudy Guiliani was informed that his status had changed from "subject" to "target" in the Georgia investigation of the for defendent's attempt to overthrow the Georgia 2020 presidential election. Rudy, who was scheduled to testify to the grand jury several says later, had to decide if he would take the fifth, as he had been the defendent's attorney and point man in Georgia.

Yesterday, it was reporter that the defendent's legal team had sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland that both complained about Jack Smith, and requested a meeting. There are reports that Mr. Smith's investigation into the defendent's stealing classified documents and refusing to return the is winding down. I will speculate that the defendent was notified that he is a target, and is being offered an opportunity to testify before the grand jury, to explain exactly why he took the classified documents, and what he planned to do with them.

Flower Children

" The earth laughs in flowers." – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I thought of this quote yesterday, as I took an early evening walk out to my pond to feed the fish. There are more blooms on the apple and cherry trees than there have been in years. The field is also filled with flowers of various colors, and the swamp is displaying the unique ones that grow there. I'm thankful for those April showers, although the lawn needs frequent mowing, and there are more weeds in the garden than usual.

I had read an e-mail from my son moments before going outside. Out of the blue, he said he felt bad about some of the punches he had hit two sparring partners with years ago. Both were state champions, who had never complained, and had landed plenty of hard punches on him. But perhaps what really struck me about this coming up all these years later was that I had just gotten off the phone with my brother.

Among the many things we discussed over a couple hours was some of our regrets from the past. I suppose that "life review" is something people our age do, and one can feel pretty bad about times they were shits to others. I told my brother how, several years ago, I had contacted a lady to apologize for something rude I had said to her in school in 1966. She laughed and said she had no idea what I was talking about, that we are friends, so forget it.

My brother said that he wondered if our father's transformation into a nice guy when we were adults involved him wishing he had not been mean when we were kids? Of coirse. I quoted Rubin, that we are all born into the exact circumstances that we must overcome in life. I told him I understand this best when I am alone -- or with the dog -- out in nature.

I said that a good friend (cilla4progress on DU) had recently spoke of getting out in a park to refresh. (OP linked below) He said that I am lucky to have the property I have, so I don't need to travel to a park. And that where he lives in Eugene, OR, the parks are not as pleasant and safe as they were even a few years ago. The social problems we see reported on the news are contaminating the once safe areas he took for granted in the past. So he may come east, to spend a few weeks with me.


My brother is something of an independent when it comes to politics. His favorite Democrat was always Tip O'Neill in the late 1970s and '80s. But he is far more coservative about some things than our late brother and I. So I was glad when talking about the state of the union, he said that he thinks President Biden is doing a really good job, under the most difficult of circumstances.

As I fed the fish, I was thinking about 2024. The defendent hasn't attracted widespread support from independents in the past, and certainly is becoming more unpopular with them. I think that quite a few of them agree with my brother about President Biden. More, we are seeing that close to half of the republican party aren't supporting the defendent in the primary. Not enough to prevent him from getting the nomination at this point, but surely many who will not vote for him in 2024.

There are numerous serious problems in this country. Progress can and will be made after we win a crushing defeat for republicans next year. As I walked back to my house, looking again at all the beautiful new life hrowing around me, I felt confident about the future. I get inside. My daughter has messaged me, saying she is on the phone with Rev. William Barber. The earth is laughing with flowers.

Hey, Jude

"Hey Jude, don't make it bad.
Take a sad song and make it better."
Paul McCartney; Hey, Jude; 1968

Like millions of Americans, I was opposed to CNN holding a "town hall" with the defendent. This was made worse -- if possible -- by CNN finding an audience of republicans "sympathetic" to the former president. Perhaps next CNN will hold a mess hall interview with Ed Kemper, in front of a sympathetic audience. It might help CNN in their effort to be recognized as the new "fair and balanced" media source.

