H2O Man's Journal
Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 08:49 PM
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Years ago, I attended a wedding of a cousin-in-law. He was, at the time, an attorney in an area prosecutor’s office. Hence, at both the ceremony and reception, there were numerous lawyers. I noticed, at the reception, that they had gathered in one room -- some who practiced civil law, some defense lawyers, some prosecutors, and even a couple of judges. I thought it was interesting that they had secluded themselves in one room, and that no one who hadn’t passed the bar ventured in there.
Being a man of few social graces, and no sense of boundaries, I walked in and found a seat. All discussion in the room came to an abrupt halt upon my entering the room. It remained silent for a moment after I sat down. I noticed that all of “the boys” were looking at me. Hence, I considered the possibility that it was my presence that resulted in the deafening silence.
I had been looking at a house and property that was going for sale. The previous inhabitant had moved to Florida. The bank that held the mortgage was looking to make their money back. I knew that in upstate New York, lawyers frequently purchased such properties for a large discount, and either turned them into rental properties, or re-sold them for a hefty profit. That was the way the game was played. Indeed, in discussing this property, there were a couple of gentlemen who were aware of it.
Thus, I said that I wanted to be dealt in on this one hand. I said that I wanted to raise my children in that house. I wasn’t interest in becoming a land lord, or in selling property. So I politely requested that they not compete against me on this one place. I said that I wanted to be dealt in on this one hand, and this hand only. They all were good with that.
When I bought the house -- which I’ve called “home” ever since -- I got a loan through HUD. At the time, HUD had a well-deserved reputation for corruption. The lawyers from HUD actually did attempt to strong-arm me for additional cash for the closing, literally the night before we were set to sign the paper work. I knew they were full of shit, and called them on it the next morning.
While I don’t mistake myself for an ”expert,” I knew the rules of the game. For example, I didn’t need to hire my own attorney on the closing; the attorney for the bank could represent my interests, without any conflict of interests. By the time the closing ended, the attorney for the bank -- who had been in that room at the reception -- offered me a job as a para-legal at his law office. But that’s not why I’ve told this true story.
Lawyers, even if they oppose each other in a criminal trial, are all officers of the court. They are loyal to the court system. They identify with that status -- even when socializing at wedding receptions, for example. I remember talking about this with a good friend and co-worker at the mental health clinic. He told me about how, after lunch-time basketball games at the YMCA, he would overhear different lawyers cutting deals on cases in the locker room.
Many, though not all, of our elected representatives in Washington, DC, are lawyers. But, they are usually loyal to a different club, the House and/or Senate. They may be opposed to one another at work -- both before and after lunch -- but they all recognize that they belong to an elite institution. (It is true, however, that many reject the wining-and-dining that used to be common after the sun goes down. But, I suppose, you can’t really blame anyone for not wanting to hang out with Ted Cruz, right?)
Now, please don’t get me wrong here. I know that this social dynamic isn’t limited to lawyers and politicians. Law enforcement, for example, seems to encourage socializing with others in the same field. But limiting your social circle in such a manner can lead to equally limited thinking. More, it can impact behaviors, due to an “us vs. them” mentality.
This may be pure speculation upon my part, but I think that some of the hostility that we see on the part of establishment Democrats towards Bernie Sanders is related to this type of socialization. And that includes the behaviors of some of the very good people who are part of the establishment. Does that make sense?
A lot of our elder statesmen and stateswomen have had long, solid, and respectable careers -- often including their histories before they became politicians. And that’s a good thing, and honorable. We need more good people to, like them, enter politics, and to become part of the establishment. That’s essential, including for minority communities, and really for all of us. For example, while I identify as a white male, I benefit from having diverse people in government, obviously included both non-whites and females. It surely isn’t the same benefits that advocates of all-white, all-male government were (and are) after. For social justice has never been on their agenda.
