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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 07:49 PM
Number of posts: 70,086

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What a Fool Believes

"A learned fool is more of a fool than an ignorant fool. " —Molière (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin)

A gentleman contacted me today on the internet, someone I haven't talked to since the late 1960s. I do keep in contact with his sister, and knew that he had maintained what I consider a hippie lifestyle. He is a talented musician, very intelligent, and a life-long Democrat.

He said that since the start of the January 6 Committee hearings, he finds it harder to talk with ignorant fools. He said that he has stopped talking to some of the people that he encounters where he lives. Since he lives in Florida, I said I can understand that, but that I think educated fools -- a species found in all fifty states -- are even more frustrating to bump into.

I am not, of course, pretending that I came upon John Eastman in person. The mere watching of the third presentation by the J6 hearing, which focused some attention on Eastman, was both good and bad enough. It is a reminder that the gravitational force of a sociopathic "leader" not only draws in creeps, it brings forth their true essence. One might suspect that Eastman is on a collision course with legal consequences.

It will be interesting to learn Eastman's role in connecting with the Proud Boys and other groups associated with planning the violent coup. Currently, some forum members are speculating who was the connecting figure. Being prone to using models, let me suggest we view the White House as a hydra, with tentacles that include several that reached into the militias. Besides Eastman, there is Steve Bannon. Also, since the hydra has regenerative powers, we must inlude Roger Stone, one of the infamous Brooks Brothers Riot planners and participants.

(Note: In the 1960s, "The Hydra" was the underground newspaper in the school I attended. When the three brothers who created it -- who considered themselves to be Weather Underground -- went to state prison, I reprised the newspaper.)

It strikes me as interesting that several republicans are being honored for doing the right thing. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that some did, and others like Liz Cheney still are. I do respect that. But it strikes me as a bit odd that "doing the right thing" is now unique in the republican party, rather than what should be expected. Perhaps one day we will reach a point where doing the right thing is expected in government.

One more thing: there have been reports of some tensions between the J6 Committee and the Department of Justice. This is neither something to discount or to think will create a crisis. First, it is extremely common, when two government agencies are in semi-coordination with a specific group -- no matter at what level of agencies -- for their to be some tensions. This happens at the local, state, and federal levels. But it generally works out, and reportedly will be resolved in July.

Trump and the Unspeakable

“Sociopaths are attracted to politics because the see it as a sphere in which you can be ruthless and step all over people. That fact that some politicians can tell such awful lies is another example of sociopathy. Sociopaths lie—they see nothing wrong with it.”
― Alexander McCall Smith, The Revolving Door of Life

Malaise posed two questions to start an interesting and important OP/thread two days ago Here is the link to it:


As happens when I read something of interest, I found myself thinking about it last night, when I watched the second Committee hearing for a third time. Indeed, I was thinking about it this morning, while watching highlights of yesterday's hearing on various news reports.

Malaise asked how a self-absorbed individual could do so much damage, and how so many numbskulls could join forces with him? Those are serious questions, deserving serious answers. I'd like to take a minute to expand upon what I said there, which was "a sociopath with access."

Ancient DU readers know that I like to use models to illustrate human dynamics. Today, the reader can pick an atom or solar system. A sociopath is at the center, and their gravitational force frequently brings others into their orbit. Erich Fromm goes into amazing detail about this in his 1973 classic, "The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness." The closest beings to that center will be those who we know as having anti-social personality disorders. Let's just call them criminals, shall we?

The next layer will be potential criminals, usually men and women who are okay with what they often call "bending the rules," and we'll call lower level criminal behaviors. Then clusters of shit-dust entities, that want to wear uniforms and legally torture and kill human beings. These are those that stormed the Capital. Finally, there are Don, Jr. and Eric Trump, who enjoy killing defense animals on an African safari.

Having worked in forsensic mental health, especially in running the weekly county jail group, domestic abuse groups, and with some fellows released from state prison for a short vacation, I encountered a number of sociopaths. (Hint: they always try to disrupt groups.) They spanned the range from really fucking stupid to moderately intelligent. Yet they all shared an inability to really think ahead of the consequences of their destructive behaviors, something that led to not only self-destructiveness, but caused damage for the idiots around them. And for perfectly innocent people with the bad luck of being in their way.

