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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 08:49 PM
Number of posts: 66,042

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Fire in the Ice

In 1980, the Onondaga Nation's Faithkeeper Oren Lyons spoke to a group in Binghamton, NY. What I remember most from Oren's speech to the non-Indian audience is when he said that, in a relatively short time, a significant percentage of people in the US would experience some of those same harsh problems that his people have endured for centuries.

I think of that while listening to the news about people suffering in Texas. I think of it when I read from one of this forum's members who I have the utmost respect for, as his daughter and he survive inside their vehicle, desperate for warmth. And I think of it while I walk out to my pond on the frigid moonless night.

Though inpenetrable by way of deep slush in the afternoon, my driveway has become solid ice by midnight. The crust holds my (over-) weight as I venture slowly across my lawn, down the hill to the woods, and across the froozen swamp. There are dozens of oval depressions in the snow -- not crop circles made by unidentified life forms, but by the six deer that inhabit my property. It is so frigid out that I know they will be nesting in the pine trees tonight, and so I avoid them.

Through the darkness, the outdoor light from my neighbor's house provides me direction. Their young son recently died from an overdose of heroin. I think of 17-year old poet John Lennon's line about a pain so deep it hardly became known to him. I have made it to the pond, where various animal tracks lead directly to where the spring supplies water that flows even in this bitter cold. My body is numb, yet I feel everything.

I had gotten word, shortly before midnight, that two relatives rushed to the hospital on Sunday were stable. My oldest brother died recently, his body not being found for several days. This following the death of an aunt, an uncle, a close friend of 40+ years, a neighbor. In hard times, I always try to identify what important lessons are to be learned .....because if one does not learn from suffering, I would suggest they have missed an important opportunity.

I know what I will do when I get back inside my house. I've communicated with a number of young adults, all graduates of the school district where I had served on the board of education over the past 72 hours. This is the village where,as I reported here this past summer, a student-led Black Lives Matter rally was confronted by aggressive, violent, and armed Trump supporters. Over the weekend, a guidance counselor posted a racist meme on the internet, attempting a "joke" about President Biden slipping on the banana peels that VP Harris drops on the White House floor.

The young people I've talked with include some who have contacted the school superintendent. They have heard back from him, and are satisfied -- for now -- that the school will recognize there is a problem that needs to be addressed. I have contacted two school officials, but have not heard back from either. So when I get inside, I will begin my message to members of the school board. I'd like to know, for example, how the school will deal with students of color needing access to a guidance counselor. Perhaps put a "whites only" water faucet outside this woman's door?

A rodent scurries from near my chicken coup as I get on my lawn. It had been attempting to dig through the ice and froozen ground to get a meal. So I bring a cup of cracked corn from the garage to the far edge of my lawn, confident it will find it once I'm inside. It's far from where the cats might be tonight, and it is so bitter cold that I haven't heard a single coyote.

I can't help the suffering people from Texas right now. But I know that if we all do that which we are capable of doing well, we will be okay. Now that includes not believing the lies we were told in our childhood and youth, by the type of adults who tell banana peel jokes. We are capable. It is 1 am/est now. I figure that I've got a good four hours to invest, before laying down and watching a Watergate documentary.

H2O Man


I have read, both here and on other internet sites, a number of Good People who are disappointed with the impeachment trial. Some believe the Democrats should have called witnesses. Others can't believe that the republicans were so cowardly. I'd like to take a couple of minutes, if I could, to try to put things in a different context.

For those fortunate enough to not be familiar with me, let me begin by noting that I am on the tip of the left wing of the Democratic Party. During the trial, I was visited by two friends: one a former member of the Weathermen (now a doctor), and a young man who likes to be further to the left than me. I try to make him understand that isn't actually so -- I just prefer to stick to things that can be accomplished.

I make no claims to being accomplished myself. But there are a couple of things that I do know about: boxing and digging ditches for the foundations for houses by hand. In my youth, the two merged, as digging ditches is great training for fighting. By no coincidence, I pulled out and old scrapbook before starting this essay, and found the 1974 article my late friend Rubin Carter wrote for a boxing magazine. In it, Rubin notes that things such as justice and democracy require constant struggle.