Yet, even at his age, Bernie is still fighting for social justice, and looking for our country to accomplish those goals he had identified in his early adulthood. And he’s a man of the common people, rather than a member of an elitist social club. As he recently noted, he is not good friends with Henry Kissinger, or his ilk, people who are members ingood standing within that club.
We want the good cops to prevent the bad cops from having a badge and gun. Likewise, we want good politicians to identify the ethically diseased ones within their ranks. The scum intheir club.
More, Bernie is vocal about the corruption in politics. That corruption includes large sums of money. As a common citizen, I understand why people both need and like money. And that big money has, unfortunately, been connected with getting elected and re-elected. And that the circle of government, lobbying, and the corporate world provides temptations ….and if one is looking to earn real money, it can be easy to justify cozy relationships with those advocating deals that profit everyone -- in the club. I get that.
But for those who follow this well-worn path, it must sting to see Bernie campaigning for president in the way he does ….exposing that corruption. Especially because when the public hears Bernie speak, they know he is telling the truth, and if enough people really listen to him, it will mean serious changes in the game. there are going to be a lot of registered voters, saying that they want to be dealt in on this hand in the game of politics.
A lot of people don’t want the rules of the game to change. And why would they? For they are comfortable with things being just the way that they are.
But there are more of us, than of them. It’s as simple as that.
Posted by H2O Man | Sat Feb 13, 2016, 07:16 PM (38 replies)
I attended an afternoon meeting with a handful of people from the Democratic Party and the Democratic Left. As might be expected, part of the discussion centered upon the Democratic primary contest. Of particular interest, of course, was last night’s debate.
One gentleman -- who is of my generation -- began discussing the outfit that Hillary Clinton wore last night. A young man, who is a college student, cut that discussion off quickly. He supports Bernie Sanders, he said, but not because he didn’t respect Hillary Clinton. In fact, he said that he hoped everyone would be respectful enough to not think of outfits and the like as campaign issues.
Everyone agreed that he was correct.
This young generation! There are a lot of powerful agents of change there!
Posted by H2O Man | Fri Feb 12, 2016, 07:46 PM (17 replies)
“I’m not an old, experienced hand at politics. But I am now seasoned enough to have learned that the hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning.”
-- Adlai Stevenson
Throughout the day, and especially during last night’s debate, I found myself thinking of Adlai Stevenson. Older forum members will recall Adlai as a good man, an intellectual Democrat who twice was our party’s nominee for president. Unfortunately for him, those runs were in 1952 and ‘56, when he opposed Dwight Eisenhower, a symbol of American strength. For Adlai and his strong supporters, this was frustrating, for surely he had the background and experience to make him superior in qualifications to serve as Chief Executive.
However, in both elections, people voted with their hearts, not their minds, and twice put Ike in office. Adding insult to injury, this placed Richard Nixon a heart-beat away from the Oval Office. Indeed, Nixon was a central theme in Adlai’s 1956 campaign.
Early in the 2008 Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton was positioned as the party’s inevitable nominee. As 2007 turned to 2008, there were a couple capable candidates running against her, that her campaign took seriously. But Senator Barack Obama was not considered a real threat. In a relatively short time, however, it was evident that the Clinton campaign had underestimated Obama.
The Clinton campaign and its strongest supporters believed that people were voting with their hearts, and not their heads, and thus were going to nominate a candidate who could not possibly win the general election.
When Bernie Sanders entered the 2016 Democratic primaries last year, the Clinton campaign did not view him as a serious threat. Again, they believed her securing our party’s nomination was inevitable. Those few candidates who might have provided more serious primary competition had opted to not run. For a variety of reasons, it was assumed that Sanders was intent upon making a symbolic run, in an attempt to bring Hillary a little to the left.
By now, it is clear that the Sanders campaign has the potential to defeat Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. There is a Shakespearean flavor to the primary dynamics. First, while she was First Lady, Hillary was viciously attacked by rabid republicans as a Marxist; now, a self-identified socialist virtually ties her in Iowa, then wins in a New Hampshire landslide. More, Sanders campaign is fueled not only by passionate young adults -- vital to the Obama coalition’s victories -- but also by women.
