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Nader Was Right: Liberals Are Going Nowhere With Obama

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Posted on Aug 10, 2009
Ralph Nader
AP / Carolyn Kaster

Ralph Nader waits for his turn to speak at a news conference during the run-up to the 2008 campaign.

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

“Obama is squandering his positive response around the world,” Nader said. “In terms of foreign and military policy, it is a distinct continuity with Bush. Iraq, Afghanistan, the militarization of foreign policy, the continued expansion of the Pentagon budget and pursuing more globalized trade agreements are the same.”

This is an assessment that neoconservatives now gleefully share. Eliot A. Cohen, writing in The Wall Street Journal, made the same pronouncement.

“Mostly, though, the underlying structure of the policy remains the same,” Cohen wrote in an Aug. 2 opinion piece titled “What’s Different About the Obama Foreign Policy.” “Nor should this surprise us: The United States has interests dictated by its physical location, its economy, its alliances, and above all, its values. Naive realists, a large tribe, fail to understand that ideals will inevitably guide American foreign policy, even if they do not always determine it. Moreover, because the Obama foreign and defense policy senior team consists of centrist experts from the Democratic Party, it is unlikely to make radically different judgments about the world, and about American interests in it, than its predecessors.”

Nader said that Obama should gradually steer the country away from imperial and corporate tyranny.

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“You don’t just put out policy statements of congeniality, but statements of gradual redirection,” Nader said. “You incorporate in that statement not just demilitarization, not just ascension of smart diplomacy, but the enlargement of the U.S. as a humanitarian superpower, and cut out these Soviet-era weapons systems and start rapid response for disaster like earthquakes and tsunamis. You expand infectious disease programs, which the U.N. Developmental Commission says can be done for $50 billion a year in Third World countries on nutrition, minimal health care and minimal shelter.”

Obama has expanded the assistance to our class of Wall Street extortionists through subsidies, loan guarantees and backup declarations to banks such as Citigroup. His stimulus package does not address the crisis in our public works infrastructure; instead it doles out funds to Medicaid and unemployment compensation. There will be no huge public works program to remodel the country. The president refuses to acknowledge the obvious—we can no longer afford our empire.

“Obama could raise a call to come home, America, from the military budget abroad,” Nader suggested. “He could create a new constituency that does not exist because everything is so fragmented, scattered, haphazard and slapdash with the stimulus. He could get the local labor unions, the local Chambers of Commerce and the mayors to say the more we cut the military budget, the more you get in terms of public works.” 

“They [administration leaders] don’t see the distinction between public power and corporate power,” Nader said. “This is their time in history to reassert public values represented by workers, consumers, taxpayers and communities. They are creating a jobless recovery, the worst of the worst, with the clear specter of inflation on the horizon. We are heading for deep water.”

The massive borrowing acts as an anesthetic. It prevents us from facing the new limitations we must learn to cope with domestically and abroad. It allows us to live in the illusion that we are not in a state of irrevocable crisis, that our decline is not real and that catastrophe has been averted. But running up the national debt can work only so long.

“No one can predict the future,” Nader added hopefully. “No one knows the variables. No one predicted the move on tobacco. No one predicted gay rights. No one predicted the Berkeley student rebellion. The students were supine. You never know what will light the fire. You have to keep the pressure on. I know only one thing for sure: The whole liberal-progressive constituency is going nowhere.”


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By tenzinx, August 10, 2009 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment

“We owe Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney and the Green Party an apology. They were right.” Thanks, Chris, for saying this without any reservation. Nader has been pummeled for years, and for what? Basically for simply speaking truths too hard apparently for most of us to stomach. He may have his own issues but it’s hard not to read his statements here and realize he was way ahead of the curve in not only seeing the Obama/progressive fiasco coming, but in being willing to say it out loud when no one else would. Thanks for an exceptionally straight and intelligent assessment of what lies ahead if we (the people) don’t wake up.

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By Leefeller, August 10, 2009 at 5:34 pm Link to this comment

Hippyforever, not crazy with the way things are, but do not have the vile taste in my mouth Blueberry seems to inject.  Being a day late and dollar short, Blueberry portrays how I feel about our country, but in my case with out the bile.

blueberry, FYI: I actually raise some blueberries.  As Using the word “you” and “we” with relish portrays lack of insight, for many on TD agree with Blueberry assertion’s as stated.  Such bigoted conscritpts of labeling all people of one nations as something they are not,  seems most prejudice. One could portray all Iranians as puppets of the state. I have no idea if this it true, but the doubt in my mind provides some freedom of choice.

“‘at the least, desist in referring to yourselves as ‘Leaders of the Free World’”  I can only speak for myself.  Comments as such, seem aimed at the wrong targets, my question is who decides what is the free world and whom the leader would be?  So, when you say “yourselves” whom are you speaking?

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By SteveL, August 10, 2009 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment

When Harry Reid got his 60-seat majority he quickly declared defeat.  That is where the main problem is.  Not with Obama or the House of Representatives.  Reid could play hardball with the reluctant Senators but has said from the start he would not.

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By hippie4ever, August 10, 2009 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller, I like the organisation of parliament because it usually denies a single party of a majority, and with many more smaller but more representative parties, coaltions develop and everyone gets something in the deal, not just the majority party. Seems more democratic, and might make the corporate sponsorship so much more expensive.

But this is America so ironclad lobby reform might be the best to hope for, in my personal Utopia.

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By liecatcher, August 10, 2009 at 4:56 pm Link to this comment

Nader Was Right: Liberals Are Going Nowhere With Obama Posted on Aug 10, 2009 By Chris Hedges

Neither are progressives or anyone else except fascists & oligarchs.

” Nader said that Obama should gradually steer the country away from imperial and corporate tyranny.”

This type of statement by Nader shows that he is unfit to be president. He still doesn’t understand

that the U.S. has been taken over by fascists who kill to maintain & increase their strangle hold.

Nader should read the following two reports:

Truthdig - Reports - Cashing In on ‘Government Sachs’ 2009/05/05

Truthdig - Reports - ‘Government Sachs’ Strikes Gold ... Again 2009/07/14

Once Obama gave the FED carte blanche, the enslavement became irreversible as he buried America in a debtor’s abyss. The U.S. is

beyond bankrupt & insolvent. States are selling infrastructure to these fascists. Arnold & Adolph,

Austrian countrymen knew how to get things done, & so does Obama. Arnold terminated California

& Obama is decimating the rest of the U.S. I won’t be surprised to see Obama announce that

North America’s new currency is the unum, as in: E pluribus unum, Latin for “Out of Many, One,”

as in THE NEW WORLD ORDER:ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT. This is what “W” meant when

he said during questioning about his legacy; “you will see my legacy after I leave office”. He was

sure that “Bush” 3 would finish what he started.

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By BlueBerry Pick'n, August 10, 2009 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment

LeeFeller

when my country has illegally invaded, trained torturers, run deathsquads & aerially bombed as many nations to the rate of the US of A…

...& caused TWO global economic collapses due to rampant corporate & government corruption, I’ll listen to your sniveling about how tragically misunderstood your nation of The People or ‘representative government’ might be…

until then, yeah, I’ll be disgusted with the USA.

if its too hard to regulate yourselves better than armed pre-schoolers on a tantrum, maybe you don’t deserve to do so.

don’t tell me that you can’t help yourselves… if so, then perhaps you should try a little harder & stop aerially administering ‘freedoms’ to other nations at the behest of your corporate overlords.

at the least, desist in referring to yourselves as ‘Leaders of the Free World

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By Leefeller, August 10, 2009 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment

hippie4ever, yes, thanks I agree with your premise and as I stated most of his ideas, but If Nader is the answer, who knows?  Our two party system seems the problem for as I stated Lincoln before, apologize it is out of context: “Both political parties are like two drunks fighting on the street, when it is all over they have on each others coat on.”

Blueberry hill, comments from you seem most bigoted, many Americans do not agree with their governments policies as instituted, as I suppose some Canadians theirs?  Stereotyping as you seem to do, seems most unfair, many of the people were against the war in Iraq and as when confronted with the question, our great vice president at the time stated “so”! Lumping all peoples as one seems an easy trap to fall into.

Their seems to be many in the USA, which cannot seem to use reason, but not all.

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By truedigger3, August 10, 2009 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment

ardee wrote:
” Buffet is giving 85% of his fortune to the Gates Foundation, not to safeguard it, which, on the face of it, sounds awfully silly, giving money away to keep it???”
____________________________________________________

If the money will grow tax free, then that doesn’t sound “awfully silly” after all.
Yes, I remember we discussed that subject before and we deadlocked.
As I said foundations law is full of loopholes and side and back doors for the benefits to the foundations’ founders AND their estates.
Hopefully, you may have a friend or a relative who is a lawyer and knows about this subject and explain that to you.
That is it about foundations from me.

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By hippie4ever, August 10, 2009 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller, I’d suggest that Nader is right on most issues that matter to ordinary working people, only we’ve a public of badly educated, overworked citizens who are exhausted and sleep-deprived. This situation is hardly coincidental, and at the moment we’re watching a stunning “tour de farce” of Obamaland where the wars escalate, the economy stagnates, war crimes go unpunished, torture continues, people lose their homes, environmental degradation continues, the police state expands…

I’d suggest these are all reasons to consider Nader now more than ever, and I did vote Obama in 2008.

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By BlueBerry Pick'n, August 10, 2009 at 4:18 pm Link to this comment

oh ya think so, do ya?

the folks who *still* have a problem with Nader, are living in a Fantasy World where what they’re TOLD about ‘hope’ & ‘progress’ is more important than actually achieving any…

Typical of Americans:  the World is more complex for Americans than it is for other nations!  gee, maybe that explains why the US can’t implement the Metric System, either.

just too fucking stupid.

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By truedigger3, August 10, 2009 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

Kathy Cantarella wrote:
“Excuse me, Chris? Obama has made a big difference in a lot of the ways easily open to him. “
__________________________________________________

Can you give examples. Please exclude any make belief measure that amounted to nothing REAL and any oratory and “gestures” of understanding without any REAL follow up.
Obama is not a disappointment to me. He is doing exactly what I expected from him to do which is nothing.
I didn’t vote for him.

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By Steve Homan, August 10, 2009 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

From Homan’s http://apocalypse-blues.typepad.com/

In Jared Diamond’s book “Collapse,” he cites Joseph Tainter’s reasoning that complex societies are not likely to allow themselves to collapse through failure to manage their environmental resources. Yet, Diamond says, it is clear from all the cases in “Collapse,” including Easter Island and Henderson Island and the Norse Vikings on Iceland that precisely such a failure has happened repeatedly. How did so many societies make such bad mistakes? The overall reason seems to be a failure of group decision-making, with additional factors entering therein, such as conflicts of interest and group dynamics. Diamond proposes a “road map” of factors, divided “fuzzily into a sequence of four categories.
1) a group may fail to anticipate a problem
2) when the problem does arrive, the group may not perceive it. Then,
3) after they perceive it, they may fail even to try to solve it.
4) They may try to solve it, but may not succeed.

