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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 08:49 PM
Number of posts: 64,808

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Voter Turn-Out

“I am he as you are he as you are me
And we are all together.”
-- John Lennon; I am the Walrus

One of the things that I find interesting in elections -- from primaries to general elections, and from the local level to presidential contests -- is “voter turn-out.” And that includes both the in-the-flesh human beings I see in person or on a screen, as well as the statistics that result.

When I was young, I was pretty good at math. And I remember that my father tried to encourage me, by pointing out that President Lyndon Johnson was known for “counting numbers.” So, it’s something I began to do, on a local level. I write things down, and save various newspaper articles. So, in the fifty-plus years that I’ve been influenced by LBJ’s numbers, I’ve got pretty good at local village, town, and county elections.

But both state and national elections involve numbers that some people are fully aware of. Obviously, a computer can now provide information much faster than any previous technology allowed for. Yet there are still people that are able to carry that information in their head. And the presidential elections are, of course, comprised of fifty state elections.

Now, one of the things I believe is that a knowledge of, and appreciation for, both the human beings and the numbers are important. There are times, in my opinion, that even good public servants, as they reach certain levels of public office, begin to concentrate more on statistics, than in meeting with a wide range of people, representative of the population they serve.

A public official may interact with a large number of people in a given week. However, those people will include family, friends, staff, co-workers, other non-elected officials, business “leaders”, and a sampling of the people of their own socio-economic class, and perhaps one level lower.

Thus, from the state to federal levels, even the most sincere public servant has to make a big effort, in order to be in real contact with “the people.” And some of them do. Most don’t; they pay four others to say they do, but they don’t. For our state and federal capitals are “gated communities,” even if it’s made of invisible fencing. (Guess who pays for these “fences”? You do.)

Voting booths are becoming “gated,” too. While there is no problem with “voter fraud,” there is a problem with voter disenfranchisement in this country. At the state level, of course. And this has been going on, in an increasing manner, since the 2000 election. More, these voter-suppression efforts appear, at least to me, to be based more upon socio-economic issues, than party identification. It appears that the primary victims are black people, with youth also being denied their rights in an unjust manner.

We know that traditionally, in presidential elections, a larger turn-out favors the Democrats, and a smaller turn-out favors republicans. Yet we have seen “irregularities” in several states -- and numerous reports of clear voter suppression -- in the Democratic primary. (The biggest fuss in the republican primaries was back when Marco Rubio & friends told Ben Carson’s supporters that Gentle Ben had quit, and they should thus vote for Marco.)

That got me thinking …..there are five candidates left (if you round up, and count Ted Cruz as fully human). If Bernie Sanders is our nominee, we all benefit from a huge turn-out in the general election. In fact, that is the number one way that other Democrats running for office, at any level, can win. “A rising tide sinks republican boats.”

Does the same hold true for Hillary Clinton? That’s an interesting question. Definitely, against Ted Cruz, a large vote favors Clinton. Only a finite number of people throughout human history could be accurately described as willing to support Ted Cruz in any manner. (Always remember that George W. Bush considered Cruz to be “an arrogant asshole,” and George set the bar pretty darned high, himself.)

I think a large turn-out would benefit Hillary against Kasich. A low, or even “medium” turn-out could very well present potential problems that wouldn’t be an issue with the high turn-out. In the 50-state race, I think Kasich does best with the medium turn-out.

The wild card is, of course, the potential Hillary vs. Donald contest. In my opinion, Hillary Clinton does best against Trump, with a small turn-out. As that turn-out grows -- assuming that growth is relatively wide-spread, rather than limited to a few individual large states -- it would likely favor Trump.

What do you think?

H2O Man

Trial Update

“It seems to be so very hard to maintain detachment of mind in the midst of raging fire.”
-- Gandhi

On Monday, my cousin met with the District Attorney who will prosecute the person who shot him and his son. This included hearing about -- and seeing photographs documenting -- the extent of his son’s injuries. An off-duty law enforcement officer who was enraged by the young man’s obeying the speed limit shot both of my relatives. My cousin held his son in his arms as the young man died. Then, although seriously wounded from being shot, my cousin got up and wrote the murderer’s plate number in the dirt on their jeep’s back window, before collapsing.

