"The wealthy, not only by private fraud but also by common laws, do every day pluck and snatch away from the people some part of their daily living. Therefore, when I consider and weigh in my mind these commonwealths which nowadays do flourish, I perceive nothing but a certain conspiracy of rich men in procuring their own commodities under the name and authority of the commonwealth.

They invent and devise all means and crafts, first how to keep safely without fear of losing that which they have unjustly gathered together, and next how to hire and abuse the work and labor of the people for as little money and effort as possible."

Thomas More, Utopia

Friday, May 30, 2008

It's About The Issues, Not The Fluff

Ralph Nader on just why it is Ralph Nader has my vote, courtesy of The Beast:

“The American people have got ask themselves a serious question: Why is it that a majority want single payer health insurance—that is government insurance, private delivery, with full, free choice of doctor and hospital—and they haven’t been able to get it since Harry Truman proposed it to congress in 1950? Every year, according to the National Academy of Science, 18,000 Americans die because they can’t afford health care...

“The American people want a change. None of the other candidates—McCain, Obama or Clinton—come close to a full government insurance, full Medicare for all system. They’ll leave in place the wasteful, inefficient, corrupt, redundant health care industry, gouged by a health care insurance system whose only energy seems to be paying its CEOs...

“The American people would never had voted to invade Iraq had there been a free flow of public information instead of Bush/Cheney’s propaganda, unrebutted by the cowardly Democratic Party...

“Bunch of gangsters hijacked our government, plunged us into a war of aggression, violated our constitution, our statutes and our international treaties. Result: tens of thousands of American soldiers disabled for life, over 4,000 have lost their lives, over a million Iraqis have lost their lives and the country’s destroyed. And we’re spending 14 million dollars an hour, 24 hours a day, on the Iraq War. Most of the American people would want their schools, clinics and drinking water systems, highways and bridges—they would want them repaired. They’d want their sewage treatment systems upgraded, they’d want the pollution controlled, but that money’s going to destroy Iraq. Or going into expensive weapons systems that were designed for the Soviet Union era of hostility, which are still in the pipeline, bleeding the American public, because Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, and others, want more sales and profits...

“And now, one half of our entire federal operating budget is going into the military budget. And that military budget is being outsourced to corporations that cost us three to five times more to perform the function than if it was performed by government employees or government soldiers... Blackwater and Halliburton...

“The American people don’t want that. They have the votes; they keep losing. The American people want accountability in government. But there’s no impeachment drive against Bush and Cheney, the most multiply impeachable presidency in history...

“Corporate cheating of Medicare, corporate cheating of defense contracts, corporate looting of our natural resources, corporate tax shelters in the Bahamas, while they get all the benefits of tax supported services here...

“The people have the votes. You think they would approve of 61% of the corporations last year paying no federal income tax? You think they would approve of corporations paying their CEOs 500 times the entry-level wage, when in 1940 it was only 12 times? People have the votes. They keep losing. How could people who have the votes keep losing in a country that thinks of itself as a democracy? It doesn’t square, does it? That’s because it’s not a democracy. In operation, it’s a plutocracy, ruled by the rich and powerful. The two parties are basically representatives, indentured servants, of the rich and powerful, the giant corporations...

“As if that isn’t enough, these corporations are violating the moral code of parents by direct commercial marketing to young children, violent programming, pornographic programming, junk food, junk drink, undermining parental authority. These corporations have become electronic child molesters. And they don’t have any sense of shame...

“The whole commercialization of our society will spell the death knell of our democracy...

“The consequences of concentrated wealth and power, where the few decide for the many, are rooted in the lessons of history. When the few decides for the many, the many lose and the few prevail. The many lose and the few prevail...

“The question the American people have to ask themselves is: Why have most of them dropped out of democracy? Why have most of them given up on themselves, and accepted the old cliché, ‘You can’t fight city hall,’ or the more modern one: ‘You can’t fight Exxon.’ That’s the question we have to ask ourselves. Watching American Idol doesn’t quite cut it. Spending your time updating your profile on Facebook doesn’t quite cut it. Endless gossiping on cell phones and messaging about the most trivial of trivial things in daily life doesn’t quite cut it.

