Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ralph Nader explains the basics of peace

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader spoke with Ray Suarez of PBS NewsHour yesterday. A number of issues were addressed and The NewsHour has posted audio. This is some of the section on wars:

Ray Suarez: What would you do about Afganistan the Republican and Democratic nominees opposing you in this race, have come out with different plans what's yours?

Ralph Nader: Mine is: More soldiers in Afghanistan on the Pakistan border is going to destabilize Pakistan. The National Intelligence Estimate of Mr. Bush just came out with a statement saying there's never been more violence in chaos in Afghanistan since 9-11. So we have to look to wise people, like Ashraf Ghani who was finance minister for Karzai, the president, and who was a professor here in this country, a native Afghani who says you've got to connect with the tribal leaders and give them and their people jobs, public works, security. And that will be the buffer against the people who just want chaos. Let's put it this way: Nobody conquers Afghanistan. The British didn't do it. The Soviet Union didn't do it. We're not going to do it. It's the scar on the conscience of Obama and McCain that they are ready to get us into a massive quagmire. And if Pakistan is destabilized, it's going to make Iraq look like small potatoes -- even with the million Iraqis and 4200 soldiers who've died in that conflagration.

Ray Suarez: And can you extricate the United States from Iraq?

Ralph Nader: Six month negotiated withdrawal with modest autonomy between Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds under unified Iraq of all US soldiers and corporate contractors. Continued humanitarian aid and UN sponsored elections. That should do it because that would knock the bottom out of the insurgency. You know, given the time, I have to ask people to contact our website for more details -- -- where we have this elaborated. We invited volunteers. We invite donations. We take no money from commercial interests. But I know this area. My parents came from Lebanon at age nineteen. We know the language. We know the authority of the religious leaders, that the tribal leaders are still intact. And that's what we have to do. Any diminution of violence in recent months in Iraq have been due to realignments between these authority figures. And that's what we have to support. Not more preferring one sectarian group over another, wheeling-dealing hundred dollar bills, the intrigue and the revenge killings. And, also, there's no way to knock the bottom out of the insurgency, which will ebb and rise according to circumstances, then to eliminate the occupation of their country and to give Iraq back to the Iraqis -- and their oil back. And it would help if the US government would support the peace movements in Israel and Palestine which have worked out a two-state solution.

That is not the full interview or even the full section on wars. We'll cover more of the interview in today's snapshot. For the Nader-Gonzalez position on the Middle East, we'll note this:

Middle East

For more from Mr. Nader on the Middle East, click here.

Nader/Gonzalez would reverse the current policy in the Middle East.

The current political strategy of pre-emptive war in the Middle East is a disaster for both the American people and the people of the Middle East. It has bloated the already wasteful military budget and has cost at present over 4,000 American lives, nearly 100,000 American injuries, and over a million Iraqi civilian lives, plus the destruction of their country.

Nader/Gonzalez propose a rapid withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

A target of withdrawing troops in six months will be set.

Fifty-eight percent of Americans want troops withdrawn from Iraq and a January 2006 poll shows that 72 percent of American soldiers in the field in Iraq wanted the U.S. out of Iraq within six to twelve months.

The war is costing taxpayers nearly $4,600 every second -- and that doesn't include the long-term reconstruction costs.

Nader/Gonzalez proposes that a rapid negotiated withdrawal from Iraq, with UN sponsored elections, is the first step toward delivering peace to Middle East.

On Israel/Palestine, a recent Haaretz poll showed that 64 percent of Israeli people want negotiations for peace between Israel and Hamas, while only 28% oppose it.

The Israeli people want peace. The Palestinian people want peace.

All kinds of people to people peace groups are forming in Israel and Palestine.

Among them:

  • The Combatants for Peace -- fighters on both sides of the divide who have put down their guns to join together for a non-violent solution.

  • The Bereaved Families for Peace -- the brave Israelis and Palestinians who have lost a loved one to the conflict and who are joining together to seek a non-violent solution.

