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Mar 02, 2007

Alan Chin From New Hampshire: The Obscure Object Of Desire

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Last week, Alan Chin sent The BAG a new set of images -- this time from the campaign trail.  They were taken in New Hampshire a couple weeks back.  While struggling to make sense of them, what struck me most was Alan's note of frustration.

He wrote:

The nature of photos of political figures in modern American life is very structured, very controlled. To a degree this cannot be helped as there are a half-dozen photographers at any given moment allscrambling for the best access and the best angles -- and, no matter how much a candidate opens up to the press -- they still do have private lives of a sort and it makes me, for one, feel like a cheap papparazzo if I'm chasing them to unscheduled stops and even when they have lunch, that kind of thing.

On the close heels of Tuesday's post -- regarding the loss (or rejection?) of traditional one-on-one contact between candidates and voters in Iowa and New Hampshire this year -- Alan's comment, and images, raise interesting questions.

What would make an experienced photojournalist -- one so completely familiar with the dogs and ponies -- feel like "a cheap papparazzo" for trying to get a sense of these candidates?

The MSM might prefer to talk about candidates as the new glitterati, or how the campaign is more impersonal this year because of heightened interest in a wide-open field.  I trust Alan's antennae, however (as I do most of the photojournalists I've met, when you ask what they're seeing), and I'm interested in this "structure/control" idea.  I mean, we may be seeing the end of Rove, but that doesn't mean we're not suffering his legacy.

What stood out for me in the image accompany the NYT story in Wednesday's post (of "regular" folk left at the door outside the room the candidate was speaking), was the complete sense of disconnection.  In Alan's images, that sense is more eerie.  It's one thing to think about distance when that's the subject matter.  It's another thing, however, when the candidate remains so objectified that all the camera has left to consider is idolatry.

All images © Alan Chin.  Used by permission.  New Hampshire. February 2007.


It would be interesting to compare, side by side, the folks attending political events. Given Alan's comments perhaps it would be more fun/telling to focus on the crowd and event organizers instead of the performer. A crowd study of each event, who is allowed to attend and who wants to participate in the given event. Much as Alan did above. Not just the placed people in front, the back row, & the ones pulling the curtain ropes too.

The second photo here is the most intriguing to me. Can't help but notice the Clinton name covered, was it chance? The center subject looks as if he has lived with Down Syndrome. His Star Wars shirt rocks. The look of the woman to his right is priceless. I like the feel of the crowd here ... at Bush/Republican events the people always look as if they are remanence of an 80's Disney or Barbi ad.

Hillary Clinton might as well be a potted plant for all the excitement she is arousing in the little girl who should be inspired by a woman running for President. Maybe, she was turned off by what is obviously a pasted-on smile on the candidate's face. These photographs are so real, and convey what the old conventions used to show before it all turned into show business. And, it's not only Rove who gave us this visual control. Don't forget Reagan's people and the flag motif always in the background.

It may be that pictures simply can't tell us enough, and that's why Alan Chin is
frustrated. At some point we want to hear something, instead of being massaged with images.

alan: “the nature of [photographing] political figures in modern American life is very structured, very controlled... there are a half-dozen photographers at any given moment, all scrambling...

so ~ photograph the mêlée, man : that's the story, n'est-ce pas?

the set; the stage/staging process; the handlers in the wings; the script rolling on the teleprompter, not the speaker; the raw TV feed before the performance ~ showing the candidate just sitting there, waiting to go LIVE; that look in the faces of those zealots in the crowd, when they see der Führer; oh, the rapture!

Cet obscur objet du désir, a 1977 film by Luis Buñuel; actually a re-make of an earlier film (iirc, it was called The Puppet?) at any rate, both films were based on the writings of Pierre Louÿs...

