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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 07:49 PM
Number of posts: 49,472

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Write On, RFK, Jr. !

For once with good reason, the GOP is exorcised with the scandals involving the IRS targeting political groups and the FBI's spying on A.P. reporters. The broader public is legitimately concerned. However, in its classic overblown breathlessness at all things Obama, the gleeful Republican leadership is already calling for impeachment and dragging out desperate comparisons to Nixon's Watergate. This, despite caveats from its own sages not to overplay Republican good fortune. "We overreached in 1998," Newt Gingrich admitted recently. He counseled restraint to the Tea Party jihadists he helped spawn. Gingrich recalled how the GOP's scandal mongering against Clinton had only amplified Clinton's popularity and cost Republicans the 1998 mid-terms and Gingrich his speakership. But this new generation of hysterical House members immune to that wisdom, are headed straight for the feinting couch in fits of anti-Obama hysteria.

In a characteristic spasm of partisan apoplexy, Iowa Congressman Steve King offered a shrill algorithm: "add Watergate and Iran Contra together and multiply by ten" to calculate the tyrannical evil of the Obama scandals.

As usual, the Fox-fueled GOP narrative swayed the mainstream press. On May 16, Reuters' Jeff Mason interrupted Obama's press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan to ask the President, "How do you feel about the comparisons by some of your critics with the scandals of the Nixon Administration?" Obama responded with calm contempt; he would leave those comparisons to the journalists. But he urged Mason to "read some history." If Mason takes that advice, here are some of the historical tidbits he might consider.

President Richard Nixon was aware that the IRS had audited him in 1961 and 1962 and presumed those audits were politically motivated by the Kennedy White House. When, early in his Administration, Nixon learned that his friends and political allies John Wayne and Rev. Billy Graham had endured recent audits by his own IRS, Nixon boiled over. He ordered White House Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman, "Get the word out, down to the IRS that I want them to conduct field audits on those who are our opponents." Perhaps recalling the Kennedy era audits, Nixon ordered that its investigator begin with my Uncle's, John F. Kennedy's, former campaign manager and White House aide, then Democratic Committee Chairman, Lawrence O'Brien.


More at:


Lisa Rowe

If I actually had a "Top 10 Favorite Movies" list, I would certainly put the 1999 film "Girl, Interrupted" in it.

I know that many DUers know a great deal more about Angelina Jolie that I, and I can accept that. Even in the context of her recent medical decision.

Anyhow, it's a serious film, based upon Susanna Kaysen's book, from when she was voluntarily hospitalized in 1967 for attempting to overdose on aspirin. Winona Ryder plays the main character (Kaysen), who was diagnosed with aborderline personality disorder; Jolie played Rowe, who was diagnosed as a sociopath.

If I've seen Jolie in any film since, it's slipped my mind. I tend to watch movies in much the same manner as I read books -- non-fiction. But I was very impressed by her in this movie.

I fully support her making decisions for herself.

And I gently urge others to watch (or, re-watch) this movie.

Law v Law

Last week, while on vacation -- retired folks need vacations, too -- I participated in a few discussions on this forum about the Attorney General’s office and AP. There were a few interesting posts & threads here that I wanted to respond to, but decided to wait until I had returned home. I want to make it clear that while I have firmly-held opinions, based upon what I see as very clear Amendment 1 issues, I recognize and fully appreciate that some folks who disagree with my opinion have intelligent, thoughtful points of view, as well. For few things in the very complicated universe of socio-political activities are so blatantly black-vs.-white that only one view can be entirely correct, to the exclusion of all others.(That Dick Cheney should be prosecuted and incarcerated is one of those very few.)

The point was made that what the Attorney General’s office did was “legal.” And that is a valid point, worthy of discussion. Less worthy was the “if you don’t like it, change the law” nonsense that was a weak attempt to end discussion on the topic.

