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H2O Man

H2O Man's Journal
H2O Man's Journal
October 5, 2020

Chickadee Wings




I walk out into my garden, shaking off the mental dust from last week's wild ride. The New York Times report on Trump's taxes. The Melania tapes, marking the real war on Christmas. The debate. The spread of the virus within the White House and Trump campaign. Surely 2020 is the strangest year of my long life.

As I approach the garden, with three kittens tumbling about my feet, chasing my untied shoelaces, I see numerous small birds flying back and forth from the sunflowers. They are intent upon harvesting the seeds from the flowers that are in post-bloom positions. My goal is to collect some more seeds from other plants for next year's garden. I'll get some from the variety of sunflowers at a later date.

Most of the little birds are uncomfortable at first with my being near them. The only ones that pay me no attention are the chickadees, one of my favorite creatures. I pause and remember my daughter's fascination with chickadees from the time she was wee-little. Spending a afternoon with her and a 90+ year old neighbor, talking on his patio about the ways of the chickadee. Teaching her to sit quietly next to our pond, with sunflower seeds on her shoulders, to get a close-up experience with these wonderful birds.

It's a slow season here in rural upstate New York. Things are only at a high speed when I am inside my house, watching the news on television, or hanging out on the internet. I resist the temptation to check to see the latest news when I bring next year's seeds inside, and instead ask the puppy if she wants to feed the fish with me. It's a fun part of our daily routine.

On our walk to the pond, she is busy sniffing where the deer and wild turkey venture onto the edge of our lawn to dine under one of the apple trees. Five neighborhood crows announce that we are on our way, as they gather to wait for the cats to finish eating their meal. Out of seemingly nowhere, a kitten attacks the puppy's wagging tail.

By the time we reach the pond, all three kittens are with us, chasing the leaves falling from the trees. The puppy howls as hound dogs do, when she sees the fish gather to enjoy their daily meal. Eventually, she wades into the pond to attack a cattail that she attempts to uproot -- without success -- each day.

Soon, I'm back in the house. Today, I will talk with my daughter about the politics of the city she now lives in. She recently started working in a position in the city's government, and I love hearing her updates. I'll also be talking to two of her friends from back when she was a student in the local school district. These young ladies are leaders in the region's Black Lives Matter movement, and we enjoy discussing the progress they are making.

We will also discuss, of course, the upcoming presidential election. It's sort of like being outdoors and indoors here are the same time: on one hand, things are moving slowly, while on the other, everything is moving rapidly. As long as we keep working at a steady pace, 2021's garden will be beautiful.

Peace,
H2O Man
October 3, 2020

Two Levels of Stupid (A True Story)

There are different levels of stupid. I know that you know this. But I have been exposed to two of these today. While I do not need to vent, I shall. So here goes.

Today on the television coverage of Trump having the virus, there have been film clips of his family and friends at the debate, without masks. The Trump campaign had agreed that his supporters would wear masks, yet they refused to even after being asked. Words including pompous, arrogant, and imperious come to mind. In behaving in such a stupid manner, they put everyone else around them at risk.

Now, for the second type, a casual friend from high school posed a question on facebook: Did someone poison Trump? I responded that, at very best, there was zero chance that happened. Probably a lot less than zero, actually. I noted that the virus was spread because he and those around him have not followed the recommendations that medical experts strongly recommend.

One lady told me that I was wrong -- her evidence was that her family follows the medical experts' advice, and have remained healthy. Another fellow told me that I was weong, because Trump usually wears a mask. The words pathetic, ignorant, and wrong come to mind.

The first example is of people who are convinced that they are superior not only to other human beings, but incapable of catching a virus that kills the peasant class. The second type is people who are incapable of rational thought when considering a subject that they feel emotional about. Now, don't get me wrong, I understand emotions -- I've actually experienced one years ago. But this is a time when rational thinking is required.

Thank you for reading my rant.
H2O Man

October 2, 2020

A Song for Today

September 30, 2020

Hoard of the Flies

One of the best teaching methods throughout human history has been the fable, also known as the parable. In these, great teachers from Aesop to Jesus to Malcolm X delivered messages about human nature by way of stories featuring the natural world. After watching last night's presidential debate, I tried to think of something to compare Trump to, but was at a loss. For there is no similar predator to be found outside of the human race.