...a fascinating man who scandalized Paris in the early 20th century by writing erotica from the point of view of a lesbian woman (!) i will never forget when, as a youth reading & word-by-word translating Louÿs' Aphrodite, with the proverbial flashlight under the covers at night ~ that first blush of forbidden knowledge! Heheheh... i later learned that MotherGonzo knew all about it, but she believed if i was so motivated to learn French by doing so, rather than slogging through Le Petit Prince like the rest of the kids, then what the hell {grin}

What would make an experienced photojournalist ... feel like "a cheap papparazzo" for trying to get a sense of these candidates?

I don't think it's trying to get a sense of them that makes him feel that way; it's trying to capture his sense on film. That requires a ubiquitous intrusiveness of a completely different kind that just watching and forming an impression...

...ubiquitous intrusiveness ~ you are making that distinction between to take a picture, and to make a picture. i think, fwiw ~ he (alan) is experiencing a sense of self-loathing because he is aware that he/his peers are being used, in a perverse, faustian bargain...

...rather than creating information, by participating in the charade ~ alan's role is reduced to moving information, something his sensibility resists (yet his self-esteem insists: we must do this, to survive, thus)

Hilary should be questioned by all concerned citizens at every whistle stop, coffee shop, farm, factory, school, church and town square as to why she voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public law 107-243, 116 Stat. 1497-1502) by the US Senate on October 11 in a vote of 77-23 and held accountable.

Why did she vote 'YEA' without so much as questioning the rationale of the authorization that has now killed 3,163 of our kids? Why wasn't she one of the 'Fearless' 23 who voted 'NAY' - Daniel Akaka (D-HI) Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) Barbara Boxer (D-CA) Robert Byrd (D-WV) Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) Jon Corzine (D-NJ) Kent Conrad (D-ND) Mark Dayton (D-MN) Dick Durbin (D-IL) Russ Feingold (D-WI) Bob Graham (D-FL) Daniel Inouye (D-HI) Jim Jeffords (I-VT) Ted Kennedy (D-MA) Patrick Leahy (D-VT) Carl Levin (D-MI) Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) Patty Murray (D-WA) Jack Reed (D-RI) Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) Paul Wellstone (D-MN) Ron Wyden (D-OR)?

In typical Clinton style, Hilary has repeatedly failed to admit that her vote was wrong or apologize for her lack of spine to challenge this vote and now basically has blamed Bush for lying us into this war. Many of us were paying close attention and knew this war was a sham long before the bombing commenced but not Hilary. She only voted for the Iraq War because it was politically expedient to her run for President. It was more important for her to appear tough on defense in advancing her career than to stand up for what was right. Hilary has sacrificed our kids to the alter of self promotion.

In all good conscience I will never vote for any candidate who endorsed this most egregious military disaster in history and crime against humanity and that includes the pitiful Hilary Clinton.

Looking at Alan's image confirms something I've long thought: Hillary must be one of those people who are hard to catch in photographs. Some people come across well; others always look guarded. Since we don't want our Presidents guarded, this is not helpful to those candidates.

Last week I took a few pictures of the people outside a Hillary event -- both those going in and those trying to raise the issue of her weak stance on the Iraq war. Those going in were more interesting to me visually, though I'm spolied with lots of protesters to photograph.

"Why did [Hillary] vote 'YEA' without so much as questioning the rationale of the authorization that has now killed 3,163 of our kids?"

Considering Hillary represents New York State, site of the 9/11 attacks, I can't imagine that she could have voted otherwise and still represented her constituency. NY Senator Chuck Schumer voted "YEA" too.

However much you might despise Hillary, it's not accurate to say she didn't question the rationale of the authorization. But you'd have to read her words, not mine:

Floor Speech of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on S.J. Res. 45, A Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq

October 10, 2002

I love these photos--maybe because they capture a buzz in the air--and I wish there were more of them to study. Three is not enough.

we may be seeing the end of Rove, but that doesn't mean we're not suffering his legacy.

What stood out for me in the image accompany the NYT story in Wednesday's post (of "regular" folk left at the door outside the room the candidate was speaking), was the complete sense of disconnection. In Alan's images, that sense is more eerie. It's one thing to think about distance when that's the subject matter. It's another thing, however, when the candidate remains so objectified that all the camera has left to consider is idolatry.

