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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 08:49 PM
Number of posts: 64,811

Journal Archives

President Obama

Today, I have listened to a number of republican vultures speaking to television cameras, pretending to be offended that President Obama is not visiting the border. In their diseased minds, these talking heads believe that President Obama has an obligation to go to the Mexican border, and declare that no one shall cross. I believe that President Obama should consider another response …..

There are times when the President of the United States must address the nation on specific issues involving social justice. Two great examples come to mind. On June 11, 1963, President Kennedy spoke to us about Civil Rights: “We are confronted primarily with a moral issue. It is as old as the Scriptures, and is as clear as the American Constitution..”

On March 15,1965, President Johnson told Congress and the American people of the dire need for the nation to deal with the hatred that required laws such as the Civil Rights and the Voting Rights Acts. He famously stated: “And we shall overcome.”

As a candidate, Barack Obama gave a powerful speech, “A More Perfect Union,” on March 18, 2008 in Philadelphia. This was in response to a controversy involving Rev. Wright’s sermons. While I didn’t find Rev. Wright offensive, I felt that Obama delivered one of the greatest of American speeches.

I’d like to see President Obama respond to the crisis at the border, involving thousands of children, by speaking to the nation. I am calling and e-mailing the White House, to express this hope. I hope that you will consider doing the same.

Peace,
H2O Man

Merry X-mas

One Christmas Eve, in the early 1980s, two of my associates and I handed out a flier to people coming out of various houses of worship. It was at a time when the US was directly involved in the terrible violence in Central America. Although Reagan was, at the time, the public face of the administration, his VP -- Bush the Elder -- was running that show.

Death squads in El Salvador, under the leadership of sociopaths trained in the US, had raped and killed four American nuns, and murdered Archbishop Oscar Romero as he said mass. Romero was, in my opinion, one of a small percentage of Christians who channeled the spirit that is often called “Christ” or “God.”

Our flier quoted the lyrics to John Lennon’s classis, “Merry X-Mas -- War Is Over.” In between the verses, we put a message about the extremely anti-christian US involvement in the wars in that region of the world.

99% of the people we greeted with the flier were polite, and interested in what our message was. Looking back, I can sum the message up this way: that community was home to a defense industry plant that was making the weapons used to savage the communities of innocent people in Central America. Among the victims were children. On the eve of a holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus, it makes sense to consider what he had to say, both about children, and those who do harm to children.

One person was “outraged” by the flier. A former military chaplain, he now was served as the priest of the community’s Catholic Church. He ordered us to leave the area where we were handing out the fliers, or he would call the police. By chance, a town cop was coming out of the church; he told the priest that we were well within our rights. A few older women told the priest he needed to read the flier carefully, for it delivered a christian message.

The following week, I had a couple phone calls from the angry priest. He asked what I would do if he “handed out pornography from (my) porch?” I asked if he had a collection of pornography?

The next time I saw him was a few years later. I was investigating the suspected (eventually confirmed) sexual abuse of a vulnerable teenager. The bishop from Albany would step in, and save the priest from facing legal consequences.

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

The texts from various world religions speak of the value of children. Prophets from Jesus to Gandhi noted their natural enlightenment. King used children to rouse the conscience of the nation. Only the harshest of cultures could condone the cruel treatment of children.

We have thousands of children crossing into the United States in the southwest. The majority of them are coming from the very countries that the Reagan-Bush (the Elder) devastated in the 1980s. The violent conditions that causes these children to seek safety in the US are direct results of the US’s corporate/military policies.

US citizens with social consciences recognize that this is a serious crisis. They want to offer safety and comfort to these children. Those suffering from moral rabies have identified these same children as “the enemy.” In their paranoid thinking, these children pose a threat to what they demand is a christian nation. Their misplaced rage is being directed at little children.

In the 1980s, as older D.U.ers will recall, many of the churches across the USA began offering sanctuary to the people fleeing the violence in Central America. The media today rarely, if ever, makes mention of this today. Yet it stopped much of the Ronald Herod Reagan administration’s attempt to deport those human beings they called “illegal aliens.”

In my opinion, it is important that all people of good will take a stance on this issue. We must confront the shadowy tide of hatred that is infecting people today. I believe this is especially true for those who identify themselves as “Christians.” For, if Jesus was serious in what he said, each of these innocent children is, in fact, Jesus. I believe that.

Please write/call/e-mail your elected representatives. Write letters to your newspapers. If you belong to a church, advocate that it take a stance on this issue.

Thank you for your consideration.

Peace,
H2O Man

Twilight of the Idols

“True words always seem paradoxical;
But no other form of teaching can take its place.”
-- Lao Tse

Organized religion intruded upon national politics by way of the recent US Supreme Court decision, in precisely the manner that the Founding Fathers labored to prevent. For when public policy is squeezed to fit the design of rigid religious belief systems, the result is always to restrict the rights of some group or another. This is not an attack on organized religion per say -- although I admittedly have more faith in disorganized spirituality: indeed, its proper role is to impact the believer in such a manner that he/she will strive to expand the human rights of everyone.

