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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 07:49 PM
Number of posts: 53,071

Journal Archives

Dystopia of Endless Night

(1) “Before the Great War all intelligent people said: ‘We shall not have any more war, we are far too reasonable to let it happen, and our commerce and finance are so interlaced internationally that war is absolutely out of the question’. And then we produced the most gorgeous war ever seen.”
-- C. G. Jung

Intelligent people can debate if we are at risk of entering World War Three, or not. In part, it depends upon how one defines “world war.“ One can use the relatively limited context of WW1 and WW2, or of the majority of the most populous and economically- militarily powerful nations being involved in a number of theaters of warfare around the globe.

It is safe to say that while military conflicts may take place in some of the locations where previous wars have been fought, we no longer exist in the Industrial Age. The synergy of multi-national corporations -- more powerful than many modern nations -- in the high-tech world reduces the efficacy of the WW1-WW2 models.

The media tends to present a rather subjective package of news and analysis. Thus, for too many of the less-aware public, they project their anxieties into pseudo-wars, such as the infamous “war on Christmas,” or in the extreme violence of the white christian terrorist movement. When various sub-groups in a nation-state begin hostilities against other groups, it is generally in battles, feuds, and/or terrorism. Yet in sum total, there comes a time when, faced with crisis (or crises), this inner-strife can be as destructive as war with an external enemy.

In ancient times, people looked to Walter Cronkite to declare it: war was just, war was win-able, or a jungle stalemate. The voices of reason are less clear today, as the ghosts of generations of lies rise from their graves, and swirl around in massive miscommunication on the television, radio, and internet. Where have you gone, Uncle Walter? Our nation turns its lonely ears to you. But in the gyre, the falcon can no longer hear the falconer.

(2) “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold. Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere, the ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”
-- W. B. Yeats

There is a Showtime documentary titled, “The Spymasters: CIA in the Crosshairs” that features interviews with all of the living directors of the agency. The “wise men” debate issues such as the proper response to terrorism; the efficacy of “torture”; and the agency’s unregulated use of drones. It attempts to address the conflict between the current use of drones, and President Ford’s law which forbid the agency from assassinating foreign leaders.

It fails to provide real context in the sense of President Kennedy’s decision to take tactical wartime operations away from the agency, and place that responsibility where it belongs -- with the military -- if we are to remain a nation of laws, guided by the Constitution. Indeed, the drone program allows the agency the ability to conduct strikes outside of the recognized theater of war, without oversight.

Those who do not subscribe to Showtime have the option of simply watching cable news, for a repulsive ad that asks, “Can a corporation have a subconscious?” Willard “Mitt” Romney certainly thinks so: corporations are people, he assured his republican audience, with passionate intensity. For those who worship the dollar, and who accept profit motives as gods, corporate greed becomes mutant soul.

The synergism of corporate greed, tribalism (in its negative potential), and militarism cuts a direct path to an assault upon the central theme of what this nation can stand for -- liberty and social justice, of government for the people, by the people. The best of politicians have anxious convictions; the worst propose walls to stop the migration of once huddled masses; those who attempt to give voice to reason are looked upon with suspicion; and compassion is declared weakness by the loudest voices.

(3) “I see fingers, hands, and shades of faces, reaching up but not quite touching the promised land. I pleas and prayers and a desperate whisper saying, ‘Oh, Lord, please give us a helping hand’.”
-- Jimi Hendrix

One of the curious dynamics in American society today is that “bad” people are more organized, and making better use of time, than “good” people. That is not to suggest this is either new, or true across the board. However, I am convinced that the rates of organized action has been expanding with the “bad” people, creating greater difficulties for those “good” people who are social-political activists and organizers.

This afternoon, on CNN, there was a “discussion” that featured a rabid republican and a gentle Democrat, regarding the gross violence aimed at Planned Parenthood. Locally, I know for a fact that Planned Parenthood has offered free services to a number of young men, primarily in the context of couples considering family planning. But, even if PP only offered services to females, it is of such value that every man should be actively supporting it.

Indeed, even if a person has sincere beliefs regarding abortion, and do not support it for their personal life choices, the best -- and only -- way to reduce unwanted pregnancies is to promote education, and to insure that birth control is readily available. Thus, even those who would not consider abortion as a personal choice, should definitely be supporting Planned Parenthood. Yet the republican woman on CNN attempted to present the “dog-whistles” from republican candidates, and the aggressively confrontational “protests” outside of medical clinics, as representing appropriate, constitutionally-endorsed behaviors.

