Stop blaming those who didn't turn out. Americans did vote. By not turning out, they voted against the two major parties and against the system as a whole. It may have been a dumb vote, but it was a landslide...
The photo at right may well provide a pivotal moment in a new American revolution. It exposes a crack in the façade of the corporate security state that could grow to the point that rule by and for the 1% may some time soon internally collapse.
The real story lies not in the fact that retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis was arrested by the NYPD during an Occupy Wall Street confrontation. (Video of arrest posted below). It's the potential that Lewis' recognition of immense betrayal will spread throughout the rank and file of the security apparatus even as the clueless and increasingly desperate power elites seek to effectuate a coordinated crackdown on Occupy Wall Street encampments...
[NOTE: My radio interview today with Karen Bernal, head of the CA Democratic Party's Progressive Caucus, on my KPFK/Pacifica show, about the groups' resolution in support of a Democratic primary challenge to Obama, as detailed below --- and the state party's troubling reaction to it --- is now posted here. - BF]
Nader argued that without a primary challenge and vigorous debate on issues important to the Democratic base, Obama would "be able, for another four years, should he win, which is likely, to turn his back on the liberal progressive base and become Obama/Bush Administration 2. Just look at all the similarities with the Bush Administration."
Host David Shuster challenged Nader by suggesting that "a primary challenge to President Obama would hurt him, cause fissures in the democratic party and possibly impede the party efforts in the the general election."
"Well, it's just the reverse," Nader countered. "It will challenge him, bring the best out of him and there's nothing worse for a candidate in terms of lessening the enthusiastic level for him than to go through an unchallenged routine of repetitious primaries."
The former Green and then independent Presidential candidate discussed a soon-to-emerge, campaign by Democratic progressives to organize an initiative in the coming days "not designed to defeat [Obama], in the Democratic Primary, but designed to generate a robust debate, and put the liberal progressive issues on domestic policies, including job production and foreign and military policy, on the national Presidential agenda in 2012."
He said that without such a challenge, Obama would be allowed to continue serving little more than just "the corporate warlords and corporate barons of Wall Street."
By the way, in an article last January, Canning called on Nader himself to register as a Democrat and consider exactly such a primary challenge to Obama.
Nader is not the only high profile figure to discuss the possibility of a primary challenge to the President. Vermont's extremely popular Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, said on Thom Hartmann's radio show the Friday before last that he thought "it would be a good idea if President Obama faced some primary opposition."
Then, over this past weekend, as word of the debt ceiling "deal" brokered between Obama and the Republicans, featuring historic spending cuts but no increases in revenue, leaked out, word came in that some 75 Progressive Caucus members of the California Democratic Party (CDP) had passed a controversial resolution in support of, you guessed it, a Democratic primary challenge to Barack Obama.
According to a statement posted with their resolution at WarisaCrime.org: "Gathering in Anaheim during an Executive Board meeting of the CDP, the group overwhelmingly endorsed the resolution following a discussion on the importance of not only challenging the far-right agenda of unmitigated corporate greed but also the current administration's willingness to slash 650-billion dollars from Social Security and Medicare."
In a recent article, "The Left Has Nowhere to Go", Chris Hedges joins Ralph Nader in attributing the quadrennial failure of third party candidates to muster a meaningful challenge to the two-party system to a "cowardice" of the left.
Hedges, who described a 2008 vote for either Nader or Cynthia McKinney as "an act of defiance," quotes Nader as stating that "the more outrageous the Republicans become...the more the left has to accept the slightly less outrageous corporate Democrats." Hedges adds:
Nader fears a repeat of the left’s cowardice in the next election, a cowardice that has further empowered the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party, maintained the role of the Democratic Party as a lackey for corporations, and accelerated the reconfiguration of the country into a neo-feudalist state. Either we begin to practice a fierce moral autonomy and rise up in multiple acts of physical defiance that have no discernible short-term benefit, or we accept the inevitability of corporate slavery.
While Nader and Hedges have accurately described the existing "lesser evil" paradigm as coming into play during each Presidential election, where only one Republican and one Democrat are perceived as "viable" options, neither Nader nor Hedges acknowledges the extent to which their own tactical inflexibility has reinforced the existing paradigm.
Nader himself would be wise to reflect on that reality in advance of the 2012 primary season...
Sorry, Mr. Gibbs, but your description of a "professional left" whose critiques of your boss, President Barack Obama, should be disregarded as the "crazy" musings of "people who ought to be drug tested" reflects that you are both authoritarian and out-of-touch.