I do not subscribe to CNN, and thus did not watch it. I did have five phone calls while it was on -- the first and last from the same person. Each told me that Kaitlan Collins was doing a fantastic job. Since then, I have seen a few brief clips from the event. And I have read DU, and watched some coverage of it on MSNBC, primarily saying it was horrible. I think that both of these viewpoints are correct, as there are many diverse aspects to consider.

There have been reports that the defendent's campaign was euphoric with the defendent's behavior. Rumor has it many told the defendent that they reached the most powerful climax of their adult lives while watching the town hall. I assume we all know that to stay in the defendent's good graces, one has to tell such lies. Certainly no attorney watching could be pleased, as we will discuss soon.

"And anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain,
Don't carry the world upon your shoulders."
McCartney; Hey, Jude

There are good people who found the event, and even discussions of it, to be "triggering." That is valid. Having a person that a jury determined to be a sexual predator insulting his victim, while trying to justify his criminal behavior, should disgust every decent human being. But it takes a greater toll on some individuals.

Because the next 18 months promise to be among the ugliest in American political history, with the defendent being the likely republican nominee, those people can and should put self-care first. For we are confronted with a malignant tumor that not only is supportive for stealing classified documents, lying about the outcome of the 2020 election, sparking January 6, kissing Putin's ass, and advocating white nationalism -- they laugh at jokes about sexual offenses.

No matter if we wish it was different, that is the reality of what we are confronted with. Al Sharpton notes we can either ignore the defendent, which would be perilous, or confront him. I think that wee are in a good position to trounce him, and devastate the republican party in 2024.. Andthis town hall can be used to our advantage, to the defendent's disadvantage, and to crush republicans at all levels

"And don't you know that it's just you, hey Jude, you'll do,
The movement you need is on your shoulder."
McCartney; Hey, Jude

Let's set emotion aside, and focus on logic. It is reported that E. Kean Carroll is seriously considering another case against the defendent, for the terrible things he said about. He did not learn, from the jury's verdict two days previous, that not everyone will wilt like a republican primary opponent under his verbal attacks.

The defendent foolishly said incriminating things about J6 and the stolen classified documents. Jack Smith is fully aware of this.

In a normal primary, a republican will campaign to the right, hoping to move towards the centter in the general election. The exception has been when an incumbent faces no serious, if any, primary challenge. In these circumstances, the candidate begins with a positive message that appeals to the entire party.

The defendent, of course is in no sense the incumbent ...... despite what his supporters say in Jordan Klepper interviews. But while he faces no serious primary challenge, his campaign is a self-pitying, bitter appeal to the maga republicans. The defendent has, in the past, driven a number of republicans to become independents. His current attempts to be a victim will result in others either voting for another candidate in the primary and general elections, or to not vote at all. This is a good thing.

The defendent's grotesque attacks on "nasty" women, and his refusal to answer questions on abortion, will damage him even more. There are enough jackasses like those in the simply patheyic sympathetic audience that he will win the nomination. This allows us to hang the defendent around the necks of all other republican candidates. Very few will risk insulting the maga voters by speaking out against the defendent.

We've got this.

True Defendent: Episode Two

In the May 9 episode of "True Defendent," the defendent lost a civil law suit brought by E. Jean Carroll. In today's episode, the defendent ponders is his being found to be a sex offender would be viewed as a positive qualification as he applies for a second stab at being president? Twice impeached, once indicted, and now with his being deemed a sexual predator by a jury, could there be any serious opposition in the republican primary?

Scene 2: Upon learning of his federal indictment, Rep. George Santos recognizes it as an opportunity to improve his chances of the defendent picking him to run as the vice president on the republican ticket in 2024. He reassures himself that it is as realistic as the defendent ever being president again. Being taken into custody is a huge plus.

Scene 3: At a top secret meeting place, some republicans serving in the House and Senate meet to discuss what the defendent's being found to be a sex iffender will mean for their party in 2024. In an act of never-before-bravery, one actual dares to scribble, "I hate him" on a piece of paper. Safety required he not show it to anyone. For there was a general consensus among the others that the defendent was still popular with the base ..... and they really aren't confident they can stop him.

