H2O Man's Journal
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It is said that when the ancient philosopher Confucius was asked what he would do, if he was granted political authority, he responded, “Insist that people use words correctly.” While he may not have been speaking of the 2016 Democratic primary specifically, I am convinced he would have included the word “progressive” as one with a real meaning. That word continues to be misused today, when applied to the two Democratic candidates.
My father was a first-generation product of an Irish immigrant family. Most of the extended family worked on the railroads in the northeast. They were all union activists. Dad’s favorite aunt, Mary, was a charter member of the national Order of Telegraphers Union. Hence, my father passed down her definitions to me, as a family heirloom. These definitions apply accurately to the membership of the Democratic Party.
There are four basic sub-groups of Democrats. While the party has definitely shifted to the right since 1980, those definitions still hold. Going from right to left, there are: conservatives, moderates, liberals, and progressives. Obviously, not everyone fits neatly into the various groups. There can be differences, for example, in an individual’s beliefs on domestic and international affairs. Yet, the sum total of their beliefs tend to fit into one of the four groups.
The growth in the numbers of conservative Democrats accounts for the party’s shift to the right. The most obvious example of this was President Bill Clinton. His political beliefs were known as “Third Way,” as they combined both republican and Democratic values. Thus, the correct identification for this type of Democrat is “conservative,” or centrist. Still, some people misidentify President Clinton as a “liberal,” despite his record on important issues ranging from international trade deals to public assistance.
Perhaps the two most important groups in the context of the current primary are “liberal” and “progressive.” By definition, liberals seek to fine-tune the system by way of gradual change. Progressives, on the other hand, seek fundamental changes to the system. Senator Bernie Sanders is a perfect example of a progressive. We see this in his approach to the international trade deals, and in his health care proposals.
Hillary Clinton has stated during the campaign that she is a progressive. She was challenged on this during one of the debates, when a moderator played a recent film clip of her speaking to a conservative audience, where she took pride in identifying herself as a moderate. This attempt to be all things to all people is not something Clinton invented -- it is not a new political tactic. But it is much harder to pull off these days, with the internet.
The Clinton campaign likes to portray Sanders as a radical. Perhaps the concept of social justice is radical today. They like to call his supporters dangerous extremists. Certainly, the environmental crisis we face presents very real dangers, and it will require extreme dedication in order to deal successfully with it.
We live in an “extreme” period of time. It is not possible to confront and resolve the extreme problems we face with a moderate approach. There may have been many times when a moderate politician, or a conservative Democrat, would be the best choice for president. Or, at least the safest choice. But that is not true today. We need a true progressive in the White House, who has the moral authority to call forth progressives at the grass roots, in order to deal with the extreme damage that has been done to our country by the 1% since 1980.
Add to this that as we approach the Democratic National Convention, neither Hillary or Bernie has the number of delegates required to put them over the top. Thus, the “super delegates” will be selecting the candidate that gets the nomination. It is safe to say that 100% of these “super delegates” are establishmentarians. A few might be liberal, but the vast majority are moderate and conservative Democrats. None are progressives.
It is anticipated that, barring unforeseen circumstances, they will be loyal to the Clinton dynasty. This will not transform Hillary into a more attractive candidate with the progressive community; rather, it will serve to confirm the negative impression they have of her. And despite her campaign’s attempts to portray her as so gosh darned popular that her presidency is inevitable, a growing awareness among her top advisers points to the great difficulty she would encounter in the general election. “There’s no where else for them to go” isn’t a strategy -- it is an attempt to justify the vicious attacks that her people have unleashed at the Sanders revolution.
Some progressive Democrats would definitely vote for Hillary if she is given the nomination by the “super delegates.” And Clinton has the ability to convince others, between the convention and November, that she represents the lesser of two evils. It is certainly possible that she could win the general election. However, it is a shame that the Clinton campaign has no chance, at this time, of gaining enthusiastic progressive support, and has totally alienated the Democratic Left.
If Bernie gets the nomination, it is unlikely that the moderate and conservative Democrats would support Trump. Of course, they won’t be invested in campaigning for Sanders. But as long as they vote for him, Bernie will crush Donald Trump like a grape.
Posted by H2O Man | Thu May 12, 2016, 12:52 PM (69 replies)
Two months ago, on a political discussion internet forum where the Democratic primary was being debated, I posted a brief bit that included two simple questions: First, if the general election contest came down to Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump, who did people think the Bush family would support? And second, why?
It seemed to be valid questions to ask on my favorite internet discussion site, the Democratic Underground.
(See: http://www.democraticunderground.com/12511524583 )
The majority of those responding shared their thoughts, recognizing that there are no “right” or “wrong” answers to questions on personal opinions. I will speculate that most of those who said the Bush family would support Hillary were likely Bernie supporters. Likewise, I am confident that all of those who responded by attacking me for merely posing the question are Clinton supporters.
These included those who called my question “an artful smear,” and “an obvious attempt to tarnish Hillary.” Minister Malcolm X said that when something he said made his opposition squeal, he knew he had raised an important point. I’ve kept this in mind, when I have similar responses from that group of people, including when I post the essays from this blog on that site. It is not that I am foolish enough to think that I am always right, or that every issue involves “right versus wrong.” Rather, I’m just expressing my opinion.
In the context of a potential Clinton versus Trump general election, it is relevant -- indeed, important -- that one takes into account what the establishment values in a candidate. More, while discussing the 1% of the American people, the “economic elite,” one must recognize that they do not self-identify as belonging to either of the two major political parties. The only “team” they belong to is the one-percent economic elite. It is delusional for “average” citizens to believe that those in the establishment, from either party, identify with them more than the elites from the opposing party.
