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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 07:49 PM
Number of posts: 52,601

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Message to the Left-Wing

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to who prepares for it today.”
-- Malcolm X

The current tension on DU:GD, between the pro-Hillary Clinton and the anti-Clinton groups, can actually be superimposed over other longer-term tensions within the Democratic Party. That, of course, comes as little or no surprise to most people in this internet community. What has changed, I believe, is that a growing number of people on the left are becoming convinced that -- due to the undemocratic effect that “big money has upon elections -- that the Democratic Party is becoming too much like the republican party, and that they are powerless to change it.

We can trace the negative influence that “big money” has back to Richard Nixon. In both 1968 and ‘72, the combination of legal and illegal contributions to the Nixon cause allowed him to be elected twice to the highest office in the land. The simple fact that money could so influence elections -- to the point that as repulsive a human being as Nixon could be elected -- demonstrates its unhealthy influence on democracy.

Perhaps the biggest change since then is that the US Supreme Court has ruled that money is speech, and has simply made what previously was illegal attempts to buy elected office legal. That this was a partisan decision is beyond question; indeed, it is as part as the Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v Gore.

This comes as no surprise to those who are familiar with, for example, Injustice Antonin Scalia’s interpretation of the Constitution. Speaking at a 2002 Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Scalia said that the 1787 version of the Constitution was inspired, divine law. “That consensus has been upset by the emergence of democracy,” he told the crowd. He added that “the reactions of people of faith to this tendency of democracy to obscure the divine authority behind government should not be resignation to it, but resolution to combat it as effectively as possible.”

There you go: God wanted George W. Bush to be President, but was unable to influence the final outcome, because of democracy. Thus, Scalia & Company had to do for God what he couldn’t do for Himself. Big money in politics? Again, God’s will to promote the divine authority of the dollar.

For a variety of reasons, the tensions that we see here are being played out in direct association to Ms. Clinton’s campaign. For many here (and nationally), Ms. Clinton is an outstanding candidate. Not “perfect,” as no one is; but exactly who is needed at this time. They are confident that she will win. And that’s not only okay -- it’s a good thing.

For many others, she is representative of too many of the problems with politicians in general, if not the very personification of very specific political vice. They view her as working for the same corporate interests as the republicans, rather than the common people. They resent that they may not have a serious alternative choice in the primaries. And they believe that even if she wins the White House, it will not translate into positive gains in their daily lives.

How well do these two groups get along? Well, if we look at DU:GD -- which has been a rather tough neighborhood in past primary seasons -- the name-calling and other insults would suggest “not to well.” That’s not to say that there are not plenty of good contributions from both pro- and anti-Clinton people here. There are. And some people -- again, from both sides -- also raise some interesting questions for those on the opposing side to consider. Now, that’s the way it should be.

However, there is also a semi-organized “neighborhood watch group,” that coordinates attacks on many of the anti-Clinton Ops. I’m sure they believe the opposite is true, too; I haven’t seen evidence of it at anywhere near the same level, though. By no coincidence, this cluster identifies itself as The Democratic Party -- not part of it, but the established party itself. Likewise, they frequently point out the word “democratic” in the Democratic Underground, and express a belief that it indicates support of the party as they define it.

Again: this is a description of some, but definitely not all, of Clinton supporters. By no coincidence, if you are active in your local and regional Democratic Party committees, you will encounter similar atmospheres. There are a lot of good people who fully support Ms. Clinton; not as a “perfect” candidate, but as one capable of winning the election, and dealing with the reality of the dysfunction and corrupt reality that is our federal government. (There are others who are undecided, or who do not feel comfortable supporting Hillary Clinton.) And, among the Clinton supporters, there are always some who are bitter, or histrionic, or closed-minded, who project their personality traits upon the candidate.

In the end, politics is always about power. Those running national campaigns look to harvest two things from the public: financial contributions and votes. They are not primarily concerned with your thoughts or problems; rather, they seek to frame issues in a way where the largest number of voters will identify their thoughts and problems as being addressed by the campaign.

If you want your thoughts and concerns to be recognized, you need to start at the local level. To really have them taken seriously, you have to demonstrate that you can harness local power -- that means expanding your base of support within the community and surrounding area. To be successful, you need like-minded people, ready and able to invest in the effort to spread your position in the next town, city, and county. When you are able to do that, then those at the state level begin to pay attention to you.

