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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 07:49 PM
Number of posts: 58,402

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A Capital Idea

“You own your lies. Even if it takes a while, every lie you tell will eventually catch up to you. So try very hard to tell the truth. That's what I think. It's better to tell the truth.”
Onondaga Chief Paul Waterman


The opening quote originally came from an interview I did with Paul that was published in 1994. It is very important in traditional Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy) culture for the leadership to be open, honest, and trustworthy. If a chief were to tell a purposeful lie to smear another person's reputation, there would be consequences. First, it's possible that a Clan Mother would give him a stern verbal warning. It is also possible that she would “de-horn” him, meaning formally removing him from his status as chief.

Several of the most influential of this nation's Founding Fathers had modeled modeled our government after the Iroquois Confederacy. This is evident in the 1754 Albany Plan of Union, the Articles of Confederation, and then the Constitution. Under President George Washington, some in Congress believed that treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton had “misused” funds. Thus, Congress used its power to vote on a resolution to censure Hamilton. The vote fell short, but this action established their right to censure. Although the Constitution addresses the process to impeach, Congress does have the power to make resolutions.

Although censuring may seem merely symbolic, the fact that Congress has a limited history of even voting on such resolutions suggests it is viewed seriously. Being formally denounced by Congress in a public manner has a sting to it. It's interesting to note that even a congressional committee has the ability to vote upon a resolution to censure.

After yesterday's initial congressional hearing on the connections between the Trump campaign and administration, and Russia, there appears to be potential cause for impeaching the current president. Those connections certainly require a remedy that goes far, far beyond a censure. And despite the public utterances of republicans these days, the vast majority of those in the House and Senate would prefer that Trump would disappear.

This process will require several more steps. Republicans are not to the point that they believe Trump is wounded to the extent that they can safely impeach him. We can be confident that both the FBI investigation, and Trump's behavior, will continue damage his presidency. Yet, as citizens, we have the responsibility to assist the president in his foul self-destruction.

Trump's claims that President Obama wire-tapped him were disgraceful. His refusal to admit that he lied is disgusting; his attempts to move the goal-posts results in his aides humiliating themselves by pretending his rant was reality-based. And that becomes dangerous, when they repeat nonsense about President Obama using British intelligence to spy on Trump. And the continue to insult the two intelligence officers who testified to the House committee yesterday.

He can't stop himself. He lacks the intellectual and ethical capacity to change.

We will not accept him, or his behavior. And we have a unique opportunity now, that we should try to take full advantage of. Clearly, the Democrats on the House Intelligence Community, not only know Trump's presidency is corrupt and dangerous, but they find his refusal to apologize to President Obama unacceptable.

We should focus our grass-roots' efforts right now on contacting the offices of Representatives Adam Schiff and Terri Sewell, and urging them to introduce a resolution, within the House intelligence committee, to censure Trump. He needs to have consequences for that lie, and the damage it has done.

We can't be sure that our efforts will work, of course, but it's worth a try. Let's see how the system works in 2017. Surely, if it does, Trump will react in an even more out-of-control manner. And that will move things closer to impeachment hearings.

Power

When a person purposely engages in lies that are intended to incite emotions in the manner of Trump, the results follow a general path: first, a majority of the people find his behavior embarrassing; then a growing number find his behavior insulting; and then his behavior becomes dangerous to people – including, in this case, in the context of the peoples of other nations. The only question regarding how much suffering that person will cause to others is answered by how long it takes people to remove him from power.

In many cases around the globe, that removal from power requires some degree of violence. Yet in the United States, there is a non-violent method defined by the US Constitution. By no coincidence, Trump and his band of merry fools hold the Constitution in utter contempt. Indeed, the current part-time occupant of the White House clearly views himself as superior to any previous president, and instead humiliates himself in his sycophantic adoration of another “leader.”

One need not be a liberal of progressive, a member of the Democratic Party or the Democratic Left, to find this – in and of itself – troubling. Many hold the Russian people in high regard, with respect for Russian history, yet still find Putin to be a terrible human being. Indeed, the only people who share Trump's love for Putin are either seeking personal economic benefit, or are those dip-shits who “like” Putin's government because they see it as a white button on a multi-colored shirt. These are the off-spring of those who hated the Soviet Union because it was “red.”