It's not a fight that you win and that's it. Rather, it is only after one recognizes that it is constant that one can find true peace of mind. And that is exactly the peace of mind that allows you the strength to keep up The Good Fight. And we won more rounds in this week's impeachment trial than they did. Just like after most fights, you can tell by looking who won the fight, I dare say we left some lumps and bruises on the republicans. There are none on us. And the judges scored it 57 to 43 for us.

Now back to digging ditches to put in foundations for houses. Rubin had worked for a construction company early in his boxing career. I have photos from 1963 with Rubin working with a shovel. He taught me a good workout with a shovel that helps in boxing. Now, I was always digging in the hardpan and rocks of rural upstate New York, so I needed that peace of mind to even get started on a job.

In 2018, we saw a lot of people picking up their shovels and pickaxes and start on an essential job. We won back control of the House. In 2020, we all had our shovels and pickaxes and ballots, and now we have the House, the Senate, and the White House. Now that is a solid foundation to build upon. And this week, we saw the House managers build a beautiful room upon that solid foundation. But we aren't through, because justice and democracy require constant struggle.

Yes, it would have been very nice if the republican Senators all voted to convict the orange man who lacks convictions. But did anyone actually think there was even a tiny chance of that? No rational person could. It isn't in their nature. Don't put the bar too high. Remember that all important victories are the result of long, hard work and dedication.

This week was huge for Democrats, and horrible for republicans. Let's make the weeks and months ahead even better for us, and more terrible for them.

H2O Man

Just Say Know

"Article 2 of the articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon was just the simple fact that he talked about and suggested the potential use of the IRS against one or two of his political oppenents." -- Monica Crowley

Why, I ask, did Trump not hire poor Monica to run his defense in the impeachment trial #2? I mean, all Trump did was talk about and suggest attacking one or two of his political opponents.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the Democratic Party's managers' presentations this week. As an old man who has faithfully watched Congressional hearings since the days of Nixon, through Iran-Contra and beyond, this was as powerfully well done as anything I've seen.

It stands in stark contrast to the case made by Trump's legal team, which was as thin as the few strands of hair attempted to disguise David Schoen's balding skull. It's said that Trump was furious when, on Tuesday, Schoen would hold those strands in place when he took sips of water. Bruce Castor comes across as being as sincere as Abbie Hoffman would have been in making a commercial in support of Nancy's "Just Say No" campaign.

Senators Cruz and Graham, in miserable show of subjectivity, have been meeting with Trump's legal team in an attempt to salvage the republican party in general, and their careers' future specifically. Safe to say that the Senate will not convict Trump. Though I wish that they had the decency to do so, it would be unrealistic to expect the most cowardly of poltroons to experience a brief moment of courage or conscience. For they fear Trump's cult more than than their shadows.

Early in each of my children's lives, I taught them that when I was addressing their behavior, not to try the, "Yeah, but what about ____?" They learned that I was only focused upon them, and not anyone else. And that weak attempt at distraction would only and always result in a consequence. My younger son, now a crisis counselor at an area school, laughs these days about the number of people who never learned this important life lesson.

We win, no matter what path the current republican party opts to take. But we have to understand the nature of the beast, and fully appreciate that we are in for a long fight. As their party either divides or attempts to remain united is,, obviously, important. But more important is that we recognize both the strengths and weaknesses of the two republican factions. And knock the stuffing out of them, by attacking either or both of their strengths and weaknesses frequently.

This week, the vile Claudia Tenney was determined to have won the NYS -22nd seat in the House, my district. In 2018, Anthony Brindisi had defeated her in a similarly close and contested election. Now, Anthony is already going to run again in 2022. So many of us at the grass roots' level are already beginning our plans for supporting Anthony.

It looks like the Senators are coming back in! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
H2O Man

Exiled in Mind

"But let justice flow like a river, and mercy like an unfailing stream." -- Amos 5:24

The stench of decay becomes a maelstrom within the dark, empty space between the sociopath's ears, exciting his oral cavity to become a whirlwind rousing his followers to engage in an insurrection against the nation. Weeks later, the poisonous snake believes he is still entitled to occupy the presidency, and his armed supporters still believe him.

