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Nader: Will Obama Be an ‘Uncle Tom for the Giant Corporations’?

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Posted on Nov 6, 2008
Shep 'n' Ralph
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Not entirely sure how to unpack what exactly is going on in this startling exchange between Fox News’ Shepard Smith and third-party avenger Ralph Nader, but here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling.

It’s from election night, and an indignant (!) Smith appears to be attempting to school Nader (?!) on the unseemliness of invoking racially charged literary allusions when referring to America’s first black president-elect—especially, Smith suggests, when Nader is about to fade into obscurity.

Nader, meanwhile, maintains that it was perfectly valid for him to question, as he had earlier, whether Obama will be “Uncle Sam for the people of his country, or Uncle Tom for the giant corporations.” Just as Nader is about to further elaborate, Smith makes it clear that he has entered a nuance-free zone, and thus Nader’s final attempt to explain his statement is cut short.

Nader thinks Smith is a bully. Smith thinks Nader is kaput. We think it’s weird to bring race into a discussion about politicians capitulating to big corporations (and people’s potential reactions to the term Uncle Tom in particular may make it difficult to take in the bigger argument here). After all, history would suggest that elected officials from a wide array of backgrounds are perfectly capable of that sort of thing.

Editor’s note: Modified for clarification.

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By cyrena, November 13, 2008 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment

By Tony Wicher, November 13 at 12:55 pm

This comment, (definition of an Uncle Tom) was *not* submitted by Tony Wicher. I only just noticed this. I actually wrote this comment, and I just happen to be borrowing a computer that belongs to him, and is configured to be logged in on TD, just as my own computer would be, if it hadn’t died. So, I forgot that I wasn’t at my own computer.

Just wanted to clear that up, for the sake of full disclosure. And, I didn’t want Tony to think he was going crazy if he read it.

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By Tony Wicher, November 13, 2008 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment

Lot’s of explanations for what an “Uncle Tom” is, so I decided to add what I know most black folks to believe an Uncle Tom to be.

An Uncle Tom is the black person who will assist the oppressor in making sure that his/her fellow black folks remain oppressed.

He’s the old black guy lurking in the shadows or the fringes, and he watches as his fellow blacks rush by him as they are running away to avoid capture by the oppressor. When the oppressor (or his agents) get the the spot where old Uncle Tom his lurking, he (Tom) points in the direction of which the blacks have run in their escape, and tells the oppressors..“They went that-a way.!”

A more modern day, (and far more dangerous version) is Clarence Thomas.

Nader is so far out of line, somebody needs to just slap him straight.

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By easmachine, November 13, 2008 at 4:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

miasm,

For one who claims not to be an apologist, you sure use a lot of space framing an apology. I give you props for trying to explain the meaning of “uncle tom”, but your history is off and it has nothing to do with nader’s use of the term.

The definition of “bastard”, for example, has an original meaning that is character neautral. However if someone calls you a bastard today, you would take offence because you know that no one is talking about your parentage, but your character.

Nader insulted the man and intended it to be taken as such. Why expend your credibility fy confusing the subject?

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By miasm, November 12, 2008 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment

I am not an apologist. But I really wish people would find out WHY they think Uncle Tom is a racially charged term before they say it is. Because if you look at the historical significance of the word you will find out that it is NOT. Look up the Reconstruction period. Everyone knows the book “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” but most people don’t know that the true definition of Uncle Tom didn’t take shape until after the Civil War where there was a movement by the KKK to try to make the south a one party state because the Republicans at the time were trying to give black people rights. The KKK thought the way to destroy that movement was to make the south a one party state, the Democratic Party. So when black men were seen quitting the republican party, outspoken black women called them Uncle Tom’s - Black people didn’t like the way they were portrayed in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. White people apparently though blacks were passive and weak. Even though the book was a pro anti-slavery one the actual representation of blacks was incorrect and black people saw that. So the idea of “Black Betrayal” is not a white person’s idea, therefore how is using the term Uncle Tom racist? If you are going to say it is a racially charged term than you might as well stop calling black people, black people and white people, white people.

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By Deadbeat, November 12, 2008 at 10:46 am Link to this comment

There has been several Nader apologist that has misused Malcolm X 1960’s commentaries to defend Nader’s gaffe.  The fact is that the “Uncle Tom” that Malcolm X was referring to in 1963 included Martin Luther King.  Malcolm X saw King and other black leaders as an “accommodationist” and thus an “Uncle Tom”.  Malcolm X in 1965 after his Mecca epiphany apologized for his harsh comments.

Malcolm X biographer, Manning Marable, who supported Barack Obama, on Democracy Now! alludes that Malcolm X would have supported Obama.  My opinion regarding this question is irrelevant I would not even presume to know.

The problem is that the Obama campaigned filled the void that the Left created by failing to coalesce the energy from the anti-war movement in 2004.  For whatever reasons Nader and the Green Party failed to build upon his 2.7% achievement in 2000.  Had the Left not deliberately diffuse the anti-war movement because there was voice in the movement who began to turn a lens to Zionism then we would NOT today be faced with an Obama presidency.

This is why there is very little peep regarding Rham Emmanuel selection.  In fact Nader never referred to Emmanuel as a Zionist.  He used the more “acceptable” term “pro-Israel”.  Clearly Nader know how to use language.  Nader poor choice of using “Uncle Tom” clearly shows that Nader feel that he can use such language to refer to an African American but avoids “Zionist” to refer to an actual Zionist.  I’m sure Nader know that had he used such language he would be persona-non-grata in the media.

Therefore the Left needs to reevaluate their how it critiques Obama.  If the Left’s strategy is to weaken the Democrats then the Left should not use language that alienates African Americans who are Democratic Party’s the most loyal bloc.  Clearly Cynthia McKinney has the racial sensitivity not to attack Obama in the same manner like Nader.

The Left needs to prepare the groundwork to capture disillusioned Obama supporters.  This will require tact, sensitivity, empathy and respect.  All Nader had to do is say that it was a poor choice of words and move on.

What I find more revealing is the Nader apologists who rather than think about how solidarity can be built with the African American community would rather defend Nader’s insulting gaffe.

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By cyrena, November 10, 2008 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment

By easmachine, November 9 at 2:48 pm

•  “No. Ralph has marginalized himself. There is a difference between speaking truth to power and insulting those who wield it. I belive in unlimited Free Speech. I also belive that words have power and their misuse carries consequences. Hey Ralph, Meet Consequence.”

THANK YOU easmachine? This is exactly what I’ve been trying to say for at least a few years!!! But, I could never have (in a million years) articulated it so well.

This is it. I must add from your other post as well:

•  “…Hasn’t anyone noticed that Nader communicates in 60s revolutionary speak?
He assumes the vacant mantle of black revolutionary ideology without bothering to notify black folk….He makes the mistake of assuming that All left wing causes are the same left wing cause and that running as a green also makes him black…”

Yep, this is exactly right!!!

And yeah…it’s the ego that knows no bounds. As a general rule, this is a personality thing, and most folks don’t change their personalities. People say that Nader has never gotten ahead because the mainstream has marginalized him and prevented him from building a coalition. But, that’s bullshit. How are you gonna build a coalition ignoring and/or insulting the *majority*, which is what the mainstream is?

Yet, that’s exactly what his followers don’t get either.

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By easmachine, November 10, 2008 at 11:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Joseph, I feel where you’re coming from on Nader, but the fact is that he could never be a serious factor in a Democracy that rewards safe mainstream thinking that changes at a glacial pace. There are a thousand people in America that could put together agendas as good if not better than Obama OR McCain, but they, like Ralph will not be heard because they are too purely idealogical to build the coalitions necessary to succeed on a national level. He wants attention? Fine. He’s got it. How influential will he be on the white house after inferring that Barack will be an Uncle Tom if he acts in a way that is displeasing to Ralph Nader?

No. Ralph has marginalized himself. There is a difference between speaking truth to power and insulting those who wield it. I belive in unlimited Free Speech. I also belive that words have power and their misuse carries consequences. Hey Ralph, Meet Consequence.

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By Joseph, November 9, 2008 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By easmachine, November 9 at 2:48 pm #
said:
...It shows a superficial acquaintance with and low regard for membership in black culture. I feel justified in never voting for him despite agreeing with many of his positions. His ego knows no bounds….

I believe many people misread Ralph Nader.  I think he used racial language in the context he did to gain attention from the mass media that routinely marginalizes and ignores him.  Also it really wasn’t a racial comment he made but a fair question.  I also reject the idea that Nader is egotistical. People have expressed concern about Ralph’s legacy. Ralph said he doesn’t care about his legacy. He’s more concerned about the state of affairs in this country where too much wealth and power is concentrated in too few hands. That is not ego.