During his campaign, Trump spoke of purposely damaging NATO. Who would benefit? Putin. During the republican national convention, Trump's people removed the plank about assisting the people of the Ukraine from their party's platform. Who benefits? Gosh, who did Jeff Sessions meet with at that time? After the November election, President Obama announced increased sanctions against Russia. The same day, Flynn had five (5) telephone conversations with the Russian ambassador. He did so with president-elect Trump's support.

When Trump accused President Obama of tapping his phone, he went well beyond being a fucking national embarrassment, and became purely insulting. It's not that he hadn't insulted people his entire life, including in the republican primary and general election campaign. To his discredit, he insulted large groups of people that he consciously was attempting to appeal to for their votes. Yet, most of the time, he purposely insulted people, because he holds them in the same contempt as the Russian prostitutes he paid to urinate on.

After both democrats and republicans in Congress stated that there is zero truth in his lies about President Obama – no more so than his crude “birther” horseshit – he and his administration sought to move the goalposts. “He pot it in quotes.” Only in two of the four tweets to his twits, not that it matters. “Microwaves.” No comment necessary. “Andres Napolitano said ...” Either poor Andrew is too fucking stupid to be trusted to pour a glass of water, or he purposefully lied. He didn't even put it in quotes.

In fact, intelligence officials from two European nations – both members of NATO – had informed US intelligence sources about a number of meetings between Russians of interest and some people engaged in the Trump campaign. One wishes that James Comey could speak openly and honestly to Congress and the American people on Monday. But, he has to follow the rules.

Likewise, one wishes that H. R. McMaster could speak openly about the dangers Trump poses. Yet, when he was forced to accept that position, as he was active military, that three retired military officers had declined, he was surely aware that his job was to play the same role Al Haig did in the Nixon White House. But he, too, has to follow the rules of his trade. I'm confident that being put in the position of apologizing to England wasn't a high-point in his career.

What various leaders, intelligence, and military officials think and do is important – be they foreign or domestic. Still, I find myself thinking about what the common, decent human beings of the world are thinking. Surely, they are wondering if the American people will stand up and force the machinery of the government to remove Trump from power. They know that, as Vine Deloria, Jr. said, there is no system on earth that will not gladly sacrifice one of its own for a moment's peace. And the US Constitution provides a lawful, peaceful method of doing so. When a president violates every sense of common decency, it indeed fits the definition of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

The stakes are obviously high. At his least damaging, Trump will play Robin to Putin's Bat Man: favoring the military and energy corporations owned by the opulently wealthy, while cutting all services to human beings. Allowing this to happen will decrease the possibility of non-violent change in America. No, we can not sit by and allow this to happen.

People ask me what they as an individual can do? That's a fair question. A sincere question, too. My response is to ask what are they good at? What issues do they care the most about? Focus upon these talents and issues. Do not allow a shithead like Trump to make you feel like your issues aren't just as important as the next person's. Chances are, there are plenty of people around you who value that same issue. Our goal isn't to limit us to any one front, but to fight on all fronts, as Malcolm X taught. And while Trump believes he has true “power,” that's his delusion. You have true power. Exercise it.

Keep your eyes on the prize!
H2O Man

An Irish Proverb

“You, my lord (Norbury), are a judge, I am a supposed culprit; I am a man, you are a man, also; by a revolution of power, we might change places, tho we could never change characters.”
Robert Emmet,

William Jennings Bryan included Emmet's speech – made upon his conviction for “high treason” for his participation in the 1798 Uprising in Ireland – in his classic “The World's Famous Orations.” (Funk & Wagnalls Co.; Vol. VI, pages 137-148; 1906) Emmet was my great (x7)-grandfather's cousin. My grandfather was also sentenced to death by that same court of injustice.

Trump's delivery of his “favorite Irish proverb,” which comes from a poem by Albashir Alhassan of Nigeria, highlights the need for an actual Irish proverb on this day.

Bligh's Bounty

“How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy,"
Donald Trump


Donald Trump is not the first US president to believe that he was spied upon by the previous president. By no coincidence, the other fellow who made similar claims – though in private – was Richard M. Nixon. As a candidate in the fall of 1968, Nixon had received information from Henry Kissinger that President Johnson was close to reaching an end of the war in Vietnam. As Hubert Humphrey was closing the gap between the two candidates, Nixon recognized a peace treaty late in the campaign would insure a Democratic Party victory.

