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H2O Man

H2O Man's Journal
H2O Man's Journal
May 28, 2024

A Request

On May 22, I posted "A DU Interview" with author James Kunen. And, of course, I sent him the link to the OP/thread, which he enjoyed. Among our communications since then, he sent the following, which he thought community members might find a pleasant and meaningful way to exercise their Amendment 1 rights:

"Here is a link to a safe site with a pre-filled FORMAL COMPLAINT to the Supreme Court about Justice Alito. You just fill in your name and address, print it out, and mail it in: https://www.dumpalito.com/

"You can also send a copy to Sen. Dick Durbin to get him to wake up and hold hearings.

"I thought you'd want to seize this opportunity, and maybe send the link around to your extensive network. If we could get 100,000 of these complaints to the Court and Durbin, it could really have an impact, I would think."

It is said that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Hence, in anticipation of anyone saying, "No! This will do no good!" I shall share what was Rubin Carter's shortest message when speaking at universities. Rubin stated that the "No!" philosophy and life style was negative, and needed to be replaced with "Yes!' He would then lead the audience in saying "Yes!" rather loudly.

Now, somewhere between our favorite nay-sayers and our "Yes!" friends and associates are good people who wish there was "something (they) could do." Indeed, every grass roots organizer encounters good people who have been tricked into believing that they are powerless to confront the threats to our society. The best organizers know that if you provide them with small tasks now, by election time they will have made progress.

More, we might expect nay-sayers to pontificate the "No!" of the class of citizens who have convinced themselves that they are by definition the "elites, that the Supreme Court doesn't care what we "little people" think. I'll go far as to agree with them when it comes to Alito and Clarence. But the others, even those conservative republican, do care. Roberts knows it is a bad thing when a growing number of citizens lose faith in the court.

Thus, I am requesting that you participate in this small effort, and share it as far and wide as you can. For as Rubin once told me, small doors sometimes open into large rooms.

May 22, 2024

A DU Interview

"A university is definitely not a democratic institution. Whether students vote 'yes' or 'no' on a given issue means as much to me as if they were to tell me they like strawberries."
-- Herbert Deane, vice dean of Graduate Faculties, Columbia University (April, 1967)

In 1970, a copy of "The Strawberry Statement: Notes of a College Revolutionary" was my late oldest brother's favorite book. It detailed the thoughts and experiences of author James Simon Kunen, who was both a participant and observer of the 1968 student protests at the university. This was the first of a series of important books by James Kunen:

When I read "The Strawberry Statement," it immediately became one of my favorite books. Other things that influenced my thinking on the role of educatio included A.S. Neill's 1960 "Summerhill: : A Radical Approach to Child Rearing (with a powerful introduction by Erich Fromm); the 1962 Port Huron Statement, primarily by Tom Hayden; and Abbie Hoffman's 1968 "Revolution for the Hell of It." James Kunen seemed a wonderful blend of those three.

He has done a serious interview regarding the recent Columbia University protests, which I will link below:

Because of the acrimony in discussions on this forum regarding Gaza, college protests, and the weather, along with the national atmosphere of anxiety, depression, frustration, and a sense of impending doom, I asked James Kunen if he would participate in an interview for the Democratic Underground. I was hoping for a message of impending positive, and he agreed!
-- Patrick R. McElligott (aka H2O Man)

Q; My older son's favorite part of The Strawberry Statement was when the cop, upon hearing your name, mistook you for Irish and let you go. How, he asked, did you keep from bursting out laughing?

JK: It was scary. The police had a bus ..... it might have been a city bus, but I think it was a police bus. The cops were slamming people around. I was the first one on the bus, and when he said that, I was too afraid to laugh.

Q: Who were the biggest influences on your thinking when you were a student?

JK: One was the novel "Lord Jim." The character is on a ship that he thinks is sinking. He jumps off. But it turns out the boat isn't sinking

The other was the television series "Davey Crockett." You might remember that. Davey held that when you know what you really believe in, you go with it. So when we were in (Columbia President ) Kirk's office, and the police were going to throw us out, I knew what I believed. A lot of students jumped out a window to safety. I didn't jump.

Q: My younger son recently looked me in the eye and said, "Old Man, I thought your generation was going to save the world. What happened?" Do you think the 1960s and early '70s brought about progress?

JK: Yeah, in areas like gay rights, women's rights, and civil rights. I can't recall if student activity was the real cause. It wasn't so much a result of that, is that it was a time of disorder that resulted in a new order.

Q: What influence did the Beatles and other musicians have on youth back in the day?