Amendment 1’s reference to public demonstrations is intended -- among other things -- to allow group’s of citizens to call for an increase in rights, for a group that is currently being denied equal rights. There is no evidence that its intent is to protect, much less promote, a group’s demand to restrict the rights of others. Obviously, in the context of Constitutional Law (the decisions rendered by federal courts), even groups as toxic as the KKK are recognized as having the “right” to engage in public demonstrations. However, “rights” does not equal “license.”

Amendment 1 does not provide one with the “right” to harass people who are seeking medical services. It does not justify the threats that both health care providers and consumers are so frequently subjected to. That Bill of Rights is intended to protect and promote individual and group rights, not as a means of denying rights by way of threats and/or violence. And there is no question -- none! -- that the republican candidates are, by and large, actively sowing the seeds of poisoned thinking, that is sure to result in more and more violent outbursts.

By no coincidence, as the reporting on violence becomes the media’s obsession, more and more of the less-insightful among us uses the dangers as reason to cut back upon that Bill of Rights -- just as assuredly as all three branches of the federal government increasingly engage in “post-constitutional” behaviors and activities. The center of what represents the best potential of America no longer holds. The vacuum that is created allows for a Ben Carson to be considered, by a sizable number of republicans, as presidential timber -- and not in spite of his delusional religious system of thought, but rather, almost entirely because of it.

(4) “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
-- John Lennon & Paul McCartney

Most political-social-cultural concepts have both a good and bad potential -- with lots of room in between. Just as Amendment 1 can be used to either promote social justice, or to bring about violent oppression, issues of “religion” in American society have spanned from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s contributions, to Jerry Falwell’s intolerance. As a general rule, insightful people make use of religion for self-examination, while the dull-witted use it to justify harsh judgments of others.

The self-righteous have used “religion” to justify the slaughter of Native Americans, the forced slavery of African-Americans, the obscene oppression of gay and lesbian people, and virtually every war in our nation’s history. Small surprise that their “religion” promotes the violence against Planned Parenthood, and the inhumanity that saturates the republican platform for dealing with the current migrations of human beings around the globe. There’s nothing more violent than that old-time religious self-righteousness.

There are large numbers of people who, while not “bad” per se, are adding their energies to the unconscious rituals of violence that are wrapped in flags, and/or found in perverted readings of esoteric texts. The sum total tends to discourage rational thinkers, who often find their efforts to advocate for social justice are frustrated by the sheer force of gross ignorance in motion. Yet, as Alfred, Lord Tennyson reminds us, “Come, my friends, ‘tis not too late to seek a newer world.”

We need the united efforts of women and men of good will, not the divisions that result from none of us being perfect, or all-knowing. It’s high time for us to celebrate the human potential.

(Thank you for reading the thoughts that I was thinking this afternoon, as I was doing some of the tasks in preparation for ceremony on Friday. My older son and daughter gathered 49 good-sized cobbles of white quartz, which holds heat very well. -- H2O man)

Boxing (11-28-15)

There are three boxing cards on television today. They include:

(1) On NBC: Jermall Charlo vs. Wilky Campfort, for Charlo’s IBF junior middleweight title;

(2) On HBO: Wladimir Klitschko vs. Tyson Fury, for Klitchko’s heavyweight title; and

(3) On Showtime: James DeGale vs. Lucian Bute, for DeGale’s IBF super middleweight title.

The NBC card comes on at 3 pm/est; the HBO card is at 4:30; and the Showtime card begins on Showtime Extreme at 8, then goes to regular Showtime for the two featured bouts.

All of these look to be entertaining bouts.


“ Finally, it should be clear by now that a nation can be no stronger abroad than she is at home. Only an America which practices what it preaches about equal rights and social justice will be respected by those whose choice affects our future. Only an America which has fully educated its citizens is fully capable of tackling the complex problems and perceiving the hidden dangers of the world in which we live. And only an America which is growing and prospering economically can sustain the worldwide defenses of freedom, while demonstrating to all concerned the opportunities of our system and society.”

