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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 08:49 PM
Number of posts: 55,567

Journal Archives

Thank you, President Obama

I am impressed with President Obama’s talk, which is being covered live on MSNBC. I say this, as: (1) a citizen who twice voted for him for president; (2) a person who has both agreed and disagreed with him on important issues; (3) an avid supporter of the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights; and (4) a human being who has had numerous relatives and friends murdered over the decades that I have been alive.

Some of these people were murdered with guns, some knives, some strangled, and one with a chain saw. In the past 15 months, I have posted several times about my cousin and his son being shot by an off-duty law enforcement officer. Hence, I recognize that no single law could have prevented the horrors of these numerous murders.

Yet, I am absolutely in favor of President Obama’s common sense, rational approach of trying to curb the hideous reality that -- no matter what statistics some point to -- our society is being damaged by on-going, high-profile incidents of gross violence. Hence, I will be calling not only the White House, but the offices of all of my elected representatives -- state and federal -- to express my support of President Obama’s efforts.

One last thing: I am very impressed with President Obama’s communication skills.

H2O Man DU:GD Poll

In your opinion, should the government of the United States attempt to have closer relations with the government of Saudi Arabia or Iran? Why?

In my opinion, that is similar to choosing which republican candidate would be a less terrible president, Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.

Question on Socio-Political Issues

This morning, an associate that I have known as socially and politically active since the 1960s called, and asked my son to tell me that he planned to stop by today. He’s one of those people who has a couple of Ph.D’s, in different areas that are of interest to him. More, he is a very good and decent person, someone I have long had the highest respect for.

When he came this evening, he went right to the issue he had come to discuss. He wants to write and publish a book on “current events” on sociological-political-legal issues, with the intention of breathing life into the Constitution of the United States. His idea is to have four authors, who contribute three chapters each.

Although I am -- by far -- the least formally educated of the four proposed authors, the others consider me as an “equal.” In fact, two of the three have asked if I might contribute to one or more of their chapters. So it sounds interesting.

My question to you: what issue (or issues) would you identify as the most interesting and important to be covered in such a book? Thank you for any contributions to this discussion.

Peace,
H2O Man

Trump-Tube Babies

(UPS) Attorneys for republican presidential candidate Donald Trump filed papers in the on-going law suit against comedian Bill Maher yesterday. The suit, originally filed in 2013, seeks damages after Maher, appearing on Jay Leno’s show, reputedly claimed that “perhaps” Trump is the “spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan.”

According to a potentially explosive new DNA study submitted under sealed file to the federal court in Los Paranois, social scientists from the Water Man Foundation have concluded that Trump is related to neither his mother, nor the orangutan she had sexual relations with in the year prior to Donald Trump’s birth. “I have concluded that Donald Trump was produced by ‘orange aliens,’ who spliced the original film clip of Richard Nixon delivering his infamous ‘Checkers” speech, combined with the residue from Mel Gibson’s ‘blood-alcohol’ test, from the night of his most recent black-out racist rant,” the head of the Water Man Foundation told UPS.

RNC chair Rancid Previous declined to comment on if this new scientific evidence could potentially deny Donald Trump the right to run for the presidency. “Richard Nixon is looking like a pretty good alternative for the republican party these days,” Previous stated. “And Mel Gibson speaks for a huge number of republicans.”

The Democratic Primary

I thoroughly enjoyed watching last night’s Democratic debate. It should be evident to every rational, objective person that each of our three candidates are far superior to any and all of the republican party’s candidates. Yet, there are no requirements for potential voters to be rational; hence, as the republicans appeal to the irrational fears of the public, it is important that we appeal to people’s better natures.

Malcolm X taught that in presenting a choice to people, it was not necessary to tell them what to think. Rather, he said that if one places a clean glass of water next to a glass of sludge, a thirsty public could be trusted to make the correct choice. I also found myself thinking of an similar saying from my good friend Rubin ….that the difference between the Democratic and republican candidates is the same as the difference between sugar and shit.

I will support whichever of the three that the Democratic Party nominates in the 2016 general election. I recognize that each of the three offers different strengths, and weaknesses. There is no such thing as a “perfect candidate.” Each of the three’s ability to work with Congress is an issue to be considered -- especially if the republicans in the House and Senate are able to prevent the next president from being effective. There is simply no question that this has been the primary republican objective during the Obama administration.