Trump is really not much different that the fellows and one female sociopath I worked with. He might dress differently -- for now -- but the only real difference is that the social station he was born into allowed him to buy access. That included access to high society and to the media. Without the money, Trump is at best an inmate in the county jail. This, despite his uncle being a professor.

Much of high society rejected Trump as a buffoon. An obnoxious asshole. They were, of course, correct. This brings us to some of the republicans we witnessed providing testimony to the J6 Committee. Unlike in other countries, Trump did not have absolute power, such as his idol Putin has. Hence, when they witnessed his attempts to obtain that level of power, one of two things happened: they either quit or were fired.

But our system of government is distinct from Putin's Russia or Saddam's Iraq. It was preparing to eject the toxins from its system, based upon the 2020 election. The J6 Committee is documenting the multi-step effort of Team Trump to remain entrenched, despite the law. And we all know what happened as a result.

What we don't know yet is the extent of Russian influence. This isn't limited to what we know happened in thec 2016 presidential campaign. However, I shall reprise a lyric used in posts here back then ..... Trump and Putin are both white nationalists. Putin has the support of the white nationalists in Russia, which are para-military militias. And white nationalists in the US creamed their jeans when Trump was elected. He believed he could use them much like Putin does.

There are links, currently being investigated by the DOJ, regarding the linkages between the Russian and US white nationalist groups -- including "training" one of the Russian groups provided to at least one of the groups involved in the insurrection. I think at least one forum member posted about these connections recently.

If anyone has read this far, it should encourage you to work like hell to make sure we win the November elections. Our system of government is actually designed to prevent a Trump or his cult members from grabbing power. But our system depends upon the active involvement of its citizens.

H2O Man

Ashli Babbit died for Trump's Sins

"Ashli Babbit had been preparing for this day, the day when world events would turn her way. When a discouraged friend on Twitter asked last week, 'When do we start winning?' Ms. Babbitt had an answer: 'Jan 6, 2021.' " -- New York Times; January 7, 2021

I did not know Ashli Babbit, or even that she existed, until after her death at the January 6 insurrection. Now I know that she had served in the US Air Force for 14 years, before "struggling to keep a pool supply company afloat." (Ibid) I know that she religiously believed in the gospel of Q-Anon, and believed that Donald Trump was both honest and cared about her.

While sacrificing one's life in a just war is noble, I am curious how her family and friends feel after watching today's Committee presentation. Are they, like some of those charged and convicted for their participation on that awful day, aware that Trump lied -- purposely lied to them -- and betrayed them? That he was fully aware that he lost to President Biden?

Are they even dimly aware that Trump had two goals: to steal the election, and to raise money ? And that he would gladly sacrifice their lives, or their freedom, as quickly as he would allow police officers to be assaulted and killed?

Perhaps they recognized that she died for a lie. Or maybe not. For far too few people make the effort to look inside, evaluate, and live, with the same spirit as that person who sacrifices him/herself in a just war. And that is sad, indeed, for one need not "die" in that effort, but just stop inhabiting the lower levels of human potential.

A Former Fox

“The rebellion on the populist right against the results of the 2020 election was partly a cynical, knowing effort by political operators and their hype men in the media to steal an election or at least get rich trying,” he wrote in a Los Angeles Times op-ed. “But it was also the tragic consequence of the informational malnourishment so badly afflicting the nation.”
-- Chris Stirewalt


As you may remember -- though it seems so long ago -- Stirewalt was the first to call Arizona for Joe Biden. Thus, he was attacked by Trump and the cult, and eventually fired in January by Fox News. Curious timing, eh?

Stirewalt will reportedly be testifying during tomorrow's January 6 Committee hearing. Safe to say that Fox won't be carrying it live. But it should be an outstanding Committee presentation tomorrow morning, focusing on Trump & Co.'s planning to steal the election, and how this led directly to the insurrection on January 6.

I'm looking forward to the hearing, and the discussions here.