Even before this election season, the close relationship between the Bush and Clinton families was well known. The fact that Bill and Hillary frequently vacation with Henry Kissinger, one of the last century’s most evil war criminals, illustrates the cozy relationships among the elites of “opposing” political parties. More, in recent weeks, not only have Bush the Elder, Bush the Village Idiot, and Jeb gone on the record as saying they will not support Donald Trump in the general election, but Laura “Pickles” Bush has stated that she favors Hillary. Even one of the infamous Koch brothers has endorsed Clinton.
Why is this important? In part, because it shows something that many of us already understood: the Clinton campaign is writing off the progressive community, and instead is courting the support of the republican establishment. Now, I think it is important to note that the candidate herself would like to have the support of progressives ….including those who are registered in the Democratic Party, as well as the independents of the Democratic Left. Indeed, in some instances, Hillary has incorrectly identified herself as a “progressive.” This, of course, contrasts to her descriptions of herself in front of conservative audiences.
Current reports in the media show that the Clinton campaign is now trying to romance the “Bush donor list” for funding for the fall election. It is safe to say their appeals for more corporate millions is not based upon her “progressive” bona fides.
Wall Street is not an avenue for progressive change. Its residents do not share the same agenda as the 99%. Its inhabitants are not political party loyalists. Quite the opposite: they have been engaged in a class warfare that seeks to exploit the American public, just the same as other parasites -- such as tapeworms -- seek to exploit their hosts. And they count upon the politically blind, deaf, and dumb to resent it when someone points out the truth to them.
Luckily, the Sanders revolution continues to tell the truth. And because it isn’t “all about Bernie,” the movement continues, no matter what the outcome of the Democratic National Convention, or the November election.
Posted by H2O Man | Tue May 10, 2016, 02:08 PM (78 replies)
“White man celebrates something that happened 2,000 years ago. To him, nothing’s happened since then. It’s all over. All he can do is remember. Indian’s celebrate what’s happening now. When the sacred strawberries come up in early spring, that’s what we celebrate. They’re not just strawberries to us. They’re the Creator’s gift to his children. They’re good to eat, good to drink. But more than that, they have the Creator’s power in them.”
-- Chief Louis Farmer; Eel Clan; Onondaga Nation.
Every four years, the majority of republicans in their primary will speak of the United States as being a “Christian nation.” That leap year mythology -- that the Founding Fathers political beliefs were rooted in their church -- is clearly false: a reading of Jefferson’s writings, for example, knocks the legs out from under this attempted leap of faith before it can jump off the ground. Clearly, these men were intent upon a wall of separation between church and state.
There have been a number of Americans who have exercised their personal religious beliefs in a manner that advanced social justice in our country. The majority of these men and women were not career politicians. Not all of them were Christians. Indeed, not all of those advocating for social justice are religious.
Likewise, in today’s society, there are a number of honorable people who are committed to the Good Fight -- the struggle for social justice -- and this includes, but is clearly not limited to, some who are Christians. Yet, if we step outside the picture frame to get an objective view of America, based upon the message that the Pope delivered while touring our country last year, the United States is not in a position to claim an elite, moral high-ground.
The above quote from Chief Farmer helps to define one of the stumbling blocks that prevents our country from reaching that potential. It’s a cultural dynamic that is not limited to religion, though the overlapping results from this form of disconnect is expanded by the mindset that Chief Farmer identified. It’s found in the removal of Jesus from where he rightly belongs -- in the context of humanity -- and placing his image on a stained glass window. It is found in the wealthy using donations to a church as a convenient tax write-off. The stumbling block is found in mega-churches that worship opulence.
It is not a coincidence that Senator Bernie Sanders’s campaign in rooted in the same spirit as found in the Pope’s message to America. The media tended to provide good coverage of the Pope. And they were pretty accurate in delivering his message. That same media, while it no longer completely ignores Bernie, continues to have largely negative coverage of Sanders’s message.
The result has been that “social media” has been the vehicle that propels the Sanders campaign. Those who are getting their “news” from a variety of sources, tend to have different opinions about the primary, than those who primarily get their “news” watching television. It’s good that the debates allowed the public to compare and contrast both candidates’ position. It’s good to listen to their campaign speeches. And to watch old clips on You Tube, and consider who has been consistent.
The republican primary provided a great deal of entertainment to human beings. But it apparently was a painful experience for the republican establishment. Still, it is an important chapter in political history, and it is something that we should both take seriously, and study closely.
Sometimes, the media can fool people into trusting their enemies, and despising their friends. For example, if one believes the media, then every person supporting Trump is a racist. Now, it may be true that every racist supports Trump. Even if by chance that was true, there are still plenty of people who support him for other reasons. These might be reasons that I disagree with. Still, I know that most people who hunt and fish are good environmentalists. Thus, I am comfortable in dealing with them on that common ground.
It’s good to look for common ground, and work from there. It beats the heck out of giving those who disagree with you a label that misrepresents and de-personalizes them ….and then trying to cooperate with them. Not surprisingly, this very thing happens within our party.
I suspect that most of the Clinton supporters to mistake our support of Bernie for a “cult of personality” are sincere. They experience that separation, that results in their being in “fan clubs” for politicians, athletes, and movie stars. So long as they are incapable of grasping that Sanders’s message is a very real social possibility, it remains impossible for them to understand why so many people are working harder for Senator Sanders than they ever have for any other politician. This does not make Clinton supporters bad people, unethical or immoral. It simply means that the Truth has not taken root in them. Thus, while they do not walk in the total darkness of, say, that now extinct species, Ted Cruz supporters, there is a heavy morning fog that prevents them from seeing the rising sun.
Those who inhabit that foggy bottom land tend to be on edge when confronted with “new” thinking. It’s easy to celebrate Martin Luther King’s holiday these days, while ignoring his social gospel. Just like it is more comfortable to edit the message of Philip and Daniel Berrigan from our collective social conscience, than to connect their messages on what the Vietnam War was doing to America’s soul, from the US involvement in the Middle East today.