Trump's legal beagles refuse to use his "stolen election" delusion as a defense in the impeachment. To do so, they know, would be to admit that the 6th was indeed an attempt to deny a peaceful transfer of power, in order to deny the election's outcome. Instead, the first attorney's presentation came close to arguing for Trump's conviction, though it was an appeal to potentially sane republicans.

The second one channeled the furious confusion of the republican masses. The combined message is clear: if you vote you conscience, the right wing shall primary you!

Yet without a conviction, the subversives will continue to attack. They, like Trump, believe he is the president in exile. Convict him in the Senate, so that they will know he is not.

Amy G. Dala's Almonds

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love." -- Martin Luther King Jr

Lately, because of the mix of frigid weather interrupted only for snow fall, I have been trying to make use of time by watching documentaries and speeches on the tube, and reading and discussing the teachings of the ages with my daughter. I find, for example, that a presentation by Robert Sapolsky has a somewhat different meaning in the post-Trump era, than it did in the pre-Trump era.

While many in our nation turn their lonely eyes towards a groundhog in Punxutawny -- a region that the Lenape's language translates to "place where small, annoying insects gather" -- I find myself thinking about those small, almond-shaped parts of our brain known as the amygdala. Might they not assist us in understanding why some people take part in a fun, safe, and happy traditional gathering, and why some of what King described as "our sick white brothers" storm the Capitol?

Being too old for snowball fights -- including those on the internet, which routinely become iceball wars -- I'd like to add and subtract something to that King quote: "our sick brothers and sisters," though not in an attempt at political correctness. For I am not concerned about "politics" today, just about human beings. And the amygdala.

The amygdala takes in information quicker than does our conscious mind. Thus, we jump backwards when encountering a rattlesnake. Since accuracy of threat perception is not among the amygdala's strengths, we often have that same reaction to, say, a small section of rope in the grass. As my son points out, that lack of threat analysis is an evolutionary bonus, despite its tendency to over-react to small sections of rope.

There are, of course, numerous other brain functions going on that influence the way that modern human beings process information on an unconscious level. By no coincidence, these relate largely to our sense. If one is going up for parole, it is far better to have one's hearing in the 45 minutes after the board's lunch time, than the 45 minutes before. In a comfortably heated room, people often tend to interrupt information more or less positively, depending upon the temperature of the drink they are holding. Likewise, those sitting in wooden chairs tend to interrupt information more negatively than those in cushy chairs. Hopefully, I never am the subject of a parole hearing, but I will keep all of this in imnd.

Now back to the amygdala. It has been studied since the early 1800s, and is part of our limbic system, regulating a range of emotions. The amygdala on the right side of the brain has been identified with what are often called the negative emotions of fear and sadness. The one on the left has associations with both the pleasant and unpleasant, from our brain's reward system and to anxiety.

Since relatively few people will remember 2020 for its pleasantness overwhelming their senses, let's consider the opposite. How many factors that might contribute to creating anxiety, gear, and hatred can you list? Covid. The economy. Trump's daily tweets. Isolation. How many of these lead to more time on the internet, being exposed to the never-ending series of outrages? Or, how about that wide range of people -- from nurses to teachers to cashiers in grocery stores to police officers to the homeless veterans? How has all of the hyper-active outrage of 2020 influenced their state of mind as they conduct their daily duties?

What collective processes were at play when the white nationalist Trump cult invaded the Capitol? How does that relate to Karen not caring about why you are wearing a mask while in public? Or the fellow, donning a MAGA cap, who aggressively expresses his disagreement with a bumper sticker in the Wal-Mart parking lot? Or your in-law who finds it offensive that you do not subscribe to Q-anon theology?

Clearly, these people, both as a group and as individuals, range from mildly obnoxious to toxic. More, a percentage of them do pose dangers to civil society. It is, I will speculate, beneficial to recognize the very unattractive reactionary behaviors of our sick brothers and sisters as the unconscious human behaviors that do not, in the current context, offer any evolutionary value.

Why is this important -- if it is important at all?

Because despite the solid job that the FBI is doing investigating the violent thugs that invaded the Capitol, and the increasingly serious charges that DOJ prosecutors are charging them with, the federal justice system alone will not resolve the social-political decay that threatens us. The Biden administration and the Congress are limited in what they can do. In the final analysis, it comes down to community-based efforts to coordinate efforts to heal the wounds that this threat has inflicted.