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By easmachine, November 9, 2008 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hasn’t anyone noticed that Nader communicates in 60s revolutionary speak?
He assumes the vacant mantle of black revolutionary ideology without bothering to notify black folk. It is analagous to white hiphop fanatics using the word nigga without malice or consideration of the consequences. He makes the mistake of assuming that All left wing causes are the same left wing cause and that running as a green also makes him black. It shows a superficial acquaintance with and low regard for membership in black culture. I feel justified in never voting for him despite agreeing with many of his positions. His ego knows no bounds.

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By Aarby, November 9, 2008 at 12:42 am Link to this comment

Hey people (Shepard Smith et al): You’re supposed to worship God, not man, whether he’s a Republican or a Democrat (no difference anyway). Do one tiny fraction of the good for your fellow citizens that Nader has done and at least God will notice that while you are idolators, you at least did something good besides serve perverted, blood-drenched corporatocracy.

What’s your wise view of Obama’s selection for chief of staff by the way? Mr. Rahm Israel Emanuel, whose father belonged to the terrorist organization, Irgun, is hardcore rightwing (like you) and pro neoliberal capitalism, which (direction and policies, including free trade) has taken the world to the brink it now stands on.

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By cyrena, November 8, 2008 at 8:49 pm Link to this comment

Beerdoc,
Thanks for the link to the alternet piece, (and the on-going theft). Somehow, I’m not even surprised that they’re actually continuing this theft, (I mean come on, this was planned way too long ago, and they’ve managed to perpetuate/execute the most gigantic heist in the history of the world. And yes, Obama is gonna HAVE to stop them. I swear to god I don’t know HOW…(at least not in terms of the law and the deal as it’s been upon) but I know damn well these fat cats weren’t supposed to finish out their banditry in this blaze of glory.

Now I say that he HAS to stop them, even though I don’t even know how much he can do with these thugs even as president elect. Since they’ve been planning for and anticipating this all along, (putting aside money since the beginning of this year –at least-) and planning to have the loot and be out before Jan 20th.

Meanwhile, Obama is trying to keep them from implementing any status of forces agreement with the Iraqis, unless Congress sees and approves it, or unless it is left open for him to change in January.
Anyway, the chart of contributions and their sources was a shocker for me, even though I don’t see how or why it should have been. Guess I just hadn’t paid that much attention in several months, because it can be difficult to find accurate charts and statistics on this stuff. The information from the Center for Responsive Politics is always good though, and I just hadn’t looked at it in a while.

So, I was somewhat surprised to find the University of California at the top of the list of contributors. I was only slightly less surprised to find 4 other Universities on the list, along with the US Government there at the bottom of the list of 20. Now of COURSE I know why these Universities would have been such huge campaign contributors. We’ve sort of been in serious desperation the past 8 years, and would have done nearly anything to put an intellectual in the Oval Office. Just somebody who knows the Constitution and is willing to lead the nation according to it.

In all honesty, I don’t have a problem with most of his campaign sources. Certainly a handful of them maybe, because they are the banks, and I don’t know how much ‘less guilty’ some are than others. Banks have been failing a long time, (though obviously not these huge ones) and not all of it has been the result of their own corruption. For these much larger ones though..(that we’re bailing out) it’s a different story. Thing is, we’ll never know exactly how they did it. Or maybe I should say that I’ll never figure it out on my own, because they didn’t use just one weapon to trash the entire economy and still enrich themselves. That took careful coordination, and it didn’t happen overnight.

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By smendler, November 8, 2008 at 7:17 pm Link to this comment

It will be important - one might even say crucial - for Obama to meet with Nader as soon as possible so that he can hear Nader’s perspectives on the issues.

If you agree, please sign this:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/obama-meet-w-nader

Thanks!

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By thebeerdoctor, November 7, 2008 at 11:11 am Link to this comment

Putting aside Nader who has become just another ineffectual blow hard. Meanwhile as he invokes the ghost of Harriet Beecher Stowe, the complete robbery of the country proceeds unabated. By the time the President-elect comes into office the entire store will be completely gutted.
Ralph Nader is another product of that infamous 60’s. Perhaps the hard left, like the hard right, represent viewpoints that are basically useless.
http://www.alternet.org/workplace/106195/

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By Folktruther, November 7, 2008 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

There is a question, Paracelus, whether Al Gore would have orchestrated 9/11-anthrax as the Bushites probably did, leading to the political counterrevolution in the US. 

the argument for is that the attack on a World Trade Tower that occurred in 1993 had documented involvement of the FBI and Massad, and the explosives were suppolied by the FBI. A parked car prevented them from bring down the tower with massive loss of life.

But it is conceivable that Clinton didn’t know about this and a false flag operation attempted to force him to into military adventures.  Much of US intelligence is done by Private Enterprise.  You could argue either way.  Gore’s campaign manager however was Peretz, a Zionist warmonger who inherited Singer Sewing Machine money through his wife and now edits the neoliberal NEW REPUBLIC.

Beerdoctor you’re drunk again.

Windy, a Zionist racist like yourself who identifies with apartheid Israel and wants to join the ruling class calling me a racist is comic.  Keep up the good work.

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By thebeerdoctor, November 7, 2008 at 8:44 am Link to this comment

re: Doug Tarnopol

As someone who actually was conscious when Malcolm X was killed, who actually witnessed on live television the shooting of Oswald by Jack Ruby, I can tell you that was a time seeped in bloody confrontation, that in today’s context is useless. What I mean by that, is those who actually lived in that time, are often, much too often,rehashing the conflicts of those times, which only leads to frustration and failure.
It is vitally important that someone who wasn’t forged in that crucible be given a chance to start a new direction. As for Malcolm X, I remember an interview with the writer Albert Murray, who was asked by Brian Lamb what he thought of Malcolm. “Not much,” said Murray, showing disdain for the historic media figure. He considered the legacy of Thurgood Marshall to be of a much more profound impact.
Do not misunderstand me, I love reading stuff that Malcolm X said. The same for Martin Luther King Jr. and others. I am moved by their determination, but I do not think it is substitute for finding our own new solutions.
I am in no way a religious person, but this quote from the Bible sticks with me:
“Cease to dwell on days gone by and brood over past history,
Here and now I do a new thing, even before it breaks from the bud,
Can you not perceive it?”

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By Doug Tarnopol, November 7, 2008 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

[continued from below]

I have a dream that one day in the deserts of Iraq, the sons and daughters of former slaves and the sons and daughters of former slave owners will be able to dismantle all evidence of our presence there.

I have a dream that one day even the prison at Guantanamo, a dungeon sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that candidates for public office, officials of all kinds, and indeed all Americans will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, America, with its vicious history of imperial warfare, with its leaders’ lips dripping with the words “American exceptionalism”—one day right here in our city on a hill, we will learn humility and be able to join hands with little Arab boys and Iranian girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to work with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be truly free one day.

And this will be the day—this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

  My country ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
  Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,
  From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, when we truly welcome it in every country, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Christians and Muslims, gay and straight, women and men, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

  Free at last! Free at last!
  Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

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By Doug Tarnopol, November 7, 2008 at 8:09 am Link to this comment

[continued from below]

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This electoral season of the legitimate discontent of the forgotten millions will not pass until there is an invigorating spring of freedom from fear; of the equality of opportunity, health, welfare; of a return of the rule of law; and of a retreat from imperial designs abroad. Two thousand and eight is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that Obama’s ascension was all that was needed to blow off the steam of class warfare and legitimate discontent, sometimes expressed in ugly words, that Obama’s reign will spread content among those classes who do not rule will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until all her people are granted their human rights: freedom from fear, freedom from want, freedom of expression, and freedom of—and from—religion. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my friends: In the process of gaining the White House for Obama, you must not be guilty of delusional thoughts. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for justice by drinking from the cup of image and propaganda. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into consumerist gesture. Again and again, we must rise to inescapable duty of meeting real injustice, whatever its source, under whomever’s watch, with integrity and stubbornness.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the critics of Obama, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as anyone is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality, whether on our streets as a daily routine, outside the “free speech zones” that surround our political conventions, or in the Gulags we have set up around the world, most infamously at Guantanamo Bay. We can never be satisfied as long as our civil liberties are sacrificed for political gain. We cannot be satisfied as long as the the poor’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our prisoners, many wholly innocent and admitted to be so, are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by institutionalized torture. We cannot be satisfied as long as a corporate bailout is forced through against the will of the people and neither party’s candidate utters a word of protest. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

I am not unmindful that some of you have come to view my e-mails as tribulations. Some of you have come to ignore them, to mock them. And some of you have come to invest so much in Obama because the past eight years have left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of official brutality. You have been the veterans of increasingly desperate times. If Obama does indeed win, continue to work with the faith that unearned accolades are empty. Go back to work on November 5th, even if Obama wins, knowing that this situation cannot and will not be changed without redoubled efforts of all kinds.

