H2O Man's Journal
Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 08:49 PM
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“I set before you life and death, blessings and curses; therefore choose life, so that you and your children may live.”
-- Deuteronomy 30:19
There are a number of good OP/threads on DU:GDP regarding the bird that attended the Bernie Sanders’s campaign event. I would like to add something a little bit different, that I hope members of the Sanders revolution might enjoy. It’s kind of the flip side of the post I put up earlier today, “War Children.” In that essay, I addressed my concerns about a specific e-mail from one presidential contender that promotes death.
That bird was wonderful. And I don’t say that as a “New Age” person -- though I have high regard for those who are -- but rather, as an “Old Age” practitioner. The bird incident reminded me of a couple of Onondaga Nation’s Chief Paul Waterman’s answers to my questions in a couple of interviews.
This first one was from August 14, 2000. On that day, we had a ceremony near the jail in Jamesville, NY. Decades before, archaeologists had removed 122 human burials; Paul and I had recovered 77 of them for re-burial. Paul had opened the ceremony to the public -- a first in traditional society -- and hundreds of people attended.
I asked Paul if any of the archaeologists involved in removing the human remains were there for the re-burial? No, he answered: “It’s impossible for a person who still justifies digging graves to grasp the spiritual concepts here.”
I asked about those concepts. Paul said, “This morning, there was a lot of thunder and rain. Some people wanted to postpone the ceremony. But I said no, this is the Thunder People, carrying on their duties, to speak for the Creator.
“Then when I burned the tobacco during the reburial, three hawks appeared in the sky. A feather dropped from one, and landed near us. A lady watched it fall, and she gave it to me. All she could say was, ‘Wow!’ “
The second part is from my last interview with Paul to be published. It took place a short time after 9/11. In answer to a question, part of Paul’s response was, “What we sometimes miss is the song of the smallest bird. We do not listen closely enough. But that song of the smallest bird is the prettiest. It lifts the Creator’s spirit to hear her song. Now that is the ‘divine intervention’ that people overlook every day.”
That’s the type of message that people who are connected with the Natural World understand. Some of those who are disconnected will be convinced they understand; still others mock it, and falsely attribute it to magical thinking. That, of course, is the mentality of those who advocate for hydro-fracturing for gas, for temporary financial gain, while poisoning the water supply.
I hope that Sanders’s supporters enjoy Paul’s teachings.
Posted by H2O Man | Sat Mar 26, 2016, 04:58 PM (49 replies)
“The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.”
-- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
The above-quoted e-mail, advocating for the expansion of US military involvement in the Middle East, should be central to the decision that citizens make in selecting the candidate they support in the presidential primaries. For members of the Democratic Party, it brings into sharp focus the on-going debate between those who support Hillary Clinton’s “experience,” versus those who support Bernie Sanders’s “judgment.” And, without question, this includes highlighting each candidate’s vote to grant George W. Bush and Dick Cheney unlimited war powers.
A vote for Hillary is a vote for an aggressive “Project for the New American Century” foreign policy. PNAC, formed in the 1990s, was/is a neoconservative “think tank” that advocated for the US to “remake” the Middle East in a fashion that brought about the blooming successes the Bush/Cheney administration is famous for.
The e-mail puts to rest any claim that Clinton is not a “neoconservative.” The utter lack of understanding that has led some people to believe that neo-conservatism is a disease that afflicts only republicans has been exposed as nonsense -- for one of the two PNAC founders, Robert Kagan, served as one of SoS Clinton’s top advisers on Middle Eastern policy.
A vote for Bernie is a vote against neoconservative military aggression, and for an attempt to use military force as a last result. Those favoring Bernie recognize that judgment is equally important to experience. And it values human life.
I’m curious how my friends who are supporting Hillary process the information in that e-mail? I remember that they were opposed to the Bush-Cheney brand of necroconservatism. Yet, the Clinton neo-conservatism will result in human beings being just as dead. How do you justify the trade-off in values?
