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Robert Scheer Debates Ralph Nader

Posted on Nov 5, 2007
Scheer and Nader
Zuade Kaufman / Truthdig (left) and Carolyn Kaster / AP photo

(Page 4)

Nader: This is an aside. John Kerry wanted to send more troops to Iraq, he wanted victory, and he said in the first debate, “We wouldn’t have pulled out of Fallujah.” Two months later, Bush went into Fallujah, massive slaughter, which will someday be documented much more than it is now, of civilians. And he had the Democrat leaders give cover. They’re always giving cover for the Republicans. But you don’t want to waste this discussion as a decoy. We’re both decoying. The central issue is who is planning the future of our country. Systemically, year after year, day after day. Major corporations, and you have some nice corporate like Patagonia, Seventh Generation and Ben & Jerry’s, and so on. You know, I’m always talking about these groups because the way to improve the criticism of the big guys. But these corporations are planning our political future; they’re planning our electoral future. They plan our educational future. Corporatizing universities, Channel One and the lower grades. They’re planning our environmental future. They can get away with that. Fossil fuel, coal, more and more support on that, including more than a few Democrats. They’re planning our military budget and foreign policy future. They’re planning our genetic future, for heaven’s sake. They’ve patented thousands of human gene sequences. They’re planning everything. And Washington is corporate occupied territory. I keep emphasizing that if you have two or three passionate issues, you’re going to like the Democrats more than they deserve. If you like Social Security, although there are some Democrats that were fooling around with, you know, partial private funds and so forth, and investments. But if you like Social Security and pro-choice, if you like gay and lesbian rights, they look pretty good, the Democrats. If you are working on 30 or 40 major issues, the span from the destruction of any kind of rational priority of our federal budget due to the military drain and corporate welfare, if you have 30 to 40 issues like that, and you span department and agency after department agency, the similarities tower over the dwindling real differences that the Democrats are willing to go to the mat on. Were the Democrats willing to go to the mat against [Justices] Alito and Roberts? Well, they weren’t—they had far more power to stop them then they used, and it was pretty pathetic to watch the inevitability of the [John] Roberts and [Samuel] Alito nominations. So, again, if we start with subordination of corporate power to the sovereignty of the people, with all that that means in terms of policy, like, you do not live in a society that tells you “pay or die” if you can’t afford health care. Eighteen thousand Americans die, every year, according to the National Academy of Science Institute of Medicine. That’s six 9/11s. No talk about that. Sixty-five thousand people die from air pollution, EPA figures. Over 100,000 die from medical malpractice in hospitals. Harvard School of Public Health. All these forms of violence are shoved aside because of the terrorist focus in Iraq; that’s a form of violence. And 9/11 is a form of violence. But far more people are being killed by preventable conditions, that’s the key. Whether it’s terror, or whether it’s criminal activity by a coal mine, or whatever. Preventable conditions. And we’re not paying attention to it. And I’ve been to the Democrats again and again. Why aren’t you doing something about all these massive fatalities? And they’re sitting there, even when they control the Congress; the Democratic Party today is not the Democratic Party of the 1960s and the 1970s. There is a convergence, or realignment, and the realignment is that both parties are getting worse every four years, and if we are so taken by the least-worst option, and we become a least-worst voter, we’re telling the least-worst party, the Democrats, that they can take us for granted and if they can take us for granted, they’re going to take us. And that’s the mistake that progressives are making. It is so freaked out by the Republicans that if they make no functional demands on the Democrats in an election year. The anti-war people virtually shut down the anti-war movement except a few demonstrations. They didn’t want to embarrass Kerry; you notice how many rallies there were in ‘03 and how few there were in ‘04? And I’ll end with this and let you have your say. But we analyzed 19 pro-Kerry Web sites in 2004. On their Web site, these were labor, women’s rights, poverty, consumer, civil rights, etc. Not one of those 19 was making demands on Kerry. Now why? Well, they didn’t want to embarrass him, and let him have his own campaign, and you know ... whatever. They didn’t want to make the demands. Frederick Douglass, a great abolitionist, in the pre-Civil War period, once said, “Power can seize nothing without a demand.” And if you didn’t make Kerry better, you ended up making Kerry worse. You ended up with the Kerry that waffled, that was ambiguous, that didn’t have bright lines that people liked between two major candidates, himself and George W. Bush. Now, if you’re going to go for the least worst, if you’re going to be practical, if you can realize the system is rigged against third parties, then it is incumbent upon all liberals and progressives to condition their support for these candidates based on the impassioned commitments that they have to a certain course of justice that they think that the Democratic nominee is not pursuing. Look at the ravaging of our inner cities by merchant crime, going all the way to Wall Street: predatory lending, enormous interest rates on payday loans, and so forth. And you’ll see that except for Edwards, and he’s not as specific as he should be on this, but they’re not making this an issue. We’re talking about tens of millions of people who are constantly ravaged in their housing, in the rip-offs that are going on, and dirty food products that are going into the ghettos, ripping off their meager savings, etc. And not having municipal services go into their communities, because they are into more affluent communities, and there’s no position here by the Democrats.  So what I’m left with is making demands on them; if you want to vote for them, make demands for them. Don’t give them a free ride, because they will take you for granted.

Scheer: You know, first of all, I don’t even know who these Democrats are that you’re talking about. There seems to be—John Kerry, for instance. I remember Kerry as a guy who did more on the fighting the Vietnam War than either of us. And we were both around. I don’t recall that he was insensitive to that issue.

Nader: Did I say that?

Scheer: No.


Square, Site wide
Nader: What are you going back there for?

Scheer: I’m going to finish now without being interrupted. I think that there’s a demonization that goes on here that anybody who gets elected to the office, if they’re a Democrat they stop being a complex human being, they stop having a conscience, and that’s not the way I see Teddy Kennedy. I see Teddy Kennedy as an incredible person who has fought the good fight on a number of these issues that you’ve mentioned, certainly the rights of labor, consistently. Immigrant rights, right down the line. A lot of—Ed Markey, has fought these issues year after year. Henry Waxman, who I mentioned. There’s a long list of these people; they work these issues, they don’t become the enemy because they get elected as Democrats. They don’t become saints because they run as Green candidates. We are dealing with people out there, some of who have been chosen who try to be elected representatives who do a damn good job. They don’t automatically sell out. I think it matters that Nancy Pelosi when she got in did not put Jane Harman when she get into a committee. Jane Harman was owned by the defense industry; you mentioned the defense industry. She’s the one who fought for the stealth bomber and fighter. Nancy Pelosi pointedly would not appoint her to be chair of the committee. Even though the rules would have suggested that. Dennis Kucinich did get a committee appointment chairmanship. Henry Waxman has one of the most important appointments. I know Nancy Pelosi for many years; I consider her an admirable person. I think she is fighting the good fight; I can disagree with her when she doesn’t push this issue or that issue. I’m not the majority. I’m not trying to herd those cats. I’m not trying to develop a coalition. I’m not retrying to get the Senate to have a majority take a position. It’s a different obligation than being a columnist. Or being an agitator, one kind of another, which we both are. Fine, I’m not for lessening the pressure, but I will not demonize any one who manages to get elected, win office, you know. [Rep.] Barbara Lee, as I mentioned before, she did vote against the war, in fact, in one point, she cast the only courageous vote. I think she served—take Barbara Boxer. One of my senators; I’m not proud as my other senator. But I’m thrilled that I have a Democratic senator who has been as consistent as Barbara Boxer on the issues that I care about. So what I’m trying to suggest is there’s room to operate in this electoral system within the two-party system which we are saddled with—it’s not going to change anytime in our lifetime, or anyone else on the boat for that matter. And I think we have to talk about how we can work with it. And all I’m trying to suggest, without getting too personal, is that we don’t need a third Nader campaign, we don’t need another third-party campaign, we have to get serious about figuring out which candidates we want to support, how to put pressure on those who are not playing a good role. How to unify behind those that have a chance and can advance an agenda. Because we are heading into an electoral season which is incredible important to the future of this country. A lot is at stake. Now I do want to address this corporate question. I think there are splits within these corporate circles. I think, for instance, Microsoft, which doesn’t make that much money off the defense industry. Gates’ father has been, along with [Warren] Buffett, two of the major voices arguing in favor of the inheritance tax. I think if you look at the work of the Gates Foundation it has done a lot to try to deal with some of the impact of medical questions and environmental questions that you are talking about. There are capitalists who favor trade and believe in it. And will even accept some conditions on it who recognize that a policy of old-fashioned imperialism and militarism makes it more difficult for them to do business around the world. In fact, what I argue is that the ideological bent of the neocons and the Bush administration is a betrayal of capitalism. I think it’s a betrayal of rational corporate activity. These people are following a model which the Germans, the French, the Spanish and the English all abandoned because it was not cost-effective. It is not cost-effective to try to control the oil wells in Iraq and have to protect the pipelines. The Chinese under communist leadership are being far more effective as capitalists signing up long-term contracts. There are splits in these ruling circles, there is enlightened capitalism, difficult as it need be to accept, and there’s primitive capitalism. Enron, Halliburton are primitive capitalism. They are taking us down a very dangerous road, and they happened to control the White House. There are more rational voices in the corporate sector. So I don’t see this as “OK, move to socialism.” It’s not going to happen. What we have to talk about is how can we put adults back in watching the store. How can we make this more rational? How can we prevent this country from wasting its treasure, wasting its young people, and getting all of the world pissed off with us, hating our country? That’s not good for capitalism, that’s not good for the country, not good for security. It may not be radical to say this, but if we had an Eisenhower running, whether he was a Democrat or Republican, I would be pretty excited right now. And let me say something else. I don’t agree that the Democratic Party is worse than it was in the ‘60s. I think it is considerably better. I think the Democratic Party learned the lessons, many during the Vietnam War, including Bill Clinton, can I say. Bill Clinton, for all of his failings, did not invade Iraq. He didn’t. And Bill Clinton did not appoint Alito to the Supreme Court. You ducked the Supreme Court question, but, rather, consistently tonight. You can blame the Democrats for not having [fought] hard enough, and so forth. But if we had a Democratic president, if Gore had won, we wouldn’t have had to face these choices.