JK: They absolutely had a major influence. The fact that we were listening to the Beatles together, and the Rolling Stones and others together at the same time gave us a generational identity. And that was really the first time the young generation had the feeling of being united as a group, and a social force.

Q: It's said that history rhymes, rather than repeats. What do you think of the recent campus protests?

JK: I'm not sure that it really rhymes or repeats. In '68, it was Vietnam. In '85, it was investments in South Africa. Gaza is different. But people see something they know is wrong, and they see what is possible. They take over a building to make their voices heard.

Q: In "The Strawberry Statement," you wrote about Mark Rudd, a national leader of Students for a Democratic Society." He went underground shortly after that. When I interviewed Mark for DU a few years back, he was teaching math at a community college in New Mexico. He was backing BBarak Obama for president, and advocating non-violent change. Is this a normal part of the aging process?

JK: I think Mark Rudd is his own special case. A real journey. Things reached a point where he thought violence would work. Then he went underground.

Most of us saw what was wrong, and wanted it fixed immediately. Eventually, we learned that "perfect" is the enemy of "good," and focused on what is possible.

Q: There are three presidential candidates this year: President Biden, Trump, and RFK, Jr. What do you think of each?

JK: Trump is a sociopathic con man. I don't get his appeal. Kennedy is on a narcissistic ego trip, despite the destructiveness of his campaign. I definitely support Joe Biden. I do have concerns about his age. Yes, he is sharp right now, but what about the next four years? Older people can have a rapid change. But he is the best choice, especially considering the other option.

Q: Independent voters now outnumber Democrats or republicans. How important is it to do outreach to independents to re-elect President Biden?

JK: Campaign professionals -- and I'm not one -- have two schools of thought. The first is to turn out the vote. The second one is to reach swing voters. I think that we need to do both of these.

Q: When Nixon resigned, I was sure we would never see his ilk in office again. Today, he would seem a decent fellow compared to Trump. What has happened to our country?

JK: Nixon wasn't the first cynical con man in Washington. Remember Senator McCarthy in the 1950s. I think that what has happened is social media and Fox News.

Q: Outreach to young voters is essential. Who do you think is better at this, AOC or her primary challenger, retired Wall Street banker Marty Dolan?

JK: I totally agree. I admire AOC. She is a brilliant communicator. She speaks clearly.

Q: The internet provides advantages the underground press of our day did not have. Yet it risks keeping people from traditional grass roots campaigning. How important is it to engage in going door-to-dooe?

JK: I think it's very important. There isn't the same sense of community that there was 75 years ago, Back then, there were trusted messengers in neighborhoods, in the PTA, and church. So we need to still be activists.

One thing I've noticed in recent years is that those attending meetings almost all have gray hair. We need to work on getting young people involved.

May 21, 2024

A Circus State of Mind

"For the benefit of Mr. Kite
There will be a show tonight on trampoline
The Hendersons will all be there
Late of Pablo Fanque's Fair, what a scene
Over men and horses hoops and garters
Lastly through a hogshead of real fire!
In this way Mr. K. will challenge the world!"
Lennon; Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! ; 1967.

Michael Cohen tried his hardest to be the pit bull lawyer that the defendant sought. Roy Cohn had been a attorney for mobsters, aggressively lying and threatening anyone who got in the way of his clients. Old Toy was an amoral individual with ethical rabies.

At the time, Michael Cohen was comfortable playing that role. One can debate how good he was at it, but it is clear that he provided linkages between the Trump Organization and organized crime in the New York City area and beyond. In a very real way, this included relationships with individuals that would benefit others we know in crimes never prosecuted back then.

The names that come to mind include Rudy Giuliana, Bernard Kerik, and -- to a lesser extent -- Robert Costello. Along with the defendant, these swine engaged in what they considered "legal crimes" that no one of a certain status was worried about being prosecuted for. They considered these to be no more an issue than breaking the speed limit on an interstate highway -- something that "everyone does."

Hence, the outrage that the defendant is facing legal charges in New York. Their attitude is like that of if they were pulled over for speeding, and the police officer did not apologize for the inconvenience he caused them upon recognizing how important they were. Even pointing out that others were speeding and the officer had not given them tickets doesn't work. Even worse, in their eyes, is that they can't bribe this DA or judge.

So what's a defendant to do? His own legal team refuses to play the role of Old Roy and dive through a hogshead of realfire. So they turn Robert Costello, who had been attempting to serve as Michael Cohen's "handler" after the FBI raid. But Cohen was alert enough to recognize which way the wind was blowing, and sought other legal representation. So we had Costello doing his best Roy Cohn from the witness stand.

