Saturday, July 26, 2008

Other Items

Raging Granny groups across North America have taken up the cause of US war resisters seeking refuge in Canada. From San Francisco to the Canadian capital of Ottawa, members of this international women's organization continue to petition Prime Minister Stephen Harper to respect the sentiment of the majority of Canadian citizens and "Let War Resisters Stay". This week San Francisco Grannies revved up their letter writing campaign while their sisters in Ottawa polled pedestrians in that city's busy Byward Market.

Zach noted the above from R. Robertson's "Raging Grannies from SF to Ottawa Rally Around War Resisters" (Indybay IMC) and Zach points out, "It's good to know they have a few pet causes these days besides their main one of pimping for Barack." In fairness, it appears to have been only the Brooklyn chapter that sold their souls, integrity and whatever was left of a good name in order to give a "peace" illusion to Barack. Zach offers a sing-along, "The old red mare just ain't what she used to be, ain't what she used to be, ain't what she used to be . . ." And wonders, "Too much?" No, Zach, they deserve that and a great deal more. Peace groups should focus on peace, certainly not on providing cover to War Hawk presidential candidates.

Ric Lupher files "Peace Activists Rally In Support Of Robin Long" for Colorado's KKTV (link has text and video) on US war resister Robin Long who was extradited from Canada to the US and now awaits word on what happens next. Iraq Veterans Against the War's is quoted stating of recruitment, "There's a huge propaganda smear across the country to get young men to join the military."

In the I'm-sure-it's-just-a-rumor area, whispers (this isn't in the report, I'm referring to the grapevine) continue that Robin will be court-martialed and that it will take place during the DNC convention. The convention will be held in Denver. The whispers maintain that the court-martial will take place at Fort Carson in Colorado. I'm not saying it's true, I'm saying it's what's being currently whispered.

If you read various reports today, you'll see that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack senses his High Flying Adore tour is being greeted with a backlash and repeatedly states that he may take a dip in the next round of polling as a result of it. His remarks, however, could also be seen as a way to lower expectations so that even a small bump could then be hailed as "victory." Presumped Republican presidential nominee John McCain notes Barack's travelogue in his radio address (link has only audio, no text at this point), "This week the presidential contest was a long-distance affair, with my opponent touring various continents and arriving yesterday in Paris. With all the breathless coverage from abroad, and with Senator Obama now addressing his speeches to 'the people of the world' I'm starting to feel a little left out. Maybe you are too."

Princess Tiny Meat? Ava and I used that to refer to Barack sometime ago. Ty tried to include a question on that in roundtables and mailbags at Third but there was never time. Wally and Cedric use the term today. So for those wondering, I'm sure -- like most good slang -- it came from the gay culture. It entered the straight culture mercilessly in the 90s when a TV 'star' with two TV shows under his belt (if not much else) fancied himself as a 'ladies' man' but the grapevine responded "nothing much to brag about." He has no career today but, for that brief moment when he was known, he was known as Princess Tiny Meat. Either while near the end of his second show or right after he was fired, an online gossip columnist even picked up on the grapevine and ran a photo of 'star' in a very tight pair of jeans to reveal that there was no engine under the hood.

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader has many campaign events this weekend. Yvonne Wenger (Post and Courier) reports on a South Carolina event yesterday:

Nader said it would take a "massive grassroots movement" for him to secure the presidency but that wasn't to say the fight doesn't have meaning.
"If you don't resist the situation gets worse," Nader said. "The alternative is surrender."
Nader said he wants to draw in young people who will push the progressive agenda in the future. Also, he said, he wants to convince the mainstream candidates -- Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. Barack Obama -- to see his perspective on issues such as a living wage.
"The stands McCain and Obama have taken again and again do not have the support of the majority of American people," Nader said.