Nader: So why don’t we?

Scheer: I’ll tell you why. Because it shouldn’t have even been that close. People should have been more aware of how dangerous the Republicans were at that time. And you did not play a good role when you said that their similarities outweighed their differences; you were deceiving the American public.

Nader: First of all, you’re a genius at making our agreements appear like disagreements. How many times have I told you that there’s a progressive wing to the party; I named some of the same ones, and you keep going over the same ground, all the time. The point is, it is quite clear that the Democrats should have been landsliding the Republicans every two years, every four years, and the reasons why they’re not are reasons that liberals and progressives have not faced up to. And that is they have told the nominees that there’s nowhere for them to go; therefore, they can be taken for granted. That’s why Kerry thought he had the anti-war vote in 2004, because anti-war, many of the anti-war people conveyed one way or the other, that there was nowhere for them to go. So what happened? What happened is that Kerry got a nice editorial in the Wall Street Journal, praising him for his hawkish position on Iraq in the first debate, etc. Let’s just look at it from a tug-of-war point of view. You have the liberals and progressives here and they have filled my ear over the years with their criticisms of the Democrats. Constantly. They would goad me to run on a third-party platform in the ‘70s and ‘80s and so forth. And you have the liberals and progressives here, you have the Democratic nominees here, and you have the corporate 24/7 lobbyists here and their power. They are pulling on both Republican and Democrats to get in there more and more and more in their grasp. Now, if the liberals and progressives have this, “Gee, the Democrats have done good things, and they’re not all that bad, and don’t challenge from the outside, and push them the way the Anti-Slavery Party did, and the way the Women’s Right to Vote Party did, and the Labor Party, and the People’s Party in the 19th century.” I hope you’re glad that some voters didn’t go for the least worst between the Whigs and the Democrats on the issue of slavery and voted for the Anti-Slavery Party or the Women’s Right to Vote Party. You’ve got all these liberals and progressives; they’re letting it happen. They have watched while the corporate Democrats have taken control of this party over the years. They have let it slide more and more toward the corporate positions of the Democrats, department by department and agency by agency. If you want to pursue what you want to pursue, Robert, you have to hold the liberal and progressive wing of the party up to higher standards. They’ve got to be tougher, because if they are constantly freaked out by how bad the Republicans are, therefore don’t criticize the nominee, don’t make the demands of the nominee of a condition of support in the Democratic Party, every four years both parties will get worse. The least-worst voting mentality has no endgame. There is no endgame because there is no breaking point, because forever and ever in the future, one party will not be as a bad as the other party. But both of them become worse every four years unless you change that level of urgency. Now that shouldn’t upset you.

Scheer: That doesn’t upset me at all, Ralph, and you know this is not an accurate representation of my view. I’m certainly for criticizing Democrats; I hope you’ve read some of my columns over the years. I wrote books on this. As I said before, I was probably Clinton’s strongest critic on the Financial Services Modernization Act, on telecommunications.

Nader: I’m not talking about you.

Scheer: Well, second, I don’t represent a group that thinks you never criticize Democrats, and I’m not opposed to criticizing even progressive Democrats. And I do it all the time. That’s our role. That’s our job. We’re talking about something different, and you don’t want to talk about it. Which is whether we should have a third-party candidacy whether it is useful. Whether it is a pox on both their houses, or, as I have suggested, for better or for worse, I am suggesting that there’s room to operate, there’s opportunity here to organize, short of a third party. That there are good candidates and bad candidates within the Democratic Party. There are primaries that we can get behind these candidates. For example the deal breaker, I think people in this room should make it very clear that they would not accept Hillary Clinton as a candidate if she continues to her current position supporting the war. I have written columns saying that. I have said, I’m on the record as saying, I will not vote for Hillary Clinton if she has the position that she has now. I have said it. I’ll even vote for Ralph Nader, I’ll even write in Ralph Nader, if Hillary Clinton is the candidate and she still takes the current position on the war. But that’s difference from saying there isn’t room to organize, to operate, that there are not good candidates out there are. And I think we need, and I think that as far as The Nation, I started by talking about the Weekly Standard publications of that sort, I think they would have destroyed their own—National Review, what have you. They would have destroyed their own strength by attacking the Republican Party in the way that people around The Nation consistently attack the Democratic Party. That doesn’t mean they silenced their critics. They state their case. But they say, “OK, these are the people we are trying to work with and organize” and so forth. The Washington Times, I know I’m on a [radio] show called “Left, Right and Center.” The editor of the [Washington Times] editorial page is the right. He has his criticisms of the Bush administration, but he hasn’t broken with it. He’s trying to work with these people. That’s his party. My view is that we, on the left, have got to stop playing at being effective and critical and so forth, and recognize the seriousness of the moment. Seriousness of the moment. And that we have some choices here. This election matters. So instead of saying, a pox on both their houses, which is basically what your argument is that the similarities tower over the differences. No, they don’t. So if it’s Edwards who excites you, or Obama, or Kucinich, get out and work for them. Make this primary matter. But that’s where political organizing and activity has to take place in the next year and a half. And people should not sit on their hands and take them out and applaud when they hear the most radical statement.

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By Notorious Forever, February 28, 2008 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ralph Nader / Dennis Kucinich - 2008…the best ticket EVER!!!

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By jibbguy, February 28, 2008 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

There is only one chance to take back our government peacefully; and do it THIS YEAR. And that is if ALL the reform candidates form a coalition third party together, one with only one platform plank: “We must first make the Nation safe to argue in, before continuing the argument!”

This bold and unprecedented move will insure that there is no partisan bickering or infighting. The “new” part insures that there will no preconceived baggage brought along. Such a movement will attract all the discontented: Progressives, Greens, Indi’s, Libertarians, and honest Conservatives. Right out of the gate, it could count on as much as 25% of the population’s support; and “steal” votes equally from both mainstream parties.

The movement leaders (Paul, Kucinich, Nader, McKinney, Gravel, and others) can draw straws or some other equally random method on live TV and webcam to choose the actual candidate; because that person is only the name on the ballot. The movement will be the real “candidate”, and all will campaign equally hard. And all will move into positions of power once successful. Such a movement will attract many elected officials and distinguished statesmen as well, ‘”defectors” in the thousands from the failed mainstream parties, people who have long yearned for this chance for true reform. 

The main message of this new reform coalition will be the cleansing of our government and media from corruption and unseen control, and the protection of our Constitutional Rights and Liberties. It is a powerful motivation; and with the support of the above leaders it could very well succeed (..The ONLY way in which a third party could).

There are ways to put mainstream media onto the defensive, force them to cover the new movement in a more “honest” manner… And ways to insure our votes are counted accurately. All it will take are millions of highly motivated people at the grass roots level with the same patriotic agenda working together with this goal. These issues are so powerful that they are self-motivating; and will hold the coalition together despite the varied political or social differences. Because we know that it is time that the Roman Circus, the Red vs. Blue chariot races held for our distraction and enjoyment are utterly rejected and called for what they really are… And real reform instituted. Never before in our history has there been a better time for doing this; and never before has the need been so great.

Europe has coalition governments; why must we be forced into picking one of two equally bad and corrupt choices? We must find a way to break this grip of corruption that has overcome the government, and a new Coalition Reform Third Party is the way!

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By Mike de Martino, February 27, 2008 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment
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Gore/Nader 2008. Now that’s a ticket I can vote for.

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By kevin99999, February 26, 2008 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am not looking for winner or loser in this excellent debate. The liberal wing is not monolithic and should not be monolithic. However, the debate should be civil and based on issues devoid of personal attacks. When it comes to personal attacks, the liberal media is just as bad as the right wing media. Just look at the coverage Clinton has gotten from the so called liberal blogs, which has ranged from daily drum beat of manufactured headlines, not unlike right wing swift-boaters, to personal attacks. HuffPost has been the most devious and most juvenile in its attacks.

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By cann4ing, November 12, 2007 at 11:30 am Link to this comment

CY:  WBAI is part of the Pacific Network which was founded by pacifists in the 1950s in Berkeley, CA.  Pacifica initially broadcast over KPFA and then expanded.  It has always been listener funded.  Democracy Now began as a Pacifica program but has spun off, as it experienced phenomenal growth.  It is still broadcast over all Pacific affiliates but is also broadcast on NPR, on DirectTV, Free Speech TV, Link, Direct TV and on more than 500 public access stations.  It too is listener funded.  (I often listen to Democracy Now over the L.A. based affiliate, KPFK, though my preference is to access it at Democracy, where you can link into archives for any program.  It is a great research tool.)

PBS, as it was originally formulated during the Johnson administration, was intended to present non-commercial programming.  The Corporation for Public Broadcasting was created, in theory, as a firewall between PBS and political/commercial interests.  The Bush administration has been working tirelessly from within to dismantle that fire wall and inject political controls over the content of PBS broadcasting, yet it remains a source where one can find the fabulously informative content of a Bill Moyers program.

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By Conservative Yankee, November 12, 2007 at 6:43 am Link to this comment
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112955 by Ernest Canning on 11/11 at 4:08 pm

“Right you are, CY.  It is also the reason why Democracy Now and Pacific Radio are exclusively listener funded.  It is also the basic theory behind PBS—the need to have a media unfettered by corporate control so as to fulfill the critical role of a free press as a fourth estate.”

I knew about W.B.A.I. (Pacificia) going in the direction of “listener funded.” But I know nothing about Democracy now. PBS has no claim on “listener funded” status as long as they are accepting money from ... and running ads for…  Archer Daniels Midland, ExxonMobil, BP, and Hewlett Packard.