Going to No. 2: Failing to perceive.
a. the origins are imperceptible as when nutrients were assumed in the lush grasses of the U.S. Southwest, but they were not the right nutrients
b. distant managers. Not being on the scene in Montana, the Seattle-based owners may not perceive they have a weed problem on their forest properties.
c. The origin is a slow trend, concealed by wide up-and-down fluctuations. Such is the case with the earth’s temperatures. Overall, temps have been, on average, rising in a jagged line. Diamond says this is called “creeping normalcy.” Another similar term is “landscape anmesia.” Diamond: “I suspect that landscape amnesia provided part of the answer to my students’ question: ‘What did the Easter Islander who cut down the last palm tree say as he was doing it?’ We unconsciously imagine a sudden change. More likely the changes in forest cover were nearly undetectable.

No. 3: Societies often fail even to try to solve a problem once it has been perceived. The reasons are called “rational behavior” but in the context of clashes of interest. It is called “rational” even though it may be morally reprehensible. As in today’s Wall Street bailouts, the perpetrators feel safe because they are concentrated and highly motivated by rich rewards, while the losses are spread over large numbers of individuals. That gives us little people little motivation to go to the hassle of fighting back, because each person would receive only a small, distant profit. Another frequent type of rational bad behavior is simply being selfish: It’s not in my yard.”

No. 4: Irrational behavior, that is, behavior that is harmful for EVERYONE. This could be “wooden-headedness” as “we feel reluctant to abandon a policy in which we have already invested heavily” (this could have been LBJ’s situation in his not wanting to be the first president to lose a war). Religious values are a BIG factor here because they are deeply held. For example, Diamond writes, the deforestation of Easter Island had a religious motivation, to make giant statues that were admired. As Diamond says so well: “It is painfully difficult to decide whether to abandon one’s core values when they become incompatible with survival. At what point do individuals prefer to DIE than to compromise and live?… All such decisions involve gambles, because one can’t be certain that clinging to core values will be fatal or that abandoning them will ensure survival. The Norse quite apparently decided consciously that they would die as Christian farmers rather than live as Inuit. That is the crux of the problem: to know which core values to hold on to and which to discard. Given Americans’ greed, it seems unlikely that a gifted speaker, who has the bully pulpit, Barack Obama, can ask them to give up their cars and fancy utensils.

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By kurto, August 10, 2009 at 4:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nader tells it like it is. 
Very few people put out there that the two major parties are in cahoots and take turns shaking down contributors as they lose and re-win their respective majorities.  K-street has moved to Pennsylvania Ave with Obama cutting secret deals with Drug manufacture lobbyists to promote a watered down health insurance reform package. 

I think of Nader’s observations as the Blue Dogs Caucus of the Democratic party have resurrected like a Phoenix from the ashes of the Republican party to be the ones to blame why we can’t have meaningful health care reform.

The super majorities needed to get things done is an insult to the electorate.  You don’t like that we sell out to corporations at every turn?  We can talk when you give us a supermajority.  The filibuster is undemocratic.  If we could get things done with a simple majority then the significance of out political action would be greater felt.  So what if we make mistakes along the way.  At least it’ll only take a simple majority to fix it.

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By Leefeller, August 10, 2009 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

Though I may consider myself liberal in many ways even politically, if I had my political hopes dashed on the rocks, it was not because I did not vote for Nader. Of course Nader was right but so was I, it dost’ take a weewee board hooked to a unisex bathroom key for one to figure out if it is time to relieve oneself.  Though I find myself in agreement with many of Nader’s ideas, Reality takes president over fantasy and Nader’s unsupported concepts of helping the masses obtain self directed lifestyles would most likely work in Disneyland but not in the woodsheds of our nation. 

Palin, Beck and Limbaugh just to name a few rightwing hotshots, show us the royal pink back side of reality, anti-liberalism in pure form, they are 100 proof bull pucky, sort of the antichrist’s of politics, constantly mooning liberals with impurity.

After losing the last election we see the right showing unrestrained or less logic then normal, actually a higher degree of incapability than one thought possible.  Watching those flared nostrils and spittle flecked foamed lips of zombies chasing after hometown meetings,  searching for something to eat, is both amusing and sad.  Politically the right seems to be in a drought or possibly they are more like starving animals,  looking for road kill.  Even buzzards will kill for food.

Nader may be an idealist, but does not seem a realist, if he was running for office in Sweden he may have a chance, or possibly Italy if one could find a tally board on how many of other women Nader may have taken advantage of. 

In the end, one may see a very slim difference between crying Nader supporters and the likes of Russ Limbaugh except in degree of civility.

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By samosamo, August 10, 2009 at 3:50 pm Link to this comment

No wonder nothing gets accomplished when we revert back to blaming nadar for bush being elected.

I am under the impression that those 5 goddamn supreme court justices that ordered the recount stopped because gore had pulled to within a couple of hundred votes of w with many more to count and that doesn’t include what Greg Palast uncovered in the governor jeb bush’s use of scrub lists to deny legitimately qualified voters the right to vote AND the voting machines that in the ‘black’ counties that the switch set to not accept incorrectly marked ballots was turned off so the incorrect ballots still went into the vote machine but NOT counted while in the ‘white’ counties the switch was on so the ballot was returned and those voters were able to recast their vote.

Or maybe not too many people read or have even heard of Greg Palast, but whatever, according to Palast and Vincent Bugliosi, gore won florida, if it had not been for jeb bush and katerine harris and those 5 criminal members of the supreme court.

Same goes for ohio in 2004, where ohio’s sec. of state had the same rigged system in that state that actually would have put kerry in the white house instead of w & dick.

Google ‘Orwell Rolls in His Grave’ and watch the video.

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By hippie4ever, August 10, 2009 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment

I finally figured out what bothered me about Chris Hedges: he is heterosexist. Right now the LGBT Community is fighting for equality and Chris is absolutely clueless.

I also take issue with this:

“We forgot that social reform never comes from accommodating the power structure but from frightening it.”

Sorry, but even though I’m gay and often enjoy taking it, even I KNOW social reforms result from death, injury, sacrifice, pain, misery…that finally provokes the underclass into insurrection. Revolutions aren’t begun with nice words, but from hunger. Once the average American has lost weight & is no longer happy with it, we will have something.

I’d comment further but I didn’t have the stomach to read past the first six paragraphs.

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By Kath Cantarella, August 10, 2009 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Excuse me, Chris? Obama has made a big difference in a lot of the ways easily open to him. The harder stuff is going to take longer. He needs more than one term to reform the system. He’s tackling healthcare in a busted economy and that in itself is a huge ask. Make sure you don’t undermine his progress with unrealism.

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By Inherit The Wind, August 10, 2009 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

ardee, August 10 at 5:41 pm #

Inherit The Wind, August 10 at 4:47 pm #


I think that EVERY third party that claimed to be progressive and didn’t endorse Gore in Florida bears a small share of responsibility.  But Nader’s is the largest and the greatest—if HALF his supporters had voted for Gore and the other half stayed home or voted for Nader we would be FAR better off.

I believe the post of Matti speaks to your absurdity. But even more eloquent than that retort is the Constitution which assures all citizens of the right age and birthplace a chance to run for that office.

Further, after we dismiss your imperial refusal to grant the constitutional right to any to run for elective office, we can offer the platform of Ralph Nader, the one which can be found at votenader.org. It is , by far, the best platform of any candidate.

Had Albert Gore run a decent campaign, had he even carried his own damn state, he would have won that election. Had the Supreme Court, four of whose members had relatives working on the Bush campaign, stayed the hell out of the race Gore would have won.

But I fear I speak to myself here, you just fail the litmus test on this one ITW, sorry to say.
***************************************************

I defy you to show me where I EVER said Ralph Nader should be barred BY LAW from seeking office.

Not EVERYTHING we should or shouldn’t do is dictated by law: You know this RD as well as I do.

Nader can run for dog-catcher or God for all I care—whatever the law allows.

But whether he should—that’s a moral question, not a legal one.

Nader made a choice.  And you and he, and all his other followers refuse to acknowledge one IOTA of responsibility for the consequences of his actions.

Sure Gore ran a terrible campaign—how many times do I have to agree with that statement?  And sure, had he won his home state we wouldn’t be having this debate.  But each of us, in our own way either could have, or did try to make a difference.

Nader and his followers made a choice to equate Bush and Gore when it was blatantly clear there were HUGE differences between them.  That choice was wrong, horribly, horribly wrong, and hundreds of thousands are dead as a result.

As I said before, also: Gore has always owned up to his responsibility for Bush coming to office.  Nader and his followers never have and STILL insist nothing would be different.

Ralph is as dedicated a fanatic as the right wing nuts, just to a different cause.

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By mst3jay, August 10, 2009 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I just got an account on truthdig to thank Chris Hedges
for this wonderful article. I have read and listened every which way I can for Nader information and interviews.  He has sacrificed his personal and private life for the betterment of American citizen lives. I admire him greatly for his service—-he has gone above and beyond the duties of an American citizen

Nader said with regard to Obama to “prepare to be disappointed”. . . and once again Nader was right!

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By ardee, August 10, 2009 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, August 10 at 4:47 pm #


I think that EVERY third party that claimed to be progressive and didn’t endorse Gore in Florida bears a small share of responsibility.  But Nader’s is the largest and the greatest—if HALF his supporters had voted for Gore and the other half stayed home or voted for Nader we would be FAR better off.

I believe the post of Matti speaks to your absurdity. But even more eloquent than that retort is the Constitution which assures all citizens of the right age and birthplace a chance to run for that office.

Further, after we dismiss your imperial refusal to grant the constitutional right to any to run for elective office, we can offer the platform of Ralph Nader, the one which can be found at votenader.org. It is , by far, the best platform of any candidate.

Had Albert Gore run a decent campaign, had he even carried his own damn state, he would have won that election. Had the Supreme Court, four of whose members had relatives working on the Bush campaign, stayed the hell out of the race Gore would have won.

But I fear I speak to myself here, you just fail the litmus test on this one ITW, sorry to say.

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By ardee, August 10, 2009 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

Teadrinker, August 10 at 11:08 am #

Dear Ardee,
I believe my previous post is relevant. I just connect the dots.
.................

My comment referred to your wondering why your posts weren’t immediately available and not yourpolitical opinion.

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By KDelphi, August 10, 2009 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

matti is right—these threads become ridiculously, instantly long, filled with the posts of people who must desperately cling to Team Obama, hoping that they die before they have to admit how useless he really is (was)

Hedges may be quoting Nader, but this is hardly about Nader.

Its about money, like everything else in Capitalism.Thats it, thats all, period.

Harping on Nader or the Green Party is just a sideline to draw attention away from what is really going on.

Hulk—is Nader was constantly in the news, bitching, youd be bitching about that. True progressives dont show up at these rallies because it is impossible to defend the positions that the Dems are taking.(No, I didnt vote for Nader in 2000 or 2008—but I understand why people did. I did NOT understand voting for Obama or even why he was nominated, to tell you the truth. Well, i know WHY—I just dont see any REASON)

For instance, health (care?) reform—-how the hell do you defend that?! (almost $1 trillion to an industry that kills at least 52 people a day?? Why??) Af-Pak? $127 million more to Xe (formerly Blackwater)? Continued illegal detention and wiretapping? Defend that for me ,please! These Dems have left progressives with nothing to argue FOR.

