H2O Man's Journal
Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 08:49 PM
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“I think that politicians like Dean Rusk, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, and anybody else I might have listed before and now forgotten have lost their authority with wide sections of the American people.”
-- Tom Hayden; National Mobilization for 1968 Democratic National Convention.
“We can change the world
Re-arrange the world
It's dying ... if you believe in justice
It's dying ... and if you believe in freedom
It's dying ... let a man live his own life
It's dying ... rules and regulations, who needs them
Open up the door
Somehow people must be free
I hope the day comes soon
Won't you please come to Chicago
Show your face
From the bottom of the ocean
To the mountains on the moon
Won't you please come to Chicago
No one else can take your place”
-- Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Chicago
As both the Democratic and republican party’s 2016 presidential primaries approach their final contests, their national conventions are beginning to come into focus. Let’s take a look at what is likely to take place at each -- including which candidate each party will select as their nominee -- and what the consequences may result from each of those choices.
The republican national convention will be held from July 18-21, in Cleveland, Ohio. At this point, it appears obvious that Donald Trump has “won” the republican primary contest. However, if he does not reach the magic number of delegates, there is a very real possibility that the republican establishment will attempt to force a brokered, or a contested, convention. While there are slight differences between “brokered” and “contested” conventions, in this context, it simply means the party elites are not satisfied to let registered republicans select their own candidate.
The ruling class of republicans had, of course, picked Jeb Bush as their candidate well before the primaries started. Obviously, the overwhelming majority of republicans were unwilling to support another Bush-establishment candidate. John Kasich was tasked in February with staying in the primaries, despite his humiliating showing, to try to prevent Trump from getting the delegates required to win. As the only other option was Ted Cruz, the most repulsive person to ever seek the presidency, the republican establishment even considered drafting Paul Ryan. However, because it is clear that Trump has won the primary contest, their establishment will either opt to place a Cheney-like figure on the ticket as vice president, or risk an open rebellion if they attempt to deny Trump his rightful place.
Obviously, if Trump is the republican candidate, and attempts to call his own shots, the republican establishment will support Hillary Clinton. Indeed, she would hold great appeal to the elite republicans: she has been on Wall Street’s payroll, and is a true neoconservative. Thus, we have already heard republican elites ranging from the Koch brothers to Laura “Pickles” Bush singing her praise.
The Democratic National Convention will be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from July 25-28. At this point in time, it appears likely that Hillary Clinton will “win” our party’s nomination. This is not written in stone, of course, and there remains a possibility that unexpected events could derail the establishment’s best laid plans. Still, progressive Democrats should be making plans for how we will continue the Sanders revolution between today and July 24; during the convention; and going forward from there.
At the end of every presidential primary cycle, each party tries to join together to present a united front. This generally involves reaching agreement on the party’s platform. However, the “rank and file” voters have seen that despite the various platforms, the winner of the November election tends to “lead” in a manner that shows little if any influence from the platform.
Hence, progressive Democrats would be foolish to think that an acceptable outcome for the Sanders revolution would be some fine words and uplifting phrases being included in the Democratic Party’s platform. We are not going to be satisfied by a gentle pat upon our humbly bowed heads. Rather, we will be traveling to Philadelphia for the same reasons that this nation’s Founding Fathers did in the summer of 1787.
We will be joined by our friends and associates from the Democratic Left -- those progressives who are registered as independents, or with minority parties, but who share the same principles and values as progressive members of the Democratic Party. For too long, our party’s establishment has taken the Democratic Left for granted, assuming that they had no where else to go. This, of course, is merely an extension of the establishment’s reliance on the concept that progressive Democrats could be depended upon to vote for “the lesser of two evils.”
There is a legitimate concern on the Clinton campaign’s part, that those who support Bernie Sanders will not vote for Hillary, if she is the Democratic nominee. This includes both registered Democrats and the many independents that his campaign has attracted. And it includes the college students, who overwhelmingly support Bernie.
