by Chris Hedges
March 1, 2010
We owe Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney an apology. They were right about Barack Obama. They were right about the corporate state. They had the courage of their convictions and they stood fast despite wholesale defections and ridicule by liberals and progressives.
Obama lies as cravenly, if not as crudely, as George W. Bush. He promised us that the transfer of $12.8 trillion in taxpayer money to Wall Street would open up credit and lending to the average consumer. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), however, admitted last week that banks have reduced lending at the sharpest pace since 1942. As a senator, Obama promised he would filibuster amendments to the FISA Reform Act that retroactively made legal the wiretapping and monitoring of millions of American citizens without warrant; instead he supported passage of the loathsome legislation. He told us he would withdraw American troops from Iraq, close the detention facility at Guantánamo, end torture, restore civil liberties such as habeas corpus and create new jobs. None of this has happened.
Copyright © 2010 Truthdig
Chris Hedges spent two decades as a foreign reporter covering wars in Latin America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. He has written nine books, including Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (2009) and War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2003).
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Howard Zinn on “War and Social Justice” (at Binghamton University)
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william , that is exactly why i offered an alternative in a possible Bloomberg presidency . Even Nader insists that Bloomberg’s strength is that he is not an ideologue but a problem solver./. and yet , Bloomberg himself has received council from Nader on what to do in some areas . i see what you are getting at here. William James as we know calls this ”cash nexus ”. The non ideological pragmatic approach to something .
but Nader needs to keep the progressive agenda alive by running again . and , Nader’s history as you know is one where he builds ”broad based coalitions ” with various groups in order to defeat corporate supremacy over individual rights. the record does speak for itself .
my question to you is this : do you think that Mayor Micheal Bloomberg with all his knowledge of both public and private biz can take really clean this economic mess up ? what are your views as a pragmatist yourself ( you sound like one ) about a possible Bloomberg presidency ?
william , an activist of his caliber would make an excellent president . i worked on 3 Nader campaigns , and debated republicans and democrats in public forums as to why .
why settle for mediocrity ? when you hire someone for a job you hire the best. i am a professional musician . i only hire the best to play with me . and the sound is great because of that.
but the voters in this country are so into stellar mediocrity , or they are too cowardly to take a chance , that we have missed an opportunity to elect a great man that really would be a great president .
at this point in our economic history , i am convince that only Micheal Bloomberg can really save this country . we need Pericles! and Bloomberg is him . even Nader said that Bloomberg could win if he ran and that nobody would own him . and i think that Bloomberg not being an ideologue could work well with congress and clean this mess up .
Rocket, here’s the thing…you are a muscian right? Ok. You hire me and you hand me the chart for Desafinado. We start and right off the bat I say’ Whoa wait a minute this is always much better if we just skip the G7 and just go straight to the A7′ you say ‘No we gotta hit the G7 but I insist. Your bass player chimes in and agrees with you but I refuse to compromise. I say look, I’ve played this tune all my life and I always go straight to the A7…Are you going to keep me in the combo? I won’t compromise. I won’t listen. I won’t cooperate. It can only be my way since I am a purist in my views and any compromise on my part means I am watering down my aesthetic senses. There you have the reality of a Nader presidency. Perhaps in a perfect world a Nader presidency would be viable. But as you know too well, we do not live in a perfect world.
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If Ralph Nader were president now we would be exactly where we are now except that president Nader would be threatening to veto the current HCR bill if Congress passed it. Resolutions would have been passed in Congress to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The right and the corporate press would still be railing against the socialist destroyer in the WH; the Tea Partiers would still be as stridently anti-government as they are now, perhaps even more so precisely because a president Nader would have not been afraid to use the bully pulpit to advocate for a public option; in fact a president Nader would undoubtedly advocate for a single payer BUT president Nader would have no support in Congress. There would not be a 59 seat Green (or Independent) majority in the Senate; there would not even be a Green ( or Independent) contingent in the House cabable of even effectively stalling a bill to include president Nader’s preferences.
Do not misunderstand me. You are surely correct when you point out that Ralph Nader has been a tireless advocate. And yes, I’ve been here as an adult since ‘ Unsafe at any Speed’. But the fact is that however great a consumer and social advocate Ralph Nader has been and continues to be he is an inept politician. Sadly we live in a world where politicians and not advocates make the rules.
the fact is william is that ralph nader had proven himself to be one of the finest leaders in the 20th century. his tireless work on consumerism alone is enough . but add to that his work on electoral reform , and you have history in the making .
you may be too young to really know ralph nader’s history . i dont know . there is a movie called ”an unreasonable man ” that shows both sides of the coin on ralph .
if Nader was president now we would not be in this mess. his record speaks for itself.