The frustrated response to this has been given voice by a couple of high-profile Hillary supporters, who speak of things such as “the hottest places in hell,” and “where the boys are.” The bitterness was also expressed, in an article that was featured in a DU:GDP OP recently, by a university professor with very real political experience. She spoke of the betrayal of women who would vote for Bernie, noting that this was the second time a charismatic male threatened to defeat Clinton in the Democratic primaries.
I do not doubt that Hillary Clinton can win the nomination. But I am concerned that her campaign is being run by people who are intent upon winning, even if in doing so, they show they are not worthy of winning.
Posted by H2O Man | Fri Feb 12, 2016, 12:12 PM (10 replies)
I really enjoyed tonight's debate. I think that Bernie Sanders had his best performance to date. It seems to be that he is becoming a stronger candidate, and the timing couldn't be better.
My favorite part was when he talked about Henry Kissinger. That was wonderful. The second-best thing was when he said that we shouldn't insult the American public's intelligence, by pretending that campaign contributions from billionaires and multi-national corporations are anything but influence-buying.
I hope that everyone enjoyed the debate!
Posted by H2O Man | Fri Feb 12, 2016, 12:06 AM (62 replies)
“I count no sacrifice too great for seeing God face-to-face. The whole of my activity, be it called social, political, humanitarian, or ethical, is directed to that end. And as I know that God is found more often in the lowliest of his creatures than in the high and mighty, I am struggling to reach the status of these. I cannot do so without their service. Hence, my passion for the service of the suppressed classes. And as I cannot render this service without entering politics, I find myself in them.”
-- Mohandas K. Gandhi
In a recent campaign event, Bernie Sanders was asked about his religious/ spiritual belief system. He gave an intense answer, with none of the plastic that we can normally expect from a candidate running to be president. The same people who insist that President Obama is an Islamic atheist will, of course, attempt to attack Sanders for his heritage and religion; however, rational people found his integrity as a human being to be reassuring.
The Constitution contains what is known as the “No Religious Test Clause,” or Article VI, Clause 3. It is pretty clear: “…; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” Still, not all self-proclaimed patriots are interested in what the Constitution says.
The topic of religion and politics always involves some degree of tension. In today’s world, there are numerous examples of intolerance and violence upon the part of those who wish to inflict their religion upon others. And our nation has a history of denying human rights to groups of people, based upon the religious ideology of the majority. Thus, every time a republican states, inaccurately, that we are a “Christian nation,” it’s cause for concern. For the republican goal is to deny human rights to those who do not share their particular belief system.
Martin Luther King, Jr., as we know, was a registered republican up until the 1960 presidential election. His father was, too. But in that year, King recognized that a Kennedy administration offered greater promise to the Civil Rights movement. His ministry -- particularly in the 1960s -- offers us a powerful example of the proper relationship between a person practicing their own religion, while being active in social-political issues. For King wasn’t seeking to restrict anyone’s rights -- he was attempting to expand everyone’s rights as American citizens. And that, to me, is the difference between sugar and shit.
Yet, King faced fierce opposition …..primarily from Christians. Much of it was quite simply due to gross racism. But a significant amount of his opposition was because he was considered to be a socialist. And, in fact, he was. However, he was not attracted to the Soviet model, which was actually a form of limited state capitalism, or to “Red” China’s authoritarian version. King looked to the advances being made in European nations with mixed economies.
I was fortunate, as a youth, to have a mentor who had been friends with King. My friend had also been acquainted with Malcolm X, who by no coincidence had also begun to lean towards socialism in his final years of life. Years ago, when the movie “The Hurricane” came out, I showed some of Rubin’s letters, from while he was incarcerated, to co-workers at the mental health clinic. I remember one, who had studied to be a Jesuit, saying, “Oh, cool. Liberation theology.” (I would introduce several of my co-workers to Rubin back then, too.)