There are different types of law. In discussions about hydrofracking, for example, we can recognize that there are Man’s Law and Natural Law. The Dick Cheneyites can deem it “legal” to frack, and even pass a law that overturns the Clean Air and Clean Water laws. Yet, because fracking poisons the water supply, Natural Law insures that living things will suffer and die as the direct and unavoidable consequence of fracking.

Or we might consider Martin Luther King, Jr.’s November 16, 1961 speech to the Fellowship of the Concerned. In this powerful speech, King explained why he and others were openly violating certain laws, and willingly paying the consequences. King noted that there were two types of Man’s Law: those that were just, and those that were unjust. A just law enhances all of society, while an unjust law seeks to exclude a specific segment from those rights that all Americans were supposed to enjoy.

Likewise, when we consider what may be deemed “legal,” our nation has a long and often acrimonious history of laws that either enhance the Constitution (specifically, the Bill of Rights), and those laws that have denied a specific segment of the population those same rights. In these instances, it is generally not an oppressed group that breaks from the policies of the Constitution; rather, it is some level of government: local, state, or federal.

Constitutional Law is, of course, that body of law that has been determined by the federal courts. Yet, even here, there has been a long and cruel history of even the US Supreme Court making a ruling -- which then stands as law -- that is clearly a product of the times, in which the interests of the few has outweighed the interests of all Americans. To list but two for examples, the Dred Scott v Sanford, and the George W. Bush v democracy stand out. In some instances, a later USSC decision can right a past wrong; in others, like Bush in 2000, the damage inflicted upon our society can never be repaired.

Those of us who are rightfully concerned about the AP issue recognize that it is part of a larger attack on Amendment 1. It is a constitutional issue -- I am convinced a crisis -- that is larger than the Democratic Party v the republican country club/tea bag party. In order to potentially change the law, we must focus the spotlight of the public’s attention on it, as a first step. None of us on this forum have the “standing” required, for instance, to file a legal case on it, hoping to get it to the USSC for a fair decision, rooted in the Constitution.

President Obama himself has said that he expects democrats to “hold his feet to the fire.” Our questioning what the Attorney General’s office did is not a betrayal. Our strongly opposing this dangerous “legal” action is not a call for lawlessness. Our hoping that President Obama -- who was employed as a constitutional law professor -- will take bold action to support Amendment 1 -- even when it is difficult, or perhaps unpopular -- is not in any sense an indication that we see no difference between the two major political parties.

Today is Malcolm X’s birthday. Robert Kennedy, Dr. King, and Malcolm were, in my humble opinion, the best that America has offered in my lifetime. I admire each of them, because they were willing to stand up for what they believed to be right. They were willing to confront problems, even when it was most difficult. They did not ask others to do what they were unwilling to do. And they were willing to suffer the consequences of speaking out, and taking action, to confront injustice -- “legal” or otherwise.

In the end, what did they really want? A society where the Bill of Rights and the goodness of the American potential was available to each and every person.

Malcolm sometimes compared the republicans and democrats in Washington, DC, to wolves and foxes. The republican wolf will growl at you, and then bite you; the democratic fox will smile at you, then sneak up and bite you from behind. I think that same concept can be accurately applied here: republican wolves make no pretense that they believe everyone -- including you and I -- are “entitled” to Constitutional Rights. They will snarl in our faces, solong as their public and private “security” forces are there to protect them, and snatch those rights away from us. And too many democratic foxes give lip service to the Constitution, and grin at us while asking for a campaign contribution and a vote, but compromise your and my rights behind our backs.

Amendment 1 secures our right to gather together to address our grievances against the behavior of our elected representatives. I say that doing just that is a good thing. More, I believe that the failure to do so is betrayal. Again, I appreciate that good and sincere people can and do disagree with me on the AP issue. But I wanted to take the opportunity to explain why I am not only talking about my concerns here on this forum, but contacting those very elected (and also appointed) representatives to let them know what I think.

