Friday, October 29, 2004

You CAN vote for Ralph Nader in 2004 (maybe...)

I am tiring of Dems and some liberals trashing Ralph Nader's candidacy. Let's face it, Kerry and the Dems have forsaken their liberal roots. Kerry would rather get that photo-op stomping around the woods in camouflage with a 12 gauge shotgun, than take a strong stand against the War in Iraq, or advocate Universal Health Care, or propose a livable minimum wage. The Dems would rather slander this great American activist's name, and subvert Nader's right to appear on ballots in all 50 states, than win over his supporters by promoting a liberal agenda for the Kerry presidency.

However, I do NOT want 4 more disastrous years of a George Bush administration. Yet there is a very good chance that this may happen. Our outdated and corruptible election system allows for the election of a president without a majority of the popular vote. The mathematics of the Electoral College may favor Bush if he is not defeated in a few key states. It finally struck me that there is indeed an answer to this dilemma. I found it in a petition that advocates Nader supporters to vote for Kerry "IN ALL SWING STATES". Therefore if you live in one of the 40 or so NON-Swing states, whether it is a Red or a Blue state, you are free to vote your conscience. This petition was signed by many of the great progressive minds of our time. Here in Connecticut, the polls show a 9-15 percent edge in Kerry's favor. Here, we have the luxury of voting our conscience.

A presidential election comes along only once every 4 years. I view this not only as the selection of a president, but a referendum for the policies and agenda for the next term. If you vote for John Kerry OR George Bush, you are voting for the following agenda:

• Continuation of a military occupation of Iraq
• Increased troop strength and military spending
• A health care system run by Insurance companies focused more on executive salaries and profits for the shareholders than the patients.
• No change in our system of Corporate funded elections resulting in 'Government by the Corporations, For the Corporations and for the benefit of the shareholders'.

If you feel strongly that you do not agree with these positions, I would urge you to vote for Ralph Nader, UNLESS you live in one of the Swing-States like Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa and about 10 others (you know who you are). In that case, I would urge you to vote against another George Bush presidency by voting for John Kerry.

If you live in a non-swing state, and you believe in reforming the two party system, restoring Democracy and moving the Democratic party towards one that values labor, world peace, the oppressed, and a progressive liberal agenda, than let your voice be heard. Vote for Ralph Nader.

(BTW, if your convictions are so strong that you feel in your heart that you must vote for Nader despite living in a swing state... I promise not to harass you for it. Vote your conscience.)

Thursday, October 28, 2004

The Curse... Reversed

Now, I am not a superstitious guy, but I gotta say, there WAS something to this Curse of the Bambino stuff. The Red Sox always lose in such dramatic fashion. I have watched in amazement, the Bucky Dent homer in the one game playoff against the Yankees, the ball dribbling through Bill Buckner's leg against the Mets in the 1986 World Series, and the Aaron Boone 11th inning HR in the 7th game of the American League championships just last year.

This year's post season was so strange. For the first time ever a team comes back from a 0-3 game deficit in MLB post season play (not to mention football and basketball); two overturned umpire decisions in one game (both favoring the Sox); police called onto field in full riot gear to prevent violence; first time a team has won a game in post season after committing 4 errors... and they did that in 2 consecutive games; rediculously bad base running error by the Cardinals stopped potential game tying rally.

To cap it all off, Red Sox win the World Championship for the first time since 1918 on the evening of a full moon with a total lunar eclipse... DAMN! TALK ABOUT HAVING THE PLANETS ALIGNED!

Monday, October 25, 2004

I wasn't going to vote for Nader...

... Until They Told Me I Couldn't

If Bush Wins, Blame Me

Excerpts from an article by DAVID VEST from Counterpunch. click on link to read entire article

I hate the Bush ads that make Kerry seem unpatriotic for even daring to oppose the incumbent. Bush and Cheney have consistently suggested that for Kerry to point out the obvious, that Iraq is a mess, somehow "hurts the troops." Even worse, he is "helping the terrorists," who are doing everything in their power to help Kerry win.

I thought these were the vilest political arguments, until I looked at the thrust of Kerry's argument against Nader. Kerry has done to Nader precisely what Bush tried to do to Kerry, suggesting that it is somehow unpatriotic of Ralph that he would even consider running for president when Kerry is running. He is "helping the Republicans," who are doing everything in their power to help Ralph run. He is on an "ego trip," he is "damaging his legacy," and a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush.

The character attacks on Nader launched by the Kerry camp have been, if anything, even harsher than the Bush campaign's attacks on Kerry. Their anti-Nader "talking points" have successfully permeated political discourse, and not just on TV. I hear them coming out of the mouths of good people, folks who passionately love their country and who seem to have no idea they are helping to slander a good man who believes himself to be working on their behalf.

They have almost managed to convince me that it will be not only Ralph Nader's fault but mine as well if Bush wins. For all I know, they may be right.

Since it's all my fault, feel free to vote for Nader if you want to, the damage is already done.

It proves Ralph's point about how corrupt our two-party system is. (ed.- refering to Democrats efforts to deny Nader's name on state ballots)
(end of excerpt)

Ultimately, you should make your decision based on the issues. Ralph Nader's (RN) position versus John Kerry (JK):

RN: Set a six month timeline for the withdraw of troops from Iraq. Replace troops with International Peace-keepers from neutral countries to conduct free elections (not US sponsored elections to prop up a puppet regime).
JK: Increase troop strength, "Win the war"
RN: Decrease military spending
JK: Increase military spending
RN: Single-payer government sponsored health insurance, available to every citizen.
JK: Continue with current Corporate owned and operated health plans, but subsidize health insurance with tax dollars to those who cannot afford it.
RN: Promotes electoral reform, refuses Corporate and PAC money. Endorses Run-off Election voting.
JK: Has said little about election reform, accepts big contributions from Corporate and special interest groups (including money from the same sources that fund the Bush campaign).

