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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 07:49 PM
Number of posts: 53,053

Journal Archives

Obama vs Hersh

As a general rule, I prefer non-violence to violence. Yet, I cannot honestly say that I felt bad when US forces killed Usama bin Laden. I wasn’t happy about it, either.

I did think that it was important for President Obama. Not just because if the mission had failed, the general public would have elected President Willard Romney. But that was part of it.

That he would not tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth when informing the American people does not offend me. No US President is going to make public all aspects of things that, in one way or another, involve “national security.” Nor, for that matter, are informed US intelligence folks. Despite what I might think about the “risk” that bin Laden posed at the time of his death, I would not expect President Obama to tell 100% accurate information at that time -- any more than I would expect an intelligence officer, active or retired, when speaking to a journalist.

This is especially true in regards to any action that involves relations with one or more other nations. Friends or enemies. More so in a volatile region of the world. That would simply be unrealistic.

The operation to kill Usama bin Laden clearly involved, directly and indirectly, numerous individuals. Both American and foreign people. What most of these knew was limited by the compartmentalization of such operations. Hence, if two dozen of these people were to honestly say what they knew for sure, we would have exactly twenty-four separate stories. There would be areas where their stories overlapped, and areas where they were distinct.

If each of the two dozen people involved were to fabricate, rather than be totally honest, that would result in their stories being far different than the others’. This is the very nature of human communications.

I do not believe that either President Obama or Seymour Hersh, or any of their sources, know everything involved in the planning or execution of the killing of bin Laden. This alone would make it difficult to believe that either was telling the “whole truth.” President Obama could not, even if he really wanted to; Hersh wants to, but can’t -- because he doesn’t know, and can’t know.

I do not believe that the circumstances call for me, or anyone, to identify one as good and honest, and the other a fool or liar.

H2O Man

Regarding "Hate Speech"

“The problem in the world today is not one of ignorance; it’s of people knowing so darned much that just ain’t so.”
-- Mark Twain

Some of the most interesting OP/threads on DU:GD in recent days have focused on “hate speech” versus Amendment 1. It is a societal conflict that rightly demands our attention. As such, I think it deserves a serious review. Perhaps now that emotions have begun to subside, this will be an opportunity to do so.

Most people are somewhat familiar with the Bill of Rights, and perhaps have their strongest beliefs on what Amendment 1 provides for. Obviously, there can be strong disagreements among good people as to the exact interpretation of any of these rights. An obvious example is found in the heated debates of how Amendment 2 applies today.

Likewise, the issues addressed in Amendment 1 can and should be debated and contested on an on-going basis. For the Constitution only has value if it is perceived and experienced as a “living” document -- to be applied to current social circumstances. While the concept of “original intent” has value, it too is open to interpretation. More, the Constitution can be altered, as evidenced by not only the addition of that Bill of Rights, but all of the amendments that have followed.

I find the right-wing view of “original intent” to be a giggle much of the time. Let’s consider the concept of a “free press.” The Founding Fathers could not have imagined a corporate-owned, commercially-controlled news media such as we are subjected to today. The notion of journalists being an elite group, which excluded those who didn’t have a degree in journalism, is silly. Any reading of the “press” from our nation’s early days shows that the journalists resembled nothing if not today’s “bloggers” on the internet.

Attempts to silence, and indeed to punish journalists were resolved in court. This brings us to perhaps the most important point in the understanding of such issues: What does the Constitution of the United States mean? That meaning is defined by Constitutional Law. And that, for better or for worse, is what the federal courts decide at a given time. Primary among the various federal courts is, of course, the Supreme Court.

Although it has been rare historically, the Supreme Court has altered previous decisions, and in some instances, actually reversed earlier precedent. In most instances, these provided examples of the expansion of rights to populations previously excluded. This has been correctly viewed as solid evidence of the Constitution being a living document. In such instances, Supreme Court decisions -- Constitutional Law -- reflect society’s growth beyond the biases, prejudices, and hatreds that have denied rights to various groups of citizens under the guise of local, state, and federal law.