Well, something's happening to increase the distance, and my guess is it has to do with the huge money and huge stakes and early start to the serious campaign.

Guests at the recent Virginia J-J dinner, where Obama was the featured speaker, reported that for the first time ever at the event, the Virginia pols didn't work the tables -- they spent the whole time up front to bask in the camera idolatry surrounding Obama.

The Clinton and Edwards operations were there, giving away buttons and placards, but the Obama campaign was selling its. And the line to buy them stayed long all through the event.

There were three times the number of people there as at any previous J-J dinner, and optimism was running high. Every Dem with any recognition around the state spoke, even (for the first time in a while) former Governor Doug Wilder. But the lack of any chance to see the pols up close, combined with the record scale of the event, left guests feeling more than a little distant.


What would lead you to believe that I despise Hillary Clinton? You're just as bad, if not worse, than those who label questioners of George W. Bush as 'haters'.

Voting is a personal choice so if one votes Hillary Clinton for President or any candidate that blindly 'green lighted' the Bush regimes murder spree in Iraq... a country that did not attack the United States on 9/11 or provide any of the hijackers nor finance/training/support the operation... help yourself. I'll pass as is my right. It is odd that Corzine voted 'NAY' with NJ tied to NYC's hip. Unless, of course, Corzine did not lose any constituents that fateful morning.

Just for the record the New York delegation to the US House of Representatives who voted 'NAY' against the use of force against Iraq (H.J.Res. 114 October 10, 2002) included, Amo Houghton (R) and Democrats Maurice Hinchey, John LaFalce, Gregory Meeks, Jerrold Nadler, Major Owens, Charles Rangel, Jose Serrano, Louise Slaughter. Edolphus Towns and Nydia Velaquez.

Conviction, honesty and truth seeking are traits some politicians still possess as seen in the names above and for a President is a must have. We clearly see lacking in Mr. Bush these three prerequisites and in Ms. Clinton's now convenient back tracking on the Iraq War. She was for the war before she was against it (there goes her conviction out the window), then only when it became evident as an unmitigated disaster (kiss honesty goodbye) and because it is fashionable for some politicians after the mid-terms to speak out against the Iraq War (They call me the Seeker, I've been searching low and high. I won't get what I'm after 'til the day I die). As one can imagine I am not Roger Daltry and Hillary isn't Carl Levin, John Murtha, Dennis Kucinich or Ron Paul.

As for the October 10, 2002 Floor Speech of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on S.J. Res. 45, A Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq is a very important speech in the annals of American history being so prominently displayed as cover on Ms. Clinton's web-page and being addicted to C-Span one that I paid close attention to when it was originally given. Basically, it's a snoozer. A non-speech that did welcome open discussion/debate/dissent on Iraq at a time when such talk was verboten/treasonous/un-American then, in keeping with the sign 'o the times Hillary did nothing to change the discourse, ho-hum paraphrased for the umpteenth time the tired case against Saddam and brought to the forefront the dangers historically inherent in any military action for the mentally impaired. Ms. Clinton's speech writers walked a fine line for the junior Senator with exceptional deftness in not saying anything to offend nor offer alternative solutions/new ideas nor any real substance or stated convictions in not committing to use of force but, certainly not ruling it out with the generous sprinkling of the subtle support of a velvet hammer. In the end, as fully expected/in lock step, she voted to blindly follow the President and has since catered to Bush's every request in prosecuting the failed Iraq War until the November mid-terms proved it expedient/safe/necessary for her political viability to change colors. Since coming out of the closet against the war Ms. Clinton has failed to acknowledge her complicity in enabling this unfolding failure nor apologize for feeding the beast. Pity.

There is not enough GOJO in the world to wash the blood of the Iraq War from Hillary's hands.

Hi to all,

I would like to inform any photo-journalists, editorial stock photographers, photo editors and researchers that the first edition of Lightroom Magazine - which is dedicated to photo-journalists and photo editors - is now online.