The separation between church and state is, quite simply, to restrict the state from endorsing any religious belief system. It is not a restriction upon a religious (or spiritual) person’s involvement in the politics of the day.

Hence, when the USSC rules in a manner that elevates one group’s religious agenda, and in doing so, denies another group their rights, it becomes important that all people of good will -- no matter if they are religious or not -- to confront that crime against our constitutional democracy.

Because so much of the tension in the United States, and the global community, centers on the viewpoint of those who follow the teachings of the religious tree that grew in the Middle East (and which today has three primary branches), it seems worth our examining an original misunderstanding that relates to much of the violence we see today.

In the story of Abraham, we recall that he so worshipped what he mistook for “God,” that he was prepared to “sacrifice” his son. In fact, Abraham confused the collective unconscious of mankind for “God,” a projection of himself on an idol. The demand for sacrifices has always and only been made by human beings. We still see old “wise” men, willing to send their sons and others to kill and die for some projection, some cloth or book that serves as an idol.

This is in stark contrast to the enlightened men and women who, throughout human history, have served as role models: they have been willing to sacrifice their own being for the betterment of others. In some cases, these people have actually sacrificed their lives, although it is their lives and not their deaths that are important. Indeed, their deaths are only more important to those of lesser understanding.

The “organized” religion’s mixing up of doctrine leads to such stupidity as a Protestant minister being removed from his position, because he married a same-sex couple -- which included his son. If Christianity were rooted in the teachings of the historical man known as Jesus, it’s the judgmental folks who would be viewed as having less authority. Any objective reading of the gospels can result in but three “rules”: love one another, don’t judge others, and forgive those who seek to do you harm. Again, with the judgmental, we witness the worship of an idol; again; that idol is the projection of their own fears and ignorance.

And this, of course, brings us to the Supreme Court’s unjust decision. It was not a shock, for two other recent decisions have proven the USSC to be incapable of ruling against yet another idol -- the corporate state, which is short-hand for saying the military-industrial-energy corporate state. Or, in biblical terminology, the “beast.”

Earlier today, I read where someone noted that the law once said that slaves were property, not people; today, the law says corporations are people, not property. So long as the majority of the USSC’s (in)justices say this is so, those who worship idols will accept it as truth. As if a mere black robe changes a petty, arrogant, vindictive charlatan into an honorable leader.

The need for the day is two-fold: first, the government cannot be in the business of religion; second, all people of good will who do identify themselves as “religious” must become active, including under that banner, in the struggle for social justice -- in a manner similar to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi. And that means publicly refusing to accept, or remain silent, when “government” attempts to deny any group their human rights. This obviously must include women’s health care.

Peace,
H2O Man

Fire

The FBI presented a case to a federal grand jury, resulting in indictments being returned against New York State Senator Thomas Libous. Below are two links to regional newspapers’ reports on this corrupt republican:


http://www.thedailystar.com/localnews/x1927835487/Sen-Libous-charged-with-lying-to-FBI-agents


http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20140701/NEWS35/307010020/Sen-Thomas-Libous-Binghamton-charged-lying-FBI-agents


Why should D.U.ers be interested in this story? One reason is that, a couple of years ago, forum member H2O Man engaged in a hunger strike, to pressure Libous to meet with representatives of the pro-environment, anti-hydrofracking citizens. Will Pitt had authored an article for TruthOut about this. (Link below)

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/6074:in-the-clearing-stands-a-boxer-one-mans-fight-against-fracking


On the 8th day of the hunger strike, after I spoke to over 1,000 people attending a rally in the State Office Building in Albany, NY, state senator Libous finally met with me. Shortly after that, a group of environmental activists (including myself) met with Libous’s two top aides.

I have been following Libous’s legal and ethical “troubles” for years. In recent times, I had begun an effort to organize a run against him for later this year. Besides this case, he has recently been called out for failure to report his wife’s and his investments in the gas industry. More, he recently sold out upstate public schools.

Although Libous claimed he was going to run for re-election this fall, I have been told -- by way of reliable republican sources -- that he is being replaced by a local assemblyman. He might not know it yet. But the state party considers him damaged goods …..too damaged to back again.

Why should forum members care? For one thing, these news reports note something that I’ve spoken of here before: Libous is a close friend, and political partner, of Governor Andrew Cuomo. Indeed, Cuomo calls him his “mentor.”

That fact should be recognized whenever we discuss the concept of the Democratic Left’s relationship with the Democratic Party. Now, I’m a registered democrat. I voted for Andrew’s father, Mario cumo, in every election contest that I could possibly vote in. I met Governor Mario Cuomo a couple of times, on Native American business. I liked and trusted him. The son, not so much. The fact that he and Libous worked on a plan to make NY’s Southern Tier a “sacrifice zone” for fracking confirmed every bad thing I thought about Andrew.

