December 10, 2006

An Unreasonable Man
Sam Smith

A FORTHCOMING documentary on the life of Ralph Nader - An Unreasonable Man - includes many critics as well as supporters and reminds me of how despicable the Democrats' attacks on Nader have been. It isn't that Nader can't drive you a bit crazy with his waverless path. I know. I wrote to urge him not to run in 2004 for a number of tactical reasons and it wasn't well received. My basic thought was that even if you have the best message in the world, standing in the middle of Route 95 at rush hour may not be the best way to present it.

But I have also offered some the most detailed factual reasons why Nader was not to blame for the 2000 Bush victory including the lack of correlation between the polls results of Gore and Nader, the importance of normally non-voters in the Nader tally, the drag of the Clinton scandals and the defection of normally Democratic voters to Bush as revealed by exit polling. And, as the film points out, during the campaign, Nader spent all of two and a half days in Florida. If he did all that alleged damage to Gore in that short a time, the Democrats are avoiding an inconvenient truth.

Democrats can't imagine why anyone left of center would not want to align themselves with a party that is corrupt, politically dishonest, and doesn't come close to living up to its stated purposes. more...

December 9, 2006

„Untouchableš New Orleans
by Martin Macwan

...Later I toured the most effected parts of the city. It seemed like a war museum with empty streets, except for the zooming vehicles of gun toting marshals. Were they sent to protect the debris from the poor storm survivors who remained?

In India one year after the earthquake in Gujarat, much of the affected areas had been rebuilt and the Indian government had given 100,000INR (roughly $2,250 USD) to every family who had lost a loved one. That large sum is about two thirds the average yearly income in India, the US equivalent would be almost $30,000. The families of those who died during Hurricane Katrina have received nothing from their government.

Less than a year after the earthquake, Gujarat was back to normal, with people living in their own villages and cities. Here I stood on the land of the super power, the wealthiest nation in the world, where the debris of almost forty thousands homes remained unmoved nearly a year later. Ironically, FEMA offered to sell its systems and services to India to aid in Gujarat after the earthquake. Seeing their results in New Orleans I was glad India declined. The Indian government is far from perfect, but at least it recognized that it had a responsibility towards its people. more...

December 8, 2006

Dennis Kucinich‚s Showdown With the Democratic Leadership
Editor‚s note: In an interview with Truthdig research editor Joshua Scheer*, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) criticizes the leadership of his own party for announcing Tuesday that it would support a massive increase in spending for the Iraq war.

Truthdig: What was the upshot of [Tuesday‚s] Democratic caucus meeting?
Kucinich: At this point the Democratic leadershipųthe speaker and the majority leader and Rahm Emanuelųare all recommending that the Democrats support the appropriation that is going to be brought forward in the spring, for the purposes of [continuing to fund] the war in Iraq. more...

December 7, 2006

Quality, Affordable Healthcare Is Your Right!

In just 22 minutes, a new video will show you how switching to a „single payer health insurance planš can bring full healthcare coverage to every Californian for life, and do it for less than we‚re paying for inadequate healthcare now.

December 6, 2006

On Being a Boor
by Cynthia Bogard  

Republicans employ an interesting verbal arsenal when they sense a populist threat. First there was Bush senior's widely reported aside about the late Senator Paul Wellstone (D-Minnesota). When attending the 1991 White House reception for incoming senators, the newly elected Wellstone reportedly cornered Bush Sr. three separate times and urged him to spend more time on issues like education and to find a quick diplomatic solution to the looming crisis in the Persian Gulf. "Who is this chickenshit?" the senior Bush muttered in response.

"Chickenshit," according to the Urban Dictionary, originated as World War II military slang for something so silly and trifling it doesn't even warrant being called bullshit. The word's more recent chief usage is as a name for people who are cowardly.