In past debates, including in the 2016 republican primaries and general election, Trump was obnoxious. He butted in, lied, and insulted opponents frequently. Yet, in last night's debate, he brought it to a compulsie -- and repulsive -- new level, not allowing Joe Biden to answer a single question without rude interruption. This was evidence of the synergy of Trump's frustration with how his re-election campaign is going, his concern for his future, and his fear of Joe Biden.

No one outside the packs of scavengers know as the Proud Boys, the Ku Klux Klan, and Nazis could take pride in Trump's performance. This was their dream of what America should become. They are like flies on fresh shit.

Checking social and anti-social media this morning, I noted that even a number of Trump apologists are unhappy with Trump's display of weakness. Safe to say that he did not win any new supporters last night. One of the funniest things I saw this morning was a response to a facebook post by a friend who said Trump ruined the debate by saying, "Why do you always have to be so negative?" Even Trump supporters can't call his performance positive.

While watching the debate, I found myself thinking of my first interview with Dr. Bandy Lee, regarding how a sociopath named Trump reacts to pressure. I thought that Joe Biden did a great job. There were several barbs he could have used to get further under Trump's skin, but there is no need to shoot all twelve of one's bullets when six accomplishes the job. I took four phone calls from friends, aghast at Trump's extended melt-down.

This morning, I find myself wondering what the rest of the world thinks about this.

Keep on fighting the Good Fight!
H2O

September 29, 2020

I'm Down

https://vimeo.com/60879324


A young person asked me if I planned to watch tonight's debate? Copping the lingo of the younger generation, I responded, "I'm down with that." He ignored my awkward attempt to sound hip, and asked, "What if something goes wrong?" This immediatelt resulted in my return to communicating in my abnormal manner.

Does Joe Biden rank high among the best in the art of debate in this era? No, of course not. Yet the exact reasons for this will definitely give Joe the upper hand in debating Trump. Let's consider his history of political debates in presidential campaigns.

The majority of these have been in democratic primaries. My young friend pointed out that when an opponent has attacked him in these, he hasn't reacted as strongly as previous winners of the party's nomination have. Exactly, I said, and that is because Joe actually liked every one of the other Democrats that he was debating. He does not like Donald Trump.

In 2008's vice presidential debate against Sarah Palin, although Joe recognized that she was grossly unqualified for office, Biden handled her with kid gloves. Even when she called him "O'Biden," he didn't miss a beat. While he did not respect her as a candidate, he was not going to disrespect her as a human being. He might not have liked her, but he knew it was better to let her expose herself as unqualified, than for him to hammer that home. He wasn't going to take the George H. W. Bush route from the 1984 vice presidential debate against the first female vp candidate, with the "we tried to kick a little ass last night" bit.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1984/10/13/bush-boasts-of-kicking-a-little-ass-at-debate/eeb41ba9-3ec1-4f20-961d-79f1ed27099c/

In the 2012 debate, although Joe disagreed with Paul Ryan on most issues, he was respectful throughout the debate. The fact is that despite their disagreements, Joe found something to like in Ryan. Yet he left no doubt who was far more qualifid to serve as vice president.

With Trump, we will see Joe Biden debating an individual that he neither likes or respects. Just the opposite -- he fully recognizes the dangers that Trump poses to the nation and the global community. Joe knows exactly what is at stake. And this was captured perfectly in Frontline's "The Choice 2020: Trump vs Biden." If you haven't watched it, I recommend doing so before tonight's debate:
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/the-choice-2020-trump-vs-biden/

The film highlights several importqant points. Among them are that Joe has had issues with stuttering, and that the Kennedys had a significant influence on the type of politician he wants to be. Now, when JFK had his first debate with VP Nixon in 1960, he actually liked poor Richard. But he knew Nixon's personality included "issues." Hence, he used the tactic that all seasoned police investigators and lawyers use -- be nice, then make the person angry, then go back to being nice, etc.

JFK went so far as to question the policy towards Cuba, defining it as weak. This infuriated Nixon, who was literally in charge of planning the Bay of Pigs invasion. By then being nice, Kennedy knew adrenaline fluctuating. This is the same general tactic that Muhammad Ali used in the boxing ring, as it rapidly tires the opponent out. I expect Joe to use much the same game plan tonight.

One last thing -- Robert Kennedy did not reach the level of popularity that he did in 1967-68 because he was a good public speaker. RFK was never comfortable speaking in public. But, as Rev. Jesse Jackson has noted, an audience often relates to a speaker who struggles, if that speaker is telling the truth.

