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H2O Man

H2O Man's Journal
H2O Man's Journal
September 16, 2020

The Smallest Bird

"Be a good neighbor. If my garden is ready before yours, we should share mine now, and yours later. Too many people don't understand the power of sharing. You have to remember that all of the earth is the Creator's garden, and he shares it with us. That's why I say that sharing is divine intervention.

"And we sometimes miss the song of the smallest bird. We do not listen closely enough. But that song of the smallest bird is the prettiest. It lifts the Creator's spirit to hear her song. Now that is divine intervention that people overlook every day."

-- Chief Paul Waterman, Onondaga Nation


I was thinking about the above quote -- from my 4th interview with him -- after talking to my daughter this weekend. She had been on her daily walk in a Boston park when she saw a man in distress. She told me that other people were making wide circles to avoid him, before learning that he had lost his cell phone. She tried to help him find it, as he explained it is his lifeline. He is homeless, and has a record of non-violent offenses that makes getting employment difficult. So my daughter gave him money for a new phone, and he called her an angel.

Her mother had called her as my daughter was helping the man. Her mother said the guy will probably spend the money on drugs, and that my daughter shouldn't have tried to help him. I reminded her of back when she was ten, and we were out on the lawn talking. She told me that she went to church with her mother, because she didn't want to hurt her mother's feelings -- but that she didn't think her mother or the others at the church understood Jesus's message. I reminded her that the Irish know that Jesus comes to us as the poor, and that Gandhi said he believed in no God but the God of the poor and suffering. And that Chief Waterman, who she considered her grandfather while growing up, said that sharing id divine intervention.

I read something on the internet today, where a person expressed the belief that Trump supporters were mentally ill. I will suggest that rather than viewing them as individuals with a psychological illness, there is more benefit found in considering it as a group behavior best understood in a sociological context of a cult. For while many Trump supporters have what was known as an axis 2 personality disorder in my day, many others are relatively "normal" people.

Cults have a long history in this country, and an even longer one in human history. There are many that form around a charismatic leader, often having a religious nature. Many disolve after the leader's death. Others become somewhat institutionalized, in a bureaucratic manner. Sociologists recognize several general types, including destructive cults (the Manson family), political cults, doomsday cults, and racist/terrorist cults. Thus, when we consider the Trump, we see the blending of the four, as well as the dangerous synergy of this toxic combination.

By their nature, cults must control the thinking of their members, in order to control the group's behaviors. To accomplish this, the cult members must willingly give up an increasing part of their individual identity, and as a result, decrease their sense of individual responsibility. Thus, for example, a person who sincerely thinks they are Christian will totally ignore the teachings attributed to Jesus, and walk wide circles around a human being in need, or be okay with locking children in steel cages .....and, at the same time, dismiss the Black Lives Matter protests and talk about individual responsibility.

Thus, we are not looking at individual mental illness, so much as we are confronting the shared delusions of a group psychosis. That is a distinction that is essential to understand, in order that our society might begin to heal. In order to begin to heal a sick society, we have to start as individuals. That includes sharing, and taking the time to listen to the song of that smallest bird.

Peace,
H2O Man

September 10, 2020

Morrison's Thumb

“A sociopath, on the other hand, has the same regard for financial obligations as he does to personal ones: no remorse, no conscience. Get what you want now, and damn the consequences later.”
― Mary Jo Buttafuoco


This morning, I heard from an old friend who is a teacher in a southern state. As of Tuesday, she was one of 39 people diagnosed with Covid 19 .....you know, that virus that just disappeared when the sun came out in April. The "old gang" very concerned, since another otherwise healthy friend died from it in the spring.

There have been some interesting conversations among us in the two hours since our friend shared this news. She is furious, as many in her community still believe Trump's lie that the virus is a hoax. Other friends are debating if Woodward is a hero or a villian for the information documenting that Trump knew the truth as far back as February. (In fact, Trump knew as far back as at least December, 2019, but ignored the coming crisis.)