The potential for the Supreme Court to do “good” is unfortunately matched exactly by its potential to do “bad.” Two obvious recent examples come to mind. The first is, of course, when the Supreme Court selected George W. Bush to be president, after he lost the 2000 election to Al Gore. Their decision was not based upon anything in the state or federal laws, nor in the Constitution. Rather, it was an entirely political decision, influenced in part upon the economic interests of several of the Injustices. And the second example was when the Court ruled that corporations are people, endowed with an unlimited right to “free speech.”

The issues involving “hate speech” are not new. By no coincidence, they tend to be most contested when they involve the overlapping issues of free speech, free press, and the right to assemble in public. Indeed, the tensions associated with controversial “speech” -- especially that which is advertised in advance, and involves a public assembly -- is often viewed as a fuse that has the potential to ignite a powder keg. While events such as Martin Luther King’s public protests were consider “at risk” of sparking violent reactions from his enemies, “hate speech” events pose both this potential, and more importantly, the very real possibility of the “hate speech” advocates engaging in violence.

Now, let’s look at a few cases that, at one time or another, defined Constitutional Law as it applies to “hate speech.” Because a critic of mine recently attacked me for writing about progressive-liberal candidates being betrayed by moderate-conservative Democrats in the past 50 years -- why, she demanded, did I limit my essay to 50 years? -- I have decided to expand the period covered here, to 63 years. Should anyone feel an impulse to react with a hateful post, I nonviolently request they first listen to the Beatles’ song, “When I’m 64,” as I believe the solution to many disagreements common to DU:GD are found in the Cosmic Law expressed upon the Sgt. Pepper’s LP.

In the year 1952, the USSC heard an appeal of Beauharnais v. Illinois; the case centered upon a Chicago man’s leaflet that urged white residents to fight the “invasion” of their “neighborhoods and person” by black citizens. The leaflet implied that organized group violence was necessary to ward off black people. In a 5 to 4 decision, the Court ruled that this constituted “hate speech” that caused an unacceptable risk of violence being perpetrated upon people for simply being black.

Now, you or I may have agreed with that decision, or disagreed with it. Either way, however, it was Constitutional Law. As such, it could only be changed by a future USSC decision; such changes might involve a case with very similar issues at stake, or one that appeared very different on the surface. In this instance, many legal scholars believe that a very different case would begin the changes in Constitutional Law as it applies to “hate speech.”

The 1964 case of New York Times v. Sullivan, according to Anthony Lewis’s outstanding “Freedom for the Thought That We Hate” (MJF Books; 2007; page 159) would reverse the “logical premise” of the Beauharnais ruling. In this instance, the USSC “ended the exclusion of libel from the protection of the First Amendment.”

This was followed by the 1969 case of Brandenburg v. Ohio, in which the Court placed severe restrictions upon the possible criminal charges that could result from “hate speech” that targeted people based upon race, religion, or ethnicity. This would serve as the basis for the 1977 ruling by the US Court of Appeals (7th Circuit) involving the repulsive plans by Nazis to “demonstrate” in Skokie, Illinois.

There are numerous other, related cases that define Constitutional Law as it applies to “hate speech.” Because I am attempting to write an essay that will take the average reader less than 50 years to read, I think that the three I’ve mentioned should suffice to show that the Courts’ rulings on “hate speech” have been fluid over the years. Differing circumstances can result in different definitions of Constitutional Law.

Let’s consider what those differing circumstances may involve. In general, the determing factor is not how offensive the “hate speech” may be. Unlike the art of pornography, “hate speech” is not judged upon any measures of socially redeeming value. Indeed, it is society’s willingness to allow the most toxic of hateful expression, that adds value to our culture -- by allowing good people to utterly reject the ideas expressed, without imposing criminal sanctions upon the idiot expressing them.