Let us not wallow in an orgy of self-congratulation, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

[continued above]

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By Doug Tarnopol, November 7, 2008 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

Here’s some more relevant commentary on the relative irrelevance of race-as-identity vs. race-as-indicator-of-real-class-differences. It’s based on some more “useless nonsense” from the ‘sixties. I’ll have to break it up over a few posts:

Obama and Dreams: A Reply to a Liberal Friend

Written last night in response to how moving it was that a young, black trick-or-treater dressed up as Michelle Obama, and how important the election (most likely) of a black man would be for the country:

I am happy to join with Chris [i.e., my friend] today in what will go down in history (most likely) as a symbolic passage of limited, but real, significance for the progress of our nation.

Forty-five years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow I write tonight, gave a great oration in front of the Lincoln Memorial [http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm]. This momentous speech came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of human beings who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end a long night of their suffering.

But forty-five years later, African Americans are still not equal. Forty-five years later, even with an African American about to ascend to the presidency, African Americans still suffer from a lower life expectancy, a higher incarceration rate, a higher infant mortality rate, and from systematic prejudice, still sadly crippled by the manacles of economic as well as de facto segregation and the still-iron chains of discrimination. Forty-five years later, despite a growing African-American upper-class, real achievements in equality of opportunity, the end to race barriers at upper-class institutions from Harvard to the White House, far too many African Americans live on a lonely island of relative—and absolute—poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. Forty-five years later, an African-American candidate for president has exiled the poor—black, white, yellow, and brown—to the corners of American political discourse. And so I write here tonight to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense, Obama has come to our nation’s capital to cover a debt still owed. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men—yes, black men as well as white men, women as well as men, gays as well as straights—would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has still yet to make good on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color, too many of her women, and her gay citizens are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given these people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is as bankrupt as our treasury. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, whether Obama prevails or not, we must cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice—the freedom of economic justice and the justice of economic security.

I have also returned to this hallowed speech to remind my friends of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of self-congratulation or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of poverty and discrimination to the sunlit path of racial, economic, and social justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of economic injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of our children.

[continued above]

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By Doug Tarnopol, November 7, 2008 at 6:51 am Link to this comment

What’s amazing to me is that Nader’s accurate use of “Uncle Tom” causes more outrage than Obama’s lightning-quick appointment of Rahm Emanuel as CoS. Of Emanuel’s many sins, including running conservative Democrats against progressives (the change we need?), consider that he, along with the rest of the Democratic Party leadership, purposely refused to cut off funding for the Iraq war in order to use discontent with “Bush’s War” to take over. Which they have, and the body count for that was, what, again? I mean, y’all are oh-so-moral anti-war types, right?

Evidence: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/11/AR2007011101575.html. Key point here:

The secret for the Democrats, says Emanuel, is to remain the party of reform and change. The country is angry, and it will only get more so as the problems in Iraq deepen. Don’t look to Emanuel’s Democrats for solutions on Iraq. It’s Bush’s war, and as it splinters the structure of GOP power, the Democrats are waiting to pick up the pieces.

More here: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/171335/david_swanson_will_iraq_become_the_democrats_war_

And here: http://www.accuracy.org/newsrelease.php?articleId=1859

And I’m sure you can find more on your own, if you care to look.

Gee, I don’t know, refusing to defund the war in order to gain power seems rather worse to me than using “Uncle Tom” accurately. I really couldn’t care less about Nader the person—as little as I care about Obama, Bush, you name it. Politics is not about marketed personas, not for adults. It’s about power, and we all need to organize to force the change we need, not sit back and wait for Handsome Daddy Leader (Bush, Obama, whomever) to Make It All Better.

End communication.

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By Doug Tarnopol, November 7, 2008 at 6:44 am Link to this comment

Thank you for proving my point, beerdoctor. Some of us out here don’t think that Malcolm X or the 1960s were “useless nonsense.” And I was born in 1970.

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By thebeerdoctor, November 7, 2008 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

I notice that the defense of Nader’s stupidity relies upon quotes from people who lived and died in the 1960’s. Like the McCain/Palin clown show, there is a conscious attempt to tie the President-elect to the useless nonsense of that era.

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By Doug Tarnopol, November 7, 2008 at 6:26 am Link to this comment

I think Malcolm X would have understood and appreciated Nader’s use of the term to describe a possible future for Obama:

“Just as the slavemaster of that day used Tom, the house Negro, to keep the field Negroes in check, the same old slavemaster today has Negroes who are nothing but modern Uncle Toms, 20th century Uncle Toms, to keep you and me in check, keep us under control, keep us passive and peaceful and nonviolent. That’s Tom making you nonviolent. It’s like when you go to the dentist, and the man’s going to take your tooth. You’re going to fight him when he starts pulling. So he squirts some stuff in your jaw called novocaine, to make you think they’re not doing anything to you. So you sit there and ‘cause you’ve got all of that novocaine in your jaw, you suffer peacefully. Blood running all down your jaw, and you don’t know what’s happening. ‘Cause someone has taught you to suffer—peacefully.

...

The slavemaster took Tom and dressed him well, and fed him well, and even gave him a little education—a little education; gave him a long coat and a top hat and made all the other slaves look up to him. Then he used Tom to control them. The same strategy that was used in those days is used today, by the same white man. He takes a Negro, a so-called Negro, and make [sic] him prominent, build [sic] him up, publicize [sic] him, make [sic] him a celebrity. And then he becomes a spokesman for Negroes—and a Negro leader.

I would like to just mention just one other thing else quickly, and that is the method that the white man uses, how the white man uses these “big guns,” or Negro leaders, against the black revolution. They are not a part of the black revolution. They’re used against the black revolution.”—Malcolm X, Message To The Grass Roots, November 10, 1963 (http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/malcolmxgrassroots.htm).

That’s for all of you, whatever your age, who seem to have forgotten what was actually happening in the ‘sixties in black America, what Obama has specifically claimed to have “transcended,” and finally how postmodern identity politics have replaced any realistic sense of struggle in this country.

Isn’t it interesting how applicable Malcolm X’s picture is to Obama? Nader knows that, if Obama’s followers don’t. Malcolm X has been accused of being a racist toward whites; he’s yet to be accused of being a racist toward blacks, but I expect someone on TD will now make this argument.

We are all slaves to this fiction of Obama’s progressiveness. It’s wish-projection, and Obama was nice enough to let us know that he knows that he is a screen upon which people project their hopes.

Do something a little more worthwhile than bashing Nader: join http://november5.org.

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By Doug Tarnopol, November 7, 2008 at 6:24 am Link to this comment

I think Malcolm X would have understood and appreciated Nader’s use of the term to describe a possible future for Obama:

“Just as the slavemaster of that day used Tom, the house Negro, to keep the field Negroes in check, the same old slavemaster today has Negroes who are nothing but modern Uncle Toms, 20th century Uncle Toms, to keep you and me in check, keep us under control, keep us passive and peaceful and nonviolent. That’s Tom making you nonviolent. It’s like when you go to the dentist, and the man’s going to take your tooth. You’re going to fight him when he starts pulling. So he squirts some stuff in your jaw called novocaine, to make you think they’re not doing anything to you. So you sit there and ‘cause you’ve got all of that novocaine in your jaw, you suffer peacefully. Blood running all down your jaw, and you don’t know what’s happening. ‘Cause someone has taught you to suffer—peacefully.

...

The slavemaster took Tom and dressed him well, and fed him well, and even gave him a little education—a little education; gave him a long coat and a top hat and made all the other slaves look up to him. Then he used Tom to control them. The same strategy that was used in those days is used today, by the same white man. He takes a Negro, a so-called Negro, and make [sic] him prominent, build [sic] him up, publicize [sic] him, make [sic] him a celebrity. And then he becomes a spokesman for Negroes—and a Negro leader.

I would like to just mention just one other thing else quickly, and that is the method that the white man uses, how the white man uses these “big guns,” or Negro leaders, against the black revolution. They are not a part of the black revolution. They’re used against the black revolution.”—Malcolm X, Message To The Grass Roots, November 10, 1963.