“I want to make a contrast with Western Europe. Sixty years ago, Western Europe was rubble. Rubble. It was the end of World War II. Sixty years ago, the American people were a part of the most powerful country in the world, by every economic and military indicator. Now watch what happened. Sixty years ago, people in Western Europe demanded a living wage. And they got it. They demanded that they have universal health insurance. And they got it. They demanded that they had four to eight weeks of paid vacation, depending on the country. And they got it. They demanded to be paid for maternity leave, by law. And they got it. They demanded that they be able to easily form trade unions. And they got it...

“We didn’t get it. We didn’t get any of these things, by law. Sometimes we got the exact opposite, like the anti-union Taft-Hartley law, that is now 61 years old. It’s still on the books. The harshest anti-worker law in the western world, obstructing the formations of trade unions. All change does not start with knowledge. Knowledge is not enough. All change starts with shame or guilt. I prefer shame...

“The most deplorable phenomenon in our country today is the expressed concern the people have about where our country’s going—81% in last month’s poll say it’s going in the wrong direction—and the contrast between that expressed concern and the feeling of despair, demoralization and a general sense that nothing can be changed.

“Our collective mission has got to be to get the American people righteously angry enough to change. That doesn’t mean they go out of control. That doesn’t mean they abandon their reason—just the contrary. They fuel their reason with a level of self-confidence that they matter, they count and they’re going to change this country—in the right direction.

“The corporations will be our servants, not our masters, as they were designed to be our servants when they were chartered in the early 19th century in New England, and held on a tight leash. Corporations are not created by investors; they are funded by investors. They are created by state governments, who give them the charter to exist. They have been given far too much power over our lives. And most of the American people, in poll after poll, agree with that assertion.

“So it behooves all of us not to allow our country to continue to be run on behalf of these giant corporations, who’ve turned Washington into corporately controlled territory... not to allow a two-party elected dictatorship to propagandize us, as if we’re a functioning democracy...”

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Welcome aboard Coldie!

I just received my Nader buttons in the mail this week from his campaign h.q. Here's his website:

www.votenader.org

He was in Chicago last month, but I couldn't make it. It angers me when Democrats say he "stole" the 2000 election by being on the ballot. Maybe they should look at why some many progressive Democrats left the party then.

Nader is the voice for the working man, something none of the other candidates (except maybe Kucinich) could relate. Obama could at one time, but no longer.

leftisthebest

Coldtype said...

You're right Lefty, that "Nader cost Gore the election" canard has always been the excuse upon which Democrats have clutched whenever faced with evidence that true progressives have long abandoned their party and the centrist, puppy-shit that passes for their platform. For many voters today (as in 2000) the choice is Nader/McKinney or simply not voting at all.

One thing's for sure, simply pulling a lever every four years for some pre-selected beauty contestant will hardly bring about any systemic overhaul/dismantling of this plutocracy currently masquerading as a democracy. The only thing that could hope to accomplish such a task would be through organizations built from the grassroots that are truly democratic and participatory. Since we as Americans have virtually zero social democratic traditions of the kind that are common in western Europe and Canada, we are way behind the curve so there's an awful lot of work to be done. These are the kinds of efforts that I expend what little money and time I have in supporting. Lefty, in the coming years I hope to see such attitudes as ours replicated on a mass scale as it will have to be if even half of the issues Nader addresses are to be pushed to the forefront of discourse and action.

Stay safe.

dna-unk-gfy! said...

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"W-KOP-999, STALAG-666 IS IN YOUR AIR-HOLE, BLOWING YOUR MISINFORMED MINDS 24-7, YOU BLUE-MEANIES U!"

...WHY DREAM s-m-a-l-l...??? ;=} Why hell, I'm on furlo- this should be a cinch! You guys want the Morning or Afternoon Drive Time slot??? ;=>

- ydahS * ;+>