The above quote is from the speech that President John F. Kennedy planned to deliver in Dallas, on this day in 1963. The full speech is available by simply “googling: on the internet It is definitely worth reading.

In the decades since JFK’s death, there have been attempts to discredit him for a variety of reasons. By no coincidence whatsoever, the vast majority of these complaints sound indistinguishable from Richard Nixon’s petty resentments. Certainly, JFK was human, and was thus imperfect.

Others focus on his policies -- for example, relating to Vietnam -- and his administration’s legislative record. These are obviously important issues, and the source of meaningful study and discussion. Yet, it is important to do so in the context of a presidency that was unfinished, and within the social-political reality of the day. Again, the vast majority of his detractors sound rather republican -- especially when on the internet, they pretend to be otherwise.

These people lack the capacity to recognize those traits that real Democrats and members of the Democratic Left value …..including, of course, about JFK.

H2O Man

On Bush & Timber

“The thing that has been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun.” -- Ecclesiastes 1

Two days ago, short upon new reading material, I purchased a copy of Jon Meacham’s new book “The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush: Destiny and Power.” In part, I bought it because of the limited options when I got it; and in part because of some of the anti-Cheney & Rumsfeld information in the book’s reviews. More, in terms of my library, I have a good selection on modern presidents -- including the most toxic of republicans.

As a previous OP about the book on DU:GD accurately noted, the book is largely an exercise in cheerleading. Numerous important dynamics in Bush the Elder’s career are glossed over, at best, or completely ignored. Now, my opinion of this fellow is admittedly low …..but I can be objective enough to say this particular book is largely fluff. Perhaps its greatest value is found in tid-bits of gossip. It’s obvious weakness is it is shallow. Thus, one might question both the author’s intent, in putting this out at a time when Jeb is struggling in the republican primaries? And what impact, if any, it might have on voters? Can a hollow book be important?

The high point in gossip might be on page 291, when an enraged George W. Bush tells Garry Trudeau that he “really wanted to kick your ass” for the comic strip’s brutal humor. It’s good to know that the Bush family was offended by the truth in “Doonesbury.”

Perhaps the single best insight into the potential value of the book comes in a quote from Bush’s diary, durng the 1988 republican primary. It is best understood, I believe, in the fuller context of his loss to Reagan in the 1980 primaries. Bush had felt himself to be far more qualified for the office than Reagan. In fact, Bush holds Reagan in mild contempt: the crest of the newest wave of right-wing nuts, who’s appeal is entirely due to his use of the television.

For eight years of service as vice president, Bush plans his 1988 run. The book provides a thin history of the Iran-Contra scandal. It ignores that Bush’s role should have disqualified him from finishing the term as VP, much less ever serving for president. Yet, the ‘88 campaign was too important for the Bush family: he allowed others to twist in the wind for his actions.

In the 1988 republican primary, Bush found himself running against others, including Bob Dole, Jack Kemp, and Pat Robertson. The personal dislike between Dole and Bush is real -- in fact, Donald Rumsfeld campaigned for Dole. But Bush The Elder’s machine proves capable of defeating the opposition. Kemp attempts to strike a deal to get out of the race, in exchange for a promise of the vice presidency. But he was in no position to make such a request.

Bush realizes that the Dole supporters will fall in line -- for they are republicans. But other things strike him as different. He senses, when Donald Trump communicates that he would “be willing” to serve as VP, that the republican party was at risk of falling apart. What bothered him the most were the Pat Robertson supporters.

These people, he noted, were motivated by religious ideology, rather than political party. They were distinct from the followers of Barry Goldwater, or even Ronald Reagan (although they became a force during Reagan’s terms in office). They were mutants threatening mutiny, if they did not get their own way.