Ralph Nader will be in Austin, Texas Sunday evening. (He'll be in Houston earlier that day.) From David Shieh's "Nader prepares to campaign in Austin" (Austin American-Statesman):

American-Statesman: So why are you running for the presidency?
Ralph Nader: Strong labor laws facilitating unions, strong consumer protections, environmental, foreign, military policy -- all these are not being addressed in a way that a majority of people in this country want them addressed. The majority of people in this country want single-payer health insurance. They want a living wage. They want to get out of Iraq. They want a lot of things that we stand for, and the other side -- (Sens. John) McCain and (Barack) Obama -- are either against it or ignore it. They don't want to talk about it.
What do you think of the energy policies that Texas politicians have proposed? The competitors in this year's Senate race -- Democratic state Rep. Rick Noriega of Houston and Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn -- both support bringing lower gas prices to Texans by expanding off-shore drilling.
That's nonsense. It's like this. Let's take an analogy with water. You're in your kitchen, and you're filling a basin of water. Unfortunately, there are five holes in the basin, and so someone says to you, "We got to go out and drill another well in our backyard because we don't have enough water in that basin." Someone else says, "Why don't you plug the holes?" Energy conservation is the fastest, shortest, cheapest, most environmentally benign solution to our problems. We waste well over two-thirds of our energy, and a barrel of oil you save is a barrel of oil you don't have to drill for.
What issues will you focus on when you come to Texas?
One I'm really going to emphasize is the piecemeal destruction of the civil justice system. The corporate lobbyists have gotten through the Legislature and have even amended the Texas constitution a few years back, severely restricting the ability of wrongfully-injured people to have their full day in Texas court before judge and jury -- to get full damages for medical malpractice or toxic contamination.
What do you say to people who blame you for bringing George W. Bush into office in the 2000 presidential election?
That's a politically bigoted statement against third-party independent candidates. They would never say "Bush stole votes from Gore" or "Gore stole votes from Bush." They always use those words and spoiler words to refer to smaller candidates, which is why I say it's political bigotry.

Cynthia McKinney is the Green Party presidential candidate. Austin Cassidy's Independent Political Report notes that she is now "an official write-in candidate" in North Carolina. A drive-by whined that Austin Cassidy is a conservative and is linked to "so you can promote Cynthia McKinney." I'll assume "you" means me because the community is behind Ralph Nader. (I haven't stated whom I'm voting for in November -- or if I'll vote.) Whatever Austin Cassidy is or isn't, his site has provided coverage of all the campaigns. Were we an election site, we would as well. Were we a gas-bag site, we'd be like The Nation, The Progressive and all the others in Panhandle Media: Barack Love 24-7 -- dropped only for non-stop hisses at John McCain. The Ralph Nader focus was decided by the community in a vote. Nader would have been covered here regardless because of what was done to him in 2004. I don't enjoy the pack mentality of our so-called "alternative" media or the silences from Real Media. If you go into the archives for this site, you'll find it was made very clear in 2004 that if Nader ran in 2008, he would be covered here. The amount of coverage is dicated by (a) the silence from other outlets and (b) the fact that all voting in Gina and Krista's poll stated in April that if Hillary did not get the nomination, they would be supporting Nader. That included people who were already supporting Nader as well as Democratic members who saw through the illusions of Barack. McKinney could have split the vote in the community but, by that time, had already allowed a lifelong misogynist's articles to be posted at her campaign site. Her declaration that victory was 5% of the national vote only added to the pull-back from McKinney but it was the misognist that did her campaign in for the community. (And "Don't call me Latina!" Clemente's decision to try to speak for Lations -- to mispeak for them -- only hardened the opinion against the McKinney-Clemente ticket. It's rather cute to hear her billed now as "Puerto Rican born" when, no, she was not born in Puerto Rico. She was born in the Bronx. But it's the campaign realizing how serious a barrier Clemente is to Latino voters and trying their best to overcome it. Most likely, they can't. It's a decade long of remarks that Latinos see as insults and a rejection. It's not just that she chose to self-identify Black, it's that expressing her self-identification repeatedly also included non-stop jabs and insults to Latinos.) I don't know that Cassidy's is a right-wing site. It may be. What I do know is that when someone e-mails something from it (on McKinney), it's not full of snark and and attacks on McKinney. If Cassidy is right-wing, that's really sad for the left-wing because he is managing to offer an election site that does a better job of balance than anything from our left institutions. His site has been linked to for McKinney coverage and will continue to be linked to from time to time for that coverage. Anymore whining in e-mails about it from non-community members will most likely result in my putting it on the permalinks to the left. Repeating, regardless of his political identification or affilation, he's doing a better job covering the election -- covering the candidates -- than any of our allegedly left institutions.