No matter what one thinks about Woodward -- older forum members may recall detailed conversations about his role in reporting on Watergate in the days of the "Plame threads," when I provided the information that informed on my opinion of him -- his new book has added pressure on Trump as an individual, and on his administration. This is, of course, distinct from the Trump cult members, who are still confident that the covid hoak will dissipate in April, 2020.

We did not need a Q-anon to predict the responses of the ilk of Kayleigh McEnany, who has assured the public that Trump's lying to the public is proof positive of his heroic status. Surely her description of Trump brought an image of a flock of angels, tears in eyes, leading a standing ovation along with their recently deceased relative. I could fucking puke.

Of more significance, in my opinion, is how we can anticipate Trump reacting. The old boy is already under pressure from a number of things. Covid is still raging, and will surely pick up in intensity as we approach Election Day, much the same as a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico before it hits land. The economy isn't good, despite what the White House pretends is real. The polls, both national and more importantly in states, indicates that Biden will win the election.

Trump's hopes for a bump in the polls from the republican confederate convention proved as disappointing as a premature ejaculation before their party could get their trousers unzipped. No hump, no bump there. But Woodward's new book is only one is a series of releases that expose the tawdry Trump family.

The most important of the books, in my opinion, will likely appeal to a fairly small audience, which is a shame. "Compromised: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump," by Peter Strzok, is essential reading. The threat that Trump poses to our national security obviously did not disappear in April -- like magic. (I'm hoping that Peter will agree to do an interview for this forum soon.)

Since the release of Dr. Bandi Lee's book, "The Dangerous case of Donald Trump," I've spoken here about the increased level of danger that a sociopath under pressure presents. We can hope that, because Trump is a cowardly man with limited abilities, he will stick to telling increasingly outrageous lies ......that if Biden wins, the Democratic Party will outlaw Christmas, force white men to undergo abortions on command, incarcerate innocent people in cages near the Mexican border, and give antifa caravans all of the guns an explosives that the Q-anon militias now have. We can deal with that.

However, Trump will be open to doing far worse things to avoid the consequences of losing the November election. Even as I write this, I know that dick-dripping Stephan Miller has Trump's ear. And I don't put anything past a sociopath who is being advised by a nazi.

Peace,
H2O Man

September 9, 2020

Summer's Almost Gone




I've just come in from picking my daily meal from my garden. I had been pulling some weeds, too, which serve as a constant reminder that the Earth is alive, and constantly bring new life. I heard my chickens and Guinea hens making a fuss, and looked up to see a very large bald eagle soaring overhead. Against the blue sky, it made a beautiful sight. I tried to assure the birds that the eagle wasn't interested in them, but their noise continued until the eagle was long gone.

It is in the low 80s here today in the northeast. Summer is coming to an end, and soon it will be fall. Even in the relatively short time I've been alive, there has been changes in the climate here. But, overall, the seasons come one after another, and with this, life forms come and go. We all have a turn.

On Sunday, I was told that my last blood uncle was very sick. My son took me for a ride to visit the rural farm, where he and my father grew up. The family had lived in Nutley, NJ, until the Great Depression resulted in NYS being unable to pay Grandpa's construction company for the latest highway going into NYC. His company had also put in the piping that brought water to the city from an upstate reservior. At age 58, Grandpa moved the an already old farm, which had neither running water nor electricity. While we were there, I got word that my uncle had died.

One can learn about life by watching the endless cycles. I have a picture hanging on the wall, of my great grandparents and their children after arriving from Ireland. I have pictures of my grandfather with his family, up at the farm. And on and on, though generations. Each had their turns in the eternal now.