Our society is facing extremely serious problems. Pretending that climate change isn’t a pressing issue -- indeed, the most intense threat that humanity faces -- won’t make it safer to continue living like we do. Forgetting that US forces are engaged in violence every day does not change the reality that they are. Lying to ourselves about how corruption has saturated our political system can only cause that corruption to become more entrenched, something that might seem impossible when one looks at Washington, DC today.
To the extent that we can work together with individuals and groups that think differently than ourselves, we will be successful in addressing these crises that confront us all. For we are not sitting on some imaginary fence (or great wall) that will provide safety and comfort for some, while damaging others. Things like earthquakes and cancer touch everyone’s lives.
At a time when every social group appears to be contracting, and becoming more emotionally out of touch with others, only one national group is actually growing. It’s what is known as the Sanders Revolution. It’s a non-violent revolution: we aren’t throwing bricks from rooftops, we are simply trying to discuss issues that normally aren’t talked about in campaigns. It’s not one group seeking to grab power over others: what we are advocating is social justice, which benefits everyone.
An Lamh Foisteanach Abu!
Posted by H2O Man | Mon May 9, 2016, 09:47 PM (21 replies)
Question: "Jefferson and Franklin modeled the Articles of Confederation and later, the U.S. Constitution, on the Iroquois Confederacy. Ideas such as federalism, states’ rights, and individual freedoms were native concepts. What important lessons didn’t the U.S. learn?"
Chief Paul Waterman: "Democracy. Because democracy means being honest and telling the truth. They lie, then pass laws to enforce their lies."
-- November 5, 1997; Part Two of interview with Onondaga Chief Paul Waterman; AHSKWA.
I was lucky, in that I had two outstanding mentors when I was young: Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, and Chief Paul Waterman of the Onondaga Nation. Often these days, I find myself thinking back to things that I discussed with both of these extraordinary human beings. Both Rubin and Paul had fascinating opinions of, and insight into, American politics.
The above quote comes from the second in a series of four interviews that I did with Paul, for the newsletter “AHSKWA” ( meaning “the bridge”). This was at a time when Chief Waterman and the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy were engaged in negotiations with both the state and federal government. I had the honor of serving as Paul’s top assistant for many years, primarily involved with burial protection and repatriation cases, along with other related environmental issues.
I remember three times when I told Paul that I trusted different elected representatives in various political offices. Twice, it turned out the gentleman was purposely lying to us; one time, the elected official had tried to assist us, but was “instructed” to stop doing so, if he wanted to keep his job. Each time, I apologized to Paul for having said that I had thought the person was honorable. Each time, he said, “That’s okay. You’ve only known him a short time. I’ve been dealing with him for 500 years now.”
That is not to imply that Paul didn’t trust anyone in the state or national government. He had a good working relationship with a number of politicians and bureaucrats. But, as he pointed out, more of the honest people were found in local government, with substantially fewer at the state level, and only a very few to be found in Washington. And the more important an issue -- which is often connected to how much money is involved -- the less likely even these were to be able to hold firmly to their principles. The US Supreme Court’s decision that placed George W. Bush into the Oval Office -- after Bush lost the 2000 presidential election to Al Gore -- documented the high levels of gross corruption in Washington, DC. …..and as former prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi showed in his book on this theft, each of the five injustices that selected Bush had serious financial conflicts of interests that should have caused them to recuse themselves from the case.
I’m convinced that if the ancient philosopher Diogenes of Sinope walked the streets of DC in search of an honest politician in 2016, he would have declared that there was but one -- Senator Bernie Sanders. Initially, it sounds as if Bernie is speaking a different language than the others in the House and Senate. Consider, for example, how Sanders talks about the most pressing issues confronting the United States today: he speaks openly and honestly, unlike any of the other twenty-plus politicians who entered the primary contests. His analysis of the environmental crisis is unique: he identifies the problems, and makes it clear that we all must work together to reach solutions.
The other candidates have taken the opposite approach. Those who have taken large fees and “donations” from the energy corporations are, by definition, the worst liars. For as the prophet Jesus taught, you cannot serve two masters. Beware of those who shed tears over the children of Flint drinking contaminated water, at the same time they are pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars from those who poison other waters by fracking for gas.
If you believe the corporate media, it would appear that the majority of Americans reject Bernie’s message. Individual journalists that would prefer to tell the truth are pressured in the exact same manner as those few politicians that have been tempted to have the courage of their convictions. Diogenes could search the “main stream” media for years without successfully finding an honest man or woman. He’d have to turn to the alternative media sources, to find someone like Abby Martin, willing to report openly and honestly.
The truth is that as Americans have become familiar with Bernie Sanders, they find that they agree with his analysis of our political, economic, and environmental crises. While some are mistakenly convinced that they would be “wasting” their vote by supporting an honest politician, many more are actively supporting him. This includes people who normally would not participate in elections, because of the corruption they see. Indeed, even those in government who want to be on the right side of history are endorsing Bernie Sanders.
The machine that currently holds the reins of power -- including corporations, politicians, and their media -- resort to doing what they do best: lying. They lie about who Bernie Sanders is, what he stands for, and how the Sanders Revolution will impact society.
Still, people recognize corruption for what it is. If you or I were to try to bribe a politician, we would face criminal prosecution. But, as Chief Waterman pointed out, those same politicians can pass a law -- or deliver a US Supreme Court decision -- that makes it “legal” for corporations to bribe a politician, by declaring it a campaign donation. Or, a speaking fee …..like the $23 million one former Secretary of State “earned” in speaking fees since 2012.
Gandhi said that, “When it is relevant, truth has to be uttered, however unpleasant it may be.” It is up to us to decide what is actually more unpleasant: the truth of the Sanders revolution, or the lies of the machine.
Posted by H2O Man | Sun May 8, 2016, 10:19 AM (27 replies)
May 7 (HBO PPV)
Las Vegas: Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Amir Khan; 12 rounds; for Canelo’s WBC middleweight title.