Give me something to get behind. Otherwise I’d rather go another way.

I “lose”
either way, so why give the arrogant basterds more support?

I have to admit, tho, Obama has disappointed, yes, even me. and most people on here know what I thought of him before…

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By Benjamin Tasker, August 10, 2009 at 2:12 pm Link to this comment

I don’t blame the gun-dealers in the OJ case—the victims weren’t shot.

Oops… I was 8yo at the time and am not enamored by the lives of celebrities. (Despite how that sounds, I’m not saying you are.)

Amon Drool makes a point that I hadn’t even thought of yet. Indeed - it’s even harder to blame Nader considering he could not have anticipated 9/11, Afghanistan or Iraq.

At the time… yea… Gore and Bush were very similar, esp. regarding their neo-liberal, imperialistic economic policies, and their adherence to corporate agendas… you know… stuff that matters… stuff that sucks.

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By Hulk2008, August 10, 2009 at 2:02 pm Link to this comment

OK .... so where have Nader’s Raiders been at the town squalls ? 

I like Ralph, but he has been remarkably silent lately. 

Even Oprah has failed to present a truthful display of the most important issues of our times - health care and wars.

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By Inherit The Wind, August 10, 2009 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment

JKH:

Saying Nader would have done a better job than Bush is surely damning him with faint praise. I would be hard-pressed to name many people who would have done worse, once I get past Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber.

I think that EVERY third party that claimed to be progressive and didn’t endorse Gore in Florida bears a small share of responsibility.  But Nader’s is the largest and the greatest—if HALF his supporters had voted for Gore and the other half stayed home or voted for Nader we would be FAR better off.

I don’t blame the gun-dealers in the OJ case—the victims weren’t shot.  But if you can prevent a killing and don’t, because you are adhering to some “high-minded” principles, then you DO bear responsibility for that death.  I say Nader convinced himself that Gore and Bush were the same so he wouldn’t have to actually choose.

Nader doesn’t want my forgiveness—that’s at least consistent because he’s not getting it.

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By matti, August 10, 2009 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment

Almost no need to post after this from WriterOnTheStorm:

“Seems the left always hits a nadir when it debates Ralph Nader. The self-important bloat and bile aimed at the only man bringing a gun to a gunfight induces alternating bouts of sad laughter and bewilderment to those of us who have accepted that no meaningful change will come from Team Blue.

Some speak of never forgiving Nader. But who will forgive you for selling out your own convictions and pretentiously “holding your noses” at the election booth? I suggest that it is your own self hatred for these acts of betrayal to your own principals that manifests in this irrational ire toward the only politician willing to lead this nation out of its arrested adolescence.

Yes, that explains it. Nader is a living reminder of the left’s hypocrisy and impotence. His is a voice in your head telling you over and over that your fancy ideals are just parlor talk, and that when push comes to shove, you’re just looking for the softest place to fall.

Nader’s not about you, he’s about your grandchildren. And I’m afraid it’s them or you. Many of you, it seems,  made a hasty choice - or should I call it a bargain?”

Pretty much sums it up. Except I’m starting to doubt that some of the folks who seem to spend all day every Monday harping after every one of Chris Hedges’ articles, bloating the comment thread beyond readability with ire and B.S. are just doing it for themselves. I’m starting to think they are either a bit nuts or are compensated for this effort somehow by someone.

Which is yet another reason why we should heed Hedges’ call to abandon the mainstream -including its back currents and eddies like TruthDig. We need to leave this watershed completely, huppit over the ridgeline and find/found a whole NEW watershed. One with a mainstream, back currents, eddies, tributaries, lakes, ponds, springs and aquifers of OUR own choosing/making.

We need to do this not just on the Net, but in most if not all of the aspects of our lives. We need to start now.

I suggest everybody drop the fighting with the distracted, deluded, and corrupted, and begin working toward whatever you can with whomever you can that would seem to lead toward this greater goal of escaping the trap we are in. We have the dog days of Summer and the entire Fall to work on these myriad projects. I suggest we then meet up -so to speak- over the Winter, hash out a greater plan and its next, more cohesive phase, and be ready to work come Spring.

Have Fun,

-matti.

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By Amon Drool, August 10, 2009 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment

ITW: “Nader had a chance to prevent events that killed hundreds of thousands, and it was easy to foresee.”


whoa!!!...Karnak.  u mean in the fall of 2000 u foresaw the invasion of iraq?  and, yeah, i pretty much knew that bush was just a redneck fratboy, but foreseeing hundreds of thousands being killed was just beyond my ken.  but, what the hell, more power to ya, far-seeing one.

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By grumpynyker, August 10, 2009 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I voted for Nader in 2000 over Gore.  Nader is right; all you phony liberals pretend to care about the treatment of blacks, latinos,asians, arabs,muslims living here and abroad from the safety of their rent controlled/stabilized apartments or segregated suburbs.  As long as these policies do not block their access to third world foodstuffs,their economic status,or stop their exploitation of brown-skinned people used to care for their brats or aging parents, FAKE LIBERALS DON’T GIVE A SHIT.  As long as middle-aged white men/women continue to hoard the airwaves on NPR,Air America,Sirius/XM,WBAI and drone about bullshit that flits over their ten-second brains, nothing will change.

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By Hulk2008, August 10, 2009 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment

Dear oldhip:

No,  WE don’t deserve what is coming. 

But as pyrrhic as it seems, those who set all this up will share in the disaster ..... and actually have more to lose than WE do.  Small consolation, for sure. 

Those who blindly resist health care reform, who blindly support corporate greed, who support the Forever Wars and the military complex, all will take huge hits in the not-too-distant future.

Maybe we can mimic our ancestors - emigrate back to the very countries they escaped generations ago - the ones that the ultra-wealthy neo-cons hate so fiercely.

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By Benjamin Tasker, August 10, 2009 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

JKH:

I will address two points you make.

1) OJ Simpson was one of the greatest running backs ever.  All that was negated by his killing his wife and her friend.  All of it.  Nader had a chance to prevent events that killed hundreds of thousands, and it was easy to foresee.  He made his choice and THAT to me negates all the good works he had done in the past, just like OJ’s murders negate his 2000 yard season.

Emphasis mine. You’re right - murder trumps playing a sport well. But unlike OJ - I don’t hold Nader accountable for the death and carnage Bush is guilty for. Perhaps you should blame the prosecutor in OJ’s case, or the man who sold him the gun, or his parents (and/or village) for raising someone capable of murder. Let’s not forgive any of them either.

2) Sure, I blame Al Gore—he ran a terrible campaign and made TERRIBLE decisions.  But, unlike Nader, Gore doesn’t pretend he didn’t f*** up—he came right out and said so.  He faced his responsibility and has tried to redeem himself.  Nader, OTOH, has NEVER taken responsibility for his actions nor tried to redeem himself.  He STILL insists he was 100% correct regardless.

According to http://www.fec.gov/pubrec/2000presgeresults.htm - Bush won by a margin of 537 votes in Florida - 6 other third party candidates received votes ranging from 500 to over 17,000. Should we abolish third parties all together just to satiate you?

If you’re upset because he hasn’t said sorry… or because as you mentioned… he has an excessive ego… since when do serious people use a candidates personality to dictate how they vote? That’s just playing into the stupid sensationalist politics we all (at least I thought) loath.

I yield that Nader was a contributing factor to the election of Bush - but certainly not enough to banish him. Even if one could hold him responsible for the election of Bush - it’s completely beside the point - Nader would still do a much better job!

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By MR STRIDER, August 10, 2009 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Inherit the wind; bare knuckles huh? How about some bare facts while you are at it! The Supreme Court of the United States of America stopped the recounts in Florida and awarded GW Bush the presidency. A motion was filed by James Baker that alledged irreprable harm to GW Bush if the recounts continued. The SCOTUS 5 to 4 agreed and in the first time in the history of said court a precedent was not issued, just a single case decision. So get your facts straight and quit blaming Mr. Nader for your lack of historical perspective!!! Did I draw any blood with my bare knuckles?

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By Inherit The Wind, August 10, 2009 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment

cognitis1, August 10 at 4:22 pm #

Such literate rational commenters! Inherit compares presidential candidate Ralph Nader to knife murderer OJ Simpson, and elisa ascribes to Nader the authority to “allow” Bush—4th generation Bonesman and heir to a policial legacy which includes another President—to occupy the Presidency; elisa describe this authority held by Nader by which Nader “allows” anyone to occupy the Presidency. I’m not describing these two as stupid, but such commenters abstract dispute from pertinent matters.
***********************************************

(yawn).  Always nice to meet a self-proclaimed genius.

Personally, I don’t think Ralph Nader IS a pertinent matter anymore.

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By cognitis1, August 10, 2009 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

Such literate rational commenters! Inherit compares presidential candidate Ralph Nader to knife murderer OJ Simpson, and elisa ascribes to Nader the authority to “allow” Bush—4th generation Bonesman and heir to a policial legacy which includes another President—to occupy the Presidency; elisa describe this authority held by Nader by which Nader “allows” anyone to occupy the Presidency. I’m not describing these two as stupid, but such commenters abstract dispute from pertinent matters.

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By Inherit The Wind, August 10, 2009 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment

FT, I meant to say this but mis-typed it and left out the key word:

FT, you are wrong as usual, but this time for all the RIGHT reasons.

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By Inherit The Wind, August 10, 2009 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

FreeWill, August 10 at 10:16 am #

Inherit The Wind ? You should change you handle to FULL OF WIND!  You represent the problem not the solution thinking that our democratic choice should be limited to a two party plutocracy.
  How about this , what would things be like if all you brain washed Democrats would have supported Nader instead of the spineless Gore?  You have missed the point of this article completely if you think Gore would have made a difference. It’s about Corporate ownership of our government and BOTH of the two major parties.  Who will you use for an excuse for Obama not doing what he promised?

**************************************************

Nice to meet you, too, Freewill.

At least TRY to show some originality in your idiotic insults of me, rather than rehashing rehashes of old ad hominem attacks.

JKH:

I will address two points you make.

1) OJ Simpson was one of the greatest running backs ever.  All that was negated by his killing his wife and her friend.  All of it.  Nader had a chance to prevent events that killed hundreds of thousands, and it was easy to foresee.  He made his choice and THAT to me negates all the good works he had done in the past, just like OJ’s murders negate his 2000 yard season.

2) Sure, I blame Al Gore—he ran a terrible campaign and made TERRIBLE decisions.  But, unlike Nader, Gore doesn’t pretend he didn’t f*** up—he came right out and said so.  He faced his responsibility and has tried to redeem himself.  Nader, OTOH, has NEVER taken responsibility for his actions nor tried to redeem himself.  He STILL insists he was 100% correct regardless.