On Tuesday, my cousin and I attended a pre-trial hearing regarding what evidence may or may not be allowed in. For example, when the police eventually went to the murderer’s house, to retrieve a large arsenal of weapons, the guy had a poster featuring a picture of a hand gun, with the words, “We Don’t Call 911.” The DA believes that shows the defendant’s general state of mind; the defense attorney calls it prejudicial.

The actual trial starts next Monday. Since it is a non-jury trial (at the murderer’s request), it should only take three days. It will be good to get the trial behind us. Of course, he will appeal his conviction, and the process will continue. There is never true closure.

It is very painful for my cousin to see autopsy pictures, or to sit in the same courtroom with this obscenely smug thug. He seems to consider the numerous officers with rifles, guarding him as he is brought to the court, and the many officers on duty inside the court, as his personal honor guard. This, despite the fact that they treat him exactly the same as they do any other accused murderer.

Yesterday, while I was away attending a medical appointment, another of my cousins came and prepared for a sweat lodge ceremony. He used 48 cobbles -- 36 of white quartz, and 12 of black flint. Although he is from the other side of my extended family, he knows my cousin and son who were shot. He’ll be attending the trial with us next week. He knew that I’d benefit from ceremony

Between now and Monday morning, I will be focused upon preparing for the trial. I’ll spend time with my cousin. I’ll talk with others about preparing victims’ impact statements. I’ll pick up my youngest daughter, as her professors are all very supportive of her missing class to attend the trial. And I will spend some time alone, out at my pond, with its large fire-pit, and the lodge nearby.

I’ll feed the fish and the birds, and begin gathering firewood for the next ceremony. There are already enough stones to do a couple sweats after the trial ends.

(Note: Next week, I’ll try my best to post daily updates, with links to local media sources, etc. I really appreciate all of the support that community members here have provided for my family and myself, throughout this ordeal.)

Primary Blues Changes

The primaries for each of the “major” political parties continue to reflect the rising tensions in American society. Let’s take a brief look at the republicans’ situation. Kasich is staying in, attempting to deny Donald Trump the needed delegates to win outright. The republican machine may try to keep the nomination from going to Trump. It’s rumored that they are preparing an emergency case for the US Supreme Court to purchase a favorable outcome.(Okay, I started the rumor.)

If he is in the lead, and the republican establishment actively seeks to nominate anyone else, that convention will go out of control. More, a segment of Trump’s supporters will react aggressively away from the convention. For this campaign has reinforced their sense of entitlement to speak and act aggressively.

In the Democratic Party, both the Bernie and the Hillary supports are increasingly confident that their candidate will be the party’s nominee. While the passions may tend to hinder most people’s views, it can be interesting to sit back from time to time, and to recognize what a historic primary season we are experiencing. Both sides should appreciate this, as a clear indicator of just how important it is to so many people.

Because people understand that the outcome of this year’s presidential election will decide what direction the US will try to move in. By the “US,” I include the government, corporations, and citizens. Obviously, “government” -- from local to federal -- has a relationship with corporations that poses a threat to our constitutional democracy. It’s urgent that we elect a president who at very least attempts to find balance between people and profits.

A combination of our personal experiences, and our individual perceptions of where we are today, and where we can be, equals why we support either Bernie or Hillary. This includes our opinions on what type of US Supreme Court Justices each might nominate, if elected president. It’s safe to say the court will likely consider cases involving everything from abortion, to the environment, to domestic spying, to the right to vote, and to our ability to exercise our Amendment 1 rights.

Those differences in experience and perception -- which directly influence our individual and community value systems -- can lead to the fracturing of political alliances. We can actually see this within various protozoan types, including amoebas, ciliates, flagellates, and the republican party.