Our relative may still say she thinks that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. Our neighbor may still wear a MAGA cap as he yells at children to get off his lawn. And, being human, we will be tempted to react to their crude behaviors. Yet, there is an alternative. We can recognize that these are mildly-to-fully pathetic people, ruled by the anxieties and fears that once helped our ancient ancestors to avoid rattle snakes. Just as we do not give in to slap them, we must refuse to respond in a manner that fuels the destructive forces at play in our society.

Groundhog Day is now over. The riot at the Capitol represents a path that many want our nation to follow. But these are not our only options. As individuals, we can rise above the mechanical processes of our unconscious minds. We can join together, in the spirit that Martin Luther King taught, and reach that higher ground of human potential. For that is, in the end, the path that offers us as individuals and a society the best bet for a meaningful future.

Dead Chicken

"There has never been a system yet that would not gladly sacrifice one of its own for a moment's peace, no matter how brief. If the system is to be changed, then those who would change it should pinpoint its weak spot, its blockage points, and place all the pressure on that one point until the blockage is cleared."
-- Vine Deloria, Jr.; We Talk, You Listen: New Tribes, New Turf; Dell; 1970; page 66.

There are, of course, numerous republican blockage points. Perhaps none is as glaring as Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Q-anon specimen representing Georgia's 14th district in the House of Representatives. As the impeachment trial approaches, we can be certain the radical Trump cult's insanity will gurgle to the surface. Thus, between now and then, we should be contacting elected officials, demanding that they remove her from office.

I grew up on a small farm. I've long raised chickens. If a dog kills a chicken, you tie it around their neck, so that they do not continue to kill your chickens. Greene is the dead chicken we need to tie around republican necks.

Twisting in the Wind

I watched the public television coverage of the Senate Watergate Committee's interview with John Ehrlichman yesterday. It took me late into early this morning, giving me time for a nap before today's noon-time events. I remember watching the grilling of Nixon's counsel and assistant on domestic affairs, and my brother saying it was among the most important of those hearings. But it was overshadowed by other events.

Ehrlichman infamously commented to John Dean that, "Well, I think we ought to let him hang there. Let him twist slowly, twist slowly in the wind" in regard to Nixon's latest pick to head the FBI. How times change -- today, it is Donald Trump hanging there, twisting in the wind, facing legal problems that will haunt him to his grave.

Nixon, from his time as vice president, counted on a curious collection of intelligence officers, anti-Castro Cubans, and mercenaries to deal with foreign issues. As president, he used those same people in an attempt to establish the White House intelligence unit that the Huston Plan had first suggested.

Bush the Elder, as Reagan's vice president, attempted to outsource a policy in Central America and the Middle East that lacked congressional approval and oversight. But, similar to Nixon's group, they got caught.

Dick Cheney, as W's vice president, established a two-tier unit of neoconsatives -- with himself and Irving "Scooter" Libby running what they called "black ops." They were also caught, though Cheney escaped legal consequences.

Donal Trump sought to exploit the ignorance of the radical right -- nazis, kkk members, militias, including former and current police and military members. People no different than those that inspired Young's song at the top of this page. He didn't really invest in an effort to cover up his effort to steal the 2020 election. There remains a real possibility that we are yet to document the ties between General Flynn and militias and mercenaries such as Eric Prince. Time will tell.

By spring, the answer, my friends, will be hanging and twisting in the wind.

One Question:

Who will citizen Trump hire to represent him in the impeachment trial"

I am hoping it's Sidney Powell.

The Lizard of Id

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.
-- Nietzsche; Beyond Good and Evil

The wind was humming through the tree branches, drowning out the sound of my footsteps in the snow. Although it was a dark, starless night sky, my eyes quickly adjusted as I walked my son's dog through the field. She's about eight months old now, and growing larger, but she is still jumpy when we walk at night. We avoided the pines, where the deer nest on nights this cold.

It had been a long day, followed by a long night. I needed to take a break from the nonsense of republicans in the House of Representatives objecting to Pennsylvania's votes being counted. Almost all of them started by saying they were upset by the Trump cult's attempted insurrection, but then poured fuel on the fires of conspiracy theories that gave rise to the violence.

