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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 08:49 PM
Number of posts: 55,889

Journal Archives

New Hampshire tonight

Good luck to both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders tonight in New Hampshire. Also, I hope that everyone here finds encouragement, no matter what the counts come out. We are all living in a historic era in our nation. More, we are participating in it. Thank you to everyone who is engaged in fighting the Good Fight.

The republican results should be interesting, to a much lesser extent. I hope that we see evidence of a continuing break-down within their party.

H2O Man

Our Green Land

“We lost our green land
We lost our clean air
We lost our true wisdom
And we live in despair …
O freedom, O freedom
That’s what we fight for
And, yes, my dear sisters
We must learn to fight.”
-- Yoko Onon; Sister O Sister; 1971

I had a mad crush on Yoko Ono when I was a youngster. It wasn’t just that she was pretty, it was more from the things she said. I had never heard anyone -- male or female -- talk like her. I thought that she was amazing.

My older son and older daughter both “get” Yoko, and respect her as an artist. My younger son and daughter, while they certainly don’t dislike Yoko, find her less interesting.

I’ve been thinking about this, while considering how more young adults favor Bernie Sanders, and are less interested in Hillary. And, of course, people such as Gloria Steinem are also thinking about this. There are discussions about young women in particular, who are strong supporters of Bernie Sanders.

In the past few months, I’ve talked to my daughters and their friends -- Sanders supporters, all -- about this. Obviously, I don’t speak for them, and will try to quote and/or paraphrase them correctly. I’m able to accurately speak for myself, of course, and I focused in large part on what I view as one of Hillary’s greatest strengths -- her history as an advocate for children and families. As a retired social worker -- with years of experience working with children and families -- that is extremely important to me.

It’s more important, in my opinion, than the fact that Hillary could be the first female President of the United States. Still, I think that is important ….not the #1 issue, but still significant. I expected it to be at least as important to my children, perhaps especially my daughters.

Regarding the issues involving children and families, my daughters and their friends say that of course it’s important. However, they are less interested in who Hillary was in her younger years, than who she is now. My younger daughter pointed out that I’ve said that I’m not the same person that I was at 21, and said that is true of most intelligent people from my generation.

They point out that today, Bernie’s proposals go farther for helping children and families than do Hillary’s. In saying this, I’m not taking a position that one candidate’s policies are better than the other’s -- I’m confident that some of our DU community members who support Hillary Clinton could argue that her policies are better than Bernie’s. Rather, my point is that a segment of young women who are registered Democrats believe that, in their opinions, Bernie’s policies are better for children and families. These include Bernie’s proposals on health care and public education. And, at least in my daughters’ opinions, Bernie is better on environmental issues.

Another factor that comes through, and strikes me as far more important than presented by the media, is generational identity. These young adults take their responsibility to make serious changes in society very seriously. They are more than willing to listen to people my age, and ready to work in coordination with us. But they are definitely going to think for themselves. Here again, my daughter points out that I’ve urged the to “think for yourself, and act for others.”

Some of the younger generation’s thinking is, I suspect, found in my younger son’s slightly tongue-in-cheek saying, “Thanks a lot, Old Man. I thought your generation was going to ‘save the world.’ What happened?” I suppose the world they are inheriting isn’t so wonderful that they shouldn’t feel the need, as a generation, to institute major changes.

When I’ve asked my daughters and their friends about the significance of Hillary possibly becoming the first female president, they all agree that is important. But it is not a deal-breaker. My older daughter reminded me of back in 2008, when one of their school teachers was among the crowd gathered here to watch the election results. He belongs to the Green Party, and is liberal on most issues.

He said, “Either way, we win. We either get the first black president, or the first woman vice president.” And, of course, I gave him a hard time for suggesting that Sarah Palin’s being elected would represent progress in any way. It wasn’t that my daughter was comparing Hillary Clinton with Sarah Palin. Instead, she was commenting on the relative value of a female being the “first” elected, compared to the sum-total of important issues.

I’m curious what other community members thoughts and experiences on this general issue are. Thanks in advance.