Scene 4: During a mid-morning nap, Mitch McConnell slowly wakes up, and begins to push his head out of his shell. Though Mitch lacks a soul, he is not as stupid as he looks. But he knows that Matt Gaetz is, and that Marjorie Taylor Greene is, too. That while they can be elected in their districts, they are not the people he wants representing the defendent or the party, in that order as elections approach.

Mitch knows that, in the simplest terms, there are three groups in every election: those who always vote for you, those who always vote against you, and the undecided. He knows that the defendent repulses those that vote against him, energizing them. He is ignoring the undecided, and focused only appealing to the maga crowd. But he thinks that there is no possible way for him stop the defendent, and prevent his being a ball & chain on the party.

Mitch knows that Kevin McCarthy lacks not only a spine, but the capacity to tell the truth twice consecutively. Hence, Kevin is able to take every position, and none at all, on every isue. "Any man porking Maria Bartiromo has something wrong with them," the elder testudine says with a craggy grin. The camera fades out.

Previews of our next episode: Mike Pence, convinced that recent events are Jesus's signal to announce he is running, sets down his glass of warm milk, and practices looking presidential for Mother. Senator Kennedy makes a motion to censure Mitt Roomney for saying the defendent shouldn't be president. Eric Trump starts a fire when he throws a match on the toxic combination of the grease from Joe Tacopina's hair, oil from Rudy Giuliani's face, and the corpse wax from the defendent's melt-down. Camera fades as mar-a-lago goes up in flames.

Lonely People

U.S. Surgeon General Vuvik Murthy gave a major talk about the epidemic of loneliness last week. He serves as a strong reminder why we need to elect as many Democratic candidates in 2024. I've had family and friends contact me to say what a great job Murthy did in documenting this growing unhealthy social reality.

There was a time when social isolation was largely considered an issue with the rural elderly. But, as Paul McCartney noted, it involves people living in urban settings. It is not uncommon for people to not know their neighbors in apartment buildings. I'm old enough to remember LBJ's War on Poverty, and Reagan's War on Poor People.

Murthy confirme much of what we already know. It is painful to hear the statistics for teenaged boys and girls today. Adolescence is by nature a confusing time. One tries to answer the question, "Who am I?" and "What am I supposed to do?" No more pretending to be Michael Jordan when playing basketball, as some did in childhood. (In my day, it was cowboys and Indians, though I preferred being Sonny Liston.)

Murthy notes some of the factors relating to individuals having a sense of resiliency. In the long course of human history, "resilience" has been the rule, not the exception. Resilience theory focuses on the human ability to respond to adversity, frustration, and misfortune in either healthy or unhealthy ways. This may remind some about the concept of internal and external locuses of control, a topic I have posted about numerous times here.

A healthy sense of resiliency is something we see in the Netflix series "Chimp Empire." It overlaps the individual and group. It is what brought this country through the Great Depression, WW2, the Sixties, etc. But the lose of resiliency -- correlates directly with the numbers of people who self-identify as victims, overlapping with an external locus of control -- can been seen in what Australian psychiatrist Nick Haslam accurately calls the "concept creep" that blurs the meaning of words such a "trauma."

There is a list, for example, of ten experiences associated with the lives of adolescent school shooters. Some indeed can cause actual trauma, while others do not. Having four or more of these puts a kid -- and it's almost always a white male -- at a much higher risk of such violence. More, there are even more kids that endure these same experiences, that won't commit a school shooting. And those with resiliency tend to become strong adults

There are a list of qualities that adult mass shooters -- another group that is primarily white males -- tend to share. Childhood trauna can be among them, although it has a much closer association with individual and/or less-than-mass shootings, the use of knives, etc. Adult mass shootings tend to be rooted in things other than trauma: racism, being fired from a job, the death of a loved one, and/or divorce or the break-up of a relationship.