Thus, Nixon and H. R. Haldeman tasked Anna Chennault with convincing South Vietnam to hold out for a better deal from a Nixon administration. When LBJ called Nixon to confront him on the obvious violation of the Logan Act, Nixon did what he often did: he lied, denying any involvement. After the incident, Nixon was convinced that Johnson was listening in to Nixon's conversations on his campaign plane.

This is the thinking of a paranoid, devious individual. And, in that sense, and that sense only, Trump was correct in saying, “This is Nixon/Watergate.” For devious, paranoid individuals always project their own behaviors upon their opposition.

More, Trump was aware that more and more information about his campaign's misdeeds will continue to leak to the press, and that both the House and Senate were scheduling investigations of the campaign's ties to Russia. Hence, his desperate attempt to re-frame the issue into one of that foreign-born, atheist Muslim ISIS-founder Obama's “spying” on a political opponent. Surely Nixon is smiling as he looks down from hell at Donald Trump.

The bad news for Trump is, of course, that even the republicans in congress realize that they must “investigate” the assertion that President Obama tapped candidate Trump's phone. As this claim only exists as a possibility in the slimy region between Trump's ears, congress will quickly document that in reality, it didn't happen. However, the witnesses that congress calls upon can and will provide testimony that various agencies were documenting Trump campaign contacts with Russian intelligence. And there is a possibility that these include Trump himself, conversing with Russians. Yet none of this involves President Obama, as Trump claimed.

There are congressional hearings scheduled for March 20, that will be televised. In a very real sense, it is essential that as many of these hearings as possible be available for public viewing. This would be beneficial for the three general groups of citizens: those who support Trump, those who oppose him, and the “undecideds” who are concerned about the administration's ties to Russia, but are unsure of the extent.

Older readers will recall the value of the televised Senate Watergate hearings. The vast majority of the “three groups” were convinced that Nixon had to go. As a result of these hearings, the House began to draft their articles of impeachment, causing Nixon to resign in utter disgrace.

The Senate Watergate Report includes quotes from two important US Supreme Court decisions that define constitutional law regarding congress's duty to “inform the public.” While technology has changed since those court rulings, the principles remain constant. Let's take a look at these, found in the report's introduction. Both are in the context of their recognizing “that the ultimate impact of its work depended upon obtaining and keeping public confidence.” (page 49)

Now, let's consider a quote from United States v. Rumely (1953), which was actually taken from Wilson's “Congressional Government” (page 303): “It is the proper duty of a representative body to look diligently into every affair of government and to talk much about what it sees. It is meant to be the eyes and voice, and to embody the wisdom and will of its constituents. Unless Congress have and use every means of acquainting itself with the acts and disposition of the administrative agents of the government the country must be helpless to learn how it is being served, and unless Congress both scrutinize these things and sift them by every form of discussion, the country must remain in embarrassing, crippling ignborance of the very affairs which it is most important that it should understand and direct. The informing function of Congress should be preferred even to its legislative function.”

Next, let's consider a quote from Watkins v. United States (1957): “{There is a} power of the Congress to inquire into and publicize corruption, maladministration or inefficiency in agencies of the government. That was the only kind of activity described by Woodrow Wilson in 'Congressional Government' when he wrote: 'The informing function of Congress should be preferred even to its legislative function.' From the earliest times in its history, the Congress has assiduously performed an 'informing function' of this nature.” (Both quotes are taken from page 40 of the Senate Watergate Report.)

As citizens, it is our responsibility to write, call, and e-mail our elected representatives – who in theory work for us – and instruct them to encourage and engage in congressional investigations to document the issues of Trump and his campaign and administration's ties to Russian interests. This should include the obviously false claim that President Obama “tapped” Trump's phone. It should include General Flynn, his being an agent of a foreign nation, and his relationship with various Russians – including the five (5) calls he had with the Russian ambassador the day President Obama sanctioned Russia.

Again, all Americans need to learn the truth here.

Sessions Unplugged

“Coincidence takes a lot of planning.”
Malcolm Nance


I've seen a number of interesting discussions on the internet recently, about the “troubles” that the Trump administration is experiencing. Everyone seems to realize that a segment of the intelligence community is engaged in an effort to destabilize the administration. The part of this program that is visible to the public comes by way of coordinated leaks to various news sources. There is, of course, a significant amount of activity behind the scenes, that we do not see. Yet.

I think it might be fun to have a talk about both the context of such an operation, including a bit of history to assist us in defining some of the terms we hear – and will continue to hear – in coming months. In doing so, I think it is beneficial to be as objective as possible. Thus, I'll do my best to avoid including my own “value judgments,” other than to say here that I favor a constitutional government.