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By Jaki, November 11, 2007 at 11:07 pm Link to this comment
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Back to the most critical issue of the debate between Nader & Scheer…

Tonight I watched James Gandolfini’s HBO film, “Alive Day Memories: From Iraq,” which moved me to tears.  Gandolfini interviews wounded human beings—men and women (and their families) who have returned alive, but seriously and permanently damaged by this illegal, barbaric war.  So far over 28,000 Americans have been wounded—traumatic brain injuries, PTSD, loss of limbs, sight, hearing, you name it.  It was painful to watch…and it was also inspiring to witness their courage. 

Gandolfini shows us graphically what happened to these people—the actual incidents in which they were blown up and wounded.  We meet their families, loved ones, see the struggles they must go through on a daily basis to stay alive, function, and not go mad.  Some of the footage was given to the filmmakers by “insurgents.”  Some of us define this word to mean citizens of Iraq fighting against occupation.

In addition to the 28,000+ wounded, 4,000 have died.  Over one million Iraqis have been killed, most of whom were women and children.  And then, of course, there is the cost and what that money could better have been spent on.

We MUST NOT elect a new President who intends to keep us in Iraq…at all. 

If the Democrats run Hillary Clinton, who, although she says she now opposes the war, has made no commitment to take our troops out immediately after being elected.

If the Democrats run Hillary Clinton, Ralph Nader SHOULD run.

As an anti-war activist since 1964, I say unequivocally that we should also honor and help those who have been maimed by this experience.  We all know who goes to war and it ain’t the kids of the rich and powerful.

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By cann4ing, November 11, 2007 at 5:08 pm Link to this comment

Right you are, CY.  It is also the reason why Democracy Now and Pacific Radio are exclusively listener funded.  It is also the basic theory behind PBS—the need to have a media unfettered by corporate control so as to fulfill the critical role of a free press as a fourth estate.

As Justice Hugo Black observed in New York Times vs. U.S. (1971)

“In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy.  The press was to have served the governed, not the governors.  The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government.  The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people.  Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.  And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die….”

One need look no further than the sorry performance of the corporate media in the run-up to the war in Iraq to see how the corporate media has betrayed the fundamental purpose of the First Amendment.  A Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting Study done during the weeks surrounding Collin Powell’s key UN address revealed that of 293 on-air experts, only 4 were associated with the anti-war movement—this at a time when 61% of Americans favored more negotiations.  The corporate media (including NBC, whose parent company GE is a major weapons manufacturer) led a propaganda blitz, complete with words like “Target Iraq” and “Operation Iraqi Freedom” flashing across their screens.

The New York Times is quick to chastise the Bush regime these days, but other than a semi-mea culpa, it has yet to step forward and accept responsibility for the series of uncritical articles authored by Judith Miller in advance of the war that merely parroted the administration’s propaganda claims about WMD and supposed links to al-Qaeda.

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By Conservative Yankee, November 11, 2007 at 6:38 am Link to this comment
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112806 by Ernest Canning on 11/10 at 2:28 pm

“Jaki, Don’t count on media pundits to ever do the right thing.  Dig for the source of political corruption and you will find the greed of the conglomerated corporate media at its core.”

Subscribers must pay the cost of their newspaper, for if that cost is born by advertisers, those same advertisers will dictate what news subscribers read.

This is not a direct quote but sums up the sentiments of Thomas Paine, as I read him.

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By cann4ing, November 10, 2007 at 3:28 pm Link to this comment

Jaki, Don’t count on media pundits to ever do the right thing.  Dig for the source of political corruption and you will find the greed of the conglomerated corporate media at its core.  Economics drives the refusal to link candidates to issues that truly matter, creating what Noam Chomsky refers to as a “democracy deficit.” 

What little “coverage” there is will be found in horse-race questions—who will be the likely winner—or triviality—the price of a candidate’s haircut.  Coverage is generally limited those candidates who have trolled for sufficient corporate dollars to feed the media noise machine via the deceptive but inordinately expensive 30 second spot ads. 

Where elections in the UK and Europe occur over a span of weeks, the need to garner monies necessary to feed the media noise machine has caused the American political system to devolve into a near-permanent electoral cycle as witnessed by the fact that candidates were forced to declare for 2008 even as the votes were still being counted for 2006.

The corporate media actively seeks to marginalize Mr. Kucinich not only because of his position on impeachment but because Mr. Kucinich gives voice to the real interests of the vast majority of Americans—the middle and working classes.  Kucinich would not only restore the Fairness Doctrine and roll back media consolidation (which would cost the media conglomerates billions of dollars) but he would repeal NAFTA & the WTO—devices by which the multi-nationals have carried out their corporate global project in which America’s manufacturing base has been outsourced in an endless search for the $2/day laborer as what remains of American labor has been Wal-Martized.

Make no mistake.  The American corporate media is part and parcel of the corporate global project.  It stands on the opposite side of the global class from the American middle and working classes and their champion, Dennis Kucinich.  If we want others to learn about Mr. Kucinich stands, it is up to each and every one of us to direct everyone we know to the appropriate sources of information, like those I linked to earlier.

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By Jaki, November 10, 2007 at 11:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well said, Ernest!  Thank you for recapping portions of that important message this week from Dennis Kucinich on Democracy Now!  And I believe you are right.  He does reflect what most of the country is feeling about this runaway train that is tromping on everything we hold dear (and our futures).

Ralph Nader said he would only consider running as a 3rd Party candidate if the Dems ran Hillary.  In that case, I would support him.

If, however, the Democrats do what they have been mandated by The People to do and get some spine to stand up against the Forces of Evil*, and by some transformative miracle or stroke of intelligence would run Kucinich, I think we might have a chance for real change (if he doesn’t get assassinated, of course).

(*See Bill Moyers’ Journal (11/9/07) Cahill interview for a definition of evil that reflects the psychosis of those involved in the current takeover of our country—cruel, heartless, deceitful, crass, unbelievably greedy, utterly lacking in any form of compassion, and, therefore, EVIL.)

Let’s hope the folks in Iowa and New Hampshire will be the inspiring trendsetters and put Kucinich on top for the Democratic nomination.  And other states will follow suit.

And let’s hope the media pundits will grow up and stop focusing on trivialities such as his height, his wife’s looks,  and whether or not he admits to seeing something in the sky that he could not identify.  So did Eisenhower and Reagan, and so have millions of others.  Cahill (on Moyers) also showed footage of Nobel Peace Prize recipient Bishop TuTu, forcefully and directly confronting huge bullies, yelling in their faces, standing tall at 5 feet 4 inches.

We The People need to call the media on this superficial, irrelevant crap when they do it.

And, we may need to take to the streets at the Democratic Convention,  and call for a Kucinich mandate.

Whatever it takes.  We are poised on the cusp of the beginnings of possible radical change (in the true sense of that word—getting to the root of the problem).  We have to seize the day or we are probably doomed.  We may never have another opportunity once Marshall Law is declared and The System locks us down…which is already underway… as we face nuclear annihilation (so they can have their so-called “rapture”?) Like hell.  It is all about imperial power and greed.

I sure hope there are enough of us who will get out of our so-called “comfort” and TAKE A STAND!

Meanwhile, we have to keep on communicating with each other…educating…being educated…yelling in the faces of the bullies when necessary (like Code Pink), having the courage to stand up to the War Criminals who are doing it in our names.

Impeachment NOW!  Our Constitution demands it.  Now we have to.  Write your legislators.  Call them. 
Bombard them with phone calls, emails and letters.  Take the time.  The consequences of nonaction are extreme.

We all need to get that…and get it NOW.

As with the planet’s survival, the clock is ticking.
And it is very close to midnight.

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By cann4ing, November 9, 2007 at 5:01 pm Link to this comment

Well said, CY, and I think I would add the prospects for Dennis Kucinich to capture the nomination are not as slim as the corporate media would like us to believe.  Democrats for America just completed their internet pulse poll for California.  The top three were Dennis Kucinich, 41%, Edwards, 24% and Obama at 16%. 

As I mentioned previously, a blind poll conducted in August in which 70,000 Democratic voters selected the candidates on the basis of their positions on issues but to which they names were withheld produced a startling result.  Kucinich received a whopping 58%.  The rest of the field was at or near single digits.

The real challenge, given the concerted effort by the corporate media to marginalize his candidacy, is to educate people to the fact that if siding with the interests of the vast majority of the electorate—the middle and working classes—is mainstream, Kucinich is the only candidate who is mainstream.

Mr. Kucinich was interviewed this morning by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez.  Here’s some interesting excerpts:

“Juan Gonzales:  What do you say to those who argue that even they may agree with you…the impeachment process itself would drag out…that…people should just move forward towards the next election…?

“Kucinich:....The administration will be in office for at least fourteen more months.  They can cause a lot of damage in that time.  They’re planning to attack Iran.  When you think about the defense authorization budget including a provision that would retrofit Stealth B-2 bombers so they can carry 30,000 lb. bombs which would then be dropped on nuclear research labs, creating a humanitarian and ecological disaster, ‘What are we waiting for?’ is the question, not ‘Why don’t we wait for the election?’

“Amy Goodman:  The other argument the leadership has used is…they’re concerned about losing in a landslide vote against them….

“Kucinich:  Since when does it become unfashionable to stand up for the Constitution, to stand up for our nation’s laws, to stand up for internaltional law…?  Since when does it become inconvenient to take a stand that would help secure our democracy once again?  I mean,’s all at risk right now, and it’s time that the Democratic leadership exerted an effective influence.  As a coequal branch of government, Congress cannot stand by and let this adminstration continue to undermine our Constitution.  That’s why I introduced those articles of impeachment.”

I would encourage Truthdiggers to link to the full interview.

Finally, what Scheer and several of the posters fail to realize is that while, tactically third party candidates can split the progressive vote, so long as progressives do not understand that this idea of continuing to select candidates on the basis of whom the corporate media claims are “electable” rather than on the basis of where a candidate stands on issues that truly matter is the true source of our present malaise.

Right now, there is no excuse about allegedly throwing away one’s vote.  We are approaching the primaries.  There is no need for a Hobson’s choice of the lesser of two evils at this stage.  If you can’t vote for the candidate who represents your interest now, when can you?  It is not about “all or nothing” as several posters have asserted but instead entails the fact that so long as we continue to blindly vote for corporatists who have stolen control of the Democratic Party—which is supposed to be the party of the common man, global corporations will get the mine while the rest of us get the shaft.