The potential for restrictions upon “hate speech” are thus found in a more limited area: is that “hate speech” likely to result in an immediate reaction that causes a violent public disruption? Again, such incidents are most likely to involve press, speech, and public assembly. More, it involves not only the potential for a violent response to the hateful group, but also the likelihood of the hate group’s advocates of engaging in violence.

The dynamics in our current culture, while similar in many ways to times past, present a different picture than before. An example of this is, obviously, that instant communications can potentially play a large role in cases involving the press/internet, speech, and the ability to assemble groups of people. But the most troubling aspect, in my opinion, is the quality of too many individuals who sit on the bench in federal courts.

As Vince Bugliosi has pointed out, the public tends to be suspicious of lawyers and politicians, but trusting of judges. A $20 black robe does not elevate the ethical standards of a judge. And there ae several on the USSC who are opposed to a democratic society, who are motivated by money and power, and who are self-righteous snakes. That court has become as much of a corporate lap dog as the mainstream media.

The amount of hatred being communicated today creates a tense atmosphere. There are definitely some who take a perverse pleasure in seeing reports of violent incidents on the news, and who will invest their energy in trying to provoke further violence. “Hate” is, of course, a purely human concept, and its energy force is not found elsewhere in the natural world. Yet, in our culture, we are witnessing the fact that hatred demands existence, in the sense that hateful individuals perpetuate more hatred.

The line between hateful thoughts and hateful actions, including physical violence, is not always clear. The hateful female who promoted the cartoon contest was both attempting to push the boundary, yet remain protected by law. Those who would use this to justify violence are also a destabilizing force in our society. Neither offer anything positive to society in this sense.

It would be wonderful if the federal court system had “the answer.” But a culture that is infected with such high levels of hatred also tends to promote republicans to the federal bench. That fact concerns me, because I do not believe that Antonin Scalia or his ilk would decide a “free speech” case in a manner that would only impact extreme cases. Rather, the current USSC would be far, far more likely to act in a manner that would seriously restrict our rights to a free press, free speech, and the right to assembly in public to voice our disagreements with elected and appointed government officials.

In conclusion, I believe that the best alternative available to us today is to confront “hate” and “hate speech” in a firm, non-violent manner.

H2O Man

Alvarez vs Kirkland (May 9)

May 9; on HBO

Houston: Canelo Alvarez vs. James Kirkland; 12 rounds at junior middleweight.

Some of the boxing community loves “the Sweet Science,” as displayed by Floyd Mayweather last weekend. Others prefer bloody brawls, such as last night’s ESPN main event, featuring two powerful heavyweight sluggers. I think it is safe to say that all sports fans will find tonight’s bout, featured on HBO, exciting.

Although no title is at stake, the fight is scheduled for 12 rounds. This is in part due to the significance of the fight itself, and in part because the promoters believe it will result in Canelo’s being able to challenge middleweight champion Miguel Cotto in the fall. Indeed, Cotto and Canelo were in negotiations for a “super fight” for May 2 at Madison Square Garden, until Floyd Mayweather announced that he would be defending his championship against Manny Pacquiao on that date.

Hence, Canelo and Cotto opted to have “warm up” fights in May -- obviously a wise choice on paper, since the ringside seats last Saturday sold for $100,000-plus, and pay-per view sales may exceed five million. It is hard to compete with those numbers. Yet, while Cotto is taking a “soft” fight on June 6, Alvarez was willing to roll the dice against a dangerous foe. This is a classic case of a hungry Young Lion pursuing an aging Lion King, looking to replace him as the champion.

Alvarez is a compelling fighter. He is certainly the best Mexican warrior of his generation, and he has transcended that, to become one of the most popular boxers today. His milk-white skin and red hair create the look of an Irishman, and his style combines solid offensive and defensive skills that belie his boyish smile outside the ring. He is, at age 24, already a great fighter. He seeks to be recognized as an all-time great, by going after the very best competition available.