H2O Man

Purple Haze

I had generally avoided DU:GDP until January, because I found so much of the arguing on OP/threads to be non-productive. Certainly, the previous discussions in Democratic primary seasons had high levels of toxicity including my own contributions to such foolishness. So I didn’t want any part of it this time.

As a member of the Democratic Party who has voted for our nominee in virtually every election in my adult life, I was pleased with the three candidates in this primary. I thought that Martin O’Malley was one of the better candidates that I’ve seen. In a normal year -- whatever the heck “normal” means -- I think he’d have been an outstanding choice. The fact that his campaign didn’t catch on suggests this year present extraordinary issues for voters to consider.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve said that I have decided to support Bernie Sanders. In doing so, I haven’t attacked Hillary Clinton. While I do not like some of the people associated with her campaign, I like her as an individual; and, as a politician, I think she is very good on most domestic issues. There are some areas that I’m not comfortable with her, that I thought might be interesting to discuss.

I think that I have pretty solid friendships with some of this forum’s members who are supporting Hillary Clinton for president. I respect them, and their opinions -- which is why I’m comfortable posting this. There are also a lot of pro-Clinton people here that I’m not acquainted with; I have been favorably impressed with some of their contributions here, and not so much with others. And, there’s a third group -- those who identify me as an “enemy,” and/or have concluded that I’m a jackass, not worth conversing with. In reading some of their contributions to DU, I’ve thought some were very good, and that others were very disappointing.

What I’m hoping is that some of the pro-Clinton people will read this, and consider it worth responding to. Also, I want to make clear that no politician is perfect; because one might disagree with a candidate on some issues, that need not translate in refusing to vote for them …..for, as Malcolm X said, any time two people think exactly alike, it is proof that only one of the two is actually thinking. So I hope that people will find this worth discussing, and more, that it is worth debating without resorting to insults aimed at others.

The 2016 Democratic primary has been one for the history books. At first, it seemed like no one was going to throw their hat into the ring, and compete against Hillary Clinton. She is definitely a formidable candidate, with important experience as First Lady, a US Senator, and Secretary of State. Also, she is backed by a powerful segment of the Democratic Party.

However, the mood of the country might have been taken as a warning that many people, looking for change, were unhappy with the potential of a Bush vs. Clinton contest in 2016. We’ve seen that, in different ways, in both the Democratic and republican primaries. Rightly or wrongly, this has led to people having lots of questions about Hillary Clinton ….some of which have certainly been encouraged by republican shit heads like Karl Rove, but others that are legitimate concerns of good human beings. The popularity of the Bernie Sanders movement cannot be dismissed as republican shenanigans. And when Clinton supporters attempt to attribute negative motivations to Sanders supporters, it comes across as shallow -- just as when Sanders supporters attack the sincerity and intelligence of Clinton supporters.

Some issues that are proving difficult for the Clinton campaign to deal with, while important, do not disqualify Hillary on their own. This is, in my opinion, the case with the transcripts from Clinton’s presentations to Goldman-Sachs. The fees she was paid are, of course, offensive to some, but not a big deal to others. And one’s response to her refusing to release the transcripts likely depends on their opinion of those speaker’s fees. Still, there are people -- including Democrats -- who might have been okay with the fees, but who find her refusal to release the transcripts questionable. I think it could become a major issue in the primary contest, if the transcripts are not opened for public inspection.

The two issues that I’d like to discuss may not play a significant role in this contest. But not everything important gets covered by the media, just as everything covered by the media isn’t necessarily important. The first one relates to Hillary Clinton going to Flint, where the water has been poisoned as a result of greedy politicians who do not care about human beings outside of their socio-economic class.

I think it was good that she went there. I don’t think it was an attempt to exploit those people’s suffering. But here’s what I do have a problem with: Hillary Clinton is pro-fracking, and as I have seen firsthand, fracking poisons people’s water.

I do not think that Ms. Clinton favors the poisoning of people’s water. So, in my opinion, that leaves two alternative explanations. She could be ignorant about the dangers of fracking. Maybe people have lied to her, and presented it as “safe,” and discredited the many people who have publicly opposed fracking. And I find that idea troubling.