Yet it need not happen, on a destructive path, within the Democratic Party. There are going to be shifts in the balance of power within the party, for sure. Right now, we know that our party could grow in “people strength” -- including registered voters and grass roots activists -- and “motivated citizens” are why elections are won and lost.

The combination of the republican and Democratic Party’s 2016 primaries have raised issues that rarely, if ever, were covered in the media. That has increased the intensity in the debates between candidates, and the discussions and arguments at the grass roots. And that is definitely going to impact the balance of powers in both parties. It’s a never-ending process in American politics. And, especially since the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan, it has been defined by the inequality between the 1% and the 99%. Our experiences, perceptions, and values tend to be remarkably distinct from the opulent “elite” folks.

A heck of a lot of “average” Americans, across this country, are currently more aware that the 1% elite have declared economic, social, and political warfare upon the masses. That doesn’t mean they all have a healthy grasp on things -- a lot of them are convinced that billionaire Donald Trump is their savior. That’s really sad, when you think about it.

I am 100% certain -- based upon my experiences, perceptions, and values -- that Bernie Sanders is the best hope for the future. I think he is our party’s best bet for November, by far. I think he would continue to value people over profits, as he has throughout his adult life. I think he would nominate individuals to the Supreme Court that would recognize that our Constitution is intended to provide for human beings, rather than corporations. And I am convinced that his presidency would motivate the younger generation to remain an active participant in the social-political life of their communities, states, and country -- much in the manner that President John F. Kennedy began to do in 1960.

H2O Man

Peace People

“I set before you life and death, blessings and curses; therefore choose life, so that you and your children may live.”
-- Deuteronomy 30:19

There are a number of good OP/threads on DU:GDP regarding the bird that attended the Bernie Sanders’s campaign event. I would like to add something a little bit different, that I hope members of the Sanders revolution might enjoy. It’s kind of the flip side of the post I put up earlier today, “War Children.” In that essay, I addressed my concerns about a specific e-mail from one presidential contender that promotes death.


That bird was wonderful. And I don’t say that as a “New Age” person -- though I have high regard for those who are -- but rather, as an “Old Age” practitioner. The bird incident reminded me of a couple of Onondaga Nation’s Chief Paul Waterman’s answers to my questions in a couple of interviews.

This first one was from August 14, 2000. On that day, we had a ceremony near the jail in Jamesville, NY. Decades before, archaeologists had removed 122 human burials; Paul and I had recovered 77 of them for re-burial. Paul had opened the ceremony to the public -- a first in traditional society -- and hundreds of people attended.

I asked Paul if any of the archaeologists involved in removing the human remains were there for the re-burial? No, he answered: “It’s impossible for a person who still justifies digging graves to grasp the spiritual concepts here.”

I asked about those concepts. Paul said, “This morning, there was a lot of thunder and rain. Some people wanted to postpone the ceremony. But I said no, this is the Thunder People, carrying on their duties, to speak for the Creator.

“Then when I burned the tobacco during the reburial, three hawks appeared in the sky. A feather dropped from one, and landed near us. A lady watched it fall, and she gave it to me. All she could say was, ‘Wow!’ “

The second part is from my last interview with Paul to be published. It took place a short time after 9/11. In answer to a question, part of Paul’s response was, “What we sometimes miss is the song of the smallest bird. We do not listen closely enough. But that song of the smallest bird is the prettiest. It lifts the Creator’s spirit to hear her song. Now that is the ‘divine intervention’ that people overlook every day.”

That’s the type of message that people who are connected with the Natural World understand. Some of those who are disconnected will be convinced they understand; still others mock it, and falsely attribute it to magical thinking. That, of course, is the mentality of those who advocate for hydro-fracturing for gas, for temporary financial gain, while poisoning the water supply.

I hope that Sanders’s supporters enjoy Paul’s teachings.