When I first read that Khan was moving up two weight classes to challenge Alvarez, I immediately thought it would be a low-risk title defense for Canelo. Not only is the young Mexican warrior among the most talented fighters in the sport today, but Khan’s career has stalled since he lost the junior welterweight crown to Danny Garcia in 2014. Like Khan, Alvarez has generally fought significantly smaller opposition -- he frequently enters the ring at 180 pounds, twenty above the middleweight “limit.” Tonight, he will likely outweigh Khan by up to twenty-five pounds.
Twice in his career, Amir Khan has lost by devastating knockout. He has what is known as a “glass jaw” in boxing. It’s not that he has shown the tendency to quit; rather, his legs turn to rubber when he gets clipped on the chin. Khan did dig deep, to pull out a decision over the tough, hard-hitting Marcos Maidana in 2010; however, he has only had one significant win since that fight, when he won a lopsided decision over Devon Alexander in 2014.
Despite his failure to earn a fight against boxing’s elite champions, Amir has believed that both Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao were obligated to give him a shot at their titles. This, of course, would have provided him with his biggest pay day -- in fact, more money than he has earned thus far in his career. But those fights could not have made for a good pay check for either Floyd or Manny. It’s hard to convince the public that a guy who has been flattened twice by moderate opposition, and who had not earned a title shot, would give them their money’s worth in a pay per view fight.
Just as he had not earned a title fight in either the welterweight or junior middleweight divisions, he really hasn’t made a case in the middleweight division. Yet, from name recognition alone, he “earned” the shot at Canelo. The middleweight champion was looking for a tune-up, in anticipation of a potential showdown with Gennady Golovkin in the fall.
Should Canelo win tonight, a fight against “GGG” would be the biggest in the sport. Golovkin, who owns the other middleweight “titles,” is eager for the bout to be made. The boxing community wants the fight to happen. But Canelo has yet to commit to it. And that is a good thing, at this time, because he needs to be focused on Khan for now.
As good as Canelo is -- and he is a potentially great champion -- he has flaws that Khan is hoping to exploit. He is an efficient counter-puncher, who throws powerful, accurate punches. He is considered a hard puncher, although he has actually only had one intense knockout victory in recent years -- when he destroyed an over-matched James Kirkland last May. Still, he has enough punching power to hurt Khan with either hand ….and, if he hurts Khan, he definitely has the ability to end the fight early.
This, of course, raises the question: why did Amir Khan challenge Canelo? Is it for one last pay-day, the biggest he can earn now? Or does he really believe that he has a better than 50-50 chance of pulling off a huge upset? Let’s look at it in the context of Khan’s best -- perhaps only -- chance.
Some “experts” are saying that Khan will attempt to use the blueprint from Floyd Mayweather’s one-sided victory over Canelo. This disqualifies them from being taken seriously. The very last thing Amir Khan will try to do is copy Floyd’s absolute dominance of ring geography. Amir lacks those gifts that made Floyd unique -- his reflexes, his uncanny grasp of distance, and also his rock-solid jaw.
Rather, Khan is looking at two of Canelo’s decision wins over tall, rangy boxers -- Austin Trout in 2013, and Erislandy Lara in 2014. The Trout bout was close, with Canelo earning the nod by way of a knockdown; the Lara bout was a disputed split-decision. Both Trout and Lara showed that Canelo has difficulty with good boxers who have foot movement.
Canelo is by nature a counter-puncher. He depends on catching his opponent moving into his power. He is not a particularly “fast” fighter in the ring -- with the exception of his hand-speed. But, although he is extraordinarily difficult to hit with hard punches to the head -- he has perfected the Mexican art of the “head-roll” -- and because he has shown that he can take a hard punch those few times he has been clipped, Canelo is not a great offensive fighter. Against Trout and Lara, he lacked the foot-speed and mobility required to “cut the ring off” against moving targets.
Khan will attempt to pile up points by keeping his jab in Canelo’s face. It might not land cleanly to score points in otherwise slow rounds. Thus, Khan wants a boring fight, in which he wins seven rounds. And, in theory, he has that ability.
The two problems he’ll face are that he needs to be able to sting Canelo, and get his respect with the occasional punches he puts together behind the jab, and closely related, his ability to remain disciplined. Khan is not “mentally tough” in the manner of a Mayweather or Pacquiao. Unlike those two, Amir has rarely shown the ability to be relaxed in a fight.
In fact, Khan is one of the most emotional fighters I’ve seen at the top levels of boxing. Just as being relaxed conserves energy, being anxious burns up enormous amounts of energy. This includes being anxious to inflict pain on the opponent, as well as fear of being on the receiving end of that same pain. Those who have followed Khan’s career know that he wears his anxiety on his face in the ring: his eyes are widely opened, and he appears uncoordinated while taking exaggerated strides around the ring. This results in poor balance, which greatly reduces both punching power, and the ability to take a punch.
Unlike both Trout and Lara, Khan is limited in what he can throw while moving. Even when he displays self-control, the only meaningful punch he can throw while on the move is his jab. Make no mistake, he has a very good jab, and can double or triple it up. And the jab is hugely important, for everything should come off the jab -- regardless of if that jab lands cleanly or not.
But to land the cross or hook, Khan has to stop and plant his hind foot. And virtually every time he has been hurt in the ring, including some victories as well as his loses, it is the result of his opponent’s timing him when he plants that foot. (This is why Canelo will be looking at Khan from the shoulders down in the ring, rather than attempting to look at his face.)
It is possible that Khan will fight at a higher, more disciplined fight than he ever has before, and win a close decision. But I do not think he has the mental strength to do so. While both fighters have had problems with endurance in the late rounds, a tired Canelo can destroy a tired Khan. Whereas Khan needs to be perfect for twelve rounds to win, Canelo doesn’t. Being so much bigger should allow him to wear Khan down, even in the rounds Khan wins. I expect that Canelo will win the fight by TKO in the later rounds.
Enjoy the fight!