There is no reason -- none -- to believe that the republicans in Washington will magically change, and be willing to cooperate with Democrats in the House, Senate, and/or White House. Indeed, consider their eagerness to undercut President Obama on issues involving military conflict in foreign lands, which was up until recent times considered part of statesmanship. Then think about the leading republican candidates in their primary contest. This in not an election that can be considered a contest involving “the lesser of two evils.”

I am not as familiar with Martin O’Malley, as with the other two. But he has impressed me as a decent, sincere individual every time that I’ve listened to him. I would be pleased to have him serve as President of the United States. I can also see him as a solid Vice President, in a time when the responsibilities of that office have expanded greatly. The more I learn about him, the more favorably impressed I am. And I especially enjoyed his presentation in last night’s debate.

I’ve held a high opinion of Bernie Sanders, since meeting him back before he went to Washington. I particularly like his ideas on domestic economic policy. I recognize the value of his inspiring college students to become active participants in the political system. In my opinion, his appeal is distinct from that of a couple candidates that I liked in my youth, Gene McCarthy and George McGovern. I am much more reminded of the reaction to, and the potential that Senator Robert Kennedy offered this country, in his brief presidential primary run.

I invested both time and money both of Hillary Clinton’s campaigns for Senate in my state. I was able to meet her on the day that she first announced her candidacy. A few years later, I had the pleasure of meeting her for a longer time, away from any crowd of people. In last night’s debate, I thought she came across much more like the lady who had really impressed me in the small, casual setting. I think that it is worth people’s time to read her 2014 book, “Hard Choices,” because I think it provides a more accurate view of her, than people may get from her presentations on the campaign trail.

No candidate is without flaws. More, no campaign is without contributions from supporters who can be at times offensive. That can include people who are working closely with the campaign, or simply someone advocating for them on an internet site. The higher the emotional intensity of the campaign, the more likely people are to both offend, and be offended. Being an imperfect human being myself, I am aware that I have both offended and been offended numerous times over the many decades that I’ve worked on campaigns, and discussed them on the internet.

I’m attempting to hold myself to a higher standard in the 2016 contests, including the presidential campaign. In part, this is because I believe that people -- myself included -- should attempt to be better, and thus do better, throughout life. While I am not foolish enough to think that I will not make mistakes, I am going to try my best.

But, more importantly, as an aging person who cares deeply about the future, I am fully convinced that there is a negative force gathering strength in America ….an entirely human force, with the ugly passions of anger, hostility, and hatred, that is increasing in energy. And, while I know that clowns like Cruz and Trump do not control that negative energy, they are surely riding its wave.

In order to combat that aggressively hateful republican wave, we need to harness the goodness within our party. And that simply cannot be limited to one candidate, or one campaign.

I normally do not post in DU:GD-P -- indeed, I very rarely read anything posted in this forum -- not because it is all “bad” …..but because far too many of its participants engage in the type of arguing that includes insults, cheap shots, and hostility. I’m sure that there are good OP/discussions here, advocating for each of the three candidates. But there are also people who compulsively -- and repulsively -- attempt to stain such discussions, much like a nasty Chihuahua, peeing on the furniture.

I do not believe that we have that luxury now. It’s important that we invest our energies in fighting the Good Fight.

-- H2O Man

Now

I would like to take a minute to express my concerns with the potentially damaging effect of the recent “controversial” action by the Democratic National Committee chairperson, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz. I am writing this for GDU for several important reasons: first, I am in no sense intending to comment upon, nor discuss, the Democratic presidential primary; second, the DNC plays an important role in the party at virtually all levels -- national, state, and local; third, I believe that Ms. Wasserman Schultz may unintentionally be engaged in an action that has the potential to divide the party, and thus harm our ability to elect candidates in important elections.

The divides that are already found within the Democratic Party can, in my opinion, be viewed in at least two ways. The first, which I subscribe to, is that a certain amount of tension within the party can be a positive thing, if handled correctly. The opposite of that is when differences of opinion result in ugly in-fighting, insults, hurt feelings, and mistrust ….and these most often lead to a failure to be able to coordinate efforts. That coordination of efforts should, in theory, benefit all party members, for it is the give-and-take that victory requires. The failure to coordinate has always resulted in failure in elections.

