Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ralph Nader for President in 2008


This is not going to be easy, nor do I expect it to be popular with some folks. I'm writing this blog today to explain the reasons for something I consider to be of a very serious nature: who we choose as the next President of the United States. It is my heartfelt conviction that neither John McCain nor Barack Obama are fit in their maturity, judgment, temperament or stated positions to be our next President. I want to tel you who I genuinely think is: Ralph Nader, Consumer Advocate and Independent Presidential candidate for 2008. Some might think that perhaps I shouldn't be using my music page for political purposes, or to endorse a particular candidate. But the times- and the recent $700 billion bailout approved by Congress and signed by President Bush have called for decisive action in this case. Both McCain & Obama voted for this bailout, and both have proven lobbyist connections to the corporations that are getting their backs rubbed -literally- for their political favors!


To understand why Ralph Nader is the better candidate, go check out the following breakdown on where they stand on the issues:

http://www.votenader.org/issues

Please don't give me all the drivel about Ralph not being a "viable candidate." The 2-party system IS the problem! Until we get the courage to make a break with it, we'll never seen anything else but the 2-headed "Republicrat" monster, who's gonads are in the pockets of the Wall Street captain's! A few days ago I caught part of the Canadian Prime Minister election debate on C-Span. Do you know that there are FIVE viable political parties that were represented there? One of them was the Canadian Green Party! But here in the USA for some reason we have become accustomed to being spoon-fed the candidates and issues that the Corporate American-controlled media wants us to focus on. Listen to the videos below. Visit the campaign website. The thing that will become obvious in a short time is that Ralph Nader's issues are very different from what you hear focused on. As an example, prosecuting Bush/Cheney after they leave office even if we can't impeach them. Implementing full healthcare for every American Citizen is another example of Nader's views. Sometimes the issues are ahead of the curve, as when Ralph stated his opposition to the corporate bailout of lending institutions before it was even national news! In fact, he predicted the current Wall Street crisis some eight years ago, correctly naming the institutions that would be involved! Go hear Ralph Nader speak if you get the chance. Take the time to meet him, like I did. Some of the things that will become readily obvious are 1) that he genuinely cares about the issues he talks about. 2) He's running because there are people who have asked him for help in getting attention to those issues. 3) He does more then just give a campaign speech. He give you a civics lesson. He TELLS you how change can come about! There's simply no room for speculation that he's in the race as a shill for the Republicans -only in the race to draw votes off the Democrats- once you hear him out. Besides, this year he apparently is hurting John McCain more than Obama in the polls! More than one source verifies this. I even saw a clip on CNN that showed Nader and Libertarian candidate Bob Barr taking more potential votes away from John McCain in Florida. If I can find a video if that, I'll post it. All of this is easy to understand if you realize that it is the Independent voters who will likely make or break the election this year.

Something here should also be said about historically what precipitated the move to get Ralph Nader to actually run for President in the first place. There was a "Draft Nader" movement clear back in 1972 that didn't go anywhere, but in the Mid-90's, finally a candidacy materialized with the Green Party's nomination. In 1996 he was nominated but didn't actually go out and campaign, allowing The Greens to do all that on his behalf. Why was there this push to get Ralph to run? Quite simply because discontent on the Left was building over Bill Clinton's "Neo-Republican" policies and actions. Here in Portland, Oregon where we have a healthy Progressive sector of the population, I can remember seeing posters for for protest rallies on at least one occasion when Clinton came though town. Some of the reasons listed were his capitulation to the timber industry to lift logging bans, giving China favored nation trade status, Welfare Reform, NAFTA, and -prophetically enough- deregulation of the financial industry. It's no surprise that the truly concerned and informed would grow into their own movement and Ralph Nader would be their candidate.

The Green Party noimnated Nader again in 2000 (in '04 and '08 he's been either an Independent or nominated by small local parties in different states,) but by then many became leary of seeing him run again, and this "a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush" nonsense became the line you would hear the mainstream Democrats quacking all over town. But the cost of a healthy, independent Progressive movement that could be a good watchdog over both political parties was, in my humble opinion, too high.

