What if . . . ?

I love reading stories to kids.

How about you?

Here’s one of my favorites.

A modern classic.

Ha ha ha. I love that story!

It’s so thought-provoking.

Can you imagine a world like that?

Sadly I can’t find any kids that want to sit down and listen to a story any more.

Hmm.


Posted in Nihilism, Philosophy, Satire, Social Commentary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Connect The Dots

Wreckage of the Malaysian airliner mysteriously shot down over the Ukraine.

I’m not going to point the finger and accuse people of being inept.  Because the simple, disturbing truth is there is a skill that has been largely overlooked by the American educational system.

I refer to the science of connecting the dots. I sure didn’t get it school.  Did any of you?

So let’s begin to address this oversight.

I’ve provided a basic exercise below.  Let’s start here and we’ll build on it.

Good luck!  It’s not as easy as it looks.

 


Posted in Deconstruction, Political Analysis, Satire, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Character Witness

I make no secret of this.  I have a book which was just published this year that I hope will change the world.

Two-and-a-half years in the making, it’s not just more pulp fiction to add to the pile. I wrote this with serious intentions of making a difference __ a huge difference __ in the way America goes about its elections.

The great thing about writing a novel is being able to speak through the characters. Martin Truth is my main character for An Unlikely Truth. Martin is a third-party congressional candidate making his fourth attempt at ousting a duplicitous, blowhard, right-wing incumbent in Ohio’s conservative 3rd District. Like many __ how about most? __ politicians these days, the incumbent says one thing, then does the exact opposite. His loyalty is to big campaign donors, corporate sponsors, and deep-pocketed oligarchs, at the expense of his well-meaning but gullible constituents. In baffling but predictable lockstep, people keep voting this guy back in, even though it’s ultimately against their own interests __ sound familiar?

Martin wants to put some integrity back into politics, at least in his district, and fights an incredibly difficult battle against near impossible odds and the ruthless tactics and brutal smear campaign of his opponent, driven by a naive but firm belief in the fundamental right of voters to be properly represented.

Here is a key passage from the book . . .

“What did Martin Truth stand for?
As the Green Party candidate he obviously believed in protecting the environment. Something had to be done to stop global warming, if it wasn’t too late already. We had to end our addiction to fossil fuels, especially oil. There should be huge private and public investments in renewable alternative energy sources: wind, ocean, solar. We had to reverse deforestation. End desertification. Halt the privatization of water and other basic necessities. Encourage local food production, promote organic agriculture, and reduce the use of pesticides and GMO seeds. In general, the world needed to back off corporatizing everything and return to local production and control. With bold and determined political leaders on the front lines, it needed to confront and defeat the multinational corporate juggernaut that was polluting and destroying the Earth.
As might be expected, Martin’s progressivism extended broadly from his commitment to environmental causes to a number of co-related social issues. He categorically took exception to the every-man-for-himself madness of the right wing and believed that all of us through representative government should take a greater role in helping others, especially those who were less able to fend for themselves. This included the old, the infirm, victims of racism and other forms of discrimination. And those who had lost their jobs and fallen on hard times. The poor. The undereducated. Children. Most definitely children! Without a doubt, Martin would be labeled as a bleeding-heart liberal by the crass law-of-the-jungle conservatives, who he thought lacked both compassion and common decency, people who called themselves Christians but somehow missed the most obvious and critical aspects of Christ’s teachings: Feed the hungry, clothe the poor, heal the sick, tend to the needs of the less fortunate.
‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me … Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’  –  Matthew 25:35/36/40
Hardly what could be called a Bible-thumper, questionably even a Christian at all by any conventional standards, Martin had used that passage in his campaign literature last election season. Very few voters seemed to appreciate its relevance to the progressive ideals he espoused. If they did, they still managed to forget about him when it came time to vote.
Martin was also deeply committed to human rights, under relentless assault long before humankind even recognized what they were. It was ironic that now in many countries which had long had an onerous record of human rights abuses, there were significant improvements, while in America itself, allegedly champion of humane and just treatment, fairness, and respect for all, human rights was suffering dismal setbacks every day.
He was especially concerned about the intrusive levels of officially unacknowledged surveillance, and the constant push for locking up more and more citizens. There seemed to be a new mentality taking over which destroyed any sense of proportion and reason with respect to incarceration. It certainly was destroying justice and equality before the law. The operating principle was: If we build it, they will come. Or more to the point: We’ve built a helluva lot of these prisons, now we’ve got to fill them! They were filling the prisons all right. Mostly with people of color.
Admittedly, there was a lot on his wish list, a substantial catalog of action items which embraced the things Martin thought had to be done immediately to reverse the downward, self-sabotaging course of the country. It was a daunting set of tasks requiring the energy of the whole nation working together, unified and determined in their dedication to rebuild a great America.
Daunting or not, these were the things which drove him to seek a seat in Congress.
These were the things he thought crucial for a better world.”