By facing James Kirkland, Alvarez is hoping to create a demand that Cotto -- assuming Miguel is not upset in June -- face him rather than Mayweather in September. Likewise, Kirkland believes that by beating Alvarez, he will put himself in line for a shot at Cotto and the middleweight title.

Both men are about 5’ 9”, with 70” reaches. Alvarez is six years younger; he fights orthodox, while Kirkland is a south-paw. Canelo’s record is 44 (31)-1-1, while Kirkland’s is 32 (28) - 1 (1). They have faced one common top-ten opponent, Alfredo Angulo: in 2011, Kirkland became the first person to deck Angulo, in TKOing him in six rounds; in 2014, Canelo stopped him in ten rounds.

In his only loss, Kirkland was stunned and dropped three times in the first round by an opponent that he took for granted. James had began a comeback in the ring after serving time for an illegal gun conviction, and had also switched trainers before this bout. He entered the ring cold, and while he was not hurt, he couldn’t maintain his balance against his much-taller opponent. Canelo’s sole defeat was a one-sided decision loss to Mayweather. Both fighters have come back well since their defeats.

Canelo tended to score knockouts early in his career. He usually faced much smaller, inferior opposition. His career was being overshadowed by Julio Chavez, Jr., the son of the great Mexican champion, who likewise was fed a steady diet of smaller, weak opposition. However, Alvarez soon progressed well beyond Chavez, Jr.’s skill level. Although he doesn’t score as many knockouts recently, it is because he consistently fights the top opposition.

Kirkland, on the other hand, has never had it easy. This is largely because of choices that he has made. For most of his career, he was trained and managed by Ann Wolf, arguably the best female boxer ever. Her unconventional style of training is a combination of Cus D’Amato and marine boot camp. It proved successful for exactly as long as James invested himself in it, for it provided him with the ability to deliver his crushing power -- and the mental toughness to struggle through, and overcome, fights against more talented fighters.

In theory, Canelo should be able to out-box, wear-down, and eventually stop Kirkland. His overall skills are far superior. But, of course, the two are not fighting “in theory.” Kirkland has a solid chance, based upon two factors. First, he fights at a much faster pace than Canelo is comfortable at. Canelo tends to suck weight in the last week of training, and the repeated dehydration, followed by extreme re-hydration/ weigh gain, is not favorable to fighting many rounds at an intense pace. Canelo prefers to fight in spurts, and does get winded by the middle rounds. Kirkland has only shown one gear thus far, a high-pressured seek-and-destroy.

Second, Kirkland has enormous punching power. He is brutal in the ring, and merciless if he hurts an opponent. The one thing to watch for, in my opinion, is a defensive tactic Canelo has mastered -- rolling his head with a shot, a trick associated with the top Mexican fighters. It is extremely high risk against Kirkland, so much so that if Canelo attempts it often, that I think Kirkland will be able to stop him.

It is difficult to imagine this being anything less than an exciting, highly entertaining bout. May the best man win. Enjoy the fight!


Years ago, when it appeared that Mayweather and Pacquiao might reach an agreement to fight, the editor of The Ring magazine suffered from a moment of clarity: it was likely, he noted, that Floyd would simply rely upon his superior ring skills to win a one-sided decision over Manny. That, he stated, would be a major disappointment for boxing fans. Few things, it seemed, would show the inability of Pacquiao fans to appreciate the mere possibility that much of the boxing community supports Mayweather.

Not to be out-done, the HBO announcer stated before the fight that “many” viewed it as a confrontation between “good and evil.” Since few people who support Floyd refer to Manny as “evil,” it’s fair to assume that Jim Lampley -- still bitter about Floyd’s going from HBO to Showtime -- was speaking of Mayweather.

The fight itself was a classic Floyd Mayweather performance. In nine of the twelve rounds, Manny Pacquiao landed less than 10 punches. Manny’s over-all connect rate was a career-low of 19%. (81 of 429 thrown). Mayweather landed at 34% (148 of 435 thrown).