There is still a few pages that need uploading, so there are a few dead links, though most of it is uploaded now.

Comments welcome via email at


For the record, I wasn't addressing *you* exclusively when I said "However much you might despise Hillary," but I can see how it reads like I was. For a number of reasons I can guess at, Hillary-bashing is rampant on this site, and too often it is *opinion* (or worse, bias) presented as fact, and woefully ill-informed opinion at that (just as you have done).

I really don't care whom you vote for, nor am I interested in convincing you (or anyone) to vote for Hillary. I am secretly rooting for Dennis Kucinich myself, so that might tell you how little you know about me. As a resident of New York State, however, I happen to know something more about Hillary than I know about congresspeople from other states, like New Jersey even (although I know more about NJ than about Iowa or Alaska). OTOH, I am not professing to be a Hillary expert.

But I am sticking with my story, not yours: It is *completely inaccurate* to say that Hillary didn't question the rationale of the authorization. It's flat-out WRONG to say she "blindly green-lighted" Bush. I guess you didn't re-read Hillary's speech, and you seem to have retained very little from listening to it when she gave it in 2002, maybe because you slept through it. Feel free to have your *opinion* about Hillary, but don't be surprised if your opinion gets challenged. There may well be *facts* to support your reasons to oppose Hillary, you just haven't presented any yet. You have only presented your personal preferences with no backup sources/quotes/context whatsoever.

Not every senator gave a speech on the floor about the authorization, and I think it's important to know that Hillary did. Not everyone knows that. (So did Jay Rockefeller, Russ Feingold, and others, all of whom are worth reading.)

Both of New York's senators are very ambitious, very prominent, very influential, and both voted YEA on the authorization. The racial and ethnic makeup of New York's constituency is a significant factor in how its congresspeople vote, and it is no secret that the Middle East is a vitally important issue in this state, especially compared to other states.

New York has 29 representatives, *6* of whom are Republican. My own representative, Major Owens, voted NAY. One of the most flagrantly liberal Democrats from New York, Gary Ackerman from Queens, regrettably and regretfully voted YEA, as did others. So what? Does that make Gary Ackerman a villain? No, it doesn't. Nor does it make Hillary Clinton one.

Idolatry is the last word of the commentary on this picture. It is a connection with a revered being in which the worshiper feels both awe, AND a secret relationship with the divine one. That relationship enables the idolator to channel power and glory from the demigod. When people call politicians "Bill", "Hillary" "Rudy", etc. , they are experiencing that utterly illusory closeness to the great ones. It's not photographers, it's the public who are idolators.

"The nature of photos of political figures in modern American life is very structured, very controlled. To a degree this cannot be helped as there are a half-dozen photographers at any given moment allscrambling for the best access and the best angles -- and, no matter how much a candidate opens up to the press -- they still do have private lives of a sort and it makes me, for one, feel like a cheap papparazzo if I'm chasing them to unscheduled stops and even when they have lunch, that kind of thing."

I just adore Alan Chin's pics, and thanks to the BAG for taking BAGnewsNotes in this direction.

When Alan Chin talks about chasing candidates to unscheduled stops or taking photos of them as they have lunch, I infer that he is trying to find moments of authenticity--moments when he can provide a more complete and visible person than Candidate photo-ops allow. Evidently the only way to capture the character of the candidate is to violate their privacy, catch them when their guard is down, like the papparrazzi shots of Obama emerging from the Pacific surf.

Richard Avedon, late esteemed portraitist, commented, that "A photographic portrait is a picture of someone who knows he's being photographed, and what he does with this knowledge is as much a part of the photograph as what he's wearing or how he looks. He's implicated in what's happening, and he has a certain real power over the result."

Photojournalism is not portraiture, but perhaps in the tightly structured campaign environment, the campaigns have real power over what is happening and the result. This frustrates the whole purpose of photojournalism, however, which is to provide visual images that will give the viewer insight into current events. We are looking for truth, if possible, the snapshot equivalent of George Allen's macaca moment.

