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H2O Man

H2O Man's Journal
H2O Man's Journal
January 28, 2019

NYS Golden Gloves

My son scored a devastating second-round knockout today in the semi-finals of the heavyweight division.

January 25, 2019


“While we are laughing the seed of some trouble is put into the wide arable land of events. While we are laughing it sprouts, it grows and suddenly bears a poison fruit which we must pluck.”
John Keats

Well before the mainstream media was reporting connections between Roger Stone and the Trump-Russian criminal scandal, members of the DU community were discussing his role. And months before Trump said publicly that he would be proud to shut down the government, members of the DU community were discussing the inevitable “crisis” Trump would create to distract public attention from upcoming results from the Mueller investigation. That is an example of what, in my opinion, makes this such an important forum.

Today's news is bigger than most Americans could possibly recognize.

January 22, 2019

Thank You, Nathan Phillips

“ 'The men told me there weren't any human bones; it was a prehistoric campsite, not a burial ground; they had a right to dig, and I had no business there since it was private land. But looking at all those craters, well ….I know amateurs don't destroy whole sites like that. These people were literally mining the place. It had every sign of a commercial operation.' “
Sgt. Mike Hart; Who Owns the Past?; National Geographic; March, 1989; page 378.

This weekend's incident involving a gang of Catholic students, a small group of black people, and a Native American Elder reminded me of an event in Kentucky in the 1980s. As reported in National Geographic, ghouls excavated more than 650 Indian graves. The Slack Farm had been a major village site between approximately 1450 and 1650.

That some of the students from the Kentucky school shouted, “You stole the land from the indigenous people” struck me as central to understanding the conflict. And while that conflict began in the ignorance of the students, the weekend incident highlights the potential for violence that has seeped to the surface of American society since Trump began campaigning for the presidency.

Before I focus on the weekend, I'll take a minute to discuss the Slack Farm. This was on Shawnee territory. Native leaders called upon, among others, representatives of the Haudenosaunee, or Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy, to conduct the repatriation ceremonies. When Tadodaho Leon Shenandoah and Chiefs Vince Johnson and Paul Waterman arrived in Kentucky, the governor said he had no idea who they were, or what right they had to be there. Vince had a copy of the September 1987 Nation Geographic with him; the article “The Iroquois: Keepers of the Fire” convinced the governor that the three men had jurisdiction.

The grave-robbers were intent upon were focused on finding “artifacts” to market. The National Geographic article showed, for example, a small pipe that sold for $4,500. They were not interested in the human remains. Thus, there were huge piles of skulls, of jaw-bones, etc. I'll never forget Paul's telling me about the largest pile of jaws. The only good that came from this outrageous situation is that it helped us get the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act passed into federal law in 1990.

But for every action, there is a reaction. The reaction mimicked the corporate strategy, still in use, to justify taking mineral wealth from, and/or putting pipelines through, Indian territory. The outdated theory that paleo-era people entering North America killed large game at a rate that caused mass extinctions – hence Indians were not “conservationists. The original theory that connected the melting of glaciers, the peopling of North America, and the extinction of many large mammals was started by scientists in the mid-1900s. However, as Vine Deloria Jr. wrote in “Red Earth, White Lies,” the myth of the Pleistocene Hit Man ignored the many small animals and tiny creatures that also became extinct in that era of great environmental change.

Likewise, theories about where the original inhabitants to the Americas came from, along with when and how, has been expanded in recent decades by serious scientists. Without question, groups of people did walk across the Bering Strait, and this accounts for much of the population that resulted. But there are theories about other means, including small boats with people who traveled along the coastline. More, just as the once popular myth that Columbus was the first European to reach the Americas have been proven incorrect, scientists have theorized on other people coming to the North American coasts, both east and west, primarily to trade.

There is one more myth that comes into play with this weekend's events. After the end of the US v Indian wars in the west, a curious factor effected many white families in America. This was best described by Deloria in another of his outstanding books: these families claimed they had an Indian in their family tree. Usually, it was a Mohawk, a Cherokee, or a Sioux, perhaps because were the most famous for having produced “noble savages.” Curiously, there was no common claim of an Agrican or Asian ancstor.

The combination of the loss of access to burial grounds to plunder, combined with a shallow understanding of the reality of science, took the old”family tree” myth a giant step further. The pseudo-science that too often plays on the History Channel, and claims, for example, that the Cherokee are Hebrews, has convinced these people that Europeans were the “first Americans,” and that Indians stold their land from them. Thus, the sad call that the Native Americans stole the land from the indigenous people. (The Cherokee, by the way, were from Iroquois peoples who moved south, just the same as their relatives, the Susquehannock, around 2,000 bc.)