FT, you are wrong as usual, but this time for all the reasons.

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By elisalouisa, August 10, 2009 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

Along with ITW, I also cannot forgive Ralph Nader for allowing George Bush to come into power. Nader is no longer on a pedestal, he could have made a difference. In truth, the fact that Hedges had to call Nader for an interview on Obama confirms what a sad state our Democratic leadership is in.  Having said that, much of what Nader is quoted as saying is very true.  Ralph mentions that they have scared the underclass. They have also scared the elites and with good reason. You do not fool around with guys like Cheney/Bush. They are ruthless and more. That is why there is no leader on the horizon for the Democrats and even the Republican leaders are spineless. In fact, having Obama in the White House has proved to be a positive for Republicans because what Nader calls the underclass, is less likely to object as to jobs, the economy,etc., after all,” one of them” is ruling. There is no leader to call for marches or street action. This is where police power comes in. Such actions, as Truthfolker states, would be quickly put down.  Complacent constituents are the goal. Keep them ignorantly happy as they take from the till and and take more power. Nader may have been right about Obama. That does not put a feather in Nader’s cap. Rather it is a reflection on those who refused to put the facts together and come to this conclusion. Some were dreamers, others did not care and still others realized he fit into their plans.

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By Political Insurgent, August 10, 2009 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment

That history book on the shelf keeps on repeating itself.

Police State, Fascist State, Totalitarian State, The Sky Is Falling, blah blah blah blah, what does it matter? It’s clear that if the US keeps going the way it’s going, it’s going to implode from the inside out, forcing some kind of reform, whether it’s a permanently good reform or a permanently bad reform. Americans won’t get it until that cloud is upon them, then they’ll run helter skelter like deer. But it’ll be too late.

And too bad. They heard the warnings. They read the reports. They saw the people rioting and complaining and striking. Everyone involved in watching this thing happen has had ample opportunity to avert disaster. We’ve HAD the opportunity to listen to leaders of reason like Kucinich or McKinney, but we ignored them. We’ve HAD the opportunity to force positive reform, but this country’s “leaders” insist on shaping reform around failing capitalist and free market ideologies.

Basically, we’ve watched the robber shoot up the bank and stood by not calling the cops and hoping that everyone wouldn’t bleed to death.

Bless Mr. Hedges and people like him for speaking out, but even their wise words aren’t going to help or change anything. This snowball is over the hedge and heading for the river and ain’t nothing’s gonna stop it.

So put on your boots folks. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

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By bogi666, August 10, 2009 at 12:43 pm Link to this comment

First, let us get it straight, Pres. Obushama is neither a progressive or a liberal. As a start liberals have to withdraw their support of the Democratic Party period, even if it means voting for a Republican. The Democrats have to be punished although they will be paid and bribed even if out of power. The problem is the Blue Dogs whom actually fare better under a Republican President because they will get bigger bribes for voting with Republicans. The last two Democratic Presidents, Obushama and Cliton should finally teach liberals a lesson about getting punked again and again.Time to stop it, vote Republican for the sake of accelerating the demise of the empire. Let us get on with it, get over it and take the whole country with us.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, August 10, 2009 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

Seems the left always hits a nadir when it debates Ralph Nader. The self-important bloat and bile aimed at the only man bringing a gun to a gunfight induces alternating bouts of sad laughter and bewilderment to those of us who have accepted that no meaningful change will come from Team Blue.

Some speak of never forgiving Nader. But who will forgive you for selling out your own convictions and pretentiously “holding your noses” at the election booth? I suggest that it is your own self hatred for these acts of betrayal to your own principals that manifests in this irrational ire toward the only politician willing to lead this nation out of its arrested adolescence.

Yes, that explains it. Nader is a living reminder of the left’s hypocrisy and impotence. His is a voice in your head telling you over and over that your fancy ideals are just parlor talk, and that when push comes to shove, you’re just looking for the softest place to fall.

Nader’s not about you, he’s about your grandchildren. And I’m afraid it’s them or you. Many of you, it seems,  made a hasty choice - or should I call it a bargain?

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By Dale Sheldon, August 10, 2009 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I say: no need to apologize.

The two-party system is very resilient; it’s only been broken four or five times in our nation’s history, and it’s not anyone’s “fault” that it didn’t happen in 2000 or 2008.

I’m working on a series about those events, the first part of which went up today:

http://leastevil.blogspot.com/2009/08/get-this-party-started-part-i.html

Now, we could suffer through the next violent realignment, but I personally advocate (via that blog) for spoiler-free voting methods that don’t share the same perverse incentives that lock us in to a rigid two-party system.

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By RdV, August 10, 2009 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment

“I guess that all depends on who is the recipient of all that goodness.”

  More often than not the recepients are the ones who complain about goverment the most.

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By samosamo, August 10, 2009 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

There is nothing much more to say, this whole country, the United States of America, will have to collapse so it might be rebuilt with some integrity in it, but again as mentioned in an earlier comment, the hugely destruction human footprint from far too many people on this planet will be dragging all countries down in the not too distant future and then there is the increasingly unpredictable changing climate that will have a hand in things.

So be it fear, apathy, or just plain lost and unable to cope, what happens will be the result of the human population tripling from 2 billion to over 6 billion in just the last 50 or 60 years.(imagine what it would be like if your dog or cat had such a tripling of flea’s in the last 5 or 6 months)

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By thebeerdoctor, August 10, 2009 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

re: Folktruther

You speak of the people as if you own them.

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By thebeerdoctor, August 10, 2009 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment

A good question to ask, if a person wants to be elected U.S. President, just exactly what do they think that job entails? Too many on the left wander around with the illusion that government can be a benevolent force for the good. I guess that all depends on who is the recipient of all that goodness.

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By Folktruther, August 10, 2009 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

Nader is wrong.  Liberal-Progressives ARE going somewhere with Obama.  They, and we, are going to a police state.  History does not stand still, it goes forward or backward.  If we don’t go forward to socialism, we go backward to barbarism. To torture, rape and unjustifiable homicide.

Which Americans identify with when it occurs to non-White Foreigners.  Including Foreigners living in the US: Immingrants.  That is why the US has a police and military, to kill, torture and rape non-White people.  And White Americans identify with it, because it protects them from non-Whites.  As illstrated by the Gates incident.

The US non-conscious ideology of homicidal racism prevents the population from uniting against the power structure.  The power structure can therefore punk the population with impunity, since Americans have no consistent ideology to unite and mobilize us against power.  And one will not be formed by Nader or the Dems listing a list of policies that should be implemented.  People are not moved by lists, but by stories and coherant narratives.

A combative ideology must be a spiritual ideology, without the power delusions of traditional religion.
The Dems, or Nader, are not combative because their money backers don’t like it, the rousing of the population from its long stupor.  And from its delusionary defeatism.

Progressives maintaining that America DESERVES what is going to happen to us have no historical sense at all.  Our children are going to suffer from the coming barbarism, and we live in a world with nuclear weapons.

And the notion that nooene can take power without a record of holding office is the same sort of political cretinism that Nader has produced.  Bush and Cheney have held office and in policy were complete disasters.

the historical problem does not require merely a change of parties, it requires a change of CLASS.  The people must defeat the ruling power structure to supervise their own leaders, and get rid of them if they ssupect their selling them out.  Obama serves the interests of the ruling class,  a olitical lightweight to rebrand Bushite policies.

When the people see through it, as they are beginning to do, he will use the combat brigades brought in from Iraq and the militarized SWAT TEAMS of the police on Americans.  As he is already beginning to do.  He will characterize an American police state, articulately, moderately,and inspiringly,  as Freedom&Democracrcy;.  That’s what he is there for.

This has all been done many times before historically when a power system reachers the end of its life cycle.  In Rome the Republic was turned into a military dictatorship, termed the Empire by the historians, and Augustus was installed as dictator.  Gibbon says: 

    “Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names;...people would submit to slavery provided they were respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedoom.  A feeble Senate and enervated people cheerfuly aquiesced in the pleasing delusion.” 

  As we do.

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By ender, August 10, 2009 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment

Naders not far off, and the last few posters have been spot on, but none of us have offered any working solutions.  Even the most liberal Americans don’t connect the dots that when they heat a 4500 sqft home for two people and can get exotic foods from all over the world from their local chain grocery store, we are supporting the elites that wage war to keep the oil flowing and overthrow governments to keep the majority of the world too poor and undereducated to recognize or prevent the way we manipulate their markets, food production and technological levels.  Americans infatuation with meat contributes more greenhouse gases than our automobiles.

I’m afraid nothing will change this short of a major world encompasing catastrophe, and then only the elites will be prepared to survive 40 yrs of world wide chaos so we will be right back where we started.  I hope the Buddha truly had insight and this is all illusion with the sole purpose of making us advance spiritually.  Otherwise, humanity isn’t humane and this experiment of life is doomed.

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By davidwdeitch, August 10, 2009 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment

Yes, certainly Nader, et al, is owed an apology. More appropriately, the bulk of the left and its celebrity leaders owe the American people an apology for supporting Obama’s election and the “lesser evil” nonsense. Instead, in lieu of making concrete demands on Obama prior to the election, the left surrendered its leverage and bought into the “politics of hope” and—most crucially—persuaded the American people to do the same. We now have an opportunity to take seriously Nader’s 2008 advice and couple our demands on Obama by threatening to withhold our votes from Obama and all Democratic (and Republican) candidates in upcoming elections. We need to recover our self-respect.

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By thebeerdoctor, August 10, 2009 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment

re: Amon Drool

Please note my ageist remarks about Ralph Nader concern his ability to grasp emerging technologies. “This is the third television generation… They have grown up watching screens…They have little toys and gizmos that they hold in their hands. They have no idea of any public protest or activity. It is a tapestry of passivity.”
Does not Ralph Nader know that entire countries have organised political protests using the text messaging of cell phones? If they are just little toys, why do governments seek to filter and censor the messages they communicate?
I will say it again: Ralph Nader is too old to be president. Like the late Studs Terkel, someone like Nader I admired very much once said: “The only Google I know is Barney Google with goo-goo-googley eyes.” Refering to 3G technology as little toys and gizmos, reveals a reactionary bias that is ignorantly useless.

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By Kim, August 10, 2009 at 11:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It all comes down to money . Set up an alternate money system and they no longer have power .

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By Rodger Lemonde, August 10, 2009 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

Yes but McCane would have crashed the plane and we would all be prisoners of poverty.
Nader is cool and has our interest at heart but he never had the skills to combat the level of corruption that needs to be overcome to effect change.
A third party that succeeds will have to sponge up a few governorships and senate seats to build enough power to overcome the current system.

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By Night-Gaunt, August 10, 2009 at 11:48 am Link to this comment

NO FreeWill it is the love of money is the root of all evil as it is originally written. Though I would amend that to the love of power is the root of all evil. Money is just part of that noxious package.

One of the points is that we can’t afford the New Deal which is fought over tooth-and-nail while the trillions for empire goes on almost untouched. That is part of what they are doing to us. Starve the republic and feed the growing empire. When they are done we will be an empire from within as of without. No Bill of Rights or social safety net for any of us not in the church/party that will rule with and iron fist and boot.