The second option that I can come up with is that she’s somewhat aware of the dangers, but subscribes to the big business model with “acceptable number of deaths” per hundred thousand, in association with a process or product. I have met both heads of “energy corporations” and public officials -- the unelected and elected leaders of our government -- who are aware of those results from poisoning the water, but are able to detach from being human, and see only digits on papers, mainly representing dollars and cents. I find that disturbing.

The second issue involves Henry Kissinger. I think that Henry ranks very high among the most vile, evil people in this nation’s history. I understand that, in the world of politics at the national level, you are likely to encounter all types of people …..including good people, as well as republicans. And while Hillary might well have benefited politically, had she opted to choke Kissinger on live tv, I understand why she couldn’t. And you know as well as I that Karl Rove would twist the truth, and use it against Clinton if she does become the party’s nominee.

I’m troubled by Hillary Clinton’s approach to Henry Kissinger. Again, I get that she can’t choke him. But she acts as if he is an honorable man. He is not. Kissinger is a war criminal, worse than even Dick Cheney.

Do those here who support Hillary find Kissinger acceptable? Honorable? Can you see how this type of thing reinforces many good people’s opinions -- on things like Occupy, the 1%, Mitt’s infamous statistic, the 99% -- that the establishment is very separate from us common folk. That, at times, we view DC as having Democrats and republicans who relate to government, much like lawyers relate to the court. The prosecutor and defense attorney are opponents inside that court room, and represent different people. But they are still officers of the court. I’m not saying that’s wrong for lawyers, but that’s a different question from if politicians do the same.

I hope that people find this non-offensive, and worth responding to.

H2O Man

Revolution #3

One of the most valuable periods of my life was the years where I served as Onondaga Chief Paul Waterman’s top assistant. Paul sat on both the Onondaga Council of Chiefs, and the Haudenosaunee (aka Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy) Grand Council of Chiefs. I had the pleasure and privilege of not only being close enough that people at the nation referred to me as “Paul’s son,” but also attending numerous meetings with Paul. These included at Onondaga, small towns and large universities, and with everyone, from average citizens, to elected officials, to representatives from the United Nations.

Paul believed strongly in tradition. Thus, in his opinion, it was important that the Chiefs serve the people, literally. Paul looked out for what non-Indian society views as “the least among us.” He and I frequently spoke at various public meetings, and at lots of colleges and universities. Much f the time, we were paid for presenting to groups such as college students. At such times, neither of us benefited financially. We did not even use a few bucks for “traveling expenses” -- for gas and/or a meal.

Instead, every penny of that money went into a fund to support the poorest people on Onondaga Nation territory. I think that most of the time, it helped pay elders’ fuel bills. And some of it went for groceries.

I remember some non-Onondaga people who would say we were “crazy,” that we were making good money, and were entitled to it. But that was not our way.

I remember a meeting where a man from a corporation asked for a “private” meeting with us. So we arranged for the Tadodaho and two other Chiefs to arrive at the secret, private meeting place. The gentleman from the corporation had a briefcase, which was pretty full of money. But, within minutes, he understood that this was not a valued currency among us. Obviously, we all use money to pay bills; the cashier at a grocery store never says that we get a pass, for the good work we do. But there are things -- and people -- that money just can’t buy.

Over the years that I’ve been on this wonderful forum, I’ve participated in numerous discussions on the influence that the Iroquois had on the Founding Fathers. Even today, there are some people who attempt to argue that the Founding Fathers did not learn important lessons from the Iroquois, and apply them to their concepts on the structure and meaning of the Constitution of the United States of America. Like those who rigidly deny climate change, they serve as examples of choosen ignorance.

A person need only read a single book, “Exiled in the Land of the Free : Democracy, Indian Nations, and the U.S. Constitution” by authors including Oren Lyons, John Mohawk, and Vine Deloria, Jr. (Clear Light Publishers; 1992) for an accurate, well-documented, and impossible-to-refute read on this topic.