That’s for all of you, whatever your age, who seem to have forgotten what was actually happening in the ‘sixties in black America, what Obama has specifically claimed to have “transcended,” and finally how postmodern identity politics have replaced any realistic sense of struggle in this country.

Isn’t it interesting how applicable Malcolm X’s picture is to Obama? Nader knows that, if Obama’s followers don’t. Malcolm X has been accused of being a racist toward whites; he’s yet to be accused of being a racist toward blacks, but I expect someone on TD will now make this argument.

We are all slaves to this fiction of Obama’s progressiveness. It’s wish-projection, and Obama was nice enough to let us know that he knows that he is a screen upon which people project their hopes.

Do something a little more worthwhile than bashing Nader: join http://november5.org.

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By Joseph, November 7, 2008 at 6:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think Ralph Nader makes comments like he has to gain attention since he has purposely been ignored by the mass media. Not many appreciate the lobbying and pressure being applied right now in Washington to maintain and protect wealth and power at the expense of the populace.  That I believe is Ralph’s message.

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By thebeerdoctor, November 7, 2008 at 5:22 am Link to this comment

So this what is left of Ralph Nader? Stupid incendiary language? What is this professional jealousy? The community organizer who has accomplished something now, something more important than exposing the deadly Corvair?
With his middle eastern roots, he should know how creepy this really is. Note to his die hard fans: he is 74 years old, two years older than John McCain. If Senator McCain made such a remark, people would howl.
http://thebeerdoctor.newscloud.com/

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By Outraged, November 7, 2008 at 1:50 am Link to this comment

Re: adamjohn12

Thank you so much for the link.  It will spark your interest (hopefully at least) about Part 2 and 3 of this same discussion.  So… the link to all three.  Thanks again, adamjohn12

http://therealnews.com/t/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=33&Itemid=74&jumival=265

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By Paracelsus, November 7, 2008 at 1:42 am Link to this comment

@ Purple Girl

Al Gore was little different from GW Bush. I know. I had read Al Gore: A User’s Manual by Cockburn and St. Clair. We really have no power to elect anyone that can effect real change. I refer to the British series on dystopia called “The Prisoner”. Every episode seemingly offered a way to change the conditions of the Village. American politics is so much like the living nightmare of #6. Ralph Nader reminds me of #6. The whole game is so rigged that I cannot heap any blame on anyone who fails through honest effort to try to change things. So GW seems all that much worse than Gore, but do we really know if Gore would have been any different than Bush on 9-11? The unprecedented changes we have been forced to endure, these changes, they are not of a spontaneous nature. The horrors we have endured are of a wholly premeditated nature. It would not have mattered which turn we would have taken in the labyrinth, for like rats we would have been guided to a predetermined outcome with similar consequences. That is exactly moral of every “Prisoner” episode. 

This war between the generations is just a brain programming technique. Every generation is made to feel unique and isolated in experience from the previous generation as if those who are older than ourselves could never empathize with problems unique to our time. Such a stance clearly makes a mockery of wisdom and experience. Such wisdom is falsely equated to cynicism and bitterness. Instead of bettering their odds in life the young would rather ignore the old with the conceit that such bad experiences could never happen to them. So the same old hoary scams are played over and over again to each unique and self admiring generation.

If we could look outside ourselves beyond our egosyntonic notions, we could effect real change, but we would have to be willing to listen to the wisdom of our elders. I must add the caveat that there is no fool like an old fool, so be cautious in looking for wise counsel.

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By Outraged, November 7, 2008 at 1:01 am Link to this comment

Re: johnnyfarout

Your comment: “I’m shocked…shocked I say!...at the normally insightful comments of purplegirl. Who knew she harbored such misplaced vituperation for baby boomers, the old activists and radicals, all of whom went through the 60’s and got their asses handed to them in street fights with the cops over and over again, and kept on talking to authority with a fist in the air. The hippies lost to the dinks and yuppies and the republicans installed themselves in the seats of power and we and Nader saw the people go for their slick lies and evil empire new American century.”

You are absolutely correct, Purplegirl is full of it.  I am slightly older than Purplegirl and I watched as SO FEW of my “compatriots” spoke truth to power.  They attempted erroneously to gain a sliver of the pot of gold which gleamed for them larger than a flippin’ ice cream cone does to a child.

We never had to face a draft, yet they talk their shit.  I’ve heard it so many times it nauseates me.  Something as simple as standing together as employees, no bodily threat…no jail…NOTHING to stand in our way, instead THEY took their “barbie princess phone” and retreated into their “GI Joe bedroom”.

We watched from the sidelines, as elementary students and middle school students (not that that’s our fault) while the turmoil erupted around us.  But we WERE TOLD and WERE AWARE, yet when serious issues began to arise, in our time of position and WE knew it…. we checked our 401K and hoped it wouldn’t come to us.

For the most part, those born on the tail end of the “boomers” (1954-1964) were pampered souls who needed our Brady Bunch reality to qualify our supposed enlightenment irregardless of the suffering around us.  And we qualified it, at every backyard barbecue, coffee shop and work party.  “It wasn’t our fault, what could we do, it isn’t as if we don’t “care”...etc.

Like so many of this time frame they want their hero.  But they also want a qualification of their blatant disregard for the suffering of those around them irregardless of the long term consequences.  Because they KNOW their hand was in that cookie jar along with the rest of them, screw humanity and screw integrity and honesty, I WANT MINE.

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By adamjohn12, November 7, 2008 at 12:45 am Link to this comment

Here is Nader on Real News from a few days ago…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-bC7F7gD4g&sdig=1

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By Tom Paine, November 6, 2008 at 10:34 pm Link to this comment

“the wind” said:
“You are not only anti-semitic, you’re down-right racist!”

Your moanin and groanin again, sir. That is exactly why they ran Obama because people like you will take any criticism as a racial attack. Those corporate city slickers are sure smart. Always good to hear from you boyz at Fox.


“He just keeps repeating the mantra that the US is the greatest country in the world.”

Yes and that we are God’s children and God will bless America. LOL. Just believe Lordy lordy. He’s just more eloquent and charming than GW, but it’s the Northern version of the same “faith based” script. Very entertaining, not.
Chris said: “Reforming health care is a prominent part of his policy platform.”  Did you read the fine print? It boils down to tax breaks and subsidies to the insurance companies, which doesn’t do much of anything to the indigent, the unemployed, or most retired people. What it does is keep the workers in continued dependency upon their employer’s every beck and call in fear of losing “health care” which most Americans no longer can afford. Most workers can not even afford the insurance.
This is from Obama’s website. It’s less than worthless.
“Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s plan strengthens employer–based coverage, makes insurance companies accountable and ensures patient choice of doctor and care without government interference. Under the plan, if you like your current health insurance, nothing changes, except your costs will go down by as much as $2,500 per year. If you don’t have health insurance, you will have a choice of new, affordable health insurance options.”
This plan assists employers in strengthening their whip over their scared workers especially those who are already sick, old, or face the possibility of unemployment should they not be obedient to increased employer demands. This fear breaks the back of the possibility of employee strikes when health care is threatened. Secondly the $2500 per *year* is in the form of a tax credit, which is only valuable to those who are gainfully employed. Most families are paying over $1000 per *month* for private health care coverage.   
My ife works in health care.  It’s amazing! A huge business. Big Pharma, the Insurance companies, MCOs, government and institutional regulators, the employer associations front groups, and similar self interest groups are sucking the system dry at the expense of both the therapists and the clients. That comes down to the US having *the most* costly health care system on the planet, while ranked behind 26 other countries in quality of care overall. US health care costs are on the average seven times higher due to top heavy administrative and regulatory overhead than any other country, due to the lack of a “Universal Single Payer health care plan.. (Sultz and Young, 2008, “Health Care USA: Understanding its organization and delivery”, 6th edition, Jones and Bartlett). This system additionally is responsible for billions of added medical liability insurance premiums and litigation because health care is so expensive. Liability insurance due to high medical costs is insidious. Every house, business, automobile driver, and human pays dearly because of it (something that MM failed to document in his Disney like portrayal of the US Health Care situation). 

There is a lot to learn, but I don’t we will get the bias right at Fox.

Tom

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By johnnyfarout, November 6, 2008 at 9:35 pm Link to this comment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sA-451XMsuY
botutuwha hum doo way hey

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By Inherit The Wind, November 6, 2008 at 9:27 pm Link to this comment

Congratulations VolksVehrer!