In Kingsport, Tennessee, candidate Bush encountered a Robertson disciple. “Look,” he told her, “this is a political campaign. We’ll be together when it’s over.” But the woman’s hostility towards him did not waver: she refused to shake his outstretched hand -- leaving Bush shaken. That night, he wrote in his diary:

“Still, this staring, glaring ugly -- there’s something terrible about those who carry it to extremes. They’re scary. They’re there for spooky, extraordinary right-wing reasons. They don’t care about Party. They don’t care about anything. They’re the excesses. They could be Nazis, they could be Communists, they could be whatever. In this case, they are religious fanatics, and they’re spooky. They will destroy this party if they’re permitted to take over. There is not enough of them, but this woman reminded me of my John Birch days in Houston. The lights go out and they pass out the ugly literature. Guilt by association. Nastiness. Ugliness. Believing the Trilateral Commission, the conspiracy theories. And I couldn’t tell -- it may not be fair to that one woman, but that’s the problem that Robertson brings to bear on the agenda.” (pages 325-6)

It is not difficult to apply this same thinking to Jeb Bush & Co. today. For the “smart son” is confronted not only by an up-dated version of a Reagan-like campaign -- by a fellow who offered to be his daddy’s VP -- and who is adapt at manipulating social media as the Gipper did TV -- but he also is confronted by the Ben Carson zealot-zombies. Registered republicans who are entrenched in the delusions of their religious belief systems, to the extent that they make a willful effort, each and every day, to deny reality. Indeed, to identify reality as “evil.”

Cotto vs Alvarez

November 21, 2015 (Las Vegas): Miguel Cotto vs. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez; world middleweight championship.

In one of 2015’s most anticipated fights, Miguel Cotto will defend his middleweight title against Canelo Alvarez. This is another chapter in one of boxing’s greatest rivalries -- Puerto Rico versus Mexico. More, it is for the actual middleweight championship ….the same title that some of the sport’s all-time greats have held. This is the title that Sugar Ray Robinson, Marvin Hagler, and Bernard Hopkins held, rather than one of the numerous “paper titles” that are too common today.

However, due to the utter stupidity of the WBC -- which means that money is at play here -- Cotto has been “stripped” of his title. The WBC says that Cotto refuses to follow their rules -- but fail to report his only “refusal” was to pay them $300,000 to sanction the fight. To make things sillier, If Canelo wins, the WBC will recognize him as champion, which is correct; if Cotto wins, their title remains vacant. For the boxing community, of course, the title is won and lost in the ring: if Cotto wins, he is by definition still the middleweight champion of the world.

This fight -- second only to the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao bout in terms of promotional value -- could easily become the “fight of the year.” It pits two of the sports’ finest boxer-punchers, at different stages of their careers. Both are coming off solid, three-fight win streaks. And a good case can be made for either man winning.

An interesting factor is that both warriors normally compete in the junior middleweight division. Thus, if the winner agrees to defend against Gennady Golovkin -- the power-punching sensation that many consider not only the best middleweight today, but possibly the “pound-for-pound” best, since Mayweather’s retirement -- it would probably be at a “catch weight.” Canelo’s team has already said they would demand a “catch weight,” and it is possible that Cotto would make a similar demand.

Indeed, this fight is at a catch-weight of 155 pounds. That is close to the weight in which Cotto has entered the ring in recent bouts. Canelo, however, uses the 36 hours between the weight-in and bout to re-hydrate, and is expected to enter at about 175 pounds (as he did versus Mayweather). While well-intentioned, the practice of early weigh-ins has not resulted in either fairer or safer bouts. Catch-weights have not proven beneficial, either.

Canelo, at 25, stands 5’ 9” tall, and has a 70” reach. His record is 45-1-1, since turning professional in 2005. Like many Mexicans who turn pro at such a young age, he fought relatively “safe” bouts, with none of his first twelve opponents having winning records. However, because of his obvious talent, he wasn’t competing in “soft” bouts, and within two years, he was beginning to make a real name for himself. He was beating soon defeating the best Mexican opposition around his size.

In 2010, he began fighting outside of Mexico more frequently, and competing against some third- and second-tier fighters. He devastated former champion Carlos Baldomir in six rounds, becoming the first to KO the former champion. Yet, in bouts against brothers of champions -- Jose Miguel Cotto and Matthew Hatton -- he struggled to win. Indeed, Cotto rocked Canelo during their fight, in what remains the most Canelo has been hurt to date.

Shortly after the Hatton bout, Alvarez would put together six impressive victories against former and current champions. Among his victims were Shane Mosley and Austin Trout. In doing so, he increased his fan-base far beyond Mexico and the south-western United States. He was good enough that many believed he posed the biggest risk to Floyd Mayweather’s undefeated record.

