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And the Envelope, Please...

Nov 03, 2008
Tomorrow you will vote in the most important and momentous election in your lifetime. It is no exaggeration to say the future of our world hangs in the balance.

Some of you won’t vote for fear of being arrested if you show up at the polls, or you will go to the wrong address, or you will get tired of waiting for hours in line, or your ballot will be thrown out for any of a dozen reasons, or you won’t show up until the day after tomorrow because Democrats have been scheduled to vote on Wednesday owing to the expected heavy turnout.

We will never know how many hundreds of thousands of votes will be lost through these Republican shenanigans.

Our country is in the midst of a bloodless fascist takeover. A conspiracy of far, far right ideologues have gotten all the fools on their side, and when you do that, as Frank Dane said, you can be elected to anything. Particularly if you are ready, willing, and able to resort to any unethical and criminal act necessary to assure that election.

We have been agonizing over our vote for many months. The Republicans and Democrats have put up candidates whose positions on the vital issues of the day—the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; the fiscal, health care, and educational crises; the erosion of our Constitutional rights—are essentially the same. That one of the candidates is an intelligent, articulate, and charismatic black man only adds to the frustration we feel at his illiberal and short-sighted policies.

In contrast, our views—as well as the majority views of the American public—have had a voice in Ralph Nader’s independent candidacy. Nader understands, as Eisenhower did, the peril of ceding our freedoms to a corporate plutocracy that has co-opted and now controls both major parties and, as a result, the political future of our country. If this stranglehold is not broken, and soon, America will cease even paying lip service to its ideals, let alone having the capacity to continue pursuing them.

Nader will not win tomorrow, because the fearful American population does not have the courage of its convictions. Instead, McCain or Obama will win, and when we contemplate the possibility of the former’s accession to the White House, we are filled with horror. Despite the apparent similarity of their views on the defining issues of the day, there is an enormous difference between the two men. To the extent McCain is not lock-stock-and-barrel a captive of the corporate plutocracy, he is an erratic, choleric, vengeful, and ignorant old man, sick in body and mind, and seconded by a vice presidential candidate unfit for public office. Although we believe he will be victorious tomorrow (see yesterday’s Out on a Limb), if we believed we played the smallest part in that victory, we could never live with ourselves.

Regretfully, we will vote for Obama.
tags: Nader

Appalled

Oct 08, 2008
We have a friend out on the west coast, a very funny and a very nice guy, who is appalled at our posts about Nader and our reluctance to commit ourself to voting for Obama.1 In a recent pair of emails, he reminds us that McCain is a loaded gun, with “a chip on his shoulder a mile wide” and spoiling for the sort of revenge that portends nuclear winter.

His running mate, Palin, is worse—an undereducated, religiously unbalanced redneck, with a 1 in 7 chance of finding her finger on the button in the next four years, should her ticket prevail in November. How could anyone fail to run to the nearest polling station and devote one’s franchise to defeating such a terrifying and homicidal ticket?

And we could not agree with him more.

In fact, we’ll go him one better. All Together Now is dedicated to the memory and the work of Martin Luther King, Jr.,2 whom we consider one of the great benefactors of the human race, a man of enormous courage, compassion, and vision, and a representative of a race so ill-treated by our own—to this day—that a thousand years of restitution would not entitle us to a moiety of forgiveness. That another black man—intelligent, eloquent, liberal, with a wonderful wife and two adorable children—is now heading up the ticket for the highest office in the land is the most gratifying miracle we have witnessed in our lifetime.

And yet we probably won’t vote for him. And why? Because he is wrong. He is wrong on domestic spying, he is wrong on the middle east conflict, and he is wrong on economic reform. We will not—we can not—vote for a man who condones the Bush administration’s gutting of the Constitution; who shares our nation’s tragic reliance on doomed militaristic responses to international challenges; who aligns himself with the corporations and their stranglehold on American society and all its institutions.

However, we have four weeks yet to listen between the lines to what Obama has to say. We realize his first duty is to get elected and that if he spoke with the voice that speaks in our heart—of universal brotherhood, of one world, of the need to transform our nation into a true representation of its highest ideals—he wouldn’t stand a chance. And we will try, we will try our damnedest, to vote for him.

If we have not found our way into Obama’s corner by election day, we will vote for Ralph Nader, the man who does speak with our voice. And it will be among the saddest days of our life.
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1 Click the Nader, Obama, or Politics tag in the left-hand column to view pertinent posts.
2 Announcing ATN, June 1, 2008
tags: Nader

Let Us Now Praise ... Ralph Nader

Sep 30, 2008
All Together Now bestows our Golden A on individuals who have devoted their professional lives to bringing about a world we believe in: a world of compassion and hope and cooperation; of liberty and justice; without bullies or unearned privilege or despair; where no one is allowed to go hungry or uneducated or to brutalize their fellows, physically or economically. Our awardees have foregone physical comforts in pursuit of their beliefs and of our common interests.