Posted by H2O Man | Sat Mar 26, 2016, 01:17 PM (79 replies)
“We have to learn that freedom imposes responsibilities.”
-- Michael Collins; A Path to Freedom
The Bernie Sanders campaign made significant progress this week. It is important to not overstate those gains -- for the Clinton campaign also made an advance. Yet, we should not understate the importance of this week’s results -- despite attempts by any form of opposition to convince us otherwise.
We are in strange times. Harsh times. Revolutionary times. But it is non-violent revolutionary times ……brought to us by a combination of good, dedicated people, and the amazing ability for people to communicate -- almost instantly -- with people all over. And, in my opinion, that definition of “good, dedicated people” isn’t limited to the supporters of any one candidate in the current Democratic primary contest. There are “good, dedicated people” all around.
I’ve always admired the description of humanity as a mountain. Dr. King understood this on a level unlike any American in our nation’s history. A person doesn’t have to be at any level, in one’s journey upon the paths of that Mountain, to be moved psychologically by King’s example, and his vision.
Everyone perceives the message of a social prophet like King in the exact level of their understanding. Thus, on Sunday, I’ll be thinking about those people who have the same blood flowing through their veins, a hundred years ago, who were participants in the Easter Rising in Ireland. And I always like to think about King and the prophet Jesus, and the many similarities among such human beings..
It’s always interesting, for me, to compare the central message of the enlightened ones, from diverse places around the globe, at different times in the Human Family’s history, have delivered. The biggest difference between these is the mode of communication. An active interest in sociology can help us appreciate that.
With the Bernie Sanders’s campaign, we are seeing “changes” that are not easily identified by the numerical official outcome of any primary. It rhymes -- without question -- with some of the dynamics of 1968. People of my generation know what I mean, even if inexactly, when I say that.
Let’s look at but one similarity, which will allow me, somewhere in the next few paragraphs, to get to the point. Back in 1968 -- much like today -- “college students” were not respected by the Democratic establishment. The political insurgency that resulted from this utter lack of respect -- and the establishment’s counter-insurgency program -- resulted in a fracturing of the party, and the election of Richard Nixon as President of the United States.
For many of us in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, there is a recognition that today, aws in ‘68, the establishment wing of our party suffered from what is known as “hubris” -- not into the context of the current definition, but rather, the original intent of the Greeks. Indeed, Prometheus had the most sincere of intentions: to improve the quality of life among humankind. It is followed by nemesis. -- a rather unappealing option.
The hilarious thing is that both Sanders’s and Clinton’s supporters, many point the finger at the other, and are fully convinced that the other camp is causing the increasing tensions between the two groups. And, interestingly, both sides recognize this internal party conflict could result in Donald Trump’s being elected president. While the world shutters.
The underside of Marin Luther King’s hope is anger and fear. Everyone understands that anger and fear are -- at very least -- the primary motivation factor’s in Trump’s standing within the republican party. There really isn’t any excuse for allowing anger and fear any room within the struggle for social justice. We see far too much of it, even here on this forum.
We have opportunities and options that were not available to people in the late 1960s. We can take this country to higher ground. Indeed, it is happening across the country now. And I attribute these changes -- these increased linkages -- to those people involved in the Sanders’s campaign. It is very encouraging.
Posted by H2O Man | Fri Mar 25, 2016, 07:30 PM (7 replies)
There appear to be two general schools of thought here, in regard to if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Party’s nominee for president in 2016. Let’s take a brief gander at each, and then consider a couple question!
The first holds that all registered Democrats should vote for each of our party’s candidates. This, they believe, is especially true in a presidential election.
The second one believes that each candidate for office is 100% responsible for earning virtually every vote. Thus, the candidate has to convince voters that he/she is the best option.
There are, of course, variations within all groups of people. While this includes both of the above, there is still a wide gap separating these two groups.
Now, for two simple questions. Which group tends to represent your thinking? And how does this impact the manner in which you view the current Democratic Party contest?
Thank you for your consideration.