None of these cause real, long term trauma in and of themselves -- unless the death of a loved one was violent, unexpected, and witnessed. Having a loved one die obviously is tough, and can result in sadness and depression. That is natural. Being fired from a job or getting divorced can be upsetting, but does not cause trauma. Recognizing that there are more non-white people in the country is not traumatic, though it clearly upsets some individuals.

Encountering rude people -- even the aggressively rude -- in the parking lot is not a cause of trauma. Witnessing people shot, being shot, or having a loved one killed in that same parking lot can cause actual trauma. As noted on page 36 of "The Violence Project: How to STOP a Mass Shooting Epidemic," the "elasticity of the term diminishes the experience of people who have experienced true trauma."

Until our society increases its resiliency, two things will happen: first, there will continue to be mass shootings, and second, too many good people will fail to see it is up to us to put an end to it.

The River

"If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment."
-- Henry David Thoreau

I recently witnessed an argument on facebook between two people I know. One is an older liberal, the other a young progressive, which started out as a minor disagreement on Democratic Party activities in the houses of Congress. It was, like so many issues, one where there is no "right" or "wrong," just a difference of opinion.

Within minutes, each expressed their disappointment in the other. This rapidly led to each saying the other's father would surely be disappointed in their son. Soon the older gentleman was threatening to beat the young man up the next time he saw him. This resulted in me contacting the older guy, and saying it is never wise for guys our age to get into physical fights with young men -- especially those who are bigger and stronger than we were in our physical primes.

He began listing fights he had been in, going back more than fifty years, and assured me that he could still dish it out. I pointed out that without a doubt, guys our age could "dish it out," so long as we were up against someone who refused to fight back. But our bag of old bones do not stand up well if a younger, bigger, stronger guy fights back. Indeed, I said, the history of boxing is young lions knocking out old lions.

I pointed out that a person in their late twenties is unlikely to view things exactly like a seventy year old. Nor is a seventy year old likely to view the world exactly the same as they did in their twenties -- for if they did, they have wasted decades of opportunity for growth. One's values may remain a constant, but hopefully their level of understanding matures.

I'm sad to say that the hostility between the two has failed to dissolve. This will keep me from including them from working together with me on the upcoming 2024 elections. At this point, I'm only focused on NYS's 19th Congressional District, and there does not appear to be anyone challenging Josh Riley in a primary.

“Do a good deed and throw it in the river. One day it will come back to you in the desert.”
-- Rumi

What we throw into the river goes downstream ..... in space and in time. Now, I want to be clear here, I'm only expressing my own opinion. But I think the social-political river has had too much toxin waste tossed in. I see a corporation named Fox doing it. I see the defendant doing it. Plenty of others, too. I have neighbors who advertise hate and fear with yard signs supporting the defendant.

I can only speak and make decisions for myself. No question about it. But I do not to drink from a cup of poisoned water. No question about that, either. Thus, in the example I noted to begin this essay with, I don't like to see Democrats throwing poison into that river. There is absolutely no benefit accrued from it. For self-righteous, suspicious, and knee-jerk accusations aren't going to distinguish us from what King called "our sick white brothers and sisters." Or any skin color, that participate in the current of social disease.

Take the topic about Senator Feinstein. I am not happy that this great Senator has missed votes. I don't know "the" answer. But I can read a variety of opinions here, and recognize that we want people with different opinions participating in discussions.

I've heard that President Biden is likely to announce on Tuesday that he is running for re-election. He and VP Harris will easily get our party's nomination, and will win next November. I realize there are two announced candidates besides President Biden that say they are running. But President Biden will win, without adding a single dollar or time campaigning, every contest in the primaries.

It doesn't upset me in the least that some people I know, who are registered Democrats, do like one or the other potential candidates. I support President Biden, because I like to win. I'm familiar with this river, and I know how important winning in 2024 is. Yet I want those who are considering another vote in a primary to vote for our candidates in the general election. They make up a tiny fraction of voters, it is true. But our party sometimes wins by tiny fractions. I don't see any meaningful advantage to insulting them.