I check DU for a news update. An OP/thread about CNN's Brianna Keilar catches my eye. I watch qa clip of herfrom earlier today:

https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2020/09/08/keilar-military-attacks-sanders-lies-fact-check-vpx.cnn

Trump isn't the first president to lie. He just does it more frequently, with less talent, but with better results with his supporters, than anyone before him. And, by no coincidence, like the worst liars of the past, this president is surrounded by criminals, for he is a criminal. It is possible that he is the "greatest" liar and criminal to ever inhabit the Oval Office. More, unlike Nixon and Reagan, "many experts" have noted he has accomplished this in record time.

Nixon set the bar for corruption very high. He was the 1961 Roger Maris of crooked politics. Today's experts will note that Nixon served a longer season than some of the earlier presidents. But his administration's record seemed destined to hold for a century:

https://watergate.info/analysis/casualties-and-convictions

Then came Reagan-Bush. As hard as it was to believe, their administration out-did the Nixon team's record:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reagan_administration_scandals

Others would attempt to set a new record when George W. Bush's supervisor, V.P. Dick Cheney, was running the show. But the system, imperfect as it is, held until Barack Obama took over. The country had eight years of Obama-Biden to heal, although there was an under-current of rabid republican hatred growing.

The 2016 election delivered a four-year season of hate in America. We have endured the worst liar in the White House. And, while we can't be sure of just how many more of his administration will face legal charges after Biden and Harris take office in January, 2021, this may be the most corrupt administration ever. And that makes the thought of crushing them in November very attractive, indeed.
September 2, 2020

While Walls Tumble

"The moment of triumph had turned catastrophic. What should have been a peaceful march through the heart of black Memphis to the steps of city hall had exploded into a full-on riot. Looters ran wild. The police moved in with Mace, nightsticks, and tear gas. A sixteen year old boy was shot to death by the police. Fifty other people were injured and another 120 arrested. The governor called up four thousand National Guardsmen to restore order and the mayor virtually sut down the city."
-- Tavis Smiley


The above quote, taken from Smiley's important book, "The Death of a King," tells of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Thursday, March 29, 1968 aborted march in Memphis. Smiley's book focuses on the difficulties King encountered in his last year on earth, including the only time that a King-led march involved protesters engaging in violence. Because events drom when King returned to Memphis for another march, scheduled for a week after the first, is generally overlooked when MLK is remembered.

The majority of the marches that King led involved tension and violence. But it always came exclusively from the white "counter-protesters" that gathered to oppose the Civil Eights movement. King was even stabbed with a letter-opener while giving a speech. And, of course, he was assassinated while in Memphis when he returned for the second march. Indeed, the only time that King was involed in a march without tension was the Augest 28, 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

How did the March 29 march turn violent? The media reported that a gang known as the Invaders had with the protesters, and they were identified as the ones that initiated the violence that ended the march. King and his closest associate, Ralp Abernathy, knew that the national media would blame King for the riots. Much of the press had turned on King after his April 4, 1967 speech at the Riverside Church in New York City, and conected the war in Vietnam with racial and economic issues in the US. It was one thing to integrate a bus or a lunch counter, but quite another to question the county's economic and foreign policies.

King and Abernathy would lear "why" the rioting started the next morning. Three members of the Invaders came to Martin and Ralph's motel room to apologize. At first, Abernathy told them that King was sleeping, and that they could not see him. Ralph was protective of Martin, and patted the young men down to make sure they were not carrying weapons. Then he told them how much harm they had done, not only to Martin Luther King, Jr., but to efforts to bring social justice in their city. (Ralph Abernathy; When the Walls Came Tumbling Down; Harper & Row; 1989; pages 420-421)

King also spoke with the three young men. He learned that the sixteen year old killed by the police was one of the Invaders. He also learned about the gang members' frustration with their being left out of the planning of the march. This was rooted in the tensions between representatives of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, local community leaders, and the Invaders.

The national leadership of the SCLC had not been active participants in the planning of the first march. They were busy planning for King's proposed "Poor People's Campaign," scheduled for Washington, DC, that summer. Thus, it was regional SCLC leaders that were involved in the brief planning -- they did not conduct, for example, workshops on non-violent protest.