Check out Avedon's picture of Hillary taken before his death in 2004. Let us take this portrait as a glimpse into the "real" Hillary: she knew it was a portrait, she is implicated in what is happening and she has influenced the result. This portrait shows us how Hillary want us to see the "real" Hillary. Compare Avedon's Hillary with specs and Mr. Rogers sweater to the woman we are seeing on the campaign trail, picture 3--here she is mandarin-collared and immaculated coifed. You can see the relationship between the two pictures, but I suspect she seems guarded on the campaign trail because she is guarded.

So the interesting narrative, becomes the reaction of those who have come to see her. They have authentic responses. Are they buying what she is selling? What can we learn about Hillary from observing those who see her live.

The response that I see in Alan Chin's photos is that the crowd views her as a celebrity (as Johanna points out). The crowd is excited to bask in her glory. The last picture is the one I stared at over and over. So many layers of meaning in this: The open hand welcoming us, inviting us to enter. Hillary poised and smiling at someone off stage left as she signs stuff, almost in profile (!). That beautiful child staring directly at us, knowingly. Someone has told her this is important, but she is not convinced. This picture says nothing interesting about Hillary, but it reminds us of her symbolic power and of the juggarnaut behind the First Woman running for President.

Scott Ritter: See Hillary Run

A partial evaluation of the New York Senator's silver tongued speech authorizing GWB to do Iraq.


Hillary Clinton has allot to offer to those who support her message and I agree with many of the positions she represents. She is a tireless champion for women, minorities, the disabled and the poor but, for me the issue is the Iraq War and only the war. I went back to reread her speech when you initially made a point of it and it appeared, once more to this reader, as nothing but lukewarm non-opposition. On the other hand, I may be jaded as anything less than total opposition to the Iraq War is full fledged support. Also, if I recall and I could very well be wrong, she did not volunteer but, was selected by fellow Democrats to give the party position in response to the Bush/Republicans measure forcing a vote on the use of force in Iraq. That New York has a vested interest in ME Policy is understandable considering the strength of the states Jewish constituency but, this is not a solid enough reason for granting Bush war powers carte blanche then enabling him to run hog wild/unchecked these past five years as Hillary has. The other politicians you mention like Ackerman are not running for President and Feingold has been a vehement opponent of the war throughout while Rockefeller has apologized on record for his authorization vote. When Hillary apologizes for her complicity in thrusting this nation into the current Iraq quagmire/dilemma then I'll reconsider my position but, I doubt that she has the grace or dignity to admit her mistake.

Before you respond to this post remember that some politicians will say anything. This is Hillary Clinton's comments from a recent AIPAC dinner in NY feeding the dogs of war and once again giving George W. Bush the support he so desperately needs in selling a skeptical public on an expanded theater.

"We cannot, we should not, we must not, permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons, and in dealing with this threat, as I have said for a very long time, no option can be taken off the table."

Hillary does not sound like an anti-war candidate many of us sought this past November. Hopefully, her "no option can be taken off the table" does not include the use of nuclear force.


I appreciate your elaborations about HRC. *Any* candidate that is not 100 percent anti-war makes me uncomfortable--even (sometimes *especially,* depending on if they're Republican) the ones who apologize for voting to authorize it.

I happen to find it fascinating (but also perplexing) that Hillary sparks so much controversy and passionate debate. There is no arguing that she is a politician, and an awkward one at that. Most people get it wrong and think she's smooth; Hillary's problem is she's NOT smooth. Yet her awkwardness does not make her sympathetic like GWB's awkwardness makes him sympathetic to many people.

There is something more about Hillary (often, it has to do with the man she's married to) that gets people's heart rate up. The Scott Ritter piece that jtfromBC referenced is a case in point; Ritter is positively melodramatic when he pronounces: "But no amount of re-writing history can shield her from the failed policies of her very own husband . . . " Ritter's beef is that Bill Clinton lied to the American people. About Iraq, that is, not about what Clinton was impeached for. Well, Scott, you haven't told us something about Bill we didn't already know, and regime change in Iraq and the current quagmire didn't happen on his watch, so yes, in fact Hillary *can* rewrite history.