Thank you for listening.
H2O Man

Amendment 1

Perhaps it is too obvious, and thus easily overlooked: the reason the "Founding Fathers" added the Bill of Rights to the U.S, Constitution was to insure that citizens would enjoy specific rights that "government" -- meaning individual and group interests of those in power -- might otherwise seek to deny them.

The most important of these rights, in my opinion, are those found in Amendment 1. These rights are not always popular when exercised. More, there have long been limitations on some of them. For example, citizens do have the right to gather in public to air their disagreements with government policy. But, as the landmark case, decided by the US Supreme Court regarding Martin Luther King, Jr., in Birmingham, that right is not absolute.

In recent history, beginning with the Kennedy administration during the final preparations for the foolish Bay of Pigs invasion, there has been tension between the executive branch and the press. Such tensions have also been found in the legislative and the judicial branch, in relations with the press. But, by their very natures, it has always been and will always be the executive branch that has the greater agenda to "control" the media -- either by creating a cozy relationship, or by way of seeking to restrict a free press.

Anyone old enough to have lived through the Nixon era, with its "enemies list" that included several journalists, should know this. And anyone born later, who cares about the Bill of Rights, should invest the time to learn about that toxic time.

The media is not the same today, as it was 40 or 50 years ago. Clearly, there is a corporate media today, that tends to spoonfeed some accurate information, along with heaping amounts of misinformation and disinformation, to an often unsuspecting public. Still, the media of yesteryear was not often as cutting edge as many recall it as being. The truth about Woodward and Bertsein, for example, was far different than the quasi-mythological "All the President's Men."

There were wonderful "underground" newspapers then, and some outrageously good radio shows. "Laugh-In" was often more on target than the 6 o'clock news. But today, we have the internet, something the hippies and YIPPIES! couldn't have dreamed of.
A free press can only be as good -- and free -- as citizens make it. And that includes the realatively minor internet discussion sites, such as the Democratic Underground, as well as blogs by hundreds of grass roots activists.

A big part of making the media -- both corporate and social -- of value, and to infuse the power that Amendment 1 intends, is to always question each and every government infringement on the press. It is easy for the people here to be angered by a Nixon or a Cheney when they attempt to control or restrict the media -- as it well should be. But we do have a responsibility to question those democratic administrations -- even if we really like a President Clinton or a President Obama -- when their administrations engage in actions that could threaten any part of that Bill of Rights.

Too often, if the rabid republicans, who are the lowest life form on earth, are for something, good and sincere Democrats are automatically against it; or, if those rabid republicans are against something, good and sincere Democrats are for it. This type of reaction can, at times, keep us from thinking for ourselves. And the truth is that while both Clinton and Obama are good men, and certainly far better presidents than Bush et al, they are not perfect. Indeed, the very office they hold requires that U.S. Presidents advocate for corporate interests, which includes that military-industrial complex.

If our nation is ever to regain its status as a Constitutional Democracy (and those who will argue that we were never a democracy, but rather a republic can only argue, because they are too misinformed to speak rationally), it will only be because citizens exercise the muscles found in that Bill of Rights -- and I'm definitely not including old #2.

Always question the government. Anyone who fails to do so not only betrays themselves, they betray everyone else.

H2O Man

To Have or To Be

"It's no exaggeration to say that the foundations of today's Europe were forged in the events of the late Ice Age, between about forty-five thousand and twelve thousand years ago."
-- Brian Fagan; Cro-Magnon: How the Ice Age Gave Birth to the First Modern Humans; Bloomberyy; 2010; page 3.

I'm sitting on a balcony, overlooking the beach and ocean while on a rare vacation in Virginia Beach. My old bones are aching, so while my wife & daughters are out being tourists, I am in the hotel room ....reading Fagan's book, The Essential Fromm (Continuum; 1993), and attempting to finish my latest book on the environment. Spiral notebooks, newspaper clippings, EPA reports, and the transcripts of two federal court cases I participated in are scattered on the table beside me. My youngest daughter left her computer in this suite, to allow me internet access while she is touristing.