Obama said no single payer health care on the table. Instead the Congress is giving us Gingrich care which is in Massachusetts Care. By Mitt Romney which is forced corporate care with help from the tax payer. And yet they are attacked for bringing on single payer via stealth. Such a convolution that could easily confuse the casual observer which is also part of the propaganda job.

Who the hell is Henry George and why should we care? Who does know him and why are they worth our time? Give us some meat on that bone.

We were placed here on purpose and they are winning. Obama isn’t our friend or ally. It is maddening the the likes of Glenn Beck are attacking him for the same reasons he didn’t of Bush for creating many of the things Obama isn’t against. Indeed Obama is for and increasing such authoritarian items like the war and surveillance, opaque gov’t etc

Glenn Beck is correct as far as it goes but he says it is the Progressives that are the evil here not his patrons. True some Progressives supported eugenics but most of those who did were right wingers and/or very rich and very religious. The best way to write a fiction story or lay out a false history is to use as much of reality as you can and then change bits of it to your liking. Beck is developing a huge following and reminds me of Father Coughlin who had huge listenership that makes Limbaugh’s audience minuscule by comparison. A right wing populace that sounds like he isn’t with the fascists as he decries it in our gov’t now but not so strenuously in the past.

Nader was right and he would have made a better president and didn’t have a chance in hell of getting close to winning. They would never of had allowed it. We have a moribund two party system that won’t allow any to come in their place no matter how dead they are. Those are the choices they give us.

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By M Henri Day, August 10, 2009 at 11:46 am Link to this comment

Nader was right and Hedges is right. But what are citizens and residents of the US going to do about ?...

Henri

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By cabdriver, August 10, 2009 at 11:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The American political system has been mostly about elections and electoral politics, not grassroots political movements and activism. It shouldn’t be that way, but I’m simply stating the facts. Most Americans feel as if they’ve discharged their political duties once they’ve exercised their franchise- and from that point on, the job is in the hands of the elected public servants.

For this reason, I’ve long held that the absolute top priority for all of the marginalized political parties of the USA is RANKED-CHOICE VOTING. Instant runoff elections.

That’s the only issue that matters, for any political viewpoint in the present position of being ignored, and consigned to de facto irrelevance.

Without that, every other move is futile. The rigged game will continue- the one that insists- with every practical justification- that one vote for one of two unpalatable alternatives, because the other one is a worse choice.

Under the present electoral game, it’s as futile and superfluous for memebers of, say, the Green or Libertarian parties to criticize or condemn those voting for one of they two major party candidates as it is for the Democrats to try to hang their 2000 electoral defeat on Greens and independents voting for Ralph Nader. The system has dictated that the choices be limited to the two major parties (despite the widespread dissatisfaction with both of them), and that the only practical power wielded by a smaller party is as a spoiler, at least at the national level.

Practical considerations do matter. And the most effective way to provide independent and iconoclastic political views with more empowerment and media attention would be the enactment of the ranked-choice voting reform.

At the very least, the effort to get Congress and the President to enact that reform is bound to lead into some interesting and uncharted realms. We would finally learn whether the on-the-record statements of support for the ranked-choice voting reform by such political leaders as John McCain, Nancy, Pelosi, and Barack Obama himself is sincere, or just another instance of empty political rhetoric.

Here’s the site for the website of an organization in the forefront of support for this reform- http://instantrunoff.com/

I note that all of the subhead pages in that webiste are apparently disabled by a script malfunction at present- which I find inexplicable, since I’ve accessed them without difficulty many times before. This problem includes the page that lists a wide array of public endorsements for instant runoff voting by a wide array of national level political leaders, including members of both of the two major parties, including the aforementioned Sen. John McCain, Nancy Pelosi, and Barack Obama.

At the very least, I for one would find it entertaining to find out who in that cohort of of politicians would reverse their stated positions if legislation enacting that reform were to get as far as consideration by a Congressional committee, or a floor vote. Presumably, it would also prove educational to hear the unconvincing excuses and climb-downs offered as an explanation for opposing this reform, which requires no serious institutional re-structuring or Constitutional controversies.

In the meantime- until ranked choice voting and instant runoff elections are instituted at the national level, there’s almost nothing the Greens or other marginal parties will be able to accomplish, beyond providing the occasional sideshow in the national media- most likely for some perceived gaffe or another. Their position papers, convention platforms, and public press releases will continue to be fodder for the roundfile of the national-scale media, unless they say something that might be interpreted to have some comedy value, to consign them to the position of laughingstock.

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By Reubenesque, August 10, 2009 at 11:12 am Link to this comment

Through their jingoistic,militaristic and faux Judeo-Christian (Fox News, AM Radio, so-called “conservative” blogs and print media) rhetoric the right wing has seized the minds of the non-critical-thinking masses that behold themselves to be upstanding Americans.  It is a pervasive and poison dogma that is not counter-weighted by an equal such saturation of liberal media outlets.

Liberalism in America is, at this time, generally perceived to be an un-American precept…. and why not?  With the unbalance of propaganda being spewed from the right, liberal college educations being priced out of more and more of the less fortunates’ budgets, and with a large portion of those affording college educations framing them toward personal monetary enrichment rather than societal enrichment or inner fulfillment it is no wonder we find liberal ideology lacking. 

Also, as Hedges writes, by averting discomfort from massive banking and employment losses any possible working class movements toward government mandated universal guarantees of health care or higher education have been avoided.

The kicker, for me, is the unbalance of media ideology toward the right.  9/11 allowed the right to seize hearts and minds against outside threats of violence as well as religious and ideology differences.  Liberalism, on the other hand, tends toward pacifism, infinite religious latitude and socialism.

Restoration of the Fairness Doctrine seems off the radar at this time. 

Perhaps only divine or other-worldly intervention could sway us from our sordid, wayward course.

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By phreedom, August 10, 2009 at 11:06 am Link to this comment

Part 1

Thanks Again Chris,

As long as we(and/or the media) keep re-introducing or re-cycling important activists like Ralph Nader, as “jack-in-the-boxes”, popping them up, briefly removing the lid of short attention spans, expecting bang for no buck(as in, the buck is stopping nowhere and/or some bang of just another sensational sound-bite or write-byte, will make all the difference, this time), well, like all patterns, for better or worse, this effort will work to dull senses(sensibilities), increase apathy, and encourage disinterested compliance, combining into “social stall”.

What I mean is, Ralph Nader successfully equated “citizen & consumer”, uncovered this false duality, made it quite easy to accept that the Constitution, might well be legitimately revised, to substitute the mention of “men” with “consumen” and/or “consuwomen”. That without “consumer rights” enshrined in our legal system, what hope do we have having citizen rights. (that sort of thing)

Let me take a couple of jumps off right there for now, since there is so much space between the intention to enact change, and the tools needed to enact the desired change, well, I do not want to make the mistake I am trying to point out in this comment.

Jump 1; Take for instance the book by Katrina Vanden Heuvel, “Dictionary of Republicanisms”

Jump 2; Finally, after decades, Noam Chomsky commenting that his study of linguistics might have something to do with his ability to see through political, economic, and social charades and/or give him the ability to imagine viable alternatives.

I mean no dishonor to the 3 individuals listed above, holding them all in high esteem for their unrelenting insights and courage.

My point is,  we cannot disprove limited English with limited English, and there is little hope in trying to dispel myths with mythological language-ing or linguistics. 

I am saying, that the “dictionary is half full”(maybe Orwell might have said something like that today) To a large extent the missing words are at our finger tips everyday, and a good portion of those missing words just cannot be invented in a climate where both sides collude that a “half filled dictionary” is adequate for either agenda to assert itself. (actually, one side has in fact asserted itself with but a half filled dictionary, but the other cannot hope to)

(Part 2 and finish on the way)

Rhuen Phreed
11 Marlborough Street
Boston, MA

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By TAO Walker, August 10, 2009 at 11:06 am Link to this comment

In suggesting here the only way for “...your huddled masses” to pry some small grudging CONsideration from the entitled plutoligarchy is to frighten them sufficiently, Chris Hedges acquiesces in the CONtrolling CONceit of the very regime whose relentless abuses he regularly decries.  The virtuality in which he and all the domesticated peoples are trapped runs entirely on gangster rules….and the ‘basic rule’ is FEAR.

That “civilization” is itself a “global” stress-to-destruct-test has been clear to us surviving Savages for….well, forever.  That this particular ‘version’ has entered its terminal phase is equally obvious to those of us not caught-up in its strangling toils. 

It’s only to be expected, though, that people engulfed in the idiotic dead-end ‘dominance’ paradigm will grasp desperately at its ‘fundamentals’ when its own collapse puts them in dire straits.  They know nothing else, afterall. 

Here, then, is something ‘else.’  Homo domesticus cannot solve its “problems” because homo domesticus IS the problem.

There is, nevertheless, real Medicine available for what is killing our tame Sisters and Brothers.  This old Indian often calls it The Tiyoshpaye Way.  Living Organic Community is as close to that as you can get in English. 

The Medicine will certainly be a bitter pill to swallow for those totally invested in their false “individual” IDentities.  There is, however, no viable alternative for Humanity….take it from one who’s tried them all.

HokaHey!

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By phreedom, August 10, 2009 at 11:05 am Link to this comment

Part 2

Maladapting words, twisting a few of them to suit any purpose, is kind of a linguistical delusion, don’t you think?  Us(we) peace lovers need to fill the dictionary, and embark on a systematic effort to introduce words sufficient to the task at hand, and furthermore, modernize the use of a “zillion” known but excluded words & concepts,  currently excluded words and concepts stalled in cancerous definitions and uses, by the propaganda of war & hate mongers.

Now, think of the word “tax”, do you really think it is a term for a capitalistic economic mechanism? Or maybe you think it is a term which implies, automatically, that our freedoms will be diminished by its’ imposition.  What about “consumer”, or “consumen” or “consuwomen”, how about “social stall”.
Lets not forget the demise of the word, “welfare”, do we dare say, “I am concerned for the welfare of our society”. (etc…)

Political people will eventually need to repeat our words, in the way in which we mean them. But these important words will need to be heard widely, and repeated, insistently, in the proper context. We cannot rely on politicians to take the chances. We will need to clear the way with the use of so many, currently unused words and concepts, so that the political risk for using them, by politicians and policy makers is next to none. Then we can ask them, “what do you mean by that and how do you plan to implement the actions implied by the word or concept you have used.

For now, all we seem to be able to do is hope that one of these politicians will say something different, expand their vocabulary all by themselves. We know we can say better what they say, we can know we can have better intentions with the words they use then they intend with their use, but this does not change the possible outcomes or material consequences of the problem of sharing too few words & concepts.

Instead of arguing with people, try, “hey, try this word, when I use it I mean ...”.  Try not to get into “twisting word contests” of few words. If the “liberal-progressive constituency” wants to “go somewhere” it will need to become a machine of new word and concept spreaders, on a massive scale. And spread currently unused and new words & concepts over a prolonged period of time, until the politicians feel the coast in clear to use them. 