No one better epitomizes these qualities than Ralph Nader. With his early success with Unsafe at Any Speed, the book that revealed fatal design flaws in the automobile industry, and the $425,000 he won from General Motors in a subsequent invasion-of-privacy suit, Nader established the first of over 100 nonprofit organizations devoted to fighting for the public interest of all citizens. His work was instrumental in establishing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Safe Drinking Water Act, among others.

In his three major campaigns for the presidency, he has spoken in the voice of the American middle class against a plutocratic corporate/governmental complex that has hijacked our country; stifled our economic growth; engaged us in endless war; and enriched itself beyond the dreams of European aristocracy or Asian potentates. American moral leadership is in tatters and our economic leadership has vanished in the pincer of emerging capitalist giants abroad and gross financial mismanagement at home.

For his lifelong devotion to the bedrock principles of democracy, that all citizens are created equal and that government is the servant of the people; for his tireless and eloquent struggle against corporate hegemony; for the inspiration that has brought generations of young people to his side to fight entrenched one-party rule in Washington; and for the solid legislative successes which have held the line on an even more oppressive and exploitative ruling class, we award Ralph Nader our fourth “Golden A” for Achievement.
tags: Nader

Donkey Days

Sep 02, 2008
The Democratic convention is over: A few observations:

  • The speeches are still available at the Democratic Convention site linked below. They require the installation of a couple of browser plug-ins, but the procedure is quick and painless.

  • Two years ago, who would not have bet the farm that they wouldn’t live to see a black man or a woman of any shade accept the nomination for president from a major American political party. Beyond a doubt, we witnessed history last Thursday night, and Republicans and Democrats alike should have been thrilled.

  • We recommend the speeches of Dennis Kucinich and John Kerry, both of whom came across as sincere and impassioned, which is more than we can say for the other professional politicians we listened to. There remain huge undercurrents of racism, of Clintonian resentment, and—we hope—of corporate uneasiness surrounding Obama’s nomination. He will need to struggle as mightily to overcome these forces within his own party as he will to overcome the petty, scurrilous, and beside-the-point (but enormously successful) tactics of the Republican opposition if he is to take that final giant step to the White House.

  • Jimmy Carter’s presence at the convention was, at the last minute, reduced from a speech to a three-minute video, probably because of his stand on the Israeli-Palestine issue. The American people, and the world, are finished with one-sided, unquestioning support of Israel in their struggle to solidify and expand their presence on lands to which others have a justifiable claim. That the Obama campaign continues the tradition of thralldom to the Israeli lobby, to the extent that it can disrespect a former president from its own party, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and one of the world’s most ardent and effective supporters of peace and brotherhood, does not bode well for its chances with a significant minority of voters for whom these issues are paramount.

  • Michelle Obama, her non-professional enthusiasm and her palpable sincerity, may just become Obama’s most important secret weapon in this race.

  • Ralph Nader gave, as usual, the most pertinent speech of the week, at his rally on Wedneday evening. View the video on his home page. Though some may accuse Nader of being a “Johnny-One-Note,” the note he harps on—that an unholy alliance of neocons and multi-national corporations have hijacked the American political process and American government, and are destroying fundamental American values—is supported by the facts, which we try to bring you on All Together Now. Obama has made no statement I know of to acknowledge this fundamental challenge to our democracy. On the contrary, he has surrounded himself with advisors who have been instrumental in enabling this situation, from Jason Furman to Robert Rubin, and others. This stands beside his shameful about-face on telecomm immunity and his quite arguably misplaced reliance on military power to turn the Afghanistan debacle around, stances which must be amended in some manner before he can be assured of the votes of some of his earliest supporters.

  • Eugene V. Debs: “It is better to vote for what you want and not get it, than to vote for what you don’t want and get it.”

tags: Nader

Official Democratic Convention Site (w/Videos)

Numbers Don’t Lie

Aug 04, 2008
Sometimes, however, numbers tell a pretty surprising story.

I want Ralph Nader on the ballot, not because I want him to win, which he can’t barring a sudden return to consciousness of the stupefied electorate, but because I want his voice in the debates. As the only one among the three frontrunners who has even mentioned the international corporate hegemony which is destroying our world, the only one who supports a rational universal medical health plan, the only one who has pledged to get us out of Iraq, the only one who has promised to reduce a military budget that is almost as large as the rest of the world’s combined,1 the only one supporting impeachment, the only one in favor of a direct vote of the people on matters of critical national importance, as the only one among Obama, McCain, and himself who is advocating these positions, I want him heard on a national forum—and I want to hear what the other two have to say in opposition to these sensible and necessary positions.