"Cro-Magnon" is perhaps an outdated term: these people were fully "modern humans." The author makes interesting, though speculative, theories on how these people may have interacted with the other human group in Europe, the Neanderthal. He believes that there was sporadic, though relatively limited, contact between the two. And he bases his theories on the interpretations of the latest scientific discoveries -- at least from three years ago, though new technologies are always adding to what we know.

I find one of his basic concepts fascinating: while Cro-Magnon peoples had friendly relationships with others of their own type, including "strangers" they had not encountered before, they likely viewed the Neanderthals as "others" -- of lesser status than themselves. And he may, to a large degree, be correct. That dynamic is certainly common throughout modern human history.

Last week, I went out "arrowhead hunting." There were two people that I didn't recognize in the fields where I went. I attempted to strike up a casual conversation with them, but they were not interested in communicating with me. Although there were three large fields plowed -- more than enough ground for each of us to cover -- they left a short time later.

That evening, I went to a grocery store. I saw a young couple; the female had on a sweatshirt with the infamous image of Charlie Manson, from the cover of LIFE magazine, on its back. Yikes! I found myself wondering: What message is she attempting to send to others with this? And what might it say about the manner in which she views herself?

The Fromm book is, like all of his writings, outstanding. Erich Fromm is, in my opinion, the most important "thinker" of our modern era. His writings are surely as important today, as when he authored them decades ago. "To Have or To Be" remains the question of our times. It involves the way in which we view others -- from those inhabiting a very different cultural reality than our own, to a young person wearing a strange sweatshirt. It determines if we seek to live our life as a product for sale on the competitive market (and perhaps the seller, if we are lucky), or do we seek to experience life in a very different way -- one that is increasing difficult in the current socio-economic conditions?

Fromm addresses issues such as why the majority of people accept being victims of a structure that robs them of their humanity? Why they morph into willing participants of a destructive life-style that threatens not only their health and well-being, but that of their children, of all children, and of all future generations? Included in this is an examination of why these same people often resent those who attempt to make meaningful changes in that system.

There is, obviously, the internal conflict for me: to write a book on the damage that toxic industrial waste dumps has done to a population, and then to connect it to hydrofracking -- a process that injects many of these same toxins into the ground -- comes natural for me. Yet I must try to make it a product that the publisher believes will sell. Yikes!

H2O Man

Jodi Arias Verdict Reached

The jury has reached a verdict in the Jodi Arias trial. She is accused of first degree murder. Arias admitted killing her ex-boyfriend during the trial -- her third story -- but testified that it was done in "self-defense."

Frequently, high-profile legal cases are more of a distraction than not. They provide entertainment to the general viewing public. Obviously, they are neither distractions nor entertainment for victims (including family and friends).

I think this case, however, included numerous important issues. Perhaps the most important is the nature of domestic violence -- though Arias did not live with her victim, domestic abuse was central to both the prosecutor and defense attorneys.

Also, things such as trials being televised; the "star" quality of a murder suspect; "expert" witnesses who prostitute their professions; and even the difference in perception of "attractive" versus "unattractive" defendants all are worthy topics for consideration.

The verdict will be announced at 4:30 pm/est.

Four Dead in Ohio

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio.

Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?

Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio.
-- Neil Young

I will always remember this day.

Mayweather vs Guerrero

May 4
At Las Vegas (Showtime PPV): Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Robert Guerrero, 12 rounds, for Mayweather's WBC welterweight title.

There are a number of good fights scheduled today, but only one that is of major significance. Whenever Floyd Mayweather, Jr., fights, it overshadows all other boxing matches -- including today’s heavyweight title fight. Floyd is boxing’s “pound-for-pound” best today; ranks high among the Great Sport’s all-time best; and is, like Jack Johnson and Muhammad Ali, a hero/anti-hero who transcends sports.

