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Sun May 8, 2016, 10:19 AM

Democracy

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.

Peace,
H2O Man

27 replies, 1297 views

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 27 replies Author Time Post
Reply Democracy (Original post)
H2O Man May 2016 OP
Agony May 2016 #1
H2O Man May 2016 #12
mmonk May 2016 #2
H2O Man May 2016 #13
JaneyVee May 2016 #3
Wilms May 2016 #5
H2O Man May 2016 #20
hootinholler May 2016 #6
H2O Man May 2016 #21
H2O Man May 2016 #9
Gregorian May 2016 #4
H2O Man May 2016 #14
kgnu_fan May 2016 #7
H2O Man May 2016 #15
hootinholler May 2016 #8
H2O Man May 2016 #16
silvershadow May 2016 #10
H2O Man May 2016 #17
silvershadow May 2016 #18
panader0 May 2016 #11
H2O Man May 2016 #19
AzDar May 2016 #22
H2O Man May 2016 #24
CaliforniaPeggy May 2016 #23
H2O Man May 2016 #25
Zorra May 2016 #26
Octafish May 2016 #27

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun May 8, 2016, 10:26 AM

1. "They lie, then pass laws to enforce their lies"

and promote treaties…

eternal vigilance and struggle would seem to be the touchstone.

Cheers!

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Response to Agony (Reply #1)

Sun May 8, 2016, 07:22 PM

12. Thanks!

Paul was an amazing human being. The first interview was conducted in November, 1994. His last answer from that one is related to that in the OP:

"You own your lies. And even if it takes a while, every lie you tell will eventually catch up to you.So try very hard to tell the truth. That is what I think. It's better to tell the truth."

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun May 8, 2016, 10:28 AM

2. Great uttering.

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Response to mmonk (Reply #2)

Sun May 8, 2016, 07:22 PM

13. Thanks!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun May 8, 2016, 10:29 AM

3. Getting paid for doing work is now bribery and corruption?

 

Clinton's also make millions from book sales, are they beholden to big paperback? The Clintons are filthy rich and have no reason to be bribed because of money. Ya'll act like Hillary has devised a nefarious plan to destroy the world for her kids and grandkids.

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #3)

Sun May 8, 2016, 11:15 AM

5. What did the "work" you refer to entail?

 

No one has said that Hillary "devised a nefarious plan to destroy the world for her kids and grandkids." So that's an unreasonable charge. However, you might address how you think a pro-fracking policy, for instance, impacts the environment.

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Response to Wilms (Reply #5)

Sun May 8, 2016, 10:47 PM

20. Outstanding response.

Thank you.

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #3)

Sun May 8, 2016, 11:21 AM

6. "The Clintons are filthy rich and have no reason to be bribed because of money."

Seriously?



Hillary "dead broke" Clinton can't be bribed because the corporatti have already given her too much money for, what, services rendered?

Your conditions are met Hillary, where is the work product of all these earnings? Relase the transcripts.

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Response to hootinholler (Reply #6)

Sun May 8, 2016, 10:48 PM

21. Right?

I do not think that it was a well thought out post.

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #3)

Sun May 8, 2016, 11:41 AM

9. Normally, I would

simply ignore a response such as this. However, because you posted it, I've given it some thought .....and am hoping that it is not the mindless snark that others rely upon as a last resort .....attempted short-cuts to rational thinking being so unattractive. But as I both like and respect you, I am thinking it must have been a hurried response, that hints at other points.

Those times that I attempt house-improvement projects ("house," not "home", I often seek the advice of an old carpenter. He used to note that a rich person would experience great difficulty in reaching true Consciousness ....that a camel could more easily pass through the eye of a needle. (This was before sewing machines and Camel cigarettes.)

Chief Waterman and I used to speak at colleges and universities, among other places. We were paid for this. However, neither Paul nor I kept a single penny -- not even for "travel expenses." Things like gas money and meals came out of our own pockets. The money we raised went to the Onondaga Nation, to pay for such things as fuel and grocery bills for the Elders and the poor.

Paul often joked that he resented that no one ever tried to "buy" us. Then one day, a business agent for a semi-large corporation asked to meet Paul alone, outside of Onondaga. We surprised him, by having several other Chiefs and the Tadodaho there, waiting for him. The agent was not happy when my cousin and I greeted him at the door, and escorted him into the meeting.

Long story medium short: he had a brief case filled with cash, that he had hoped to "hire" Paul with. That, of course, did not go over well. However, we were polite enough to insist that he pay for our lunches.

Now, people can interpret this true story in two different ways: maybe he was attempting to bribe Paul, or maybe he simply wanted to hire him. But, I suspect that all honest people would recognize that he was attempting to "influence" Paul's thinking and behavior.

It was good to see the coverage of Bernie Sanders at Onondaga, meeting with Paul's nephew, Oren. This means a lot to many of us. I realize that it doesn't mean much at all to some others. And, for some of those, that will not change. But for still others, it will. It will.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun May 8, 2016, 11:13 AM

4. You can't force consciousness.

But what I am curious about is how many people believe the lies once they know the truth. The curtain has been drawn, however briefly. How many will not believe the truth?

I find it interesting that one of my favorite market analysts has been saying for years, the same thing Chief Waterman said. I found it incredible when I heard him say, years ago, that banksters were breaking laws, and then retroactively rewriting them to cover their asses.