In September of 2013, Floyd put on one of his greatest displays of talent, and clearly out-boxed Alvarez. The question became, would Canelo come back stronger from a loss, as all-time great champions do, or would it mentally destroy him? In his three fights since, it appears that the young lion has improved his skill-set. He has won impressive knockouts over two of the division’s top sluggers, Alfredo Angulo and James Kirkland, and won a close decision over one of the best Cuban fighters of this era, Erislandy Lara.

Cotto, 35, stands 5’ 7” tall, with a 67” reach. He turned pro in 2001, after an impressive amateur career, and has a 40-4 record. While he has fewer pro fights than the decade younger Alvarez, he is the more experienced fighter. This includes Cotto‘s competing in far more top-level bouts against the very top fighters. If that is a bonus on Saturday remains to be seen.

Three of Cotto‘s loses were very different from Canelo‘s loss. He was brutally knocked out by Antonio Margarito in 11 rounds in 2008; (He would reverse this, in brutal fashion, in 2011, when Margarito did not have the advantage of “loaded“ gloves.) In 2009, Manny Pacquiao stopped him in 11 rounds; Cotto had agreed to a catch-weight, and it appeared to cost him in endurance. In both of these bouts, he absorbed significant punishment. His May 2012 decision loss to Floyd Mayweather was also a battle. His decision loss to Austin Trout later in 2012 was more of being out-boxed, rather than taking a lot of physical punishment.

Also important is the punishment that he has taken during some of his most outstanding victories. He is at his best as a boxer-puncher, and slowly but surely wears his opponents down, before possibly stopping them. But there have been times when he has been promoted as a relentless slugger, and although he has been capable of that, he has taken more punches. The skin around his eyes have paid the price for that. Under trainer Freddie Roach, Cotto has gone back to fighting his own fight in the ring.

How will the fight go? There are several ways that it could play out. If we remove potential “spoiler” factors -- an incompetent referee, a cut from a questionable foul, etc -- it is difficult to predict if Canelo’s size and youth will outweigh Cotto’s experience and higher skill-set. Cotto has to hit and move, always creating angles. He needs to make Alvarez miss, especially when the young lion begins to throw combinations. Cotto’s left hook to the body is a damaging punch; he needs to land it, without making a set pattern “Ring geography” is huge: Cotto needs to make use of the full ring; this includes not only making Canelo move more than he likes to, but if the fight goes into the second half, not allowing Canelo to catch his breath in lulls in the action.

Canelo needs to cut the ring off. Sounds obvious, right? Yet this is more than foot movement: to cut off the ring, a fighter must have a double-jab. More, against an opponent as capable as Miguel Cotto, that includes touching him with the first jab -- thus, throwing it towards his chest, to either make him off-balance or stationary. Everything else comes off that jab.

With the jab, Canelo can dictate the ring geography, and the pace of the fight. That jab disrupts Cotto’s ability to move closer at angles, and get his faster punches off. By frustrating Cotto’s rhythm, Alvarez is able to set traps: he needs Cotto to stand in front of him. That allows Canelo to throw his powerful combinations -- some going from body-to-head, others from head-to-body. Never setting a pattern. Not being concerned with Cotto’s ability to block shots early.

Just as Canelo has tired in later rounds in some bouts, so has Cotto. It always depends upon who is forced to fight outside of their comfort level. Nothing takes a fighter out of their comfort level -- both immediately, and long-term -- than absorbing body punches. The damage to one’s organs makes it almost impossible to maintain the level of consciousness that fighters must have -- popularly called a “zone” in other sports -- and begins to insert thoughts about “what round is this?”, and “how much energy do I have left?”

Who wins? I’ll be looking for who is able to establish their jab consistently over the first four rounds. But, even then, things can change as instantly as a single exchange between these two outstanding warriors. Enjoy this fight -- it may well be not only the best of 2015, but among the very best of this era.

Holly Holm KOs Ronda Rousey


Former female boxing champion Holly Holm put a brutal beating on Ronda Rousey, knocking her out in the second round of their fight. Rousey was hospitalized after the bout.

I'm strictly into boxing. However,last month The Ring magazine had put Rousey on its cover, with an article predicting that she would dominate women's boxing.

Democratic Primary Hopeful

“What you think, you become.”
-- Gandhi

It can be hard to watch television, sometimes. The terrible violence in Paris makes for painful TV. And I really do not think that I could have sat through a republican debate tonight. I don’t care to hear what any one of the republican candidates has to say right now. Nothing that they have to say does anything but promote more hatred, both inside this country and abroad.