  • The Arab-American and Jewish Americans who have stood up courageously together for a non-violent solution to the unending conflict.

And of course, the majority of the American Jewish community want peace.

By a 46-to-43 percent plurality American Jews continue to support the creation of a Palestinian state. Other polls show even higher support, among Jewish Americans, for a two-state solution.

Instead, both Democrats and Republicans reflexively support the militarists in Israel.

Israel has militarily occupied Gaza for forty years. It pulled out its colonies in 2005 but maintained an iron grip on the area -- controlling all access, including its airspace and territorial waters.

Its F-16s and helicopter gunships regularly shred more and more of the areas’ public works, its neighborhoods and inflict collective punishment on civilians in violation of Article 55 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The Israeli government’s blockade of Gaza prevents critical food, medicine, fuel, electricity and other necessities from coming into this tiny enclave through international relief organizations.

The resulting humanitarian crisis is received with predictable silence or callousness by members of Congress, including John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Nader/Gonzalez will continue to speak out about this humanitarian crisis and side with the strong and courageous Israeli/Palestinian peace movements who are working for a peaceful two-state solution.


Meanwhile "Because They Have Guns" by an Iraqi correspondent for McClatchy writing at Inside Iraq provides a look at daily life:

About 5:40 on Saturday afternoon; the Iraqi security forces blocked the main street of Jadiriyah neighborhood because one of the Iraqi officials was passing through. The drivers were waiting for the convoy to pass. While they were waiting, a US military convoy came from behind. The driver of the first humvee saw the real long of the stooped cars and I'm sure he knows for sure they stooped because the street was blocked. Yet; he didn't stop. He used the horn and he kept hitting a sedan Mercedes in front of his humvee. The driver of the Mercedes took his hand out of the car and waved to the humvee driver as if he was telling him to stop hitting the car because the man doesn't have any choices but the American soldier kept hitting the car. He kept doing that for more than three minutes. I was on the other side of the street trying to get a taxi to go home. I left the street while the American soldier was enjoying hitting and bothering the poor Iraqi man who could do nothing because he knows for sure that he might be killed if he thought about going out of his car and tried to ask the soldier to stop. No one would even blame the US soldier if he killed him and simply the poor man would be considered a TERRORIST who tried to kill the innocent poor American liberator. The principle of the US soldier is (Im the one who has the gun. SO; I'm above law.)
The guards of the convoys of the Iraqi officials are not better than the US soldiers because they follow the same principle in addition to their main principle which is (I'm the guard of the official. So; I'm above law). About one month ago, the guards of one of the Iraqi ministers killed a woman and injured many civilians in downtown Baghdad.

I'm noting Tina Daunt's "Mellencamp's season of political discontent" (Los Angeles Times) about singer-songwriter John Mellencamp:

He thinks Barack Obama is too conservative, and every time John McCain plays his songs at a rally, the Republican nominee gets a call from a Mellencamp rep: Play the music if you want, but you better know what the lyrics mean.
According to Mellencamp, the words mean this: The government is corrupt, the war is unjust, the middle class is sunk, people are starving, racism is rampant, and those little pink houses? Couldn't we do better for the working poor?
And if pols still don't get it, Mellencamp's wish for America is spelled out in his anthem-like "Our Country": "That poverty could be just another ugly thing / And bigotry would be seen only as obscene / And the ones that run this land help the poor and common man / This is our country."
The message seems to have gotten through; McCain has all but stopped playing Mellencamp's songs, except for a few instances when the sound-booth guy accidentally cues the wrong track.
They're still featured at some of Obama's events, and that's OK with Mellencamp, even though he was strongly behind former Sen. John Edwards' presidential run. ("He was much more liberal than any candidate that we have now, and he really had an interest in the poor people," Mellencamp said recently. He joked: "And I guess we found out he had an interest in girls too.")

And staying with the presidential race, Megan notes this from Team Nader:

Pass It On: Divide & Conquer


Pass It On: Divide & Conquer .