More, there were tensions between the SCLC leaders, Memphis's community leaders, and the Invaders at the few planning sessions. This, of course, is natural under the best of conditions. It was more of a factor under the harsh circumstances in Memphis. An example of the disagreements came when the Invaders requested SCLC funds to rent hotel or motel rooms. Local community leaders thought they were asking for help to avoid the police. (Steven B. Oates; Let the Trumpets Sound: The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.; Mentor; 1982; pages 460 - 470)

King recognized that the young men were sincere in their apologies. He knew that the Invaders' violent outburst were the result of their frustrations in thinking they were left out, plus the lack of the non-violent workshops. King recognized that frustrated young men, especially in crowds, sometimes make poor choices. So he invited them to participate in the non-violent march that had to happen the next week. (David J. Garrow; Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Perennial; 1986; Chapter 11, The Poor People's Campaign and Memphis 1967 - 1968)

King did not live to participate in the second march, or the Poor Peopl's Campaign. His final speech, in Memphis the night before he was assassinated, still haunts America. If we are ever actually able to make it to the top of the mountain, we need to recognize and honor the human Martin, rather than the plaster of paris image that tends to separate him from humanity. For he was far more than the "I Have a Dream" speech. Far, far more. This includes his interactions with the Invaders.

Later on the night of King's death, Senator Robert Kennedy was scheduled to give a campaign speech in Indianapolis. The city's police chief warned RFK that he could not provide adequate protection if the gathering crowd became violent. Kennedy went ahead, and spoke to the crowd of an estimated 2,500 from the heart. In his improvised speech, he told the people -- who were unaware at the time -- about King's murder. He spoke about his own experience, losing his brother to similar violence. He talked about the need to combat hatred in America.

That night, Indianapolis was one of the few large American cities to not endure riots. Across the country, there was more violence than at any time other than the Civil War. At the same time RFK was addressing the Indianapolis crowd, the Pentagon had begun to put into place a plan developed after the Watts riot, to take control if black citizens were to engage in rioting in a given city. By morning, enough cities were on fire that the plan was primarily focused on protecting Washington, DC.

Also that night, President Johnson told governors and mayors to not over-react. However, by the following day, LBJ ordered the Army and National Guard to be mobilized, primarily to protect Washington, DC. In transcripts of the White House tapes from that day, there is a heated conversation between the president and Chicago's Mayor Daley. LBJ is demanding a strong military intervention, while Daley explains that would create more wide-spread violence.

(Note: I do not support the rioting, burning, and looting associated with recent protests. But I do understand it. With the exception of the violence started by boogaloo boys and militia nerds, those engaged in such activities do not see any connection between "politics" and their lives. While it is true that we do not have a Martin Luther King or a Robert Kennedy at this time, we do have people in leadership positions within the Democratic Party, community leaders, and people at the grass roots that can deliver similar messages. That is an important part of restoring democracy, and bringing about social justice.)

August 29, 2020

The Troubles

“This morning from a dewy motorway
I saw the new camp for the internees:
A bomb had left a crater of fresh clay
In the roadside, and over in the trees

Machine-gun posts defined a real stockade.
There was that white mist you get on a low ground
And it was deja-vu, some film made
Of Stalag 17, a bad dream with no sound.

Is there a life before death? That's chalked up
In Ballymurphy. Competence with pain,
Coherent miseries, a bite and sup:
we hug our little destiny again.
-Whatever You Say Say Nothing."
― Seamus Heaney, North


In his 2002 book, Irish author Tim Pat Coogan noted that what are referred to as "The Troubles" began three centuries before Columbus landed in the Americas. I have been watching as the news reports on events in the United States, that suggest that a domestic version is an option that this country is heading towards. As much as I love reading Irish history, I am hoping that we can turn this around.