The voters in New Hampshire have a really unique opportunity to send a message that will resonate not only throughout the halls of Congress but in the board rooms of the multinational corporations and media conglomerates.  Vote Kucinich!

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By Jaki, November 9, 2007 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ron Paul for President?  Forget it.  Ron Paul is against a woman’s right to choose.  He will lose.  Women are going to make a big difference in the next election.  Unfortunately most (not me) will probably be gullibly voting for HillBill unless there is a True Pro-Choice Candidate, which she is not.   

Regarding either Establishment Party—doesn’t really matter much.  Both, as many have said, are bought and paid for by those whose interests they maintain.  And the elections are rigged.  Computer voting will always result in rigged elections.

I’m with the responder who said we need to take to the streets by the millions, stop business as usual
and stop it for an indefinite period, not just a holiday weekend in Washington, D.C.  What would happen if 25 million people descended on that city, demanding the kinds of things Ralph Nader stands for—living wages, ending corporate control over our lives, a clean environment, a return to sanity and upholding our Constitution, PEACE? And refused to leave.  Think about it.  25 million.  Yet less than 10% of our population.

We need to create boycotts, using internet communication. Start with Standard Oil, Exxon-Mobil, Shell.  Stop buying their (and their subsidiaries) gas.  Buy Venezuelan gas.

Remember where Georgie Porgie told you to go after 9/11?  Shopping.

Well, stop.  Stop mindless shopping to soothe your sense of outrage.  Stop buying useless junk.  For holiday and birthday gifts, educate your friends and family by giving a donation in their name to an organization that does some good for our planet, like Green Peace or Amnesty International or PETA or Planned Parenthood.  Give them some information about the organization. Maybe it will start a trend.  Personally, I have asked all of my friends to stop buying me frivolous gifts and donate instead.  It makes me feel better, and I think them, too.  And, it makes a difference.

Buy green products made in the U.S.  Don’t shop in WalMart.  Don’t eat at McPoison.  Use products that have not been tested on tortured animals.  Buy products from The Body Shop and other socially conscious businesses.  Stand up for your values, spend in accordance with them.

Buy Fair Trade products. Shop local.  You will find that even if a particular product costs a little more than the crap (from China) you get at WalMart you will actually save money (and your health).  WalMart and other such pigpits depend on “temptations” and people always buy more than they went in for.  And they get crappy products.

Wake up.  Practice conscious consumption.  Minimize it. Corporations, with their slick advertising in all the media, have got us all by the you-know-whats.  And they depend on us for their corporate profits.  Quit filling their coffers.  Or at least start thinking about what and how you consume.

I hope Nader does run again and that he runs Green.
I think there is so much rage against The Machine out there that he might have a chance (if, of course, he is allowed on the ballot and they are paper and there is lots of oversight in the counting).  Big If.  But we can only give it the best shot we have to make that happen.  Get Active!

Go Ralph!

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By gravel kucinich paul nader, November 9, 2007 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We cast our votes for the best candidate.  THIS time more people will do the same.

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By Conservative Yankee, November 9, 2007 at 9:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

112533 by mike kohr on 11/09 at 5:01 am

“Nader and his supporters insistance on getting ALL or nothing acheived their goal and more.”

Actually it is the Republicans and the Democrats that insist on “getting all or nothing.” My former GOP has continually taken fiscal conservatives for granted as the Democratic party dose their “progressive wing.”

I’m done being a “party-line man.” NO ONE will even take my personal vote for granted again. 

I will not (under any circumstances) vote for either the three Democratic or the three Republican front runners. They in no way represent my interests. 

I will not (as the major parties have hoped for years) stay home and give up.

I shall vote Kucinich in the Maine Primary, but if he loses I will vote Nader, Paul,or Gravel, in the General election.

See, Nader is not a “spoiler” because rather than vote for Gore (the corporate elitist, war hawk with the junk-yard-dog VP) I would have voted Gus Hall… and he’s dead!

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By mike kohr, November 9, 2007 at 6:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nader and his supporters insistance on getting ALL or nothing acheived their goal and more.  Instead of the inevitable and predictable nothing, they deleivered to America the net negative that is George W. Bush and the neo-cons, that have fubared up everything they touched.

The blood of thousands of US soldiers and +100,000 Iraqi’s stains the hands of both crowds.  May they spend the rest of their lives trying to wash the stain away.

mike kohr
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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By ender, November 8, 2007 at 11:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nader is no God, but in the sewer pit of American politics, he is a moral giant and a rare advocate for truth in Govt.

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By gravel kucinich paul nader, November 7, 2007 at 11:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

4 united for truth elicit fear smear blacklist.  honesty compassion intelligence guts…

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By Rusty Scalf, November 7, 2007 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When is all the Nader worship going to end? Truly, this is maddening! The man is no saint! He and his sister have run all but one of their non-profits like dictators: Union-busting, Never countenancing dissent or even criticism. In 2000 he ran _Against_ Al Gore and ignored W Bush almost completely. By the end of the campaign he took Republican money for TV ads and, there is circumstantial evidence, collaborated with the GOP. Most of his campaigns energy focused on battleground states. The last day of the campaign saw him in Florida.

After the election he wrote an ‘optimistic’ op-ed for the Wall Street Journal on the big improvements he foresaw under Bush.

When the clouds of war gathered, Mr Nader was SILENT.

Stop this mindless hero worship. He is a Man, not a God.

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By Scott Underwood, November 7, 2007 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Piss poor job Scheer. I expected way more from you and you failed miserably. Truthdig just dropped way down my list.

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By Lisa, November 7, 2007 at 2:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The original posts to this item are under podcasts:

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By cann4ing, November 7, 2007 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment

This “debate” reflects what happens when two exceptionally intelligent individuals talk past each other rather than to one another. 

Both Mr. Scheer and Mr. Nader had very different issues they wanted to address.  Mr. Nader, as he has always done, zeroed in on how the role of the corporation has corrupted the two-party system, protecting the few haves and have-mores at the expense of the public domain.  He correctly identifies the failure of the Democratic party to act as a true opposition party—putting the brakes on the right-wing onslaught against the very survival of constitutional democracy.  Nader cites, as poignant examples, the failure of even a single Democrat to vote against confirmation of Antonin Scalia and the failure to block the Clarence Thomas nomination.  He could have added the failure to fillibuster the nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito.  All four are members of the Robert Bork-founded, Richard Mellon Scaife-funded “Federalist Society.”  All four subscribe to the radically subversive “Unitary Executive” theory, which would extend unchecked, dictatorial power to the president.  (Not mentioned was the failure to block the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and the failure to block funding for the war).

Mr. Scheer came to this debate with a single-minded agenda of taking on Mr. Nader as a supposed “spoiler”  responsible for the hard-right’s capture of the White House in 2000—a point which Mr. Nader negates by pointing out how the roll-over Democrats failed to challenge the illegal voter suppression efforts by Katherine Harris (and Choicepoint) before, during and after that election.  Because of that single-minded purpose, Mr. Scheer failed to directly and constructively respond to Mr. Nader’s invitation that he, Scheer, suggest how we could improve the Democratic Party.

My difference with Mr. Nader is not on substance but on tactics.  Nader calls to mind a rather profound remark a college history professor made in my freshman class in 1969, shortly after I returned from Vietnam.  He said that if the American right can be criticized for its complete lack of empathy toward the economic plight of the working class, the American left can always be criticized for its inability to count. 

Nader recognizes the many roadblocks—legal and quasi-legal—to third party candidacies, yet he doesn’t seem to recognize that his message would have resonated, his prospects for accomplishing meaningful change if he had led an effort for progressives to recapture control of a Democratic party whose agenda had been purloined by the corporatists before seeking the presidency.  A Nader candidacy during the primaries—at a time when we are not faced with the Hobson’s choice of the lesser of two evils—would have faced a far greater chance of success than either of his third party efforts.

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By Kevin James, November 7, 2007 at 11:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Scheer is an apologists for the Democrats. He so proudly speaks of being the left of “Left Right Center” radio show on NPR..NPR!!! NPR is the mouth piece of the State Department. They have been hard at shaping the minds of American public for a new War brought to us by the criminal regime of Bush and Company. Do you honestly think he would have a place there if he wasn’t part of the system..part of the problem..not a chance!

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By BN, November 7, 2007 at 11:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Robert Scheer is like so many Nader-haters - he accuses Nader of being some kind of egomaniac for trying to change things AND blames him for not succeeding to change things at different points in the debate.  And I heartily agree with another poster who was insulted by Scheer’s charge that there is no third party movement, no Green Party!  First of all, there are multiple third parties, millions of corporate-independent voters, creative, industrious Americans fighting against the Republicrats efforts to disenfranchise them election after election.

So-called “viable” parties don’t grow on trees.  You can’t blame young parties for not being able to compete if YOU’RE not willing to help build them.  Nader went a long way to build the Green Party in 2000 and continued to fundraise for them at his own expense after that election.  His 2004 campaign won against baseless challenge after frivilous challenge by the Dems against Nader-Camejo’s ballot access.  Those wins and Nader’s suit now agains the DNC and its allies in their conspiracy to deny voters the right to vote for Nader-Camejo are essential to the survivial of third party politics in this country and the possbility of them ever becoming competitive in this country!

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By joe marcinkowski, November 7, 2007 at 11:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Do not understand why Mr. Scheer doesn’t see it.
I am one of those progressive that Ralph Nader spoke about. The type that the Democratic Party takes for granted. So, I am backing a Republican candidate, Ron Paul.

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By Dave Lumian, November 7, 2007 at 9:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great discussion.  I wish that I had been there. 