Since human beings tend to be human beings, if you are able to do this, you will find the already established folks will take one of three positions: they will want to join with you; they will want to access your votes, money, etc, for their agenda; or they will view you as their competition, and oppose you.

I agree with establishment Democrats who note that there are important differences between the two parties. I also agree with those who note that -- especially at the top -- the two parties have way too much in common. And I fully appreciate the beliefs of those who feel that we need a third party. What I do not believe is that, with a major investment of effort from the grass roots -- and I do not mean in one election cycle -- the Democratic Party can be made to accommodate almost everyone ….excepting only, perhaps, those Democrats who are most like their republican counterparts.

In my opinion, based upon decades of experience, that requires the left-wing of the party to engage in an organized outreach to the Democratic Left; identify as much common ground as possible; and, when possible, work as a coalition. Obviously, that does not mean that you’ll all vote exactly the same, all of the time. But it does mean that when there are good progressive-liberal Democratic Party candidates, that you will increase their chances of victory. That’s power.

When you start doing that, those at the next level up begin to take notice. They will notice a pattern emerging. And even those moderate-to-conservative Democrats who really don’t have that much in common with you, will come to understand that they can no longer take you and your vote for granted. They’ll stop thinking that you have “no where else to go,” because you’ll be making a stronger left-wing of the party your political residence. They won’t be able to treat you like they are your landlord in the Democratic Party any more. In fact, they’ll have to take a whole different approach, when they come knocking on your door, asking you to help them.

I’m not suggesting that this is the “only” way, but rather, just one possibility.

H2O Man

Boxing: April 18

April 18, at Verona, NY:
Ruslan Provodonikov vs. Lucas Matthyssa, 12 rounds, junior welterweights.

This is a good weekend for the boxing community. Tonight, there is a good card on ESPN. Tomorrow night, HBO features a double-header, and Showtime has an interesting light heavyweight bout. However, if you are able to watch any one fight, make it the Matthyssa vs. Provodonikov bout on HBO.

Matthyssa is 36-3, with 34 knockout wins. Provodonikov is 24-3, with 17 knockouts. Both have held titles.

Both fighters’ loses have come by decisions, when they were out-boxed by talented fighters, with the exception of Ruslan’s March, 2013 toe-to-toe war with Timothy Bradley. That was the “Fight of the Year” for the boxing writer’s association and fans.

Both are considered as among the hardest-punching, most exciting fighters today. They each have the power needed to end a fight with one punch.

On paper, it is certainly a candidate for one of the best fights of the year. Enjoy watching it!

Evolution, Growth, & a Question

“A person’s consciousness cannot evolve unconsciously.”
-- Rubin “Hurricane” Carter

As the 2016 season approaches, one of the things that I will be on the look out for is politicians who say that their position on one thing or another has “evolved.” I recognize that many of the things that I spend hours thinking about are likely of no significance to others. Indeed, this may be one of them. However, the above quote -- from one of the letters Rubin wrote me from solitary confinement in 1979 -- is evidence that the evolution of human consciousness is something that I’ve found fascinating for many years.

Quite often, in the realm of politics, we hear a candidate explain a recent change in their position on an issue is the result of their evolving opinion. As a general rule, this is a purposeful lie. Most often, that change in position is nothing more or less than opportunism. The candidate has become convinced that: they risk losing support if they continue to advocate for their original position; and they may capitalize on taking a different position. It has nothing to do with actual values.

Let’s consider a crude historic example, shall we? George Wallace is frequently remembered as a racist southern governor, who -- after being seriously injured in an assassination attempt -- evolved in his thinking, and came to like black people. The truth is a little more complicated, and far less attractive. An examination of Wallace’s early life shows that “race” wasn’t an important issue to him. Power was. So, while young George was attempting to harness political power, he really didn’t associate black people as playing any role.

With the Civil Rights movement, Wallace saw an opportunity to gain power by increasing the level of hatred in his state. He knew what every tyrant understands: that if you can get a group to hate a common foe, they will forget their own low level of being, and happily follow the leader. Wallace exploited that hatred for purely personal power. He even sought to become president, or to have great influence over a president (Nixon), by way of hate.

Once that bullet ended his chances of advancing in power, he had no use for racial hatred. This is distinct from evolving. No, old George Wallace was still the same grumpy snapping turtle of a man as he had been before.