Politicians cannot help themselves, from using few words and concepts, yet they cannot help themselves from using a huge number of words and concepts either, but we do need to make them available to them.

Rhuen Phreed
11 Marlborough Street
Boston, MA

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By BobZ, August 10, 2009 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

It was sad today to read in our local paper of the hundreds of people lining up for jobs in retail that barely pay over minimum wage. These job seekers were actually dumbing down their resumes so as not to appear over qualified. We talk about American’s needing to get re-educated but for what; so they can line up for jobs in retail that require no experience other than an ability to “smile and act courteous”.  We are now talking about a jobless recovery which and at the same time the baby boomers who were expected to retire from work life, now can’t afford to, since they lost in some cases, over 50% of their 401k/Ira retirement savings. Down here on the ground we progressives have seen the disastrous consequences of a free market economy gone nuts and a Wall Street that almost threw us into the second great depression. Obama has promised regulatory reform in the Fall, but he will once again be up against the GOP and their corporate benefactors. Nader talks a good game and he makes sense but the reality is he and or anybody else in the progressive progressive arena does not have the backing to win anything. Winning elections requires the 20-30% base and then attracting moderates/independents to your cause. The latter is the dilemma -both parties take their base for granted and are beholden to the fickle types who have an ability to switch their allegiance from election to election. Hedges has written a great article as usual but us progressives have learned that no matter how much we are thwarted by the real politics, we are far better off under Obama than under Bush or would have been under McCain. McCain would have stood by as we sank into depression and stood pat on his ridiculous free market economic theories which got us into this problem in the first place. All we can continue to do is to put pressure on our local Congressman to get them to do what we elected them to do and that is to represent our interests and know who it was that go them elected.

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By Lawlessone, August 10, 2009 at 10:45 am Link to this comment
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Nader, as usual, is pretty much spot on.  Obama is not and probably never was anything approximating a liberal or a progressive.  He was the ambitious quintessential outsider who desperately wanted to belong to the power elite and would sell his soul to be accepted.  He probably wanted that so much that he now actually believes for instance his Ivy League buddies who helped cause the recent financial meltdown are the ones who can cure it.

Obama succeeded in his quest to become one of the power elite, but much like his overtures to “bipartisanship,” nothing he can do with logic or reason will allow him to be accepted by them as an equal.

I will say this though in favor of Obama and why I voted for him even with my serious doubts about his lack of genuine commitment to liberalism.  He is after all whole orders of magnatude better than Bush/Cheney and McCain/Palin.  I shutter at the thought of what an unmitigated disaster this country would have been in today if the Republicans had yet triumphed again.

Therein lies the quandary. Obama is far from what we need, but how to develop a choice without putting the dictatorial prone, massively destructive Neocons back in power?

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By BlueBerry Pick'n, August 10, 2009 at 10:31 am Link to this comment

ah, the irony.

During the election, one couldn’t say the word ‘Nader’ without a barrage of Americans freaking out.

Remember all the LOVELY things Democrats had to say about Nader? 
I do.
...I seem to recall the hysteria & misery of mentioning Nader in front of Democrats. I also remember the ‘go back where you fucking belong, Canadian!’ comments I got during conversations when politely defending his decades of dedication & hard work…
I also remember the ‘fuck you, I wanna make myself a HUGE career’ contemptuous & barely factual assault no Nader by Randi Rhodes for her Air America debut.  Randi shocked me, & not in a good way.  She’s done so much GOOD, but her attack on Nader was a simply horrific blow against everything good & decent about that man.
She cheapened herself by selling HIS decades of hard work: for her advantage, the DNC & the corruption of a 2-party system.

I remember all of this:  & so should YOU.
I also remember an ‘08 conversation I had with Ralph in Toronto.
I also remember the freaked out, American bitch who stood up & start RAVING about him.

Obstructionism?  yeah, from a Democrat.  in another country.
yabbling about Americanism & on & on & on… GARSH, whodah thunk it wasn’t just post-election Republicans? 

The several hundred Canadians sat politely & listened to her rave in her hostility on & on ...
...we weren’t there to HEAR the gringo bitch & moan, but we sure got a chance to do just that.

At the time, I asked him what people can do in a culture where consumerism, contempt, disrespect & xenophobia seemed to be the primary cultural export of the United States. 
He recommended a book.

I recommend:  BLOCKING AMERICAN CONTENT from Canada.

I can’t fucking take all this American bullshit much longer.
Its like a pounding migraine.

Can’t you people get your shit together?
...or stop EXPORTING IT TO EVERYBODY ELSE?

The only thing the US seems to export anymore is
propaganda,
militarization of commerce & trade,
death,
privatization,
human rights violations (including SURVEILLANCE & BIOMETRIC TRACKING OF THE GLOBE’S CITIZENS)
&
social contempt for THE OTHER FEW BILLION FOLKS WHO ARE THEIR NEIGHBOURS.

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By tirebiter II, August 10, 2009 at 10:24 am Link to this comment

NADER is a fn FUNGUS

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By dukesman2000, August 10, 2009 at 10:21 am Link to this comment

Nadar is bat sh!t crazy

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By steve conn, August 10, 2009 at 10:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Corporate America got its bailout, cost considerations ignored. Now the fake stock rally and CNBC (the Boomer’s MTV) tells us not to worry: health reform will fail and the wars will go on. What a brilliant corporate strategy to find the perfect candidate to keep the status quo.
  Chris will join Ralph among the ignored and despised because he tells the truth.

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By JJ, August 10, 2009 at 10:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rose color glasses that only see the U.S. and its lost perverse “exceptionalism” as the only avenue. We live in one world and thus nothing is MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE!! Look around you and look who is reproducing biologically and who is being marginalized, who is creating community through survival.

Learn a language or two to understand a different perspective. In other words learn a different song and grow.

Guerrilla organizing, circumventing NADAR, etc. and the worn out self-absorbed M.O.

As was said after the disastrous wars between Chile and Peru, “LOS VIEJOS A LA TUMBA Y LOS JOVENES AL TRABAJO!!” The old men to their graves and the young to work for a better future!!

Time for all the blowhards from the left/right/center and who knows and who cares where to backoff an start letting the young take over!!

Get over your baby boomer self already, get off your ass and put on the line, if you car so damn much. Take a bullet if you will!!

“Llegaron los guerrilleros, y es el alba!”

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By Fat Freddy, August 10, 2009 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

Oh, and expect our political and economic elite to similarly flee when the place finally falls apart.  I’m pretty sure at least some of their obscene wealth is in hard assets like gold so they can leave quickly.

Ever hear of Dubai? They’re already running. And gold is not such a bad idea with all of the spending. This is completely out line, and the dollar will collapse soon enough. Two wars, continued tax breaks for the wealthy, TARP, Stimulus, health care reform, continued artificially lowered interest rates from the central bank (keeping interest rates low is the same as printing money), too many dollars chasing too few goods (inflation). There’s no end in sight.

Buy gold now!!!

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By Gary Corseri, August 10, 2009 at 9:43 am Link to this comment
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Kudos!  This piece is typical of Hedges’ straight-forward, no b.s. style.

I agree with most of the points taken, but I go further.  Nader and Hedges seem surprised and disappointed in Obama.  Obama can do this—call the troops home—Obama should do that—stop bailing out the Wall Street bastards.  But, surely they know that Obama can’t do any of that; and surely Obama knows he can’t do it.  He was elected to be the front man, the pitch man, to assuage white-lib guilt for racism, to put a pretty smiley face on our rapacity and decline.  He knows in his heart of hearts that if he tried to steer the big ship a little off the dictated course, there would be a Kennedy-Dallas-style solution to his perfidies.  So, he’ll keep playing the game, trying to do the best he can with a nearly impossible situation that he and his team of “realists” inherited from the big, bad Bushies.

I think Nader is right about inflation on our horizon.  Probably hyper.

And their general thesis is right: the general populace has been mesmerized by their gadgets, starting with TV (actually starting with radio—Hitler, Churchie and FDR were expert propagandists with that new medium), and now, like water, everywhere—and barely a drop unpolluted, worth drinking.

Nader said something about the top 50 intellectuals not supporting him, not supporting a 3rd party campaign, anti-imperialism, etc.  Perhaps Hedges misquoted him or did not provide enough context or back-up and follow-thru.  I haven’t a clue about how Nader would define “top intellectuals.”  Chomsky?  Wall Street Journal columnists?  PBS pundits?  There were plenty of intellectuals who did support Nader and who supported McKinney, etc.  There are also plenty who no longer believe in our electoral politics, who think the system is so rigged as to thwart any real progressive from being elected and, on the bare sliver of a chance that s/he would be, from carrying out the most modest policy corrections.

We’re in the sewer and it’s getting deeper.

GC

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By FreeWill, August 10, 2009 at 9:43 am Link to this comment

Like they say,  “Money is the root of all evil” and “Follow the Money” Until we once again control the money supply we will never have an honest government, of the people, by the people, for the people. 
    We live in the greatest of all ponzi scheme of all times.  Our current money supply is controlled by an elite group of Bankers who have creatively managed to create a system that stealthily steels from every working person. Moreover, with out anyone being concerned or for that mater being aware of it. 
See this great short film:
http://www.documentary-film.net/search/watch-free.php?&ref=189
  As long as these Bankers control the money supply corruption in our government is assured.  They create and distribute the wealth to whom ever they see fit.
It is all part of the money pipeline between Banks , Corporations, lobbyists,  and the politicians they buy.  ” Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation and I care not who makes it’s laws,”  (Mayer Anselm Rothschild, Banker.) In 1913 when the Federal reserve was created the Revolution that the founders fought for was lost.  Our so call democratic elections are nothing more than a Dog and Pony Show.
  “Our” representatives continue to disregard the citizenry at large in favor of the money conduit from the corporate and bank interests.  I don’t know how we can sever this money (pay for influence), pipeline.  But, until that is done, I really don’t see much “Change” happening.  It will continue to be Business as usual and the poor and middle class will continue to pay for increasingly larger executive bonuses.  We have been sold out buy President Obama who we had believed would finally be someone who would stand for the people; but who once again, has capitulated the the mighty Corporate and Banking masters.
  If you don’t like the tiger in your yard that is threatening you, then why are you feeding it?

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By garth, August 10, 2009 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

I recently watched a documentary on Corporations.  Naomi Klein appeared in it and talked about the concept of “Brand Name.”  A short while ago Chris Hedges wrote a piece about Obama being a Brand Name.
The thing I didn’t know when I read Hedges’s piece was that the Brand Name is the product.  In short, by electing Obama, we bought a pig in a poke. 
But looking into it further, I sensed that the voters were left with a Hobson’s choice: that of electing a brazenly insane Senator and Governor or the first black American, supposedly a liberal.
This is what we elected and this is what we are in for.  There is no Democrat or Republican difference.  The chasm is now between the people and the Government.
It’s like a detached retina.  The eye can no longer see and the body is left in the dark.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, August 10, 2009 at 9:32 am Link to this comment

One simple comment: intelligent electorate.  An oxymoron for sure.  Many are already programmed for one party or the other ... that’s why they have the party lever on voting machines.  And many more are programmed for a single issue.  Be it abortion, war, taxes ... doesn’t matter really.  They vote whichever major party plays to their particular issue.  Very few actually look into the issues and ask critical questions.  Most are like the old woman in the red T-shirt who told McCain she was convinced Obama was an Arab.