People love to label others. Somehow this puts them at ease. Once they’ve put someone in a box, they feel they can deal with them. Or just dismiss them and walk away. I full agree with Martin Truth. So what does this make me? A liberal? A socialist?

I think it just makes me a decent human being. If I ever have to stand trial, I hope to call to the stand a character witness who merely says that. “Like Martin Truth, John   is a decent human being. He just wants a better world.”

An Unlikely Truth has been out since mid-February. Just go here for all of the ways to pick up a copy. If the reviews are to be believed, it’s a good read with a solid message.

I certainly hope your reading it will be as inspiring as it was for me to write it.

Peace.

Posted in Books, Corporatism, Political Analysis, Social Commentary, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

From Bill To Hillary With Love

As we all know, everyone is being watched, monitored, recorded. No one can escape the eyes and ears of the national security state.

Here is an excerpt from the transcript of a conversation between Bill and Hillary Clinton recently culled from the files of the NSA.

Classified (TS-SCI Poly Clearance Required):  Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. Cell phone interception, June 27, 2014, 10:34 pm.

Hillary:  “I don’t know. That hope and change thing sure fooled a lot of people.”

Bill:  “Yeah, but fool me twice. You know the drill.”

Hillary:  “So what should I do?”

Bill:  “You know what worked for me. Tell people what they want to hear. Then steal the agenda of the conservatives so you don’t get attacked from the right. Deregulate, bomb, suck up to Wall Street. It’s a sure winner. And you know what else clinched it for me?”

Hillary:  “What’s that?”

Bill:  “Playing saxophone. People loved that. Especially black people.”

Hillary:  “I can’t play saxophone. You know how I hate putting things in my mouth.”

Bill:  “That’s for sure . . . Hey! How about guitar?”

Hillary:  “As long as I don’t break my nails.”

Bill:  “I’ve got it! We’ll put you on a crash course and you can learn Stairway To Heaven. That’s it! It could be your campaign theme song. That would lock up the hippie burnout vote. You know, all those delusional airhead idealists who want peace, love and justice. OMG! I’m a fucking genius!”

Hillary:  “Yes, Bill, you really are. Which is why I still love you . . . sort of.”

People ask . . . ‘Is Hillary Clinton a neocon-lite?’

My unequivocal reply? Nope. No way! Not a chance. Actually . . .

Hillary Clinton is a neocon-heavy.

She is a neocon wet dream!

If she’s elected, she’ll make Margaret Thatcher look like Mother Theresa.

Especially, since as the first female president she’ll be determined to show how tough she is, how she can hold her own, bombing, bullying, and bullshitting with the most bestial of the bellicose buckaroos and their bursting ball sacks of belligerence and bombast.

Hey! How many children starved to death under sanctions on Iraq after Operation Desert Storm? Half a million? Ha! Mere child’s play, my friends. And then after we destroy Syria, there’s Iran. That’s just getting warmed up. Then the real fun begins . . . Russia! . . . China! How many nukes have we got ready to lob at them?

Hillary is putting on a good show. She has the best handlers money can buy.

But don’t be fooled. Sweet talk is just that . . . talk.