Enjoy tonight's debate.
H2O Man
September 24, 2020

Which Way the Wind Blows

I had two phone calls yesterday from upset people saying that Trump is seeking to steal the 2020 election. "Yes, of course," I said. It will be like 2016, both said. "No," I replied. "This is far worse."

As terrible as that theft was -- and we are experiencing the horrors this year -- the country did have a peaceful transfer of power in January of 2017. The theft of the 2020 election ends that democratic process necessary for constitutional government. This demands that we not limit ourselves to thinking about this in terms of "how," but expand to the "why?" For it is only from this context that we can understand the consequences beyond Trump's not wanting to face legal consequences for his criminal behavior.

Now, without question, avoiding legal consequences is an immediate goal. This includes Trump's concerns for his family members, not limited to those serving themselves from within his administration. To a lesser extent, it also includes non-relatives in his administration. But we cannot stop our analysis there, because that is merely one step. We need to go further.

The second step requires us to remember Steve Bannon's desire to destroy our state, meaning the federal government. Destroying the concept of a peaceful transfer of power after the presidential election is demanded by those with like minds. And is it not evident that one-third of the voters are willing, even eager, for exactly that? Keep in mind that at the time of the American Revolutionary War, 1/3 of the colonists supported the Patriots, 1/3 supported England, and 1/3 were neutral. How many eligible voters fail to exercise that right?

The third step is one we are all too familiar with. What type of world "leaders" does Trump show the most affection for? Dictators. Obviously, we all knew that Trump wanted to exercise unlimited powers as president. And that he has done his damnedest to destroy the very institutions that are intended to prevent any president from exercising that unlimited power. And he has had the willing help of republicans in the House and Senate who are willing to betray their oath of office and ignore the Constitution.

Now, let's consider the two ways in which those "leaders" Trump cuddles up to maintain their power. Some, like Putin, pretend to hold elections in which they "win" about 98% of the vote. The second is rule by dynasty, where totally unqualified family members enjoy insured political power.

It would be an error to think that the Trump plan is limited to Donald's desire to "win" by the biggest landslide in American history. Likewise, they are not only intent upon placing a christian zealot on the U.S. Supreme Court in order to advocate for Trump if the 2020 election results are contestted. It goes way beyond that, though that alone is surely unacceptable.

This is instead the rout by which democracies are overthrown, and nothing less. We are in a fight unlike any other in our nation's history. So it won't surprise those who know me if I connect this to the sport of boxing. In another conversation I had yesterday -- with a former heavyweight champion who now fights for social justice (and has recently begun reading DU) -- I brought up one of the last paragraphs of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s April 4, 1967 speech at the Riverside Church in New York City. Let me quote from it:

"Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter -- but beautiful -- struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we tell them that the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise,we must choose in this crucial moment of human history."

September 20, 2020

Hopi Message

(A Blackfoot friend shared this message with me today.)

Message from White Eagle, Hopi indigenous.

“This moment humanity is going through can now be seen as a portal and as a hole. The decision to fall into the hole or go through the portal is up to you.

If you repent of the problem and consume the news 24 hours a day, with little energy, nervous all the time, with pessimism, you will fall into the hole. But if you take this opportunity to look at yourself, rethink life and death, take care of yourself and others, you will cross the portal. Take care of your homes, take care of your body. Connect with your spiritual House.

When you are taking care of yourselves, you are taking care of everything else. Do not lose the spiritual dimension of this crisis; have the eagle aspect from above and see the whole; see more broadly.

There is a social demand in this crisis, but there is also a spiritual demand -- the two go hand in hand. Without the social dimension, we fall into fanaticism. But without the spiritual dimension, we fall into pessimism and lack of meaning. You were prepared to go through this crisis. Take your toolbox and use all the tools available to you.

Learn about resistance of the indigenous and African peoples; we have always been, and continue to be, exterminated. But we still haven't stopped singing, dancing, lighting a fire, and having fun. Don't feel guilty about being happy during this difficult time.

You do not help at all being sad and without energy. You help if good things emanate from the Universe now. It is through joy that one resists. Also, when the storm passes, each of you will be very important in the reconstruction of this new world.

You need to be well and strong. And for that, there is no other way than to maintain a beautiful, happy, and bright vibration. This has nothing to do with alienation.