I say this, as a person who has been a registered Democrat, since I was able to register to vote. I have voted in literally all the elections -- primaries and general; local, state, and national -- since the day I registered. In every instance that one (or more) democratic candidates have been on the ballot, I have voted Democrat. In rural, upstate New York, there are numerous village, town, and county contest where only republican and third-party candidates run; in these, obviously, voting “democrat” is not an option.

As the handful of DU community members that pays attention to my posts here knows, I have long taken an interest in uniting the local Democratic Party with non-registered Democrats who belong to the Democratic Left. In recent years, on the local level, doing so has allowed me to run a significant number of campaigns for town and county offices, and winning 90% of the time. My ability to accomplish this rate of victories has won me the attention of a few national figures, in the past fifteen years. I do not say that “bragging” -- I just hate to lose, and I believe that I have a pretty fair idea how to win elections -- even in a region that is highly republican. Indeed, there are actually more “independent” voters in my area, than Democrats.

The Democratic Party includes a wide range of good people -- in terms of “politics,” some are conservative Democrats, some are moderates, some are liberals, and some are progressives. Those definitions, in my experience, mean very different things at the local and national levels. The people who describe themselves as liberal and/or progressive in Washington, DC, are very different from my friends in rural, upstate New York. Yet, despite the differences, it is important that we recognize that we have Common Ground available to all of us. And I am not playing, when I say that this Common Ground provides the greatest safety to all of us, in a very dangerous time.

I’ve never subscribed to the theology of voting “for the lesser of two evils.” In the larger reality, I know that this is not the only option available to us. Indeed, I have never respected those who advocate this weak shit as a serious reason to support a given candidate.

Yet, again as the few who read my essays here know, I am convinced that our nation is confronted with some of the greatest threats that humanity has ever faced. I am willing to acknowledge that my spiritual belief system influences my thinking on this socio-political conflict. It’s not that I attribute any individual significance to what I view as pathetic, weak human beings such as a Donald Trump or a Ted Cruz. No! These are mere shells of human beings!

Rather, I recognize the crowds that assign their hatred to such candidates. It is the “crowd” that poses the real danger. Obviously, I am very far from alone in warning of this danger. Others have pointed out, for example, that history doesn’t “repeat” -- but that human beings sure as hell do! And human history provides so very many examples of when people have failed to take steps towards progress ….and when the results have been, well, as terrible as if republicand gained full control of government in 2016.

I am sure that at least a few forum members support Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s recent action. The DU:GD- Primaries forum shows that the republicans do not have a monopoly on anger and hatred. But, tonight, I speak to you as human beings, members of the larger community of people in the United States. I do not care -- nor d I think it is important -- what candidate you support in any of the up-coming elections. Even if your value system id different than my own …..even if your agenda and goals are distinct from my own …… I believe whole-heartedly that we are on DU:GD at this time for similar reasons, in the larger sense. And that includes winning as many contests -- local, state, and national -- as possible in 2016.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s recent action threatens to divide our party, at a time we can not afford that division. Wasserman Shultz’s actions threaten ro divide the loyalties of good, sincere, solidly Democratic voters, at the very time that we can least afford it, Thus, I am asking all people of good will tio contact the DNC, and ask them to act immediately on an issue that threatens not only our Democratic Party -- but our entire nation.

The DNC asks for our support -- our time, our money, and our votes. It is time we ask for them to take steps required to unite our party.

Is that too much to ask?

H2O Man

Mutant Conservatives vs The Future

Earlier this week, I picked up my daughter after her last final test at college. I always enjoy the opportunity to meet my children’s friends, and as this was my youngest child’s first semester at college, I’m just getting to know her circle of buddies. As they are, as a group, dedicated to attending every class, completing every assignment, and earning top grades, these were not the type of students that I associated with, back when I was a young college student. What impresses me the most is that in their “spare” time, they are all volunteers in social programs in the community -- investing time with both children and the elderly -- and also actively involved in organizing for the Democratic Party on campus (and coordinating efforts with like-minded college students state-wide).