Yet people do evolve, and it is something that even politicians can -- rarely -- do. But it is not the result of merely learning more, or adopting to changing circumstances. Those who originally supported George W. Bush’s rush to war in Iraq probably changed their opinions on that, as the events spun out of control. They may have made 100% sincere attempts to find avenues to resolve the horrible problems that Bush-Cheney created. But that’s not evolving. And while it is better than, say, the republicans who insist that “the world is better without Saddam,” it still raises questions about their judgment.

When President Obama came out in favor of marriage equality, he attributed it to an evolution in his thinking. While I think President Obama is much, much more honest than most politicians -- which really ain’t saying much -- I do not believe that one. I think that he felt that, as a candidate in 2008, it could have cost him the election, had he been honest with the public. Yet that brings us to an important point: the public’s opinion on marriage equality has evolved. And that’s a good thing.

It’s important, though, that we recognize that everyone should have been recognized as having equal rights to marry, all along. It’s great that we have, as a society, evolved; yet we should never lose sight of the fact that our society has denied people their basic human rights for far too long. The same holds true for the Civil Rights movement. And women’s lib. More, none of them have been solved -- they continue to be problems.

When groups of people, formerly denied basic rights, have them recognized, it transforms society. It brings the entire society to higher ground -- even though some people will complain. Those who now can exercise their rights continue to be the same good people that they were before. The actual transformation is found in the once hateful slugs who sought to deny others their rights.

Indeed, an actual evolution in consciousness transforms the individual. It isn’t mere learning some new facts. It’s not simply found in a willingness to try a new tactic to win an old fight. No, it requires a shedding of the qualities of the old self, and becoming new. Not like Richard Nixon kept trying to “re-invent” himself, and pretend to be “the New Richard Nixon.”

The last President to evolve in office was John Kennedy; this was largely as a result of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The last serious candidate for president, who entered the race as a result of his evolution, was President Kennedy’s brother, Robert; his evolution was largely the result of JFK’s assassination.

The majority of politicians never evolve. It may be unfair to expect them to. It is definitely unrealistic.

It is hopeful that politicians will grow over heir career, however. That’s one of the things that I look for in candidates, be they running for local, state, or national office. Thus, my question: Can you give an example -- historical or current -- of a politician that you admire, who has displayed personal growth during their career?

Thank you,
H2O Man


“Every generation doubtless feels called upon to reform the world. Mine knows that it will not reform it, but its task is perhaps even greater. It consists of preventing the world from destroying itself.”
-- Albert Camus

My youngest daughter’s friend e-mailed me a photograph of her meeting Hillary Clinton. Although the picture is a few weeks old, I really enjoyed seeing it today. This young lady -- a senior in high school -- is the type of person that gives me real hope for the future.

A few hours after getting that picture, by way of the internet, I had a meeting with a gentleman who is running for a local position, in an election later this year. Like a number of prospective politicians in our region, he wants my assistance in planning his campaign strategy. As he is a registered Democrat, and strikes me as a decent fellow, I’m happy to be of assistance.

As we went for a walk, I encouraged him to talk about why he is running for office, and what his goals will be if he is elected. From listening to a person talk, I’m able to write up press releases, letters-to-editors, and speeches, that sound as if he wrote them himself. Over the decades, I’ve been pretty successful in doing that.

Since he is one of the very few human beings on earth who is actually older than me, I was interested in hearing his opinion on current events. That included local, state, and national issues, as well as his view of the quality of the current crop of leaders from the Democratic Party. It would be both fair and accurate to say that he has a decidedly low opinion of the majority of our elected representatives on the state and national level.

The only President of recent years that he thought highly of was Bill Clinton. I asked him if he supported Hillary Clinton for 2016? He said that, while she’s probably the best choice we’ll have, he views her more as the “least worse” of potential presidential candidates. He said that he thinks she will slow the pace that our country self-destructs, but not change the general direction we are going in.

I’m aware that he has a daughter and a son. So I asked him if he thought Ms. Clinton getting elected would represent a move towards equality between the sexes? His answer included both “yes” and “no.” He believes that every child in America should grow up believing that they could actually become elected President, in that half the population shouldn’t feel that there are doors closed to them, simply because they are female. On the other hand, he said, issues of social class are more likely to prevent his daughter from accessing all the doors that should be open to her, rather than simply her being female. He said that he believes that Hillary Clinton’s social status has more influence on her actions in government, than her being female does.