In terms of jabs, Mayweather landed 67 of 267 thrown (25%); Manny connected with 18 of 193 thrown (9%). Per power punches, Floyd connected with 81 of 188 (48%); Pacquiao landed 63 of 236 (27%).

While neither man was seriously hurt in any round, both were able to connect when their opponent was open and off-balance. Thus, both men “stumbled” at least once during the bout. But the fight was fought almost exclusively at the pace that Floyd dictated. The Pacquiao fans attempted to inspire Manny to pick up the pace several times, especially in the late rounds. However, Manny was either unwilling or unable to do so.

Two judges scored it 8 rounds to 4, and the third had it 10 to 2. Perhaps the biggest surprise was that it did not take several rounds for Floyd to access Manny and make adjustments -- he established his superiority in the first round, and imposed his will through to the end.

The biggest non-surprise was the sour grapes being gargled by both the sports journalists who dreamed of a Pac-Man victory, and the pro-Pacquiao / anti-Mayweather fans on social media. It wasn’t a “super fight.” Floyd is no Carmen Basilio. This was so boring that it will kill boxing. Floyd is no Muhammad Ali. Right, right -- as long as we are talking about the older version of Ali, since the young champion was hated by an even larger percentage of Americans than Floyd is today.

Several people have correctly noted that last night’s fight was very similar to the second Frazier versus Ali bout. It was the only one of the three scheduled for 12 rounds. Ali was focused upon one thing, and one thing only: getting the win. He fought a careful fight, winning more rounds than Smokin’ Joe. Afterwards, Joe complained that Ali pushed down on his neck on the inside, and clinched frequently. Indeed, Ali did. And he won a one-sided decision of the great heavyweight champion, Joe Frazier.

Pacquiao and Freddie Roach attempted to use a shoulder injury as their excuse after the fight. The human parasite Bob Arum did, too -- until a journalist asked him if, considering how much the public paid to watch the fight, he knowingly sent an injured Manny into the ring? As always, Arum whimpered out of both sides of his mouth in response.

Mayweather noted that he had injured both arms and both hands in training, when he met with journalists in the post-fight press conference. This is, of course, common when men in their mid- to late 30s train very hard for a fight. Boxing is a “hurt” business, and that includes training camps.

The majority of the questions posed to Mayweather were disrespectful attempts to discredit his amazing victory. In a calm, rational manner, Floyd was able to redirect the discussion, and to focus on what is important. He handled the reporters with more ease than he did Pacquiao.

Two of boxing’s all-time great champions entered the ring last night. Floyd won a lop-sided decision, based upon his intelligence, ring generalship, and physical skills. After the decision, two of boxing’s all-time great champions left the ring -- for that dynamic had not changed. Manny Pacquiao did not lessen his legend. Rather, Floyd established his superiority. Both men deserve our respect. Both are nearing the end of their outstanding careers, and we will not see anyone like either of them again.

The Fight

Tomorrow night is the “Big Fight” between welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr., and challenger Manny Pacquiao. The bout is being billed as “The Fight of the Century,” which is accurate at this point -- though there are 84 years to go. Even before the first bell rings, its being compared to Louis vs. Schmeling (6-22-1938), and Frazier vs. Ali I (3-8-’71).

In my opinion, the bout is more similar to Johnson vs. Jefferies (7-4-1910): in that much anticipated fight, the nation was split primarily upon “color lines,” with blacks hoping for Johnson, and whites praying to see “that golden smile removed from his (Johnson’s) face.” Jack Johnson was a complex character outside of the ring, and his flamboyant life-style offended white folks. In the ring, he was a defensive master, who wore his outclassed opponents out, before beating them into submission.

Jefferies, the undefeated former champion, was viewed as the “Great White Hope.” More than 20,000 people traveled to Reno, Nevada, to watch the bout. It turned out to be one-sided. After Johnson put Jefferies away, at least 20 people were killed in “race riots” broke out in 50 cities across America -- from Texas to New York, and from Colorado to Washington, DC.