In sociological studies, “liberation theology” is usually described as having its roots in the Catholic Church, and being prominent in Central American’s struggle to gain freedom in the 1980s. That’s accurate for the Christian strain, though its actual history goes back much further. More, it is not dependant upon “religion” -- Rubin, for but one example, was an atheist. He reminded me, somewhat, of Carl Sagan, in that he didn’t discount the possibility of “God,” but thought that the general description, or definition, that most people accepted was not only restrictive and inaccurate, but frequently presented a stumbling block to individual and group growth and human progress.
As an old man who favors liberation theology, I find the Bernie Sanders campaign to offer the greatest promise for advances in the quality of human life, here in the United States, on planet earth. The time for this is now, not in the afterlife. Like Rubin, I believe in science, and am convinced, for example, that advances in modern medicine are miracles. I do not believe that such miracles should be granted to the highest bidder, any more than I think that rights to water and air are the private property of large corporations.
I know that this universe -- which is a miracle -- is billions of years old. I recognize that the earth is not the exact center of the universe, at least not to anyone not inhabiting the earth. From my house, I can hear a nearby creek running, especially after a hard rain; I recognize that as true power. I know that all life on earth -- including the family tree that led to modern humans -- originated in the great oceans. And I know that climate change is a reality, and that our current global crises relating to climate change is a result of our ignorant and greedy destruction of the natural world.
What type of Democratic socialist who practices liberation theology supports Bernie Sanders, you ask? To provide an answer worthy of the DU community, I find I must quote from James Simon Kunen’s classic, “The Strawberry Statement: Notes of a College Revolutionary” (Avon Books; 1969):
“ ….I, for one, strongly support trees (and, in the larger sense, forests), flowers, mountains and hills; also, valleys, the ocean, wiliness (when used for good), good, little children, tremendous, record-setting snowstorms, hurricanes, swimming underwater, nice policemen, unicorns, extra-inning ball games up to twelve innings, pneumatic jackhammers (when they’re not too close), the dunes in North Truro on Cap Cod, liberalized abortion laws, and Raggedy Ann dolls, among other things.” (page 10)
Kunen listed things he disliked, including three that he was working to change: racism, poverty, and war
The Sanders campaign provides us with the opportunity to institute serious changes in our society. In part, it has the promise of combating the “-isms” that are social pathologies, and which crush human lives. And, in part, it provides fertile ground for every person to reach their full potential. To reach that potential, people need access to education and health care. And that’s why I support Bernie Sanders for president.
Posted by H2O Man | Thu Feb 11, 2016, 02:39 PM (6 replies)
“The question is not if we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.”
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Yesterday’s New Hampshire primary contests marked, in a very public way, the beginning of a significant shift in the political landscape. This does not mean the movement creating that shift is new; quite the opposite: such movements are always deeply rooted in the American experience. Take, for example, the concept of “social justice” -- a term currently applied to the economics of education and healthcare, among other things -- which can be traced back to the 1840s.
We find such a shift occurring in the early 1800’s, when our nation shifted from being a Constitutional Republic, to a Constitutional Democracy. An important documentation of that shift is found in Sean Wilentz’s “The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln” ( W.W. Norton & Co; 2005):
“Important elements of democracy existed in the infant American republic of the 1780s, but the republic was not democratic. Nor, in the minds of those who governed it, was it supposed to be. A republic -- the res publica, or ’public thing’ -- was meant to secure the common good through the ministrations of the most worthy, enlightened men. A democracy -- derived from demos krato, ’rule of the people’ -- dangerously handed power to the impassioned, unenlightened masses.” -- page xvii.
Though the political parties that take the names “Democratic” and “republican” have undergone changes over their many years of existence, today they both tend to offer those two very different options for leadership -- rule by “elites” versus rule of the people. Thus, it comes as no surprise when a republican such as Antonin Scalia -- speaking to a private group --states that democracy “obscures the divine authority behind government,” since divinely-inspired law demands that our nation’s elite rule. (Kevin Phillips; American Dynasty; Viking; 2004; pages 107-8).