What I do not understand is Nader’s approach to the preseidential campaigns.  When ran in 2000 he said essntially that he was running to “build the Green Party”.  Then it was reported that Ralph was still registered as an independent.  As much as I admire Ralph for his admirable efforts in issue advocacy, there has always been a recod of elevating principles over pragmatism to an absurd level.  I recall in the 70s, just after Watergate, when there was a Draft Nader movement.  But Ralph declined to run.  He said that he wanted to continue his issue advocacy work.  Fair wnough but I believe that he had a real shot at winning then.  The nation was looking for a “white knight” and got Jimmy Carter.  Instead Ralph chose to run decades later, and in a manner, where he had no chance of winning - or really being heard.  Just think if he had run as a Democrat.  Minimally he would have been heard by millions in the debates.  In a divided field he would have a chance of being the front runner, maybe even getting the nomination.  But instead he has chosen this margianl strategy but could not bring himself to even register for the party that he was helping build!  BTW: Ralph ran in 1996 too but did not campain much!

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By loveinatub, November 7, 2007 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

Censorship is definitely practiced here at Truthdig. My earlier comments were never posted and I was critical of Mr. Scheer because I don’t think he at all “won” his debate with Mr. Nader. Nader’s excellent analysis of our tweedle dee and tweedle dumb political system proved accurate and Mr. Scheer wasn’t even able to counter it other than with a trifle few examples or exceptions of democratic politicans who tend to be more “liberal.”  Mr. Nader is as astute and sharp as ever and it’s a damn shame he never could have been elected president. But we live in a system where h/she who raises the most money literally purchases their way into the highest office of the land. America, the best democracy money can buy….

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By jimijazz, November 7, 2007 at 9:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t care what Scheer says, the democrats are a complete sellout. If Scheer wants somebody to blame then blame Al Gore for running a terrible campaign and not standing up to Bush on key issues. Big differences eh? Hillary, Obama and the rest of the so called democratic leadership can’t wait to bomb Iran, of course with AIPAC backing. Not to mention caving on impeachment - the list goes on and on. And one more thing, Ted Kennedy can retire anytime. He was never as strong, smart, courageous and savvy as his two brothers. Scheer needs a wake-up call.

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By Verne Arnold, November 7, 2007 at 8:39 am Link to this comment

Scheer, your name is on this, do you have the guts or ethics, to respond?  What are you and “your” “Truthdig” doing here?  Eh?  Hello?  Comment?  What is this all about?  Many questions….no answers!

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By Verne Arnold, November 7, 2007 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

This is just more Truthdig block, censure, and confuse.  This crap (not the article itself) is a month old and dissappeared and regurgitated for commercial consumption.  Just what the hell is Truthdig doing?  This is crap!!!!!  The original posts have been deleted….what the hell is going on?

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By Verne Arnold, November 7, 2007 at 3:24 am Link to this comment

#111894 by HC on 11/06 at 5:37 am
(Unregistered commenter)

What happened to the comments when this video was first put up on the site about three weeks ago, for only a day or two, and then mysteriously was taken down, only to reappear now?

HC, you are the only other one to notice…recycled it must be…filler gone bad.  Say what!!!!!

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By Mudwollow, November 6, 2007 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment

Taking to the streets by the millions sounds like a good idea. We may learn to do that if pushed by circumstances. But at some point, unless we are all turned into soylent green, we will still need a way to vote. Promote instant runoff voting first, take to the streets later. Get those millions of people to sign the national initiative. That should be easier than getting off their asses and out into the streets. We’ll see.

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By ender, November 6, 2007 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment

•  The public faces of gov’t are not the true power brokers in the US.  Most are not on the ‘list of wealthiest people’ either.  Bill Gates has more influence on our national policy than you or I, but not significantly more.  Bush, Cheney, and Rummy may have been an “Axis of Evil” but neither they and the think tank kids like Rove and Libby are just tools of the old money families where money is in private businesses and trust with unclear ownership and control.
The elite most likely look at the monkeys in the White House as dumb kids just having a little fun. 
If they start WWIII, so what?  The small group of families that wield true power are so international and own enough of all of the channels of wealth, that any calamity only funnels more wealth upward.  They can’t lose.  And I suspect they get a secret pleasure in a time such as this when we are shown we are sheep with no real control of our national policy or direction.
If you think the Democrats are any different you are sadly mistaken.  They work for the same people and that ain’t you or me.
The American economy is vaporware.  We produce very little, while even food production, one of our most prolific resources, is now only part of a global supply chain that can be turned off overnight if we misbehave.  They don’t need us anymore, hence the open borders, free trade, offshoring and H-1B workers widen the gap and keep us invested in the survival of conspicuous consumerism as our national religion.
The only real threat to that elite in recent years has been Iraq engaging in oil trade in Euros vs the Dollar, and Iran threatening to do so. The Federal Reserve issues money on an imaginary value that actually is tied to the world’s largest commodity market, Oil.  If the dollar becomes unhinged from the oil market, any intrinsic value is lost, and the emperor’s new close aren’t there anymore.
That is why the only way Iran can avoid being the ‘cause of WWIII’ is to rejoin the Dollar base oil bourse.  Saddam refused and we saw his fake execution.  The Iranian people probably won’t be so lucky. Their military and infrastructure hasn’t been bombed for 12 years and they actually have an army.  They will probably get nuked.

And Hillary might delay the attack, but if Iran proceeds with its own Euro based oil bourse, she’ll push the button just as surely as Momma’s Little Cocaine Cowboy.

The difference between us and them is they know who they answer too.

We will not change the direction of this nation with a vote. The vote has had its teeth pulled.  Millions of Americans in the streets are the only chance, and most of us are to comfortable to make the effort, so we pretend its in our best interest.

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By Bill Blackolive, November 6, 2007 at 11:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nader remains the hippest.

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By ender, November 6, 2007 at 11:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

•  The public faces of gov’t are not the true power brokers in the US.  Most are not on the ‘list of wealthiest people’ either.  Bill Gates has more influence on our national policy than you or I, but not significantly more.  Bush, Cheney, and Rummy may have been an “Axis of Evil” but neither they nor the think tank kids like Rove and Libby are just tools of the old money families where money is in private businesses and trust with unclear ownership and control.
The elite most likely look at the monkeys in the White House as dumb kids just having a little fun. 
If they start WWIII, so what?  The small group of families that wield true power are so international and own enough of all of the channels of wealth, that any calamity only funnels more wealth upward.  They can’t lose.  And I suspect they get a secret pleasure in a time such as this when we are shown we are sheep with no real control of our national policy or direction.
If you think the Democrats are any different you are sadly mistaken.  They work for the same people and that ain’t you or me.
The American economy is vaporware.  We produce very little, while even food production, one of our most prolific resources, is now only part of a global supply chain that can be turned off overnight if we misbehave.  They don’t need us anymore, hence the open borders, free trade, offshoring and H-1B workers widen the gap and keep us invested in the survival of conspicuous consumerism as our national religion.
The only real threat to that elite in recent years has been Iraq engaging in oil trade in Euros vs the Dollar, and Iran threatening to do so. The Federal Reserve issues money on an imaginary value that actually is tied to the world’s largest commodity market, Oil.  If the dollar becomes unhinged from the oil market, any intrinsic value is lost, and the emperor’s new close aren’t there anymore.
That is why the only way Iran can avoid being the ‘cause of WWIII’ is to rejoin the Dollar based oil bourse.  Saddam refused and we saw his fake execution.  The Iranian people probably won’t be so lucky. Tehran may end up a parking lot that glows in the dark for 10,000 yrs.
Israel is just a convenient tool to maintain the unrest in the Mideast that keeps despots in power.  We can deal with despots.  Educated, thinking humans that attempt to exercise control over their own lives are much harder to deal with.  As long as they are busy hating and scratching out an existence in ignorance, the money and power just keep flowing up.

If Nader were elected president, I am reasonable sure he would either be killed before taking office, or the administration would declare an emergency that indefinately delayed tne inauguration.

Of the people and by the people has become an illusion and our vote has had its teeth pulled.

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By oregoncharles, November 6, 2007 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

A questioner raised an important misconception:

“But the problem being, of course, is the Electoral College. Which makes instant run-off elections impossible unless the Electoral College is eliminated.”

Not true.  The states can choose their Electors any way they want.  IRV is a way of carrying out and counting an election; once the electors are chosen, they look just the same to the Electoral College.

In fact, one advantage of IRV is that it happens entirely on Nov.6, required by federal law to be Election Day.  A traditional runoff is not compatible, as it may well elect somebody in the 1st round, months or weeks before.

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By Mudwollow, November 6, 2007 at 9:26 am Link to this comment

Voting is the civic responsibility of all freedom loving Americans. But when the choice is having your head chopped off or being burned at the stake, it’s understandably difficult to talk oneself into voting these days.

Yes indeed. Instant runoff voting (IRV) is something we should all be very
aware of and work actively to promote on the local and national levels. If we are ever to see a successful third-party, instant runoff voting on a national level will be absolutely essential.

The National Initiative Process is another method of making voting a worthwhile effort.

Both Democrats and Republicans are comfortably entrenched. Neither party wants any changes that would threaten their incestuous self-serving orgy of greed. For those who actually believe there’s a difference between the Democrats and the Republicans, watch how cooperatively they work together to keep their stranglehold on the electoral process. The Democratic and Republican parties resemble two warlords cooperating in the subjugation of the peasantry than they do competing political parties.

In the Democratic debates Mike Gravel was ruthlessly maligned from the very beginning. Now Mike Gravel is probably going to be excluded from all future debates. Dennis Kucinich will be next to bite the dust. Yes the military- industry news media had a lot to do with Mike Gravel’s exclusion and with portraying Kucinich as a deranged UFO chaser but the Democratic Party is undoubtedly the real culprit in the exclusion of these would-be boat rockers.

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By weather, November 6, 2007 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

heartandmind:Thank you. I used to think, please make a profit, just don’t be a pig - as you point out very well, even that temperance is unsustainable.

The compression to exceed the previous quarters earnings w/yet another increase in profit is terribly flawed.

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By HC, November 6, 2007 at 6:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What happened to the comments when this video was first put up on the site about three weeks ago, for only a day or two, and then mysteriously was taken down, only to reappear now?