This is a resistance strategy. In shamanism, there is a rite of passage called the quest for vision. You spend a few days alone in the forest, without water, without food, without protection. When you cross this portal, you get a new vision of the world, because you have faced your fears, your difficulties.

This is what is asked of you:

Allow yourself to take advantage of this time to perform your vision-seeking rituals. What world do you want to build for you? For now, this is what you can do -- serenity in the storm. Calm down, pray every day. Establish a routine to meet the sacred every day.

Good things emanate; what you emanate now is the most important thing. And sing, dance, resist through art, joy, faith, and lov

September 19, 2020

RBG




Rest in peace, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. You fought the Good Fight. Thank you for that. And you left us the lessons of your example.

Now, a simple message to the DU Community: The death of this powerful lady is surely a heavy blow. It hurts. It would be foolish to attempt to deny this. But it is not the end of the fight.

Admittedly, I'm not the smartest person in this room. But I'll bet a dollar to a doughnut that I have the most experience in fighting. And in 329 boxing matches -- and thousands of rounds sparring -- I do have some experience in getting hit hard and being hurt. Yes, I do!

I just watched a film of RBG working out in a gym with Stephen Colbert. I believe the film was taken after her first round fighting cancer. Now, there was one tough lady. I'm sure she hurt, but she was 100% focused on fighting. That was an important lesson we must keep in mind.

Somewhere in this large, old house, there are films of a few of my boxing matches. Fortunately, they are on 8 mm film, so I can't subject you to them. Instead, above is film of one of the toughest men to ever fight, Smokin' Joe Frazier. But before I comment on the above film, a little background.

Joe had lost twice in the trials for the 1964 Olympics to Buster Mathis. However, because he broke his hand in the second bout, Mathis declined to represent the USA. This allowed Joe to, despite the fact that he, too, had broke his hand in that second fight. Joe won Olympic Gold. Buster went on to be a top contender in the professional ranks, and Joe went on to be the world heavyweight champion.

The above film is of his first fight with tough Jerry Quarry. The first round was one of the most explosive in boxing history, with Jerry landing bombs that hurt Joe. On his way back to his corner when the round ended, Joe smiled to himself, and hit himself a couple times on his head. Why? Because he knew he was in for a really tough fight, and even though part of it would be difficult, he welcomed the opportunity to prove he could pull out the victory.

RBG had that same fighting spirit. Her death is sad, and comes at a bad time. There are, in my opinion, two options: we can fight for the title, despite having a broken bone in our hand, or we can wring our hands and give up. By fighting the Good Fight, we can honor her spirit.
September 18, 2020

Machine Gun



Jimi Hendrix died fifty years ago today. There are so many great songs by him that it would usually be difficult to select one to use to head an essay. But after watching both Barr and Trump's public utterances this week, Hendrix's New Year's Eve "Machine Gun" strikes me as the best bet, for we have a president, assisted by the attorney general, actually expanding their war on the United States. "Great googlamoogla," as Rubin Carter used to say when we discussed very strange things.

I've found Trump's attempts to wrap himself in the flag mildly annoying. Republican shitheads have been doing that since the days when Jimi Hendrix amazed crowds during concerts in the 1960s. I agreed with the hippies and YIPPIES! that recognized that the American flag really belonged to us, not the creeps on the right-wing. Jimi recognized this concept, most famously with his powerful version of the Star-Spangled Banner at Woodstock.

But this week, both Barr and Trump went way too far in their attempts to ignite violence in the streets of the United States, by -- among a dirty laundry list of nastiness -- laying claim to the U.S. Constitution. I say, "Fuck that" -- instead, I propose wrapping them in the confederate flag until they are firmly encased in our nation's septic system of shame.

I had a curious thought this morning, as I listened to a Hendrix CD. What does Donald Trump dream about? For I have never read any study of the dreams of sociopaths. Does his utter lack of conscience prevent his subconscious from relaying meaningful messages to him? Is there any connection between his dreams and his noted tendency to avoid sleep? Or does he simply have wet dreams of McDonalds products? Wet dreams of raping and ravaging America?

We know that Donald is paranoid, certainly to a degree that is at least equal to the two most paranoid presidents of the modern era. Both Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were paranoid, even in their most relaxed times as president. And both had an anti-social flavor to their thoughts and actions in the White House. We know little if anything about Nixon's dreams -- possibly this is related to his late-night alcohol consumption -- though we do know that on at least one night, he prayed that he would die in his sleep. Most historians and social scientists would agree with me that this is not only pathetic bt definition, but that it is not the night-time prayer that we would want any president before Trump to engage in.