Journalists talk about the “Deep State.” This is best understood as the machine that runs this country. It is basically what Eisenhower famously warned of in his farewell address. It's worth noting that in almost all of the thirty-plus rough drafts Ike made, he identified the danger of the “military-industrial-congressional complex.” In more recent decades, it's understood to mean the military and intelligence community.

This is distinct from the concept of a “shadow government,” although some members of the deep state are also found in a shadow government. But the shadow government is identified as those who pull the strings on the puppets who serve in elected office. On occasion, members of the shadow government have stepped from behind the curtain, and served in elected or non-elected office. This has included Nelson Rockefeller and James Baker, as well as some military generals (both retired and active).

The issues confronting Trump et al are more similar to what Nixon faced in Watergate, than Reagan – Bush in Iran-Contra, or VP Cheney in the Plame scandal. So let's review a few things from the Nixon White House. First, early on, two people who would play significant roles in destabilizing the administration met regularly in the White House's basement: Bob Woodward and Mark Felt. At the time, Woodward was an officer from the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI). Felt, also an ONI officer, had “retired” to take an Assistant Director's position in the FBI.

Older readers will recall that Nixon learned that military intelligence was spying on him. This certainly upset poor Richard, yet he failed to actually address the issue. Around the same time, Felt suggested that Woodward retire and take up journalism – a curious idea, as Felt despised the media, and Woodward had absolutely no background in journalism. Yet, in a brief time, Woodward would be hired by the Washington Post. (his WP partner, Carl Bernstein, would eventually write an article that documented how the intelligence community had spread through the major medias of the day.)

According to Woodward, he had a “secret source” in DC, who “leaked” confidential information to him. He referred to this source as “Deep Throat.” Decades later, he identified Felt as Deep Throat, although it would have been impossible for Felt to have run the operation Woodward described alone. It was an operation that involved a group that sought to use the media to destabilize the Nixon administration, forcing the legislative branch to begin to take the actions that resulted in Nixon's resigning in utter disgrace.

Fast-forward to the Trump campaign. It is widely believed that “Russian intelligence” hacked the computers of the DNC and Clinton campaign, in hopes of finding “dirt” to harm the Clinton campaign. One can only speculate on if the materials leaked played any significant role in the choices that citizens made in the voting booths. However, although the DNC and Clinton campaign were private groups – not “government” entities – this is of concern to the intelligence community. Members from several agencies – including military intelligence – quickly became aware of suspicious connections between members of the Trump campaign, and some Russians they took interest in.

It is important to recognize that Russia also has a “deep state” and a “shadow government,” that are similar to those in the US. What the intelligence community found is described in detail in Malcolm Nance's recent book, “The Plot to Hack America.” Nance has become a regular guest on a number of television news programs. He is recognized as an expert in intelligence, being that he is a “retired” high-ranking ONI officer. As he notes in the book, he communicates with other retired and active members of the intelligence community.

The information that his book provides about the Trump campaign's connections to various Russian individuals and business interests is important. The on-going discussions between the campaign is, of course, closely connected to these financial ties. More, the discussions strongly indicate that the Trump people were promising accept Russian plans to “resolve” the conflict in the Ukraine, and to lift sanctions …..though for what, exactly, is not as clear.

The recent information about Sessions' meeting the Russian ambassador – at the republican convention, a trip which Sessions used campaign money to pay for – and his lying to try to hide it, fit in with the narrative that the campaign was coordinating efforts with the Russians. Likewise, the information regarding other campaign operatives systematic communications with the Russians provides further evidence of this. And the Russian ambassador's attending the Trump speech was clearly to hear the candidate confirm the deal they had agreed upon.

Keep in mind that European intelligence groups have provided the US intelligence community with even more evidence, which they gathered when Trump campaign representatives met “secretly” with Russians. Expect the domestic investigations to include the information from the fellow from MI5, which was originally gathered for the Jeb Bush campaign.

Note that Sessions now “remembers” that the ambassador and he got into a “heated debate” about the Ukraine. That is not a clever lie. Although his role may have been limited to the two meetings with the ambassador to discuss the Ukraine, it will be further exposed as being a significant piece in the larger puzzle.

It is important that both houses of Congress investigate this. It should be a special, select committee, not just the intelligence oversight committees, since the public would never see the real results. And, of course, that a truly independent prosecutor be appointed, although at this point, this would come by way of the Justice Department.