Yesterday, some of my friends & associates -- not on this forum -- were concerned that Costello had damaged Cohen to an extent that helped the defendant. "Oh, ye of little faith," I said to them. For I knew that Costello was going to get his ass kicked today.

May 14, 2024

Q & A

Question: Is the defendant nodding off in court, as many have reported, or is he in deep contemplation, as he claims?

Answer: Sociopaths need frequent stimulation. Without it, they become bored. They have short attention spans when bored. Prolonged boredom in the courtroom causes the defendant to nap. Keep in mind that there is no documentation of the defendant, while in the Oval Office, participating long long, highlt detailed meetings. Indeed, he has bragged about his ability to reach spontaneous decisions on important matters.

May 12, 2024


"Let him twist slowly, slowly in the wind." -- John D. Ehrlichman

In early 1973, there was a growing interest in the investigations for the series of crimes known collectively as "Watergate." Ehrlichman thought that the confirmation hearings of Nixon nominee of L. Patrick Gray for the director of the FBI was distracting attention to the crimes that would soon result in his incarceration. Thus, his infamous quote, with more than a hint of delight in Gray's ongoing evisceration by Congress.

Will history repeat itself in 2024? (I know, I know: it rhymes, rather than repeats.) Might the university demonstrations hint at trouble at the Democratic National Convention, similar to 1968? Could divisions result in a sludgy crook winning in November? Need we be overly concerned with the eventual republican VP pick? And what if Kristi Noam becomes the national dog warden?

The good news is that President Biden will be re-elected in November, while the defendant will continue to twist slowly, slowly in the wind. Due to a variety of factors, it will be a relatively close victory. What is also essential for our focus is the Senate. And of course we'd like to regain control of the House.

Now, we've had shady presidents in the past, with Nixon being the most obvious example. So if we are to create a historic rhyme, now is the time to hang the defendant and his associates around the necks of every republican running for office.

Nixon was smarter than the defendant. It took time, but he eventually twisted slowly, slowly in the news. There was an opportunity in 1976 to make gains in the House and Senate, but divisions in our party prevented this. Even Jimmy Carter's win was close, and I consider him one of the most gifted politicians of my lifetime. We have similar potentials this year for meaningful gains.

We have been given gifts such as Moscow Marjorie and Kristi Noem. They have caused a shift that shouldn't go unnoticed. There are republican office-holders and right-wing medias that have now speak against both. They dare say publicly the things they have been saying in private for years. The maga cracks widen.

Since the close of court on Friday afternoon, the defendant has been splattering nonsense into his universe. The most interesting example can be found in "highplainsdem's" OP:
It must be understood in the context of the defendant's compulsive projecting. Add an image of a criminal about to be hung in a 50 year old high plains Clint Eastwood western.

Tomorrow, it is expected that Michael Cohen will be called to the witness stand. The media horseshit about him being a convicted liar and thug will be correctly placed in the context of his employment with the defendant. He was being paid to play the role of Roy Marcus Cohn. Though Cohen can appear emotional at times when describing the defendant, he actually does good while testifying in recent years.

Cohen will be but a few feet away from the defendant for the first time in eight years. Michael can -- and will -- do more damage to the defense case than any other witness. The defendant will struggle to not react to Cohen's testimony. He will twist slowly, slowly and break wind. The only question will be how long he can control himself in or outside of the courtroom.

Enjoy the show!

May 8, 2024

A Strong Wind

On this day, I find myself thinking about this quote from my old friend:

'We are flowers from the sunseeds planted in organic life on earth, with the capacity and the ability to grow stronger, wiser, more intelligent, and more beautiful than anyone can imagine. We must try to become what we can be, and not just settle for what we are at the moment. That is the path for humanity if humanity is to evolve. If we fail to evolve and continue down the destructive path we are now headed, then we will simply disappear from this earth.' -- Rubin "Hurricane" Carter

May 4, 2024


I've posted the below quote a few times here in the past 20 years. In the past few days, I've had a number of conversations with people about some of the teachings of Iroquois' Wisdom Keepers. One of these was with a good friend here on DU, and this made me think of this quote, which I hope you like:

"We must seek out the spiritual people, because only that is going to help us survive. We have a great force -- a great brotherhood. This brotherhood involves all living things. And that, of course, includes us all. We are talking about the natural world, the natural force, all the trees, everything that grows, the water. That is part of our force.
"But when you gather spiritual force in one place, you also gather the negative force. We begin to see the enemy now, the power and presence of the negative force.
"There is a great battle coming."
-- Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper, Iroquois Confederacy.