I can only speak for myself, of course. I’ve been a registered member of the Democratic Party, and have voted for each and every Democratic candidate in presidential elections since I became eligible to register and vote. At the grass roots level, I have worked with registered Democrats, and Democratic independents, for longer than I’ve been a registered voter. Thus, I am confident that, just as I’m comfortable for deciding who I will vote for, everyone else I know is just as capable of deciding for themselves in November.
This isn’t a “business-as-usual” year. In order to engage in any meaningful dialogue at the convention, we need to move beyond some of the Clinton campaign’s “talking points.” These are things that every rational person can agree are not accurate. Let’s look at a few examples.
Several of Hillary supporters have told me to leave the Democratic Party and join a third party if I’m not satisfied with my party. This failed attempt at rudeness is actually hilarious. But even a funny joke shouldn’t be told too often. No one “owns” the Democratic Party -- even though corporations definitely own some elected officials from both parties. Myself and many other Bernie supporters do not take orders from ethically inferior party members.
Do not tell us that if one does not vote for Hillary, it is equal to a vote for Donald Trump. Just because you couldn’t pass third-grade math does not mean that we didn’t.
And do not mistake the saying that “politics is the art of compromise” justifies the betrayal of one’s principles. It doesn’t. Such confusion upon your part strongly suggests that you need to re-examine the concepts of principles and ethics.
For those in the progressive movement -- including registered Democrats and independents, etc -- we need to begin solidifying our plans. Obviously, we are going to be involved in nonviolent protests against the machine. What would you like to see and experience in Philly in late July?
Posted by H2O Man | Tue May 3, 2016, 06:03 PM (11 replies)
“All people whose minds are healthy can desire peace, and there is an ability within all people, especially the young, to grasp and hold strongly to the principles of righteousness. Those principles of righteousness demand that all thoughts of prejudice, privilege, or superiority be swept away, and that recognition be given to the reality that the creation is intended for the benefit of all equally. Even the birds and animals, the trees and the insects, as well as the people. The world does not belong to the humans -- it is the rightful property of the Great Creator.”
-- The Peacemaker; circa 400 ad
The historical figure known as the Peacemaker lived in the northeast of what today is the United States of America. He was born at a time when society was in disarray: the empires of the Ohio River Valley were faltering, thus creating a failing economy among those people who had enjoyed the rural-urban system of trade. These tensions impacted relationships between communities, clans, and family life. Conflicts led to blood feuds, and people lived in fear of violence.
At this time, the people who lived in the northeast were dealing with changes in technology, as well as in the production of foods. Thus, there were also tensions between the sexes, and a growing shift in the balance of power between males and females. One can find parallels between that time and today.
The Peacemaker was a reformation prophet. The message that he delivered was based upon what are known as the Original Instructions. They are known in other cultures as the Ten Commandments. An earlier prophet -- a young man known as Sapling -- had taught them sometime around 1800 bc, again at a time of cultural change. What makes the Peacemaker unique is that he envisioned a form of democratic government that continues to work today.
Now, the majority of those college students who are actively supporting Senator Bernie Sanders’s run for president have never heard of the Peacemaker. Public schools do not teach about him -- though they should. However, we hear these wonderful young adults speaking about the very things that the Peacemaker said they would be. For great principles are timeless, and no individual ever “owns” them.
That brings us to one of the major differences between the campaigns of Bernie and Hillary. As elders who support Bernie Sanders, we urge today’s youth to rage against the machine, while our opposition tells them they must become cogs. Guess who they respect and listen to?
The other closely-related difference between the two groups was summed up beautifully by Albert Camus: “This is what separated us from you: we made demands. You were satisfied to serve the power of your nation, and we dreamed of giving ours her truth.”
That is what this movement is about: the truth of the American experience. And all of the best episodes in this nation’s history are rooted in democracy -- just as the worst involve the denial of basic human rights advanced by democracy. Democracy demands constant struggle. And that is part of the on-going American experience.
Keep on fighting the Good Fight!