Just getting on the ballot can be a very expensive proposition.  Court challenges and other obstacles can drive up costs very fast.  Then you need lots of air time and well developed ad campaigns to dupe the electorate into believing your “truth” which is almost always a lie.

But the most amazing thing is how short people’s memories are.  I was flabbergasted to see that Bush’s popularity ratings are actually rising!  Most people are simple dolts who have the attention span of a gnat.  They forget what the party did to them last time around and vote for them again.

I knew we were gone when I actually had “former” friends tell me, with great passion, that they voted for Bush because he “talked to God”.  Maybe after a few scotches he did but that is what they believed.

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By Night-Gaunt, August 10, 2009 at 9:24 am Link to this comment

“Cactus Jack Garner… neither of the two major parties (which are really ONE party cleverly disguised as two) is worth a bucket of warm spit.”—PaulGA

The original word he used was piss, not spit. It has been “cleaned up” by our politically correct word brigade of the Christian Leadership Council or some such. Such are our freedoms negated including this small example of changing history and that change becoming well known while the reality is forgotten or never known by many. Remember Winston Smith?

Inherit The Wind, until you figure out that the Dems (most of them) are with the Repubs (nearly all of them) are working for the same party you will understand why they “cave in” to the Repubs. It just appears that way. Both are under the thumb of the Dominionists and have other agendas like wiping out the remains of the republic. They are so close it is terrifying. It should be to everyone.

Look at this article and tell me where we are now;
http://www.truthout.org/080909A?n assesses just how close we are to having an empty barn of our horse of liberty. It is very close as I surmised from my own reading on the subject. Very close. We may never see Christian stormtroops in blue or black parading down main street USA any time soon but the laws that protect us and the rights guaranteed could be rescinded without notice. Where an upsurge in police/military “anti-crime units” being successful and eradicating “enemies of the state and God and good people” die in terrible but incompletely reported ways. There will be enemies everywhere here and “hidden cells” will be found very quickly and spectacularly closed with fire and bombs. Some well known people who were on the air and were loud dissenting voices are suddenly “sick” or “on extended vacation” or had “terrible accidents” all very close together. “Incriminating evidence” too will be found to show they were really not what they portrayed themselves as. Real assassination, or as they say in S. American “disappeared” maybe never to be seen alive again, followed by character assassination of their memory. It is only a matter of when this more outward acts will be done.

There are already noises of not having enough money to pay for increased coverage and of cutting back on the funds, again, for Medicare & Medicaid. If you can’t kill it outright, you starve it to death.

Good comment Shift though you left out some particulars during that crushing Greater Depression. The Dominonists will use it, as they planned to make their bid to be the saviors of us. Such a collapse with only them having the organization, weapons, and the ability to save people from abject poverty and total disaster. What they offer is a mind numbing machine-like existence with only God, penitence and nationalism to hold solace for the suffering masses. Plus football and military service for God and empire.

Please stop giving the bulk of the Dems the benefit of the doubt they don’t deserve. Not as totally taken over as the Repubs but bad enough we have Single Payer off the table first thing. 95% of Bush appointees are still in office in Obama’s Admin.

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By teadrinker, August 10, 2009 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

To MeHere:
Astute comments. Is that ol’ Nader harping on the truth again? Can’t he talk about something else?

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By MeHere, August 10, 2009 at 8:50 am Link to this comment

C. Hedges, thanks for a great article.

It is good to keep reminding liberals about the issues mentioned in the article—mainly about fantasy vs. reality. I’m still trying to understand the logic behind some of the most common answers I’ve heard through the years as to why many so-called liberals won’t vote for Nader or the Green Party:

- They can’t win
- They are the reason we got Bush
- Nader is weird

Well… no third party can win an election unless we vote for them.  If they didn’t want Bush, they could have given the majority of votes to Nader instead of Gore.  Nader is weird because he has been telling the informed truth forever. Anyone who does that has to be weird—that’s not the level of comfort we’re used to.  And then there’s the issue of having to raise tons of money to run a campaign. You really don’t need that much beyond being able to get on the ballot. Could it be that some people would feel more comfortable if these third parties managed to raise money in the same corrupt way the two leading parties do?  Go figure.

Liberals are a very mixed bag with many of them being “liberal” about some things and outright conservative about others. The Democratic party is usually just about right for them—all they need is a charismatic figure for a candidate.  Good luck to all of us.

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By jeffers, August 10, 2009 at 8:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

why blame Obama when we are all accomplices, too?

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By Kay Johnson, August 10, 2009 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

“So come on… blaming the 2000 election and everything the followed it in the next 8 years is just plain petty.”—Jeremy Keith Hammond

I completely agree! I am tired of this argument—an argument that I have had with more people than I can count!

Gore ran a really bad campaign!

In 2008, I voted for Ralph Nader. I was never as enamored with Obama as so many others were. His FISA vote and his plan to escalate the war in Afghanistan were not changes I could believe in!

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By Jon, August 10, 2009 at 8:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nader is right, Hedges is right.  Obama has punked his supporters.  Speaking of the man, I have worked with many executives who knew they were on a magic carpet ride to security no matter what happened to the company they were helping to run.  Obama exudes this—-as if he’s been promised a huge golden parachute, and it’s clear his head is not in the game of building America, but in allowing it to be further de-skilled and evacuated to overseas labs and factories.  22 trillion given to the banks, which prey upon Americans with impunity.  It’s clear where Obama stands; same as Bush, only Obama convinced us he would be different.

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By Amon Drool, August 10, 2009 at 8:11 am Link to this comment

@beerdoc 9:36am

“Ralph Nader…has never, i repeat never, held any kind of public office.”  i guess holding public office previous to being president could be a help in performing the duties of the presidency; but it doesn’t NECESSARILY mean that it will..think of our last half dozen presidents.

“...the ancient one who continues to testify in useless congressional hearings on why Congress is so fouled up…”  first, nader has been excluded from congessional hearings since 2000 thanx to petty Dems.  second, i suppose a lotta congressional hearings are snooze-fests, but they are a necessary part of any institutionally-based democracy.  third, this is the second time you’ve brought up nader’s age.  i recall a rant of yours around election time saying in effect just get out of the way old man.  i personally find nader more fresh than most people half his age.  that said, i’m certainly frustrated by the fact that ralph hasn’t been more effective in his political campaigns.  but i do admire his continuing to give people a choice when he realizes that the duopoly’s candidates won’t make a dime’s worth of difference.

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By teadrinker, August 10, 2009 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

Dear Ardee,
I believe my previous post is relevant. I just connect the dots. Perhaps you should expand on the ‘why’ of your comments so we can see your reasoning. What I appreciate about the article is that it is direct and tells the truth. However, as my friend says, people don’t really want to know the truth.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, August 10, 2009 at 7:58 am Link to this comment

The part of this article no one has commented on but is the most damning: the intelligentsia turned their back on Nader and any progressive agenda.  Most of our intellectual elite are beholden to corporate and government largess for their research funds and grants.  “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you” is their motto.  No matter what they personally think, they will never lend their name to any party or political movement that might upset their benefactors.  Look what has happened to 2 Nobel laureate economists (Krugman and Stiglitz) who are being shunned by Obama for holding views contrary to the current “pro-Wall Street” wisdom).  The political elite have their ways to keep them in line.

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By Chris Fretwell, August 10, 2009 at 7:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I voted for Nader! Which gives my next comment validity ‘The masses are asses and the people are sheeple’

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By Byron Silverspoon, August 10, 2009 at 7:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think that Mr. Hedges is the only one of the Truthdig contributors who got it right with Obama.

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By Old Geezer Pilot, August 10, 2009 at 7:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Third parties are a waste of time. They have NEVER elected a president.

Besides, the problem is with the Congress, BLUE DOGS in particular. Sonce 80% of all congressional seats have been so gerrymandered as to be rendered “safe”, then the Democratic Primary becomes the defacto election.

I, for one, plan to support the local progressive as she runs against the incumbent Blue Dog next year. Hedges and Nader are right about the system being broken. They are wrong that a third party is the solution.

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By ted tyson, August 10, 2009 at 7:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

ralph nader needs to address wtc 7 and barry jennings.  then maybe the world will start paying attention again.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, August 10, 2009 at 7:26 am Link to this comment

John K:

I live part time in Eastern Europe.  I have been watching the “transformation” from the old Soviet empire to the new “democracies”.  Although the analogy is not completely valid, let me give you an idea what has happened here.

1) Gorbachev tried to fix a broken system but failed.  A hard-line coup ensued but also failed (some here believe the KGB was behind the failure so they could make power grab when whole thing collapsed.  Putin and several other oligarchs are former KGB).

2) Individual republics separated from former Soviet Union (FSU) to go their own way.  Prevailing wisdom was local leaders didn’t want to take orders from Moscow anymore and wanted to keep money locally.

3) Many modern leaders came from Komsomol (young Communists) of FSU and just traded party hats for “democrats”.  They are now running the place.  Communist party was corrupt by design and these players simply continued party behaviors but without party control so corruption was at foundation of new political structures.

4) Corruption is epidemic and getting worse.  Politicians are in league with oligarchs and organized crime.  They strip natural resources and money from their countries and most winds up in Western banks and front companies.  Most citizens are struggling to survive while their futures are ripped from them by the criminal elite.  Eastern Europe is in deep Depression with little hope for the future.

5) Prevailing wisdom is these leaders will flee countries when collapse comes (again) and cycle will start over.  People are powerless to influence change as they have been conditioned for generations to fear authority and backlash from leaders.  They will take whatever is given them including starvation and death.

Does any of this sound familiar?  Not only have we been fed a constant diet of mind-numbing misinformation by our leaders and corporate elite, we have also been encouraging immigration (legal and illegal) from countries where citizens are not encouraged to challenge their ruling elite.  They want pliant citizens (a la “1984”) who will not fight back.

Oh, and expect our political and economic elite to similarly flee when the place finally falls apart.  I’m pretty sure at least some of their obscene wealth is in hard assets like gold so they can leave quickly.

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By FreeWill, August 10, 2009 at 7:16 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind ? You should change you handle to FULL OF WIND!  You represent the problem not the solution thinking that our democratic choice should be limited to a two party plutocracy.
  How about this , what would things be like if all you brain washed Democrats would have supported Nader instead of the spineless Gore?  You have missed the point of this article completely if you think Gore would have made a difference. It’s about Corporate ownership of our government and BOTH of the two major parties.  Who will you use for an excuse for Obama not doing what he promised?

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By Tom Semioli, August 10, 2009 at 7:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To this day I am still lambasted by Dems for volunteering for Nader 2000 - ditto 2004. Who’s sorry now?