In an eerily reminiscent moment a few weeks ago, Senator-elect James Webb (D-Virginia) likewise refused to kowtow to the junior Bush. When at the 2006 version of the reception, Bush 43 walked over to Senator Webb (who had been avoiding the president and opted out of the receiving line) and asked, "How's your boy?" The Senator-elect, who has a son serving in Iraq, replied, "I'd like to get them out of Iraq," according to sources at the event. Bush retorted, "That's not what I asked you," and then repeated, "How's your boy?" to which Webb responded, "That's between me and my boy." Webb reportedly was so angered by the exchange that he was tempted to "slug the guy."

Webb subsequently has been vilified as a "boor" by Washington Post neoconservative columnist George F. Will. Will so designated Webb in a November 30, 2006 editorial for replying so uncivilly to the Commander in Chief, who, according to Will, was "asking a civil and caring question, as one parent to another." Bush 43 was gracious enough to do so, Will notes, despite "many hard things Webb had said about him during the campaign." Yeah, right.

George F. Will probably meant "a rude or insensitive person" when he chose "boor" to describe Webb. But surely, employed by a wordsmith like Will, the word's other meanings were also implied and intended. They are "peasant" and "yokel." More...

December 5, 2006

Chavez Wins Re-Election by Wide Margin

CARACAS, Venezuela, Dec. 4, 2006
President Hugo Chavez, an outspoken opponent of the United States, won re-election to another six-year term by a wide margin on Sunday, official results showed.

Chavez mocked President Bush calling his re-election "another defeat for the empire of Mr. Danger" and he sent out a "brotherly" salute to Cuban President Fidel Castro.

Challenger Manuel Rosales later conceded defeat but vowed to remain in opposition. Sunday's election saw a high turnout and the poll was monitored by hundreds of international observers.

*****NEW ARTICLE*****

Axis of Hope
Venezuela and the Bolivarian Dream
by Tariq Ali

In the Muslim world religious groups that are militarily effective, but politically limited dominate resistance to the American Empire. Asia is infatuated with capital. Europe lies buried deep in neo-liberal torpor, and the Left and social movements in the EU (Italy is the most recent example) are in an advanced state of decomposition. But in South America an axis of hope has emerged that challenges imperial domination on every level. Democracy, hollowed-out and offering no alternatives in the North, is being used to revive hope in the South.

The likely re-election of Hugo Chavez this weekend in Venezuela will mark a new stage in the process. His opponent, Manuel Rosales, described in the Financial Times (November 30) as a "centre-left" candidate was heavily implicated in the defeated coup attempt to topple Chavez in 2004. Rosales claims that "I will not sit on anyone's lap" but it is hardly a secret that he is firmly attached to the White House.

The wave of revolts and social movements spreading unevenly across the South American continent today are the inevitable result of the Washington Consensus, the economic enslavement of the world. more...

December 4, 2006

Can't Handle the Truth?
by Sam Graham-Felsen

When the producers of Al Gore's essential documentary about the climate crisis, An Inconvenient Truth, offered 50,000 free copies of the DVD to the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) to be used in the classroom, they didn't get the response they expected.

According to producer Laurie David's account in the Washington Post, The NSTA rejected the DVDs, expressing "concern that other őspecial interests' might ask to distribute materials, too," refusing to make a "political" endorsement of the film, and fearing that taking the offer would place "őunnecessary risk upon the [NSTA] capital campaign, especially certain targeted supporters."

Among these multi-million-dollar supporters, David writes, are Exxon Mobil, Shell Oil, and the American Petroleum Institute (API)--which once produced a video distributed by API called "You Can't Be Cool Without Fuel." more...

*****NEW ARTICLE*****

Nancy Pelosi and Impeachment
by John Nichols  

This coming Tuesday, in San Francisco, the official canvass of the results of the November 7 election must be completed and those results will be certified.

On that day, this will be formal confirmation of the intentions of the voters of San Francisco.

Two of those intentions will be of particular, if conflicting, significance.

First, the voters will have reelected their representative to the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, who in January will become the Speaker of the House.

Second, the voters will have joined the citizens of several dozen other communities across the country in formally requesting that their congressional representatives take the necessary steps to impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney. more...

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