Even the republicans who speak in favor of Trump today will sacrifice him in time. This is not only true of those up for re-election in 2018, but those who want to stay in the majority as well. Most would prefer to work with VP Pence.

Boxing

I got word this morning that my son has a fight in Albany on Saturday, to be followed by the Golden Gloves in Buffalo next weekend.

Rumble, Young Man, Rumble!

Trump Card

“Sure there are dishonest men in local government. But there are dishonest men in national politics, too.”
-- Richard M. Nixon



I was talking with a friend this week about Trump’s upcoming presidency. She is a registered voter, though not affiliated with either the republican or Democratic Party. Still, she had assumed that there was zero chance that Trump could possibly win the 2016 election.

She was convinced that the public would overwhelmingly appreciate that Hillary Clinton would be a better president than Trump. I pointed out that Trump sets the bar so low that even Richard Nixon would be a far superior choice. How then, she asked, was Trump able to win the election -- despite the popular vote -- and what might we expect from his presidency?

First, as outrageous as it was, Trump’s campaign was far from original. In fact, too much attention was paid to his often purposeful bullshit. More should have been focused on why he was performing that way. Many of us are old enough to remember how Ronald Reagan was packaged -- based upon using his previous television image to distract from his true nature -- and recognized that Trump was running the modern equivalent, exploiting the internet. This included the intentional appeal to the “alt-right,” a collection of sub-groups that generally are not considered “likely voters.” Thus, the unanticipated wins in several key states.

The campaign also copied the “law and order” message that Nixon ran on. Like Tricky Dick, he excuses his own behaviors -- both of their campaigns were “influenced” by other nations, among other things -- by combining denials with a “that’s how it’s done” approach. President Nixon sought an advantage by promoting the idea that he was unstable and angry when it came to international issues; Trump has not waited to be sworn in to engage in similar behaviors.

President Nixon sought an advantage over the Soviet Union, by playing a China card. Trump is seeking to gain advantages over China, by cozying up to Russia’s leader. There are, of course, many significant differences. The world is a very different place today. Also, Nixon was actually well informed on global relationships, and had decades of experience in this arena. Thus, he was viewed as capable, though unstable, while Trump is viewed as not capable and unstable.

In domestic terms, Nixon represented “phase one” of the republican party’s attempts to dismantle FDR and LBJ’s social programs. Reagan, of course, was “phase two.” George W. Bush and Dick Cheney instituted the foundation for a high-tech feudalism. Already, in my region, funding for non-profit agencies is evaporating, in anticipation of Trump.

Since winning the election, Trump has displayed little if any loyalty to his campaign promises. The selections for his administration indicate that they will pursue an aggressive, reckless foreign policy, and an anti-environment form of social Darwinism domestically. Bad as these are, what is definitely worse is that Trump is largely being allowed to dictate what field the contest will be played upon.

It’s not limited to the power of the office of the president, although as we have seen in recent times that while there are limits to what “good” a president can do, the ability to do “bad” is limitless. Nor is it because 90+ percent of elected representatives in DC are puppets of the 1% and multi-national corporations. Or that the media is a pathetic excuse for the free press defined by Amendment 1.

The biggest stumbling blocks that threaten to prevent effective resistance to the Trump administration is found within the grass roots. The first is the belief that some “leader” is going to save us. If only Adlai Stevenson would expose Trump. Maybe the Beatles will reunite. Or a flaming apple pie will appear from the heavens. Where is Gandhi when we need him?

The harsh, cold truth is that it is up to us. You, me, and everyone else that did not vote for Trump. That’s the starting point. And it brings us to that second stumbling block, which by no coincidence is also found firmly planted between people’s ears -- the foolish, self-indulgent divisions that fester when some insist that they will refuse to work with those who have different opinions, or hold different values. One example should do (although the same concept can be applied to many others): the silly, irrational stance that “Bernie Sanders is not a democrat.” As if the reality of the 2016 Democrat Party primary can be ignored, and that very ignorance will result in a stronger party.

Factionalism, self-righteousness, and aggressive ignorance create the arena in which Donald Trump “wins.” He depends upon people like you and I to react mindlessly; instead, we must respond intelligently. That does not mean that we have to think alike, or hold identical values. Far from it. Instead, it requires that we put forth our best efforts -- and that isn’t limited to posting on the internet -- with full confidence that the movement will bring forth its own leadership.