Posted by H2O Man | Sun May 1, 2016, 04:41 PM (52 replies)
“Our principles do not change. Justice is always justice; freedom is always freedom. Great principles are constant. And so what they call the ‘old way’ is nothing more than principles. And they say you can’t go back to the old ways -- which means you can’t go back to justice, you can’t go back to equality, you can’t go back to what is right and what is wrong. Principles are how you exist above and beyond the emotions that you feel, to control and have discipline of one’s self. Self-discipline, not people making you behave, but the discipline where you don’t need police. That is how our people lived. There were no police. There were no jails. There were basic laws -- you don’t lie and steal. Tell the truth. Be strong. Look out for your brother. Look out for the ones just underneath you. Look out for the elders. Use your strength on behalf of the nation, on behalf of the people. Conduct yourself in a proper manner.”
-- Oren Lyons; Faith Keeper; Onondaga Nation
In a healthy society, the children are recognized as channeling the potential for human goodness, and the youth for demanding social justice. My generation -- which experienced childhood in the 1950s and ‘60s -- came of age in an era that included the struggle for civil rights; the ant-war effort; the women’s liberation movement; and the environmental movement. Also, not coincidentally, some of the greatest musicians and artists ever.
Many of us still hold the same great principles that we struggled for then. Thus, we were pleased when Senator Bernie Sanders entered the Democratic Party’s presidential primary. We have been impressed by the strength of the Sanders Revolution. There has been a re-awakening among many of old friends and associates from our generation. They are coming out of their “retirement” from social-political activism, and re-joining those of us who have never stopped the Good Fight.
We are encouraged by today’s youth, who have been an essential force in Bernie’s campaign. Indeed, history will record that in the 2016 presidential campaign, that Sanders was the only candidate who had significant support from college students. For they are demanding social justice, and based upon each of the numerous candidates who entered the race, only Bernie Sanders stands for the principles they respect and value.
As we enter the month of May, the Hillary Clinton campaign and its supporters will make increasingly more demands that Sanders suspend his campaign, and that his supports get in line behind their candidate. And, in the political sense, that is what usually happens after a tough primary. But this isn’t a business-as-usual primary contest -- nor is it over.
Several Clinton advocates have “offered” what they mistake for a middle ground: perhaps Bernie could simply stop speaking about the vast differences in principles between himself and Hillary. That, of course, is the exact reason why it is unlikely that those who support Bernie Sanders would have great difficulty in doing.
Politics, the Clinton campaign reminds us, is the art of compromise. That is true, yet should never be used as justifying a person’s compromising their own principles. There are definitely a lot of good people who sincerely support Hillary Clinton; they believe that she is the most qualified and capable candidate in 2016. But there are many others -- including in high positions within the campaign -- who have no sense of shame when they compromise the principles they once held. They are clearly insulted by the fact that the Sanders Revolution is based upon our highest principles, and that we are not willing to compromise our selves’ -- or our children and grandchildren’s future.
It is all too clear that the Clinton campaign -- including the candidate -- will have to address this issue at some point in an honest, even principled manner. Unfortunately, thus far, they have been invested in the worn and weak “you’re using right-wing talking points” bit. Pathetic. We aren’t concerned with the rabid right’s principles; hopefully, we all agree that they are corrupt. Still, we are very concerned about the business-as-usual lack of principles we see from the Clinton campaign.
“Business-as-usual” isn’t in play here. It’s not in the Sanders Revolution’s play book. It’s not an option. We will continue to move forward, right on into the Democratic National Convention. And beyond. Come election day, we will vote our consciences. Then we will continue the revolutionary movement, as the principled wing of the Democratic Party. We will continue to coordinate and cooperate with the progressive Democratic Left -- those that in business-as-usual circumstances could be taken for granted by the Democratic Party elites.
These elites have believed that, like progressive members of the Democratic Party, the Democratic Left had nowhere else to go. Surprise, surprise.
Posted by H2O Man | Sat Apr 30, 2016, 02:45 PM (44 replies)
“The future depends upon what you do today.”