Posted by H2O Man | Sat May 7, 2016, 02:40 PM (12 replies)
“ The powerful factor which changes our whole life, which changes the surface of our known world, which makes history, is collective psychology -- and collective psychology moves according to laws entirely different from those of our consciousness. The archetypes are the decisive forces, they bring about real events, and not our personal reasoning and practical intellect.”
-- C. G. Jung
The above quote is from one of Jung’s presentations in October of 1935, in London. This was known simply as “Lecture 5,” and used to be available through Vintage Books. That lecture really should be reproduced in its entirety, but I’ve never found it mentioned in the other books by or about Jung. And that’s a shame, because the material he presented that day can be applied to current events.
Indeed, Jung’s insights and teachings are perhaps more relevant today, than they have been at any time since World War Two broke out. Though no one has officially announced that we are currently experiencing World War Three, there is obviously far too many declared and undeclared wars going on, and various groups seeking possession and control of valuable resources.
This struggle to “own” and exercise control over resources, to exploit the Natural World for selfish reasons, is not limited to the international stage. The truth is that the “elite” have been engaged in a cruel and vicarious campaign of economic warfare since Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980. More, that type of warfare has benefited a group of people who do not tend to care if a presidential election is won by a Democrat or a republican. For they have grown richer under both parties.
This election cycle has upset the 1%, however. This is because the public is tired of the “business-as-usual” approach of both parties. If we look at the republican party, less than a year ago its establishment was making Donald Trump jokes. They didn’t take him seriously. They anticipated being entertained by a circus act that would rapidly burn out.
Regardless of what anyone thinks of Mr. Trump as a person -- or politician -- you have to respect how he has played the republican party. Indeed, he has used the media -- including social media -- far more effectively than did Reagan, to utterly crush his toughest primary opposition. And his humiliation of Jeb Bush was definitely entertaining.
Of even more concern to the 1% was the extraordinary rise nation-wide of the Sanders revolution. Again, the establishment -- including the media they own -- did not take the candidacy of Senator Bernie Sanders seriously. They were convinced that the negative associations they have for “socialism” would prevent his message of social justice from taking root in our society. For while they reap the benefits of socialism for the wealthy, they are heavily invested in destroying the very concept of socialism that benefit’s the serfs.
Hence, we see the elites tasking their media -- and CNN, Fox, and MSNBC are all engaged in this -- with inserting specific images into the public’s discussions. And this, of course, does not always fit into the model that Jung used in his day, which were limited to conscious and unconscious. The prevalence and power of both the media (TV, radion, newspapers) has created a state of both individual and group consciousness that did not exist in the 1930s.
Television and radio allow people to be passive receivers of their output. This created fertile ground for the infamous subliminal messaging that was once common -- please excuse me, for I must rush to the counter in the front of this insane theater, to purchase popcorn and soda -- and both the tobacco and alcohol industries used updated visual messaging to sell their products.
Certainly, political campaigns are invested in similarly promoting their candidates. Clearly, this doesn’t always get the desired results …..one could cover Ted Cruz with a hundred American flags, coat him with bible verses, and one still has Ted Cruz. Thus, as we evaluate how the primaries have unfolded, it’s good to consider both individuals and groups.
What is easier to sell are the products of fear, which can include anger and violence. While such things as FBI statistics suggest that violent crime is going down in our country, a heck of a lot of people have very real fear of violence (including domestic and “stranger”).
Likewise, there are a lot of angry people these days. Some of it infects interactions with strangers. We see this with “road rage”; in grocery stores where people become aggressively rude; and even in the stands at junior high school sporting events. I was in the local bank today, and could hear one end of a phone conversation when I was at the counter. A couple of the bank tellers then told me about how lately, more people are snapping at them, as a result of financial stressors. I could see how upsetting it was for these ladies.
We’ve seen where groups of angry and/or fearful people begin talking about “taking action.” Pretty soon, people begin talking about Frequently, the identify some past time, which they associate with other people’s “taking actions” that brought about improvements. As these ideas spread, and people are hearing and reading about them, they begin to take similar actions. This has been the case in numerous examples of violent acts in America. It is the negative potential of group behavior, and it unfortunately tends to spread much faster than does the positive potential of group behavior.
Indeed, this allows those opposed to the expansion of social justice to only have to hire a small number of “agent provocateurs” to disrupt progressive social movements. When we think of America’s greatest non-violent leader, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., it is easy to list a dozen people who were tasked with disrupting his efforts in the civil rights movement.
When King expanded his focus to include issues such as militarism abroad and poverty at home, it raised the stakes. The forces against him were no longer merely racists. King was intent upon changing the very economic foundations of our country -- and the enemies that brought about weren’t the types to freak out at the thought of integrated counters and public restrooms.
King was a threat, because his public ministry made people think differently. He forced some, and allowed others, to understand truths in a new manner. Thus, groups and individuals began to act differently. King sparked a change in the way in which Americans related to one another. That is power …..real power, not the type that money can buy. It is perhaps the best example of the power to transform society that we can study and hold firmly to, as the Sanders Revolution moves forward.
We need to make use of that transformative power of nonviolence when we meet in Philadelphia in July. We will be there in the spirit of King. We aren’t going to be turned around now …..we are growing stronger, and believe that there are too many unresolved issues to stop now. We will continue through the convention, and the fall election. And we are going to continue long after that.
Posted by H2O Man | Fri May 6, 2016, 07:30 PM (5 replies)
“Some forty years ago G. K. Chesterton wrote that every time the world was in trouble the demand went up for a practical man. Unfortunately, he said, each time the demand went up there was a practical man available. As he pointed out then, usually what was needed to deal with an impractical muddle was a theorist or philosopher.”
-- Senator Eugene McCarthy
As the Democratic National Convention comes closer, it becomes more evident that the various factions within the party are not, at this time, going to reach the common ground required to reach its full potential by November. We can look at two current dynamics that indicate the intensity of the divisions within the Democratic Party. First, the establishment has self-identified as The Party, and seeks to convince the grass roots to recognize them as such. Second, when asked if Hillary does win the nomination, if he would tell his supporters to vote for her, Bernie has said he is comfortable with individuals making that decision for themselves.