It’s all on record. At least some pundits are paying attention . . .

Clinton as ‘Poster Child for the Military-Industrial Complex by Jacob Chamberlain
Hillary Clinton, the unrepentant hawk by Steve Chapman
Are Neocons Getting Ready to Ally With Hillary Clinton? by Jacob Heilbrunn
“More Of A Neocon Than The Republican Nominee” by Joe Scarborough
Hillary Clinton Flaunts Her Surveillance State Baggage
by Robert Scheer
Good Riddance To Warmonger Hillary Clinton by Bob Dreyfuss
Hillary Clinton’s Militarism Exposed by Stephen Zunes
Hillary Clinton: Warmonger For The Bankster Elite by Charleston Voice
Hillary Clinton 2016: A Recipe For Endless War by Abby Martin

Sure, it would be nice to have our first ever female president. But let’s not have putting a bullet item in the history books override common sense and good judgment.

Yes, we should have a female president but . . . the right female.

Certainly not the Machiavellian Mrs. Clinton.

Maybe this one here.

Better yet.

Posted in Democracy, Political Analysis, Satire, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Militarizing The Police – Part 4

Kelly Thomas was killed by police brutality.

Let me be clear about something here. When I talk about militarizing the police, I’m not just referring to equipment. I’m talking about a mentality __ a world view.

Militarizing anyone is a tough, convoluted process. As they grow up, even if boys are taught to be boys, they are also taught to love thy neighbor, be respectful of human life, thou shalt not kill, and so on. Then when taken into the military, everything is turned upside down and they are told: Okay, now forget about all of that, at least with respect to some subset of the human race __ the Japs, the Nazis, the Arabs, the Gooks, whoever. They are told that none of those old rules of kindness, even God’s sacred commandments, don’t apply. Those people over there are your enemies. You will show them no respect, no mercy, in fact, you are to destroy them, kill them without hesitation or remorse. And if you do a good job of slaughtering them, you will be lauded, decorated with medals, become a national hero, the object of admiration and praise. Chicks will dig you.

Okay . . .

What happens when the police start seeing themselves as an extension of the military, here not to protect and serve, issue the occasional traffic violation, give talks to kids in school about being good citizens, but to PROTECT THE HOMELAND against THEM?

And then what happens, when the average American citizen comes under suspicion? Suspicion of being a misfit, a troublemaker, a dissident, a traitor? Of not being “with us” but “against us”? Of being a commie-sympathizer, a towelhead, a jihadist? What happens when databases are being kept of potential threats, of people who allegedly fit some profile of being a terrorist, lists of citizens who allegedly fail to fall in line, and may well be trying to undermine our great country, sabotage the government, destroy the land of the brave, home of the free? What happens when the public is now seen as the potential enemy?

That’s the kind of militarization of the police we most have to fear. Because here’s what you get . . .

Enough said. I don’t want to be accused of being a fear monger or some wild-eyed Chicken Little paranoid. There’s more than enough of that going on already. But we’ve all been put on notice. The signs are there and we’ve been given fair warning.

Given how far along I believe the militarization of the police has already progressed, what is the government __ both the law enforcement branches and many agencies who provide non-security related services like the Social Security Administration and postal service __ preparing for?

Social order breaks down when people become desperate or angry. When they are both desperate and angry, the doors for massive insurrection swing wide open. What could precipitate such catastrophic and violent breakdown of our society?

In my view, there are a number of scenarios which are not entirely out of the question __ some say they are likely __ which could drive desperation and anger. These are, I might note, what the government think tanks themselves say they’re worried about.

  1. The abandonment of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency or machinations by private banking and investment resulting in the complete collapse of the American economy.
  2. The foundering of delivery mechanisms or severe interruption of the supply chains for the critical necessities for survival: food, water, electricity, heating oil, natural gas, gasoline.
  3. Violent insurrection or civil war based on widespread discontent and hysteria.
  4. World War III or any far-reaching global conflict precipitating any of the above.