H2O Man

War Children

“The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.”
-- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

The above-quoted e-mail, advocating for the expansion of US military involvement in the Middle East, should be central to the decision that citizens make in selecting the candidate they support in the presidential primaries. For members of the Democratic Party, it brings into sharp focus the on-going debate between those who support Hillary Clinton’s “experience,” versus those who support Bernie Sanders’s “judgment.” And, without question, this includes highlighting each candidate’s vote to grant George W. Bush and Dick Cheney unlimited war powers.

A vote for Hillary is a vote for an aggressive “Project for the New American Century” foreign policy. PNAC, formed in the 1990s, was/is a neoconservative “think tank” that advocated for the US to “remake” the Middle East in a fashion that brought about the blooming successes the Bush/Cheney administration is famous for.

The e-mail puts to rest any claim that Clinton is not a “neoconservative.” The utter lack of understanding that has led some people to believe that neo-conservatism is a disease that afflicts only republicans has been exposed as nonsense -- for one of the two PNAC founders, Robert Kagan, served as one of SoS Clinton’s top advisers on Middle Eastern policy.

A vote for Bernie is a vote against neoconservative military aggression, and for an attempt to use military force as a last result. Those favoring Bernie recognize that judgment is equally important to experience. And it values human life.

I’m curious how my friends who are supporting Hillary process the information in that e-mail? I remember that they were opposed to the Bush-Cheney brand of necroconservatism. Yet, the Clinton neo-conservatism will result in human beings being just as dead. How do you justify the trade-off in values?

H2O Man

Easter Rising

“We have to learn that freedom imposes responsibilities.”
-- Michael Collins; A Path to Freedom

The Bernie Sanders campaign made significant progress this week. It is important to not overstate those gains -- for the Clinton campaign also made an advance. Yet, we should not understate the importance of this week’s results -- despite attempts by any form of opposition to convince us otherwise.

We are in strange times. Harsh times. Revolutionary times. But it is non-violent revolutionary times ……brought to us by a combination of good, dedicated people, and the amazing ability for people to communicate -- almost instantly -- with people all over. And, in my opinion, that definition of “good, dedicated people” isn’t limited to the supporters of any one candidate in the current Democratic primary contest. There are “good, dedicated people” all around.

I’ve always admired the description of humanity as a mountain. Dr. King understood this on a level unlike any American in our nation’s history. A person doesn’t have to be at any level, in one’s journey upon the paths of that Mountain, to be moved psychologically by King’s example, and his vision.

Everyone perceives the message of a social prophet like King in the exact level of their understanding. Thus, on Sunday, I’ll be thinking about those people who have the same blood flowing through their veins, a hundred years ago, who were participants in the Easter Rising in Ireland. And I always like to think about King and the prophet Jesus, and the many similarities among such human beings..

It’s always interesting, for me, to compare the central message of the enlightened ones, from diverse places around the globe, at different times in the Human Family’s history, have delivered. The biggest difference between these is the mode of communication. An active interest in sociology can help us appreciate that.

With the Bernie Sanders’s campaign, we are seeing “changes” that are not easily identified by the numerical official outcome of any primary. It rhymes -- without question -- with some of the dynamics of 1968. People of my generation know what I mean, even if inexactly, when I say that.

Let’s look at but one similarity, which will allow me, somewhere in the next few paragraphs, to get to the point. Back in 1968 -- much like today -- “college students” were not respected by the Democratic establishment. The political insurgency that resulted from this utter lack of respect -- and the establishment’s counter-insurgency program -- resulted in a fracturing of the party, and the election of Richard Nixon as President of the United States.

For many of us in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, there is a recognition that today, aws in ‘68, the establishment wing of our party suffered from what is known as “hubris” -- not into the context of the current definition, but rather, the original intent of the Greeks. Indeed, Prometheus had the most sincere of intentions: to improve the quality of life among humankind. It is followed by nemesis. -- a rather unappealing option.