My late friend Rubin "Hurricane" Carter often said that there is only one race -- the human race. Though not an orginal thought, he would expand on this theme based upon his own insights. Within our race, he said, there are several tribes: the black tribe, the brown tribe, the red tribe, the yellow tribe, and the white tribe. The white tribe was subjected to extended-family conflicts over the centuries, such as when the French fought the German, or the Irish fought the English. Yet, for most of history, if one of the non-white tribes attack one of the white families, the entire white tribe would unite to devastate that non-white tribe.

In American history, there has been resentment from many in the white tribe against those whites who advocated for, and even stood with non-white individuals and tribes. It led directly to violence, for example, during the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. Thus, the violence we see spreading throughout our country -- our "Troubles" -- has been here since Columbus sailed into the Americas.

My son bought me a copy of a book that I've been wanting to read. The book is, "White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America," by Nancy Isenberg (Penguin Books; 2016). It documents a "family secret" that played a role in American history, which we inherited from British society. Just as the ruling class in Britain believe the white tribe was superior to all non-white tribes, they were convinced that the white tribe was stratified in terms of value as human beings. They refered to those they defined as the lower levels as "white waste," and eventually as "white trash."

By the late 1600s, the British elite were loading the "white trash" onto large boats, and sending it across the Atlantic. There were investments on the potential to exploit the "New World's" resources. They had anticipated an experience as easy as the Spanish had in Central America at first, and were caught off-guard by the red tribe's people, who practiced a woodland form of democracy. The resulting conflicts would mark the birth of the first twin of America's Original sins. The second twin, of course, was the importing of slaves.

The colonial era up through the 1880s, the American experience is best understood as red, white, and black. By no coincidence, Gary Nash's 1974 book, "Red, White, and Black" provides fascinating information on the inter-relationships between these three tribes. Whites viewed blacks as domestic animals, to be kept on plantations for commercial exploitation. And the whites recognized the risks involved in blacks held in slavery learning to read. Whites viewed Indians as wild animals, creating problems for whites intent upon taking (re: stealing) their lands. Besides hunting Indians, there were efforts to "civilize" them, including by teaching them to read -- this at a time when literacy was not a common feature among white trash.

The single biggest conflict in US history came with the Civil War. The south wanted to expand slavery into the new territories. Lincoln, among other reasons, wanted to use these new territories to expand employment opportunities for the growing number of European boat people arriving on American shores. The result, with some significant exceptions, was a fight between the south's Scotch Irish and the north's more recent immigrants from the Irish starvation ships. This resulting in the freeing of the blacks held in slavery, and unleashed violence on those Indians living in a manner on their territories that got in the way of "manifest destiny."

This planted the seeds of resentment among much of the "confederacy's" white trash and elites. The resentment has flowered over the generations, and even pollinated white trash in other regions of the country. Thus, in the 20th century, other than being involved in two huge family feuds known as WW1 and WW2, the American elite whites were in an ongoing competition that involved the European elites of the white tribe to control and exploit the non-white tribes.

This included the domestic non-white peoples. To do so, the elite whites relied upon a trick: turn the white trash's resentments towards the non-white people. This was highlighted by the white trash's violent resistance to the Civil Rights Movement. In many parts of the country, it was impossible to tell the difference between the police and the KKK. Those alive at the time remember this; younger people are aware of this today.

A curious dynamic began after WW2. While there had long been a fringe of the white tribe that advocated for non-white people, the Civil Rights Movement increased these numbers, especially among the white youth. There were still some issues -- members of the black and red tribes recognized that they could identify leadership within their own communities, and some whites had difficulty in understanding why this was essential. But over the decades, a significant balance -- not perfect, as it involved human beings -- began to form.

An important part of this process began during the 1960 presidential campaign. Martin Luther King, Jr., endorsed John Kennedy, and soon the majority of black Americans became Democrats. Soon, LBJ passed the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, although he knew his party would lose the southern elite and white trash that had long been Democrats.