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By Hank Van den Berg, November 6, 2007 at 6:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have always enjoyed Truthdig and your writing, Mr. Scheer, but this exchange with Nader sours me completely on your judgement.  The Democrats, and you, need to get it into your heads that it was the Democrats who lost the last two presidential elections, and they lost because “they” are no different from “them.”  The electorate understands this. Why can’t you, Bob? 
Bob, please look up the list of donors to the presidential candidates.  You will see that they are the same groups.  With the same money controlling both parties, how can the Democrats be any different?
Have you not noticed the true nature of the Democratic Party in the way Dennis Kucinich has been systematically sidelined during the campaign this year.  The public likes him, but the party big wigs have done everything to marginalize him in their orchestrated coronational debates and through the press they control.  And, they simply kicked Gravel out altogether!
Bob, it makes no difference.  Don’t end up being a tool for the corporate/Democratic machine that has already been programmed to deliver another four years to large corporate interests.  Nader is not perfect, but your trashing is completely off the mark. 
This awful “discussion” with Nader was your worst moment.  I, and from the earlier posts it is clear that many of your readers, will not vote Democrat until we see a real shift in power in that party.  A vote for the Democrats is a vote for the same corporate groups that back the Republicans.

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By Conservative Yankee, November 6, 2007 at 6:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There are several Democratic parties… which one should we “work within?”

The DLC broke ranks with the New Deal Democrats after Mondale (a new dealer) lost in a landslide to Reagan. They fought against the nomination of Mike Dukakis (a progressive Democrat) but lost. they finally got their victory with one of their own, Bill Clinton, one of the founders of the DLC.

There is the Sam Nunn Bob Graham / Mark Warner Jon Tester wing of the Democratic party. The Dianne Feinstein /Chuck Schumer wing, and the almost extinct Paul Wellstone / Barney Frank wing.

Currently no member yo the Wellstone / Frank wing would support a DLC member, nor would the Jon Tester /Sam Nunn wing support a Barney Frank.

Working within the Democratic party means (to me) finding the DEMOCRATS! This year I’m a registered Democrat for the first time since they shot Robert Kennedy (who belonged to a forgotten wing of the Democratic party) I will vote for Dennis Kucinich in the Maine Caucus/primary.  Then I’ll go looking for some folks who will try to make a difference.  The current front runners (ALL DLC WING) ain’t it!

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By writeon, November 6, 2007 at 1:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

From my perspective I’m not really convinced that the United States is functioning democracy anymore. On one level one has “free ‘n’ fair” elections and a choice between two or more parties, but democracy has always been about more than this minimum standard.

One of the reasons there was so much opposition to the idea of democracy as a workable form of government, was the problem of the mob or the masses. Wouldn’t they, being in the vast majority, just get together and redistribute all the wealth, which was disproportionaly in the hands of the few?
Obviously this issue had to be addressed.

Then there was the problem of how easy and dangerous the mob could become when under the spell of a charismatic leader. The mob was notoriously fickel, and subject to manipulation.

As a theory democracy was interesting but thought to be unworkable in practice. How could one have democracy when wealth and power were so unequally distributed? Does political democracy really work without a high degree of economic democracy?

Clearly these are all massively complicated questions that we don’t have time or space to go into here. However, I would contend that we’ve gone beyond normal politics. Democracy in the United States is on its death-bed. The system one has now, is closer to a kind of monarchy, with an fabulously wealthy “aristocracy” who actually rule. It reminds me of France in the decades up to the 1789 revolution. Increasingly the aristocracy live in a protected and luxurious - otherworld. They have lost ligitimacy and an injection of new blood is badly needed.

Voting is not the way to change anything. I think we’re past that corrective stage. Now, “reform” will require something more; massive, popular action in the streets to bascially bring the system to a grinding halt, much like the revolutions in eastern europe. Unfortunately I don’t think the American ruling-class will react with the same level of restraint that was shown by their european counterparts.

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By oregoncharles, November 5, 2007 at 11:51 pm Link to this comment


“We don’t have a movement. There’s no Green movement. There’s not third-party movement.”

That I take personally, because I’m deeply involved in it.  So, yes, there certainly is a very active Green Party, as you will see next year.  And he’s wrong on the details, too:  Nader’s 2000 run greatly increased Green Party registrations - it built up the party.  When we essentially sat out the ‘04 election (yes, we did: Kerry has no excuse), the party shrank.  We, too, need to be seen to have the courage of our convictions; and Presidential campaigns are indispensable organizing tools.  Wrong twice, Mr. Scheer.  Not good journalism.

I never thought I’d call Robert Scheer clueless, but he’s fundamentally confused.  He doesn’t grasp the difference between CRITICISM and POLITICS. 

Yes, you can criticize all you want, and the politicians couldn’t care less.  All they care about are your votes and your money.  As long as you give them those, they can do as they please.  Even better, when the corporations give them the money and you give them your votes anyway.

To make them care, you have to vote against them.  And you have to vote for what you really want, so that they know WHY you’re voting against them.  That, they care about.  That’s what the Greens are for, and what Nader was for.  (It isn’t clear whether he will run again.  But someone will - all out.)

ctrenta agrees with Scheer that “the only battle worth fighting for is the one Scheer is advocating; taking back the Democratic Party. ”  He isn’t paying attention.  Progressives have been fighting that battle for years now.  They even got back Dem control of Congress.  So now we know:  what you see is what you get.  They flatly refuse to do anything effective to end the war or reverse Bush’s damage.  The whole “spineless” thing is silly:  they’re willing to stand up to their constituents; why not a deeply unpopular, lame duck President?  And they do know how their own institution works; there is no need to tell them.  If they don’t do it, it’s because they don’t actually want to.  They want to pretend, and hope we don’t notice.

As a result, they poll about as high as Darth Cheney, and below Bush himself.  So it’s the Year of the Third Parties:  even the fundies are threatening to start their own (we can hope).  The major parties have discredited themselves, and next year is going to be wild. 

Actually, I think it’s going to be scary but a lot of fun.  No one knows what will happen - but I think the next President will have a shockingly small plurality.  In a 5-way race, you can win with 21%, and we may see something like that. 

Scheer needs to get his head out of the sand.  He’s gotten old and conservative.  And I never thought I’d call him clueless…

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By HeartAndMind, November 5, 2007 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment
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The question comes down to this: what is more dangerous, Neocons, or hyper-capitalism. The answer is obvious. Corporate power is a cancer. It’s pernicious influence has metastasized, poisoning the Potomac punchbowl.

In fact, the neocons are nothing but a symptom of hyper-capitalism (AKA vulture, mercenarial, - capitalism). Better, they are the stable boys for the wall street minotaurs who will destroy everything in their path for a fraction of a point increase on the blood-soaked floor of some exchange. Of all the potential presidential candidates, only Nader seems to have a full understanding of this. Sheer prescribes bandaids when a full-on Inc.-ectomy is what’s called for. If we don’t address this illness soon, and folks, this truly is an illness our country is facing, it will indeed become terminal.

You may be saying to yourself, ‘hold on, isn’t this country founded on free markets and capitalism?’. Yes it was, but the problem with that system, is that it is ultimately unsustainable. It works only through exploitation of cheap labor and natural resources, both of which are finite. When both have been exhausted, the Minotaurs must find other sources of cheap labor and natural resources. There is no moment when the beast will stop to consider a more sustainable model. It will exploit to it’s fully evolved ability, then it will move on. That is what is happening. From the WalMart Minotaur to the Halliburton Minotaur, the interests of the common man are daily being undermined. While we are artfully distracted by manufactured fears of attacks from without, the violence from within goes unchecked.

The democrats are about you, Nader is about your grandchildren. He is the only potential leader who leaves the knives at home - because he knows he’s in a gunfight.

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By Gabir, November 5, 2007 at 8:08 pm Link to this comment

Our personal freedoms are at stake in the 2008 election. The security of this nation is at stake NOW , but is not addressed as urgent by either party - because of the “fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them here” strategy of our Supreme Emperor, King George Bush and his NAZI regime .
    Has this pack of rats gotten anything right in two terms . They have done nothing good or positive for anyone , save for themselves and their corporate bosses . We have had almost seven years of Smoke and Mirrors policies . This administration has put us in Iraq , not for peace , not for democracy , and certainly not to leave . The policy is for the Middle East to implode - a policy that may take five or ten more years , hundreds of thousands more of Iraqi and American lives , Billions of dollars needed at home - yet spent over there . Most every government agency has been gutted of quality leaders and employees , and those good people replaced by Bush cronies who are either corrupt or incompetent . My point is that we as citizens have watched this regime fail in every way possible . We have been served propaganda ,lies , and abuse of Executive Priveledge , instead of transparency , truth and service in the public interest . We have seen scandle upon scandle , with each scandle diverting our atttention from previous ones . Do you actually believe there is no strategy in all of this ?
    If we are witness to all of this via the media , what do the Democrats in office see and hear in Washington . Go ahead - believe that there is a difference between the two parties - but with the exception of a few good people on both sides of the aisle - the difference is in Party name only . We will ultimately have two Presidential candidates to vote for , but the only differences between them will be the campaign rhetoric and mud slinging leading up to the election .
    We need more than a third party candidate . We need the right to call for early elections if the public’s lack of confidence in the Chief Executive warrants a change in leadership . We need to throw every lobbyist out of Washington , no matter who they represent . We the voters are the only lobbyists needed . Our elected representatives in the Congress and Senate should be doing our bidding - not the biddding of multibillion dollar corporations . We really should eliminate the office of President and replace it with a diverse Executive board that represents a multitude of concerns in stead of Party Dogma .
    This “debate ” with Ralph Nader was more about Robert Sheer attempting to sideswipe Mr. Nader with Sheer Smear . Ralph Nader had the constitutional right to run for the Office of President of The United States of America . Every effort to deny him that right was executed by both parties . The effort to deny him that right was just the beginning of a process to gradually erode the constitutional rights of all Americans . We are living in a neocracy . We are watching our country and the world at large erode and sink . We need to make room for diverse voices in our government before it is too late . May God Bless Mr. Ralph Nader and have mercy on us all for our choice to be blind and ignorant . Mr. Scheer should go back to the nursing home and stick to the cozy interviews with his roommate , Gore (The Icon) Vidal .