The viciousness that we witnessed over the weekend should remind us that it is but a thin veil between civilization and barbarism. Nathan Phillips stood as the conscience against the mindless hate that threatens to destroy that veil.

H2O Man

January 20, 2019

Speaking of BuzzFeed

One of my closest associates told me about the BuzzFeed article minutes after it was published. I said, “That makes sense.” He said, “Be careful on this one.” I said that they had broke important stories on the Trump crime family. He agreed, and noted they have some outstanding journalists working for them. So I asked what the problem was? He said to look closely at two things: first, the article hinted that there were sources from the Mueller team, and second, there is a significant difference between Trump personally telling Cohen to lie, and someone like Jared telling Cohen that Trump wanted him to lie. Or, possibly telling Cohen to inform others in the White House that he would testify that the Trump Tower Moscow business ended in January,so that they would parrot the same lie.

After discussing some related issues, I thought I should pen a quick essay for this forum. I decided to write it after training my two fighters for their January 27 bouts in the Golden Gloves. However, being old, tired, and forgetful, I did not. I want to be clear here: I had originally believed the report was likely accurate, but considered passing on another person's advice. It wasn't something that I came up with myself.

Let's look at a few issues objectively. I know that good people can have different views that they feel very strongly about. But let's put feelings and emotions to the side. There are no sources from the Mueller Team passing secrets to any journalist. There may be sources who work, or have worked, with FBI investigators on other cases, and they may believe what they told the two journalists. Or the journalists may have misunderstood what they said. Or the sources may have fed them misinformation, especially if the sources are connected to a small group of active and retired investigators from the NYC area.

It is also legitimate to look closely at one or both of the journalists. In this case, although it was more than a decade ago, one of them engaged in a series of actions that discredited him. However, it is also important to remember that people can and do learn from mistakes and change. Not everyone does, of course …..something Rubin Carter said to me years ago comes to mind: “Wise people learn from others' mistakes. Most of us have to learn from our own. And fools? Fools never learn.”

Both sources and reporters can be accurate 95% of the time. That's important. But that other 5% is important, too. One should consider if these are honest mistakes, careless errors, seemingly correct conclusions on realistic theories, or purposeful misleading efforts to discredit an individual, group or organization, or movement. Everyone has the right to their own opinion on this. I see no need to express my own at this time.

However, I would like to say that we are at a point in this country where there is benefits found in removing emotion to the extent possible, and taking an objective look at events as they unfold. Try to think of various options that may be involved. This will help us to realize that, despite a few more bumps in the road up ahead, the Trump presidency is in shambles, and will soon come to an abrupt end.

H2O Man

January 14, 2019

Fahrenheit 784

“History is to the nation what memory is to the individual. Honest history is the weapon of freedom.”
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

Is the Trump presidency just a nightmare? How might it end?

On June 17, 1972, five men were arrested after they broke into an office complex in the Watergate building in Washington, DC. On August 9, 1974, Richard Nixon's resignation became official at noon. This 784 day period was among the most important in our nation's history.

Those of my generation will never forget those times. Younger people interested in politics likely have learned about that era, including from some outstanding coverage in recent times. I have not seen all that others have told me about, as I have limited access to television. And so I apologize if much of this repeats what you have recently watched. I'm going largely from the internet films of the Senate and later House hearings on Nixon and Watergate.

There are, obviously, differences between Nixon and Trump, and the nature of their criminal behaviors before, during, and after elections. Nixon was not schooled in “white collar” crime by his father, who apparently was a hard working, though not financially successful, man. Perhaps more importantly, Nixon's mother's existence had a positive influence on him.

There are some interesting similarities. During his first term, an officer from Naval Intelligence used to meet with a “former” INO officer, then serving in the FBI, in the basement of the White House. The pair were Nob Woodward and Mark Felt; they made a greater impact on Nixon's second term. Also, in December of 1971, Nixon learned that a young man in the Navy who worked for Henry Kissinger was spying on the president, and turning materials over to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Trump, of course, knew by the transition period that, at very least, the FBI was aware of the Trump-Russian scandal. While Nixon was too intimidated to call out the Joint Chiefs, Trump has publicly – and usually incorrectly – been accusing the intelligence community of conspiring against him.(Neither had a secretary named Lincoln or Kennedy, however.)

Being “watched” played upon both men's natural predisposition to being paranoid. They share this trait with others who have both superiority and inferiority complexes. This results in having few, if any, true friends, as opposed to associates. Nixon had one friend, Charles “Bebe” Rebozo; Trump has had zero true friends in his adult life. (Through Rebozo, Nixon came to spend time in Florida, in what the press called the Winter White House. However, he spent less time than Trump spends in Florida.)