The U.S. dollar as the reserve currency is already under assault. We have become grossly irresponsible and abused the enormous privileges we enjoyed for decades. Now the BRICS and several other nations are trying to get out from under the oppressive thumb of the U.S. banking cartels.

The supply chains for food and other necessities are long and fragile. It has been claimed, for example, that if the trucks, boats, planes and trains supplying the supermarket were to somehow be compromised, the shelves would be completely empty in just a few day. Then what? Hunger is a virulent and uncompromising enemy of social order.

The government has created such a vast pool of fear and paranoia, people have armed themselves to the teeth. Back in the 90s, the police beating of Rodney King set off huge riots across the country. Those were much calmer days than we have now post-911. With the grotesque polarization of the population on a vast array of issues, the U.S. has become a tinderbox. It’s hard to predict what the spark might be that will set it all off. But it sure doesn’t take a Nostradamus to see what’s coming.

With Syria, Iran, the Ukraine, the encirclement of Russia and China by the U.S. military, it is obvious to anyone looking that there’s a psychotic rogue element within the architecture of the U.S. government that is itching for a war. When it happens, with economies across the landscape on the brink of collapse and the fragile balance of peace in the world ready to shatter, this will mean conflagration and chaos like never before in history. If America in the midst of this insanity, were to go nuclear __ and yes, my friends, there are plans for it __ even if there’s no sizable retaliation and we survive, the U.S. will become a leprous pariah in the international community. However you stack it up, if we continue on our present course and are the instigator of a major war, America will end up bankrupt, scorned, isolated __ a pathetic shell of a once glorious nation.

Though you wouldn’t know it, with all of the “exceptionalist” blather and chest-beating jingoism that passes for patriotism in the media and spews from the pulpits of political power, America is widely resented, feared, despised. When the rest of the world can’t handle any more of our belligerence and turns on us, it won’t end well. We’ll go down kicking, screaming, throwing an epic tantrum.

That’s how federal agencies responsible now for civil order see things.

That’s what the local police are being militarized for.

That’s what they are preparing for.

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Militarizing The Police – Part 3

It’s prudent to be prepared.

So . . .

The Department of Homeland Security is purchasing 450 million rounds __ yes, you read that correctly . . . 450 million rounds of ammunition. Half of the order is for hollow point bullets and the other half for special armor and wall piercing ammunition. Hollow point bullets are forbidden by international law for use in warfare, so these cannot be for the battlefield. They are more expensive than regular bullets, so it doesn’t make sense that, as claimed by a spokesperson for DHS, they are being used for “target practice”. Besides, they only use about 15 million bullets a year on government target ranges. 450,000,000 rounds is enough to keep them practicing for thirty years.

Along similar lines, the DHS will be taking delivery of sixteen of the 2,717 MRAPs __ mine-resistant and protected combat vehicles __ retrofitted by Navistar Defense, their manufacturer, for use here in America. As the linked article sensibly asks: “Why would they need such over-the-top vehicles on U.S. streets to withstand IEDs, mine blasts, and 50 caliber hits to bullet-proof glass? In a war zone … yes, definitely. Let’s protect our men and women. On the streets of America … ?”

President Obama with his March 16, 2012 signing of the National Defense Resources Preparedness Executive Order effectively establishes the right to impose Martial Law, at his own discretion even under peace time conditions, claiming full control over all of the resources of America, including even the labor of its citizens. This executive order expands his already extensive authority under the NDAA, which he signed on New Years Eve 2011 while none of us were paying much attention.

To make sure that no act of “terrorism” within our borders goes undetected, the DHS has established an expansive system of fusion centers coordinating its activities with those of local law enforcement agencies, sharing information on U.S. citizens and intelligence about their movements and activities. The legality of collecting much of this data is questionable but it goes on because no one is able to challenge it. As we certainly know from the reaction of most public figures to the Snowden revelations, there is virtually no evidence in the national conversation or will in Congress of wanting to put a stop to this.

Yes, it’s prudent to be prepared.

But . . .

We need to be asking ourselves, or maybe more appropriately those in charge of rolling over the Constitution, chipping away at the privacy and legal rights of American citizens, while quietly engineering and implementing our New American Police State . . .