LBJ, on the other hand, would tell some of the people that he kind of trusted about his haunting dreams. They fell into two distinct types, neither of which require Freud's 1899 book, "The Interpretation of Dreams," to understand. Let's take a look at these two types, shall we?

The first were dreams of paralysis. These had actually started in 1955, after his heart attack. He was 46 at the time, and had just been selected to serve as the Majority Leader in the Senate. But towards the end of his first term as president, they increased in frequency. And they became a nightly event in his 1964-68 term, playing a significant role in his decision not to seek re-election.

The "paralysus" dreams took various forms. They included being chained to his desk in the Oval Office, being caught in a river where he could only swim in circles and never reach the shore, and variations of his head being attached to Woodrow Wilson's body. I would suggest that these indicate he felt a bit trapped as president.

The second type can be classified as LBJ's "stampede" nightmares. The first example was his dreaming that he was in a pasture on his ranch, when suddenly he became aware that a large herd of cattle were coming in his direction, about to run him over. The second was a variation on this theme, that began shortly after the 1968 New Hampshire primary. His aides had informed him that he was going to lose the upcoming April 2 Wisconsin primary. The following morning, he told Doris Kearns Goodwin that:

"I felt like I was being chased on all sides by a giant stampede. I was being forced over the edge by rioting blacks, demonstrating students,marching welfare mothers, squawking professors, and hysterical reporters. And then the final straw. The thing I feared from the first day of my presidency was coming true. Robert Kennedy had openly announced his intention to reclaim the throne in memory of his brother. And the American people, swayed by the magic of the name, were dancing in the streets."

Again, I have no idea of what -- if anything -- Trump dreams about. But I think that it is our patriotic duty to serve as his worst fucking nightmare. Thus, the combined forces of Black Lives Matter, college students, poor people, school teachers and college professors, journalists, average American citizens, and others should begin dancing in the streets (with face masks and practicing social distancing) in preparation for the November election.

Peace,
H2O Man
September 17, 2020

Positive Vibrations




Let's see: the west coast in flames, the gulf being flooded, corona virus, racial tensions, economic crisis ..... 2020 has been a hell of a year. On one hand, the Bob Marley message seems the exact opposite of the growing list of awful things. However, in a very real sense, they fit togather -- much like Paul and John's lyrics on the 1967 song "Getting Better."

Paul: "It's getting better all the time."
John: "Can't get much worse."

How bad is it? Even the Trump cult members, including on those sad, sad saps that worship at the alter of Q-anon, know the country is in real trouble. Still, in an important way, it is indeed getting better, if not all the time. We are seeing Trump melt-down on live television, as it unfolds.

We know that he will try to steal the election. The nonsense with mail-in voting being a "threat." The shit with the US Post Office. (My mailwoman took a couple pictures of my MoveOn "We Love the Post Office" bumper-sticker this afternoon and posted them on facebook.) He will welcome help from foreign nations, not limited to Russia. More help will come from the Middle East.

It's important to recognize that the 2016 help from Russia, particulary the misinformation and disinformation inserted on the internet, will not be as effective this year. While it's true that 25% of the population will be fooled by them, all conscious, thinking people know the deal. And there are more of us than there are of them, including in the states we need to win in November. And we have more reason to vote than they do.

Because Donald is a sociopath -- many experts are saying the most important in US history, maybe wotld history, and that he is a very stable genius -- and so we can't be overconfident and let our guard down, there aren't many other things he can do, except lie, whine, hold rallies, and call in to Fox & Fiends and Hannity. But he lacks the talent, insight, and ability of a Nixon, or even Reagan, in terms of governing, for good or for bad.

The books and tapes that have recently been published upset him. Those loyal to him are discouraged, and beginning to turn on one another. One slob is "on leave," after posting a paranoid post on the internet. Those that are not loyal to him will express their frustrations in an increasing series of leaks to the media.

Perhaps the only thing he has left as an option is to lsten to Stephan Miller, and start a war -- directly or indirectly -- and declare it a national emergency, hoping to gain "patriotic" votes. As if we aren't already confronting a half-dozen domestic national emergencies.

Winning the White House is essential. At this time, we are in very good position, and Trump is in a terrible position. And it's getting better all the time.

Peace,
H2O Man

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