Sunday, June 15, 2008

Editorial: Nader's a real candidate with real stands

The issues, lamented many in the last months, when can we talk about the issues?

Barack Obama tried that as well whenever he was confronted with an issue that went to his own character. Well Barack's proclaimed himself the nominee and last week John McCain talked about Iraq. It was appalling, no question, he wants to see Americans in Iraq for many years to come in a manner similar to the US bases in Japan, Germany, South Korea, etc. The Dems? Did they grab that moment to talk about "the issues"? Of course not. They attempted one-liners and smears lobbed at McCain.

"I would veto any attempt to extend the so-called PATRIOT Act or anything else that came across my desk that was designed to circumvent the civil liberties of the American People. The PATRIOT Act grants excessive power to the government to abuse civil liberties through wiretaps, monitoring internet usage, authorized 'sneak and peek' of our homes, and forces libraries to turn over records of the books read by their patrons--and those abuses of power have been used repeatedly by Bush and his Justice Department."

Who said that? You know it wasn't McCain, you know it wasn't Barack. Independent candidate for president Ralph Nader addressed issues on Friday. That's where Nader stands? McCain? He voted for the 2006 re-authorization. Barack? As always with Bambi there is what he says and what he does. Say Anything To Get Into Office Obama promised that, if elected to the Senate, he would repeal it but he got into the Senate and ended up voting, like McCain, to reauthorize it.

Any empty 'promise' he makes on the campaign trail needs to be weighed against the reality of his words while running for the Senate against what he actually did when he got into the Senate.

And Iraq. The topic McCain wanted to talk about last week that the Dems wouldn't talk about. Where does Nader stand on Iraq?

* A complete, rapid, negotiated withdrawal of all U.S. military, mercenaries and corporate interests from Iraq.

* Cutting the wasteful and bloated U.S. military budget which makes up 50 percent of U.S. discretionary spending.

* Reversing U.S. Middle East policy, including a re-evaluation of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute, and supporting the Israeli and Palestinian peace movements.

* Increased emphasis on diplomacy, humanitarian aid and reducing the underlying causes of stateless violence.

Nader is currently polling at 6% nationally. An impressive figure that's higher than he was polling this time in 2000 and amazing considering the media blackout.

The media blackout?

We're sure 'sympathetic' articles are in the works. Self-confessed lover of Joe Klein's political 'wisdoms' Ruth Conniff was dispatched by The Progressive to do the magazine's hit-job on Ralph in 2004. It was really something to marvel over. And she got away with it.

We're sure others will get away with it this go-round.

But here's the thing, on the issues there's only one candidate that so-called "progressives" can support and it's Nader. There's no need for you to hold your nose or choose the least worst candidate when there's a candidate who stands for everything you do.

If you're a Barack supporter we realize that reason isn't stocked in your medicine cabinet, but by making a show of support for Ralph, you would be tactically smart because the only thing that will keep Barack from going further to the right (he ran to the right throughout the Democratic primary) is pressure.

Pressure didn't take place on the Democrats in 2004. Everyone lined up behind John Kerry, held their tongues and just knew if he got elected he would somehow deliver things he never promised to.

That's the same 'logic' at work with Barack.

In 2004, 'progressives' elected to pressure Ralph.

A lot of them disgraced themselves by taking part in a "Ralph Don't Run" campaign. Hate monger Randi Rhodes (who finally got her walking papers after cursing out Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro) insisted, "We can't afford you." "We"? That was Randi Rhodes first day as a national broadcaster. Regional Randi, finally given a national platform, decided to speak for "we". And she got away with it. (She also ambushed and trashed Ralph's support Patti Smith in one of the earliest signs of just what a sexist pig she actually was.)

Who the hell was Randi Rhodes to speak for "we" or decide what we could or couldn't afford?

Michael Moore disgraced himself by dropping to his knees on TV and begging Ralph not to run. Ralph was kind enough not to drop to his own knees and beg Moore to try acting like an adult.

And voters were told, over and over, be patient, Kerry's going to win and he's going to do it by running to the right of Bully Boy!

He didn't win.

He lost. Loser.

If all those people voting for Kerry had voted for Nader, maybe the Bully Boy wouldn't have had a second term and the illegal war would have ended January 2005? They would have been joining other voters and, had they done that in the lead up to the elections, there might have been enough excitement in the press to draw in voters who stayed home to take part in a historic election.

We could have spent the last four years talking about President Ralph Nader and his policies instead of the Bully Boy and his crimes.

What is known is that no pressure was put on John Kerry and John Kerry promised nothing.

Support for Ralph right now should stem from the fact that he's the politician we all say we want.

But if that's too hard for some to grasp, they need to realize that as long as they apply no pressure to Barack, he's only going to run to the right more and more.

If you're for peace, you're for the candidate with the peace plan. That would be Ralph and not the man who told CNN two weeks ago that he would decide what to do about Iraq when he got into the White House.

If you're for peace, you're for the candidate calling for an end to the illegal war, calling for US troops out of Iraq, calling for mercenaries out of Iraq.