What is our government preparing for?


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Militarizing The Police – Part 2

Curl up in a tiny ball!

Hide!  Right now!

Don’t go anywhere!

Don’t say anything!

And for heaven’s sake, stop thinking!

You’ve been warned!

Ignore this simple advice, you could end up like . . .

Aisha Jones or Roger Serrato or Eurie Stamps or Jose Guerena Ortiz or Pearlie Golden or Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams or Andy Lopez.

How did they end up?

Dead!

Killed by self-appointed judge-jury-executioner police, pumped up on power, their inflated sense of duty, their skewed sense of justice, unrestrained by many time-honored legal and constitutional mechanisms, which used to make America a safe and desirable place to live.

People who don’t end up dead are victimized in other ways. From a chilling but excellent article in the Huffington Post . . .

“The latest incident comes out of Atlanta, Georgia, where a SWAT team, attempting to execute a no-knock drug warrant in the middle of the night, launched a flash bang grenade into the targeted home, only to have it land in a crib where a 19-month-old baby lay sleeping. The grenade exploded in the baby’s face, burning his face, lacerating his chest, and leaving him paralyzed. He is currently in the hospital in a medically induced coma.
“Where too was the outrage when a Minnesota SWAT team raided the wrong house in the middle of the night, handcuffed the three young children, held the mother on the floor at gunpoint, shot the family dog, and then ‘forced the handcuffed children to sit next to the carcass of their dead pet and bloody pet for more than an hour’ while they searched the home?”

‘Protect and Serve’ is being replaced by ‘Shoot to Kill, Ask Questions Later’.

We need to ask . . .

What prompts over 50,000 SWAT team raids annually, many of them unjustified and horribly botched often for infractions as trivial as home poker games, organic gardening, betting on a football game, suspicion of music piracy, growing pot in the basement for personal use? These are hardly acts of terrorism compromising the safety of citizens or undermining the national security.

What happened to the constitutional requirement for search warrants?

What happened to restraint and respect for human life?

What happened to innocent until proven guilty?

What happened to common decency?

This is not a trivial matter.

Be informed:  A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State.

Posted in Democracy, Political Rant, Social Commentary | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Militarizing The Police – Part 1

Has everybody gone bonkers?

Okay, that was rude. Anyone who visits my website and reads my blogs is obviously the textbook definition of completely sane, as well as being beautiful, intelligent, and beyond reproach.

But the other day, the picture you see here was posted on Facebook, aptly titled along the lines of:  “Can you believe this? Why do they need this in Doraville, GA?”

Okay . . . I completely agree with that sentiment. Doraville, GA is a sleepy town with less than 8,500 people. Why do they need a military tank?

But let me be candid:  What really prompts me to throw in my three cents here is some lady who commented on the Facebook posting. I won’t name this person, because I don’t want to hurt her feelings or tarnish her reputation, even though it’s patently obvious she’s too stupid to boil water. But what she said was mind-boggling, idiotic, horrifying, and at the same time revealing of a mentality that seems to be metastasizing. Paraphrasing . . .

“Of course, they need this. What if it was your daughter who was kidnapped, and being held hostage. They could use it to save her!”

Where do we begin?

Right off, let me point out that armored vehicles like this only protect the people inside them, the law enforcement officials charged with leading an assault against well-armed adversaries, be they bank robbers, terrorists, kidnappers, or rampaging postal clerks.

They do not protect hostages!

Next let me invoke my credentials as a novelist, using a degree of creative license and just a bare minimum of imagination, to explain to this mentally challenged lady what I would have a kidnapper character of my creation do if the police showed up in this tank. I can’t claim much originality, since this is usually how this sort of scene plays out in real life.

Right off, my psychopathic antagonist would give them notice: “Listen, you short bus meter maids. You’ve got one minute to turn that 8 ton hunk of steel around and beat a retreat, or I put a bullet in the girl’s pretty head!”