Three days after the New York State presidential primary, any discouragement that Bernie Sanders’s supporters felt should have lifted. Yes, Hillary won more votes and delegates. And yes, the system was compromised by voting “irregularities.” Yet, when we review the outcome -- and the process that led to it -- the Sanders Revolution is gaining strength.
Let’s start by looking at Hillary’s history in the state. After deciding to run for the US Senate, Clinton bought a home here in 1999. In 2000, she ran for the seat being vacated by Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Initially, it was believed her opponent would be Rudy Giuliani; after he dropped out, Ricky Lazio became the republican candidate. Hillary won the contest with 55% of the votes cast.
Six years later, Clinton ran for re-election. Once again, the republican front-runner, Jeannine Pirro, would drop out; the republicans then went with sacrificial goat John Spencer. Hillary set a state record by not only winning 67% to 31%, but by carrying 58 of the state’s 62 counties.
But that wasn’t the only record Hillary set in 2006. Her campaign had spent over $36 million in what was by definition a one-sided contest. More, two months after her victory, Hillary transferred the left-over $10 million she had, to her upcoming 2008 presidential campaign.
In the 2008 New York presidential primary, Clinton beat Obama, 57% to 40%. More, she won 61 of New York State’s 62 counties.
Thus, going into the 2016 primary season, it was evident that it would be very difficult to defeat Clinton in New York. Regardless of if she remained highly popular with the voting public, her associates on Wall Street would be heavily invested in promoting her campaign. The fact that Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs were paying her a quarter of a million dollars for appearances behind closed doors suggests how close their working relationship has become.
Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, has never been in the Wall Street social circle. The economic elite has never liked Bernie, any more than they liked the people of the Occupy movement. When Senator Sanders entered the race a year ago, the corporate media attempted to portray him as a nutty, socialist character, who posed no threat to the establishment’s candidate, Hillary Clinton.
Fortunately, the word “socialism” no longer scares that many people. Most thinking adults grasp that Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, public libraries, public schools, and city streets and rural highways are all socialist programs. Still, to some people, the mere word conjures up images of the Soviet Union and “Red” China, Fidel and Che.
In most instances, these are aging men who came of age during this nation’s “red scare.” And, truth be told, things such as the Cuban Missile Crises were scary. It’s interesting to note that had the president been either of the two that preceded John F. Kennedy, or the two that followed, there would have been a nuclear war that would have drastically changed human history. Without question, there are times when having the right person in office is important. Like JFK, there are the right people for certain times, as well as a few who would be right at any time. Likewise, there are wrong people for any time, and there are people who are wrong for certain times. And Bernie is the right politician, right now.
Today’s current situation may not appear as “dangerous” as the Cuban Missile Crisis on the surface ….but the combination of global climate change, a weak economy, and a gross failure in leadership adds up to a very perilous time in our nation’s history. Rather, it is a time that demands a different type of leadership than the establishment provides for.
Bernie Sanders is 100% correct when he states that we need a revolution to resolve these problems. The Sanders campaign has done an extraordinary service, in helping to organize the many different groups and individuals in our country that need to present a united front. Although we are a non-violent force, I like to think of Onondaga Chief Paul Waterman’s teaching that alone, we are like individual fingers that our enemy can easily break; together, we form a powerful fist that is capable of protecting all of our rights.
How powerful? The results of this week’s primary is an accurate measure: in less than a year, a candidate who was initially not given any chance won the vast majority of the counties in our state. Clinton won Wall Street, and continues to have the support of the cocktail party liberals. The accomplishment of the Sanders‘s campaign is real power..
Yes, I certainly wish Bernie had won all of New York State. But no, I am not discouraged by the outcome. Our opposition is pretending that the struggle is over, of course, but we should not expect that they would suddenly start telling the truth. For the Clinton campaign is rooted in the establishment, and serves as an advocate for business-as-usual. It places Wall Streets greed over your and my needs.