Both Nixon and Trump showed personality pathology before being elected, that was related to crimes they committed during their campaigns. Nixon injected himself into the peace negotiations involving the US and Vietnam in 1968; Trump was dealing with Russia in 2016. Nixon, being anti-social, would later show some loyalty to select associates involved in his many crimes; Trump, a sociopath, has zero loyalty to his co-conspirators.

Now, let's look at a few important dates. In July of 1970, Nixon signed off on the infamous “Huston Plan” for illegal domestic spying on his enemies. The plan called for the FBI, CIA, Defense Department, and National Security Agency to conduct the types of “investigations,” using the same types of tactics the “plumbers” would employ a year or so later. Hoover, who was aware of Nixon's interference in the 1968 Vietnam peace talks, refused to sign off on it. Instead, he noted his objections/ Nixon, as John Dean later noted, never officially ended the program.

Hoover kept track of the Huston program, because he could use it to blackmail Nixon, had the president attempted to force him to retire. However, on May 2, 1972, Hoover died. While in and of itself, his death was surely a good thing, it allowed for Nixon to put his illegal activities into action at a higher level. His re-election committee, known as CREEP, hired a “retired” CIA man named Hunt, who Nixon was familiar with since his days as vice president.

Hunt hired another CIA veteran, James McCord, along with a former FBI agent named G, Gordon Liddy. One fact that is too often overlooked is that soon after being hired, McCord made an effort to befriend Martha Mitchell, the wife of the Attorney General. Then, they became operational, hiring some Cuban-American associates that Hunt knew from Nixon's vice presidential era. They broke into a number of places, including quite likely Dan Rather's home.

After being caught in the second break-in at the Watergate, a number of entities would begin investigating what the heck they were up to. However, these investigations would not influence the outcome of the 1972 presidential election, any more than the on-going investigations of Trump-Russia did the 2016 election. We can only speculate how the voting public might ave reacted in both cases, had they been fully informed.

A couple of newspapers began investigating the break-in, leading to a bit of competition between reporters from the Washington Post and New York Times. The Post had an advantage: Bob Woodward had become a reporter for them. A few years before, in the White House basement, Mark Felt had advised Bob to become a reporter – despite the fact Felt despised the media. And Felt would be assisting Woodward as he and Carl investigated Watergate.

Besides the reporters and DC police, the FBI was investigating the break-in. At Nixon's direction, several aides contacted CIA director Richard Helms, asking him to stop the FBI. Helms could have done so, by declaring a secrecy privilege based upon national security. Nixon said the investigation could bring up issues related to the “whole Bay of Pigs thing.” Like Hoover, Helms had come to distrust Nixon, and refused. The White House requests came back to haunt poor Richard.

The Watergate burglars had been tried in front of Judge John Sirica, starting in January of 1973. He did not believe the defendants had been acting on their own. Eventually, James McCord presented him with a letter that helped uncover the CREEP and White House's role.

On May 16, 1973, Nixon's Secretary of Defense – and nominee for Attorney General – Elliot Richardson contacted Archibald Cox to ask him to serve as the Special Prosecutor in the Watergate investigations. Because Cox was subpoenaing White House tapes, he fell victim to theSaturday Night Massacre on October 20. However, his replacement, Leon Jaworski, would carry on the fight for the tapes, much to Nixon's surprise.

The US Senate would hold televised investigation hearings on Watergate. The tesimony of two witnesses in particular caused severe damage to the White House attempts at a cover-up: John Dean and Alexander Butterfield. Dean told of Nixon's corruption, while Butterfield told of the taping system. These hearing began on May 17, 1973, lasted through the summer, and resulted in a 1,250-page report the following June.

The result of these sources of information – the media, the televised hearings, and more – led to a growing number of citizens believing that their president was a crook. It was no longer just the political left – which was a combination of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and the New Left. It included some of the moderates in our party, and even some republicans.

It's important to note that there were several attempts in the House to introduce the topic of impeachment, before it would be taken seriously. Some were not about Watergate. On May 9, 1972, Rep. William Ryan introduced a resolution, and the following day, John Conyers introduced one; both had to do with other abuses of power. On July 31, Rep. Robert Drinin introduced a resolution, based on Nixon's illegal bombing of Cambodia. At the time, Drinin recognized his resolution would lose 400-20, had there been a vote. But these leaders were confident that the tide would turn ….and it did. The Democrats on the Judiciary Committee were well prepared: in September and October, they put together a 718-page history of impeachment.