Then, if whoever was in charge of the operation didn’t get the message, instead deciding  to proceed with their fool’s errand, my character would do what any demented kidnapping psychotic would do. As the tank approached the house, he would have one final going away fling by raping the girl, capping off a quick but satisfying skrog by capping her (i.e. refer to bullet allusion above), then blowing his own brains out, because even though he’s crazy, he’s got pride, thus has no intention of being captured and humiliated by a bunch of hayseed sheriffs in some backwater county in Texas or Missouri or Georgia.

So, lady who sees all the potential merits in having gear designed for use by our military on the battlefield in the hands of knucklehead local bumpkin Andy Griffith police, whaddya think? How did that work out?

What is going on in America?

What logic prompts this kind of overkill?

What possible constructive purpose is there to the federal government giving __ handing over free of charge! __ $500,000,000 worth of heavy-duty military battlefield equipment to local law enforcement agencies, as it did in FY 2011?

First of all, the escalation of weaponry, that is, getting bigger and badder machine guns, flame throwers, grenades, tanks and assault vehicles, just ends up piling up more dead bodies, in increasingly smaller chunks of human remains.

Second, what happened to American ingenuity? You remember that, I’m sure. It’s using the grey matter crammed into our skulls to figure out ways of solving problems. In the hostage situation above, for example, crisis management teams have psychologists and negotiators. They have marksmen or stealth experts who can climb through heating ducts, and who knows, maybe ways of making themselves invisible. What we have there is mind power at work, as opposed to fire power. Which again alludes to the simple fact, generally heavy artillery is not the best way of extricating a frail young creature from a hostage situation __ at least in one piece and still breathing.

So what is all of this stuff for? Why do small towns now have vehicles that were designed for use in Afghanistan, not the corn belt or even the most violent urban areas of America? Why is the Department of Defense giving this stuff to local police units?

I think I know. But before I get into it __ that will be in Part 4 __ I would love to hear your comments. Please stick to the topic. I don’t want any 2nd Amendment raving or political rants from either end of the spectrum. Please just explain . . .

Why are the local police being militarized in America?

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Just Say No! . . . To Duopoly

Two of my recent postings have created a storm of controversy. I’ve been subjected to extremes  of hyperbolic praise and acidic vituperation.

With a few welcome exceptions, The ‘H’ Word and When Hope Becomes Hype have largely been judged as vicious attacks on President Obama, as in personal condemnation of the man. His administration is certainly fingered, because the specific lessons to be taken away are definitely germane and unquestionable timely. While there’s value in never repeating the mistakes of history, what’s the point of looking at Eisenhower or Coolidge when there are hard lessons to be learned right now? And how irresponsible it would be to not single out and identify those directly responsible for the destructive policies and evident treachery unfolding before our eyes in real time?

Let me candid about something: Fairly recently I concluded the President never intended to deliver on his promises. However, during his first campaign and the first few months of his presidency, I very much believed in Mr. Obama and took the man at his word, whereas many others, including Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report, said he was not at all what he appeared to be. This was before the 2008 election.

While I’ve come to this same conclusion belatedly __ and that and that alone is the thrust of my two controversial postings __ I am not interested so much in berating Mr. Obama, as preventing the same mistake from happening again.

The same mistake would be Hillary Clinton. Or Jeb Bush. Or Rand Paul. Or any of the other duopoly pretenders to the throne who are already in the limelight in anticipation of the 2016 election.

What’s the difference between butterscotch and butter rum candy ? Sometimes I can tell. Usually they taste pretty much the same. Frankly it’s such a close call, it’s not worth any hand-wringing or long, involved debate about it.

That’s the choice we are faced with in our current political system. The truth is, Democrat and Republican are in the long view pretty much the same flavor.

They are two sides of the same 1% oligarchic corporate-owned coin.

Heads or tails?

It’s still a quarter. And it won’t buy you a cup of coffee.

It won’t even pay the bus fair to your second job or the unemployment office.