Though imperfect, the Democratic Party began to represent the non-white minorities. The party would find both leadership and an important voting block among black citizens in particular. The republican elite -- almost exclusively white -- determined that they would need to create more hostility among the white trash, in order to win elections. And here we are today.

The connections between "race" and economic class warfare on the part of the white elites, would cause them to lose their grip on power, should white trash learn should white trash -- and the white middle class -- realize they had more in common with most non-whites, than with the self-appointed elites. That would take the fuzz right off their peach. And so the white trash in particular has been encouraged to think that they have more in common with a Donald Trump than a George Floyd.

The white trash cannot tell the difference between King's March on Washington and the Watts riot. And some middle class whites say that good people should use King's tactics to advance, woefully ignorant of either King's economic message or the terrible violence that he and his followers were met with. Both have an inability to understand that the riots, with burning and looting, is not connected to the Democratic Party.

The white trash today, in identifying with Trump, also view the non-white peaceful protesters as dangerous, and the white ones as traitors to the white tribe. Thus, we are seeing the white supremacists -- often with at least low-level support and cooperation from some police -- are convinced that they have license to attack and kill the "enemy." As this cycle increases in strength, we are moving as a society to a domestic version of "The Troubles."

We have three options. We can say, "That's terrible" when we see reports of the increasing violence, and hope we are not the next victim. We can put into practice Malcolm X's say,"In the jungle, there are hunters. There are also those who hunt the hunters." Both lead directly to The Troubles. Or, we can engage in non-violent activities, those covered in the Constitution, and work to revive a civil society. That is the only way.

Peace,
H2O Man

August 25, 2020

Weird Scenes at the RNC

"Cancel my subscription to the Resurrection
Send my credentials to the House of Detention
I got some friends inside"
-- Jim Morrison





Wait! Joe Biden is Fidel Castro?

This is both hilarious and bizarre.
August 20, 2020

America: Part Two

"We must come to see that human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of men willing to become co-workers with God, and without this hard work time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation" -- Martin Luther King, Jr (Letter from Birmingham City Jail; April 16, 1963).


I, for one, am enjoying watching the Democratic National Convention. I'm looking forward to tonight's presentations. Obviously, it is different than the 14 ones I've previously watched, but that difference is essential in defining the harsh realities of 2020. It makes me proud to be a Democrat.

Yet I know that the progress which Dr. King wrote about in his powerful letter from jail is not entirely the responsibility of "leaders." It requires that people at the grass roots level invest the "tireless efforts and persistent work" that Dr. King mentioned. The most important grass roots effort at this time is surely getting people prepared to vote, be it by way of mail or in person.

But there is more. For democracy to bring about social justice, we must be engaged in the constant struggle ....not only against stagnation, but against the forces of sexism, racism, and other forms of violence too numerous to list here. On the 16th, I posted an essay about some young adults who engaged in a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally in the village park in Bainbridge, N.Y.

In the days since, there has been on-going reactions to that rally, and the "counter-protest" that took place across the street. The largest regional energy corporation fired one employee, after seeing video of her being physicall aggressive to those in the BLM rally, and spewing ugly racial slurs. I was among the many who contacted the corporate head, a man I had gone to school with.

There have been no consequences for the intoxicated gentleman who physically attacked some of the BLM people. I suppose this is because he had to be saved from real harm by the very people he attacked. I do feel compassion for him, as sometimes it takes more than strong drink to reduce a man to the status of town drunk. I know he has lived a tough life, though that doesn't excuse his violent behavior.

What has struck me as unacceptable is that two members of the village government were participants in the "counter-protest." The one where they were yelling, "We are the new KKK." If one person got fired, and another took a beating, it seems that public officials should be held to a higher standard. At first, I though that could be by addressing it when they come up for re-election.

But, in the time since the rally, I have heard from dozens of young people who organized and attended the event. along with parents and other community people. I know that there have been threats against some of the organizers of the rally. Some people are upset and confused about what options they can use now.