You are not only anti-semitic, you’re down-right racist!  Your description of Obama as a tool is insulting and, truly, a dishonest lie.  He’s done more for oppressed Blacks than you’ll EVER do—and that was before he even held elective office.

I’m getting damn tired of pseudo-Marxists using “revolutionary” argot as an excuse for attacks on Jews and now, the most prominent Black man in the world.  It’s just a cover.

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By Bboy56, November 6, 2008 at 9:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

RE: Pg

Hey if Gore had won his own state he would have won the election!

And for Kerry Ohio was his downfall and all the voting debacles of those two elections.

Putting the blame on Nadar (OMG a covert corporatist!) is just assanine. Most who gave him their vote wouldn’t have voted otherwise.

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By Bboy56, November 6, 2008 at 9:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: Johnny

Yay, Johnny!

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By Folktruther, November 6, 2008 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

Nader is serving his optimal purpose by phrasing his criticism of Obama the way he did. The US is a highly racist country, indeed, based on racism, and Nader distinguishes when a leader’s race is used against the interests of African-Americans and all the American population.

One of Obama’s political functions is to put a black face on the imperialist oppression of black and colored peoples, the same function of the Sec of States, Powell and Rice.  He raises the issue this way in the mainstream media because, God knows, nobody else will. 

It is not only perfectly reasonable, it is essential that this be done.  So Americans can distinguish between racism and justified political points, between racism and Tomism.  It’s the same difference as opposing leaders because they are Jews or because they are Zionists.  Here Nader is discussing Obama’s political position not his genetical makeup.

And it is quite natural that imperialist Progressives among TD commenters would favor Fox News over Nader.  It the same favoring of Gops over progressives that Obaama is doing in picking his cabinet.  It is distinctions like this that separate the anti-imperialist progressives from the pro-imperialist progrressives, and this has to be done before the population can be mobilized by a consistent comprehensive anti-imperialist narrative.

I do not agree with Nader’s liberalism; but he served a useful purpose here in moving the discourse along progressive paths.  Bravo Nader.

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By Allan Gurfinkle, November 6, 2008 at 5:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nader’s comment was right on the money, and would not have been the same if he’d made a PC variation as suggested by jackpine savage.  Obama is viewed as an ‘agent of change’ primarily because he is black.  His positions are not that different, as far as I can tell, from McCain’s.  Is he going to continue to be able to claim to be ‘progressive’ just because he is black, or is he actually going to have to do something?  Nader’s comment question is exactly right.

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By Chris, November 6, 2008 at 4:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@troublesum

Reforming health care is a prominent part of his policy platform. 

If his policies (i.e. decreasing the uninsured) results in increasing life-expectancy and reducing the infant mortality rate, does the rhetoric that he uses to achieve that goal really matter that much to you? 

Realistically, what is to be achieved by using that rhetoric?  You are not going to bring a majority (or even a plurality) to vote for you when you use “anti-american” (I really hate the term and believe its meaningless but many others don’t) language. 

Do you honestly want to eschew improvements in quality of life because someone is not ideologically pure?  This self righteousness is the same as the one that drives the anti-abortion zealots and keeps us in the Iraq because of “honor.”

Again, none of you are offering a bridge to help others to see your point of view.

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By rage, November 6, 2008 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nader needs to quit! This level of animosity is unbecoming a beast of even his crusty, curmudgeonly, cantankerous demeanor. Is there no end to this political reprobate’s venom?

For Nader to suggest that Obama is politically ‘Tomming’ is not only insulting, but absolutely wrong on too many levels to note in such a limited space. Sure, Barack Obama has compromised his personal stances to appeal to voters beyond his normal base. Obama moved to the political center more than Nader approved to get elected to the Presidency, yes. But, c’mon, Obama had to get elected if the Nation was going to slow that skid into hell the GOP spent the last four decades viciously greasing. Obama would never have gotten elected, had he stubbornly stuck to his guns, to the chagrin and offense of voters, the way Nader has for the last four decades.

This demonstration of malicious envy was unnecessary, as are all of Nader’s attacks. Furthermore, it detracts from Nader’s political message, which is generally excellent and should be adopted by the political left as policy. But, no one is going to endure Nader’s overbearing animosity just to have his input. Voters are not compelled to support the grievous old coot who is always pitching a fit, even when the coot is right about so many things.

Nader needs to stop all this petulent name-calling and take some responsibility for his message going no further to reach more voters than it has. Perhaps if Ralphie Boy were to crop up with the same frequency of UFO sightings in Red State trailer courts, more voters would take his campaigns seriously. Instead, this obnoxious old relic shows up less often than Halle’s Comet to beg for funding and support while nagging and criticizing every decision made from which his valuable input has been witheld on the grounds that it wasn’t an election year. Face it, Nader’s campaign ground game sucks hugely. And, his funding tactics are worse than his ground game. Granted, his message is not one that will win support and funding from the corporatocracy. But, knowing that, Nader should have worked harder to win support elsewhere. Instead, Nader has managed to irritate even his own base with this sort of grief.

What Nader needs to do is take notes from Obama on how to push his political program without pissing off virtually everyone he so desperately needs to support and fund his campaigns. Obama’s policy propositions are not that different or that far apart from the direction Nader is proposing. Obama used his victory speech to generously open his Oval Office door to input, advice, and suggestions from all directions. While Obama has that particular olive branch extended to jealous detractors like himself, Nader needs to get some valuable media attention for humbly accepting his new President’s charitable offer, to kick in some of his very valuable input. Nader’s showing up as the tactful elder statesman and Presidential advisor, to be a VISIBLE, regular, helpful, seasoned, WISE contributing participant in our political discourse from now until 2012, can only help Ralphie’s next potential Presidential run, providing this fogy old fart is still alive and mentally competent come 2012. The way it’s looking now, though, Nader is going to be right where Grampy McCain is now by 2012, out on his front porch in his drawers, cussing at passing kids for accidentally stepping on his precious lawn.

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By troublesum, November 6, 2008 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment

The US ranks 28th in the world in infant mortality rates and 45th in the world in terms of life expectancy.  The reason for this is our corrupt health care system and our falling standard of living.  Obama is blissfully unconcerned about any of this.  He never mentioned it once during the campaign.  He just keeps repeating the mantra that the US is the greatest country in the world.

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By matti, November 6, 2008 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I can’t believe people can’t see through this!

Instead of mindlessly letting Shepard Smith and Rupert Murdoch control you like a puppet on a string, use your brain and think about the situation.

Do you really think consumer advocate and staunch progressive Ralph Nader is rascist? REALLY?

Or does it make more sense that he made a literary allusion that was quite applicable -but was a little less PC than he should have been with the hounds of FOX circling him?

Doesn’t it fit the video better to believe that once Nader made the initial allusion, the producer in Smith’s ear had him jump on it? Specifically for the reason that they knew they would get great coverage from all of the PC “liberals” clamoring over each other in angst to condemn it?

Wouldn’t THAT explain why there is a delay between Nader’s original statement and Smith’s “follow-up”?

Woundn’t THAT explain why Smith so smirkingly cut Nader off before he could clarify?

Do you really think that Nader WASN’T about to clarify this statement as he realized he’d been hoodwinked?

Doesn’t all of this make more SENSE than Ralph Nader = Secret Rascist?

FOX of course hates Nader at all times, but are you curious to find out why they might be lloking to discredit him at this time specifically?

Go to http://www.november5.org and find out.

A new movement is building to pressure Congress in an organized way -from their home district constituencies.

THAT’S what’s got the Corporatist’s gunning for Nader now.

Don’t fall into the trap.


-matti.

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By Paracelsus, November 6, 2008 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment

@ Inherit The Wind

Nader is turning into a real racist pr**k.  “Uncle Tom”??? Why doesn’t he just call Obama a “House n****r” while he’s at it?  Talk about a racist term—he’d NEVER call a White man an “Uncle Tom”.

I’ll quote you and see if Truthdig lets me get away with it. I have been having trouble with those asterisk curse words around here. I think it is up to black folks to call Obaaaa maaaa<think sheep> a house negro. But Obaaaaa maaaaaa’s support of Wall Street makes a strong case that he is an Uncle Tom.

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By jackpine savage, November 6, 2008 at 3:33 pm Link to this comment

Thank God we have that vessel of all that is “progressive” in Ralph Nader.

Spin it any way you like, he could have and should have used better wording. He knew what he was doing, so the question becomes “why did he do it?”

He might have said, “Will Obama be a President for the people or for the corporations?” (Or some variation of that.) He chose his reference, and i doubt that it was for “literary” purposes. How many Fox viewers have read Beacher-Stowe?

