Counterpunch has quite a few interesting pieces discussing what one may call the "real" stakes of voting for Nader -- an outline of the only specific cases in which it might hurt Kerry (for example, Michigan voters for Nader in 2000 have
absolutely no reason to regret their decision, since Gore won Michigan anyway -- so principle and "lesser of two evils" didn't clash in that case), and an outline of various weaknesses of Kerry's, and the folly of thinking organizing the left will be easier under Kerry (an obviously debatable point, but the author's contention is that only a concerted mass movement will make the cost of continuing higher than the cost of changing course; he argues that this is true whether it's Bush or Kerry).
Links a plenty:
http://www.counterpunch.org/frank07032004.html (the most exhaustive)
http://www.counterpunch.org/bates06252004.html (blurb about Chomsky & Zinn
supporting Nader votes in "safe states" -- take note HopefulCynickers and J Continuees not in Michigan!)
Commentary on Michael Moore's F. 9/11 also points out the precious few positives of Kerry vs. Bush, at least from that author's perspective, in terms of changing the establishment).
Opensecrets and CPI's the Buying of the Presidency both outline how Kerry is also beholden to many large, moneyed interests, though we knew that already, and one could argue quite simply that as Kerry has less corporate largess, he is the lesser
of two evils.
Top story on counterpunch right now:
He's the (Any) One outlines Kerry's many failings (from a progressive perspective).
Highlights from various sources:
"The footage of a joint session of Congress in which Congressional Black Caucus members can't get a senator to sign their letter to allow floor debate about the issue (a procedural requirement) is a powerful indictment not only of the
Republicans who perpetrated the fraud but the DEMOCRATIC leadership that refused to challenge it." (emphasis mine)
"But it is a serious mistake to believe that these wars can be explained by focusing so exclusively on the Bush administration and ignoring clear trends in U.S. foreign and military policy. In short, these wars are not a sharp
departure from the past but instead should be seen as an intensification of longstanding policies, affected by the confluence of this particular administration's ideology and the opportunities created by the events of 9/11." (My argument du jour for voting for Nader: if Carter would stand by and have the US gov't support the Somoza regime, what hope is there that the
less earnestly humanitarian and (according to the media) similarly unconvincing Kerry would do much better in terms of true progressive goals?)
"The problem is not just that the Iraq War was fundamentally illegal and immoral. The whole rotten project of empire building has been illegal and immoral -- and every bit as much a Democratic as a Republican project. The millions of dead around the world -- in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia -- as a result of U.S. military actions and proxy wars don't care which U.S. party was pulling the strings and pulling the trigger when they were killed. It's true that much of the world hates Bush. It's also true that much of the world has hated every post-WWII U.S. president. And for
"I agree that Bush should be kicked out of the White House, and if I lived in a swing state I would consider voting Democratic. But I don't believe that will be meaningful unless there emerges in the United States a significant anti-empire movement. In other words, if we beat Bush and go back to "normal," we're all in trouble. Normal is empire building. Normal is U.S. domination, economic and military, and the suffering that vulnerable people around the world experience as a result. This doesn't mean voters can't judge one particular empire-building politician more dangerous than another. It doesn't mean we shouldn't sometimes make strategic choices to vote for one over the other. It simply means we should make such choices with eyes open and no illusions. This seems particularly important when the likely Democratic presidential candidate tries to out-hawk Bush on support for Israel, pledges to continue the occupation of Iraq, and says nothing about reversing the basic trends in foreign policy."