Just as no individual is “perfect,” neither is any society. That includes the Iroquois society, and the United States. But, by no coincidence, there was more to Iroquois culture than simply the structure of our governments. In his 1974 book, “Red,White, and Black : The Peoples of Early America” (Prentice-Hall), author Gary B. Nash noted the following:

“Even hard-bitten, unsentimental colonists often recognized that Indian society, though by no means without its problems and its own disreputable characters, put white society to shame. …Throughout the colonial period European observers stood in awe of the central Indian traits of hospitality, generosity, bravery, and the spirit of mutual caring. Indians seemed to embody these Christian virtues almost without effort in a corner of the earth where Europeans, attempting to build a society with similar characteristics, were being pulled in the opposite direction by the natural abundance around them -- towards individualism, disputatiousness, aggrandizement of wealth, and the exploitation of other humans. ….these Indian virtues came far closer to the precepts of Christianity that most colonists found it comfortable to admit.”

I think that this goes a long way in explaining why so many of us are inspired by Bernie Sanders, and believe that his campaign offers this nation a unique opportunity to get back on the track that offers true democracy and social justice.

Who Is Watching

Who here plans on watching the republican debate? I hope that lots of people here are tuning in for the circus.

What I’m really hoping for are a few discussion threads where DU community members set aside their Democratic Party’s primary contest, and take a real hard look at the republican candidates. I know that there have been numerous OP/threads in recent months talking about the republican field. But tonight, I believe we are going to see a few of their candidates trying to shift into higher gear.

I’m not interested in advocating our candidate as the “lesser-of-two-evils.” But, in this instance, besides thinking our candidates are good, I am convinced that the republicans are pushing an evil agenda. And so I’m interested in everyone’s opinion on them

H2O Man


“The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of new ideas and bold projects. Rather, it will belong to those who can blend passion, reason, and courage in a personal commitment to the ideals and great enterprises of American society. It will belong to those who see that wisdom can only emerge from the clash of contending views, the passionate expression of deep and hostile beliefs. Plato said, ‘A life without criticism is not worth living’.”
-- Robert F. Kennedy

One of the most important -- and encouraging -- parts of the recent Democratic primary debate was when Senator Bernie Sanders said that he wants to institute major changes in our party. He spoke about increasing the registration and participation of two groups in particular: working class Americans, and young people.

The working class target audience includes both those who do not participate in politics, and those who vote against their best interests. Young people are a population that historically does not engage in large numbers, unless there are inspirational candidate with inspirational campaigns. These simple truths indicate that the party’s establishment has failed to expand the Democratic Party’s base in a way that would result in our being able to win far more elected offices -- from school boards to the White House -- than we have in recent decades.

The best current illustration for this tension between what the Democratic Party currently is, versus what its true potential is, can be found in the campaigns of the two primary contenders. The Clinton campaign sincerely believes that Hillary is the best candidate, because they are convinced that the establishment will continue to remain the same, with corporations exercising near-full control of the economic-political-social reality of our nation. The Sanders campaign sincerely believes that Bernie is the best candidate, because he represents the manner in which “we, the people” are supposed to experience economic-political-social power.

It is not surprising that those who have run the Democratic Party for years would be suspicious of “new” people coming in, and saying that things are going to be different. Yet, unless they want things to remain just the same, then change is necessary. Thus, it’s no surprise that the establishment wing of the party has some resentment towards those advocating change -- for that change not only implies power-sharing, it demands it.

Those with the most power -- which today translates to the most money and the most comfortable positions -- have the most resentment towards the concept of change. They would be happy to have millions of new registered voters, so long as those votes were cast to maintain and reinforce their comfortable positions. But, as soon as new ideas and bold projects are proposed, they will fight against it. Indeed, the stronger the advocacy for change is, the harder the establishment will fight it …..often harder than they fight their republican opposition.

The new ideas and bold projects that Bernie Sanders proposes do not frighten me. I’ve been a registered Democrat my entire adult life. I’ve voted for the Democratic candidate in virtually every presidential election. Many of the things that Bernie advocates aren’t “new” -- such as free public education. Even the concept of “socialism.” And that’s not limited to Social Security.

My maternal grandfather was a patriotic American. Indeed, I have a copy of a photograph of him on Parris Island, where he was a DI, which used to be on the cover of a Marine Corps training manual. He fought in WW2, both in Europe and the Asian theater. The injuries he sustained impacted him for the rest of his life.