So today, I've been in contact with the NYS Attorney General's Office. from morning until afternoon. They are taking the first steps of investigating members of the "counter-protest." I will be providing them with a substantial amount of documentation.

But, for tonight, my only plan is to enjoy coverage of the convention. Enjoy it!

Peace,
H2O Man

August 16, 2020

America




There was a Black Lives Matter rally in Bainbridge, N.Y. yesterday afternoon. Bainbridge is a village with a population of about 1,300, located in rural Chenango County, not far from where I live. Like many communities in the area, it used to have industries that employed its residents, but those closed decades ago and Bainbridge is now experiencing "urban decay." It can no longer sustain the grocery store that served the community, which has been largely replaced by a "dollar store."

My cousin called me early in the morning. He live otside a town near Bainbridge, and had told me earlier in the week that he had heard there might be a BLM rally on Saturday. However, on his early morning walk, he was confronted by a man down the road, who was hyper about what he believed was a planned attack by a caravan of non-white "outsiders." Word among the quasi-semi-para-militia group he belongs to was that patriots with guns needed to gather in Bainbridge to prevent the upcoming riot.

Not being prone to the delusional thinking common within the Trump cult, my cousin said that he supported the local youth who were planning the BLM rally. He noted that it was their constitutional right, and that he hoped to be there to protect them against any aggression by those opposed to the Constitution.

"We will all have guns," the person said. "Yes, I know," my cousin answered. "You'd give your life to protect a black person?" the person asked. "Yes," my cousin answered, as he walked away from the person, "even though I am looking forward to having a black woman as vice president, I would." When he got home, and called e, we were under the impression that the rally was scheduled for the morning. I said that I'd drive to Bainbridge to see what was happening, and get back to him.

As I entered Bainbridge, I passed by the spot where in October of 2014, a drunk, off-duty law enforcement person had shot my cousin and his son in a "road rage" incident. My cousin has not been the same since his son died in his arms that day. Then I passed the spot where in May of 1998, a racist hate gang attacked my nephew, because they resented a black high school scholar-athlete getting positive media attention.

The vast majority of people in the community were horrified by these violent crimes, and were supportive of my family. A number of my relatives -- including my brother who was a professional boxer at the time, and my uncle, a Senior Investigator with the NYS Police BCI -- had lived there. The State Police and the Sheriff's Office had done solid investigations of the crimes. The county's DA and court had done a fine job that sent the thug that shot my cousin and his son to prison for life.

Yet, it only takes a few to poison any community. My nephew had asked a village police officer for assistance when the hate gang had been dogging him earlier in the evening. But that officer refused to assist him -- and it came as no surprise to learn later that he was friends with the gang. The DA at the time opted not to charge the gang members with attempted murder, as advocated by the assistant DA. And, during the trial of the gang leader, the Bainbridge justice of the peace said in open court that he did not think that the gang members calling my nephew a "dumb nig_er" indicated that race was an issue in the assault, before sentencing the thug to a $50 fine for having an open beer when the assault took place.

I circled the park in the village several times, but it was empty. As it turned out, the rally was held in the mid-afternoon. Most of the participants were young adults from the area, who behaved well while exercising their Amendment 1 rights.However, there was a "counter rally," complete with confederate flags and Trump signs, across the street from the park. Twice, people from their side ran across the street to push and punch those in the BLM crowd. The police did a good job of removing them.

My cousin called me again this morning. He had just returned from his morning walk. Another neighbor had stopped him on the road, and said the militia person was apparently under great stress. The person had spent yesterday evening firing his guns, and setting off small explosions. This morning, the neighbor heard him screaming at his wife to get back into their house, because it wasn't safe to be outside. What the fuck is wrong with him, my cousin asked?

This is a group reacting to shared delusions, I said. It is common within cults, and is most dangerous when they are under pressure from thinking their enemies are out to get them.