Floyd Mayweather is the incarnation of Jack Johnson: his ring-style and life-style resemble Johnson’s, far more than they do Ali’s. Yet, besides being all-time great fighters, what the three have in common is being hated by much of the public.

The Louis vs. Schmeling II, and the Frazier vs. Ali I, were definitely “Super Fights.” More, each of them were deemed to transcend sports. Max had defeated a younger Joe, before the Brown Bomber won the heavyweight title. Their re-match was cast as a contest between Nazi Germany and the United States (despite Schmeling’s not being a Nazi). It was a brutal, one-round knockout, in which Joe did severe damage to Max’s spine.

Frazier vs. Ali I pitted two undefeated heavyweight champions, for the first time in history. Ali was, of course, despised by the right-wing, who incorrectly viewed him as a “draft-dodger.” Thus, even Richard Nixon was pulling for a Frazier victory. The left-wing was rooting for Ali.

In many ways, tomorrow’s fight is more similar to the 4-6-87 bout between middleweight champion Marvin Hagler and challenger Sugar Ray Leonard. This was in the golden era for welter-and middleweights; Marvin and Ray were considered the two best. For years, Ray avoided the fight. However, when he saw evidence that Hagler’s skills were deteriorating, and was able to dictate the ring-size, the glove-size, the number of rounds (12, rather than 15), and the location (Las Vegas), he interrupted Marvin’s plan to retire.

By preparing for twelve distinct “mini-” bouts -- each round -- and determing that he could “steal” rounds by fighting in spurts to impress the Vegas judges -- Ray won a decision. It was controversial then, and still is the subject of much dispute among the boxing community today. I recognize that Ray won; however, I recognize that, had the exact same bout have taken place in Atlantic City, Hagler would have gotten the decision. Different venues favor different tactics.

A strong case can be made for either man winning tomorrow night. The only thing that is certain at this point is that anyone who claims either fighter has “no chance” doesn’t understand boxing. Both Floyd and Manny are not only great boxers, but both rank among the sport’s All-Time Greats. Each possesses extreme physical skills. Yet, what makes both unique talents is their mental strength.

In many ways, each will be taking a page out of Ray Leonard’s book: they recognize that each one of the twelve rounds is a battle in itself. More, each round is three minutes long. When two fairly evenly-matched great fighters meet, not only is it rare for one to win every round, but almost impossible to win every minute of every round. (It’s worth noting that for many years, Floyd literally won almost every round of every one of his fights. That is extremely rare, especially considering that he faced tough competition.)

For Manny Pacquiao, that means near-constant foot movement; darting in-and-out at angles -- never coming straight in, or straight out; and throwing high-volume combinations. More, it means trying to throw the last punch in almost every exchange. If he appears busier in two of the three minutes, he can steal rounds.

Pac-Man’s hand-speed may allow him to do something that virtually no opponent has done yet: to land consecutive punches to Floyd’s head. To do so, he will need to throw “up and down,” meaning combinations to the head and body. Still, Manny’s overall intensity in the ring has to be controlled -- after throwing a combination, he must spin away from Floyd, never setting a pattern.

Clearly, Pacquiao can knock an opponent unconscious. But he should not be looking for a knockout In fact, if he starts to load-up on punches, he will pay severely for it. However, he does have the ability to exploit Floyd’s going off-balance: when Mayweather leads with a crisp right-cross -- and he surely will tomorrow -- he tends to bend at the waist, and hop out to the side. Manny need not land a hard counter -- just an accurate one. If he does score a knockdown, even just because Floyd was off-balance, that’s a 10-8 round. And that alone could be the difference on the score cards.