So I have been working on gathering signatures to help get Nader on the ballot in Vermont, although fairly sluggishly. As I’ve opined elsewhere on All Together Now, it has been my belief that Nader has a better chance of playing spoiler for Obama’s chances this year than he had in 2000, when Gore—for all the howling recriminations voiced by my fellow progressives—clearly lost the election for himself.

But lo and behold! A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll (taken July 18-21) shows Obama ahead of McCain 47-41 in a two-way race. Obama’s 6-point lead, however, is doubled when both Ralph Nader and the Libertarian candidate, Bob Barr, are included in the race. Then it’s Obama 48 to McCain’s 35. McCain’s hold on his cool, skittish, fed-up constituency is so weak that if you throw a Nader and a libertarian into the mix, they steal votes from him.

So I’m back on the streets this weekend. Nader needs 1,000 signatures to get on the ballot in Vermont. He has signatures enough for 18 state ballots already. If you’d like some fireworks in the debates, say you’re for Nader when the pollsters call. Apparently, it can only hurt McCain.

[Update: Nader has gathered the 1000 signatures needed for Vermont.]
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1Global Issues (Accessed August 4, 2008)
tags: Nader

Read the Article on MSNBC and Download the Poll

Here They Stand

Aug 03, 2008
The Brookings Institute has provided useful summaries to Obama and McCain’s positions on seven critical topics facing our next president: fiscal responsibility, children, Iraq, health care, immigration, climate change, and trade. I wish they had included positions held by, at least, Ralph Nader and the Green Party, both of which share important positions on ending an endless war and relying less on old energy technologies with proven and intractable drawbacks. Knowing Brookings, it is also understandable that they have altogether missed the most pressing issue of our day, and one which affects, and to a large degree determines, the efficacy of efforts to ameliorate the problems associated with the seven topics they do cover: international corporate hegemony.

That quibble aside, the summaries clearly show that McCain is cleaving to the positions of an administration which has threatened our nation to a far greater degree than any cave-dwelling terrorist ever could, has squandered our treasury in a failed attempt to combat international terrorism, torn up the Constitution, diminished us to Lilliputian proportions throughout the world and in our own eyes, and filled its own and its cronies’ pockets to the detriment of its citizens’ fiscal health to a degree unheard of since the worst excesses of the heyday of European aristocracy.

Obama’s single greatest challenge, should he manage to get elected, will be to confront that corporate hegemony and the devastating consequences it has wrought upon the world, and restore government of the people, by the people, and for the people. And nothing in the Brookings summaries or anywhere else I have found indicate to me that such an effort is on his agenda. It is Priority One on Nader’s, however. And until it at least appears somewhere on Obama’s to-do list, I cannot vote for him.
tags: Nader

Read the Candidate Views

Nader v. Obama, Part 1

Jun 26, 2008

Now let me be clear. Israel's security is sacrosanct. It is non-negotiable. The Palestinians need a state that is contiguous and cohesive and that allows them to prosper, but any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel's identity as a Jewish state with secure, recognized, defensible borders. [Barack Obama, speaking before the American-Israel Public Affairs Committe (AIPAC), video excerpted on Democracy Now, June 18, 2008]

I think Barack Obama is in training to become panderer-in-chief. [Ralph Nader, speaking on Democracy Now, same day, in response to Obama's AIPAC speech]
We will also use all elements of American power to pressure Iran. I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Everything. [Barack Obama, video excerpt on Democracy Now, same day.]
The military-industrial complex and the politicians like Obama and McCain who support it—700 billion dollars, over half of the federal government's operating expenditure now is the military budget—are desperately looking for enemies, desperately exaggerating enemies. Iran has not invaded anybody in 250 years, yet it's obviously frightened. It's surrounded by the U.S. military, west, south, east, it's been labelled Axis of Evil by Bush who invaded Iraq after he labelled them Axis of Evil.... [Ralph Nader, ibid.]

A politician’s first duty is to get elected. And perhaps Obama believes the Palestinians’ security is as sacrosanct and non-negotiable as Israel’s, but he can’t say that before AIPAC. Perhaps Obama doesn’t believe it is within his power, absent a declaration of war by Congress, to drop a nuclear bomb, unilaterally, preemptively, and without provocation, on Iran. Despite the fact that our current president certainly believes it is within his power, and despite the fact that we have had dozens of executive branch military adventures since the last congressional declaration of war in 1941.

We will not vote for a warmonger. We will not vote for a politician who will continue the corporate hegemony that is destroying our liberty, our health, our country, and our planet. We will not vote for a candidate for whom the middle east is a black-and-white issue.

We believe Ralph Nader has a better opportunity to be responsible for putting McCain in the White House than he had for putting Bush there. And yet we cannot and will not vote for Barack Obama unless he convinces us that he will bring a paradigm shift to American politics if he is elected. Because if it is to be "business as usual" for the next eight years, it doesn't matter who is in the White House. We're finished, as a nation, as a world, and as a species.
tags: Nader

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