About a year or two ago, I applied for a job with the Oregon chapter of the Public Research Interest Group- which, if you know the history of- actually was started by Ralph Nader himself, although he doesn't currently run it. I didn't wind up working for them, but I do remember while I was there hearing one of the managers talk to the fundraisers about their concern that Obama was for Liquid Coal- basically coal converted into automobile fuel. That was the last time I ever heard much of anyone around here voice any legitimate concern about whether the man who is now the Democratic nominee is really all he's cracked up to be. Today while busking out at Portland Saturday Market, I saw a booth where some kids were selling bumper stickers of all kinds, but the one that caught my eye read "Obama 2008- this guy's for peace." Aw hell! He wants to go to War in Afghanistan!

Such is the price we pay when we listen to nonsense that "you always have to choose the lesser of two evils, as if such a thing is normal. We get two evils- all the time!

Permit me to vent my spleen a little here. Currently, Portland is a town that is so solidly in Barack Obama's camp, it's unbelievable. If recent polls hold true, Obama is poised to take Oregon by about a 10% margin! I have seen more Obama signs pasted locally than can be imagined. It's interesting how he's being sold to us like toothpaste or candy bars. Not that that's unusual, Ronald Reagan's campaign was almost as bad back in the day. But what's disturbing here is the almost messiah/rock star like worship of the man. Few if anyone can give me any real reasons for voting for him other than he's not John McCain or George Bush. But when I point out the inconsistencies between Obama's stated beliefs and his actions, there seems to be no response at all. Does integrity matter any more? OK, I know we're talking about politicians, but get real: Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, Pat Buchanan, Dennis Kucinich, Ron Raul, Caesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr.- I could name several others- are all names of people throughout recent history who had a worldview they believed in and lived by. Is it really too much to expect? Even Richard Nixon, whom I believe was in many ways bad for the country, still operated by a set of beliefs that were internally consistent.

Be honest with yourself. Is Obama REALLY who you want to go forth and carry the banner of progressive causes as our next president? Furthermore, lots about Obama himself are left to be desired. He has voted at least 10 times to fund the war in Iraq- compare this to Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich who have never voted for the war at all. Nader would end the war 10 months sooner than Obama has promised ot do so, and it should be noted that Obama would leave 50,000 troops in Iraq. Obama was in the past an advocate for the rights of Palestinians, and always said he would sit down and negotiate with his enemies. Then he criticized Jimmy Carter for his recent visit to the Middle East in which he met with Hamas! (No doubt, that was for the pourpose of placating AIPAC.) He claims to have environmentalist credentials, but has spoken in favor of nuclear power, offshore drilling, and in the past has been a supporter of liquid coal (what you commonly hear mentioned as "clean coal technology.") Yes, I am aware that there are qualifications to these positions he takes, but my point is, why not have a candidate who won't support these at all- like Nader? And why vote for him if his views on those issues aren't really all that much different form John McCain's? Also, Obama originally spoke out against NAFTA, than changed his position on that as well. And allthough he voted against CAFTA, he voted to support the Bush Administration's proposal to expand NAFTA to include Peru. Read about that here. It seems as if Obama is forever stating his positions, and then somehow "qualifying" them so that it becomes just like what McCain recently accused him of: "like trying to nail jell-o to the wall."

Read more about Obama's extensive flip-flops here and here.


John McCain is actually a little harder to criticize, not only for the fact that he's not really all that much different than Obama in many ways, but a lot of the things I see wrong with him are a judgment call on my part. In other words, in my opinion there's a few things that point to problems based on what I have observed. His life has shown a serious pattern of one who is more than a little reckless and impulsive, which kind of negates his claim to more experience and maturity than Obama! It's been noted that he embraced regulation of the financial industry only after recent events proved deregulation to be disastrous. It should also be noted that his choice of the grossly unexperienced and inarticulate Sarah Palin for his running mate, is further proof of my point (why not Elizabeth Dole if he really wanted a woman Veep?) In his desperation to throw a knockout punch at Obama, McCain has resorted to dirty pool regarding his opponent's connection to Bill Ayers. Read it here on Factcheck.org. In fairness, both candidates have misled voters on numerous occasions.