As much as I respect Manny Pacquiao, I definitely favor Floyd Mayweather. I think that “hit and don’t get hit” is the proper approach to the Great Sport. Floyd has accomplished this to great success, actually in two distinct (though related) manners in his career. For the early through middle years, he simply imposed himself on opponents. His 1-20-’01 destruction of undefeated champion Diego Corrales is the best example. I’d also include his 6-25-05 bout against Arturo Gatti; in it, Floyd reminded me of Ali devastating Cleveland “Big Cat” Williams, and landing at an unreal rate.

More recently, Floyd has displayed the ability of a technician, which is rare, indeed. He’s able to measure the exact rate that a Zab Judah or an Oscar de la Hoys will tire. Then exploit it fully. He played with Juan Manuel Marquez, himself a legendary ring technician. Floyd defined controlling the geography of the ring against the much larger Canelo Alvarez. Against Mosley, he showed he could take a very hard, accurate punch that he never saw coming. And with Cotto and in the first Maidana bout, Floyd showed physical strength and endurance.

It’s fascinating to see that Floyd has gone “old school” in this training camp. I was the guest on a sports-radio show last night, with two hosts who had interviewed Floyd the day before; his camp is among the things that has all three of us thinking Floyd may win in impressive fashion in the late rounds. The pre-fight specials show that he is setting down, and lifting from his feet up, hard body shots. (Manny’s first two knockout loses resulted from body punches.)

Floyd is also chopping wood. Reportedly, a lot of it. This results in greater punching-power. This is especially true for punches that he “turns over” (meaning turning his wrist/fist when a punch lands). It seems likely that he will open a cut, somewhere on Manny’s brow, by the middle rounds. It also means that should Manny come straight in with his chin up, or moves straight back after an exchange -- both things he does too often -- he may be knocked to the canvas.

Still, no fighter has shown a greater understanding of a title fight consisting of 12 three-minute rounds than Floyd. While he no longer wins every minute of every round, he has an uncanny ability to “keep score” in his head, and turn on the punches when needed. His defensive skills are legendary: most opponents miss punches at a career-high rate. In response, Floyd lands his punches at a higher rate than any other fighter.

I expect the bout to be fairly even for six rounds. After that, Floyd should be able to impose himself on Manny, with his advantages in size, strength, and smarts. By round nine, I expect Floyd to become more aggressive than most people expect; this doesn’t have to include coming forward, stalking Pacquiao constantly. But it does mean initiating the action with blinding speed.

The most likely outcome is a decision victory for Mayweather. However, a late round TKO isn’t going to surprise me. (In fact, nothing will!)

Enjoy the fight!

Power & Ms. Mosby

Marilyn Mosby just renewed my faith in the ability of good people to transcend the mechanics of “the system,” and to bring about social justice. I realize that she is, in a sense, the public face of a large team. Yet she is clearly the powerful and capable leader of that team.

This is a historic day. The struggle is far, far from over. But we should take time to appreciate the significance of the press conference that we have just seen.

H2O Man

Hillary Clinton & Hydro-Fracking

The article linked to below is from the September-October issue of Mother Jones. It is a story about how the US State Department -- and specifically Hillary Clinton -- used their position to advocate for a $68 million deal for Chevron to be able to hydro-frack in Bulgaria.


It is this type of thing that causes people like myself -- a registered Democrat, who has voted for the Democratic Party’s candidate in virtually every election since I reached the voting age -- to question if we can in good conscience support Hillary Clinton for president.

The pro-Clinton people, including here on DU:GD, do not seem to want to have an open and honest discussion about this type of issue. Rather, when a DU community member such as myself raises this concern, it tends to be ignored, or marginalized, or the character of the person raising the question is attacked.

Those are the three sticks that many of the pro-Clinton folks swing, in my opinion, in order to either silence or distract from serious discussions of these types of issues. Because I don’t feel (or fear) such sticks, I thought it might be good if I brought this one to the table.