At this point, it does appear that the establishment wing of the party -- composed of Debbie Wasserman Shultz and her ilk -- will select Hillary Clinton at the July convention. The only possible stumbling block to this would be the FBI investigations. Despite the establishment’s pretending that it is merely a right-wing plot by rabid republicans (or the equally inaccurate belief that Clinton is sure to be indicted), this actually poses a serious threat to the Clinton campaign.
While Hillary herself may not be indicted, if people close to her are, that is a problem. How much so? Again, despite their public position that there is nothing to this, the fact is that the establishment has a contingency plan for a worst case scenario, in which her delegates would “switch” to Joe Biden. Obviously, they know this is serious. Should anyone question if such a move is possible -- for the establishment to select a candidate who had not entered a single primary -- we need look no further than 1968: the establishment made vice president Hubert Humphrey the nominee, despite his not running in a single primary.
A portion of party members will definitely vote for Hillary. It is an open question if they would also campaign for her. This is a potential problem, for while the establishment elites hold the campaign’s purse strings, it is always the progressives who do the vast majority of the “on the street” campaigning. A well-coordinated campaign requires both money and manpower.
Other registered Democrats will invest their efforts in other non-presidential campaigns. And they will continue to organize within the Democratic Party. For just as the Debbie Wasserman Schultz types want nothing to do with them, they have no interest in the elites’ efforts to promote their power, and increase their comfortable life-styles. They do not represent the grass roots, and so it is only natural that much of the grass roots rejects them.
If Clinton gets the nomination, the progressives will evaluate their relationships with several other groups of politically active citizens. The establishment and their lap dogs try to frame this as progressives going “third party.” Like most things they say, this is simply not accurate. Progressive Democrats are invested in transforming the party. We do not recognize the Debbie Wasserman Schultz types as having authority, in any way that resembles the manner in which we honor Bernie Sanders.
The groups and individuals that we have the most in common with outside of our party are progressives and leftists who tend to be registered as independents. Like us, they understand that the difference between Bernie Sanders and Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the difference between sugar and shit. And that starting with the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan, that the opulently wealthy have been engaged in an ugly strain of class warfare, primarily waged against the middle class.
Thus, the progressive community must meet in Philadelphia in late July, when the Democratic National Convention is being held. Our progressive convention will be equally important to that inside the halls of the DNC. Indeed, it will be more in the spirit of the first meeting of the Continental Congress in 1774, when many of the men we know as the “Founding Fathers” put their heads together, to discuss their relationships with others, including those in England.
We need to remember that these were not “super men,” although the form of government they were proposing was truly inspired. It was revolutionary. But it wasn’t other-worldly, nor was it new. Rather, these men put their heads together, studied everything from current events to Greek history, and came up with -- eventually -- the Constitution of the United States of America.
The Founding Fathers did not think that their work reached perfection, or that it should be worshipped separate from the people’s every day lives. These were intended as living documents. They hold basic truths, and give a framework that each generation is supposed to apply to their day and age, and move forward.
We need to look our history, too. That includes documents such as the Declaration of Independence. Read the whole thing. It is revolutionary -- certainly one of the most important writings in human history. Tell me it doesn’t apply far, far more to the Sanders Revolution than to the Clinton campaign.
Read that Constitution, too. The whole thing. But don’t stop there: read the Articles of Confederation. While doing so, the influence of the Haudenosaunee starts to come into sharper focus. The ideas of individual rights, as detailed in the Bill of Rights, is closely connected to the Iroquois’ concept of individual and group rights.
But go back further. We have to read Ben Franklin’s amazing Plan of Albany, and keep in mind that Franklin (an amazing human being) was incorporating ideas from the Haudenosaunee, or Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. He was among those advocating a true democracy -- rather than just a republic -- based upon experience with both the Iroquois’s Grand Council of Chiefs, and its Clan Mothers.
It’s important that we go even further back, to a close friend of Ben Franklin’s. We need to consider the proposals of Joseph Galloway, of Pennsylvania, who came up with a Plan of Union to present at that first Continental Congress. Too few history classes teach about this, in part because Galloway was not advocating a complete separation from England. At that time -- indeed, throughout the Revolutionary War -- one-third of the public wanted to remain loyal to England; one-third wanted independence; and one-third didn’t care either way (and this was before cell phones!).
While I’m glad this country kicked England out, I’m not looking to separate in a similar fashion from the Democratic Party. Rather, I am suggesting that the establishment acknowledge that there has been a significant shift in power. We aren’t approaching you with the palm of our hand raised upwards. We aren’t seeking a handout. We are not coming at you with clenched fists. We aren’t looking to inflict bruises. Rather, we come prepared to shake hands as equals.
I understand why those on the Democratic Left do not want to register within the Democratic Party. I appreciate why they sincerely believe that Hillary Clinton is as corrupt as was Richard Nixon. Just as long as they are willing to work with the progressives in the Democratic Party -- as equals -- we’re good. One person, one vote -- it’s that kind of thing.
As we begin to prepare for Philadelphia Freedom this summer, we have some tasks beside the logistics. We need to focus on a nonviolent demonstration -- not only on moral/ethical grounds (though they apply) -- but because tactically, that is our best option. I’ll address this issue in greater detail in the near future.
We should also take time to consider what common ground we have we with other groups and individuals. There is a heck of a lot of common ground in progressive movements, and we need to inhabit that when we are in Philly. And the thing is that not only are the fights against racism, sexism, militarism, and to protect the environment all on that common ground, but we find that we have a common enemy.
Bernie Sanders is correct: his campaign supporters are capable of thinking for themselves. Thus, this summer’s convention isn’t the “end” of the revolution. At most, it is the end of the beginning.