I did just watch the democratic debate. I think that, to a large extent, we heard views that ranged from the belief that fine-tuning the system can be meaningful in some areas, to that a major revolution in values is important. Each of the three candidates had high-points in the debate, where they delivered solid, positive messages.

My goal in contributing to DU’s primary forum is not to endorse any one candidate. I understand and appreciate why good people back of of the three. And anyone who reads this forum knows exactly why “you” don’t like one or two of them. But let’s concentrate on the positive.

Is it possible -- or even likely -- that the Democratic Party will need the influence of each of the three, no matter who wins the primary in order to win? More, isn’t it possible that the United States, and indeed the world community, will require the combination of each person -- his or her insights, values, and beliefs -- to combine in order to begin to move on a new path?

I’m not talking about who would assume what top position. I’m talking about the best in each of them. And, of course, I’m speaking of each of their supporters. Wouldn’t it be great to reach the point where we all are working towards a common goal?

H2O Man

Primary Factors

“Even the president’s father had confided that he was unhappy with Rice. ‘Condi is a disappointment, isn’t she?’ the former president had offered, adding, ‘She’s not up to the job’.”
-- Bob Woodward; State of Denial; Simon & Schuster; 2006; page 420.

In the midst of the two major political parties’ presidential primaries, reports on a new biography of Bush the Elder should be of some interest. It isn’t the first time that the Elder has blamed others for the dismal failures of his son. More, the acrimonious relationship between the Elder and Donald Rumsfeld went back decades. What was “new” was the Company Man’s attack on the reputation of Dick Cheney.

This could easily be dismissed as a minor conflict between two old republicans. It might be viewed as some lingering tensions between the more corporate republican machine, and the Frankenstein monster of the neoconservative movement of the late 1990s to 2008. But it is actually more than that: it is the dried snakes skin, dropping off as an institution wrestles with the re-emerging neoconservative grasp for power within the republican party.

While on its surface, it lacks the entertainment value of The Donald Trump Show, or Dr. Ben Carson’s scientific melt-down when caught in a series of lies, it really has more important undertones. One must put it into a context that includes Cheney and Libby attacking two CIA employees -- Ambassador Joseph Wilson, and Valerie Plame -- one who had “official cover” with the State Department, and one who did not. And to fully appreciate that, one must know the full relationship between Bush the Elder and the CIA, which was not at all limited to his brief service as Director of the agency. (More, one should understand what “Arbusto Energy” really was, and the son’s failed attempt in the “energy”/intelligence field.)

It’s tempting to say that Dick Cheney is such a repulsive, evil human being, that we should simply ignore him. It is a disgrace that he wasn’t prosecuted for the many, many crimes that he committed as Vice President. If this was actually only about Cheney, it might be that simple.

But it’s not that simple. The fact that Cheney was “considering” the use of WMD in Iraq isn’t just a long-past episode of one deranged individual. No, it is about a sub-group found primarily within the republican party, that continues to pose a substantial threat to humanity. And some of these people are still found in and around Washington, DC, waiting to be re-cycled into government positions.

Indeed, well-informed people no doubt have noticed the manner in which Cheney’s “Dr. Strangelove” desires were presented in the classic two-step manner: first, the report that Bush the Elder vocalized criticism of VP Cheney; then, second, that Cheney had considered WMD for possible tactical use in the war. This is not the mere recollections of an aging politician, noting where there were minor policies differences being advocated in his son’s administration.

As strongly as people here on this forum feel about the two leading Democratic Party candidates -- and it is safe to say that both positive and negative passions are routinely expressed for and against Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders -- it is important to understand this, and its implications. One does not have to be either “pro-” or “anti-” Hillary Clinton to appreciate a number of factors. These go beyond what candidate that Joe Wilson and/or Valerie Plame currently support.

A person might think about some events connected to the Benghazi hearings, for example. I’m thinking about how a republican “leaked” that Ms. Clinton had released the identity of an important asset; the following day, a CIA official corrected the record, noting that this did not happen. More, I’m thinking of how republicans hint at, but never really pressed the issue, regarding the possible transfer of arms to non-“official” military combatants.