He may be “right on the issues”, but he falls pretty far short as a human being. Stay classy, Ralph, stay classy.

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By Chris, November 6, 2008 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As you said, at that point, it will be too late.

If that happens, things are not necessarily going to go Nader’s way.  Remember, during the Great Depression the US went left (although less than many of us would have liked) but Germany and Italy…

Again, I don’t see the bridge for bringing people to your side.  If you have one, can you tell me it (and be specific, no platitudes or vague statements about revolution please).

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By troublesum, November 6, 2008 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment

When it’s too late the majority will come around to Nader’s way of thinking.  The US has fallen way behind in quality of life issues like average life span, infant mortality rates, availability of quality health care, etc.  Of course if you don’t mind living in a banana republic this doesn’t bother you.

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By TrueDigger, November 6, 2008 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I watched the video direct from “youtube” and I fully
agree with points and questions raised by Nader.
However, IMHO Nader is very hopeful. Obama is for
big Business/Money and will do nothing for
the poor and middle class. Maybe minor cosmetic moves.
Shep. Smith did not fool anyone with his posturing
and theatrics.

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By Chris, November 6, 2008 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The problem that I have seen with many people on the left (of the Nader degree) is that they have some very good ideas, but no realistic ideas of implementing them.  Nader got 1% of the vote and while there are some people who pragmatically voted for Obama even though they supported Nader’s positions, the vast majority of the electorate does not agree with them.  The polemic attitude of many people with these views do not provide a bridge to help change people’s minds. 

While I do not agree with Obama stated stance on quite a few issues (off shore drilling, gay marriage, etc.), I realize that his approach allows for people with viewpoints across the political spectrum to support a progressive agenda. 

As they say, you’ll catch more bees with honey than vinegar.

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By jc, November 6, 2008 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ralph should be ashamed of himself for that comment. It is out of step, old and very very racist.
Sometimes the older generation just does not get it no matter what is done.

p.s. I am almost 56 so I can say older…...

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By mjfr, November 6, 2008 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lesser evilist dems have got to be the saddest sub strata of humanity. Blame Nader no reality allowed. Now he’s a secret neo-con operative? And I thought the wing nuts were paranoid. How did Ralph blow it for Kerry? Was it Ralph that stopped the recount in 2000? These dimocrats blame Bush for stealing the elections out of one side of their collective mouths and blame Nader out of the other. This is what is so despicable about the “liberal left”: no conviction, no core beliefs. Just Bush bad, Nader worse. Gore was pushing quite vocally for an invasion of Iraq back in 1998. Kerry attempted to out macho Bush. What is it about Nader’s truth telling that so offends?

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By Gmonst, November 6, 2008 at 2:03 pm Link to this comment

I understand what Nader is trying to say with regards to the choice of direction facing Obama.  However, he adorns his ideas with offensive language which demonstrate a deep lacking of tact and racial sensitivity.  It is out of step with the times, and comes a across with no small hint of bitterness.  Evoking slave era terminology is seriously out of place in today’s politics. I wonder what Cynthia Mckinney would think of that comment.

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By ecd4me, November 6, 2008 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

well fox is a right wing turd puddle. We can all agree on that at least. I wish them well the next four years as they try to twist and snarl and undercut everything Obama does. He is likely to be very popular, given that the Dems have the votes now.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, November 6, 2008 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment

ed:

You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

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By troublesum, November 6, 2008 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment

Today on democracynow.org a Palestinian from Chicago who has known Obama for ten years tells how Obama completely turned his back on his Palestinian friends in Chicago and the Palestinian cause as well so that he could could meet AIPAC standards for presidential candidates.  http://www.democracynow.org

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By Tom Paine, November 6, 2008 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

The truth hurts only when you are tightly holding onto a lie.

Yes, most definitely. Another attempt to marginalize progressive values (which Nader surely represents). When TruthDig supports Foxnews’  infamous “fair and balanced” reporting, it’s time to go elsewhere for “news” and debate.  The truth is that one has to be blind to not acknowledge that Obama is a slave to the financial, corporate, military, prison congressional and Zionist complex. It’s called business in the trade. Plainly Obama like Pelosi and most other politicians have sold their souls for personal gain. When the elephant in the living room is identified, then the identifier becomes chastised by the host as being out of order. It’s the same game that GW has played, but now TruthDig is playing it seems.  It doesn’t matter to me who sells out, but let’s first acknowledge the fact. Traditionally in the culture that I was brought up, when the sell out person was of African American descent. the name used was “Uncle Tom” – yes as in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The point that progressives like Nader are racist, just doesn’t hold. Hey some of my best friends are Neocons, provocateurs,  and FBI plants. Let’s get together and hug LOL.

Tom

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By troublesum, November 6, 2008 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment

People always talk about Nader’s ego but never Dick Cheney’s ego or W’s or Clinton’s or Newt Gingrich’s or McCain’s.  You must be on your knees when you confront power in this country; that’s what offends people about Nader.  If it were simply a matter of ego, those other people would offend also.  Nothing wrong with W and Cheney being confrontational, but anyone on the other side must be on his knees.  The talk about Nader’s ego first appeared in the corporate media.

After a year and a half of racist commentary on campaign news, Fox is suddenly concerned about someone saying “uncle Tom”??

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By johnnyfarout, November 6, 2008 at 11:55 am Link to this comment

As usual for Nader, he made a clear statement of political choice and reality for all Americans. The fake outrage of the small minded pew sitters feeling confusion over what racism is, like from this fox idiot, is despicable. Fox news is still anti-working people and will use any conversation or bit of nuance to make themselves out to be the moralists in america’s play. I’m shocked…shocked I say!...at the normally insightful comments of purplegirl. Who knew she harbored such misplaced vituperation for baby boomers, the old activists and radicals, all of whom went through the 60’s and got their asses handed to them in street fights with the cops over and over again, and kept on talking to authority with a fist in the air. The hippies lost to the dinks and yuppies and the republicans installed themselves in the seats of power and we and Nader saw the people go for their slick lies and evil empire new American century. I too fear O’Bama doesn’t have enough irish in him to earn that apostrophe…it comes from standing up to the boss man and refusing to hoodwink the people who work and labor with love for their fellows in their hearts. Nader always ran to enlighten…I do hope O’Bama can speak from the depths of his humanity when another missile system plan is thrown on the table by the pentagonal corporatists costing us trillions and our planet to boot. The empire has ways to swallow a good man down, be he chocolate or vanilla. Racism is a tool of the oligarchs: the Man. Fox is scum and hasn’t one iota of sense to offer for the planet or the people on it. I get frightened when everybody is cheering and weeping in the streets. I want to see Americans get universal health care and their own banks for mortgages and their voice in the workplace. We don’t need to labor for more rouge and lipstick on the corporations and their evil globe trotting financiers. We as a species face the coming dreaded carbon cycle feedback and accompanying 6°C of warming. 50 years ago was when we needed to take steps. Reagan gave birth to a new mourning in America that we have to change or else. I also wait to see O’Bama’s true colors, and I voted for him, too. How much can one man do though, in this best of all possible countries? Will we find him explaining to us on TV why things can’t be any different, as in the shake up has become another shake down!? I hate to be the spoiler, but as frank zappa wrote, “that trouble comin’ everyday”. As a card carrying boomer I want to see the sun rising over the city on the hill as much as anybody. McCain would certainly have been the face of the evil empire. Those who stand ignorantly in the ranks of the marching minions have not gone away just because a black man has been voted into the presidency. The “deliciousness” of America is not just a taste of race reconciliation, it’s power coming from the people. Let’s see it and do it. Education and unions for working families… give the Man a black eye! Chickens and soy beans in our pots, electric vehicles in our garages, electric trains whisking us around our country… college educations for all who can cut the mustard! Let’s hope this apparent change soon has us yelling a spontaneous, satisfied, “Yay America!”

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By Mayponce, November 6, 2008 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

Shep-“Do you wish you’d used a different phase other than Uncle Tom?”

Nader-“Not at all…....”

Fuck yeah! I’m so sick of hearing nothing but spin and platitudes from pundits, Democrats and Republicans alike.

Stating the obvious is racist? I guess if a man is black he can’t be called out for being a sell out. Colin Powell should fit in fine along with Rham Emanuel in Obama’s cabinet.

Obama is a corporate shill-an African American corporate shill, but a shill nonetheless.

Just wait until his presidency blows up in the face of all the hero worshiping liberals.