Still, when on February 6, 1974, the House voted to have its Judiciary Committee to begin hearings to consider possible articles of impeachment, there were many who believed Nixon would survive. This included Nixon himself: he considered the members of the Judiciary Committee to be “bench players,” and that he would maintain the active support of both the republicans and southern Democrats on the committee.

However, the requests for tapes had not ended with the Saturday Night Massacre. Neither the public nor Jaworski were satisfied with what Nixon was willing to give. When Jaorski subpoenaed additional tapes, the White House appealed directly to the US Supreme Court. Nixon was confident, based largely upon the number of Justices he had appointed, that he would either win,or, at worst, lose a split-decision that he could call inconclusive in regarding to executive privilege.

The Judiciary Committee's hearings were acrimonious. Even as the tide had turned on Nixon, many republicans aggressively supported the president. But the Supreme Court would rule against Nixon on July 24, 1974, thus ordering the release of the tapes. These included what was called the “smoking gun.” On July 27, 29, and 30, the Judiciary Committee voted on five articles of impeachment, passing three. (Those on Nixon's tax problems and bombing Cambodia failed.) A little over a week later, Nixon resigned.

The Nixon presidency was not brought down by any one thing. T was a combination of the polic, the press, the intelligence community, the House and Senate, Cox and Jaworski, and the public outcry. And, of course, from Nixon's criminality. The same factors are bringing Trump down now, before our very eyes.

January 7, 2019

When You Dance ...

“Like a mountain that's growing, a river that flows ….”
– Neil Young; When You Dance

In the last month of his life, as Alvin Adams noted (Jet; March 5, 1965), Malcolm X traveled to the south to deliver two important speeches. The first was in Jackson, to the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. The second was to young people attending an event in Selma sponsored by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. This was at a time when Martin Luther King, Jr., was being held in jail.

A newspaper reporter wrote about how King's aides were unset by how intensely the young people were moved by Malcolm's powerful presentation. Two aides – Andrew Young and James Bevel – confronted Malcolm after his speech. They were concerned that he was interfering with King's plans. This led to Malcolm uttering his classic line: “Remember this – nobody puts words in my mouth.”

Malcolm met briefly with Coretta Scott King before leaving. He explained that he was not there to disrupt her husband's efforts. Rather, he was intent upon showing the white leaders in Selma that if they wouldn't deal with Martin, they'd soon have to deal with him.

Mrs. King understood. She was aware that her husband and Malcolm had been quietly communicating with one another through an attorney in Chicago. And, of course, the intelligence community of the time was also aware of these communications. Everyone involved recognized that any coordination between Martin and Malcolm would change the dynamics of the Civil Rights movement. Individuals such as J. Edgar Hoover were intent upon stopping this by any means necessary.

History does not repeat – rather, it rhymes. Thus, when we look to the past for insights on the present and future, we cannot expect circumstances to be exact. There is no Martin or Malcolm today, yet we can still learn valuable lessons by way of their experiences. We can use those lessons as models that can be applied to current events.

There are forces today, for example, that want to create divisions within the Democratic Party. These forces are not exclusively domestic. They seek to exploit similar fractures as were created in 2016. They want you to believe that as a Democrat, you cannot support Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a Representative that danced in college, or one that used a “curse” word to accurately describe Donald Trump.

More, they are invested in creating fissures within the Democratic Party as we enter the 2020 presidential primaries. They have identified areas that have the potential to divide the people in our party, including age, ethnicity, and gender, along with various candidates' backgrounds and positions on issues. In every instance, they will seek to inject emotional – rather than rational – energy into discussions ….thus pushing discussions into debates, and debates into arguments.

Malcolm used to teach that not every man who throws worms into the water is a friend of the fish. There is wisdom in that teaching that is of value today, in our day-to-day lives. It doesn't mean that individuals or groups within the Democratic Party are not going to favor a specific candidate. Or that women are not going to advocate for a female candidate on the 2020 ticket. No, we can anticipate with certainty that good Democrats will make a very strong case for the candidate they prefer, because we have so many qualified, high-quality candidates.

Rather, it means that we should all – and I include myself – should take care to focus upon the strengths of our preferred candidates, without belittling and insulting other candidates, and hence their many supporters. To the exact extent that we do this in a positive way, we strengthen the party. And we can compare this possibility with the divisive primaries of past, that led to eventual defeats.

If we do this, two things will happen. Those seeking to divide, including the divisive voices on the internet, will be easily isolated and ignored. And we can reconstruct the Obama coalition's excitement from 2008, and not only win the White House, but reclaim the Senate. That will take all of our best efforts

Remember! Only you can prevent boorish liars (republicans) from winning elections.
H2O Man

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