Fireflies Unlimited

One can make a strong case that we are experiencing a dark era in American history. There are the seemingly nonstop mass-shootings. There is the organized republican effort to bring us back into the dark ages by overturning Roe. And this evening, we will see the January 6 Committee reporting on the insurrection.

We are all aware of this darkness. We know that many are actively engaged in efforts to prevent the light of truth from illuminating the nature of the darkness. The vast majority of republicans in DC want to avoid discussing the insurrection. Fox News will not be carrying the Committee's hearing tonight.

This is directly connected to the fact that when you or I venture out into public, perhaps visiting a grocery store, we know that a certain percentage of those we encounter exist in that darkness, both without and within. They are the dark holes that are playing a significant role in sucking the life-light out of democracy.

There are other types of darkness we must be aware of. These are the nay-sayers, the stick-in-the-mud mentalities that say the needed changes -- including necessary legal charges -- will never happen. They note things like the Committee and DOJ as identifying the Proud Boys as "key instigators" of the violence on January 6, and pretend this translates to the "only key instigators," as if we should forget everything we saw coming from the White House from the November election to Trump's speech to the crowd on January . And everything that we have learned since, including from the Committee and DOJ.

This doesn't mean we will not have moments of doubt. That includes doubt about if tonight's televised hearing will help. Doubt about if the DOJ will charge those in the Trump cult who were connected to the Proud Boys, even though there were connections, with Peter Navarro having spoken of the coordinated Green Bay Sweep and the republicans in the House and Senate supporting it. Doubts about if the Attorney General determines if there is enough evidence to prosecute Trump successfully, and doubts about if even that would result in Trump being indicted.

We must still do our part. When the DOJ shines a light by indicting Navarro, we know it is a good thing. When the Committee shines its bright light on the roots of the insurrection, it is a good thing. For that is their part. Our part is to respond. To light up the darkness like thousands of fireflies on a June night.

How do we do that? Clearly, it will be fun to participate in discussions here for the next 24 hours. There are good and intelligent people here who will give insights on the most significant parts of tonight's hearing. But, as citizens, we have the responsibility to do more. Amendment 1 includes the phrase "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Petitioning government can, obviously, include getting people to sign a letter, on paper or on the internet, and sending it to an individual or group in one of the three branches of government. But everyone knows these petitions carry the least weight or influence among the various ways of redressing grievances and concerns." A petition with a thousand signatures is far less powerful than a thousand phone calls, letters, or e-mails. Thus, it is better to concentrate on providing light by those individual contacts.

Recently, I posted contact information for the DOJ:



I suggested that forum members contact the DOJ on Friday, to do one of two things: either to express confidence in what you assume is their current approach based upon what indictments have already been handed down, or to express your thoughts about the need to iindict those beyond the members of the crowd on January 6, including those in the White House.

As anticipated, some did not respond seriously, and one response expressed the person's strong disagreement with me. And that's fine. But others responded in a more positive light. And that's what we need. I'm reminded of a few years back, when my cousin and his son were shot in a road rage incident. The drunk, off-duty law enforcement officer killed the son, and seriously injured my cousin. There came a time in thr pre-trial period where DU community members contacted the District Attorney and the judge's offices, expressing their opinions on the case. It turned out to be by far the largest number of American citizens to make such contacts in the county's history. That is Amendment 1 in action.

Amendment 1 is not in action when people take the bump-on-a-log inaction. The "it won't matter" approach that only adds to the danger of the darkness. For only the mentally dead could watch tonight's hearing and fail to recognize that the Committee is shining a bright light upon a threat to our country that remains extremely dangerous. Don't go quietly into the dark night. Light it up.


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
-- Amendment 1

A good friend stopped by to see me yesterday. Like every good and decent American, he is horrified by the mass-shootings that are taking place these days. As a gun owner, he is 100% in favor of outlawing military-grade assault guns for civilians. A person he is friends with had argued they must remain legal, pointing out that the military in Ukraine is using them to defend against the Russian invasion. My friend asked me how anyone could be so stupid?

In my opinion, the only way to have a semi-reasonable discussion with people that stupid -- and they are legion -- is to ask if they think Amendment 2 is intended to protect the "rights" of the human shit-stains that murdered so many innocent people in Buffalo and in the Texas school? Even stupid people seem to be able to grasp the implications, though they generally lack the intellectual ability to take it a step further.