I don't care for Newsweek (to put it mildly). It's been linked to here twice in nearly four years and both times were hard sells before I would link to it. I've been hard sold (by a friend at Newsweek) again so we'll link to it one more time. Cynthia McKinney has a Q & A and from that:

What kind of strategy are you employing for the campaign?
There are currently about 200 members of the Green Party who are elected officials. These are mostly local elections. The Green Party does not yet have representation on the federal level, but it's quite a successful "minor" party. With 5 percent of the electorate, it can move from minor party status to major party status [and qualify the Green Party for federal funds]. So our goal is to get onto as many ballots as we can, since then achieving a 5 percent goal becomes possible. When I got to Washington D.C., I realized that public policy was made around the table. The 5 percent puts another seat at the table.
Tell me about your prospects for getting this 5 percent, since polls are showing that all the third parties combined are only at about 1 percent. That's a pretty big gap.

Yes, we have our work cut out for us. But I think the fact that Congress has failed to stop funding the war and is aiding and abetting in the illegal spying against American citizens, combined with the fact that we don't have a livable wage, don't have single-payer health care system, are not subsidizing higher education as we should be, have not seen a cogent energy policy come through Congress, are seeing people losing their homes in a record foreclosure mortgage crisis -- and predatory lending has not been tamed -- the Bush tax cuts have not been rolled back, then we certainly can't trust those who created the problems to solve them.
A lot of those issues sound similar to the Democratic Party platform.

I don't think that assessment is accurate. The Democrats stand for what we've been given now. While many Democratic activists may want a single-payer health care system, neither one of the final two Democratic candidates who were able to garner so many delegate votes were supportive of a single-payer health care system. They have also taken impeachment off the table.
There are quite a few prominent third-party candidates running this year, including your former fellow Congressman from Georgia, Bob Barr, over at the Libertarian Party. Is he basically the conservative version of you?

The only thing I would say about Bob is that it's interesting that Georgia is so well-represented in the non-major party lineup. Of course, I worked in the Congress for a long time with Bob Barr and, in fact, members of the Libertarian Party have reached out to me on several occasions this year and I expect there will be more mutual reaching.
So you might actually be working together on some issues?

I didn't say that.
What does mutual reaching mean then?

It means that where there is the possibility of having discussions, then I wouldn't turn down discussions. There's nothing afoot, if that's what you mean. I would take it issue by issue, and see what the future brings.
Of course, there's the perennial third-party candidate question: What do you make of arguments that you'll pull votes away from the Democrats, thereby ushering into office a Republican who shares even fewer of your views?

That's not grounded in the facts. As the film "American Blackout" points out very well, there were numerous instruments used in the 2000 and 2004 elections to disfranchise voters. Voter caging and voter ID laws exist to disfranchise voters. The question I believe Newsweek ought to be asking is how can we ensure that people who have the right to vote also have the opportunity to vote. And after their vote is cast, how can we ensure their votes are counted. How can an environment that does not ensure election integrity ensure us that the will of the voter is reflected in the announced outcome?

