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H2O Man

H2O Man's Journal
H2O Man's Journal
April 21, 2023

The River

"If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment."
-- Henry David Thoreau

I recently witnessed an argument on facebook between two people I know. One is an older liberal, the other a young progressive, which started out as a minor disagreement on Democratic Party activities in the houses of Congress. It was, like so many issues, one where there is no "right" or "wrong," just a difference of opinion.

Within minutes, each expressed their disappointment in the other. This rapidly led to each saying the other's father would surely be disappointed in their son. Soon the older gentleman was threatening to beat the young man up the next time he saw him. This resulted in me contacting the older guy, and saying it is never wise for guys our age to get into physical fights with young men -- especially those who are bigger and stronger than we were in our physical primes.

He began listing fights he had been in, going back more than fifty years, and assured me that he could still dish it out. I pointed out that without a doubt, guys our age could "dish it out," so long as we were up against someone who refused to fight back. But our bag of old bones do not stand up well if a younger, bigger, stronger guy fights back. Indeed, I said, the history of boxing is young lions knocking out old lions.

I pointed out that a person in their late twenties is unlikely to view things exactly like a seventy year old. Nor is a seventy year old likely to view the world exactly the same as they did in their twenties -- for if they did, they have wasted decades of opportunity for growth. One's values may remain a constant, but hopefully their level of understanding matures.

I'm sad to say that the hostility between the two has failed to dissolve. This will keep me from including them from working together with me on the upcoming 2024 elections. At this point, I'm only focused on NYS's 19th Congressional District, and there does not appear to be anyone challenging Josh Riley in a primary.

“Do a good deed and throw it in the river. One day it will come back to you in the desert.”
-- Rumi

What we throw into the river goes downstream ..... in space and in time. Now, I want to be clear here, I'm only expressing my own opinion. But I think the social-political river has had too much toxin waste tossed in. I see a corporation named Fox doing it. I see the defendant doing it. Plenty of others, too. I have neighbors who advertise hate and fear with yard signs supporting the defendant.

I can only speak and make decisions for myself. No question about it. But I do not to drink from a cup of poisoned water. No question about that, either. Thus, in the example I noted to begin this essay with, I don't like to see Democrats throwing poison into that river. There is absolutely no benefit accrued from it. For self-righteous, suspicious, and knee-jerk accusations aren't going to distinguish us from what King called "our sick white brothers and sisters." Or any skin color, that participate in the current of social disease.

Take the topic about Senator Feinstein. I am not happy that this great Senator has missed votes. I don't know "the" answer. But I can read a variety of opinions here, and recognize that we want people with different opinions participating in discussions.

I've heard that President Biden is likely to announce on Tuesday that he is running for re-election. He and VP Harris will easily get our party's nomination, and will win next November. I realize there are two announced candidates besides President Biden that say they are running. But President Biden will win, without adding a single dollar or time campaigning, every contest in the primaries.

It doesn't upset me in the least that some people I know, who are registered Democrats, do like one or the other potential candidates. I support President Biden, because I like to win. I'm familiar with this river, and I know how important winning in 2024 is. Yet I want those who are considering another vote in a primary to vote for our candidates in the general election. They make up a tiny fraction of voters, it is true. But our party sometimes wins by tiny fractions. I don't see any meaningful advantage to insulting them.

I'm not disappointed that Dominion settled with Fox. Do I wish that Tucker, Sean, and others had to run the gaunlet and take a publib humiation? Of course I do. But that is our responsibility, not Dominion's. The case has provided us with all that we need. Plus there are other cases coming. We can reach all but thr brain dead.

I'll say it again: there is already far too much toxic waste thrown in the river. We see it every day, rearing its ugly head, with shootings, etc. It should be obvious to everyone that we are living in a sick environment. So consider throwing good deeds into the river.

H2O Man

April 15, 2023

Odd People

" Aren't a lot of people acting strange in a lot of different ways?" my daughter asked me. "Like getting into other people's faces if they disagree with them?" I enjoy her frequent phone calls from Boston. I had missed one yesterday, when my grandson was sleeping on my shoulder, and I couldn't get to the phone. But discussing this topic for an hour today was gun.

"Yes," I said. I noted that I have had numerous discussions on just this topic this week. Some in person, some on the telephone, and others on a couple of internet forums. There is a wide range of curious social and anti-social behaviors that people are noticing isn't quite "normal," what ever the heck normal is.

Next, my cousin called me. One of his friends from work visits him. They are both retired construction workers. Over the years, they have avoided discussing politics, as the guy is a Trump supporter. Union workers, or retired guys collecting a pension, who support Trump are lacking in common sense.

Everything went fine, until the guy was leaving. But the topic of politics was mentioned, which led to a heated argument, that came too close to a physical fight. It ended with "fuck you" being yelled both ways.