In any case, maybe the very *melodrama* that surrounds the Clintons (all plot and no characterization) is what gets people riled up. Hence the very real urge to see the "real" Hillary in photographs, or to reveal the real Hillary through her words. All I know is, Hillary is very powerful; people seem to think she already *was* president.


As usual you make many excellent/astute/compelling points. First off let me explain that I am in no way anti-war and as a military brat/hawk fully understand the importance of maintaining a vastly superior global presence and a discretionary/measured use of overwhelming force to protect American borders/interests. I fully support our operations in the Hindu Kush to root out/liquidate Usama bin Laden and the faux al-Qaeda. I fell out of favor with Bush's 'War on Terra' when he willfully ceased the advance at Tora Bora as directed by SA Prince Bandar to allow their close mutual business associate to live another day. It is unfortunate that the military industrial complex needs an enemy for cash flow/ROI but, with the Cold War DOA, any target/propaganda Emmanuel Goldstein face will do. Eisenhower warned us but, to no avail.

Purposefully taking their eye off the real target toward the prize Bush's next move, after building a weak case so full of holes/lies that many including, Hillary watered/nurtured was the preemptive attack on Iraq. Even for a hawk such as I this is clearly an act of unjustifiable aggression and a war crime. Ties to 9/11, WMD's & mushroom clouds, Saddam tried to kill my daddy, Saddam killed his own people (The United States has a vastly better record/history of killing it's own people as any Native American, black or death row inmate can attest) was all a ruse. The PNAC/Oil industry had sights on Iraq since GW1 stalled and Saddam beating the Oil For Food sanctions with the sly cooperation of the French was the real reason for GW2. Hillary was fully aware of this rationale and so is Ritter. The pedophile Scott Ritter never treads here because he makes a good living selling his role as the weapons inspector extraordinary who single handedly disarmed Iraq, brought Saddam to heel and saved the world until...

The appearance of Hillary as 'awkward' is interesting and one that I never really equated as a trait of hers. Now that you mention it maybe, in comparison to BIll or in the lack of a folksiness act displayed by 'Jethro Bodine' Bush (Bush isn't intelligent enough to wear 'lil Abner's suspenders) she does appear maladroit. However, she does possess a high degree of intelligence, political savvy, shrewdness, insider information/connections and most importantly a vengeful/meanness against foes. I do not believe as some do that she was the real power behind the Bill Clinton Presidency. Dollar Bill is a real heavyweight and behind that jovial exterior changes out teeth more quickly than any great white shark.

Should Hillary win the Presidency we would then be ruled by Reagan/Bush, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Clinton over the past (28) years. Are we a democracy or a revolving dictatorship? The complicit Hillary is just as tied into/indebted to the monied interests that truly run this country as any Bush. All Americans need to stop concentrating on the puppets head and pay strict attention to the hand directing the movement. We allow the very few to select/pre-ordain our leaders for us. Kucinich for example is labeled the 'vanity' candidate by both left and right. Why? Because he openly reminds Americans of the uncomfortable truths which are to be suppressed... Orwell's 1984 revisited.

If Hillary wins the Presidency can you imagine the actions of the extreme right wing? The US may face it's second civil war.

Patrick, readytoblowagasket: If I may interrupt your conversation for a moment, re Hillary Clinton.

I am 100% against Hillary for a simple reason. It is not her policies, her character, her approach. Patrick, you mentioned it in your last post: Bush, 88; Clinton, 92; Clinton, 96; Bush, 2000; Bush, 2004....??? On principle, I believe that the US, a republic with 300,000,000 citizens, should not be run as family dynasties.

I also think term limits are a good idea. This is the same idea, only applied to families rather than individuals.

PTate, would you be opposed to a presidential candidate with the last name of Bayh, Kennedy, Daley, Cuomo, Gore, Humphrey (of MN), Rockefeller, or Levin? Or anyone else on this list of political families in the U.S.? America is and always has been run by family dynasties (especially wealthy ones).