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By ctrenta, November 5, 2007 at 8:04 pm Link to this comment
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Good for Scheer at the end for saying we shouldn’t blame Nader for the 2000 election. This needs to stop.

Nader is a more astute and more knowledgable critic of the Democrats than Scheer is but in the end, the only battle worth fighting for is the one Scheer is advocating; taking back the Democratic Party. As difficult as that sounds and as difficult as that will be, it certainly seems like the more effective of the two routes. IRV might be a great alternative but right now, taking back the Democratic Party is still the way to go. ... At least for now.

Scheer is right in the sense that Nader did not lay any significant ground work for third parties to to get established and I really don’t think he made an impact for the benefit of third parties. This was a clincher for me with Scheer.

But as I said in the beginning, the trashing of Ralph Nader has to stop. We DID NOT know at the time that Bush & co. was going to be so bad, so let us stop blaming this man for what happened since 2000.

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By LilyMaskew, November 5, 2007 at 6:55 pm Link to this comment
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I don’t know if a third party candidate would actually win in 2008, but such a candidate would get more votes than in the past. At this point, people are fed up with both parties, and would welcome someone who could end the war quickly yet honorably/

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By Sam, November 5, 2007 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment
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Thank you Robert Bruce for the telling quotations from Gore.  Progressives seem to have horrible amnesia with regard to Gore ever since he made his movie.  Here are some more inconvenient truths about Gore for anyone who still thinks there’s a huge difference between Bush and Gore.

- Throughout most of his career, he was pro-life and had an 84% anti-abortion rating from the National Right to Life Committee.
- From 1979 – 81, he voted five times on the side of a Republican sponsored rider that granted a tax exemption for schools like Bob Jones University that discriminate on the basis of race.
- He was openly anti-gay, calling homosexuality “abnormal” and “wrong,” and telling the Tennessean in 1984 that he did “not believe it is simply an acceptable alternative that society should affirm.”
- Gore was such a strong supporter of the gun lobby, ultimately voting against the critical 1985 legislation for a mandatory 14-day waiting period for handgun purchases, that National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre once said, “We could have made Al Gore NRA Man of the Year – every single vote.”
- When it came time to vote on conservative Supreme Court nominees, Gore publicly praised but voted against the scandal-ridden Clarence Thomas. He voted in Antonin Scalia.
- Al Gore was one of only ten Democrats to break with the party and vote for President Bush Sr.’s Gulf War in 1991.
- In 1997, Gore championed the privatization of California’s National Oil Reserve, and the subsequent drilling by Occidental that resulted in serious environmental damage, destruction to a sacred Indian burial ground and a windfall for his family trust’s Occidental stocks.


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By Sam, November 5, 2007 at 6:47 pm Link to this comment
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Thank you Robert Bruce for the telling quotations from Gore.  Progressives seem to have horrible amnesia we regard to Gore ever since he made his movie.

Here are some more inconvenient truths about Gore for anyone who still thinks there’s a huge difference between Bush and Gore.

- Throughout most of his career, he was pro-life and had an 84% anti-abortion rating from the National Right to Life Committee.
- From 1979 – 81, he voted five times on the side of a Republican sponsored rider that granted a tax exemption for schools like Bob Jones University that discriminate on the basis of race.
- He was openly anti-gay, calling homosexuality “abnormal” and “wrong,” and telling the Tennessean in 1984 that he did “not believe it is simply an acceptable alternative that society should affirm.”
- Gore was such a strong supporter of the gun lobby, ultimately voting against the critical 1985 legislation for a mandatory 14-day waiting period for handgun purchases, that National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre once said, “We could have made Al Gore NRA Man of the Year – every single vote.”
- When it came time to vote on conservative Supreme Court nominees, Gore publicly praised but voted against the scandal-ridden Clarence Thomas. He voted in Antonin Scalia.
- Al Gore was one of only ten Democrats to break with the party and vote for President Bush Sr.’s Gulf War in 1991.
- In 1997, Gore championed the privatization of California’s National Oil Reserve, and the subsequent drilling by Occidental that resulted in serious environmental damage, destruction to a sacred Indian burial ground and a windfall for his family trust’s Occidental stocks.


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By weather, November 5, 2007 at 5:38 pm Link to this comment

Mario Cuomo delivered a speech at a Democratic convention that said a great deal about the quality of American thinking at the time.
What happened to us? This is like a dark “Twilight Zone”. When Schumer/Feinstein justify a nod for Mulkasey, you’ll know that quality, integrity and honor got crushed in the rubble of 9/11.

Im a 3rd gen. Republican ashamed of the former affiliation and a qualified 3rd party may not be the answer either? Look at LIEberman, now there’s a fraud in Technicolor.

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By Bobswire, November 5, 2007 at 5:04 pm Link to this comment
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I did vote for Carter and damn proud of it.
Still have a thank you note from Carter he sent in reply to a note of support I sent him when he was being persecuted.

I agree with both Scheer and Nader.

I’m mad as hell in the Pelosi led Congress for not pursuing impeachment and trying to play fair and balanced when the other side doesn’t but will vote straight Democrat.

For the record I voted for Nader and agree that
the Washington Elite and the mainstream Media are corporate controlled.

Thanks the the intelligent debate.

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By Conservative Yankee, November 5, 2007 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment
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“...conveniently leaves out that under that great Democrat Bill Clinton’s presidency, Iraq was repeatedly bombed and as many as 500,000 Iraqi children died under incredibly harsh sanctions policies.”


We haven’t had a president who cared about real people since Jimmy Carter.  I didn’t vote for him, and didn’t cry when he lost to Reagan, but he looks much better in the rear-view-mirror!

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By Nomad1, November 5, 2007 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment
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Thank you for an excellent discussion. Although I disagree with Mr. Scheer, his arguments for working within the Democratic Party were more compelling than most that I’ve heard.

Still, I have 3 questions about his position:
* Isn’t it good enough that a third-party bring issues to the fore (for example, as Mr. Nader did with nationalized health care and a living wage in 2000 when Democrats still didn’t see them as major issues) rather than being expected to build an electable third party? Consider that Mr. Kucinich’s presidential run from inside the party didn’t launch a measurable movement, a formidable progressive caucus, or a change in Dem party platform: why demand more from third parties than you do from in-party progressives with better access to power?

* Will the Democratic Party be more inclined toward being liberal if Cindy Sheehan defeats (or nearly defeats) Nancy Pelosi than if Pelosi ran unchallenged from the left?

* And didn’t all the lock-step progressive support of Kerry in 2004 result in Kerry getting more hawkish once the primaries (and Howard Dean) were out of the way? No pressure from the left seemed to equal total freedom for Kerry to drift to the right.

Thanks again. I had forgotten what intelligent debates sounded like.

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By Clintonius, November 5, 2007 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment
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The only three candidates that can save this country are Kucinich, Paul, or Gravel.  Only Ron Paul has a chance to win.  Momentum is building rapidly!!  Stop the corporate allied parties and support Dr. Paul when he breaks away to run as a Lib.  Notice their different ideologies… doesn’t matter.  We need someone to snub their noses at the corporate fascist takeover!

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By Robert Bruce, November 5, 2007 at 11:46 am Link to this comment
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Gore has been a much better public citizen then he was an elected official.  Let’s not fool ourselves, Gore was a hawk who probably would have also attacked Iraq. You can tell from his own words before the invasion.

One year before the invasion of Iraq Gore gave a speech at the Council of Foreign Relations where he talked about finishing the job of regime change in Iraq “on our terms.”

He also talked about Iran being an even bigger problem and implied an invasion of Iran would be necessary as well. Here are some quotations and a link to the full speech:

“And there is a clear case that one of these governments in particular represents a virulent threat in a class by itself: Iraq.

“As far as I am concerned, a final reckoning with that government should be on the table. To my way of thinking, the real question is not the principle of the thing, but of making sure that this time we will finish the matter on our terms. But finishing it on our terms means more than a change of regime in Iraq. It means thinking through the consequences of action there on our other vital interests, including the survival in office of Pakistan’s leader; avoiding a huge escalation of violence in the Middle East; provision for the security and interests of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the Gulf States; having a workable plan for preventing the disintegration of Iraq into chaos; and sustaining critically important support within the present coalition.

“In 1991, I crossed party lines and supported the use of force against Saddam Hussein, but he was allowed to survive his defeat as the result of a calculation we all had reason to deeply regret for the ensuing decade. And we still do. So this time, if we resort to force, we must absolutely get it right. It must be an action set up carefully and on the basis of the most realistic concepts. Failure cannot be an option, which means that we must be prepared to go the limit. And wishful thinking based on best-case scenarios or excessively literal transfers of recent experience to different conditions would be a recipe for disaster.”

He also said:

“But still, the question remains — what next? Is Iran under the hard-liners less of a proliferation threat than Iraq? Or less involved with terrorism? If anything, Iran is at this moment a much more dangerous challenge in each area than Iraq. Iran is flight-testing longer range rockets. Iran has loaded up at least one merchant ship with a cargo of death for Israel.”


“One of the truly bad things about our politics is that it incites each administration to attack every last thing its predecessor has done, and to either tear down what was left or rename it so that its parentage can be forgotten. We did some of that — but we also kept a lot of what we inherited from the first Bush administration and we protected it and built upon it. You know, the Cold War was won by the cumulative work of administrations from Harry S Truman to George H. W. Bush. And I hope that the present administration chooses to invest in reconstructing a sense of what bipartisanship in the defense of the country is all about: even after the planes land and the guns stop firing.”

You can read the entire speech by Al Gore on the Council on Foreign Relations web site at:

By the way, he begins the speech by praising Bush to the hilt for his invasion of Afghanistan, his conduct of the war on terror and he agrees the war on terror would be a long, hard struggle.