Again like Johnson and Ali, there has been a search to find a challenger capable of defeating the champion inside the ring. All three displayed uncanny defensive skills in the ring, which adds to the frustration when the top opposition is unable to do any serious damage of the type that could humble them. Indeed, when these three champions enter the ring, they attract an audience larger than the boxing community, or even the general sports fans. Floyd’s “pay-per-view” sales in a single fight provide him with more income than most great fighters earned in a career.

Tonight’s opponent may actually have the best chance -- at least on paper -- of defeating Mayweather, since his first title fight in April of 1998, when he challenged Genero Hernandez. Robert Guerrero is 31-1-1-2, with 18 knockout victories. He has won three titles in tow weight classes (featherweight and super-featherweight). He moved up in weight with a goal of challenging Mayweather.

Guerrero has been impressive at welterweight. Last July, he beat Jelcuk Aydin (23-0) by 12-round decision. In November, he dropped Andre Berto twice on his way to winning another 12-round decision. In that fight-- considered an elimination bout to determine Floyd’s next challenger -- Berto unexpectedly attempted to copy Floyd’s unique defensive style, and paid a heavy price.

Robert has had some difficulties in the ring. In 2005, Gamaliel Diaz decisioned him the twelve rounds, when Guerrero attempted to outbox him. (Six months later, Robert avenged that loss with a knockout.) And in 2010, he won a close decision over former champion Joel Casamayor, who was far beyond his prime.

Perhaps most significantly was Guerrero’s second “no contest.” In him March ‘09 bout against Daud Civo Yordan, an accidental clash of heads opened a cut over Robert’s eye. The referee believed Guerrero could continue in what was becoming a surprisingly tough fight, but Robert told the ringside doctor he couldn’t see well enough to continue. On one hand, it was a safe move on his part; on the other hand, it separated Guerrero from the great champions who never submit in the second round because of a little blood.

Physically, the two match up well. Both are 5’ 8” tall; Floyd’s 72” reach gives him a two-inch advantage. At 30, Guerrero is six years younger, and he has been more active in recent years. Floyd turned pro in 1996, Robert in 2001.

Mayweather is 43-0, with 26 knockouts. In title fights, he is 20-0, with 10 knockouts. In bouts against opponents who have held titles, he is 18-0, with 7 knockouts. Floyd has won seven titles, from super featherweight to junior middleweight. He has only lost a few of the 315 rounds he has fought as a professional boxer.

When the fight was made, my son felt that it would be an easy win for Floyd. I thought it would be a difficult fight. Floyd is getting older; his last fight (Miguel Cotto) saw him get hit more than he had been in his last five bouts, and Floyd’s connect percentage was the lowest on record; and it could be difficult for him to get up for Guerrero. Add to that, Robert is a very good fighter. He’s definitely coming into the ring at his very best tonight.

However, as part of the pre-fight build-up, Guerrero has done some curious things. The most obnoxious was appearing on the “700 Club,” and saying that God wants him to “humble” Floyd Mayweather. Since then, he has had press conferences featuring his minister, who also states that God is favoring Guerrero. I think that type of thing is enough to get Floyd’s attention, and motivate him in preparing for tonight’s fight.

I still think it will be a competitive, highly entertaining bout. Guerrero will attempt to overwhelm Mayweather. Robert is always in top shape, and can throw a high volume of punches for twelve rounds. He has good punching-power. And he is a “dirty” fighter, which will make the choice of referee important. (Of course, Victor Ortiz found out how Floyd responds to blatant fouls.)

I expect Floyd will win a decision. But it will be a tough fight, and as always, anything can happen in the ring.

Enjoy the fight!