Peace,
H2O Man
August 14, 2020

Good Day Sunshine



I was playing this song in my mind while on my daily walk. I've long thought it was one of McCartney's catchier tunes. Plus I love "Revolver." Perhaps that dates me as an old fool, which is fine with me.

Being an old man, I had the unpleasant experience of troubling in walking on some recent days. Being stubborn, I decided to go for walks in my mind. Although I almost certainly burn less calories on mental walks, there is the unique advantage of strolling back to previous times in my life.

In the past few days -- specifically since Joe Biden announced his choice for vice president -- I've had an increased number of conversations with friends and associates on the telephone and internet. They come from a variety of backgrounds: a couple with doctorates in medicine, one in philosophy, a carpenter, a mechanic, a book-keeper at a university, and a few social workers. Without exception, they are of my generation.

One is mourning the death of a child. That is, of course, a brutal fate for any parent. We've been friends for over 50 years, and so she knows I have zero social graces, and is patient when I make an awkward attempt to ask how she is doing. Last night, we had a fairly long talk, and she was able to discuss the pain. Eventually, our talk included lessons that a Clan Mother from the Onondaga Nation taught me decades ago. My friend liked them.

I had been remembering the days I spent at Onondaga while taking one of my mental walks through time. Times change. The Elders I knew then are gone, and now it's men and women my age taking their turn as Elders. I was remembering, among other things, how one of the Clan Mothers had been quietly invited to visit President Bush the Elder at the White House. He told her that despite what "Washington" said publicly, they knew the environment had been severely damaged.

He said that they knew future generations would suffer the consequences, and asked for her advice? In a sense, it was nice that he wanted to talk to her, even if he wanted no media coverage. But it was sad that he thought there might be some magic Native American solution.

She told him, "The only answer is to use common sense. If you pour toxic wastes into the water, it travels downstream in space and time." Around that same general time, she also met with Mikhail Gorbachev. My impression is that he had a deeper understanding of what she was saying. I suspect that is why his leadership would eventually be undermined.

At the beginning of the 2020 Democratic Party's presidential primary season, I decided that I wasn't going to favor any one candidate. I thought they were all good, and I would have been glad to support any one of them who won the nomination. I took that position in person, on FaceBook, and DU.
I had said, before the official start of the season, that I hoped our party would nominate a non-white woman, when discussing the yopic with my son. He asked if it was good to "pick" based upon sex, race, and/or ethinc identity, rather than looking for the best qualified person? I said that we aren't in normal circumstances, and more: I thought that in the 50 state presidential election, Senator Harris would be the surest bet to beat Trump. But, of course, she did not do well enough in the primaries to raise the funds needed to win the nomination.

About half the conversations I've had in these 48 hours were with people thrilled that Biden picked Senator Harris, and half were people hoping for Rep. Karen Bass. I should add that about half are registered Democrats, and half are progressive independents, though this was not a factor in how they viewed Harris as the VP candidate. However, I do think that age played a significant role in people who hoped for Bass to be on the ticket.

I am a progressive, leftist Democrat -- at least in my own mind. However, I have a different understanding of what is possible in politics than I did when I was young. Thus, I am happy with the Biden-Harris ticket. I know, for example, that there aren't magical solutions to crises such as the environment. So when discussing November with everyone, I've said, "The only answer is common sense. If Trump somehow 'wins' re-election, the Constitution is dead."

Peace,
H2O Man
August 4, 2020

Naked

Watching the Axios interview of Donald Trump, I was reminded of the June 1972 release of the John Lennon-Yoko Ono double album, "Some Time in New York City." In the upper right-hand corner of the LP's cover, there is a picture of President Nixon and Chairman Mao dancing naked with wild abdomen. Some people were upset by this, including members of the Nixon administration.

In an interview, Yoko explained that she thought politicians should be naked in their campaigns, and all meetings while in office. Yoko was 48 years ahead of her time. Today, we have witnessed the naked lying of the president, despite him being fully dressed.

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