I'm not disappointed that Dominion settled with Fox. Do I wish that Tucker, Sean, and others had to run the gaunlet and take a publib humiation? Of course I do. But that is our responsibility, not Dominion's. The case has provided us with all that we need. Plus there are other cases coming. We can reach all but thr brain dead.

I'll say it again: there is already far too much toxic waste thrown in the river. We see it every day, rearing its ugly head, with shootings, etc. It should be obvious to everyone that we are living in a sick environment. So consider throwing good deeds into the river.

H2O Man

Odd People

" Aren't a lot of people acting strange in a lot of different ways?" my daughter asked me. "Like getting into other people's faces if they disagree with them?" I enjoy her frequent phone calls from Boston. I had missed one yesterday, when my grandson was sleeping on my shoulder, and I couldn't get to the phone. But discussing this topic for an hour today was gun.

"Yes," I said. I noted that I have had numerous discussions on just this topic this week. Some in person, some on the telephone, and others on a couple of internet forums. There is a wide range of curious social and anti-social behaviors that people are noticing isn't quite "normal," what ever the heck normal is.

Next, my cousin called me. One of his friends from work visits him. They are both retired construction workers. Over the years, they have avoided discussing politics, as the guy is a Trump supporter. Union workers, or retired guys collecting a pension, who support Trump are lacking in common sense.

Everything went fine, until the guy was leaving. But the topic of politics was mentioned, which led to a heated argument, that came too close to a physical fight. It ended with "fuck you" being yelled both ways.

The most frequent question that I have heard this week is, "What are/were they thinking?" I sometimes ask myself that while watching the news. Hence, I have been sending the below link to a number of family and friends. It is a forensic psychiatrist talking about a range of people that seem to have deranged thinking. I think it is an important topic. It can be helpful in understanding that we exist in different "realities." This makes it difficult in many cases to maintain relationships with family members, friends, co-workers, and neighbors.

As one gets into the approximately one hour film, and the speaker documents the history of this strange "reality" of intertwined group of Americans, it doesn't really provide an answer to "are they sane" in the legal or psychiatric sense. It addresses this, in a way that should make us think. But it does answer one question, indirectly. And that is what, if anything, is the difference between Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Lori Vallow Daybell?

The Twist

“In order to be profoundly dishonest, a person must have one of two qualities: either he is unscrupulously ambitious, or he is unswervingly egocentric. He must believe that for his ends to be served all things and people can justifiably be shifted about, or that he is the center not only of his own world but of the worlds which others inhabit.”
― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

I came upon this wonderful quote this morning, and found myself thinking about it in the early afternoon hours as I worked in the garden. So much so that, rather than my usual focus on the teachings of Erich Fromm, I wandered into another row of thought: Jean Piaget's stages od development and cognitive theory.

Since 2015, there have been numerous OP/threads on what is known as narcissistic personality disorder. I've posted a few references to Fromm's "malignant narcissism," which was his term for sociopathy/ psychopathy. But thoughts on egocentrism occupied my head, as I took the dog for a walk so she could take her afternoon trump.

The defendant, of course, is exactly what Fromm had in mind as a malignant narcissist. As we watch the defendant "twisting, slowly, slowly in the wind" (Ehrlichman), and his popularity plummet with every whiny outburst, one might wonder how anyone could possibly support him? Again, Maya Angelou's quote came to mind.

Piaget noted that children, generally between the ages of two and seven, were at a preoperational stage of development. Thus, they are not noted for applying logical thought while attempting to understand the world around them. They do not have the capacity to decentralize -- meaning being able to consider two distinct things at a time. This is found when they are in non-social and social settings.