It is more important, in my opinion, to be able to discuss gun control legislation with intelligent people who have concerns about restrictions on Amendment 2. This is not to say that all of their concerns are legitimate. For example, some are concerned by those who speak of getting rid of Amendment 2 and all guns. This is not a serious concern, of course, because there is at most zero chance of it happening. It is as meaningless as those who advocate for no restrictions.

In order to have serious discussions, it is important to study the history of Amendment 2, including the thinking of legal scholars as well as constitutional law (what the Supreme Court has ruled). This, of course, requires an open mind, and the willingness to listen to the opinions of those who disagree with you.

There is a book I recommend, titled, "The Bill of Rights: Original Meaning and Current Understanding," edited by Eugene Hickok, Jr. Though published in 1991 by the University of Virginia Press, it is still of great value when considering addressing the sickening amount of mass-shootings happening daily in our country. It contains contributions from various points of view on each of the Bill of Rights.

Likewise, it is good to be able to speak about Supreme Court decisions on Amendment 1, I think, in order to show that there are restrictions on what it protects and what it does not protect. This allows one to go beyond the old "you can't yell 'fire' in a crowded theater" example. The one that I like to use involved Dr. King leading a march in Birmingham in 1963. A state court judge had ordered King and his followers not to march on a specific date, until the planned march was approved by the city.

King decided the march at that time was too important, and knowingly violated the state court's order. Eventually, the case reached the US Supreme Court, as Walker v City of Birmingham, and in 1967, the USSC ruled against King and his followers. Part of their decision stated that "respect for judicial process is a small price to pay for the civilizing hand of law." And I think that line can be applied by those advocating for gun control legislation.



I remember Rubin Carter telling me a story I'd like to share. A primitive tribe of people, fully isolated from the outside world, came upon an airplane in their territory. A tribal elder decided that the seats inside that plane made a mighty comfortable couch. For weeks upon weeks, he gleamed with pride as he sat on his new couch.

Another person found that by working some of the buttons, he could make the plane move forward upon the ground. He earned honor for discovering the tribe's first automobile. But the tribe never learned that this airplane could fly.

This is a lesson about both individuals and groups. For example, after watching the House Committee's first 2022 televised hearing on the January 6 insurrection, as individuals and as a group, DU members can thin, "I knew the criminals in and around the White House planned this." Or express disgust on an internet forum or telephone conversations. Or, as individuals and hopefully as a group, we can contact the Department of Justice to express our opinion(s).

Some might think the DOJ has a handle on this, and will take care of business after the mid-terms. Others might think the DOJ has to do more, right away. Both views are valid, when one considers the opinions expressed by intelligent, experienced former federal prosecutors on CNN and MSNBC. I respect people's right to either opinion. And this will give everyone the opportunity to express their thoughts -- either by e-mail or telephone -- by using the below links.

Doing so is superior to sitting on our couches. It's better than driving a point home among like-minded people. We need to be organized and start taking flight with the destination of the November elections now.

Thank you for your consideration.



The Gums of Navarro

First, I think President Biden's speech to the nation was outstanding. I had come to think he would be a good president back in 1988, and have had a good opinion of him ever since. A Senator, Vice President, and now President. This is, in my opinion, the best speech of his career. I'm a proud supporter of Joe Biden.

I wish that issues with guns were not political. But republicans make them so. This leaves us no choice but to expose what damaged human beings republicans are. Along with women's health care and January 6 Committee hearings, we have what we need to defeat republicans come November.

The second issue is Peter Navarro. Last night, I participated on a couple OP/threads about Peter's interview on Ari Melber's show. Malaise posted "Navarro is on Ari right now," which led to an interesting discussion. On post #34, I noted that Ari knew Navarro was going to be indicted, which was why he conducted the interview in the manner that he did.

Keep in mind that Navarro has opted to represent himself in legal dealings with the House Committee. Bad choice. Even a moderately talented attorney would have advised him to stay away from the media -- especially Ari's show, where he had already laid out the Trump cult's plan to overthrow the 2020 election. And Ari played Navarro yet again: ask a few questions, and sit back while Peter runs his mouth.