"And where is John Kerry in all this? In a secured, undisclosed location hoping Bush continues to fall on his face. The best that John Milhous Heinz can come up with is that he'll bring the troops home BEFORE the end of his term (which
would mean 2009, if he's the Skull and Bones plutocrat who's selected). Bush just announced a January 2006 pull-out date. His solution: bring on the UN. As if Bush hasn't already adopted that dead end. The greatest moral issue of the campaign (not to mention, the new millennia) and Kerry and puppet master Terry McAuliffe remain unable to craft ANY coherent plan. Kerry can't bring himself to repudiate his own vote for the war, even given the current realities. He appears incapable of viewing it in any way other than a callous political calculation -- sit back and let Bush flounder as the best way to win. Sheesh! That's leadership? Neither Bonesman can explain the war even at this post-WMDs late date in any way shape or form other than simplistic "support the troops," "liberating Iraq," "bringing Democracy to the Middle East" banalities."
" Come next January the Anyone behind the desk in the Oval Office may be a bit taller. There'll be medals on the book shelf showing he killed Vietnamese in the service of his country. Most everything else will stay the same. Kerry's been pretty clear about that, letting his core constituencies know that as President Anyone he's not going to cut them any favors."
"Kerry announced that his economic strategy will be to wage war on the deficit, which means he'll do nothing to alleviate problem number one in American today, which is the lack of jobs and the rotten pay for those lucky enough to have some form of work."
"Women? Kerry, the man who voted for Bill Clinton's savage assault labeled "welfare reform", on poor women, said he might well appoint anti-abortion judges, adding magnanimously that he wouldn't want such appointments to lead to the overturning of Roe v Wade."
"Kerry vows to put more cops on the streets and there'll be no intermission in the war on drugs which has played a large part in producing the memorable statistic issued by the Justice Department last week, to the effect that the number of people caught in the toils of the criminal justice system grew by 130,700 last year. The grand total is now nearly 6.9 million"
"War in Iraq? A majority of the country wants out, certainly most Democrats. Kerry wants in, even more than Bush. When the DNC told Kucinich to stuff his peace plank, Kucinich tugged his forelock and told his followers to shuffle back in under the Big Tent and help elect a man who pledges to fight the war in Iraq better and longer than Bush. Feminist leaders kept their mouths shut when Kerry flew his kite about nominating anti-choice judges. Gay leaders didn't open their lips to utter so much as a squeak when Kerry declared his opposition to same-sex marriages and to civil unions. Did we hear from Norman
Lear and People for the American Way as Kerry, the man who voted for the Patriot Act, revived his Tipper Gore-ish posturing about the evils of popular culture? Of course we didn't, even though Kerry voted for the unconstitutional Communications Decency, a piece of legislation that even the prudish Joe Lieberman couldn't stomach.
Kerry told James Hoffa of the Teamsters this spring that he wouldn't touch the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge but would "drill everywhere else like never before". There wasn't a bleat from the big environmental groups. He pledged the same policy again to the American Gas Association a couple of months later, throwing in the prospect of a new trans-Alaska-Canada pipeline fornatural gas from the Arctic. Once again the big environmental groups held their tongues.
****True, Andy Stern, head of the Service Employees Union threw a gobbet of red meat onto the Convention floor by confiding to the Washington Post's David Broder that another four years of Bush might be less damaging than the stifling of needed reform within the party and the labor movement that would occur if Kerry becomes president*****. After a couple hours of being forced to stand on a milk crate with a copy of the party platform over his head and electrodes attached to his penis Stern recanted and said he was "a hundred per cent " for Kerry. Thus ended labor's great revolt against a candidate who's cast his share of votes in US Congress to ensure job flight from America and whose commitment to the living standards of working people is aptly resumed in his pledge to raise the minimum wage to $7 an hour by 2007, which is still far, far below that the minimum wage was worth in purchasing power when it peaked in the late 1960s."
"The message of this book is: don't put the cart before the horse. First come the ideals, the social movements, that create the gravitational pulls that politicians have to heed. Justice won't come because some politician pledged it on the final night of a convention, but in people's movements, citizens organizing together in the workplace, in their communities or on the frontlines defending their air, water and forests. There's work to be done. Let's do it." (http://www.counterpunch.org/dimesworth.html)
The language impact of the Confucius Institutes
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