January 28th, 2009

The lead

When I was young, common knowledge was: get a right wing administration if the going gets tough and money needs to be preserved, vote left to spend the accumulated money. That notion is clearly down the drain. I find it more than interesting that in several parts of the world, people have consciously voted more leftish and leave it to that part of the spectrum to help clean up the mess. Now one could argue: “yeah right, clean up, by spending billions of taxpayers money, d’uhhh”, but I don’t think that is fair, especially as so much money is actually poored into banks and to some extend industries. I will leave the rant on spendings by bailed banks and car makers to others btw. This is now even happening in Iceland. The people of Iceland protested after the insane banking crisis on and on and on until the administration gave in. The new administration is left-leaning. Oh, and the new prime minister is a woman. Oh, and she’s homosexual. Both do not mean ANYTHING as far as suited for the job goes, but in my opinion it illustrates the above: people are ready for change and despite all the fear mongering, the world is slowly changing for the better. Slowly.

November 3rd, 2008

Eve of Destruction

Noam Chomsky recently noted that the United States has one political party with two factions: the Republicans and the Democrats. The elections to be held this Tuesday in the United States will, no doubt, impact people around the world, some for better and many for worse. I’m not sure why, but I was poking around in my “archives” tonight and revisited a lecture that has had a big impact on how I view my country. Speaking at Riverside Church in New York City author Arundhati Roy delivered her thoughts in a message titled, “Instant Mix Imperial Democracy (Buy One Get One Free),” on April 13, 2003.

Roy noted, among many other things, that:

Way back in 1988, on the 3rd of July, the U.S.S. Vincennes, a missile cruiser stationed in the Persian Gulf, accidentally shot down an Iranian airliner and killed 290 civilian passengers. George Bush the First, who was at the time on his presidential campaign, was asked to comment on the incident. He said quite subtly, “I will never apologize for the United States. I don’t care what the facts are.”

I don’t care what the facts are. What a perfect maxim for the New American Empire. Perhaps a slight variation on the theme would be more apposite: The facts can be whatever we want them to be.

When the United States invaded Iraq, a New York Times/CBS News survey estimated that 42 percent of the American public believed that Saddam Hussein was directly responsible for the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. And an ABC News poll said that 55 percent of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein directly supported Al Qaida. None of this opinion is based on evidence (because there isn’t any). All of it is based on insinuation, auto-suggestion, and outright lies circulated by the U.S. corporate media, otherwise known as the “Free Press,” that hollow pillar on which contemporary American democracy rests.

Public support in the U.S. for the war against Iraq was founded on a multi-tiered edifice of falsehood and deceit, coordinated by the U.S. government and faithfully amplified by the corporate media.

Good luck to us all.

A written transcript of Roy’s presentation is available here.

October 15th, 2008

Is Ralph Nader a kook?

“The United States effectively has a one-party system, the business party, with two factions, Republicans and Democrats.” – Noam Chomsky

Both Republicans and Democrats over the years have been critical of Nader. Of late some Democrats, who would proudly wear the badge “liberal,” have directed their anger at Nader in the form of derogatory comments that would do Rush Limbaugh and others of his ilk proud. Just how nutty and arrogant is Nader, you tell me? Seems to me that Nader’s suggestions on how to handle our financial crisis is better informed and thought out than those of candidates Obama or McCain. Ralph was on PBS last night, “The News Hour,” and you can listen to the audio here (link is an MP3 and runs about 10 minutes):

“Presidential candidate Ralph Nader speaks with the NewsHour’s Ray Suarez about his latest bid for the White House and discusses his platform on the critical issues facing the country this election year.”

FWIW The News Hour also ran a story about the corporate party candidates last night, it is available here (MP3 link) and if you listen closely you might just hear the ticker-tape in the background. I think it provides an interesting contrast to Suarez’s interview with Nader:

“Kwame Holman reports on the latest news from the campaign trail”

February 4th, 2008

Ralph Nader for President (?)

After I emailed a close friend last week that Ralph Nader was considering another run to be U.S. President, my friend wrote back:

a smart Democratic supporter told me when Nader’s name came up, that if Nader knew he could not win, that it was about ego and was nothing but a spoiler without his running Bush would not have gotten elected.

I wrote back to my friend:

First, I don’t believe that Nader is responsible for Gore’s loss. The dems could have challenged the election results, they didn’t. It’s sad to watch the footage of House members pleading with Al Gore from the floor of The Senate for one Senator to come forward and challenge the results (that’s all that was needed), no one stepped forward.

Secondly, I wouldn’t expect any other answer, except perhaps insults and name calling (speaking from experience), from someone who has thrown their everything into the Democratic Party. People like Ralph Nader are a real threat to them, as a critic Nader threatens damage to the Democratic base so he must be stomped out – even if what he advocates is good for our country. To party regulars it’s more important to protect the party than our country. See for example: http://www.democracynow.org/2000/10/17/naders_speech_at_madison_square_garden

As for ego, ask that dem supporter to name one U.S. President in the last 100-years who did not have a big ego? The trick is to find someone who can put their “ego” to good use and behave in a reasonable and pragmatic manner. Ralph Nader has not swayed in his advocacy for the common citizen since he started way back when. The results of his work, and the people who were inspired by him is quite visible. Mandatory seat belts, airbags, The Consumer Product Safety Commission, The Clean Air Act, and the list goes on and on.

We will never have anything but a 2 party system in this country if your friends observations are taken to heart. At some point ideology has to trump “realpolitik.” Sure, it will be painful, some bad people will probably be elected – but in the end we and our nation would benefit by having more than 2 parties (2 parties that more often than not seem to agree on legislation that is not in our best interest).

The Republicans and the Democrats closed ranks to keep Nader out of the debates, as you’ll probably recall. They did this because both parties knew Nader had traction with their constituents and because, if allowed to participate in a nationally televised debate, Nader might have convinced some of the viewers that the nominees were corporate whores who didn’t really give 2 hoots about citizens; that of course would have been unacceptable to the corporate backers of both the Republican and Democratic parties. Noam Chomsky and many others have pointed out that while you can say anything you want in the United States access to media “markets” (hence the citizenry) is denied to those who are truly critical of the ruling elites. We recently have witnessed similar media responses to John Edwards when, sincere or not, the large media corporations ignored what he was saying because it had a populist bent (don’t want to upset the sheep you know). I guess it’s kinda funny that I know more than a few Republicans (more to the right than most) who voted for Nader.

The behavior of both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party over the past 12-16 years has been shameful. Both are responsible for the mess we are in now: corporate control of our government, jobs going overseas, the balance of trade, etc. etc.

You might want to watch the film, “An Unreasonable Man” (2006) I think it’s out on DVD see: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0492499/

Best –CityKid

November 14th, 2006

What should the Democrats do now?

Sunlight is the best disinfectant.“ – Justice Louis Brandeis

Need anything more be said? If the Dems really want to serve the people of this country they will do everything in their power to offer all of us a clear view of what has really happened during the past 6 years of Republican rule. Public hearings need to be held on varied topics ranging from military procurement and corporate malfeasance to why the Federal response to Hurricane Katrina failed in so many ways. Our elected representatives, Democrat or Republican, who really want to do what’s best for this country should do what ever it takes to revise the rules that have been changed and abused in order to classify government documents and thus keep the public from seeing how our government has been conducting our affairs.

P.S. Whatever happened to the 8 billion in cash that vanished in Iraq (the guy at the liquor store wondered about this as I went through the check out last night)?