The vast majority of citizens who supported the President in 2008 favor positions on policies that are far more progressive than anything which has emerged from either the corporate-controlled Democratic "leadership" in Congress or the Obama White House. The majority of Americans are by no means obligated to ignore the "democracy deficit" or the betrayal of the President's promise to bring "change we can believe in."
While one can readily agree that many of the Obama administration's policies are an improvement over those which are advanced by the reactionary fascist billionaires, and their mindless "Tea Party" followers, there are many instances in which the policies of the current administration threaten more harm than those of its predecessor. E.g,, those documented by a recent ACLU report (see Democracy Now video below) in which the current administration has created policies that may "enshrine permanently within the law policies and practices that were widely considered extreme and unlawful during the Bush administration."
Perhaps most disturbing is that the President's zeal to please his true constituency --- corporate America, Wall Street and the military-industrial complex --- comes from the same Presidential candidate whose soaring and lofty, yet deceptive campaign rhetoric gave rise to hope in so many that Election Day 2008 would mark a return to economic fairness, transparency, a restoration of the rule of law, an end to the fear-driven perpetual "war on terror," and a restoration of nature's ecological balance.
Even during the darkest days of the Bush/Cheney cabal, there was the hope that the foundering American ship of state could be righted by way of the electoral process. By raising the hopes of the American people during the course of the 2008 campaign, only to dash those hopes by betraying his own rhetoric, President Obama has, in some measure, caused more harm than the Bush/Cheney regime...
While the topic was Afghanistan, a concern emerged over the splintering of the Left as a product of what Coiro described as strident "rhetoric," such as the suggestion that President Obama was a "sell-out" or the announcement by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) that he intended to introduce a privileged resolution to stop the "criminal enterprise" in Afghanistan. The concern was the potential for that "rhetoric" to adversely impact the Democratic Party in the 2010 and 2012 elections.
Unfortunately, in part due to technical difficulties they had on the show that night, I failed to adequately articulate my concerns, which go to the core of the Progressive dilemma in U.S. electoral politics....
A number of comments, some posted here at The BRAD BLOG, others in media accounts, suggest that President Obama's willingness to abandon the "public option" was either a caving-in to "formidable opposition" or, as Howard Fineman speculated on MSNBC's Countdown, merely the case of the President's use of the "public option" as a "bargaining chip" which he played "way too early." T.J. Caswell described it as "throwing in the towel."
Other assessments have been less charitable. In a powerful video, journalist John Pilger argues that President Obama is nothing more than "a marketing creation"; that the American electorate was duped into believing the junior senator from Illinois was on the side of common men and women. Pilger portrays the President as a sort of Manchurian candidate for Wall Street, the corporate security state and Empire.
While perhaps not quite as harsh as Pilger's, Ralph Nader's assessment is just as devastating:
RALPH NADER: What is emerging here is what was being planned by the Obama White House all along, which is they would...only demand legislation that was accepted by the big drug companies and the big health insurance companies.
You can see this emerging over the last few months. President Obama has met with the heads of the drug companies and the health insurance companies. Some executives have met with President Obama four to five times in the White House in the last few months. He has never met with the longtime leaders of the “Full Medicare for Everybody” movement...
Not much of a dialogue over health care when those representing a reform --- single-payer --- favored by 60% of the American electorate can't even get an audience with the President...
In the final analysis, the ideological differences between Republicans and the corporate/controlling sector of the Democratic party are relatively narrow and insignificant as compared to the bi-partisan link to corporate wealth and power --- a link both share with the corporate-owned, mainstream media.
In 2008 it was the insanity that was the Bush/Cheney flirtation with fascism. Today, it's imaginary "death panels" and the undereducated, easily manipulated wing-nut mobs sent to shut down one of the oldest forms of American democracy --- the town hall meeting.
These provide the perfect cover. They permit the more gifted corporate Democrats, for example Barack Obama, to seduce the great masses of working stiffs who make up the American electorate with soaring, but ultimately deceptive, rhetoric; producing brief euphoria on the eve of the last election, followed by no real substantive change.
As the corporate media misdirects focus on brown shirt-like disruptions at the town halls, the real "death panels" --- the corporate profiteers and their bought-and-paid-for politicians --- hammered out a pseudo-reform package that will perpetuate a corrupt, dysfunctional and deadly health care system which kills more than 18,000 Americans each year simply because they can't afford coverage and countless more when carriers refuse to authorize vital, life-saving procedures...