Boxing (4-27)

April 27
At Buenos Aires, Argentina (HBO): Sergio Martinez vs. Martin Murray, 12 rounds, for Martinez's lineal/WBC middleweight title

At Ontario, Calif. (HBO): Cristobal Arreola vs. Bermane Stiverne, 12 rounds, WBC heavyweight eliminator

At Brooklyn, N.Y. (Showtime): Danny Garcia vs. Zab Judah, 12 rounds, for Garcia's WBC/WBA junior welterweight title; Peter Quillin vs. Fernando Guerrero, 12 rounds, for Quillin's WBO middleweight title; Daniel Jacobs vs. Keenan Collins, 10 rounds, middleweights

At Sheffield, England (Showtime, same-day tape): Amir Khan vs. Julio Diaz, 12 rounds, welterweights

There are five good fights on television on Saturday, and -- time permitting -- coverage of a sixth bout that is of interest in the boxing community.

Rather than post one long preview of all the boxing matches, I thought that I'd attach a post on each for this thread, after beginning with the schedule here, in the OP.

2013 has gotten off to an outstanding start in the Great Sport. I expect that Saturday's bouts will continue the high-quality fights that we've been seeing.

Pond Vibrations

Until the philosophy which hold one race superior
And another
Is finally
And permanently
And abandoned -
Everywhere is war -
Me say war.

That until there no longer
First class and second class citizens of any nation
Until the color of a man's skin
Is of no more significance than the color of his eyes -
Me say war.

That until the basic human rights
Are equally guaranteed to all,
Without regard to race -
Dis a war.

That until that day
The dream of lasting peace,
World citizenship
Rule of international morality
Will remain in but a fleeting illusion to be pursued,
But never attained -
Now everywhere is war - war.
-- Bob Marley; War

This is a strange time. Maybe it’s always that way. In a sense, every action results in an opposite reaction. Still, it seems to me that on several levels, the negatives are gaining momentum, and at a pace that the positives haven’t caught up to.

There are exceptions, of course. The outpouring of positive vibrations in Boston is the obvious example. I continue to see where people question what motivated two young men to strike out in such a vicious manner. The answer is obvious: hatred. In the United States, And, on one hand, this country has not had much experience with the dynamic of this type of gross violence in its city streets.

On the other hand, in the past fifty years, there has been domestic terrorism aimed at specific groups of people. There were bombings of churches; the Weathermen; Tim McVeigh; the bombing of clinic that provide women with healthcare; and murderous attacks on people targeted for ethnic, religious, and sexual identity. So many people have the experience of being terrorized for simply being human beings.

I read about Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s comments regarding Israel and Iran today. Obviously, I do not know Chuck Hagel, but my impression is that he’s not a hateful person. Yet, his level of being is that of an agent of violence. James Carroll’s classic 2006 book “House of War” documents how being a cog of the pentagon changes even those who enter it with hopes of instituting change.

So long as people think they can defeat hatred with violence -- and I am not denying that human beings have the right to self-defense -- then hatred and violence will continue, with no end in sight. Yet, as overwhelming as the problems we face today seem, we all have the ability to stop participating in the hateful and violent ways that threaten (and often terrorize) the people around the earth.

Being non-violent and refusing to hate doesn’t equal a silent acceptance of victimhood. It isn’t that there is not a need for law and order, if there is to be social justice. Common sense gun laws are a good example. If the young man in Boston lives, he has the right to a fair trial; if he is found guilty, he should face the consequences.

Likewise, I believe that if there was real law and order, justice would demand that the Dick Cheneyites must face consequences. For it is that type of person who initiates violence and warfare on the global scale. And they rarely face consequences: they send ignorant young adults -- sometimes in large, uniformed (thus, depersonalized) groups, sometimes as individuals -- to carry vicious attacks upon groups no different than the good people of Boston who were watching the marathon.

These are some of the things I think about, while sitting out near my pond on a bright spring day. I’m enjoying watching both the fish and birds consume the food that I’ve brought out for them. I’m doing some writing, too (mostly on the book, but also this essay that I may post on DU.) And I have some dry firewood between the pond and cabin, and I’ll start a fire soon. Tonight, I’ll listen to the beautiful song of the peeper-frogs.

Tomorrow, I will be relaxed and rested, and return to the struggle for social justice.

H2O Man
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