Posted by H2O Man | Tue Mar 22, 2016, 05:44 PM (95 replies)
“Mr. Moderator, brother Lomax, brothers and sisters, friends and enemies: I just can’t believe everyone in here is a friend, and I don’t want to leave anyone out.”
-- Malcolm X; Cleveland, Ohio; April 3, 1964.
Good evening, DU Community:
I wasn’t surprised when, after a few OP/threads in the past few days where supporters of each candidate were engaging in civil, respectful discussions, that there appeared to be an increased hostility on DU:GDP today. That’s an expected and perhaps natural reaction. We do not need to let it become a problem, or cause to discontinue sincere efforts at dialogue.
While there is always the possibility of “trolls” etc attempting to disrupt meaningful discussions between Democrats, I don’t think that is a wide-spread problem here. Every so often, someone will discover a “liberal” posting on right-wing sites, mocking DU, but that is fine. As Minister Malcolm used to say, everyone -- good and bad -- is drawn to hearing the truth …..that’s why “spies” attended his speeches. But good people are rarely, if ever, even mildly interested in hearing purposeful lies.
In my opinion, the biggest distinction among the supporters of both campaigns can be summed-up in a single word: values. This explains why both sides can watch the same Democratic debate, and walk away with 100% different perceptions of what they just saw and heard. It is not that anyone -- either the supporters of Hillary or Bernie -- are lying. We just exist, and seek to exist, in very different worlds.
At this point, again in my humble opinion, the only real “common ground” that some of us share is our worst enemy -- the America that could result if Donald Trump or Ted Cruz is elected in November. There are times when a common enemy is enough to get most people to join together in common cause. There are other times in our history when differences in values prevented people with a common enemy from uniting: the example of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, in the early 1960s, comes to mind.
Obviously, I can only speak for myself, but some of the values that I associate with the Sanders revolution are found within quotes from Mahatma Gandhi. Thus, I’ll share a quote that I believe connects Bernie’s campaign with that of Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential run in 1968. Senator Kennedy had undergone a transformation after his brother’s assassination. A central feature in this was RFK’s ability to recognize the value of the poor and marginalized citizens.
“To see the universal and all-pervading Spirit of Truth face to face, one must be able to love the meanest of creation as oneself. A person who aspires after that cannot afford to keep out of any field of life. That is why my devotion to Truth has drawn me into the field of politics.”
Posted by H2O Man | Mon Mar 21, 2016, 09:17 PM (32 replies)
Good morning, DU Community!
One of the more interesting distinctions that I notice on DU:GDP is the manner in which the supporters of each of our two Democratic candidates perceive issues involving “class warfare” as influencing their choices. Now, let’s identify a working definition of “class warfare,” before we continue this discussion, okay?
We’ll go with the old Sociology 101 definition: “class warfare” can be understood as the tensions that exist in a society, between competing groups with different socioeconomic interests. A few years ago,, for example, there was the Occupy Movement, which focused on the very real differences between two groups -- the 99% and the 1%. The Occupy Movement was intent upon informing Americans of a reality that few elected representatives in Washington, DC, openly addressed: that the 1% had been engaging in class warfare against the 99% for decades.
The Occupy Movement was similar in spirit to what Martin Luther King, Jr., was planning in late 1967 - 68: a “Poor People’s Campaign,” in Washington, DC. More, King’s planned campaign was similar to the movement from the 1890s, known as “Coxey’s Army,” which attempted to highlight the elite’s class warfare against the majority of citizens of this country. And, of course, there was the labor movement’s struggle to form unions, to protect the working class from the cruelties of the 1%.
In the context of the 2016 Democratic primary, it is accurate to say that the central focus of the Sanders campaign is to defend the 99% from the attacks of the 1%. This obviously requires an awareness of the class warfare that is damaging the quality of life in America for the vast majority of people -- and hence, confronting the extreme corruption of our political process, where Wall Street controls most elected officials from both the Democratic and republican parties. Hence, Bernie’s campaign is funded exclusively by citizens’ contributions.