The hilarious thing is that both Sanders’s and Clinton’s supporters, many point the finger at the other, and are fully convinced that the other camp is causing the increasing tensions between the two groups. And, interestingly, both sides recognize this internal party conflict could result in Donald Trump’s being elected president. While the world shutters.

The underside of Marin Luther King’s hope is anger and fear. Everyone understands that anger and fear are -- at very least -- the primary motivation factor’s in Trump’s standing within the republican party. There really isn’t any excuse for allowing anger and fear any room within the struggle for social justice. We see far too much of it, even here on this forum.

We have opportunities and options that were not available to people in the late 1960s. We can take this country to higher ground. Indeed, it is happening across the country now. And I attribute these changes -- these increased linkages -- to those people involved in the Sanders’s campaign. It is very encouraging.

H2O Man

Two Questions

There appear to be two general schools of thought here, in regard to if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Party’s nominee for president in 2016. Let’s take a brief gander at each, and then consider a couple question!

The first holds that all registered Democrats should vote for each of our party’s candidates. This, they believe, is especially true in a presidential election.

The second one believes that each candidate for office is 100% responsible for earning virtually every vote. Thus, the candidate has to convince voters that he/she is the best option.

There are, of course, variations within all groups of people. While this includes both of the above, there is still a wide gap separating these two groups.

Now, for two simple questions. Which group tends to represent your thinking? And how does this impact the manner in which you view the current Democratic Party contest?

Thank you for your consideration.

H2O Man

Gandhi Power

“Mr. Moderator, brother Lomax, brothers and sisters, friends and enemies: I just can’t believe everyone in here is a friend, and I don’t want to leave anyone out.”
-- Malcolm X; Cleveland, Ohio; April 3, 1964.

Good evening, DU Community:

I wasn’t surprised when, after a few OP/threads in the past few days where supporters of each candidate were engaging in civil, respectful discussions, that there appeared to be an increased hostility on DU:GDP today. That’s an expected and perhaps natural reaction. We do not need to let it become a problem, or cause to discontinue sincere efforts at dialogue.

While there is always the possibility of “trolls” etc attempting to disrupt meaningful discussions between Democrats, I don’t think that is a wide-spread problem here. Every so often, someone will discover a “liberal” posting on right-wing sites, mocking DU, but that is fine. As Minister Malcolm used to say, everyone -- good and bad -- is drawn to hearing the truth …..that’s why “spies” attended his speeches. But good people are rarely, if ever, even mildly interested in hearing purposeful lies.

In my opinion, the biggest distinction among the supporters of both campaigns can be summed-up in a single word: values. This explains why both sides can watch the same Democratic debate, and walk away with 100% different perceptions of what they just saw and heard. It is not that anyone -- either the supporters of Hillary or Bernie -- are lying. We just exist, and seek to exist, in very different worlds.

At this point, again in my humble opinion, the only real “common ground” that some of us share is our worst enemy -- the America that could result if Donald Trump or Ted Cruz is elected in November. There are times when a common enemy is enough to get most people to join together in common cause. There are other times in our history when differences in values prevented people with a common enemy from uniting: the example of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, in the early 1960s, comes to mind.

Obviously, I can only speak for myself, but some of the values that I associate with the Sanders revolution are found within quotes from Mahatma Gandhi. Thus, I’ll share a quote that I believe connects Bernie’s campaign with that of Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential run in 1968. Senator Kennedy had undergone a transformation after his brother’s assassination. A central feature in this was RFK’s ability to recognize the value of the poor and marginalized citizens.

H2O Man

“To see the universal and all-pervading Spirit of Truth face to face, one must be able to love the meanest of creation as oneself. A person who aspires after that cannot afford to keep out of any field of life. That is why my devotion to Truth has drawn me into the field of politics.”
-- Gandhi

Class Warfare

Good morning, DU Community!

One of the more interesting distinctions that I notice on DU:GDP is the manner in which the supporters of each of our two Democratic candidates perceive issues involving “class warfare” as influencing their choices. Now, let’s identify a working definition of “class warfare,” before we continue this discussion, okay?