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By John K, August 10, 2009 at 6:57 am Link to this comment

This Republic cannot be saved. It is too far gone. There is no reform at this point. No third party, no movement possible.

For generations we have become (through lack of education and advertising) more and more selfish and now we are incapable of putting societies needs first. Everything is an economic transaction for us to determine “what’s in it for me?”

I don’t know what the US will be like after our government collapses, but I know that it will have to be something new and not a “fixed” version of what we have now. Perhaps after a full blown societal breakdown, people will rediscover how important community is to their survival. Perhaps they will rediscover the true role of government.  And, maybe then we will put in the work necessary to actually change things.

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By Jeff, August 10, 2009 at 6:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If we remain passive as we undergo the largest transference of wealth upward in American history, our open society will die. The working class is being plunged into desperation that will soon rival the misery endured by the working class in China and India. And the Democratic Party, including Obama, is a willing accomplice.

HAHAHAAH

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, August 10, 2009 at 6:49 am Link to this comment

The sad reality of politics today is a new party cannot gain significant traction without massive amounts of money ... quantities only available from you local corporate donors.  And election rules have been written to protect the Rep/Dem monopoly on political power.  The system is so distorted that any reasonable effort at reform must pass through the very causers of the problem and they are not about to cut their collective throats to make things right.  We have arrived at the point where true reform will only come at the barrel of a gun.

The other unfortunate fact is, since Bill Clinton, the Democratic party has tacked seriously to the right and is, just like the Republicans, beholden to corporate interests.  No matter how irate Americans get, the sad truth is money trumps votes for any politician.  They only need your vote every election cycle but they need money every day and the constant quest for it drives their decisions.  When a company or PAC offers thousands and thousands of dollars, they expect something in return.  The politician only needs to find the right words to fool his naive constituents into believing he is really voting for them or protecting them from some dastardly outcome.  That is all too easy as we see every day on the health care debate (or whitewash).

Obama may have the best of intentions (probably not) but the political process in Washington is thoroughly stacked against any change.  The system has been gamed so well that all the cards now are held by corporations and the wealthy.  Even Nader wouldn’t have made a difference.  Workers have no power anymore and any attempt at organizing will be met without mercy.  I fear that only a true fresh start will restore any sense of real democracy for us.

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By Benjamin Tasker, August 10, 2009 at 6:40 am Link to this comment

As for spoiling the election - please.

Exit polls indicated that - other than the majority of Nader voters in Florida who wouldn’t have voted at all if he hadn’t run - they were evenly split between Bush and Gore.

Why not blame the millions of misguided people who voted for Bush. Why not blame other third-party candidates that ran in Florida? 17,000 voted for Pat Buchanan (Reform Party). 16,000 voted for Harry Browne (Libertarian Party). John Hagelin (Natural Law/Reform Party) received over 2000. Howard Phillips (Constitution Party) Received over 1000 votes. source: http://www.fec.gov/pubrec/2000presgeresults.htm Any number of these voters ALSO could have turned the tables.

Why not blame Gore himself for a horrible campaign that should have won on it’s own - seriously… how do you fucking lose an election to a fascist retard??? What’s worse is Gore did not defend himself when it went to the Supreme Court - after all, he had the the most votes in the country. We should be challenging the electoral college system (Nader is.)

So come on… blaming the 2000 election and everything the followed it in the next 8 years is just plain petty.

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By thebeerdoctor, August 10, 2009 at 6:36 am Link to this comment

It is absolutely amazing how people fall into the trap of thinking that someone who stirs things up, with a fair amount of publicity, is somehow qualified to assume public office. Ralph Nader for all of his historical consumer rights activist cache, has never, I repeat never, held any kind of public office. Perhaps he is what H.L. Mencken said once of William Jennings Bryan, “a magnificent office seeker”, so as a matter for the historical record, he would rather be right than president, right?
So putting aside the woman who thinks Tupac Shakur is matter of national concern, or the ancient one who continues to testify in useless congressional hearings on why Congress is so fouled up, we have the actual ambitious, ruthless politicians, ready to perform any task—by any means necessary—to gain advantage, and thus take office, much to the appalled chagrin of those who actually have convinced themselves that politics can have a higher calling. What a silly hoot that is!
I often wonder why Brother Ralph keeps pissing into the wind?
But like Chris Hedges, this is their career gimmick, and they are obviously into it for the long haul.
Note to Ralph and minions: civics and the assumed responsibility that goes with it, does not actually exist.

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By Ouroborus, August 10, 2009 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

By Jeremy Keith Hammond, August 10 at 9:15 am #

Very well said and spot on; I grew up with him and have nothing but the highest respect for him because he’s earned it. Jesus? Perish the thought. Gia lives!

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By Ouroborus, August 10, 2009 at 6:29 am Link to this comment

“This is the third television generation,” Nader said. “They have grown up watching screens. They have not gone to rallies. Those are history now. They hear their parents and grandparents talk about marches and rallies. They have little toys and gizmos that they hold in their hands. They have no idea of any public protest or activity. It is a tapestry of passivity.”

No matter what one thinks of Nader, he’s not stupid, and the above quote is very relevant to the apathy that is rampant among the majority. We’re in the most serious threat to our way of life in my life time, IMO. And there is no rallying point to flock to…why is that? I think that is the answer; Nader’s above statement.

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By Fat Freddy, August 10, 2009 at 6:25 am Link to this comment

And if we have not learned by now that the system is broken, that as citizens we do not matter to our political elite, that we live in a corporate state where our welfare and our interests are irrelevant, we are in serious trouble. Our last hope is to step outside of the two-party system and build movements that defy the Democrats and the Republicans. If we fail to do this we will continue to undergo a corporate coup d’etat in slow motion that will end in feudalism.

While I agree with the premise, I find the “solution” a bit lacking in substance. I would add: term limits and publicly funded campaigns. Attacking corporations for only doing what the government allows it do is not the answer either. I believe the free exchange of goods and services is as important as the free exchange of thoughts and ideas for a so-called “free society”. The government facilitates the ability of big corporations to gain more power, wealth and control. The answer is not to give government more power. The answer is to provide a true, free market system which allows smaller businesses to directly compete with the larger, “arrogant” corporations. Allow the “mighty” to fall. Provide for the temporary needs of the displaced workers, and help facilitate the smaller competitors to make up for market short falls. Eliminate the Central Bank and allow the market’s natural business cycle.

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By Benjamin Tasker, August 10, 2009 at 6:15 am Link to this comment

@Bubba - how do you know who/what the Green Party knows? What a ludicrous supposition.

@InheritTheWind - While your criticism of the Democratic party was top notch - highlighting important failures and successes… I was really bummed by the ad-hom attack on Nader and his supporters (which includes me). Aside from the fact that I don’t believe in Jesus (at least as “G"od) - I certainly don’t put him on such a high pedestal and would probably agree with most when they say he would be better off sticking to grassroots - local level - Green party infiltration.

To deny him due respects for the amount of work he has completed on behalf of the American public is quite simply ignorant. I wouldn’t know where to begin in listing off the number of consumer-protection acts he has authored and passed in congress since the 60’s as a lobbyist. He easily trumps most elected, national officials.

Regarding his platform - I’ll let it speak for itself: http://www.votenader.org/issues/
... if anything he’s progressivism personified.

And in response to your attack on his ego… I don’t know the man personally… but from everything I’ve read by him - he almost never talks about himself. He has a simple house (I think he lives with his sister) and drives a simple car. The only evidence I can find regarding his ego would be his seemingly incessant desire to be President. But most of his followers are realists and understand that he probably won’t win - and it’s not about winning (though he wouldn’t admit that during a campaign - it’d be political suicide)

It’s about raising attention to important issues (including electoral reform) - and while it incites anger, particularly from misguided Dems, it does work and I am proof of that having been a former Dem myself (looking for a REAL progressive camp)

Let’s assume you’re right - that he is “egotistical” - his hubris has not inhibited him from accomplishing a lot of good for our country and I don’t think it would in the future.

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By Inherit The Wind, August 10, 2009 at 6:13 am Link to this comment

Who are you to assume how I ( or anyone else) think Nader stacks up against another radical political thinker, Jesus? Who, I wonder, even gives a shit what you think of Nader as a person? How is your opinion of Ralph Nader’s personality relevent to a political discussion about his platform?

You really should have stopped a paragraph or so sooner…..
*********************************************

Who actually (seriously) gives a shit what ANYONE thinks here?  It’s just a blog.  Besides, this place is always bare knuckles.

And I will NEVER forgive Nader for, when he had the chance to PREVENT George Bush from coming to power, played his little egotistical games when which could WELL have made the difference.  4,500 Americans and 100’s of thousands of Iraqis are dead because Nader made that choice.  “Not a dime’s worth of difference”?  Iraqi beg to differ!

I don’t believe for one second that Gore would have had the despicable “Patriot Act” prepared and waiting in the wings on 9/11—but Bush did.  Nor do I believe Gore would have implemented it or anything else—not the P/A, not the Military Commissions Act, not the FISA revisions.

Nor would he have proposed tax cuts that turned the surplus into a deficit that is the fountainhead of our current economic crisis.

True, there are MANY other things that should have been done to help Gore win that Nader had no influence on.  But Nader DID have in his hand the power to make a difference in Florida, to bring it to Gore, and he chose not to do so.

The ramifications for millions of lives fall, in part on Ralph Nader’s selfish decision.

Again, I will never forgive him for that.

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By hidflect, August 10, 2009 at 5:56 am Link to this comment

Yeah, Obama lost me about 2 months ago.

Now is a good time for Nader to say; “I f***ing told you!”

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By Bubba, August 10, 2009 at 5:21 am Link to this comment

The problem is economics. The solution is Henry George. Why should I take the Green Party seriously if it has never even heard of him?

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By dhfabian, August 10, 2009 at 5:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No president, or any other politician, is going to work toward a progressive goal unless he/she is pushed to do so.

Passive dissent has largely been ignored in recent decades.  We continue to support and vote for do-nothing politicians who appease us with occasional words of (passive) support. They have no incentive to “rock the (corporate) boat.”

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By Dave Schwab, August 10, 2009 at 5:10 am Link to this comment

“Those like Nader, who speak truth to politics and see through the myth of our Democracy, are far too few to accomplish much. How to spark the majority of Americans to rise up from their couches, turn off their TV’s and take to the streets to salvage that which our Founders created remains a mystery.”

The answer is movement-building and collective action. Get active with the Green Party, and support candidates that refuse to accept corporate money. Creating the change America really needs is not going to be quick, or easy. But it can be done, and Greens are working on it every day. Join us!

http://gp.org/

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By ardee, August 10, 2009 at 5:01 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, August 10 at 7:56 am

After a perceptive rant about Democratic Party inadequacies, you then post an assumption about both Nader and his supporters that fails the smell test miserably.

Who are you to assume how I ( or anyone else) think Nader stacks up against another radical political thinker, Jesus? Who, I wonder, even gives a shit what you think of Nader as a person? How is your opinion of Ralph Nader’s personality relevent to a political discussion about his platform?

You really should have stopped a paragraph or so sooner…..

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