The most frequent question that I have heard this week is, "What are/were they thinking?" I sometimes ask myself that while watching the news. Hence, I have been sending the below link to a number of family and friends. It is a forensic psychiatrist talking about a range of people that seem to have deranged thinking. I think it is an important topic. It can be helpful in understanding that we exist in different "realities." This makes it difficult in many cases to maintain relationships with family members, friends, co-workers, and neighbors.

As one gets into the approximately one hour film, and the speaker documents the history of this strange "reality" of intertwined group of Americans, it doesn't really provide an answer to "are they sane" in the legal or psychiatric sense. It addresses this, in a way that should make us think. But it does answer one question, indirectly. And that is what, if anything, is the difference between Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Lori Vallow Daybell?

April 10, 2023

The Twist

“In order to be profoundly dishonest, a person must have one of two qualities: either he is unscrupulously ambitious, or he is unswervingly egocentric. He must believe that for his ends to be served all things and people can justifiably be shifted about, or that he is the center not only of his own world but of the worlds which others inhabit.”
― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

I came upon this wonderful quote this morning, and found myself thinking about it in the early afternoon hours as I worked in the garden. So much so that, rather than my usual focus on the teachings of Erich Fromm, I wandered into another row of thought: Jean Piaget's stages od development and cognitive theory.

Since 2015, there have been numerous OP/threads on what is known as narcissistic personality disorder. I've posted a few references to Fromm's "malignant narcissism," which was his term for sociopathy/ psychopathy. But thoughts on egocentrism occupied my head, as I took the dog for a walk so she could take her afternoon trump.

The defendant, of course, is exactly what Fromm had in mind as a malignant narcissist. As we watch the defendant "twisting, slowly, slowly in the wind" (Ehrlichman), and his popularity plummet with every whiny outburst, one might wonder how anyone could possibly support him? Again, Maya Angelou's quote came to mind.

Piaget noted that children, generally between the ages of two and seven, were at a preoperational stage of development. Thus, they are not noted for applying logical thought while attempting to understand the world around them. They do not have the capacity to decentralize -- meaning being able to consider two distinct things at a time. This is found when they are in non-social and social settings.

Now, most of our brain capacities will outgrow this stage. But, in many cases -- too many, in my opinion -- a person does not fully outgrow this, if at all. This is known as egocentrism. It is, as Ms. Angelou described: viewing one's self as the exact center of the universe, and being convinced that everyone else views "reality" exactly as you do. Egocentrism shares many of the features of narcissism, but differs enough to be distinct.

Thus, I ask, what if a group of self-identified maga-types actually thought that the defendant spoke the truth? That the defendant is not a pathological liar, because they lack the capacity to apply logic? What if a flock of bible-thumpers actually believe that, despite imperfections, that the defendant behaved in the spirit of the prophets, and that their loving, forgiving god was going to send non-believers in the defendant to an ever-lasting hell? And what might the synergy of these two modes of concrete thinking look like?

Since forum members are capable of considering two or more things, and applying logic, I will venture that you are likely thinking, "Why, it would look like the republican party of today." It would explain why, for but one example, so many lack the capacity to understand gun control in terms having to with other than the weapons they own. They feel "safe" when armed in public to the extent that they sincerely believe that the answer to school shootings is arming teachers. As Piaget noted, they are incapable of applying logic.

Now let's consider the war on women's rights. And that is what it is, a war. It is rapidly heading to a pre-pregnancy battle ground, known as "birth control." One need not have studied Sigmund Freud to understand that this is rooted in the republican's deeply rooted unhealthy attitude about sex and sexuality. I could speak at length about this -- from origiins to outcomes on the individual to social levels -- but I'll try to limit this.

What might a collection of people, who are convinced that everyone views sex in exactly the same manner they do, look like? Let's add in that before the age of, say, seven, they had rigid, uptight parents who associated sex with sin. Would they not be prone to projecting their feelings of guilt upon others? Would not the very thought of "nasty women" enjoying orgasms -- or worse yet,expecting them -- result in their feeling a need to punish those women? Do you think we are there yet? I do.

I'm not going to venture into a discussion on the advantages of not hating your enemies. As tempting as it certainly is, I know how difficult the defendant and his cult have made it. So instead I'll end with this: start working on electing Democrats at all levels of government in 2024. Otherwise, we will havethose with the cognitive limitations of children making adult decisions for us all.

April 9, 2023

Eiri Amach na Casca

" Theoretic chaos has replaced the idealistic thinking of old--and, unable to reconstitute theoretic order, men have condemned idealism itself."
-- Port Huron Statement

I was talking with my younger son yesterday about the social-political environment of today. In my opinion, his thinking is representative of his generation. As such, it is another link in the unbroken chain of American citizens that want to make the United States live up to its potential of becoming a more perfect union.

No two links in this chain are identical. Each is molded in the context of their times. After my son left, and I continued talking to myself, I noted how some of what he said reminded me of Tom Hayden's "Port Huron Statement." That powerful document has become obscure these days, despite it having once been central to the thinking of my generation. Yet even my own generation appears to have relegated it to being a footnote of a long past time.