(Note: I was actively involved in “radical” politics at her age. These frequently did not allow me the time required to attend classes. However, I recall one of the times when I was in a sociology class, the professor told the class that, “We have a celebrity here today.” I was as curious as anyone what he was talking about. He noted that the FBI was on campus that day, attempting to stop a student fund-raiser for the legal defense of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter. He then asked if I would mind sharing how I had become associated with the case.)

On the ride home, we discussed her plans for upcoming semesters. When she returns in January, she will be spending half of the semester at Cornell, which I think is pretty darned cool. And after that, she’ll be doing a year in Ireland. As a parent, it’s great to see my children both being and doing better than I was at their ages.

She mentioned that she had been speaking with friends from back when she was in high school. These included some from her own school, and others she had become friends with in various conferences, etc. All of these young ladies share a very deep concern for the future of this country. They are particularly concerned with two republican presidential candidate -- Donald Trump and Ted Cruz -- and their supporters. One of them that I had met had spent the summer working for the Hillary Clinton campaign (she had e-mailed me a number of photos of herself with Ms. Clinton!), but who now supports Bernie Sanders, is currently in Europe, where she is studying “environmental politics.” She told my daughter that, if either Trump or Cruz were to win next November’s election, she plans to move to Europe.

My daughter asked me if Trump or Cruz did win, would I seriously consider moving to Ireland? This both surprised and upset me. The United States is supposed to be the country that people want to come to, not to flee from. But, for some of the brightest college students, the idea of leaving this country has become a serious consideration. My daughter reminded me of how, a few years back, Rubin had talked to us about re-locating to Canada: in part, to allow us to work closer together; in part, because as he said to us, people around the globe recognized that the empire was crumbling from within, and thus posed serious dangers to the civilized world. My daughter had been paying attention, even as a child.

She said that she and her friends could understand Trump’s appeal to a select group of citizens: he offered shallow, emotional bumper-sticker solutions to “stupid” people. They recognize that the Trump supporters are motivated by feelings that their security was at risk, that they had little to no control over their lives, and they wanted a comic book savior. But they couldn’t identify Cruz’s appeal: he appeared to be supported by people who favor a constitutional government. That would seem to suggest that they were more intelligent and insightful than the Trump supporters. Yet, she and her friends saw Cruz as a vile, repulsive specimen -- “greasy,” and not to be trusted. What did I think of him, she asked?

I said that I was confident that the more they learned about him, the more it would confirm their first impressions. I think that Cruz is intelligent, and has studied the Constitution and constitutional law. This combination explains his appeal to those who seek a constitutional justification for their prejudices and hatreds of “others” -- as opposed to the Trump crowd, who need no excuses to seek to destroy that which they fear.

Yet, Cruz’s “insights” on the Constitution should not be mistaken for true respect for it. Indeed, in 2000, Cruz was central in organizing the Bush-Cheney legal team -- and played a major role in preparing the Bush v Gore case for the US Supreme Court. Indeed, it was Cruz who recruited John Roberts to their team for that case. Far from being devoted to constitutional rule, I said, this shows that Cruz would exploit the political nature of the USSC to advance his own agenda -- including when his agenda went against the expressed will of the American people and the rule of law.

She asked how I would sum up Cruz’s agenda? Was he, for example, a neoconservative? I asked her if she and her friends thought he was a neoconservative? In some ways, she said, but not in others. I agreed. Sometimes, people do not fall within this type of identity. In my opinion, I said, Cruz was a mutant: partly neoconservative, partly pale conservative. And fully dangerous. He would shut the federal government down, in a bratty attempt to advance his agenda.

The only positive thing I could tell her about Cruz was that, in the Bush-Cheney administration, he had been moved between positions, as an associate deputy attorney general, to the US FTC, and as a “roving” advisor to the president …..because no one could stand working with him. I noted that Bush, Cheney, and Karl Rove all found his personality toxic: he was such an arrogant, obnoxious, flaming asshole that they eventually pushed him out.

Ireland, my daughter told me, was sounding more and more appealing.

Flowers for Jeb

“How long is it going to hurt?”
-- Jeb Bush

Last month, at a time when I was desperate for new reading material, I bought an “on sale” copy of Jon Meacham’s book, “The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush: Destiny and Power.” I thought this would, if nothing else, add to the “presidential wing” of my library.