After all, Just listen to what the man has been campaigning on-amorphous change and a kinder gentler American Empire.

If he doesn’t turn out to be a stealth socialist peacnic (which is what many of his pathetic supporters actually believe), then Uncle Tom will describe Obama quite well.

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By mud, November 6, 2008 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

Must be dis Nader day for some TD geniuses.

How about dissing this nauseating slug interviewer.

Sorry to the innocent slugs out there in the garden.

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By boomer68, November 6, 2008 at 10:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I read the post by purple girl with disbelief. We “boomers”, including Bill Ayers and his wife tried our level best to warn America that there was a tsunami on its way. We were ignored and vilified. Our more egalitarian perspectives and ideas are still those that most Americans aspire to as evidenced by the winner of the 2008 presidential election. We opened doors in our day and lighted the way to a modern racially and economically balanced nation. Now the turns, finally, in the direction to which we pointed 40 years ago. I am proud of my life and of this ground breaking electoral victory.
An unrepentant N.C. boomer and socialist.

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By Babette Hogan, November 6, 2008 at 10:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Let’s disect this further…

So,  you wanted to give Obama a hundred or so days of grace.  In the end, the ruler must and will be scrutinized and made to serve the people, even if he or she appears obliging.

No one likes it when rain spoils the parade; in this case, Nader is a douse of vinegar on a gaping sore.  It is remarkably ironic that it’s Fox playing this entrapment game.  While Nader may appear bitter, the host displays even greater acrimony in his shut-up “gotcha” wink media style.

While you can question Nader’s loaded word choice (he’s oft given to literary suggestions - remember “Tweedle-De and Tweedle-Dumb” which became popular years later amongst pundits?), his point remains that Obama has displayed deference to the status quo of corporate influence in politics. 

To suggest that race is NOT an issue in this election, is naive.  Members of the black left are asking themselves the same Uncle Tom question about Obama.

Nader knows this is his last chance to catch some media this election cycle and it’s unlikely that he will be a minor candidate in four years, so he has to inflict his medicine on the newly anointed while he can still attract the media.  As he says, the only time people pay attention to these issues is during the election.

Obama has said he knows that there are those who do not agree with him, that he will listen to them.  Pelosi has already said that Obama will rule from the center.  And the right is already calling him a socialist.  Clearly, he’s not going to be listening to the progressive left.  Again removed from the conversation, this real left will have to wait patiently while the self-interested battle with the less self-interested. 

The problem with the center for some of us is that it exists on somebody else’s definition of the continuum of political spectrum.

Socialists exist here in the United States and while socialism is decried as a slippery slope to communism, the proof of this inevitability is as evident as capitalism leading to reagality.  Countries such as Sweden are the leading technological innovations because they offer their children a complete and diverse education through their socialist-capitalist system.  They aren’t afraid of mixing terms or understanding nuance.

As much as our country found its early spirit in rugged individualism, it also found its survival in community, even while we spat in its face.

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By abel, November 6, 2008 at 10:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

people are making it seem like obama is some kind of hero which he is not. Nader is saying that he hopes that Obama does live up to his promises. Next its FOX NEWS, they turned around what he said to get people to watch their sorry news channel which sucks.

Nader has been working to help ALL people long before Obama was even trying take his first steps.

What has Obama done to help Americans????

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By Markus, November 6, 2008 at 9:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Apparently nobody seems to read those who comment before, or if they do they seriously need to consider the previous commentors words before they open up and lay siege to Nader.

Answering such as Inherit did is both troubling and telling. Obviously we didn’t look beyond the title of the piece, much less take into consideration the meaning of Nader’s comments.

He could of said “slave to the plantation of corporate lobbysts,” and that could apply to a black man, a white man or a white woman. That is how we live, we are dominated by a corporate government and a corporate media.

I guess he could of saved face and said “will he stand up or be a pawn,” but it wouldn’t of made the headlines here, nor caught Shep off guard. And for god’s sakes, Faux News is acting all high and mighty? Any story they can get to slander African Americans, Hispanics, women or people of the Islamic faith they take on.

Read into his comments. Don’t just use profane and quite unattractive nonsense, it comes off as very immature and quite far off of the “Change train” that I just spent 2 years having crammed down my throat.

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By Benjamin Tasker, November 6, 2008 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

I think his running mate might have noticed and objected to any anti-hispanic side of Nader.

Uncle Tom is a recent epithet that represents an African-American who who was sold out to white owners. It isn’t degrading to African-Americans as a race or voting block merely people who sell out to an authority that doesn’t benefit themselves or people like them.

Nader did not call Obama, Uncle Tom - he said Obama needed to make a choice about whether he was going to really fight for the American people or sell out to corporations and become a pawn in the military industrial complex.

Don’t give the Fox guy exactly what he’s looking for - negative attention to a genuinely liberal politician. He’s warped Nader’s words into something they aren’t.

This had very little to do with race.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 6, 2008 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

Nader is turning into a real racist pr**k.  “Uncle Tom”??? Why doesn’t he just call Obama a “House n****r” while he’s at it?  Talk about a racist term—he’d NEVER call a White man an “Uncle Tom”.

The more he opens his mouth the more I lose any respect I once had for the clown.

Why doesn’t he get interviewed by the racist web sites? He’s pretty much there already.  Racist against Blacks, anti-semitic against Jews.  What’s next? Anti-hispanic?

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By steven andresen, November 6, 2008 at 9:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

These people suppose Nader has been offensive to Pres. elect Obama by using the words “Uncle Tom” to describe him. They believe this because the words have been used to describe blacks who working for whites, do not benefit blacks all that much. “Uncle Toms” take advantage of the system instead of working to undermine or destroy the system that oppresses. “Uncle Toms” who work for the system are to be contrasted with abolitionists who work to uproot and overthrow the system.

The reason this description is relevant has to do with our country’s current policies towards corporations and trade. We have sent our manufacturing base to countries where they can pay labor slave wages. We tolerate this inequality, therefore, we - understood as all the people,- tolerate slavery. So the question is, when we think about what to do with slavery, will Obama work with it, or try to overthrow it.

The

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By Benjamin Tasker, November 6, 2008 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

The argument that Nader caused Gore and Kerry to lose the election fails time and time again.

Exit polls in 2000 indicated that voters for Nader in Florida who would have voted for Gore as a second choice were tied with the number of those who would have chosen Bush as a second choice but ultimately a majority wouldn’t have voted at all if hadn’t been on the ballot.

Let’s not forget to point fingers at the millions of people who ACTUALLY voted for Bush. Let’s not forget that thousands of minority voters in Florida were not allowed to vote - many of whom would have chosen Gore. Finally - if you want to point fingers - point one at Gore himself for (A) Not running a campaign that would have convinced more people that he was our man, or (B) not actually fighting for something that was rightfully his.

2004? Kerry fudged up - the people genuinely picked Bush. Blame the voters who supported him.

Finally - Nader has consistently shown that his positions are actually liberal and polls indicate that a majority of Americans actually support the things that he proposes - they just don’t take the time to find out. OR - his rallies and adverts are consistently muted and ignored by big media which supports the very corporate politicians that he has fought so hard to reveal.

Gandhi said: “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.” His strategies are questionable but it’s only a matter of time till the population realizes that he knows what hes talking about and he’s right.

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By ecd4me, November 6, 2008 at 9:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Please don’t be so hard on us boomers. Nader definitely is out of line with his Uncle Tom remark. I doubt that is is a knowing accomplice of the neocons. I think he is just so egotistical, he cant take blame for electing Bush or thinks his candidacy adds something constructive. Fragmenting the two parties would reduce us to being governed by unstable coalitions kowtowing to extremist wingnuts whose support they need. Wait a minute we just had that.
Seriously, we didnt all sell out. Thank our generation for the civil rights movement for one thing and the youth movement of the sixties greatly expanded social freedoms for the masses. How were we to know our best friend who kept us supplied with weed would turn into an investbanker and a Republican to boot.

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By ed, November 6, 2008 at 8:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

obama is a puppet, and nader was simply pointing that out. he broke the code of political correctness and called a spade a spade. ha

you need to wake the fuck up-the left-right paradigm is bullshit.  we live in a FASCIST country.  obama is just the latest product of the PR arm of the oligarchy.