The Clinton campaign also has raised a significant amount of money from “average” American’s contributions. However, unlike Bernie’s campaign, Hillary’s has accepted millions from the Wall Street elites, who happen to be engaged in the class warfare against the majority of the nation’s population.
From the Sanders campaign’s viewpoint, those Wall Street contributions to the Clinton campaign are significant. More, Hillary herself has taken extremely large “speaking fees” for her meetings with Wall Street., and the Clinton Foundation likewise is funded by the elite in this country, and some rather unattractive foreign interests.
What’s not clear is what positions that Hillary, her top campaign people, and her grass roots supporters take on class warfare. Obviously, those currently making a good income are comfortable with the current economic realities. They are not working two part-time jobs for low wages. But certainly, a significant portion of her supporters are dealing with many of the same financial pressures as the rest of us.
The Sanders campaign isn’t advocating taking revenge against all wealthy people. Rather, we are demanding an equal playing field. To establish a level playing field, we will eventually need to work in unity with people from every socioeconomic class in the country. But before we can do that, we need to increase the unity among the targets of the 1%’s class warfare. I think it is fair to say that this is among the reasons why many progressives find the thought of voting for Hillary distasteful, although perhaps necessary, if she is our party’s nominee.
I will not pretend to know what is the thinking of those targets of the elite’s class warfare, who are supporting Clinton at this time. I’d be curious to learn.
Posted by H2O Man | Mon Mar 21, 2016, 10:32 AM (82 replies)
One of the more interesting dynamics on DU:GDP is found in the discussions of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “server” and e-mails. To the left are found many who believe that Hillary is very likely to be indicted; to the right are found those who insist the FBI’s investigation is yet another 1990’s republican attack on all things Clinton. I suspect that the truth lies somewhere else, and not necessarily “in the middle” of those polar viewpoints.
No thinking person can deny that there were “mistakes” made, including dealing with information that was of the nature known as “classified.” Likewise, only the brain-dead would deny that the rabid republican right engaged in a hostile program to smear both Bill and Hillary Clinton throughout President Clinton’s years in office.
Like everyone else here, I can only speculate on what the outcome of the FBI’s investigation may be. I suspect it will not be either Hillary being led away in handcuffs, or the FBI concluding the entire controversy was a 1990’s master-plan by republicans in the House of Mis-representatives. Of course, I could be 100% wrong, and both results could occur simultaneously.
I suspect the most likely outcome will be that the investigation will conclude there was some wrong-doing, and some people -- other than Hillary -- will be identified as being responsible. It may be that one or more will be charged. Or that no one will face any criminal charges.
Thus, I would think that a more relevant conversation for our consideration would be what the impact of this scenario would be, should Hillary be our party’s nominee.
Posted by H2O Man | Sun Mar 20, 2016, 11:59 AM (222 replies)
“Old man, look at my life
I’m a lot like you were.”
-- Neil Young
I attempt -- at least once a day -- to look objectively at the Democratic primary process, and evaluate how it will impact the Democratic National Convention …..which will then impact the presidential election in November. This morning, on Face Book, I saw a picture from the 1968 DNC in Chicago, with the saying: “This is what happens when you refuse to listen to the People.” Moments later, I started reading DU:GDP. Yikes!
It’s often said that DU does not represent the Democratic Party. That’s not entirely true. Certainly, it does not represent the sum-total of our party. Nor is it the only thing that represents it. But it does represent a couple significant groups within the larger party. For example, the forum DU:GDP represents the thinking and values of both Bernie and Hillary supporters.
Last night, I was able to listen to an interesting conversation while driving home after picking up my older daughter from her school. Her high grades, along with my financial status, allow her to attend a private university for a fraction of what she’d be charged by the state university system. Also in the vehicle was my oldest son, a graduate from the state university system, who is under-employed in a local factory; he owes a lot on his college loans.
All four of my children support Bernie Sanders. (Three are currently in college full-time; two of these work part-time, to get by.) Both daughters are truly afraid that Donald Trump might be elected president. Of the “Sanders for President” club at the younger one’s school, she estimates that over 50% will vote in the general election, even if Hillary is the nominee.