Where's the pressure on Barack going to come from?

Panhandle Media?

Not only did they refuse to pressure Kerry, you already saw Tom Hayden and Laura Flanders both endorse Barack Obama in February and show up mere days later with their columns about holding Barack's feet to the fire. They told you that Barack needed pressure and, if you had common sense, you should shouted back, "How do you think endorsing him is putting pressure on him?"

It's not.

Foot rubs, they can offer. Feet to the fire, they're not interested.

Which is why they have the nerve to lecture you (in February) to hold Barack's feet to the fire and they've done nothing to do that themselves, all this time later.

Both of them avoided noting Barack's remarks to CNN -- as did Amy Goodman. But they all played dumb when Samantha Power revealed the same thing (that Barack's 'promises' on the campaign trail weren't genuine) to the BBC. The Washington Post could and did report on that. The Nation, Democracy Now!, The Progressive, et al stayed silent. They played you stupid.

Here's the interview Panhandle Media couldn't tell you about:

Stephen Sackur: You said that he'll revisit it [the decision to pull troops] when he goes to the White House. So what the American public thinks is a commitment to get combat forces out within sixteen months, isn't a commitment is it?

Samantha Power: You can't make a commitment in whatever month we're in now, in March of 2008 about what circumstances are going to be like in January 2009. We can'te ven tell what Bush is up to in terms of troops pauses and so forth. He will of course not rely upon some plan that he's crafted as a presidential candidate or as a US Senator.

When Power gave that interview, she was still his foreign policy advisor. And backing up her claims that promises weren't really promises, here's Barack speaking to Candy Crowley June 5th on CNN when asked about his 'promise' to withdraw (combat troops):

Well, you know, I'd never say there's 'nothing' or 'never' or 'no way' in which I'd change my mind." Obviously, I'm open to the facts and to reason. And there's no doubt that we've seen significant improvements in security on the ground in Iraq. And our troops, and Gen. Petraeus, deserve enormous credit for that. I have to look at this issue from a broader perspective, though.

In April Power tells the BBC that Barack's 'pledges' and 'promises' on Iraq are non-binding and, if elected, he'll decide what to do then. June 5th, Barack echoes that to CNN. And Panhandle Media works overtime to ignore reality.

And if you like being played, you'll love what they have planned.

On Barack they're going to continue to offer up puff pieces on his inherent goodness (we hope it's only a rumor that John Nichols is currently in search of a woman in Boise rumored to have been cured for adult acne at a Barack campaign rally after the Christ-child broke wind). And they also intend to scare you.

To scare you.

That needs to be emphasized. In one of the most tabloid-ish headlines in 2004, The Nation insisted 2004 was the "torture election." Look for more purple prose for them this year as they try to ratchet up the hysteria and convince that there's a huge gulf between Barack and John McCain.

"Independent" media isn't independent. They're in the tank for the Democratic Party and proved that throughout 2004 as they will in 2008. Public television? Gee, has Bill Moyers even noted once that Ralph Nader is running? Hard as it might be for Moyers to accept "public television" is not Democratic Party Television. He'd be the first to castigate other programs for their tilts and he'd be the last to point out his own.

A 'media' conference took place last weekend and it wasn't about reforming media at all. It was about electing Democrats. It was an embarrassment and only revealed how those media 'reformers' were envious of the Republican echo-chamber and desperate to start one for the Democratic Party.

Why wasn't Ralph invited to speak?

If the real problem was, as they like to allege, corporate control of the media, why wasn't the original Corporate Crusader invited to speak?

Ralph Nader's running for president. He's not Cynthia McKinney announcing that "victory" will be 5% of the votes. He's running for president.

He's a real candidate with a real platform.

It's only threatening to the toadies in 'independent' media because he's not on the Democratic ticket.

If you're concerned about the peace movement you need to not only be following Nader's campaign, you also need to be following your peace 'voices'. John Kerry's campaign destroyed the peace movement in 2004 and it took forever to rebuild it. The Iraq War can't be put on hold. But for Barack pushers, it can be. For Barack pushers, nothing is more important than getting the Christ-child into the White House (which is why they ignore Barack's use of homophobia and sexism).

So you need to watch those peace 'voices' and pay attention to whether they hold Barack accountable. Hint: Holding Barack accountable is not tearing John McCain apart and then offering a weak critique of Barack.

On the Iraq War, Barack's offering nothing. He made that clear on CNN. Samantha Power made it clear on the BBC back in April.

Ralph Nader's offering real change. Ralph Nader's offering an end to the illegal war.

So watch for Panhandle Media to alternate between shutting him out and ridiculing him.

The Nation, The Progressive and Democracy Now! aren't doing a damn thing to end the illegal war. They haven't reported on war resisters, they haven't done anything. So you can listen to them and their theatrics over the coming months as they try to manipulate into supporting War Hawk Barack or you can show some self-respect and support the only peace candidate running for president. (Repeating, running for 5% of the vote is not running for president.)
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