So you believe, do you, that we owe Ralph Nader an apology. Oh, I think perhaps not. For what, pray tell, should we apologize? I see you base your case on what Obama has not done. I can only agree that, yes, he has not done the things we hoped for. And, yes, I will agree that what he has done is exactly what we’d hoped to avoid. And yes, if the currently drastically misnamed Health Care Reform bill passes I would not cast my ballot for those who voted for it. But what has that to do with Nader? In fact, what has anything to do with Nader? What is Nader? Naught but a perennial whiner who sits on the sidelines of politics and will not engage. He will not take a side; he will only avow that he and he alone has the answer and oh, if only we lowly and unenlightened could but see the wisdom of Nader we would surely offer him the crown, which he, in feigned humility would perforce refuse thrice, only to accept in the end as we accede to his correctness. Or is it the Quixotic Nader who, in campaigns past, aided by his interchangeable Panzas, took up his sword to tilt at the evil windmills of society only to fall in the end, defeated by the moneyed interests he so valiantly opposed. Is it he we should apologize to? Again, I think not. And who do you rally ‘round to make your point? Joe Stack? While I would extend my sympathies to his family, I am sorry, but I will not accept the meanderings of a clearly disturbed and perhaps paranoid individual, who made bad choices in his life and in the end could only blame others for his problems, as being insightful.
It is almost laughable that you then denigrate the ‘Left’ as cowardly; lacking a ‘moral compass’ and political impotence then offer us the Green party and Nader. Who do you suppose the Green party to be if not ‘the left’? But you are right; if ever there were an impotent political party it is surely the Greens. They have been around since at least 1980 and they still don’t have a coherent message. They, like their champion Nader, will only sit on the sidelines and carp away at both established parties without actually getting into the muck of politics to find who they might work with. No, they are pure; virginal, almost, well, the second coming. They never waver; never bend their ideological purity for any compromise, no matter how beneficial that compromise might be. You speak of wandering in the wilderness. Let me ask you, where, if not wandering in the wilderness, have the Greens been for the past 30 years? What have they accomplished? Who have they elected? Oh yes, every four years they trot out some candidate for another longest of shots grab for the presidential brass ring then they slink away whining at how the foolish electorate could once again deny them the office they so richly deserve. Of course, one must wonder how these purest of the pure would govern. Certainly some among you must realize that by excoriating both political parties you would have no allies in Congress. I mean, the Democrats have a 59 seat majority and there are currently nearly 300 bills passed by the House that haven’t been acted on. What in God’s name (forgive me Ralph) do you suppose that you could do with zero, zilch, nada in the way of support in the Congress even if you were to win the presidency? The Green party is the epitome of an effete political party. They have been unable or unwilling to set about building a grass roots organization capable of commanding a place at the table. Please, Green Party, go away and take the likes of Nader with you.
And speaking of the enlightened one, he, like you, had article on another page on this site. While I surely see that his analysis is spot on; it is not something revelatory. In fact, insightful though it may be, it is well known. In it Nader posits that presidents Bush and Obama share an arrogance that leads them to believe that “they have unbridled discretion to engage in almost any overt or covert” action. This is in a section of his page that rails against CIA ‘secret’ wars. I have no idea if Nader is of the opinion that perhaps the CIA should be torn into a thousand pieces and cast to the wind or not. But we all know what happened to the last president who tried that and the coup has come a long way since then.
Apologize to Nader? No, rather I think Nader should apologize to us for pretending to be something he is not; a leader.
Excellent response…NOT! Go back to school and learn how this country was supposed to be run. NO political “factions” If you still vote for the dem’s you’re an uneducated, ANTI-Founding Fathers tool! At least vote out all politicians that are in “factions” and only vote for independents that will change the status quo for the people, not their respective campaign contributors.
I wrote a letter to Barrack Obama a few weeks ago. In the letter I asked him if he had read the letter that Ralph Nader sent him critiquing his State of the Union speech.
The letter also said that, although he is President, Ralph Nader is the one I listen to.
You have no idea how happy I am that you give Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney credit for voicing their opinion of a popular presidential candidate when others were afraid.
I have read most of Ralph Nader’s many books, including his last one, Only the Superrich Can Save Us. Some of the descriptions and comments were so funny I had to put down the book and laugh out loud. I still laugh whenever I even think of some of the comments.
I have read several of your books too, and, of course, all of your articles posted on Dandelion Salad.
No factions? Really? Tell me, who were the Federalists? Who were the Democratic-Republicans? Who won the election in 1800? Which party did he represent? Who did he run against? Which party did HE represent? No political factions? You want ME to go back to school?
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