At the older sister’s school, she said very few of the Bernie-supporting students will vote if Hillary is the party’s nominee. She finds this frustrating, and unacceptable. In part, she believes this is because some of the students are mere fad-participants; while others simply believe Hillary Clinton to be part of the corrupt system they reject. My daughter believes that a Trump presidency poses so many dangers, that it has to be prevented, even if it involves voting for the lesser of two evils.
Her brother pointed out that the biggest stumbling block that will prevent everyone joining in a “big tent” effort to stop Trump would be Hillary, if she were to win the nomination. I said that there were potential difficulties with Bernie as candidate, too -- the truth is that most of the establishment will oppose his being elected. For, regardless of if they are socially-liberal Democrats, or conservative republicans, the establishment allows places money as their number one voting priority.
The two of them discussed the strengths and weaknesses of Bernie and Hillary, without a single insult or attack upon either candidate, or each other. Neither attempted to score cheap debaters’ points. They stuck to facts, opinions, and values. It can be done!
But it doesn’t seem to be a common feature on DU:GDP. Rather, this forum is a microcosm of the larger society’s divisions, which are rapidly becoming more entrenched. Our “differences” with each other are surely at least as important a factor in discussions here, as our beliefs about each candidate. More, neither Bernie nor Hillary can fully repair the damage being done today. Every politician would like to be a popular, unifying figure, of course. But it is evident that there are many here who will not support the nominee, if it isn’t the candidate they currently support. That holds equally true on both sides.
Just as DU:GDP is representative of parts of the Democratic Party, the three people in my vehicle last night are, too. It does not appear that DU:GDP can serve as a vehicle for uniting people behind a common goal -- or set of goals -- at this time. But maybe both sides could reduce the tensions, by at least acknowledging the strengths and weaknesses of both of the candidates.
Posted by H2O Man | Sat Mar 19, 2016, 01:22 PM (47 replies)
“Expert, texperts choking smokers
Don’t you think the joker laughs at you?”
-- John Ono Lennon; I am the Walrus.
I have a simple, two-part question for all DU:GDP enthusiasts who would be willing to take a minute to respond. I ask this in a sincere manner, and I am convinced that if community members give an honest answer, it will provide a picture of how very differently we view “politics.”
The two-part question is based on the possibility that the November election will pit Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton against republican candidate Donald Trump. It is not to determine who you would vote for, or who you believe would win. There are more than enough OP/threads dealing with those topics already.
If the contest is between Clinton and Trump, who do you believe the Bush family will be supporting? Why?
I ask these two simple questions, not to focus on the general election. Rather, I am curious about people’s level of understanding of what factors come into play in the two party’s primary contests.
Thank you for your consideration.
Posted by H2O Man | Fri Mar 18, 2016, 01:10 PM (156 replies)
One of the most important issues to consider in a national election is “international affairs.” Much like “domestic affairs” -- with which there is significant overlap -- the manner in which a US President, and his/her team, approaches the rest of the world influences the quality of life in America. However, it influences different groups of US citizens in very different ways. Too often, in my humble opinion, we are provided -- by the candidates, their campaigns, their opponents, and the media -- to a highly inaccurate picture of the impact of foreign affairs.
Perhaps the single best resource for illustrating the different impact that foreign affairs has on various people in the US is found in Vincent Bugliosi’s 2008 classic, “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder.” He contrasts the pain and suffering of thousands of American families -- as well as Iraqi families -- with the obscene, glib behavior of a president who enjoyed watching violence from afar.
Clearly, the manners in which Americans experienced the war in Iraq is distinct. In the layers between those dealing with the tragic, and a president who was clearly sexually aroused by gore and bloodshed, there were many raking in millions of dollars -- even billions -- from this unprovoked invasion of a weak foreign nation.