My grandfather worked in construction, including as a stone-cutter. He cut the stone that the Statue of Liberty now sits upon. He also drove heavy equipment, and was among the millions of citizens who helped build modern America.

He and my grandmother loved politics, and were Democrats. Yet, in their workplaces (Grandma worked in a factory in Binghamton, NY), both were union activists. More, both were socialists. In their day, there wasn’t any conflict, at the grass roots level, between being a Democrat, union, and a socialist activist. In fact, they went hand-in-hand, as offering the best chance of enhancing the quality of life in America.

I can, of course, only speculate: but I think if Grandpa was around today, he’d be campaigning for Bernie Sanders.

Thanks for reading my rants!
H2O Man

Debating the Debate

There was a lot of excitement going into last night’s Democratic primary debate, and it certainly lived up to its billing. In my opinion, it ranked with the most important and impressive debates in the history of primary and general election debates. The supporters of each candidate, obviously, are convinced that their candidate won. The corporate media is busy putting their spin on it.

More important, of course, is how the general public views the debate. This will determine how it is eventually recorded in the history books. While I like both Sanders and Clinton, I have endorsed Bernie; hence, my opinion is subjective. Also, because so little time has passed since last night’s debate ended, what I have to say at this time is little more than first impressions.

As I’ve noted before, being a man of remarkably little insight or intelligence, I am convinced that all of life imitates the great sport of boxing. I am able to recognize that my engaging in over 300 amateur bouts -- not to mention the thousands of rounds of sparring in training -- may well have had a damaging impact upon my gray cells. So this is but the ramblings of an old pug, who appreciated watching two professionals competing at the highest level last night.

A two hour debate between the two highest-ranking contenders for the Democratic nomination was equivalent to a 15-round title fight. Anyone who insists that either candidate won each and every round can be quickly dismissed, for they do not have an opinion, but rather, a bias. Both candidates had strengths that allowed them to do better in different parts of the contest.

I thought that both Rachel Maddow and Chuck Todd did a good job of moderating. I’ve long enjoyed Rachel’s show, and in the past year, have come to have great respect for her. I cannot honestly say that I enjoy or respect Chuck. I was concerned beforehand, that both moderators might favor Ms. Clinton; I was glad to see both take an even-handed approach. This definitely added to the high quality of the contest.

There were unforced errors on both sides. The use of the pre-packaged “artful smear” line came across uncomfortably. Answering a question on Afghanistan by continuing with the answer you asked for time to address on ISIS was not the best option. While these are not fatal mistakes for either campaign, they do show the near impossibility of having a flawless performance in a title fight.

But even the greatest fighters in boxing’s history -- Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Muhammad Ali -- rarely won all 15 rounds in their toughest bouts. Likewise, when there are two capable politicians debating at a brisk pace wasn’t completely one-sided, by any means. But I thought that Bernie had the better night, by a good bit.

I felt that Bernie won the first third of the debate, and that this was magnified by some of Hillary’s complaints against the Sanders campaign, including Bernie specifically. I think that his tone was far more “presidential.” Hillary hit her stride in the second third of the debate, specifically on foreign policy. And Bernie won the final third, with Hillary being damaged by her response to Chuck Todd regarding the release of the transcripts from her speeches to Wall Street.

As always, there are three groups that campaigns consider: those who support you; those who oppose you; and the undecided. Thus, you try to inspire your supporters; not deeply offend the opposition’s supporters; and win the undecided. This basic formula applies to both the Sanders and Clinton campaigns.

Obviously, on DU:GDP, there are distinct groups that support each of the candidates, and very few undecided voters. In real life, so to speak, there are groups fully committed to each candidate; however, there is a larger group of undecided voters, as well as some in each camp who may change their minds before voting. There is a lot of time left in the primary season, and what national polls might suggest today is not likely to remain a constant.

Based upon this debate, I believe the nation is being exposed to some realities that are not often discussed in national politics. And that is a good thing.

H2O Man

A Quick Historic Fact

There have been discussion, on DU:GDP and in the media, about what it means to win a primary or caucus. This is the result of the extremely close Iowa contest. On the cable news shows, I’ve seen some focus on the difference between “winning” and being “victorious” in such an event.