I first encountered Oren in the early 1970s, on opposite sides of a boxing ring. He was the trainer/ cornerman of welterweight & middleweight champion Carmen Basilio's last fighter. I was in the corner of my brother-in-law. Over the decades that followed, I would get to know him in other ways, though my son and I have always enjoyed seeing him and his fighter at boxing cards.

My cousin contacted me yesterday. He was going through his mother's belongings, including her large library of books. He found a copy of "Parker on the Iroquois" (Syracuse Universary Press, 1986), and said she would want me to have it. Parker, a Seneca, was the first NYS Archaeologist. This was a collection of three of his books, published between 1911 and 1916. I already had each of the three. He said he had been looking through the one on the code of Handsome Lake, based upon his vision of the future when he was in a coma in 1798. He is considered by many Iroquois to be the 4th prophet.

I suggested that he watch Bill Moyers' interview with Oren. In the interview, Oren talks about the vision of Handsome Lake, with a focus on the parts regarding the environment. I think that those who want to take a break from news about the defendant might enjoy watching it, too:

H2O Man
May 2, 2024


Q: Do you have any closing message for out readers?

Chief Paul Waterman: Live. Don't be afraid to live. We can live through this time.

I did reburials at the Penn Site. Germ warfare killed them. At the Bloody Hill Site, it was small pox. Some of the burials were of parents and their children. They were holding hands. This seems to happen when germ warfare kills families.

But we are here today. It's our turn to live now. And if you are reading this, it's your turn as well. Make the most of it. Enjoy your family.

Quite a few people find life in 2024 stressful. It could be from factors in their daily life, to the state of our society. I thought I'd attempt to start a discussion on this, starting with a story about a "potentially" stressful situation tat Chief Waterman and another member of the Council of Chiefs found themselves in years ago. The other Chief shared this story with me.

A group of Iroquois men who self-identified as the Warrior Society were holding Paul and Oren hostage in the Oneida bingo hall. The NYS Police and Sheriff's Departmet had surrounded the place. Oren said that being held at the wrong end of shotguns was stressful. But Paul was relaxed, and telling the younger men about temselves. The fellow holding the gun on Paul wanted to shut him up by placing the barrel in Paul's mouth. He told Paul to open his mouth, or he'd blow Paul's head off.

"Fuck you," Paul replied, laughing. "The first sound of a gun shot, and the police will kill every Indian in here." In a relatively short time, the stand-off ended. Oren told me that he had never witnessed anyone as calm and brave as Paul that day. (If you are thinking, "No big deal," you can stop reading now.)

Now, when do you do your best thinking? When you are well rested and relaxed? Or when you haven't gotten proper rest, and have had existential stress since, say, the defendant became president? Most people function better mentally when well rested and relaxed.

Jon Steward recently reported on how often the media reports on the defendant, including on unimportant issues such as his ride to court. I will speculate that someone somewhere was talking about the defendant on television or the internet every hour of every day since he announced he was running for president back in 2015. Stop and think of the sum total of hours that you have been exposed to either the defendant or someone talking about him.

Watching the defendant increases the levels of the hormone cortisol in your blood, and that blood goes throughout your body, including your brain. Those high levels take a toll on you. Thus, high levels are "the tip of the iceberg" of problems people experience, according to Bruce McEwen, a neuroscientist and cortisol expert at The Rockefeller University.

Among things effected are memory, organization, visual perception, and attention. It also can reduce adequate sleep. It can cause changes in your brain that show up on brain scans. Thus, it seems evident that frequent and prolonged exposure to the defendant isn't healthy. I think it is worse than if one was exposed to the individual I think shared the most personality traits with the defendant, Charles Manson. Might we agree that if one was exposed to Charlie's madness for the same amount of hours you have been exposed to the defendant, it would not improve the quality of your life?

It is no coincidence that the prophet Bob Marley sang, "Live if you want to live." This is the opening line of his powerful song "Positive Vibration." Other lyrics include, "If you get down and you quarrel everyday you're saying prayers to the devils, I say" and "Say you just can't live that negative way, if you know what I mean. Make way for the positive day."

The amount of acrimony on this forum, along with some of the thinking expressed, indicates that we can all benefit from turning off the defendant, relax, and listen to Bob Marley. It's a little bit easier.

April 27, 2024

A Chief

Shortly after 9/11, I conducted the last in a series of four interviews with Chief Paul Waterman of the Onondaga Nation, the Fire Keepers of the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy). Below are two questions and answers:

Q: What do you think about the backlash against Arab Americans and against Islam?
CPW: Look at what they did to my family, the Susquehannas? Sullivan went down the river to find Onondagas and Mohawks. He couldn't find any, so he killed people who looked and talked like the people he was after.
What do I think? I don't think that anyone who kills innocent people because of their language or religion is a hero. .......