One of the things that both Barack Obama, in 2008, and Bernie Sanders, in 2016, have spoke of in their campaigns is that then-Senator Hillary Clinton voted to give George W. Bush and Dick Cheney the power to invade Iraq militarily, in a vote that ended any chance that the UN Inspectors could have completed their study, and documented that there were no WMDs in Iraq. Both point out that it’s essentially an issue of “judgment.”
That is true. However, to be fair, despite knowing better, a heck of a lot of other Democrats in Washington, DC -- in theory there to represent you and I -- cast the exact same vote. Again, to be fair: most of those Democrats were simply spineless cowards, concerned only with maintaining the comfort of their elected office. And, they refused to step up and oppose the President …..and those interests that were intent upon exploiting the war for massive financial gain.
I believe that in other elected Democrat’s defense, it could be accurately attributed to “political ideology” -- as much as to “judgment,” and more so than cowardice. And that brings us to a split among Democrats, that began in 1967, and has continued until this day. We rarely talk about it here on DU:GDP, and the few times it has been, the discussion soon degenerates into name-calling.
Even in discussing it here, in as factual a manner as I can, it is possible some people will react with an emotional post. I think passion about politics is great, so long as it doesn’t involve insults and name-calling. For, as the great Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan -- a gentleman who celebrated St. Patrick’s Day -- is often quoted: “You have the right to your own opinion, but not your own facts.”
I have mixed feelings about Senator Moynihan. Actually, much like Ted Kennedy, I think he was a good fit in the US Senate, but I’m glad he never became president. I say that as a life-long Kennedy Democrat. I think it’s fair to believe that even within our party, there are not only people with different talents, but times that call for specific candidates. No one should be called a “disloyal” party member for thinking in this manner. No one.
Speaking of Senator Moynihan, he was a neoconservative. This allowed him to function in both Democratic and republican presidential administrations equally well. Now, my accurately referring to old Daniel Patrick as a neoconservative might cause an emotional response in some here. This is largely due to a specific, republican cluster of neoconservatives that served under several recent republican presidents. And those fellows -- for example, Dick Cheney -- had the same neoconservative ideology, but were obviously far more aggressive about threatening to, and using, the military.
To understand the beginning of neo-conservatism, one needs to learn about two events that ignited it within the Democratic Party in 1967. The first was Dr. Martin Luther King’s combining of the civil rights and anti-war movements, in his April 4 speech at the Riverside Church. That’s the primary domestic issue. The international event was the Six Day War in the Middle East. Again, Dr. King spoke of the conflict between advocating a non-violent approach to dispute resolution domestically, while advocating massive military strikes and interventions to resolve conflicts abroad.
That was among several major divisions within the Democratic Party. It wasn’t the only one, of course. But it is one that is still present today, and is creating a serious divide within our party in the form of the primary contest. The simple truth is that, under the umbrella of the Democratic Party, there are different ideologies, and very different value systems. And it includes very different understandings of the many connections between US foreign and domestic policy. These include everything from domestic unemployment and international trade policies, to trying to reduce gun violence in the US, while selling weapons, directly or indirectly, to nations and other groups. It includes renewable energy and foreign wars that never end.
Neoconservatism simply means a liberal domestic policy, with a strong military “defense” around the globe, with a special relationship to one nation in the Middle East. And it has included an on-going focus on Central America since 1981.
The Bernie Sanders campaign advocates a combination of a strong national defense -- it is really foolish to argue that any candidate doesn’t -- but with more emphasis on non-violent dispute resolution. Simply put, warfare should be the last option.
For many good, intelligent Democrats, Bernie Sanders has not adequately addressed some foreign policy issues. This is a valid concern, and one we should be able to discuss like rational human beings.
For many good, intelligent Democrats, Hillary’s past actions, and current positions, have convinced them that as president, she would continue the machine’s aggressive military policies. This is a valid concern, and one that we should be able to discuss like rational human beings.
Thanks for reading an old man’s ramblings. I hope that people will consider this worthy of a serious discussion.
Posted by H2O Man | Thu Mar 17, 2016, 06:59 PM (24 replies)