Posted by H2O Man | Thu May 5, 2016, 08:45 AM (89 replies)
“I think that politicians like Dean Rusk, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, and anybody else I might have listed before and now forgotten have lost their authority with wide sections of the American people.”
-- Tom Hayden; National Mobilization for 1968 Democratic National Convention.
“We can change the world
Re-arrange the world
It's dying ... if you believe in justice
It's dying ... and if you believe in freedom
It's dying ... let a man live his own life
It's dying ... rules and regulations, who needs them
Open up the door
Somehow people must be free
I hope the day comes soon
Won't you please come to Chicago
Show your face
From the bottom of the ocean
To the mountains on the moon
Won't you please come to Chicago
No one else can take your place”
-- Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Chicago
As both the Democratic and republican party’s 2016 presidential primaries approach their final contests, their national conventions are beginning to come into focus. Let’s take a look at what is likely to take place at each -- including which candidate each party will select as their nominee -- and what the consequences may result from each of those choices.
The republican national convention will be held from July 18-21, in Cleveland, Ohio. At this point, it appears obvious that Donald Trump has “won” the republican primary contest. However, if he does not reach the magic number of delegates, there is a very real possibility that the republican establishment will attempt to force a brokered, or a contested, convention. While there are slight differences between “brokered” and “contested” conventions, in this context, it simply means the party elites are not satisfied to let registered republicans select their own candidate.
The ruling class of republicans had, of course, picked Jeb Bush as their candidate well before the primaries started. Obviously, the overwhelming majority of republicans were unwilling to support another Bush-establishment candidate. John Kasich was tasked in February with staying in the primaries, despite his humiliating showing, to try to prevent Trump from getting the delegates required to win. As the only other option was Ted Cruz, the most repulsive person to ever seek the presidency, the republican establishment even considered drafting Paul Ryan. However, because it is clear that Trump has won the primary contest, their establishment will either opt to place a Cheney-like figure on the ticket as vice president, or risk an open rebellion if they attempt to deny Trump his rightful place.
Obviously, if Trump is the republican candidate, and attempts to call his own shots, the republican establishment will support Hillary Clinton. Indeed, she would hold great appeal to the elite republicans: she has been on Wall Street’s payroll, and is a true neoconservative. Thus, we have already heard republican elites ranging from the Koch brothers to Laura “Pickles” Bush singing her praise.
The Democratic National Convention will be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from July 25-28. At this point in time, it appears likely that Hillary Clinton will “win” our party’s nomination. This is not written in stone, of course, and there remains a possibility that unexpected events could derail the establishment’s best laid plans. Still, progressive Democrats should be making plans for how we will continue the Sanders revolution between today and July 24; during the convention; and going forward from there.
At the end of every presidential primary cycle, each party tries to join together to present a united front. This generally involves reaching agreement on the party’s platform. However, the “rank and file” voters have seen that despite the various platforms, the winner of the November election tends to “lead” in a manner that shows little if any influence from the platform.
Hence, progressive Democrats would be foolish to think that an acceptable outcome for the Sanders revolution would be some fine words and uplifting phrases being included in the Democratic Party’s platform. We are not going to be satisfied by a gentle pat upon our humbly bowed heads. Rather, we will be traveling to Philadelphia for the same reasons that this nation’s Founding Fathers did in the summer of 1787.
We will be joined by our friends and associates from the Democratic Left -- those progressives who are registered as independents, or with minority parties, but who share the same principles and values as progressive members of the Democratic Party. For too long, our party’s establishment has taken the Democratic Left for granted, assuming that they had no where else to go. This, of course, is merely an extension of the establishment’s reliance on the concept that progressive Democrats could be depended upon to vote for “the lesser of two evils.”
There is a legitimate concern on the Clinton campaign’s part, that those who support Bernie Sanders will not vote for Hillary, if she is the Democratic nominee. This includes both registered Democrats and the many independents that his campaign has attracted. And it includes the college students, who overwhelmingly support Bernie.
I can only speak for myself, of course. I’ve been a registered member of the Democratic Party, and have voted for each and every Democratic candidate in presidential elections since I became eligible to register and vote. At the grass roots level, I have worked with registered Democrats, and Democratic independents, for longer than I’ve been a registered voter. Thus, I am confident that, just as I’m comfortable for deciding who I will vote for, everyone else I know is just as capable of deciding for themselves in November.
This isn’t a “business-as-usual” year. In order to engage in any meaningful dialogue at the convention, we need to move beyond some of the Clinton campaign’s “talking points.” These are things that every rational person can agree are not accurate. Let’s look at a few examples.
Several of Hillary supporters have told me to leave the Democratic Party and join a third party if I’m not satisfied with my party. This failed attempt at rudeness is actually hilarious. But even a funny joke shouldn’t be told too often. No one “owns” the Democratic Party -- even though corporations definitely own some elected officials from both parties. Myself and many other Bernie supporters do not take orders from ethically inferior party members.
Do not tell us that if one does not vote for Hillary, it is equal to a vote for Donald Trump. Just because you couldn’t pass third-grade math does not mean that we didn’t.
And do not mistake the saying that “politics is the art of compromise” justifies the betrayal of one’s principles. It doesn’t. Such confusion upon your part strongly suggests that you need to re-examine the concepts of principles and ethics.
For those in the progressive movement -- including registered Democrats and independents, etc -- we need to begin solidifying our plans. Obviously, we are going to be involved in nonviolent protests against the machine. What would you like to see and experience in Philly in late July?
Posted by H2O Man | Tue May 3, 2016, 06:03 PM (11 replies)
“All people whose minds are healthy can desire peace, and there is an ability within all people, especially the young, to grasp and hold strongly to the principles of righteousness. Those principles of righteousness demand that all thoughts of prejudice, privilege, or superiority be swept away, and that recognition be given to the reality that the creation is intended for the benefit of all equally. Even the birds and animals, the trees and the insects, as well as the people. The world does not belong to the humans -- it is the rightful property of the Great Creator.”