This revolution is a long and hard struggle for change. Our opposition will fight tooth and nail against social justice. But we won’t give up …..in fact, we are just warming up.
Keep on fighting the Good Fight.
Posted by H2O Man | Fri Apr 22, 2016, 07:52 PM (56 replies)
Josh Fox, the director of the movie "Gasland," will be opening for Bernie Sanders tomorrow in Binghamton, NY.
The issue of hydro-fracking is huge in upstate New York. One of the Democratic Party's candidates favors fracking. She has advocated for it around the world.
Bernie Sanders opposes hydro-fracking. He is on the side of Americans who want to have access to clean water.
Truly, our primary comes down to the choice between a glass of contaminated, or a glass of sparkling clean water.
How in the hell can you be concerned with kids in Flint being poisoned by drinking water in Flint, and being for a process that contaminates children's drinking water?
Posted by H2O Man | Sun Apr 10, 2016, 06:19 PM (31 replies)
On March 18, I had an OP asking the DU community -- in a general election contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump -- who they believed the Bush family would be supporting? I think it is a fair question for people to consider during the Democratic Party’s presidential primary, and was pleased that more than 150 comments comprised the discussion that followed. I was a little surprised that a few people -- all supporters of Hillary -- expressed negative views of the question.
Although it hasn’t received much press, former First Lady hinted earlier this week that she would likely support Hillary over Trump:
I appreciate that every individual has the right -- and indeed, the responsibility -- to determine what significance this has, if any. Everyone has the right to their opinion.
In my own opinion, this suggests that the elite are like a “family.” Membership is not based upon what political party they belong to, so much as their value system, and loyalty to that “family.”
There is only one candidate who does not belong to, or hope to join, that “family.” And that is Senator Bernie Sanders. He is the only candidate who is honestly looking out for your family’s interests. He is the only candidate that is not on the pay roll of the elite. He is the only candidate that prefers to break bread with the citizens of the country, rather than the elite.
Posted by H2O Man | Sun Apr 10, 2016, 04:10 PM (8 replies)
“Share your bread with the hungry
And bring the homeless poor into your house;
When you see the naked, cover him…..
Then shall your light break forth like dawn
And your healing shall spring up speedily”
-- Isaiah; 58: 7-9
Two of my cousins and I spent several hours this morning and afternoon, going door-to-door in Binghamton, NY, campaigning for Bernie Sanders. We joined with the effort that Citizens Action was coordinating. It was the first time that one of my cousins has done this; he has been involved in politics primarily through the carpenters’ union, and a few “local” environmental and social justice issues.
The other cousin has worked with me on local, state, national, and international issues for over 40 years. Thus, he has gone door-to-door with me dozens of times over the years. The three of us together made for a fun, effective campaign unit. More, while campaigning for Bernie, we were also advocating for other progressive candidates.
Per usual in upstate New York, the weather kept flip-flopping between pleasant and a bitter cold, complete with wing and mixed precipitation. The residents who opened numerous doors for us noted that they admired our dedication, to be outside walking the streets on such a day.
I selected a section of the city where both low-income and college students reside. Other groups were selecting the neighborhoods that might tend to get more attention during campaign season. My cousins were happy to let me decide what neighborhood we would venture into. And I have always been most comfortable with those marginalized by our society.
In times past, I have had associates ask me why I opt to invest as much time as I do in efforts to organize the poor. In fact, I’ve actually had well-intentioned associates tell me that I “waste” too much time on “those people.” But “those people” are my people. Indeed, I have had the opportunity in my life to hang out with rich and powerful people and power and seemingly powerless people -- and everything in between. I identify with the poor and marginalized. It’s as simple as that.
Our results were interesting and encouraging. There were, of course, a lot of folks on the latest record of registered voters there who had moved since the 2014 elections. This is to be expected among both the poor and college student populations. But there were also new residents, who will be participating in the Democratic Primary.