I have zero interest in suggesting that readers should vote for or against any individual in the Democratic primary season. But I cannot stress enough that we all look very closely at who among the republican candidates that the various factions in that party are pushing -- and, obviously, why.

Surely, some of the republican candidates are -- to use a term I learned years ago on this forum, and that I think captures their essence perfectly -- ass-clowns. Others are just downright terrible. But two of them are extremely dangerous. And I’m not saying we need to settle for the old “lesser of two evils.” Not even close. I am saying that we are at an extremely dangerous and volatile period in human history. Be aware, be awake.

H2O Man

(On Now) Free Speech TV

The Vince Bugliosi documentary, "The Prosecution of an American President" (2012) is on, from 8 to 9:45 pm/est) is on. It is a powerful argument for the criminal prosecution of President George W. Bush

It includes fascinating documentation of the difficulty Vince faced in getting his book published, etc.

Count Down

MSNBC’s “First in the South” interviews with the three democratic candidates for president was outstanding. Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton all provided the types of answers to Rachel Maddow’s questions that demonstrated they would be intellectually fit to serve as President of the United States. These three candidates have significant areas where they agree upon goals and values, although there are differences in how each believes that, as president, they might move towards achieving these goals.

There are, of course, also differences between the three. Each has had a unique life-experience, and that impacts their perception. This obviously involves the way they understand the wide range of problems confronting the US, both domestically and globally. Thus, each has a different belief in how to approach these problems. More, because each one is a human being, they have both strengths and weaknesses.

The contrast between the three democratic candidates and their republican counterparts is stark. While no matter who is elected next November, he or she will have some common features. Some of these include the self-evident: that person will reside in the White House, deal with a broken Congress (indeed, both the House and Senate are damaged institutions), and be confronted with an unstable global reality.

That person will be dealing with the synergy of inter-related problems that include the environment; an economy that exploit’s the poor, and threatens th middle class; and the Balkanization of ethnic and religious groups, both domestically and globally; In my opinion, the democratic candidates each have a far more rational and ethical approach to what their role as president would be, but also display a far superior of character -- including emotional stability.

When we look at that curious characteristic -- emotional stability -- the candidates from the two major political parties provide an intensely distinct choice. While the three democratic candidates attempt to engage the nation in an honest conversation rooted in logic and rational thought, the republican candidates display dishonesty in their appeal to negative emotions: anxiety, fear, prejudice, and hatred.

It should be crystal clear to thinking people that one path offers hope, and the other promises destruction. It should be obvious to all conscious people that the republican approach can only add new problems that add to the crisis that we are already deeply entrenched in. This is not a closely-held secret, nor is it a great mystery.

This makes the third presidential primary season that I’ve been participated in on DU. In the 2004 and 2008 primaries -- at least in my opinion -- there was a combination of insightful debate and destructive arguing on this forum. Indeed, I found the ‘08 season had a higher level of toxicity than the previous one, although there were enough meaningful discussions to make it worthwhile to participate.

This year, although I have read numerous OP/threads, I’ve generally avoided taking part in them. It’s not that I’m somehow less interested in the primaries, or think the current events are somehow less important. Quite the opposite: I believe that the 2016 elections -- presidential, congressional, and those at the state and local levels -- are as important as any in our nation’s history …..and far more important than the majority of those in the past.

More, because of Donald Trump’s ability to manipulate the manner in which the internet influences people’s perceptions, similar to Reagan’s ability to convince people that lies were truth, and truth lies, the negativity that saturates so many OP/threads on DU:GD Primaries is troubling. It is as if many people have willingly stepped into the stream of Trump consciousness, and are becoming carried away by its undercurrents. Insults are Trump’s tongue, and acrimony his language …..just as delusional thinking defines this fellow Ben Carson.

Each of our life experiences and current situations will result in our interpreting the democratic candidates differently. If we then take the stance that our opinion is right, and represents the entire truth, and is the only truth, it makes meaningful discussion impossible. It leads to OP/threads that, by no coincidence, mirror the televised republican debates, with cheap shots and insults.

I’m not foolish enough to think that one brief essay being posted by an old man from the margins of society will change the tone here. But each and every one of us can adjust the manner in which we take part in discussions and debates here.

I can dream, can’t I?

H2O Man
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