-- The Peacemaker; circa 400 ad
The historical figure known as the Peacemaker lived in the northeast of what today is the United States of America. He was born at a time when society was in disarray: the empires of the Ohio River Valley were faltering, thus creating a failing economy among those people who had enjoyed the rural-urban system of trade. These tensions impacted relationships between communities, clans, and family life. Conflicts led to blood feuds, and people lived in fear of violence.
At this time, the people who lived in the northeast were dealing with changes in technology, as well as in the production of foods. Thus, there were also tensions between the sexes, and a growing shift in the balance of power between males and females. One can find parallels between that time and today.
The Peacemaker was a reformation prophet. The message that he delivered was based upon what are known as the Original Instructions. They are known in other cultures as the Ten Commandments. An earlier prophet -- a young man known as Sapling -- had taught them sometime around 1800 bc, again at a time of cultural change. What makes the Peacemaker unique is that he envisioned a form of democratic government that continues to work today.
Now, the majority of those college students who are actively supporting Senator Bernie Sanders’s run for president have never heard of the Peacemaker. Public schools do not teach about him -- though they should. However, we hear these wonderful young adults speaking about the very things that the Peacemaker said they would be. For great principles are timeless, and no individual ever “owns” them.
That brings us to one of the major differences between the campaigns of Bernie and Hillary. As elders who support Bernie Sanders, we urge today’s youth to rage against the machine, while our opposition tells them they must become cogs. Guess who they respect and listen to?
The other closely-related difference between the two groups was summed up beautifully by Albert Camus: “This is what separated us from you: we made demands. You were satisfied to serve the power of your nation, and we dreamed of giving ours her truth.”
That is what this movement is about: the truth of the American experience. And all of the best episodes in this nation’s history are rooted in democracy -- just as the worst involve the denial of basic human rights advanced by democracy. Democracy demands constant struggle. And that is part of the on-going American experience.
Keep on fighting the Good Fight!
Posted by H2O Man | Sun May 1, 2016, 04:41 PM (52 replies)
“Our principles do not change. Justice is always justice; freedom is always freedom. Great principles are constant. And so what they call the ‘old way’ is nothing more than principles. And they say you can’t go back to the old ways -- which means you can’t go back to justice, you can’t go back to equality, you can’t go back to what is right and what is wrong. Principles are how you exist above and beyond the emotions that you feel, to control and have discipline of one’s self. Self-discipline, not people making you behave, but the discipline where you don’t need police. That is how our people lived. There were no police. There were no jails. There were basic laws -- you don’t lie and steal. Tell the truth. Be strong. Look out for your brother. Look out for the ones just underneath you. Look out for the elders. Use your strength on behalf of the nation, on behalf of the people. Conduct yourself in a proper manner.”
-- Oren Lyons; Faith Keeper; Onondaga Nation
In a healthy society, the children are recognized as channeling the potential for human goodness, and the youth for demanding social justice. My generation -- which experienced childhood in the 1950s and ‘60s -- came of age in an era that included the struggle for civil rights; the ant-war effort; the women’s liberation movement; and the environmental movement. Also, not coincidentally, some of the greatest musicians and artists ever.
Many of us still hold the same great principles that we struggled for then. Thus, we were pleased when Senator Bernie Sanders entered the Democratic Party’s presidential primary. We have been impressed by the strength of the Sanders Revolution. There has been a re-awakening among many of old friends and associates from our generation. They are coming out of their “retirement” from social-political activism, and re-joining those of us who have never stopped the Good Fight.
We are encouraged by today’s youth, who have been an essential force in Bernie’s campaign. Indeed, history will record that in the 2016 presidential campaign, that Sanders was the only candidate who had significant support from college students. For they are demanding social justice, and based upon each of the numerous candidates who entered the race, only Bernie Sanders stands for the principles they respect and value.
As we enter the month of May, the Hillary Clinton campaign and its supporters will make increasingly more demands that Sanders suspend his campaign, and that his supports get in line behind their candidate. And, in the political sense, that is what usually happens after a tough primary. But this isn’t a business-as-usual primary contest -- nor is it over.
Several Clinton advocates have “offered” what they mistake for a middle ground: perhaps Bernie could simply stop speaking about the vast differences in principles between himself and Hillary. That, of course, is the exact reason why it is unlikely that those who support Bernie Sanders would have great difficulty in doing.
Politics, the Clinton campaign reminds us, is the art of compromise. That is true, yet should never be used as justifying a person’s compromising their own principles. There are definitely a lot of good people who sincerely support Hillary Clinton; they believe that she is the most qualified and capable candidate in 2016. But there are many others -- including in high positions within the campaign -- who have no sense of shame when they compromise the principles they once held. They are clearly insulted by the fact that the Sanders Revolution is based upon our highest principles, and that we are not willing to compromise our selves’ -- or our children and grandchildren’s future.
It is all too clear that the Clinton campaign -- including the candidate -- will have to address this issue at some point in an honest, even principled manner. Unfortunately, thus far, they have been invested in the worn and weak “you’re using right-wing talking points” bit. Pathetic. We aren’t concerned with the rabid right’s principles; hopefully, we all agree that they are corrupt. Still, we are very concerned about the business-as-usual lack of principles we see from the Clinton campaign.
“Business-as-usual” isn’t in play here. It’s not in the Sanders Revolution’s play book. It’s not an option. We will continue to move forward, right on into the Democratic National Convention. And beyond. Come election day, we will vote our consciences. Then we will continue the revolutionary movement, as the principled wing of the Democratic Party. We will continue to coordinate and cooperate with the progressive Democratic Left -- those that in business-as-usual circumstances could be taken for granted by the Democratic Party elites.
These elites have believed that, like progressive members of the Democratic Party, the Democratic Left had nowhere else to go. Surprise, surprise.
Posted by H2O Man | Sat Apr 30, 2016, 02:45 PM (44 replies)