But where McCain is concerned, there's an odd quandary involved. He will try to peg Obama as too soft on defense by saying he voted to cut funding for the Iraqi war troops, even though that's not really the whole story, as I verified above. BUT- even though I would agree with Obama more than McCain if he actually DID vote to defund the war, the truth is he only did so once- compared to ten times when he voted to fund it! And McCain doesn't like the fact that when violence broke out between Russia and Georgia, Obama said "both sides should show restraint." The fact is, Obama was 100% correct in what he said on that one issue, and much as I agree that the GOP nominee has better foreign policy experience, I don't want to deal with someone like him in office if John McCain is going to take that attitude. But then, Obama is obviously more of a war monger then that statement would lead us to think.Other problems with McCain are almost not worth mentioning because they are such typical Republican problems. But to wit: trusting in the market to fix the healthcare problem, his diehard belief in the Iraq war (personally I think his patriotic streak here and his accusing opponents of raising a "white flag of surrender" -as Sarah Palin put it- is just a cover for his inability to admit he doesn't know how to end the war. His whole campaign- from the nonsense about suspending the debates that he backed out on- to the current quandary he's in over anger by people who show up to his rallies begging him to rip into Obama more- as a result of his own negative ads- that he has to defuse and admit that his opponent is a "decent human being" -all of these show someone who's not necessarily in control of his own ship.Read about how The McCain/Palin ticket is the first in American history in which both noimnees of a particular party were found to have violated ethics standards before a national election here.

Did you know there is actually a second Bridge To Nowhere project yet to be built in Alaska? Yep, click hereRoad To Nowhere," which was supposed to connect to the original Bridge To Nowhere, was built anyway- without any bridge- literally going nowhere! And then get even more dirt on Palin if you haven't had enough already.


Read about how the Presidential debates are actually a fraud controlled by both major political parties -to squelch independent candidates from participatinmg and have say over the tpyes of questions asked- by clicking here.

Ralph Nader of course, is the true "peace candidate," as he's promised to cut the bloated, wasteful military budget and to reverse US policy in the Middle East. As the sonf of Lebanese immigrant to the US, he's shown great understanding of the Arab world, the problem with Israel, and the conflicts therein. As well, he shows he understands all issues much better than either major party candidate.Well I've pratcically knocked out a day to finish this blog entry- something I have been pondering doing for a few weeks, now. I will leave it to the reade to investigate the validity of the information presented here, as well as to check out the Nader/Gonzales campaign website and the videos below. I'll simply leave it to anyone who would like to field a question about what I've written here before I explain any more. Except I would like to address one issue that I know will come up since I am a Christian, that of Ralph's views on abortion.I think compared to many Democrats, Ralph Nader is a lot more reasonable when it come to the unborn, even if he is pro-choice. He opposes feticide. He earned the scorn of Gloria Steinem for his statements on what a reversal of Roe Vs. Wade would do. But more importantly than any of these is his position on healthcare. It's been proven that social spending actually can reduce abortions! Click here for futher proof.It would be fitting if given the current events, people would jump off the McCain and Obama bandwagons in droves and supported the ONLY true candidate of change, and who actually represents the people: Ralph Nader. Here's hoping it may yet happen, for the good of society as a whole.


Check out the following videos or visit http://www.votenader.org/for more information:

(NOTE: Each of the following 2 videos is actually a player, with several videos in succession)





ALSO: check out these videos on John McCain, flip-flopper:







Sunday, June 01, 2008

I made more $ from Bill Clinton.

I have been working around town as a Busker, and like all of us who work the streets, finding places to play & make money is what it's all about. Since the Oregon primary is this Tuesday, we are currently being preyed upon by what passes for our Presidential choices these days. I thought I would go out and try to see how much I could make playing for the crowds of people trying to get in and gawk at the candidates.