We also stopped in an old dinner, and did some campaigning as we had coffee and/or lunch. The owners of that dinner seemed amused, at first, that we set up a temporary “headquarters” in one of the booths; by the time we were preparing to leave, they were openly supporting our effort to get the vote out for Bernie.
Even within the two sub-groups we spoke with -- the poor and college students (including poor college students) -- we encountered a wide variety of people. Some were old, some were young; both male and female; a variety of skin colors; and on and on. While we were not attempting a scientific survey -- and the results are thus important in the limited context of one large neighborhood -- listening to the residents’ points of view proved worth-while. Two people stated that they might eventually vote for Donald Trump in the general election. One person said he avoids politics altogether, because he is convinced the last “honest” presidential candidate was Ronald Reagan. And only two people stated that they may vote for Hillary in the upcoming Democratic primary.
Other than that, everyone we spoke with was strongly supporting Bernie Sanders. And while this is only speculation on my part, I suspect that they are not among those being polled these days. Today, their voices are not being heard outside of the Sanders campaign. Yet, the Sanders campaign holds the promise of them being heard in the future.
The three of us are all old men. We have each been a registered Democrat since we reached the age where we could vote. But, to a large degree, our lives are behind us. We weren’t campaigning so much for ourselves and our generation’s benefit, as for our children and grandchildren’s generations. And for those who are to come after them.
Still, we had an amazing day. One of my two cousins is the man who was in court one county away during much of the week, for the trial of the guy who shot him, and murdered his son. It was his first time going door-to-door. I had been designated as our spokesman, but I was happy when he took over being our main speaker at several houses. My other cousin was surprised , considering how effective the other one was, that this was his first time.
Both this evening and tomorrow, we will all be working for the Sanders campaign. Each of us will be focusing on our hometowns, and preparing for Bernie’s speech on Monday in Binghamton. I know that Hillary is favored in New York, and I understand why. Still, I believe that the “experts” are going to be surprised by the eventual outcome in our state.
There is an energy force, gaining strength here. There are people who not only want change, but who are willing to work hard to bring that change about. On the ride home, my cousin asked me if I thought that our effort today actually made a difference in the that eventual outcome? I said that I did. Even today, from that small office of Citizens Action, there were lots of people volunteering to canvas different parts of the city. No one group -- much less, individual -- did “the” one thing that will decide the primary election. At the same time, every group and every individual were combining to take one of the most important actions that we can, to influence the outcome of the election contest. And true social justice can only come about by this type of active engagement in politics.
Posted by H2O Man | Sat Apr 9, 2016, 03:51 PM (52 replies)
I’m sure that many people here received an e-mail from Jeff Weaver, the Sanders Campaign Manager, regarding an event last night in Colorado. But, for those who may have missed it, I would like to share some of its contents.
Last night, Hillary hosted a fund-raiser in a state that has already caucused. The top seats went for $27,000; others paid $2,700 for their seats.
“But a crazy thing happened when she got ready to speak. Her campaign actually ‘turned on a static noise machine’ pointed at the press so they couldn’t hear what she was saying to the financial elite in attendance.”
I’m sure that the Clinton supporters on this forum think that is just dandy. I’m not as confident that they would have approved if, say, George W. Bush had done the same thing in 2000 or 2004. But they seem to use an ethical slide-ruler to measure what is okay for a candidate to do.
As a supporter of Bernie Sanders, I find that objectionable. It reinforces the belief that Hillary’s message to the elite is not only different from her message to the peasants classes, but has to be kept extra-super-secret.
Posted by H2O Man | Fri Apr 8, 2016, 05:37 PM (126 replies)
Senator Bernie Sanders will be speaking in Binghamton, NY, on Monday, April 11. This was announced in today’s edition of Binghamton’s daily newspaper, The Press & Sun-Bulletin:
In the past few days, I’ve posted on DU:GD about the murder trial of the thug who shot my cousin and his son in upstate New York in an October, 2014 “road rage” incident. It will be mighty nice to attend the Sanders’s rally with my cousin on Monday, and to then report on it here on DU:GDP.