I just heard a Nader interview. He closed by saying... (approx. quote), 'If you are not prepared to fight and lose, fight and lose, fight and lose... you will just lose, and your agenda will be lost forever.'

I guess I am back in the ranks of the undecided.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The best month of the year

October is the best part of the year. Crisp cool air, gorgeous fall foliage, fresh apples... and of course, Baseball Playoffs and the World Series. Once again, the Boston Red Sox are trying to shake the ghost of Babe Ruth with an incredible series against those arrogant, $$deep-pocket$$, Yankees. It just doesn't get any better than last nights Red Sox win. This game had everything. Two critical plays overturned by the Umpires (a double changed to a Sox HR, and A-Rod slapping the ball out of the 1st basemen's glove turns a run into an out), gutsy pitching by the crippled Curt Schilling and to top it off, dozens of police in riot gear to protect the players from angry mobs in the stands!!! Sox scratch and claw their way back from a 3-0 game deficit to force the final 7th game. Just the way it should be when the Sox meet the Yanks in post-season.

Oh yeah, and there is that other great contest going on. Bush versus Kerry. That one could go into extra innings... just like in 2000. We can only hope that the Massachusetts team wins that one too. ;-)

Saturday, October 16, 2004

John Kerry is the right choice

Till now, I have been one of those undecided voters. Of course the choice has not been Bush v. Kerry. That choice is clear. In four short years, G. W. Bush has done an incredible amount of damage to this country, both in foreign and domestic affairs. He has gotten us into an unjustifiable, senseless and costly war in Iraq. The majority of nations all over the world have turned against us. The economy and jobs situation is in shambles, and he has sold out the middle class time and time again, to the benefit of corporate interests and the wealthy. This administration has been a disaster.

For me, the choice has been between Nader or Kerry. My disdain for what the American political system has become has, in the past few elections, dominated my decision to support 3rd party candidates. Democrats are only slightly less guilty than Republicans for what has transpired in recent decades with Corporate welfare, the healthcare crisis, and even this war. None of this administrations calamities could have been possible without consenting votes from the Democrats in congress. Furthermore, IMHO, the Dems have failed to nominate a candidate that really distinguished himself as a moral leader and champion of the middle class working men and women and the oppressed.

Initially I was not impressed with the choice of Kerry for president. But the more I learn about this man, the more respect I have gained for him. The essence of his character is rooted in his experience in Vietnam, and the actions that he took to protest the war when he returned. Oddly, it seems that the evil Republicans have seized upon this very thing as his greatest weakness! However, I feel that he demonstrated extreme courage and moral conviction in risking his future by condemning (rightly so) America's involvement in that war. By urging an end to the war in Vietnam, Kerry helped to save many lives that would have been lost had we continued.

Those actions have convinced me that John Kerry will bring a swift end to the war in Iraq. I also believe that John Kerry's post Vietnam actions demonstrate that he is a man with strong moral convictions that will guide his decision making in the White House. I am also convinced that John Kerry will steer this country in a direction that will benefit the lives of average working men and women in this country. George Bush makes decisions that promote a conservative agenda that we have seen will benefit the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.

So, sorry Ralph, I very much dig what you stand for, and I would love to see a viable 3rd party that is not beholden to corporate interests... But this time, I think the Dems have picked an honorable and competent leader in John Kerry (and John Edwards), that will get us out of this military occupation of Iraq, and fight for the working men and women here at home.

Oh yeah... John Kerry IS a Mac user. see photo below

credit: Time Magazine photo by Diane Walker

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

What happened to real journalism?

Attended a great presentation by Amy Goodman from Democracy Now!, a great independent news organization. She showed her documentary on the media in Iraq, and promoted her book "Exception to the Rulers". This administration's system of embeded journalism (or more accurately, government in-bed with the journalists) has re-defined the news media's role. Gone are the days of a media that raised questions of our governements actions, that dared to present a dissenting viewpoint as we saw during the Viet Nam years. Why have we not seen coverage of Iraqi civilian casualties, the destruction of homes, bodies of soldiers returning in coffins? During the Iraqi invasion, network news dutifully renamed their programs to coincide with the official US title, they hired retired US generals, they spoke of surgical strikes (a myth), and minimal civilian casualties (un-truths). Even the most conservative estimates by independent agencies show nearly 10,000 civilian casualties.

Amy's film showed the horrible images of war; children burned and dismembered. Mothers holding dead babies, villages destroyed. She showed CNN's sanitized coverage for US audiences, while CNN International showed the same event covered without deleting the scenes of carnage and destruction. She showed films of American tanks rolling up to the news bureaus of Abu Dabi News and Al-Jazerah and blasting thier headquarters killing several journalists (you may not like Al-Jazerah, but these were news reporters, not combatants). Why wasn't the protests during the Republican National Convention covered by the news media? These were the largest political protests ever in NYC, and the most arrests during a single event (2000 protesters), yet it failed to get any significant news coverage.

Amy Goodman's most significant point during the evening was; and I will quote to the best of my memory, "It is hard to imagine that if this was a government controlled news media, would the coverage of the Iraq war would be any different?". Maybe if the press had played the role of real journalists, and doggedly asked the probing questions that should have been asked about WMD's, the supposed threat that Iraq posed, the motivating factors that would bring us to war and occupation... maybe this war would have been avoided.

This presentation was sponsored by WHUS. Proud to say, its the station that airs my jazz radio program Sunday 2-4 PM (Ha... snuck a promo in there!)