And finally, I want to say one more thing that is important. At least, I think it is. I wanted to run against Libous. I could easily run 3rd party; however, I wanted to be on the Democratic Party’s ticket -- as well as on a 3rd party that I break bread with. However, it appears Libous is done. More, in discussions with party leaders in a few counties in this district, I found that two others planned to run. I would gladly have followed through on a primary contest, but there is another candidate that I can feel good about supporting.

Obviously, the issues I care about are most important to me. (I even rank them in significance identical to myself!) But we need coalition movements at this time. One candidate, who has experience on a county board, has two qualities that I think are important: she’s female, and a retired public school teacher. Now, not just any female or teacher would have my support. But she does.

So I think this case is important. It highlights the connections between government, big business, organized crime, and the “energy” corporations’ strangle-hold on democracy.

Divided, we are but individual fingers that our common enemy can easily twist and break. United, we form a powerful fist, fully capable of protecting all of our rights.

Peace,
H2O Man

A Toad

Kelly smelled something, from several yards way, as we walked toward the pond. When he pounced on it, I saw what I mistook for a rat jump away. It turned out to be the largest toad that I’ve seen in many years.

Ever since I was a wee-small boy, I’ve loved toads. There is something old and good about toads. It goes beyond the wonderful description of toads (and other inhabitants of the northeast found in books such as the Peterson Field Guides “Eastern Forests,” by Kricher and Morrison (Houghten Mifflon; 1998).

Recently, I’ve seen a number of the tiny toads that are coming fresh from the swamps and ponds that dot this region. It has been a wet spring in the northeast, and toads are among the many living beings that benefit from the excess water.

It is rare, however, that I see any toads of more than medium size. I asked my childhood “best friend” about this recently. He and I studied toads, turtles, and every other thing that walked, flew, or swam in these parts. (I have known him since we were 3 years old. As a young man, he joined the Marine Corps; around this time, he considered me “dangerous.” These days, he is far more extreme in his thinking than I ever was!)

My friend says that part of it is that people have taken over the territory that the snapping turtles had when we were young. Another part is the toxic contamination, I believe, that impact those beings towards the bottom of the food chain. The snapping turtles we see today are not as big as those we used to catch with his grandfather -- with perhaps one exception that lives in a pond at a near-by NY State Park, and that gets a lot of fried chicken thrown its way.

It’s hot and humid today. There are tons of small dragon flies out at the pond, all an electric-blue color. A few larger “mosquito hawks” are also flying about. The humming bird feeder is the most in need of a re-fill; I also place sunflower seeds around the many feeders, and the pond’s shore. Kelly has waded into the pond to cool off. He attempts to eat the bread I toss in for the fish; however, they are more adept to swimming that he is, and soon he steps out on shore and lays down. Within a couple minutes, he had gone to a swampy area, where a spring pushes water out from under a boulder, and was rolling in the mud.

The amount of rain that we’ve had this spring has resulted in all of the plant life growing very well. The flower gardens that my oldest son and I have put in are producing flowers as varied in bright colors as the koi swimming in the pond. A woodland turtle drops off a rock and into the water as I walk around to throw in food. After a couple of minutes, its head came up close to the surface, before grabbing a quick bite, and disappearing again.

With that, I sat down to (re)read a book I recently picked up -- “Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution,” by retired Justice John Paul Stevens (Little, Brown and Company; 2014). It’s a short read, in terms of length, but the type of material that makes you stop and think about its implications. The chapters include: the “anti-commandeering rule; political gerrymandering; campaign finance; sovereign immunity; the death penalty; and the second amendment. In a very real sense, it is one of the most important books that I’ve ever read.

If we were living in a healthy society, the changes he advocates would not be necessary. But we live in an extremely diseased culture. By and large, the wrong people hold social-political power, including too many in elected office. From the local to state to federal level, most people in office are among the wealthy. If they aren’t rich, they serve those who are; if they are rich, they serve themselves.

There are good men and women who are ethical, and enter the political arena with good intentions. Yet, politics is the “art of compromise,” and far too many politicians compromise their own value systems. More, the nature of the beast today provides more opportunity for those who are unethical to begin with -- greedy, cruel, lying, self-justifying, judgmental, vile snakes -- with Dick Cheney and George W. Bush as prime examples. Would a healthy society consider such thugs as leadership material? No! In a healthy society, both were be incarcerated for murder.

Changes to the Constitution are likely required. At very least, we need to have a national discussion on this. One area I find potentially beneficial is recognizing that, in its entirety, the Constitution addresses both group and individual rights. Too often, we focus on the individual aspects; without question, the 1% focuses on groups (when the pretend to honor the Constitution). Our culture has become high-tech feudalism. Serfs, unite! We have nothing to loose but our poverty.

The sun begins to go down. The frogs are singing songs that other frogs like. Soon, lightening bugs begin their lift-off from the swampy area. Kelly runs ahead of me, as I make my way back to the house. I am thinking about how the Iroquois and Lenapi peoples would meet to talk shop near a giant Elm that still stood in the early 1900s. The first public meetings in this area, shortly after the Revolutionary War, were held outside, under that Council Elm. Our culture is so cut off from the mental state these days.

Peace,
H2O Man
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