So what in my view is the lesson we take from travesty of the last few elections? What can we learn from the play-for-pay politics of big money, epitomized by Obama’s currying the favor of corporations at the expense of 99% of the American public? What can we do about the stranglehold of Citizens United and McCutcheon? What is the alternative to the the Democrat vs. Republican dog-and-pony show which has made meaningful voting a fatuous exercise in futility? How can you and I as citizens of our democracy-in-exile make our voice heard above the din of cronyism and Beltway banditry? It’s really quite simple . . .

Just say ‘no’ to this sham. Just say ‘no’ to the fraud of Tweedledee-Tweedledum voting.

Just say ‘no’ to the duopoly which has as much relevance to real democracy as Monopoly has to the real economy.

Just say ‘no’ to the “lesser-of-two-evils” non-choice choice.

Vote your conscience, vote your principles. Do the right thing. Not the brought-to-you-by Monsanto or Morgan Chase or big pharma or big fossil fuel or media monopoly thing.

Here’s one really great thing that Obama has repeated over and over:

Yes, we can!

I agree!

Yes, we can . . . say ‘no’ to the duopoly and start having real choice.

Support Bernie Sanders.

Support Jill Stein.

Support any “non-partisan” candidate.

Support those individuals who answer to you on election day . . .

Not Wall Street.

Not too-big-to-jail banks.

Not transnational corporations.

Not play-for-pay lobbyists and SuperPACS.

Not the Koch brothers and other sociopathic oligarchs.

Certainly not the corporate owned Democratic and Republican puppet parties.

Make your vote actually count for something.

Just say ‘no’ to duopoly.

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Why do “they” blame Nader?

Let me start out by saying, there are two distinct groups of “they”, each with their own reasons and agendas for claiming that Ralph Nader lost the election for Al Gore in 2000.

The most visible and virulent, of course, are the sour puss Democrats. I understand how they feel. Which is why I have no respect for them anymore.

Disclosure: I was raised working class in Detroit, when unions were strong. I don’t think I even met a Republican for my first eighteen years. Certainly my parents, their friends, and everyone within 50 miles of the trailer park we lived in was Democrat. Until 1996, I voted as a knee-jerk Democrat.

So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

The presidential election of 2000 was decided in Florida. Almost 6,000,000 people voted. Al Gore lost to George W. by 537 votes. There were massive irregularities in the election, including 54,000 alleged felons who were disenfranchised of the right to vote. Most turned out to not be felons at all, and 54% of them were African-American, a demographic highly likely to have voted for Al Gore. Also, there were all sorts of problems with chads and double-voting, usually attributable to weirdness with vote tallying and the ballots themselves.

Having said that . . .

97,421 people voted for Ralph Nader. It is assumed that had these 97,421 people not voted for Nader, they would have voted for Al Gore and he would have swept the election.

Wrong!

But even before I get into that, why don’t they rail against the 538 registered Democrats who were too lazy, too drunk, too preoccupied, too busy shacking up with some honey, too hooked on some soap opera or sitcom, or maybe too stoned, to get off their lard asses and vote for Al? Why pick on people who made a considered, deeply principled decision to take a stand against the rabid conservatism of the right __ aka the Republicans __ AND against the sell-out and betrayal of the progressive left by the Democrats?

It’s no secret. Bill Clinton and Al Gore were responsible for tilting so far to the political right they gutted the Democratic Party of its core values. True progressives __ the kind of people who responded to Nader’s message __ comprising the 97,421 and voted for him in Florida, were finally fed up with the Democratic Party, its pandering to big business, its pathetic cowering to bubble heads like Newt Gingrich.

If Ralph Nader had not been on the ticket, most of those 97,421 would have stayed home. Because they __ like yours truly __ had had it up to their widow’s peak with the Beltway’s business-as-usual, resented Clinton’s pivot to the right, and were stunned if not horrified by the corporate takeover of the Democratic Party.

I admit I was charmed by Clinton. I loved his humor, his persona, his sax playing. He was __ and still is __ a brilliant speaker, a real charmer. But remember, this is the man who led the charge for deregulating Wall Street and the abolition of Glass-Steagall, initiated the subversion of the social safety net with his aggressive attack on welfare, and foisted on a gullible nation the horrible trade agreement known as NAFTA .