I have voted in every election since I was first able to. And not just presidential elections, though I haven’t missed one of them. But “off year” congressional elections, plus state, county, and community elections. Included in this is having voted for the Democrat in virtually every presidential election. In my local area, there isn’t always a democratic candidate; there are times it’s been a third party, or the less bad of two republicans. But I always vote. I view it not simply as a right, but a responsibility to be taken very seriously.

As we begin this election cycle, I appreciate why some people are very excited about the prospects of electing Hillary Clinton as President. I also understand why others feel like it is most likely to be the old “lesser of two evils” deal, which hardly inspires. (Personally, I am not aware of any candidate -- including those that some folks dream of drafting for the job -- who I think has the potential to institute real change. I’m not convinced that the Oval Office actually offers that ability any more.)

In this context, the question will be: Can Hillary Clinton win in November of 2016? Those who believe that she’s sure to win, like those who believe that she’s sure to lose, are unrealistic. Certainly, either one of those outcomes will be possible. The last four elections have indicated that presidential elections are more likely to be close, than not. In fact, this one will come down to one person -- Hillary Clinton, the candidate. In the final analysis, the outcome will be determined by if she can convince enough people to vote for her. It really is that simple.

Mayweather vs Pacquiao

“I’m a boxer who believes that the object of the sport is to hit and not get hit.”
-- Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

On May 2nd, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., and Manny Pacquiao will meet in a scheduled 12-round bout at the MGM Grand, in Las Vegas, Nevada. We are currently 17 days away from the biggest money-making event in sports. It is a title unification bout, with the Champion Mayweather putting his WBC welterweight and WBA junior middleweight titles on the line, and Paquiao bringing his WBO welterweight title to the table.

Floyd’s record is a perfect 47 - 0, with 26 coming by knockout. Pacquiao is 57 - 5 - 2, with 38 knockout victories, and 3 defeats by KO. At 5’ 8”, with a 72-inch reach, Floyd is taller by 1.5 inches, and has a 5-inch reach advantage. Floyd fights orthodox, or right-handed, while Manny is southpaw, or left-handed. Also, at 38, Floyd is two years older than Pac Man.

Manny turned pro in 1995; Floyd did so in 1996. Floyd has fought 363 rounds as a pro; while Manny has fought 407 rounds. One of the more significant differences is that Mayweather has taken relatively few punches in his career, and has rarely been “stung,” much less hurt; while Manny has had a tougher career, and has taken lots of punishment, including his devastating knockout lose to Juan Manuel Marquez in late 2012. While his other knockout loses came by way of body punches, he was knocked unconscious for an extended period just four fights ago.

Although the bout is being promoter -- correctly -- as a “super fight,” the majority of the boxing community’s experts are predicting that Floyd will most likely win a one-sided decision. If they are correct, it should take Floyd about three rounds to figure Pacquiao out, and then dominate him.

Many of Floyd’s opponents have, despite their pre-fight predictions and promises, found it very hard to compete with Mayweather in the ring. Tough guys such as Canelo Alvarez have actually been intimidated, to the point where he stopped trying to win, and was instead satisfied to go the distance. This is because Floyd is very difficult to hit, plus his speed and strength combine to make his counter-punches far harder than opponents’ have assumed they would be. Indeed, in boxing, speed is power.

Another school of thought is that not only is Pacquiao often reckless in the ring -- and I promise that you will hear the word “reckless” coming from the Mayweather camp as the fight gets closer -- but he isn’t cut out to be satisfied with a “safe” decision loss. First, of course, it is important to remember that this is Manny Pacquiao, an all-time great champion. So, not only will he roll the dice, but he will be extremely dangerous when he does so.

More than anyone that Mayweather has ever met before, Pacquiao likes to land the last punch in every exchange. And, with his extraordinary footwork, sliding from side-to-side, to create new openings, Pac Man delivers powerful punches.

I’ll likely change my mind again, at least once per day, but at this point, I’m thinking that Floyd will stop Manny in between nine and ten rounds. I think that after four rounds, Floyd will bloody Pacquiao up, and beat him up. I think trainer Freddie Roach will throw in the towel, to protect Manny from himself.

What is your prediction?

Awake: Tours & Doors

Shake dreams from your hair
My pretty child, my sweet one
Choose the day and the sign of your day
The day’s divinity
First thing you see.”
-- Jim Morrison; Awake

Not surprisingly, people are projecting their own being, when talking about Hillary Clinton’s current “listening tour.” Those who support her, see the tour as positive; those who oppose her, view it negatively. And, of course, the undecided aren’t saying a lot; they are just taking it all in.