I can't claim to have known Tom Hayden well. Most of what I knew came from reading. I did communicate with him lat in his life, and we discussed an interview for the Democratic Underground. I was curious the potential differences in thinking of the older Tom Hayden, with experience in holding poliical office, compared to the idealistic young man who wrote the Port Huron Statement. However, health issues kept postponing the interview, and eventually ended his life.

A lot has changed since the Statement came out in 1962. One could reasonably say the past is the past. A lot of changes have been positive -- I note, for example, that I was not forced to get up early this morning to attend Drake's Temple. Yet I remember Faulkner's saying that "the past is never dead. It's not even past."

Has my generation, despite our best efforts -- or what we pretend were our best efforts -- become our parents and grandparents? Confident that the idealism of the younger generations is misplaced and unrealistic? And that's not to say that it isn't, in many cases. Of course it is, or it would be realistic rather than idealistic.

Our generation dared to dream. And, as my late friend Rubin told me in 1974, it is only the fool who attempts the unrealistic who can be the hero who achieves the impossible. I think that spirit needs to rise from the dead.

April 5, 2023

The Defendant

" 'My country, right or wrong,' is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, 'My mother, drunk or sober'."
-- G.K. Chesterton, The Defendant

The defendant is known for calling his opponents by insulting nicknames. From Jeb Bush in the 2016 republican primaries, to his recent attempts to come up with one for Ron DeSantis, he tries to belittle others in this way.

Last night, while watching MSNBC, I was delighted to hear retired prosecutors calling him "the defendant." It is more powerful than any of the nicknames he gave to others. I think that Mr. Chesterton would have agreed. (Note: if anyone here can name the title of the unreleased film of Chesterton and George Bernard Shaw, I would invite you to be on my team in any game of Trivial Pursuit.)

There are what appear to be functioning human beings saying, "The defendant, guilty or not guilty." One can only speculate on if their mothers were drunk or sober while pregnant. However, I am confident that we can agree that these people are desperate cases.

I'd like to return to the former prosecutors interviewed on MSNBC. As a group, they are of superior minds than those found on other media sources. Thus, we do well to listen closely to them, as opposed to some of the hand-wringers found elsewhere who question the strength of D.A. Bragg's case.

The defendants' legal team continues to focus on two weak points. First, that Michael Cohen is a convicted liar. While true, this was exclusively when Cohen lied to protect the defendant. Bragg is not going to base his case on what Cohen says, alone. It will include documents that prove what he testifies to. Plus, there is more evidence to prove the case. Much more.

Second, they claim the case is "political." No shit. It involves the crimes a politician committed to further his campaign. It is indeed "political," in the exact same manner as Watergate was "political." It's no coincidence that both Nixon and the defendant had held the office of the president -- which is political.

Based upon the evidence the DA has -- witnesses and documentation -- the defendant will be convicted. The defendants' legal team is aware of this. Their only hope is that an appelate court will interfere. The jury will convict.

Two things that are important. First, the first pre-trial hearing is scheduled to take place months from now. We know the defendant wants to delay as long as possible. Worry not. There will be other indictments between now and then. The synergy of legal problems will knee-cap the defendant's 2024 campaign.

Second, regarding a gag order ..... last night there was an interesting discussion here about exactly what the judge said to the defendant regarding his verbal diarrhea. As I like and respect both of the two, I did not post on that thread. But the most often quoted part of what the judge said indeed applied to the defendant and all of the lawyers involved. It was the less quoted part, just before, where he spoke specifically to the defendant.

Gag order processes in state courts differ from each other, and obviously federal cases. It appears that the judge was making a record that will support a gag order if the defendant continues to splatter.

Things are good. Trust the process, and those on the side of truth and justice.

April 4, 2023

Is Everbody In?

Older DUers familiar with the "Beat Generation" will remember Willam Burroughs. I'm paying tribute to the author of "The Naked Lunch" on Arraigment Day, knowing that few here recall the rebels that followed the Silent Generation, and were known as "beatniks" in their day. With Richard Nixon serving as vice president, they knew something was bery wrong in America.

Today reminds me of when Nixon was forced from the presidency.

Is everybody in? Is everybody in? The fun has begun.
April 2, 2023

April 4th

It was not, of course, "early morning" when the shot was fired. But April 4th has had special meaning since that horrible day in 1968. It is always a day when I think about Martin Luther King, Jr., and the lessons he taught by example.

As it approaches, with Trumo reportedly going to surrender to the Manhattan Sistrict Attorney on that day, I find myself remembering on of my favorite King quotes:

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

I am hoping that when made public, the indictment will shed light on the crimes of Donald Trump. It will not be enough to drive the hatred out of the hearts of the maga crowd, but it may be enough to convince some republicans that he is a toxic growth on America. Either way, I will love Tuesday, April 4th, for the first time in fifty-five years.

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