Q: President Bush has referred to the "evil doers." What do you think about this?
CPW: Well, he's the same way. Those people in Afghanistan are poor and miserable. They suffer when bombs kill their parents, and hurt when bullets kill their children. So, even if Bush believes what he is doing is right, he has to commit evil acts to achieve his goals.
But he can't stop. The other guy won't. And when they do kill bin Laden, someone else will take his place. .......

Q: Speaking of land, what do you think of a homeland for the Palestinians?
CPW: They own land. They always have. There is nough land for them and the Jews. This conflict isn't just about land. It's about who controls the land that produces money. It's not about religion. The Creator isn't taking sides in a conflict over money.

April 24, 2024

Strawberry Statements vs Zombies

I watch the news, I read the internet, I needed a break. So I look at two choices -- either James Simon Kunen's 1969 "The Strawberry Statement" or some of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s later essays -- before walking out on my lawn. I sit in my late father's outdoor rocking chair, and read King describe his reaction to the violence abroad and in the streets of America.

My attempt to avoid the news is as feeble as an addict trying to not get a fix, I realize as I come back inside. I have a television and computer. "It was the first day of the defendant's criminal trial," I say to the dog. "Just a quick peak can't hurt." Sure. Just a hit of Stephen Colbert. But that leads to more coverage of war and the protests on campuses.

As much as I do not like war, I am in favor of helping the Ukraine defeat the Russian invasion into their territory. I consider Putin to be a cruel man, promoting death and the destruction of human lives. Likewise, I understood the need for Israel to respond to the October 7 terrorist attack. I remember hearing several Israeli officials saying it was their 9/11.

After 9/11, I understood why the US would bomb Tora Bora in an attempt to kill those responsible for planning the attack on the US. But I did not favor occupying Afghanistan. Or Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11. Or kissing the asses of those in Saudi Arabia that financed it, or pretending that Pakistan didn't play a role. Still, bombing Tora Bora seemed logical.

I am pro-Israel. But I am anti-Netanyahu. I consider him a cruel man, promoting death and the destruction of human lives. Being opposed to him is, in my opinion, like being against the last guy who was president of the US before Joe Biden. Indeed, I think he is damaging Israel as a member of the global community, and that he is attempting to help the defendant's campaign by hurting President Biden.

Many good people I know are aghast while watching the news coverage of what is going on in Gaza. This coverage is not coming from Russia, Iran, or Hamas. It's from the major American news sources. When I see apologists explaining that it is fine if thousands of Palestinian children are killed, and thousands more being starved, they've not only lost people like me, they have lost a big part of their humanity.

I am troubled by the tone of campus protests that include jackasses spouting anti-Semitism. I'm angry when I see that Jewish students are being threatened. Should there be a protest at one of the colleges/ universities near me, I will go to try to protect Jewish students and faculty in the non-violent manner taught and practiced by Gandhi and King. I know the potential consequences, but am not afraid to confront hatred.

I turn off the television, and again look to a book shelf. I see Nicholas Schaffner's 1978 book, "The Beatles Forever." It includes documentation of right-wing nonsense about Soviet think tanks behind the group, writing songs for Lennon and McCartney in science labs that found the secret to "mind control" -- it wasn't the LSD that our military had thought had potential, it was the Beatles. Especially Ringo, gosh darn him.

I remember that LBJ and Nixon were convinced that it was the Soviet Union behind the protests for Civil Rights and the anti-war movement. They ordered the FBI to investigate and find proof. After all, Arlo Guthrie even spoke of the "last guy" wanting to invite Chairman Mao and Uncle Ho to dinner. In Congressional hearings post-Watergate, we learned that more than the FBI were following people like Malcolm X and Dr. King. I'd wager more than a few of us from my generation could tell stories.

Today, I see where otherwise intelligent people are saying that Russia, Iran, and Hamas are behind the college protests. As proof, they note that not all participants are students. I will speculate that they haven't read "The Strawberry Statement," James Michener's 1971 book, "Kent State: What Happened and Why," or my 2008 interview for DU with Mark Rudd. There are almost always "outside agitators" at protests on campuses. There are enough people in the United States who engage in these activities that there is no need to turn to paranoid conspiracy theories for answers.

Russia did play a role in the 2016 election. Note that the FBI and other intelligence agencies, as well as the DOJ, documented this. I'm sure it happened in 2020, and will in 2024. But that is distinct from an anti-war protest. There is a dangerous rise in the tide of anti-Semitism in this country.

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