I know Democrats hate to admit that their party is also a war party, funded by defense contractors, the Israeli lobby, big oil and other big business interests—but in fact it is the other arm of the American war party. And, Al Gore has a long history of being on the wrong side of wars.

If we elect a Democratic president the only question will be, will s/he kill as many people as LBJ or Truman?

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By howard.schumann, November 5, 2007 at 11:40 am Link to this comment

I don’t want to rehash the battles of the 1950s, but it is rather disingenuous for Mr. Scheer to promote the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower and say there was no difference between Ike and his rival Adlai Stevenson. As I recall, Mr. Scheer was an active Marxist during the 1950s and an opponent of both of the major parties. He was certainly no friend of Pres. Eisenhower.

Apart from that, there was a wide difference in outlook and approach between Eisenhower and Stevenson. Ike became a captive of the Taft wing of the party during the 1952 campaign and refused to criticize Joe McCarthy, going as far as deleting a reference to General George Marshall (a McCarthy foe) at a Wisconsin rally. It was Eisenhower’s victory in the 1952 election that gave us Richard Nixon. In that election, the Republicans captured both houses of Congress and the Presidency. McCarthy became chairman of the Senate’s Government Operations Committee and its Subcommittee on Investigations and did enormous damage to civil liberties.

As President, Ike was a do-nothing who failed to provide any leadership in key areas such as civil rights and the Cold War. He did not actively support the 1954 Brown decision abolishing segregation in public schools. In fact, he believed that to immediately enforce the Court’s ruling was a mistake and would only lead to conflict. Critics suggest that if he had expressed a personal commitment to civil rights, the Court’s ruling would not have met with such defiance in Little Rock, and Central High could have been integrated without the employment of the U.S. Army. He repeatedly cowered before McCarthy until he was personally attacked and failed to reform the Republican Party, paving the way for Goldwater’s nomination in 1964.

On the other hand, Stevenson was a progressive Governor of Illinois who reorganized the State Police in order to crackdown on gambling. He was a staunch advocate of civil rights and civil liberties who might have taken the country into a new progressive era, avoiding the traumas of the 1960s. In the words of John Steinbeck, “Stevenson . . . has touched no political, economic, or moral subject on which he has not taken a clear and open stand even to the point of bearding selfish groups to their faces” [opposing them face to face].

To say that the difference between Ike and Adlai was tweedledee and tweedldum is as disingenuous as Ralph Nader’s claim for Gore and Bush in 2000.

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By Conservative Yankee, November 5, 2007 at 11:20 am Link to this comment
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111734 by marks on 11/05 at 5:44 am

“What Ralph Nader won’t attest to 650,000 dead surely would, that there is a dimes difference between Gore and Bush.”

You know this for sure?  There are people out here who believe strongly that LIEberman and CHEATny would have pushed their “bosses” in similar directions.  Gore (after the 2000 election) didn’t strike me as someone who would stand up against a strong conflict. Even his “global warming” presentation reminded me of milk toast.

Same destination, just a different driver.

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By Gabir, November 5, 2007 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

Mr. Scheer obviously has no interest in the welfare of this country or the impending domino effect of the major problems in our own nation and abroad .
  The “Democratic” Party won the opportunity in the 2006 elections to prove to the American People that they were going to at least attempt to make changes to avert the crash our Nation is headed for . Yet once the elections were over and all the hot air was exhausted , we find ourselves worse off than before 2006 . The Republican and Democratic parties are merely Siamese twins , joined at the buttocks .
    Maybe Mr. Scheer should form a support group called DID (Democrats In Denial) because it is proven fact that nothing major has developed since ‘06 and the sad truth is that we may have a Republican elected to the Presidency in ‘08 . And by that time we will probably be gearing up for World War III .

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By, November 5, 2007 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

It’s an interesting debate that can go round and round while avoiding the serious issues at stake, especially how we can build a progressive/radical movement to fundamentally change society.

However, “marks” comment that:

“What Ralph Nader won’t attest to 650,000 dead surely would, that there is a dimes difference between Gore and Bush.”

conveniently leaves out that under that great Democrat Bill Clinton’s presidency, Iraq was repeatedly bombed and as many as 500,000 Iraqi children died under incredibly harsh sanctions policies.

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By Scott, November 5, 2007 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

We’ve got similar spoiler problems in Canada, our electoral riding system was designed for a society that couldn’t move any faster than a horse and buggy.

The first buggy that gets past-the-post wins and in lieu of any sort of proportional representation we routinely get so-called majority governments that are based on far less than 50% of the popular vote.

It truly sucks.

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By Tom Semioli, November 5, 2007 at 10:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It boggles my mind that the editor of such an important, informative, and essential conduit for citizens to garner information about the true mechinations of American government is clueless Democrat wonk! Unbelievable!

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By Robert Bruce, November 5, 2007 at 10:32 am Link to this comment
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Good debate. Both sides expressed their views well.  It shows how our manipulated democracy divides progressives and convinces too many to vote for candidates who disagree with progressive positions. I have no doubt that if progressives would not give their vote to candidates who do not support single payer health care, militarist foreign policy and other progressive issues than the Democratic Party would not take us for granted—but if we give them our votes they will put the corporate funders first.

It is good to see that Mr. Scheer will not support a Democratic candidate who does not seek to end the war.  Hopefully, he does not think that any of the top three - Clinton, Obama and Edwars—will end the war since all three have said they will not promise to be out by 2013. And, all three want to keep the bombing of Iran on the table as an option. 

Ironically, Mr. Scheer will have to support a third party peace candidate this year if he is going to oppose the pro-war candidates.

I urge all progressives to sign the VotersForPeace.US pledge to not support pro-war candidates.  Let’s send them a message at least on this life and death issue!

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By Rusty Scalf, November 5, 2007 at 10:29 am Link to this comment
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As angry as I am with the Democratic leadership, I have to say that Nader et al suffer from a profound confusion. The Democratic and Republican parties are not political parties, in the European sense. Rather, they are political coalitions. In a parliamentary system, coalitions form after an election with the coalescing of several smaller parties along a rough Left/Right divide. In the US, the coalition forms before the election. That’s why Libertarian Republicans and Evangelical Republicans are in the same ‘party’. In fact, they’re in the same coalition. This is why party platforms have always been irrelevant in the U.S.  Coalitions don’t have platforms. The equivalent of the German Greens should be a ‘Green Caucus’ in the Democratic Party. It’s a structural thing. Instead of railing against the our ‘left of center’ coalition, Nader should join and thereby exert influence upon it.

  Rusty Scalf

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By oregoncharles, November 5, 2007 at 10:20 am Link to this comment

What’s wrong with being a spoiler?  That’s how our system works, and the Democrats are just fine with it.  There is an obvious, available solution to the problem:  Instant Runoff/Preference Voting, in use in several American cities and some other countries.  In a number of states, including Oregon, the Democrats control the government and could reform the voting system with an act of the Legislature.  But the party opposes that reform. 

Apparently, they’d rather let the Republicans win elections than deal with a progressive party.  Why do you suppose that is?

If you aren’t working hard for IRV, the “spoiler” charge is just partisan posturing. 

The Greens and Nader didn’t make our electoral system; the Demublicans did.  If they don’t like “spoilers,” they can fix the system.  We can’t, although we’ve tried.

Next year, the Greens are going to run all out in every possible race.  So are any number of alternative parties - they’re coming out of the woodwork, because there’s major-party blood in the water and we smell opportunity.  If the Democrats are worried about that, they know what to do.

Maybe they don’t really care if the republicans win?

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By P. T., November 5, 2007 at 10:20 am Link to this comment

A vote for the Democrats is a vote for more war.  All three leading Democratic presidential contenders say that if elected they would remain in Iraq.

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By Mudwollow, November 5, 2007 at 10:13 am Link to this comment

If nothing else, this little interaction goes a long way toward explaining an underlying flavor at Trudig.

The only reason I didn’t vote for Ralph eight years ago was because George Bush scared the pants off me. But suppose the vote would’ve gone overwhelmingly for Gore. We would’ve ended up with Lieberman as vice President. Think about that for a minute Bob and then tell your readers how big the differences are between the two parties.

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By G.Anderson, November 5, 2007 at 8:54 am Link to this comment

Sadly, have to say that both men are right, however I have lost faith in the Democratic party, while it is home to a large number of progressives, they no longer are effective in representing the people of the Unites States.

As, you debate the issues, this country is teetering on the brink of financial collpase, engineered by the Republican party, to erase the last vestige of progressive laws from the New Deal.

During this depression, there will be nothing and no one to resurrect freedom in this country as FDR did.
As a result there will be large scale civil unrest as never before.

The first to go will be social security, then government funded pensions, and the Democrats will be complicit in their demise. They should not cooperate with Bush’s Criminal regime, it makes them complicit.

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By Conservative Yankee, November 5, 2007 at 6:50 am Link to this comment
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Everyone except Scheer seems to know that our two political parties are bookends for the same single book.

If (as Scheer claims) there is no chance of a third party win, why vote.  Hill-the-business-shill is in favor of “the war” and so is the Republican’s business shill Guiliani. The Dem front runner is pro choice, so is the R front runner. The Dem annointed queen favors Amnesty for 12 to 20 illegal aliens, so does the R front runner. Everyone except Kucinich favors Insurance Company sponsored Health care, and all of the front runners favor the death penalty. No one has jumped on the “outsourcing issue” and no one has even spoken about getting manufacturing jobs back. Clean water, clean air, energy alternatives, the loss of freedoms, the prosecution of folks who have abused power… all off the table.

Near as I can tell is we are being offered nothing but the choice of wealthy, connected status quo folks.

Hey voter, you want a White rich man, A white Rich woman, or a black rich man?  What do they believe?... don’t worry about that they all think the same.

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By marks, November 5, 2007 at 6:44 am Link to this comment
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What Ralph Nader won’t attest to 650,000 dead surely would, that there is a dimes difference between Gore and Bush.

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