The most that I got spanging was about $20 after an hour or so set up playing next to the line trying to get into Bill Clinton's speech at Lincoln High School in Portland, when he was in town campaigning for Hillary. I would have stayed longer, but the line was long and it hardly moved, so I didn't get that many people passing me by. Plus I felt a little sheepish that I had to be honest and tell people I registered as a Republican and vote for Ron Paul. Oregon doesn't (yet) have an open primary. I'll change back to Democrat after this Tuesday, and I'll vote for Ralph Nader in November. Yep, and this is the 3rd time I've voted for him.

Ron Paul hasn't campaigned in Oregon to my knowledge. And I wasn't able to get to any event by Hillary herself or John McCain. I did make it to 2 other events, however.



At Ralph Nader's rally, I barely made a buck in change. but I came away with a wealth of things to chew on, from Ralph himself. Form what I can remember at the moment:


*Obama was an advocate for the rights of Palestinians, and always said he would sit down and negotiate with his enemies. Then why did he criticize Jimmy Carter for his recent visit to the Middle East in which he met with Hamas?

*Hillary is a woman and has to appear "macho" to those who are skeptical of her ability to lead. As such, she never met a weapons system she doesn't like!

*She talked about retaliating against Iran if they attack Israel with a nuclear weapon. Ralph pointed out the "why" of Iran's aggression that we never consider: That the USA overthrew Iran's democratically elected Primie Minster in 1953, and recently of course, attacked Iraq unprovoked. Can we blame them for wanting to protect themselves?

I liked the way that Ralph spent awhile with a question & answer session at Benson High, trying to talk to people. One guy said "Mr. Nader, I'm for Obama, but I'm glad you are in the race." Ralph replied with an ironic gleam: "Hey that's fine, I'm just there trying to give people more choices. What you can do is have 2 buttons- one that says Obama & one that says Nader/Gonzales. Then tell people 'I'm for Obama but I want the Nader/Gonzales agenda."

He doesn't care if you vote for Obama! Where do all these people who accuse him of being a shill get off?



Then today, I went busking at the rally of America's Savior Messiah. OOPS- I meant to say Barrack Obama! If sizes of crowds have any indication, not only is it over for Hillary, But McCain doesn't stand a chance. The numbers of people streaming into his rally on the Portland Waterfront was staggering to say the least!

I set up and started singing a couple of blocks away from the rally. I was swallowed up by the masses, literally. I think I made about $4. There was several people on my block trying to score some money by selling Obama buttons & tee shirts they made themselves. The coolest one set up right next to me- some African American guys who wore dreadlocks, and had these Obama posters & stuff that had a "Reggae" feel to it. One of the guys was giving me a thumbs up & jamming out to the Johnny Cash songs I was singing. Some lady came over and tried to give me flack because apparently I was covering up the speech being given by Mr. Obama himself just about a 1/4 of a mile away. Actually I don't see how she could have heard anything from where we were, since all I could hear was his muffled voice and it came off as gibberish. I told her in a very impolite manner that she should move closer, and then proceeded to pepper my language with a few salty words as I retorted "OK is he god now? We have to hear his every word? Did he die for your sins?"

Fortunately, the Reggae dude sort of laughed off my comments while he was hearing the exchange nearby. That lifted the spirit of the moment. I was ready to split and find another place to play, but he said "Hey come on, how about some Dylan?" So I asked for a few bucks & he obliged me & so I did in return. I sang 2 Dylan songs & then moved along.

It didn't really matter where I positioned myself on what sidewalk, people were there for the rally and weren't really there to pay attention to anyone or anything that didn't have to do with their anointed hero.



Steve Novick, who is running for US Senate as a Democrat, has taken flack for
calling Obama a "special interest fraud" and saying that there's nothing to like about him. Steve is no taller then about 4 feet I think, and has one hook for an arm. I think if I had stayed Demo during the primary, I would've voted for him on the basis of his having a mind of his own.


Other than Steve, I should add that there were 2 other voices of reason in this sea of insanity today: A guy handing out fliers for Ron Paul (although it's too late to re-reigster) and another guy holding a sign that said "
AIPAC: The Enemy Within." Other than that, people seemed pretty much enamored with Mr. BO- for what I'm not exactly sure.