Powerful people with a vested interest in perpetuating the war in Iraq—along with a complicit media—have masked their true motives for war with a humanitarian cry: We can’t leave Iraq or it will explode into civil war. This ostensibly ethical argument is not supported by facts or history.

In this article about the true causes of sectarian violence in Iraq, Will Van Wagenen debunks the myth of Iraq’s ‘longstanding’ sectarian hatred and exposes the real architects behind the violence: the United States government. Without this supposedly ethical reason for staying in Iraq, it is clear that we need Nader’s plan for complete military and corporate withdrawal that gives sovereignty back to the Iraqi people.


Ashley Sanders
The Nader Team

Today’s Pass It On article was written by William Van Wagenen and was published in The Mormon Worker. You can read the original article here.


Ralph Nader is the independent presidential candidate. Today, Ralph Nader will speak at Cooper Union (NYC) at six p.m. and the following day the independent presidential candidate at noon "Ralph will take to the street in front of the NYSE to protest the bailout at Federal Hall, 26 Wall St. NYC."

Cynthia McKinney is the Green Party presidential candidate, Rosa Clemente is her running mate. From the McKinney-Clemente '08 campaign:

Missouri Write-In Possible for Cynthia McKinney
Monday, 13 October 2008 13:07
Progressives qualify as write-in candidates
Updated: 2008-10-12 15:50:30

The Progressive Party of Missouri announced that they have filed therequired paperwork with the Missouri Secretary of State's office to allow Green Party presidential nominee Cynthia McKinney to be a certified write-in candidate in the November 4th general election.

McKinney, a former six-term congresswoman from Georgia was nominated to be at the top of the Green Party's historic all woman presidential ticket at their July nominating convention in Chicago. Rosa Clemente, a hip-hop activist journalist from New York was chosen to be the Green Party's nominee for vice-president.

Midge Potts, state co-chair of the Progressive Party of Missouri, said, "I am proud to be able to write-in Cynthia McKinney for president on my ballot this year. Missourians are demanding real change in the American political system, and Congresswoman McKinney's Power to the People movement is appealing to many." Potts is herself running as a write-in candidate for US representative against House Republican Whip Roy Blunt in Missouri's 7th Congressional District.

McKinney has earned a reputation for seeking honest answers from Bush administration officials. While serving in the US House of Representatives, she vigorously questioned former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in regard to the $2.3 trillion missing in the Pentagon's budget. McKinney also filed articles of impeachment against George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Condoleezza Rice. As president, McKinney claims she would responsibly end the US military occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, work to create a Department of Peace, and implement a not-for-profit single-payer health care system.

John McCain is the Republican presidential nominee and Sarah Palin is his running mate. Doug notes this from the McCain-Palin campaign:

McCain-Palin Campaign Announces Its McCain-Palin Georgia Educators Statewide Leadership

TALLAHASSEE, FL -- The McCain-Palin presidential campaign today announced its McCain-Palin Georgia Educators for McCain leadership. As president, John McCain will pursue reforms that address the underlying cultural problems in our education system and implement genuine accountability and responsibility for producing well-educated children.

"John McCain has demonstrated his understanding of educational issues and concerns over the years by continually supporting funding at both the federal and state levels," said Georgia Educators for McCain-Palin State Chair Sandra Thompson. "Senator McCain has provided opportunities for input from educators, students, and parents to ensure for student achievement and success."

Alec Poitevint, McCain-Palin Southeast Co-Chair and Georgia State Chair, added, "Quality education is the most fundamental step in ensuring that America remains the most innovative, competitive country in the world. John McCain is committed to addressing the needs of our public education system, and we are grateful to these Georgia educators for sharing John McCain's message of parental empowerment and school accountability."