That “divine authority” must, by definition, demands the worship of the dollar. Surely, the current republicans do not look to the most “worthy, enlightened” for leadership on global warming, or they’d listen to scientists. Instead, they look to the very corporate leaders who are most responsible for the gross destruction of the living environment. That’s the same as looking to the tobacco industry to evaluate the risks of smoking.
Bernie Sanders has noted that a handful of billionaires exercise control over the political life in the United States. The US Supreme Court has ruled that corporations have the right to “free speech,” meaning they can buy elections. I think that every member of the DU community recognizes that this represents the greatest threat to democracy in our country. And, of course, by controlling government, that elite group rules in economic matters. That’s a level of power that few would hand over, without a struggle.
The last American who threatened the political and economic power of the elite was Martin Luther King, Jr. There were, of course, plenty of people who hated him when he was struggling for Civil Rights. Some of them wanted to kill him. Yet, when King expanded his ministry in 1967 and ’68, he faced new opposition. The 1% didn’t care if King could drink coffee at a counter, or use any men’s public restroom. They don’t drink coffee at lunch-counters.
Without addressing the last day of King’s life -- and please do not do so here -- it is now well-documented that Army Intelligence was following King around the US, including at Memphis. More, on the floor of the US Senate, Robert Byrd advocated that King be incarcerated, before he could lead his proposed “Poor People’s Campaign” in Washington, DC. Neither Army Intelligence or Senator Byrd was freaking out because they thought King might drink coffee and pee in a public restroom. No, they were in favor of utterly violating the Constitution of the United States, because they were convinced that King’s movement for social justice posed a threat to the economic dictatorship of the 1%.
Sanders’s proposals, like King’s, are revolutionary. Now, as we know, the elites are not opposed to “revolution.” They still benefit from the evils of the “Reagan Revolution.” For that revolution shifted the economic power of America’s middle class to the 1%’s account books. But they are damned sure opposed to shifting the power back to the citizens of the United States. Indeed, they are the most class-conscious group in America, and they want to continue to impose rules that only allow their side to engage in class warfare.
They were panicked by “Occupy” -- which was a modern version of King’s “Poor People’s Campaign.” It is an error to underestimate the power of the Occupy movement. Or, the response to it. It’s no coincidence that many of the early supporters of Bernie’s campaign were activists involved in Occupy across the country.
Yesterday’s New Hampshire primary was extremely important. It’s not just the Clinton campaign that is concerned about the Sanders movement’s growing power. The marionettes that pull the strings on republican politicians can say that they’d love to run against Bernie in the fall, but that absolutely is not true. They don’t need a Fox talking head to know which way the winds blow.
We need to keep our eyes on the prize. Keep fighting the Good Fight. I know some of us here will continue to campaign for Hillary, and some for Bernie. And that’s good. Let’s keep doing as our conscience dictates, no matter which candidate we support in the primaries. And we can actually do that, without attacking the character of the other candidate, or those supporting their campaign. In fact, we can do a better job of advocating for our favored candidate, if we avoid the temptation to take a shot at the other campaign.
No matter which candidate wins the primary, at the Democratic National Convention, both are going to have a say. And each will be speaking from a position of power. For in the final analysis, we aren’t in a position to turn our backs on each other. There is a shift of power going on in this country, that demands our best efforts to succeed.
Posted by H2O Man | Wed Feb 10, 2016, 03:06 PM (30 replies)
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.
Posted by H2O Man | Tue Feb 9, 2016, 07:38 PM (21 replies)
“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.
Posted by H2O Man | Tue Feb 9, 2016, 05:50 PM (3 replies)
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.
Posted by H2O Man | Mon Feb 8, 2016, 08:23 PM (39 replies)
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.
Posted by H2O Man | Sun Feb 7, 2016, 09:26 PM (61 replies)