Tonight's the last of my Guest Host stints, for now, on this week's Mike Malloy Show. We'll air live tonight from 9pm-Midnight ET (6p-9p PT) and we should have another good one for you this evening.
Scrambling now to get over to the studio, because from 8p-9p ET (5p-6p PT), during my usual weekly Friday guest appearance on The Peter B. Collins Show, just prior to subbing on Malloy's show tonight, we'll have a very special guest appearing with us at the same time, for the first half hour, and you may want to tune in for that as well! It should be a very lively hour!
While I'll not give you the name of that special PBC guest, I can give you the names of a couple of my guests tonight on the Malloy Show. You may have heard of them...
RALPH NADER, independent candidate for President of the United States on the Wall St. bailout and more.
"Agent 99" will once again host tonight's Open Thread in the comments below...See ya tonight!
POST-SHOW UPDATE: Wow. Big show! All four hours of 'em, if you count the first one on Peter B. Collins with cowardly, lying guest John Fund (who hung up during the first commercial break, guess he's not used to anybody being able to answer to his bullshit).
Each "hour" is actually about 37 mins. with the commercials removed, thanks to Ben Burch of White Rose Society. Here they are. Enjoy...
On Tuesday, while the corporate media was helping along John McCain's faux controversy over lipstick and farm animals, and while Republicans were otherwise preparing to celebrate 9/11 on Thursday, a group of so-called "third-party" Presidential candidates gathered for a news conference at the National Press Club, as sponsored by Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX)'s CampaignForLiberty.org. Paul's introductory statement, endorsing third-party candidates as a whole, is here.
Paul recently announced his refusal to endorse his party's nominee, John McCain, despite their personal entreaties. The entire press conference is on video here.
The three candidates who did show, all spoke to various aspects of the detrimental nature of the dangerous two-party duopoly the country is currently saddled with, thanks in no small part to the corporate media's unwavering support thereof. (See this condescending coverage from WaPo clown Dana Milbank, whose never run for even dog catcher, as far as I know, much less President on a national party ticket, by way of just one such example.)
Only McKinney spoke directly to the issues surrounding Election Integrity. She is, to my knowledge, the only Presidential candidate of any party this year, to speak substantively to the most important matter underscoring every freedom we have and every serious issue we face in this nation.
She begins her remarks by pointing out: "What has not been mentioned this morning, and has rarely been mentioned throughout this presidential election season, is the issue of election integrity." She speaks rather eloquently both about "massive disenfranchisement" and "manipulation of electronic voting machines." The video clip of her comments on the topic (appx. 3 mins, courtesy Alan Breslauer) is below. A text-transcript is included at the end of this article…
None of the candidates, including McKinney, have yet signed the StandingForVoters.org pledge to challenge any questionable election results and not concede until every vote is counted, and counted accurately. We (The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder of VelvetRevolution.us, the creators of the StandingForVoters.org initiative) welcome all such candidates, from any political party, running for any office on the national, state or local level, to sign the pledge and stand up for voters as they have/will stand up for them. The SFV campaign calls on voters to demand candidates sign the pledge, and makes materials available to hand to them during campaign events. For more info, see the website or write to info@StandingForVoters.org.
The text transcript of Cynthia McKinney's statement yesterday on Election Integrity, follows below…
Says Our 'Political System Is Vulnerable To Continual Theft', Alleges 'Huge Electronic Miasma' of Voting Machines, 'Politicians That are Crooked and E-Voting Companies that Seduce Them Into Dishonesty'
Proposes Adopting Canadian System of Hand-Counted Paper Ballots...
Presidential candidate Ralph Nader held a press conference in Los Angeles on Saturday where The BRAD BLOG asked him about whether the upcoming election would turn out any differently than the 2004 election which Nader believes was hijacked by the Republican Party and the 2000 election which the Supreme Court decided. The video (2:37) of the exchange follows below...
The text transcript of the above begins with our question to Nader:
BRAD BLOG: In 2004 you said that the Republican Party was able to “steal the election before election day” and that the “election was hijacked from A to Z”. And in 2000 the Supreme Court decided the election. Do you have any reason to believe that 2008 will turn out any differently?
Nader's answer to that question includes reference to the state-by-state partisan gaming of elections, and "this huge electronic miasma with different kinds of machines," made possible by billions made available as a "procurement item."
"Whenever you get a procurement item that interferes with election integrity," responds Nader, "you have politicians that are crooked and companies that seduce them into this kind of dishonesty."
His full answer to our question is transcribed below, along with the complete video of his entire 30 minute press conference...