It seemed obvious that Navarro -- who threatened "revenge" in 2024 -- was under extreme stress. He couldn't shut his mouth. As unattractive as it was, it was a good thing.

Worms & Lightening Rods

"Not every man who throws worms in the water is a friend of the fish." -- Malcolm X

It's hard to find an official as repulsive as Ted Cruz, but stick with me here. Ronald Reagan's first Secretary of the Interior was James Watt. He was widely known as the most anti-environmental ever to hold that position. Although he would later deny saying it, Watt had been quoted as saying something along the lines of using up natural resources would bring about the return of Christ.

I remember watching this being reported on the news with my father. I said, "What a flaming asshole!" My father replied, "No, no. This is a tactic republicans use in a crunch. Watt is serving as a lightening rod, to keep people focusing on him, rather than more criminal things."

When Ted Cruz talks about his "one door" policy, he isn't serious. He's trying to distract the attention away from the discussion about if Amendment 2 is intended to protect the "rights" of shit-stains to commit mass-murder. He is dangling his schriveled penis like a worm, hoping to our attention on him. Cruz does not believe in the nonsense he utters.

As the Civil Rights saying from my youth noted, "Kepp your eyes on the prize."

What's Going On

"There is, however, an important difference between individual and social mental illness, which suggests a differentiation between two concepts ..."
-- Erich Fromm; The Sane Society.

The first documented writing about seeing the forest for the trees is found in John Haywood's writings, I believe from the 16th century. It's been a long time since I sat in a university classroom, but I do remember that in discussions of the differences between the concepts of psychology and sociology. One's focus is the individual tree, and the other the forest. Fromm's classic 1955 book intertwined the two in a manner that remains valid.

Towards the end of my career, the word "dysfunction" became a polite word for "pathology," meaning the cause of sickness. Let's look at some of the pathogens that, if an individual or individuals in a family system suffer from, allow us to view that family system as dysfunctional. Substance abuse, mental illness, other serious illnesses, personality disorders, a death in the family, the loss of a job, poverty, and domestic violence. Some cause temporary disruptions and others are entrenched. Others, such as mental illness or, say, cancer, can be treated, allowing the family system to regain balance.

The important factor, for this discussion, is that a single individual (psychology) can cause dysfunction within the family (sociology). Now, let's apply this same thinking to a neighborhood, a community, and a country. There is a tipping point where the number of dysfunctional individuals and families allows us to define that neighborhood, community, and/or nationas dysfunctional (sociology).

In a sick society, as in sick individuals, there is often a twisted interpretation of both social norms and formal laws. Let's consider an example. Does anyone really believe that Amendment 2 is intended to protect the rights of Payton Gendron and Salvador Ramos? To provide them with the weapons of mass murder? If a family allows a sick member to access such a weapon, and does nothing to stop him, does that family not have some responsibility when he goes on a rampage? Would anyone take them seriously if they spoke of his Amendment 2 rights? And would it not be obscene if the responsible family members offered their "thoughts and prayers" for the victims?

There is a great deal of focus on the police response at the school. That is important for a number of reasons. I'm not going to comment directly on their response, as it is such an emotional issue, and I respect everyone's right to react as they see fit. But I will say this: there are distinctions between various groups within police forces, with SWAT teams being far more capable of responding to a horror like this, than the average officer. That same difference demands society's attention when people say there should be an armed cop in every school. Or arm teachers. Hostile situations aren't like a shooting range. They require sharp-shooters. Hostage situations require trained negotiators.

I note that many of the police chiefs across the country support laws to restrict the ability of Gendron or Ramos to easily access the weapons of mass murder. That is an area where I, as a member of the Democratic Party, can identify some common ground as we approach the November elections. More, there are police chiefs who talk about how cuts in mental health services such as case management results in their forces having to deal with issues they are not trained to deal with. And the unfortunate changes in PINS services.

The social pathologies that combine to create the conditions we are confronted with will not be resolved by way of a single change in law, although those changes are indeed an essential element in making progress. To change laws, we need to change who gets elected to represent us, rather than representing the NRA. And to do that requires the best efforts of each of us.

H2O Man

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