In a literal sense, the book is fiction: the author is so intent upon kissing the Elder’s ass that he avoids most of the unpleasant aspects of Bush’s career. More, Meacham attempts to present Bush’s offspring -- primarily W. and Jeb -- as decent human beings. Kevin Phillips’ book, “American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush” is far superior.

Yet, even a bad book can contain something of value. Meacham tells of how the Elder and his wife, the Babylonian Swine, backed their sons’ political careers. This includes, of course, the night that W. was elected governor in Texas, and Jeb was humiliated in Florida.

While George W. Bush is giddy in celebration of his victory, the Swine shares a moment alone with the son she had expected to be successful in politics. He asks her, “How long is it going to hurt?” I suspect that he is experiencing this same emotional turmoil, as his “inevitable” run for the presidency has become an extended humiliation.

Mid-Night Essay

“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you, but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you
Cannot visit, even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them
Like you,
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows
Are sent forth.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness.
-- Kahlil Gibran


It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years since the horrors of the Sandy Hook elementary school, in Connecticut. It is really a shame that children have to worry about outbreaks of violence in schools. Or, their communities. Or homes.

This makes me think about children around the world, and how for many of them, high levels of violence have been occurring for decades. Even generations. And what impact all that horror has upon the survivors’ lives.

I think about how angry many adults become, after some of these terrible events, where they are ready, even eager, to send other people’s young adult children to distant lands, to kill or be killed. Even after most military leaders note that ISIS, for example, cannot simply be defeated by violence. Yet no “leaders” speak about what, other than violence, is required.

Many people recognize that no innocent people should be exposed to terrible violence, especially not children. Yet again, few “leaders” speak of non-violent dispute resolution -- and those few who do, are viewed as “unrealistic” or “weak.” As if there is anything “realistic” about trying to destroy an ideology of violent hatred with more violent hatred.

I think of Senator Robert Kennedy’s favorite Albert Camus quote, which in so many ways sums up Kennedy’s 1968 run for the presidency:

“We are faced with evil. I feel rather like Augustine did before becoming a Christian when he said, ‘I tried to find the source of evil and I got nowhere. But it is also true that I and a few others knew what must be done if not to reduce evil at least not to add to it.’ Perhaps we cannot prevent this world from being a world in which children are tortured. But we can reduce the number of tortured children. And if you believers don’t help us, who else in this world can help us do this?”

Tonight, many of us will be watching the republican debates for their party’s nomination for president. How very different it will be from RFK’s 1968 campaign message. The nonsense that will be spouted from these candidates is not the source of all evil, of course; rather, it is a byproduct of generations of it, one that continues the cycle by planting seeds of hatred. Yet, Americans will watch both the debate, and the news cycles that follow.

Maybe our culture should listen to children. Perhaps it is no coincidence that enlightened people throughout history have noted that true wisdom comes from the mouths of little children. Or that those societies that place the greatest value on children reach a higher status than those who do not.

The Trial & My Cousin

Greeting, DU Community:

In the 14 months since an off-duty cop shot my cousin and his son, in a tragic incident sparked by road rage, the DU community has provided me with a great deal of support and assistance. You have: allowed me to vent; communicated much-appreciated humanity; and participated in a campaign to let the District Attorney and County Court Judge know that “bail” was not an acceptable option in this case.

I have attempted to keep people updated on events relating to the upcoming trial. We had originally anticipated it would take place in the fall of this year. Then, it was moved back to January of 2016. And now, I’ve been informed that it will likely begin in April of 2016.

Court systems, like all bureaucracies, move at their own pace. This creates a bit of stress for my cousin, who wants to get it over with. But as I’m familiar with “the system,” I’m able to keep things on track on our side. When the thug came up with his second and third official version of that day’s events -- each sworn to, each distinct -- it upsets my cousin. I remind him that, when one tells the truth, they need only to remember and tell the same story; but when one tells numerous lies, they have to keep track of all of them.

This coming week, I will be delivering a packet of documents to the District Attorney, which includes yet another statement -- signed by the murderer -- that has not yet been seen by the prosecution. It will help to convict the thug. In fact, when the defense attorney learns of it, I suspect that it might make “copping a plea” deal seem like a better alternative, than going to trial.

I certainly have appreciated all the support from the DU community. I shall continue to keep you up-dated, as the trial approaches.

Sincerely,
H2O Man
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