State Chair
Sandra Thompson, Marietta

Steering Committee
Kim Barker, Acworth
Amanda Barrs, Ocilla
Tracy Boney, Atlanta
Mary Cantwell, Tucker
Geoffrey Chaffin, Gainesville
Joe Cobb, Dacula
Addie Cook, Dahlonega
Leslie Crum, Dallas
Phil Dodge, Canton
Lorie Dotson, Acworth
Adrienne Duris, Smyrna
Christy Edwards, Grayson
Kimberly B. Forehand, Hull
Julie Gerbsch, Savannah
Mary Ann Haeger, Marietta
Traci B. Haigler, Atlanta
Matt Hall, Albany
Cindy Hansen, Atlanta
Kim Heath, Lawrenceville
Sahar Hekmati, Ellenwood
Christian Hunnicutt, Cumming
Patsy (Dana) Jones, Dublin
Dottie Lamb, Marietta
Rebecca Land, Sumner
Mike Landers, Canton
Carla MacDonald, Richmond Hill
John McAfee, Sylvania
Rhonda McCollum, Dacula
Beth McFarland, Car tersville
Heather McInnis, Newnan
David J. Miller, Alpharetta
Tim Miller, Dallas
Kaye O'Brien, Marietta
Darrin Overton, Douglasville
Tana Page, Marietta
Lisa Parrish, Columbus
Mike Poore, Marietta
Diana Poore, Marietta
Anne Postema, Powder Springs
Elizabeth Rhodes, Marietta
Frances Roberson, Marietta
Mandy Robertson, Marietta
Tracy Saunders, Pooler
Bo Slack, Sylvester
Jeanette Smith, Marietta
Sabrina Smith, Lawrenceville
Anna M. Smith, Buena Vista
Helen Story, Marietta
Dr. Walt Thomas, Marietta
Janice Traylor, Marietta
Lisa Underwood, Leesburg
Cliff Vance, Lawrenceville
Robin Elaine Wall, Waycross
Gay Watson, Atlanta
Eric Wearne, Suwanee
Kathy Westbrooks, Cumming
Mark A. Winters, Rincon
Kevin R. Wood, Monroe

And this is the McCain-Palin campaign on the topic of education:

Excellence, Choice, and Competition
in American Education

John McCain believes American education must be worthy of the promise we make to our children and ourselves. He understands that we are a nation committed to equal opportunity, and there is no equal opportunity without equal access to excellent education.

Public education should be defined as one in which our public support for a child's education follows that child into the school the parent chooses. The school is charged with the responsibility of educating the child, and must have the resources and management authority to deliver on that responsibility. They must also report to the parents and the public on their progress.

The deplorable status of preparation for our children, particularly in comparison with the rest of the industrialized world, does not allow us the luxury of eliminating options in our educational repertoire. John McCain will fight for the ability of all students to have access to all schools of demonstrated excellence, including their own homes.

No Child Left Behind has focused our attention on the realities of how students perform against a common standard. John McCain believes that we can no longer accept low standards for some students and high standards for others. In this age of honest reporting, we finally see what is happening to students who were previously invisible. While that is progress all its own, it compels us to seek and find solutions to the dismal facts before us.

John McCain believes our schools can and should compete to be the most innovative, flexible and student-centered - not safe havens for the uninspired and unaccountable. He believes we should let them compete for the most effective, character-building teachers, hire them, and reward them.

If a school will not change, the students should be able to change schools. John McCain believes parents should be empowered with school choice to send their children to the school that can best educate them just as many members of Congress do with their own children. He finds it beyond hypocritical that many of those who would refuse to allow public school parents to choose their child's school would never agree to force their own children into a school that did not work or was unsafe. They can make another choice. John McCain believes that is a fundamental and essential right we should honor for all parents.

As president, John McCain will pursue reforms that address the underlying cultural problems in our education system - a system that still seeks to avoid genuine accountability and responsibility for producing well-educated children.

John McCain will place parents and children at the center of the education process, empowering parents by greatly expanding the ability of parents to choose among schools for their children. He believes all federal financial support must be predicated on providing parents the ability to move their children, and the dollars associated with them, from failing school.

Click here to learn more about John McCain's policies on early education.

Click here to read more about John McCain's education policies.

Click here to learn more about John McCain's policies on higher education.

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