For those trying to read 'tea leaves,' Cynthia is of the left and we'll try to note her campaign at least once a week. The community doesn't give a ___ about Clemente (for reasons outlined above) so we'll ignore her. But I do like Cynthia personally and we'll note her campaign at least once a week. That's not "Vote for Cynthia!" I don't care who you vote for and I'm not advocating that you vote for any presidential candidate (or that you vote). (If you are in Jason West's congressional district in Chicago, I would advocate that you vote for him. He's the Green Party candidate in the race and he is a member of IVAW. I'm not aware of any other candidate that I've endorsed and were it not for his strong positions and the fact that he really does need attention and awareness for his race, I wouldn't be endorsing him.) But you should be aware, if you're in the US, who is running and what they're attempting to do. Barack is more than covered by the media. So much so that John McCain can actually start campaigning as the outsider if he wants to: "Barack's the choice of the media!" (I'm sure McCain would say "liberal media." Which, of course, I would disagree with. "Big money media" I wouldn't disagree with.)

There are presidential candidates: Bob Barr, Cynthia and Ralph. (That's listed in alephabetical order by first name.) The other two are "presumed" candidates at this point, not having yet secured the official nomination from their party. But they're not covered. If they're not getting coverage now when they are the only ones who are actual candidates, imagine how much worse it will be in the fall? They should be noted in some form here because they are the only ones calling for an end to the illegal war. (Reducing US forces by approximately 90,000 -- leaving 50,000 behind for who knows how many years -- is not calling for a withdrawal.) UPI quotes Barr stating:

American troops in Iraq would be at risk. U.S. citizens would be targeted for terrorist acts. Tehran could retaliate against Israel. Oil shipments would be disrupted, causing energy prices to soar even higher. Allied states in the Persian Gulf would be vulnerable to attack. Chances for democratic change in Iran would be set back.

From Tom Searls' "Third-party presidential candidates' workers stump in state" (Charleston Gazette):

While supporters of independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader turned in petitions Friday that could enable him to gain ballot access in the Mountain State in November, workers for two other candidates continued to collect signatures around the state.
Libertarian nominee Bob Barr's supporters set up a booth at Charleston's Rib Fest on Friday, in an effort to get the required 15,118 valid signatures of registered voters by Aug. 1, the last day to submit them.
"We'll go to the very end, working from morning to night," vowed Andrew Davis, a spokesman for the campaign's West Virginia project.

So far, they are well behind Nader's effort and are trailing the Constitution Party's push to get its nominee, Chuck Baldwin, on the state ballot.

I do know Barr and disagree with him on many issues. He is a candidate who believes in ending the illegal war and he's the nominee for the Libertarian Party. He's a serious candidate. Noting that is not attempting to solicit votes for him.

Barr, Nader and McKinney are all against the illegal war and can be covered here. I won't waste my limited time trying to cover Baldwin (offensive for many reasons including his positions on immigration and abortion) because we're a site opposed to the illegal war. That said, Baldwin should be invited to the debates. All candidates should be. But some candidates shoot themselves in the foot. McKinney long ago gave anyone wanting to shut out any candidate that wasn't Dem or Republican by declaring victory was 5% of the vote. In a media environment hostile to anyone not of the two-major parties (and a 'committee' of Democrats and Republicans who control who is invited to the debates), the threshold could be reduced to (which would qualify as an expansion this year) those actually running to become president. By her own remarks, she is not running to become president and if she's denied participation in the debates, we won't spend a lot of time here fretting over that. All other candidates -- unless they've stated they're only running for a percentage -- should be invited.

It's one thing to acknowledge -- as Nader has -- that your run may be a longshot (Abe Lincoln's run was a longshot, and he won), it's another to define ultimate 'victory' as 5% of the votes. When you do that, you've given everyone an opportunity to exclude you from the debates and from coverage.

Since yesterday morning, the following community websites have updated:

Rebecca's Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Cedric's Cedric's Big Mix;
Kat's Kat's Korner;
Betty's Thomas Friedman is a Great Man;
Mike's Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine's Like Maria Said Paz;
Wally's The Daily Jot;
Trina's Trina's Kitchen;
Ruth's Ruth's Report;

From Team Nader, Lynda notes:

Help Fuel Ralph’s Tour of the South and West


Help Fuel Ralph’s Tour of the South and West .