We’ll go with the old Sociology 101 definition: “class warfare” can be understood as the tensions that exist in a society, between competing groups with different socioeconomic interests. A few years ago,, for example, there was the Occupy Movement, which focused on the very real differences between two groups -- the 99% and the 1%. The Occupy Movement was intent upon informing Americans of a reality that few elected representatives in Washington, DC, openly addressed: that the 1% had been engaging in class warfare against the 99% for decades.

The Occupy Movement was similar in spirit to what Martin Luther King, Jr., was planning in late 1967 - 68: a “Poor People’s Campaign,” in Washington, DC. More, King’s planned campaign was similar to the movement from the 1890s, known as “Coxey’s Army,” which attempted to highlight the elite’s class warfare against the majority of citizens of this country. And, of course, there was the labor movement’s struggle to form unions, to protect the working class from the cruelties of the 1%.

In the context of the 2016 Democratic primary, it is accurate to say that the central focus of the Sanders campaign is to defend the 99% from the attacks of the 1%. This obviously requires an awareness of the class warfare that is damaging the quality of life in America for the vast majority of people -- and hence, confronting the extreme corruption of our political process, where Wall Street controls most elected officials from both the Democratic and republican parties. Hence, Bernie’s campaign is funded exclusively by citizens’ contributions.

The Clinton campaign also has raised a significant amount of money from “average” American’s contributions. However, unlike Bernie’s campaign, Hillary’s has accepted millions from the Wall Street elites, who happen to be engaged in the class warfare against the majority of the nation’s population.

From the Sanders campaign’s viewpoint, those Wall Street contributions to the Clinton campaign are significant. More, Hillary herself has taken extremely large “speaking fees” for her meetings with Wall Street., and the Clinton Foundation likewise is funded by the elite in this country, and some rather unattractive foreign interests.

What’s not clear is what positions that Hillary, her top campaign people, and her grass roots supporters take on class warfare. Obviously, those currently making a good income are comfortable with the current economic realities. They are not working two part-time jobs for low wages. But certainly, a significant portion of her supporters are dealing with many of the same financial pressures as the rest of us.

The Sanders campaign isn’t advocating taking revenge against all wealthy people. Rather, we are demanding an equal playing field. To establish a level playing field, we will eventually need to work in unity with people from every socioeconomic class in the country. But before we can do that, we need to increase the unity among the targets of the 1%’s class warfare. I think it is fair to say that this is among the reasons why many progressives find the thought of voting for Hillary distasteful, although perhaps necessary, if she is our party’s nominee.

I will not pretend to know what is the thinking of those targets of the elite’s class warfare, who are supporting Clinton at this time. I’d be curious to learn.

H2O Man


One of the more interesting dynamics on DU:GDP is found in the discussions of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “server” and e-mails. To the left are found many who believe that Hillary is very likely to be indicted; to the right are found those who insist the FBI’s investigation is yet another 1990’s republican attack on all things Clinton. I suspect that the truth lies somewhere else, and not necessarily “in the middle” of those polar viewpoints.

No thinking person can deny that there were “mistakes” made, including dealing with information that was of the nature known as “classified.” Likewise, only the brain-dead would deny that the rabid republican right engaged in a hostile program to smear both Bill and Hillary Clinton throughout President Clinton’s years in office.

Like everyone else here, I can only speculate on what the outcome of the FBI’s investigation may be. I suspect it will not be either Hillary being led away in handcuffs, or the FBI concluding the entire controversy was a 1990’s master-plan by republicans in the House of Mis-representatives. Of course, I could be 100% wrong, and both results could occur simultaneously.

I suspect the most likely outcome will be that the investigation will conclude there was some wrong-doing, and some people -- other than Hillary -- will be identified as being responsible. It may be that one or more will be charged. Or that no one will face any criminal charges.

Thus, I would think that a more relevant conversation for our consideration would be what the impact of this scenario would be, should Hillary be our party’s nominee.

H2O Man
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