Posted by H2O Man | Fri Apr 8, 2016, 02:53 PM (17 replies)
“What you think, you become.”
The morning started with the doctor who conducted the autopsy testifying. He was an impressive witness for the prosecution. His testimony proved -- well beyond a shadow of a doubt -- that my cousin’s son suffered severe injuries while he struggled to restrain the person who had just shot his father. The thug would “pistol-whip” him with five or six blows to the head with the pistol. The numerous autopsy photographs show where it tore the flesh from the young man’s face and head, and the enormous bruises and large welts it left upon the corpse of a 26-year old pacifist.
We arranged to keep my cousin, his parents, siblings, and others from being in the courtroom for this testimony. The photographs were enlarged to be seen on a large screen. What I saw was a brave young man, who willingly risked -- and lost -- his own life, in order to protect the father he loved.
Jimi Hendrix once said that everyone loves the dead, and that once you died, you had it made for life. Yet every so often, an extraordinary person lives and dies. And this is the young man that my family lost on that Monday, October 27, 2014. If I used this culture’s method of identification, I’d refer to him as my “second cousin.” But that is not accurate, It is certainly not as accurate as our culture’s method for identification.
My cousin is, in a literal sense, my brother. But it goes further: his late son was thus my nephew. With that comes responsibility; hence, my nephew is my “son,” just as his sister is my daughter. No dictionary changes that. Indeed, this culture’s definition of “family” is the most barren, unhealthy in human history. It provides the least support to two extremely important sub-groups: the children & youth, and the elderly.
My nephew was a classic example of a “gentle giant.” He stood about 6’ 5” tall, with the physical strength of a carpenter who enjoyed hard work. He loved science, and he loved animals. His grandmother (my aunt) has taken in abused animals for longer than I’ve been alive …..and those animals from recent years trusted this young fellow.
Like every one of his generation in my family, I enjoyed discussing high school, the opposite sex, music, and job opportunities with him. But we also had long conversations on other, often esoteric, issues ….such as college, the opposite sex, music, and employment options. On Friday, the 24th, he and I talked a good half-hour before his father got back from grocery shopping. He had resolved a conflict at work earlier in the day, and I was really impressed with his skills. It led to a discussion of union politics.
I remember when my cousin got home, my telling him how impressed I was with his son. I like “unions politics,” of course, and even more interested in dispute resolution. My nephew “got it,” so to speak. I remember telling my cousin how impressed with, and proud of his son I was.
The gunman testified that he was frustrated, because the young man was driving at 51 mph on a state highway. He didn’t mention that the recommended speed for the curve they approached was 45 mph. The thug admitted that my relatives pulled over, and let him pass them safely. He said that when he did pass their vehicle, my nephew gave him the finger. He felt so threatened by this, that he pulled into the parking lot to diffuse the situation. But, according to him, the pair followed him into the parking lot, and aggressively started to assault him.
He testified under oath that he only took his gun out to protect himself from being killed. Once he had opportunity to escape, he said, he ran to his vehicle, and drove off. After tossing the gun out the window, he went straight to the State Police station.
Then it was the DA’s time to cross-examine the human sludge. If one had believed the testimony he just gave, then the defendant was actually a meek lamb of a man, who was the true victim of the 10-27-2014 assault. If one thought the scumbag had lied on the witness stand, however, they were in for a treat, because DA Joseph McBride is something of a pit bull: he grabs hold of the Truth, and energetically shakes it free from lies.
He started by asking the thug about why he had lost his job as a security officer at Hartwick College in Oneonta …..the scum was fired for coming to work hammered, and bullying people on campus. Then he focused on the scum’s saying he had had two or three drinks in the hour before he shot the two victims. The scum admitted that he would had to have had at least nine drinks in that hour. More, he admitted that after the shooting, he continued to consume alcohol that he had in a “water bottle” in his vehicle, before he went to the police HQ.