We need gas money.


Starting today, Ralph Nader is on the road again.

This time campaigning through the South and then out West.

Over the next two weeks, Ralph will be in South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, Utah and up and down California.

His VP, Matt Gonazalez, will be joining Ralph on the campaign trail starting in Texas.

Check out the schedule below.

If you are in the neighborhood, come on out to hear and meet Ralph and Matt.

With both Obama and McCain saber rattling over Iran, the Nader/Gonzalez message of peace through justice is now more important than ever.

If your friends or relatives in the neighborhood, give them a shout and let them know.

But right now, we need gas money to fuel Ralph's South and West Coast Tour.

We've rented a car.

Gas prices are high.

And Ralph is on the move.

So, please donate whatever you can now to fill up our tank.

You can give up to $4,600.

But $500, $100, $50 - whatever you can donate is what we need.

Help us fill 'er up.

So we can get 'er done.


The Nader Team

Ralph Nader's Tour of the South and West

Friday July 25, 2008 5:30 p.m.
Athens, Georgia

Nader for President 2008 Rally
University of Georgia, Georgia Center- “Masters Hall”
1127 South Lumpkin St. Athens, GA 30602
Contribution- $10/ $5 student
(404) 446-7093 or

Friday July 25, 2008 8 p.m.
Atlanta, Georgia

Evening with Ralph
Suggested Contribution $100 min
RSVP (202) 471-5833

Saturday July 26, 2008, 6 p.m.
Jackson, Mississippi

Book Signing/ Speech
Lemuria Bookstore
202 Banner Hall- I-55 North Jackson, MS 39206
(601) 842-6769 or

Saturday July 26, 2008 8:00 p.m.
Jackson, Mississippi

Evening with Ralph Nader
RSVP (202) 471-5833
Suggested Contribution $50

Sunday July 27, 2008 2:00 p.m.
Houston, Texas

Ralph Nader w/ Matt Gonzalez
Hilton University of Houston
4800 Calhoun Suite 207, Houston, TX77204
Contribution- $10/$5 student
(202) 471-5833 or

Sunday July 27, 2008 7:30 p.m.
Austin, Texas

Ralph Nader w/ Matt Gonzalez
Trinity United Methodist Church
600 East 50th St. Austin, TX 78751
Contribution $10/$5 student
(202) 471-5833 or

Thursday July 31, 2008 7:30pm
Salt Lake City, Utah

Nader for President 2008 Rally w/ Rocky Anderson
Libby Gardner Concert Hall
1375 E President Circle, Salt Lake UT
Contribution-$10/ $5 students
(801) 916-6307 or ashley@votenader.rog

Saturday, August 2, 2008, 8:00 p.m.
Davis, California

Nader for President 2008 Speech
Ralph Nader w/ Matt Gonzalez
Varsity Theater
616 Second Street
Davis, CA 95616
Contribution: $10/ $5 students
(202) 471-5833 or

Sunday August 3, 1:30 p.m.
Sebastopol, California

Nader for President Speech
Ralph Nader w/ Matt Gonzalez
Sebastopol Community Center
390 Morris St., Sebastopol, California 95472
Contribution: $10/ $5 students
(202) 471-5833 or

August 3, 2008, 4:30pm
Healdsburg, California

Nader for President Speech
Ralph Nader w/ Matt Gonzalez
Copperfield's books
104 Matheson St., Healdsburg, California 95448
Contribution: $10/ $5 students
(202) 471-5833 or

August 3, 7:30 p.m.
Kentfield, California

Nader for President 2008 Speech in Marin
Ralph Nader w/ Matt Gonzalez
College of Marin- Olney Hall
835 College Ave., Kentfield, California
Contribution: $10/ $5 students
More Info: (415) 897-6989 or

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