Peace,
H2O Man

Axis

“Anger, he smiles,
Towering in shiny purple metallic armour
Queen Jealousy, envy waits behind him
Her fiery green gown sneers at the grassy ground.”
-- Jimi Hendrix, Bold as Love


Chronic anger is a disease. One of the symptoms is that it leads to divisions, as in when groups of angry individuals splinter into smaller and smaller sub-groups that are hostile to one another. This is what we are witnessing in American society today, just as it is spreading around the globe.

It’s happening in large regions of this country, and within states, communities, and neighborhoods. Indeed, it is happening within families. Chronic anger elected Donald Trump as the next president. One would have to be in full denial to believe that the nation is not experiencing a serious illness.

There are divisions between the progressive and liberal communities, which were brought to a head by the 2016 presidential election. If one were to read closely enough, one could even find evidence of this on the Democratic Underground.

Now, I’m not talking about the spontaneous emotion of anger. Closely related to fear, in the context of the brain and body, anger has played a role in human evolution. Rather, I am talking about chronic anger, which is destructive to both the individual’s brain and body, and to groups of people.

Chronic anger makes individuals and groups self-righteous. It brings about selfishness, and other forms of self-deception. And this is self-defeating. I can think of no better example than a statistic I heard reported, that some 14% of registered Democrats voted for Donald Trump. Safe to say that these were angry, rather than happy, people.

In this sense, anger and fear share many common characteristics. None are more important than their good and bad potentials: for if handled properly, they can produce the fuel required to achieve victory, or each can result in burn-out -- with anger causing a form of burn-out that the individual fails to recognize. Chronic anger exhausts one’s ability to think rationally and objectively.

In a healthy, well-functioning society, the chronically angry people are understood to have problems. In an unhealthy, dysfunctional society, those angriest of people are mistaken for leaders. Again, there is no better example than Donald Trump’s election. Yet, while this is easily understood by all, far fewer people seem capable of applying this same dynamic to smaller groups.

This allows for the angriest voices in communities to be mistaken for “speaking for the group.” There are two distinct dangers associated with this, the first being that it becomes remarkably easy for the group’s opposition to exploit. Almost without exception, for example, it was provocateurs (“:inciting agents”) who promoted hostilities in the Civil Rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s-’70s. They exploited the groups’ angers and fears to divide them.

This is not to imply that all the problems within the liberal and progressive communities -- or within the Democratic Party -- are the result of outside agitators. For example, we should take note of the fact that the republicans have won three of the last five presidential elections. Consider the number of republican governors that will be running states in 2017. And the large number of elections for the House and Senate that have been lost in recent years.

In that context, is it rational to think that more victories will be achieved by further dividing the groups and individuals that might form the party’s base of support in the future? Or might it be better to consider the possibility that the party’s leadership has some responsibility for the failure to win elections? Those appear to be our two options: either to engage in a puritanical orgy of finger-pointing and blaming others, or else taking responsibility for our own actions an inactions. It would seem worthwhile to consider which of those two options that the party’s leadership has taken since election day.

Peace,
H2O Man

Selma

“In those days, I identified with the ideas of Malcolm X, his philosophy of ‘by any means necessary,’ rather than what I misinterpreted as the passivity of Dr. Martin Luther King.”
-- Rubin “Hurricane” Carter; Eye of the Hurricane; Lawrence Hill Books; 2011; page 62


One of the most interesting periods of the 1960s is often overlooked: for a brief period in 1964 to early ‘65, Malcolm and Martin began taking steps towards presenting a united front to obtain human rights for the twenty million black Americans. In large part, this was a result of Malcolm’s attempt to bring Uncle Sam’s abuses in front of the United Nations. In his trips abroad during this time, foreign leaders recommended to Malcolm that he seek to create a united front with Dr. King.

Although it is generally ignored in most biographies of the two men, there were a series of communications between the two, through a third party -- an attorney from Chicago. Also, as is better known, Malcolm traveled to Selma while King was in jail. Members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee had invited him to address their group on February 4. That day, Malcolm would also speak with Andrew Young, James Bevel, and Coretta Scott King.

Dr. King had called Rubin before the Selma campaign, and asked him to join the effort. At that time, Rubin did not subscribe to King’s non-violent methods. Indeed, a Saturday Evening Post reporter had quoted one of Rubin’s friends, out of context, regarding the black community’s right to fight back against police violence. Thus, Rubin told Martin that it would be “suicidal” for him to participate in Selma.