I’m not particularly familiar with the details of the tour, and so anything that I might say isn’t factual. Nor is it speculation. That combination tends to narrow down the options for discussing the tour, doesn’t it? But I still have something that I want to say.

No one doubts that Ms. Clinton is highly intelligent, and has an organized mind. Or that she recently became a grandmother. Or that she really wants to become the President of the United States.

I will speculate that the planning of this tour involved input from both her campaign staff, and Hillary Clinton herself. I think that I’m on safe ground, so far, and that no one of consequence would dispute what I’ve said thus far. So, what the heck: I might as well give my opinion now!

In my opinion, the content of the tour, and what Ms. Clinton has identified as her goal, is very different that what he staff has in mind. At least for the goals. I do not think Ms. Clinton is doing this, simply to be able to roll out some new ideas, and saying she got them from this tour. On the other hand, I don’t think it has the wild populist energy that Senator Robert Kennedy had in his all-too-brief 82-day campaign in 1968. It’s not that bad, nor is it that good.

However, I think it has a very real potential, one that I absolutely hope for. I’ll start by saying that much of the negative that I associate with the Clinton campaign isn’t the candidate, but rather, some of those around her. I felt that way in 2008. I don’t believe that her campaign was run well. That she came so close was in spite of, instead of because of, her campaign.

Even here on DU, an internet sight for political discussions, that was originally intended to appeal to progressive-liberal Democrats, I find that. Maybe somewhere around a quarter of the pro-Hillary folks here include quite a few of the people that I don’t talk to, and who don’t talk to me. I know that they are good Democrats, intelligent people, and committed to this election. Yet, just as with some of the people around her now, I think their behaviors will do much more damage than good for the Clinton campaign.

I’m not suggesting that Hillary Clinton “can’t win without the left.” I’m sure that she can. But I do not think that process would result in good for the United States.

I would rather think that Ms. Clinton will be listening with an open mind, as she tours and speaks to “common folk.” I believe that the combination of being a grandmother, running for President, and listening to the harsh, cold reality that defines so many people’s lives, can open new doors of perception.

Hillary Clinton has said that she wants to be the people’s champion A lot of us older folks here remember in the early 1970s, when the great Muhammad Ali was known as he People’s Champion. (Elvis even gave Ali a beautiful robe, with “The People’s Champion” on the back.)

The temptation to continue talking about boxing here is too great. I can’t help myself. But it’ll help me communicate an idea:

When a fighter like Ali went in the ring to win a championship, it was a different man who left that ring. The fight changed them. Likewise, the responsibilities of being champion changed Ali, too. Now, I’ve said all that, to simply say this: I believe that it possible that this tour will help to transform Hillary Clinton into being the best leader that she can be. For if she is elected, we all want that.

H2O Man

Those Darned Old People

An issue being discussed in the context of the 2016 election is “age.” It is one that I have not seen covered recently on television. Rather, it is coming up on DU, regarding one specific candidate, Hillary Clinton. It’s an issue that -- other than regarding this election -- might be a good one for members of the Democratic Party and Democratic Left to examine closely.

First, I’m confident that Hillary Clinton would not be running, unless she were sure that she could serve in good health. That has nothing to do with if I might support or oppose her in the primaries. It just isn’t an issue.

It is true that Ronald Reagan suffered in terms of mental ability while he served as President. While I strongly disliked Reagan as a person and president, his deterioration isn’t what bothered me. That’s a human issue, not a political one.

The fact that his staff covered it up was offensive. And not only for their disrespect for the public. It shows that they thought so little of him, other than his ability to deliver lines on stage, that they knew his condition didn’t matter -- as far as they were concerned.

I’m confident that any Democrat elected to the Oval Office would react differently than was the case with Reagan. I trust democratic administrations, in a way that I could never trust any republican administration.

Is this “concern” about Ms. Clinton’s age simply a sexist attack? There were people who expressed concern about John McCain’s age and health, especially after he picked Sarah Palin as his VP. In the current context, I think it’s more of a cheap shot that suggests desperation on the republicans’ part. It will, of course, go hand-in-hand with sexist attacks.

It provides an opportunity for Ms. Clinton -- or whoever the Democratic Party’s candidate may be -- to address an important social pathology, however. We have a culture that worships “youth,” and thus devalues both children and the elderly. While this holds true for both male and female human beings, it is safe to say that it is an unhealthy, life-denying plastic that is perpetuated by both sexes, and tends to target females in a more insidious manner.