Yes … NAFTA!

I remember watching the debate between Al Gore __ who by then I found both articulate and in his robotic way extremely mesmerizing __ and Ross Perot. I recall my reflexive and now embarrassing rooting for Al, wanting him to put that ugly little jerk in his place. But guess what? Al was wrong! I was wrong! Ross Perot was dead on the money. NAFTA has turned out to be, just as Mr. Perot predicted, a very bad deal for America.

That was just the tip of the iceberg. Much of the Clinton-Gore agenda __ Mr. Gore’s commitment to the environment being the commendable exception __ turned this country completely around. But in the wrong direction!

When the 2000 campaign got underway, many of us were getting wise to this. Growing numbers of voters were becoming restless, disenchanted. I sat in the huge coliseum in Portland, Oregon where 10,000 people paid to hear Ralph Nader speak. That’s right, we paid for tickets like we were going to a Sting concert. That’s how desperate people were becoming for a presidential candidate who talked straight and made sense.

So let me take this a step further. Instead of blaming principled voters who used the ballot to make a genuine cry for real change, why not blame the Democratic Party for making a challenge from Mr. Nader a necessity? Why not blame all of the knee-jerk Democrats who maintained their steadfast, unprincipled and unthinking loyalty, despite the fact that the party was moving further and further to the right, abandoning the unions, abandoning their core working and middle class constituencies? The country then deserved and still deserves a real alternative, a choice which aligns with the vast majority of the voting public on most key issues. The Nader phenomenon was created by the gaping void left when the Democratic Party become the Republican Party Lite.

So Democrats, blame yourselves for Al Gore losing the 2000 election! Don’t scapegoat a man who has given forty years of his life to unselfish public service, has been a model of integrity, has always been open and honest about his views, never sold out, and has been rewarded with ridicule, mockery and every vile form of abuse our shallow and snide media clowns could whip up between games of Foosball and sniffing celebrity panties.

At the beginning of this article, I said there were two “they” factions who propagate the Spoiler Nader myth. The second set of “theys” is a little more stealthy. Please pay close attention, folks.

I’ll tell you who else benefits from this false narrative. The conservatives! The right wing! Because if the public can be convinced that the choice is only between Tweedledee and Tweedledum __ as Nader characterized the Democrat-Republican option __ there will never be a credible threat to their agenda.

The only occasion Democratic candidates __ generally fairly privileged and connected individuals who live more in the stratospheric upper reaches of society __ give notice to the needs of the working and middle classes are when they are challenged from the left. That’s why the New Deal became the agenda of the Democratic Party. The country was in turmoil and socialists and even communists were viewed as a legitimate threat at the polls. Same thing at the end of the 19th Century with the rise of the Progressives. When there is what is perceived as a real alternative to oligarchic, monopolistic, and corporate control, the Democratic Party must embrace progressive policies or get their butts kicked at election time. It’s pure politics.

But . . . if everyone can be convinced that voting for a third party is throwing away their votes, voila! No threat from the left. The Democratic Party makes its gradual but certain migration to the comfort and safety of Daddy Warbucks. Big money talks and politicians walk. But with their backs to ordinary citizens like us. With Citizens United and the recent McCutcheon decision by the Supreme Court, that is truer than ever before in our history.

So the other they __ the right wing of this country __ also want you to think there has never been or never will be a progressive option. “See what happens. You vote for those kooks and you end up throwing the election!”

I’d really like to think we’re smarter than this. But it’s not encouraging. Third-party voting is a tough way to go. I voted Green the last three presidential elections. As a result I suffer the constant taunts about throwing my vote away and being an air-headed chump. But I don’t for one second believe that I in any way furthered the evil juggernaut of the right wing in this country. I like to think __ perhaps too idealistically __ I’m just part of an awakening, a vanguard for what will turn politics in America around and restore something resembling the ideal of democracy to our nation.

There’s one other benefit . . .

I can sleep at night.

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