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By einsteinstoe, November 6, 2008 at 8:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why is it that Nader is always blamed for Gore and Kerry’s loss? Convenient? Easy? Sadomasochism?
10,000 registered Democratic Floridians voted for GEORGE BUSH in OO’....count em’ 10,000.  Those idiot turn coats easily out weighed Naders couple thousand.What about Kathrine Harris? REMEMBER?
What about the 50,000+ (Krugman) mostly black, democratic “felons” who were wiped from the voter roles? Just fast forward to Kerry and all the VOTER FRAUD that those slimeballs perpetrated in that race. OHIO anyone? Those Neo Con vampires LOVE to see you attack Nader on this issue. You know, “take your eye off the ball” 
If you honestly believe that Nader just brought you seat belts than you need to read more. 
Nader choice of “Uncle Tom” or “Uncle Sam” was lazy at best. But denying the strangle hold the largest multi nationals and supra nationals have on our democracy and just how dangerous that strangle hold is is even more dangerous. Obama’s voting record (nor his soon to be chief of staff)does not lend favorably to me believing he has the will or interest to taking this specific and dire issue head on. IE out of NAFTA, CAFTA et al. Out of the WTO. Fair trade based on environmental principals and human rights. And USA first on trade. No more Bottom line. I hope I am wrong. Obama has brought me hope so far so now I wait.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, November 6, 2008 at 7:57 am Link to this comment

Nader’s anti-corp rhetoric has become the same kind of mantra for the left that family values, the second amendment and anti-abortion have been for the right. It’s convenient rhetoric, easy to use and relatively ineffective and unconstructive in the larger scheme of things.

Obama has clearly demonstrated America’s dire need to unite, work together to solve big problems, keep the good and throw out the bad, in a sane, reasonable, constructive way, all while working within our not-entirely-bad system. 

He’s also shown we really need to move ahead.

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By Purple Girl, November 6, 2008 at 7:43 am Link to this comment

Nadar has been a Neo Con Corp Operative for Decades..their Inside guy to stealing votes from any and All Democratic contenders.
His ‘Glory Story’ is as dusty and Moldy as McCains…What have you Done for US since Covairs and Seatbelts.. Screwed Us out of at least 2 Presidencies, Asshole!!Had Gore Won in ‘00, we would not be in Iraq!!! Had Kerry Won in ‘04, We’d be already OUT of Iraq! there is as much Blood on Nadars hands as W’s!
Go crawl back under your Rock of Deceipt Ralphy Boy, But this time Stay there!!! Thank god these Damned ‘boomers’ are getting to retirement age, let’s give them their Gold Watches and Roll their Dusty shit asses out the Door. In fact for as badly as they have Fucked US up, couldn’t we take a page out of the alaskan natives Old book and Push them out on one of the remianing Ice Bergs?Nah, the polar Bears are far more Worthy of their Use. Let’s just stick them in one of the Warehouses they have spent decades neglecting during their Reign of Terror. If they think we are now going to install Spas and day salons into their Long term care facilities, they have another ‘Think’ coming. These SOB’s ahve neglected and Undermined Our elderly, Our kids, Our planet, Our future….Bitter Yeah I’m bitter, I’ve watched as the ‘Boomer’ pilfered everything they could get their hands on and left the rest of US fucked.
Good Luck ‘Boomers’ You’re gonna Need it! How in the World the ‘Greates Generation’ gave birth to the Worlds Worst generation is one for Sociologist and Historian to spend volumes dissecting for decades to come.What a bunch of Self centered,Self serving, Self Promoting Con Artists!

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By tehpistolpete, November 6, 2008 at 7:28 am Link to this comment

Imaginary issues?  Nader’s stances on issues are OVERWHELMINGLY supported by the rest of the world. 

1. No war with Iran (Obama has made legitimate threats even though Iran has every right to produce nuclear energy, as does every country signed to the NPT)

2. Pull out of Iraq (The majority of Iraqis have always stated that they want Americans out as soon as possible.  They believe its the only possibility of national reconciliation)

3. Support the two-state settlement in Israel.  (Obama sucks up to AIPAC and has refused to comment on the cruelty of Israeli action against Palestinians in Gaza.)

4. No free trade. (Obama won’t get rid of NAFTA and has allied himself with the Brookings Institute as well as Rob Rubin, remember him?

The list goes on.

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By Rodger Lemonde, November 6, 2008 at 7:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nader needs to go back to what he does well. Politics for him is like a fish learning to use a bicycle.

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By bill board, November 6, 2008 at 7:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I find Fox News and Shepherd Smith, newly found interest in anti-racism (or the appearance of being anti-racist) amusing. This is the most racist network on TV. They have that racist Bill O’Reilly and the network itself called Michelle Obama “Barack’s baby mama”, now THAT is racist.

Nader was not being racist: to be an “Uncle Tom” is to be subservient to the white supremacist power structure. Nader said that if Obama sells out Blacks and Latinos and poor white, he won;t be an Uncle Sam, but an Uncle Tom.

This is not racist, you all will have to try again.

Shepherd Smith is the embarrassment. Does anyone actually call this journalism?

http://www.salon.com/politics/war_room/2008/06/11/fox_obama/

Thu Nov 06, 08:05:00 AM

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By Alex Stevens, November 6, 2008 at 7:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

OK, I would have to say Nader brings up a valid point that can be expressed about any politician. He then continued speaking and lost all credence.
1) Bad choice of words Ralphy boy. Didn’t you learn from your name sake to exert caution when asking for a Red Rider BB gun.
2) Um, your reasoning was vague and some what invalid. Bad news Ralph, the election is over, you can drop the vague candidate bashing.

I will agree with Fox, Nader knows he is fading and wanted to cause a final stir before his name is forgotten.

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By bmo, November 6, 2008 at 7:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Disgruntled bitter old men and women - crackpots of all races - capitulating to corporations do not necessarily suffer from Alzheimer’s. Is that comparison any less offensive than Nader’s Uncle Tom reference. Alzheimers’ is a quite real problem; Uncle Tom is a literary allusion. We’ve walked through the looking glass here.

Let’s all be young and smiling and compliant and roll on Jordan roll on.

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By Matt, November 6, 2008 at 7:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nader has never been renowned for adhering to political correctness, and it was certainly not the best choice of allusions, but if you listen to what he’s saying, his comment made absolute sense, and was 100% right.

He basically said that Obama has a choice, he can be a savior to the people or a capitulator to corporate interest.  Had he said it just like that, there’d be no controversy.

This is being blown way out of proportion, and as usual, people are jumping on the hate bandwagon to trash Nader, pulling a sound-byte out of the context of the message and using it as a weapon against him, without paying any attention to the meaning of his statement.

It was only out of line if you believe it’s important to adhere to strict political correctness, which Nader does not, and never has.  So if you’re offended, oh boo hoo.  You’re just wasting your energy on a contrived distraction.  Go find something real to get offended by, and stop trashing a guy who has spent his entire career fighting for your safety, and your rights, and justice for the people.

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By John, November 6, 2008 at 6:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As has been written elsewhere on Truthdig, Nader is right on the issues.  But the focus in America (and abroad) is personality.  The people of Obama Japan are celebrating.  Not rational.  Yes it’s wondeful to have an actual smart person in the White House.  But it’s the same country util we change it.  That’s change we need.

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By Brian, November 6, 2008 at 6:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

That was an unfortunate analogy by Nader, but so far Obama’s selections do not foretell much ‘change’.

Personal attacks on Nadar or anyone else should be denounced as we try to move forward.

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By Patrick, November 6, 2008 at 6:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree with a lot of what Nader says, policy-wise, and I might even agree that you could use “Uncle Tom” in a provocative, but ultimately helpful way in the right venue with enough time to hash it out.

But not this way. This not only makes him look bad, but by refusing to see the point about the term itself Nader is a) totally clueless or b) racist.

Before then, I would have voted for Nader anytime. Now, I’d hesitate. contrary to news headlines from yesterday, racism (and sexism, and…) has not suddenly gone away (Prop 8, anyone?). And I’d want a president who knows that.

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By cyrena, November 6, 2008 at 4:16 am Link to this comment

From the piece..

“...We’re confused but think it’s a bit weird to bring race into a discussion about politicians capitulating to big corporations. After all, history would suggest that elected officials from a vast array of backgrounds are perfectly capable of that sort of thing….”

~~~
No, it’s not you all that are confused. It’s more than ‘weird’ for Nader to make such a comment, and he’s just made it official. He’s way out of line, and apparently out of his mind as well. Maybe the Alzheimer’s got him, or maybe he’s just like so many other bitter old men. (and women).

Geeze…can we just get on with the 21st Century without all of this whining from disgruntled crackpots?

Nader just needs to get out his supply of seat belts, and strap his bitter old ass into an easy chair somewhere. Let him insult the imaginary people in his imaginary world.

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