I grew up in the margins of our society, and thus have a different viewpoint than most. I see the make-up and structure of “family units” as a product of our economic system. As I live in the northeast, I’d start with the Iroquois society. Extended families occupied long houses. Thus, children were exposed to multiple generations: parents were no less important then as now, but other relatives played a larger role. Cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents were available, for example, to provide support for children and young parents.

Colonists in our region tended to live in hamlets and villages, that often reflected extended-family systems. For example, there is a “Smithville,” a “Knappsville,” and an “Ives Settlement” -- where the Smith, Knapp, and Ives families lived. Most relatives lived in a separate house, but the same general extended family support system existed. (Also, one can see the “additions” to large farm houses, evidence of where grandma and grandpa “moved” when they aged. This is the multi-generation household of “The Waltons.” Children were exposed to the wisdom of their elders. His is a good thing.)

With the industrial revolution, young adults moved off the family farm, into the city. They lived in single-unit houses, with the white picket fence, and saw relatives from the extended family on holidays.

The high-tech revolution created the need for employees who would sacrifice family for work. When people spend more time with co-workers than family, there becomes a tendency for people to put in a lot of over-time ….in order to pursue affairs that do not reflect the “family values” our culture pretends to promote. Children are more likely to grow up in single parent households. The extended family unit has been shattered.

Obviously, there is a heck of a lot more to it than the dynamics that I’ve noted here. But we’ve created a culture that warehouses the elderly, not unlike how it warehouses young black men. For the larger society, there is a bit of the “out of sight, out of mind” when it comes to the elderly.

And that results in our attempts to deny the reality of that period of life, between our physical primes as young adults, to old age. “Middle age” is to be avoided to the greatest extent possible.

A while back, I spoke about my participating in a “health study” of a village in upstate New York, which has been poisoned by several large toxic, industrial waste dump sites. The rates of cancer are unbelievable. I became sidelined in the past year or so, due to factors outside of my control. But I’ve recently begun the work to complete the study.

One general description keeps coming up among the results. It would be a woman, from about 62 to 66 years old. They are grandmothers, and identify that as the most important feature of their current lives. More, they have had cancer; their parents both died of cancer; one of their daughters has experienced fear from a medical test result, or worse; and they have a neighbor or friend who has had a grandchild who suffers from a medical condition that has a high association with exposure to specific toxins.

These women have some other commonalities. For example, none of them has been represented by one of their own on the area village or town boards. When they have attended these boards’ meetings, to express their concerns about topics such as fracking, they are usually treated with disrespect. The community “fathers,” like the young men and women who are representing the corporations, are not interested in what these women have to say. In fact, they want these women to shut up.

Our culture is out of balance with nature. Part of that imbalance is found in family systems. Obviously, we aren’t about to move back into long houses, or to become cast members on an updated Walton’s series. But we can re-define what “family” and “community” mean. We can recognize that in a healthy society, everyone is valued, and each person has a voice. That means rejecting the anti-aging cultural forces. We need to embrace ourselves as individuals, even if we are not as young and “attractive” as the plastic people in commercials.

The Banality of Henry Kissinger

The presidential primary seasons are perhaps the least attractive times to read or participate in discussions on DU:GD. On one hand, I think it would be better to simply stop reading this part of the larger forum …..and perhaps limited myself to the sports forum, where I can enjoy debating the upcoming Mayweather versus Pacquiao fight. Yet, I am drawn to it, like a moth to a flame. It would likely take a 12-step program, with recognition that I am powerless when it comes to politics, to help me maintain what little sanity I’d like to think that I normally have.

Last night, for example, I read an OP by one of my best friends from the DU community. This wonderful lady stated that while she would vote for Hillary Clinton in November of 2016, that she wasn’t happy at that prospect. Her OP included a photograph of Ms. Clinton with Henry Kissinger. There were, not surprisingly, a wide range of responses to the OP. The majority of those from the pro-Clinton folks on DU ignored what my Friend wrote, and instead focused exclusively on the picture.

Of these responses, most correctly pointed out that in the world of politics, Good People do at times attend meetings or social events where horrible specimens of humanity -- such as Kissinger -- not only attend, but are treated respectfully. Indeed, a photo is shown of Nelson Mandela, an honorable man, along side of Kissinger. It happens.