Since I was a child I've been in a state of disbelief over the unconsciousness I see. I watched the end of a beautiful world. One that evidently no one but me and a few can see, and value. I still can't only not tolerate it, but I still cannot believe my fellow earthlings would behave like that. I now see the same thing in this election.

Last night I watched an interview with Jill Stein. She would make a great first female president. I don't care about party; it's a brand name. I care about what's inside. (Maybe we need a website called Democracy Underground.) When I think about those who would vote for Hillary Clinton, I now ask why they wouldn't vote for Jill Stein instead. There's an answer to a question in that thought. I am relatively sure most Clinton supporters would not be inclined to vote for Jill Stein even if she were a Dem. I can't back that up other than with the sentiment I see here. A stubbornness to be flexible. I compare it to the drunk. I can't impose consciousness on those who aren't willing to see. I think that's what this forum is supposed to be all about.

When I read your posts, and the quotes you share, I come away with a feeling of support. It's sad, because I'm on the side of those who suffer. But supportive, because I'm on the right side of history.

If only there were some thing we could manipulate in order to see the problem. What is it that causes the roadblock to vision? What allows us to see? Ego is in there. And I can see that intelligence is not necessarily a participant.

When I see a nation of people who are physically ill, it is an indication. I believe that people who are not conscious of their own bodies cannot, or usually do not, have the ability to make conscious decisions regarding other areas, such as politics. That could be construed as rude, but it's not how I intend it. I believe there's illness that needs to be cured in many areas, and that they all play a part in overall health.

I feel that Americans are lost. This is why discovering the supporters of the Sanders campaign has been such an uplifting experience. There is a group that has consciousness of the ailments that stagnate our society. I think it's worth noting that this was a concerted effort from the corporate class. You could call it corporate hypnosis. We are trying to break the spell.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #4)

Sun May 8, 2016, 10:36 PM

14. Great points.

Thank you for this. I appreciate it.

We are here in the garden we call "earth." In various sacred texts, there is symbolic reference to humanity's forming a mountain, and we follow our paths upward toward that mountain top. Some venture upward in groups along the same path, and others go it alone. Now, that's the path that Dr. King spoke of.

King had a view that provided him with more insight than most. It had to be frustrating for him some times, because he knew that what was obvious to him -- what was necessary -- was hidden from everyone else he encountered during his public ministry. But he knew that one's ability to see was dependent upon where they stood. He understood that his elevation was not to be used for personal material gain; no, it was his burden. And he loved everyone, no matter what path they were on, or where they were on that trail.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun May 8, 2016, 11:24 AM

7. Thank you, H2O Man! We are learning to recognize the quality of people even via words they utter on

DU. We are learning to see through the pattern over time.

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Response to kgnu_fan (Reply #7)

Sun May 8, 2016, 10:40 PM

15. Thanks, Buddy!

I think that this primary season has documented some of the very real differences between two groups of people here. I think that emotions are preventing much valuable discussions here on DU, at this particular time. Hopefully, at our convention, we can all put our cards on the table, in a way that encourages good communication. Then we'll see what that communication leads to. Hopefully, something good!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun May 8, 2016, 11:25 AM

8. Can you recommend some reading?

I would love to learn more about the 6 Nations, but would prefer to hear their side of history.

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Response to hootinholler (Reply #8)

Sun May 8, 2016, 10:41 PM

16. Sure.

I will get a list together for you.

Thanks!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun May 8, 2016, 02:50 PM

10. K&R.

 

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Response to silvershadow (Reply #10)

Sun May 8, 2016, 10:41 PM

17. Thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #17)

Sun May 8, 2016, 10:42 PM

18. You are welcome. :)

 

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun May 8, 2016, 03:33 PM

11. Democracy and Truth intersect at the ballot box.

Unfortunately, The truth of the vote does not always emerge from the boxes.
I hope that our "Democracy" can be simplified--our primaries with every state system
different seems too complicated-- our voting machines need to be honest and truthful. That alone would make a huge
difference. As it is, the outcomes of our elections are, at times, very questionable.
Another fine essay. P.S.--sweat lodge construction is underway.

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Response to panader0 (Reply #11)

Sun May 8, 2016, 10:46 PM

19. Right.

I definitely agree with you. People need to have faith that the voice of the people is being properly heard by everyone.

(I've been slowly trying to get a large supply of firewood down to the pond and lodge. It is a bit more of a chore every year!)

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun May 8, 2016, 10:50 PM

22. K & R

 

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Response to AzDar (Reply #22)

Mon May 9, 2016, 09:26 AM

24. Thank you.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun May 8, 2016, 11:23 PM

23. A big, fat K&R!

I cannot add anything to your terrific post...I am not capable.

But I can sure kick!

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Reply #23)

Mon May 9, 2016, 09:29 AM

25. Thanks, Peggy!

I appreciate your kindness.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon May 9, 2016, 09:46 AM

26. I'll take Barabbas for $1000, Alex.



"Very few people chose war. They chose selfishness and the result was war. Each of us, individually and nationally, must choose: total love or total war."

Dave Dellinger

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon May 9, 2016, 12:11 PM

27. Thank you, H20 Man for the ''Why?''

For some reason, telling the truth is very unpopular these days.

“The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.” -- H.L. Mencken


An important example: The elected politicians who worked to repeal of Glass-Steagall now work at UBS as private citizens in Wealth Management.

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