People use the 1968 example of Senator Eugene McCarthy’s surprising showing in the New Hampshire primary. I noted tonight that a couple people say that people are confused, when they say that McCarthy won. Indeed, McCarthy won 41.9% of the votes, against 50% for President Johnson. In this sense, LBJ definitely won.

However, there was another very important measure: of the 24 New Hampshire delegates, Senator McCarthy won 20 of them. And that is why people, such as myself, say that McCarthy “won” that primary. More, he was victorious.

H2O Man

We Dissent/ Unfinished Business

“It is not enough to allow dissent. We must demand it. For there is much to dissent from.

“We dissent from the fact that millions are trapped in poverty while the nation grows rich.

“We dissent from the conditions and hatreds which deny a full life to our fellow citizens because of the color of their skin.

“We dissent from the monstrous absurdity of a world where nations stand poised to destroy one another, and man must kill their fellow man.

“We dissent from the sight of most of mankind living in poverty, stricken by disease, threatened by hunger and doomed to an early death after a life of unremitting labor.

“We dissent from cities which blunt our senses and turn the ordinary acts of daily life into a painful struggle.

“We dissent from the willful, heedless destruction of natural pleasure and beauty.

“We dissent from all these structures -- of technology and society itself -- which strip from the individual the dignity and warmth of sharing in the common tasks of his community and his nation.”
-- Senator Robert F. Kennedy

I can only speak for myself. I’ve met both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, and like them both. I believe that they are both good and sincere individuals, who honestly believe that they could accomplish the most good for the people of this nation. Still, I support the Sanders campaign. My support for Sanders does not include any dislike of, or disrespect for, Ms. Clinton.

Rather, it is because Bernie Sanders represents the values that have influenced my thinking and behavior throughout the decades of my being involved in social-political activism. When people in the media or the republican party call Sanders’s positions “unrealistic” or “pipe dreams,” I dissent.

Last year, the Pope visited the United States. He spoke about the need for social justice. The concepts he spoke of were much the same as those detailed by Senator Robert Kennedy fifty years ago. It would be easy to dismiss them as unrealistic and pipe dreams. But we also learned that the Pope played a central role in discussions between officials in the United States, and in two of our nation’s “enemies” -- Cuba and Iran. And, as we have seen, these dialogues resulted in very real advances …..advances in some of the very things that Senator Kennedy had spoken of.

These are the same values that America’s greatest prophet, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., fought for. King began his public career struggling for Civil Rights. By the mid-1960s, he expanded his ministry to emphasis economic justice. He understood that there could not be social justice domestically, if the US continued its military approach to foreign affairs. That’s just as true today, as it was in 1968.

The Sanders campaign offers those of us who share these values the best opportunity to advance them. For some of us, they are our ethics; for others, our religious beliefs; and for others, our spiritual reality. Some of us are old, others young; we are male and female; black, brown, red, yellow, and white; we are citizens who believe that Aristotle was correct when he said, “The true nature of anything is what it becomes at its highest.”

We want America to reach its true nature.

“Come, my friends. ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.”
-- Alfred, Lord Tennyson

H2O Man


“I’m flexible. As was stated earlier, all of the countries that are emerging today from under the shackles of colonialism are turning towards socialism. I don’t think it’s an accident.”
-- Malcolm X

“In my opinion, the younger generation of whites, blacks, browns, whatever else there is, you’re living in a time of revolution, a time when there’s got to be change. People in power have misused it, and now there has to be a change, and a better world has to be built.”
-- Malcolm X

“America is the only country in history in a position to bring about a revolution without violence and bloodshed.”
-- Malcolm X

In my opinion, we could benefit from an open and honest discussion of the concepts of political revolution, socialism, and the role of young people in social-political activism. I think it would be good for everyone who wants to make advances in social justice in this country. It has the potential to promote understanding between members of the Clinton and Sanders campaigns, regarding beliefs, values, and tactics. While we might not agree on everything -- including which candidate we support in the primaries -- there is a real chance that some common ground will come into view. Equally important, it may help prevent our differences in opinions and values from further dividing us.

H2O Man
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