Now, most of our brain capacities will outgrow this stage. But, in many cases -- too many, in my opinion -- a person does not fully outgrow this, if at all. This is known as egocentrism. It is, as Ms. Angelou described: viewing one's self as the exact center of the universe, and being convinced that everyone else views "reality" exactly as you do. Egocentrism shares many of the features of narcissism, but differs enough to be distinct.

Thus, I ask, what if a group of self-identified maga-types actually thought that the defendant spoke the truth? That the defendant is not a pathological liar, because they lack the capacity to apply logic? What if a flock of bible-thumpers actually believe that, despite imperfections, that the defendant behaved in the spirit of the prophets, and that their loving, forgiving god was going to send non-believers in the defendant to an ever-lasting hell? And what might the synergy of these two modes of concrete thinking look like?

Since forum members are capable of considering two or more things, and applying logic, I will venture that you are likely thinking, "Why, it would look like the republican party of today." It would explain why, for but one example, so many lack the capacity to understand gun control in terms having to with other than the weapons they own. They feel "safe" when armed in public to the extent that they sincerely believe that the answer to school shootings is arming teachers. As Piaget noted, they are incapable of applying logic.

Now let's consider the war on women's rights. And that is what it is, a war. It is rapidly heading to a pre-pregnancy battle ground, known as "birth control." One need not have studied Sigmund Freud to understand that this is rooted in the republican's deeply rooted unhealthy attitude about sex and sexuality. I could speak at length about this -- from origiins to outcomes on the individual to social levels -- but I'll try to limit this.

What might a collection of people, who are convinced that everyone views sex in exactly the same manner they do, look like? Let's add in that before the age of, say, seven, they had rigid, uptight parents who associated sex with sin. Would they not be prone to projecting their feelings of guilt upon others? Would not the very thought of "nasty women" enjoying orgasms -- or worse yet,expecting them -- result in their feeling a need to punish those women? Do you think we are there yet? I do.

I'm not going to venture into a discussion on the advantages of not hating your enemies. As tempting as it certainly is, I know how difficult the defendant and his cult have made it. So instead I'll end with this: start working on electing Democrats at all levels of government in 2024. Otherwise, we will havethose with the cognitive limitations of children making adult decisions for us all.

Eiri Amach na Casca

" Theoretic chaos has replaced the idealistic thinking of old--and, unable to reconstitute theoretic order, men have condemned idealism itself."
-- Port Huron Statement

I was talking with my younger son yesterday about the social-political environment of today. In my opinion, his thinking is representative of his generation. As such, it is another link in the unbroken chain of American citizens that want to make the United States live up to its potential of becoming a more perfect union.

No two links in this chain are identical. Each is molded in the context of their times. After my son left, and I continued talking to myself, I noted how some of what he said reminded me of Tom Hayden's "Port Huron Statement." That powerful document has become obscure these days, despite it having once been central to the thinking of my generation. Yet even my own generation appears to have relegated it to being a footnote of a long past time.

I can't claim to have known Tom Hayden well. Most of what I knew came from reading. I did communicate with him lat in his life, and we discussed an interview for the Democratic Underground. I was curious the potential differences in thinking of the older Tom Hayden, with experience in holding poliical office, compared to the idealistic young man who wrote the Port Huron Statement. However, health issues kept postponing the interview, and eventually ended his life.

A lot has changed since the Statement came out in 1962. One could reasonably say the past is the past. A lot of changes have been positive -- I note, for example, that I was not forced to get up early this morning to attend Drake's Temple. Yet I remember Faulkner's saying that "the past is never dead. It's not even past."

Has my generation, despite our best efforts -- or what we pretend were our best efforts -- become our parents and grandparents? Confident that the idealism of the younger generations is misplaced and unrealistic? And that's not to say that it isn't, in many cases. Of course it is, or it would be realistic rather than idealistic.

Our generation dared to dream. And, as my late friend Rubin told me in 1974, it is only the fool who attempts the unrealistic who can be the hero who achieves the impossible. I think that spirit needs to rise from the dead.
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