Two weeks after he gave Coretta a message for her husband, Malcolm was killed. Within a few years, Martin Luther King was murdered. And Rubin was serving a triple-life sentence for a vicious crime that he had not committed. In the early 1970s, Rubin and I became friends; over the next four decades, among many other things, we would discuss the meanings of Malcolm and Martin.

It’s easy, today, to pay tribute to Dr. King on Martin Luther King Day. And many of us old folks take time to remember his death every April 4th. It is not uncommon to wish that King were alive today, to serve as a leader in the on-going struggle for human rights. (I even find myself wishing Malcolm were here to debate Bill O’Reilly-types.)

Yesterday, I had a phone call from the editor of a regional newspaper. She reads my blog, and called to ask if she could use my most recent essay in the upcoming edition? Of course. We had a pleasant conversation, in which she said that we need a Gandhi/ King-like figure today. I suggested that what is really required is that we bring forth that potential within ourselves.

She noted that doing so was very difficult, especially in such an acrimonious time. I agreed, for all worth-while things are as difficult as they are important. More, not doing so will result in a far worse scenario. She said that it is hard for her to not feel anger towards many people, and to fear them. I agree 100%. I’m human. People bug me, too. And it is a very angry time in America. Yet, if we feed into that anger, the direction our nation is going in will be -- at very least -- just as difficult as if we attempt to put the teachings and examples of Gandhi and King to work in our daily lives.

On that last blog essay, I noted that Thoreau wrote that people to “see” what they expect, and want, to see. In our society, people see reasons to fear the future, especially since Trump won the general election. And, being angry, they see others to blame. No single group has a monopoly on blaming others, of course, yet we find its corrosive effect within those groups that are most opposed to Trump’s electoral victory.,

If one reads various internet sites (including, but not limited to the Democratic Underground), they find individuals and groups blaming numerous others: the Sanders campaign; the Clinton campaign; the DNC; James Comey; cable news; the Russians; millennials; Doris Day; and on and on. There is no shortage of self-righteous outrage and hatred Indeed, only two things are missing -- an awareness of what role each of us played as individuals, and of what positive changes we might make to counter the unwholesome impact of the Trump presidency.

Yet only honest self-examination can result in each of us reaching a point where we can actually create positive change. It’s easy, for example, to remember every insult aimed at ourselves during the primary and general election campaigns. It’s a bit more difficult to take responsibility for the abrasive digs we got in on others who though and acted differently than we did. However, we can’t change others -- we can only change ourselves.

Our behaviors do influence others. If we attack others -- verbally in person, or in writing on the internet -- because they think and act differently than we do, as a result of holding different values based upon different life-experiences, it is unlikely to sway them in a positive way. Few people enjoy being insulted or demeaned for their beliefs …..and those that do are not pictures of mental health.

Likewise, those who cling to self-righteousness, and declare that they will never work with former allies who think differently are not displaying politically healthy or emotionally mature attitudes. It’s really as simple as that. That attitude, and the resulting behaviors, are the direct opposite of the example that Dr. King set for us.

To paraphrase King, at this point in time, although it may not be comfortable or easy, each of us may make a choice of how we will respond to current events. That we are at a crisis point in our nation’s history -- and in world history -- is all too obvious. It is up to each of us to respond by bringing forth our best potentials.

Peace,
H2O Man

Road Rage (Update)

Yesterday, the person who shot my cousin and his son in a “road rage” incident was sentenced. The two longest sentence -- which run consecutively -- are 25-to-life for murdering the younger man, and 15 to life for the attempted murder of the father .The judge noted that this person poses a danger to society, where ever he is. Thus, the ex- New York City cop/ part-time corrections officer at the county jail, will never get out of jail.

I was pleased that the DA was able to submit information on one of the other similar “incidents” where, a couple months before shooting my family members, this thug had dogged a person driving on Route 17 (between NYC and Binghamton), and rushed towards the other vehicle with a gun.

More, in sentencing, the judge noted that the thug not only had shown zero remorse for killing a 26-year old, but was flippant while lying on the witness stand.

Today would be Derek Dylan’s 28th birthday.

Thank you to everyone here who has been supportive during this.

Peace,
H2O Man

http://www.wbng.com/news/local/John-Guzy-57-sentenced-in-death-of-Derek-D-Prindle-384538811.html?cid=facebook_WBNG-TV_Action_News
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