Again, somehow Hillary bears more responsibility for this phenomenon than anyone else.

PTate in FR ,

Welcome. Please join in. This is why we are here. To discuss the future of us all not just Americans but, the planet as a whole. It isn't so much in being a dynasty as it is finding/promoting the correct medium/vehicle for the real monied powers to exert unquestioned will upon policy makers, MSM, the global economy now, since the mid-80's at least and consequently the planets populace. Other than the 2 terms of the Executive Office level term limits is a feel good/voter empowerment smoke screen that will never be exercised as the money in politics is too good. Where can a man such as VPOTUS Dick Cheney earn $208,100 USD annual enter office in 2000 with a net worth less than $6M now worth an estimated $30M to $100M filing an IRS 2005 return against earnings of $8.82M increase his holdings 10 fold in such a short period of time? Compared to the real powers who placed he and the dim-bulb Bush in office this staggering amount of money, to us anyway, is mere pocket change.

I find it interesting that right wing media mogul scum bag Rupert Murdoch along with the slimy Richard Mellon Scaife both of whom led an eight year full frontal attack against Bill Clinton have come forward to bury past grievances to embrace/support Hillary Clinton. Why? Who within the fraternity of the hyper-wealthy issued new marching orders? Is Hillary pre-ordained much like George W. Bush was in 2000? Will the fix be in should the vote not be to the liking of certain concerns? Further, has anyone really noticed the near miraculous transformation of Bill Clinton over the past six years? Embraced as son figure by GHW Bush, given free pass by a once unrelenting/hostile press, openly welcomed by corporatists/ monied interests that he allegedly shunned as the poor 'Man From Hope' and his refusal to criticize GW Bush at a level of the ostracized Jimmy Carter or a posthumous Gerald Ford. BTW... no Rhodes Scholar is a poor man and those who leave Oxford do so with powerful connections.

Anyone can grow up to be President or so the saying goes. Lincoln was surely born in a log cabin but, by the time he ran for office in 1860 he was a man of great wealth. One of the most wealthy in all of Illinois from years of serving as an attorney in the pockets of railroad barons. Funny how this is never taught in elementary school. I also find it funny that the media promotes comments about the job of being President such as; who really wants that job or the pressure is far too great or that it is a thankless job or that the scrutiny/spotlight of one's past makes it unbearable for many to run or that there is more money to be made in the private sector. Truth or scare tactics to narrow the field? The oddball Ross Perot found out in 1992 but, he did siphon enough votes from GHW Bush to effect that elections outcome. How about Bill Clinton? Was he nominated in 1992 as an afterthought/sure fire candidate to lose to Bush Sr. or was he selected for other reasons? Look at whom the Dems had to choose from in the run-up Larry Agran, Jerry Brown, Tom Harkin, Bob Kerrey, Tom Laughlin, Eugene McCarthy, Paul Tsongas, Douglas Wilder and Charles Woods before settling on the no-name Clinton. Not a group of stellar candidates and again, no Rhodes Scholar is nondescript.

2008 will be an exciting time for sure but, I believe the fix is on.

Patrick asks, "Are we a democracy or a revolving dictatorship?"

I'd call the United States an *illiberal democracy*. We have elections here, but our government does as it pleases.

"An illiberal democracy is marked by the tension between how a government is selected and how that government behaves. Illiberal democratic governments believe they have a mandate to act in any way they see fit, disregarding laws or the constitution if they desire, as long as they hold regular elections. They often centralize powers both between branches of the national government (having no separation of powers) and between different levels of government and private associations. The former is more noticeable, the latter more common."


EXCELLENT!!! description of who we are or more precisely what we have allowed ourselves to become under the gross manipulation of a few monied interests, their government lackeys, military/industrial complex, unrelenting media mouthpieces, redneck racist bullies/homophobes and phony jeso-freaks.

The older I get the more I gravitate toward an anarchist philosophy.

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