Instead of focusing upon that, however, the majority of these responses included insults and atacks upon the character of the lady who posted the OP. She explained that she was a college student during the Vietnam War, and as such, had strong feelings about Kissinger. As a person who is of similar age, I can understand her feelings about Kissinger. It may be difficult for younger people to fully appreciate this. But Kissinger was as offensive in that era, as say Dick Cheney is in 2000 to 2015.

For many of us of this generation, it wasn’t simply disagreeing with Kissinger on policy. It was having a brother, cousin, neighbor, or classmate who died in Vietnam, while Kissinger was inflicting his policies on both Vietnam and the United States. Thus, when one pro-Clinton person states several times on the thread that those who identify Kissinger as a war criminal are a tiny, insignificant minority -- because, gosh almighty, old Henry is invited to so many fancy get-togethers -- I can only shake my head. For everyone of my generation remembers that, on the infamous White House tapes, Henry himself noted that Nixon and he could be charged with -- and convicted of -- war crimes for their actions in southeast Asia. But, for good or for bad, US politicians such as Kissinger and Cheney cannot face such trials.

Those who note that having to meet such creeps as a Kissinger or Cheney is simply a reality of modern politics are correct. Yet those who find this reality extremely offensive are equally correct, and should not be attacked for expressing their frustrations with the system as it is. Again, the author of the OP clearly stated that if Ms. Clinton is the Democratic Party’s nominee, she will definitely vote for her. How odd that Clinton supporters would attempt to shame her for imply expressing her opinion …..for isn’t part of the strength of Hillary Clinton rooted in the concept that women of her generation do not need to be silenced? And that their thoughts and contributions to the national debate have value?

Training Day

There’s an old saying in the sport of boxing, that I would suggest can be applied to politics. I’m thinking of it, mainly when I read posts that express the belief that most republicans would be easy to defeat in the upcoming presidential election.

The only way to make a fight against a potentially “easy” opponent actually be easy, is to train very hard, and fully prepare yourself for the hardest fight of your life. Anything less risks making an easy fight hard. In fact, that’s the easy opponent’s best and only hope.

Do republicans run obnoxious, unintelligent, and repulsive candidates? Yes, of course they do. It is difficult to think of any person less qualified than George W. Bush to be President. I’d have felt safer with the Zippy the Pinhead cartoon character sitting in the Oval Office. (Of course, I’ve never actually seen George and Zippy together in either a photograph or drawing. Hmmmm!)

I don’t care who the republican candidate is: I will view that person as a serious threat to our nation.

H2O Man Survey #10 (Hillary Clinton)

The following survey is aimed towards two things: providing some insight into how various DU community members feel about Hillary Clinton, and moving our discussions in a more positive direction. It is not intended as my advocating, either “for” or “against,” Hillary Clinton Responses are, however, an opportunity to express your thoughts, and to advocate for your position in a positive manner.

There are no “right” or “wrong” answers. The percentages for or against Hillary Clinton -- or undecided -- are not intended to illustrate anything but the values of this community. It is not necessary to answer every question; only the ones that may interest you.

Assuming that anyone does respond, I only ask that we treat everyone with respect. A person might have very different views on the state of our nation, and what is required to remedy the problems we may see. At best, this could provide us an opportunity to present our position as a clean, sparkling glass of cold water; even if we view opposing views, and view others’ as having a filthy, polluted glass of water, we need not attack their’s. Trust thirsty people to be capable of deciding for themselves what glass they prefer to drink from.

Thanks! -- H2O Man

Do you support Hillary Clinton? Yes - no - undecided

Who do you think would present the toughest potential opposition in a Democratic primary? Why?

Who do you think Hillary Clinton would defeat most easily in a general election? Why? Jeb Bush - Scott Walker -- Rand Paul

Which one would present the greatest challenge? Why? Jeb Bus -- Scott Walker -- Rand Paul

On a scales of 1 to 10, how strongly do you support/ oppose Hillary Clinton’s positions, as you understand them, on foreign policy? With 1 being strongly opposed; 5 being unsure; and 10 being strongly support?

On economic policy? Same 1 to 10 scale.

On social policy? Same scale.

Which candidate did you most strongly support in the 2008 Democratic Party primaries?

Is the potential for Hillary Clinton to be the first female President of the United States important to you?

In your opinion, is having a female President important for the Democratic Party? For the United States of America? Why, or why not?

The End
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