The DA then focused their conversation on how, after at least nine drinks in approximately one hour, the scum got his handgun, and went out for a ride. DA McBride again stated the guy was furious when he left his house, and was intent upon shooting someone ….anyone who he happened to come upon in an isolated setting. He documented a series of lies the defendant told the State Police that afternoon. He caught the shithead in lie after lie after lie.
Perhaps the most interesting series of lies had to do with the creep’s massive collection of illegal guns. The defendant had purchased them while serving as a NYC patrolman; they were legal until the day he retired. At first, the scum claimed the NYC PD gave him a license after he retired; he went so far as to tell the DA he “should have done his homework.” But not only had the DA contacted the NYC PD, but they simply cannot issue a gun license for a retired cop in Chenango County.
The next lie came immediately: he had applied for the proper license, and it was “in process.” Nope. The DA documented that he had applied, but that the state had ruled that he could never be licensed in this state, due to his past behaviors.
The court recessed for lunch. During that time, the DA and I discussed how the case was going. I said I couldn’t see any grounds for appeal -- although the defense attorney had placed on record (three times) his belief that, because he was in county jail on the day the State Police searched his home, the defendant was not “in possession” of the weapons found in his home. The DA agreed, then told me that he believed the judge was going to render his verdict shortly after the closing arguments after lunch. This could only mean a guilty verdict, as a “not guilty” would take more time to prepare.
Closing arguments were relatively brief. The defense focused on my cousin’s use of the demon weed. I suspect this argument was 60 years past its expiration date. Then came DA Joseph McBride. He destroyed the defendant’s version of events, and exposed the numerous lies he had told the State Police before, and the court today. Indeed, if a witness gets caught telling a purposeful lie on the witness stand, the judge can dismiss virtually everything else they testified to. In this case, the defendant had lied under oath in his testimony more than a dozen times.
After a short recess, the judge announced that the scumbag was “guilty” on 15 counts. (Two were dismissed, because they were already covered in earlier charges.)
I was pleased when the defense attorney immediately came over to shake my cousin’s hand, and speak to him with human compassion.
I will say something about the murderer ….the other day, I noted that the only time his facial expression changed was when my cousin wept while describing his son dying in his arms. He gave my cousin a sneer that communicated his utter contempt -- as if “real men” don’t cry about such silly things. Then yesterday, when the autopsy photos were placed up on a large screen, he perked right up. You could see the pride he took in the severe damage he had done to a 26-year old man. (I think most people would, even if they had killed another human being in self-defense, would be upset by the experience.)
The reporters covering the trial had approached me during the recess before the verdict, and asked if they would be able to speak to my cousin after court. I said yes, and added that the “press conference” needed to include the DA. McBride also included one of the high-ranking BCI Senior Investigators, and my niece. While I’m not fully objective, I thought all four did extremely well.
The sentencing hearing will take place in about 30 days. The judge is ordering the usual pre-sentencing investigation. Though I’m retired, I know the folks who will do that investigation, and am confident they will do a good job. Also, I’ve been working with family and friends on “victim impact statements.” Some will be delivered in court; lots more will be mailed or e-mailed to the judge. These can come from anyone who wishes to communicate to the judge their opinions on how this thug has damaged the fabric of our society.
I’m going to be heading down to see me cousin soon. But before I do, it is important to me to again thank everyone here for their support through all of this. For a variety of reasons, my role within my extended family has included assisting in navigating the system, and being there to support everyone on every step of the way. A couple close friends -- who know my cousin et al very well -- assisted me. And my youngest daughter has really been here for me -- and our extended family -- and shown more strength than I might have thought was possible. During some of the most horrible testimony this week, I’ve been so proud to see her sitting with my uncle (who turns 88 next month), and holding him in her arms. While no family should endure such things, my daughter showed the strength that represents the power of family.
Thus, while I’ve had to detach to various extents during court, etc, I have been able to attach here on DU:GD. And I do not have words to describe how important that has been for me …..how much your kindness, compassion, and understanding means to me.
Posted by H2O Man | Thu Apr 7, 2016, 11:08 AM (104 replies)