I do so not in an attempt to deny the many good qualities that I recognize Hillary Clinton as having. These include, but are not limited to, her being a strong advocate for women and children, and on LGBT issues. Those are all extremely important, and the fact is that Ms. Clinton has been a long-time, and consistent, leader in these areas. Likewise, I respect her for her role in advocating for affordable health-care for human beings.

Non-issues, ranging from Benghazi to “Clinton Cash” play zero role in my opinion about Ms. Clinton. Indeed, she has been the target of some of the most delusional projections from the decaying minds of the rabid-right for decades. And a huge amount of that, quite obviously, is the direct result of a deeply-rooted fear of and hatred for powerful women that infects our culture.

The issues involved in fracking are distinct from the nonsense. Attempts to portray these concerns as being much the same are, at best, dishonest. Efforts to paint it as a “single issue,” and those who are concerned about it as “purists,” are, at best, uninformed. And the refusal to acknowledge these concerns, and to discuss them openly and honestly, does not speak to the good will of the pro-Clinton members of this community.

There is a disconnect between being an advocate of health care, and being a supporter of the energy corporations’ efforts to capitalize upon “natural resources” in a manner that is extremely destructive to the environment. Fracking poisons the air, soil, and especially water in a manner that poses serious health hazards to human beings and all other living things. As such, it cannot be dismissed as a “single issue” that is of relatively little significance in the “big picture” -- unless, of course, one is willing to accept the lies from corporate “leaders” such as Dick Cheney.

I will be interested in what, if any responses this OP gets from the pro-Clinton people here on the forum. My essay and link are not intended as an attack, either upon them, or on Hillary Clinton. Rather, it is an attempt to communicate the seriousness of many of our concerns regarding Ms. Clinton, and her presidential campaign.

H2O Man

Road-Rage Incident/ Court Hearing

“Let justice flow down like water, and righteousness a mighty stream.”
-- Amos 5:24

There was a pre-trial court hearing in Norwich, NY, today for John Guzy, the man who shot my cousin and his son last October. The incident, which was a case of “road rage,” is something that I’ve wrote about here on DU:GD previously. In fact, with the support of the DU community, we were able to set the county’s record for both contacts with the District Attorney and Judge, with people demanding that bail not be set for Guzy.

In today’s hearing, the defendant’s attorney requested that the judge block the prosecutor from using any of the physical evidence and all statements his client made to police, before being arrested. This is because Guzy has recently decided upon another lie that he hopes to tell the jury -- that his victims had been stalking him, and that a desperate last resort, he had to shoot them to save his own life.

The attorney also requested the court bar any mention of a similar case, just two month’s prior, where Guzy had dogged another vehicle on Rt. 17 -- a four-lane highway, in which he could have simply passed -- then pulled ahead, slammed on his brakes, and got out of his vehicle and pointed his handgun at the other vehicle. They escaped injury, but reported the incident to police. Guzy pleaded guilty, apparently to a lesser charge. This was one of four very similar incidents of Guzy -- a retired NYC cop, who was employed by the county Sheriff’s department in October -- threatening people’s lives with his gun. In fact, he had discharged the weapon in the direction of his neighbor’s children last summer, while they were on their own property, because they were making noise that annoyed him.

My youngest daughter and I were among nine of our extended family in court today. It is extremely rough for my cousin, who held his son while he bled to death on a gravel parking lot, and my aunt and uncle (in their late 80s). To sit and look at this vile individual was difficult. I was glad that he was chained, hands and feet.

The decision about the evidence will take at least two months. We are confident that he doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Two NYS Police officers, including a Senior Investigator for the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, testified. They also produced recordings of Guzy’s initial lies to police, when on his own accord, he went to press charges against his victims. He believed at the time that both were dead, and thus that there were no witnesses to dispute his lies.

The actual trial hasn’t been scheduled yet. It could be in October, or perhaps later. (One scheduling issue is that my cousin and I are planning a trip to Ireland and Scotland. I’m just getting a one-way ticket. I expect he may opt to return.)

I will keep folks here updated as things progress.

H2O Man

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!
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