"Conspiracy theories" are curious things. Some are mainly accurate -- for as Watergate, Iran-Contra, and other events were conspiracies that definitely were real. More of them have a nugget of truth enclosed in paranoid projections, and still others are batshit crazy. In our nation's hiistory, when there have been periods of prolonged stress and tenion, a larger number of seemingly normal people join the fringes in believing the Alex Jones-type theories. Thus, it is no surprise that a substantial number of republicans have invested in Trump's highly paranoid conspiracy theories.

I have had numerous telephone and internet contacts since the release of the tape of Trump's unsettling conversation with leaders from Georgia. I think the number has more than doubled today. On one hand, most were expecting this style of response to the president's advocating the right-wing to join his war on America. Yet watching the attempted coup unfold on screen was upsetting for everyone.

A tree branch made the loud popping noise that tree branches are prone to making in the bitter cold, resulting in the dog scurrying to within inches from me, then standing on her hind legs to survey for potential danger. She had originally belonged to my daughter's friends, who paid a hefty price for a cute puppy. But soon, they found that hunting dogs were not bred for life in a small apartment. My boy walks her from four to eight miles per day, and her nose still allows her to sniff out mischief in every corner of our large house. Her behaviors are distinct from any other dog that I've known. She remains in her kangaroo position until I roll a snowball in front of her for a distraction. It's play time again.

Literally as I am writing this, I get a text from my doctor who has helped me deal with the serious brain injury I sustained a few years ago. "Oh my goodness, your Dr Lee interviews, chilling times! Makes Watergate seem like a parking ticket." The human brain is a complex organ. What terrible factors make Donald Trump the pathetic failure he is? Why have so many people accepted Trump as their own personal Jesus? The Lord of the Flies?

Trump's brain does not process information in the same manner as a non-sociopath's brain. Add to this, his baseline is paranoid, and he has long believed in conspiracy theories. It's true that he will purposely lie and spread false conspiracy theories when he thinks it is to his advantage. Yet he is deeply invested in paranoid conspiracy theories of the ilk that represent the most outrageously untrue type.

As noted in my first interview with Dr. Lee, a sociopath under extreme pressure may experience relatively brief psychotic breaks. We witnessed one as we listened to his Georgia phone call. It was a break from reality. A couple days later, he was back in a "safe place" at the rally for the two republican Senators. That comfortable setting brought him back to his baseline state of being a pathological liar. Next, we saw him lying to the mob that would attempt an insurrection.

Why, many wonder, would any rational person answer Trump's call for the Dragons of Eden to perform this ritual dance? Let's turn to Carl Sagan's 1977 book. In it, Sagan provides an updated version of Paul MacLean's model of the Triune brain. In the 1960s, MacLean attempted to locate Freud's id, ego, and super ego within the layers of the human brain. His belief that each of the three operated independently went out of style in the early 2000s, although looking back, I think Dick Cheney was indeed an R-complex man.

If we lean towards Sagan's understanding of the Triune brain model, however, we can identify much of the essence of Trump's being as that R-complex, also known as the "reptilian brain" or "lizard brain." It controls the ancient impulses such as "fight or flight." Hence, those members of the Trump cult who accept this president as their divine hero take on that same essence, and their behaviors aresurely rooted in Trump's impulses.

The wind begins to pick up, and the puppy dog wants to return to the house. As dark as it is, I can detect the clouds moving in the sky. Although I was never a Weatherman, I can tell which way the wind is blowing.

Dr. Bandy Lee (#3)


1- In April, 2017, you organized the “Duty to Warn” Conference. Later, you were the editor and contributor to the book “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.” Has Donald Trump’s behaviors since losing the 2020 election reinforced your opinion on the dangers Trump poses to a civilized society?

We no longer opine but have certainty. And we are seeing the last bout of just how much he is willing and able to destroy norms and to push the limits. It is clear he does not intend to leave without placing us in further danger, and we are not yet in the clear. My regret is that, because of the “gag order” on all mental health experts, which the American Psychiatric Association forced through public campaigns since this administration, the people are still left vulnerable without having learned much. As we see from the 72 million who voted for him again, we are very likely to repeat our errors.

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