Another humid August, a long time ago, and I was working in my father’s small town drugstore, the last summer before my first year of high school.
Today, cash registers are as computerized as ATM’s and tell you everything instantly, from the change owed and the status of inventory to the date, time and wind chill factor in Upper Volta.
Back then, they were electrically powered at least, but you still had to do a lot of the calculating in your head, which is why my dad tended to keep his not-so-mathematically-inclined son in the back of the store, away from the receipts. With my nimble fingers on the register keys, I was capable of trying to charge you $1,398.06 for a pack of Camels.
(I wasn’t allowed to sell condoms or razor blades either, but that wasn’t so much because of my inept and callow youth. They carried a sales commission and it was thought unseemly for the boss’ son to traffic in something from which the other employees could receive a cash bonus.)
That summer, New York State and my hometown each instituted a sales tax, a development for which our cash registers were unsuited – they couldn’t calculate percentages. So we had a chart, which we’d consult after ringing up a sale, at which point we’d add on the pennies and nickels of tax and throw them, separately, into shoeboxes.
Further jumbling this awkward system was the list of what was or was not taxable, some of which seemed to have been determined by rounds of darts in Albany, the state capital. Medicine was not taxable. That made sense. Chewing gum was taxable, unless it was Beeman’s Gum, which was invented by a doctor and contained pepsin – medicinally good for the digestion, so not taxed. Insulin wasn’t taxed either, but the syringes to administer it, were.
So, in that spirit of trivial complexity and governmental randomness, as the Democratic and Republican conventions begin in Denver and St. Paul, I give you the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007.
The law, passed in the wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal and the imprisonment of House members Bob Ney and Duke Cunningham (Ney was released just this past Monday), has much to recommend it, outlawing gifts from lobbyists for members of Congress and their staffs. That includes the extravagant parties that trade associations, law firms, advocacy organizations, unions and other lobby groups used to throw at the conventions for the most influential, individual senators and representatives.
At the 2004 Republican National Convention here in New York City, for example, among hundreds of parties, the American Gas Association sponsored nine gala events, which included a “Wildcatter’s Ball” for Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, then chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Pepsico gave Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist a reception at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Temple of Dendur, which then cost $60,000 just to rent for the night. House Speaker Dennis Hastert got a wingding at Tavern on the Green, bought and paid for by General Motors.
So change is good. The problem is that many of the new law’s rules are so arcane and convoluted it would take a team of forensic accountants and Talmudic scholars to properly interpret them. The “toothpick rule,” for example, bans Congress members and their aides from accepting a free meal, but they can snarf up as many free hors d’oeuvres as they like – as long as they’re standing up and not sitting down. No forks, no chairs and you may be within the law.
Unless. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported one party planner for the Republican convention was told that under the law quesadillas with cheese qualified as legal finger food but including beef or chicken would make them an illicit meal. According to Tuesday’s The New York Times, “Depending on the circumstances, breakfasts are limited to bagels, rolls and croissants, while proteins like eggs are prohibited. What is more, rules differ for events that are deemed to be ‘widely attended’ -- something that has more than 25 diverse attendees but is not a ballgame or a concert…
“Adding to the complexity, state ethics rules also come into play. If a corporation or trade association has an event where state office holders are invited, the ethics rules of each of their states must be followed.”
Whew. All hellishly good-intentioned, perhaps, but while those so inclined are distracted by the minutia of cheese vs. pepperoni, there are loopholes in the way the law is interpreted by the House Ethics Committee through which you can drive a Brink’s truck. A corporation or other lobby group can no longer celebrate the achievements of one individual congressperson with a big gala, but an entire delegation can be honored – as long as no specific members are named on the invitations or in the programs or during the speeches.
So, US Bank and Visa are hosting a party at the Democratic convention for the freshman House Democrats. AT&T, which has given $3.2 million to Federal candidates in this election cycle, and spent millions more on lobbying, is co-sponsoring a party in Denver for the conservative Blue Dog Democrats, just one of more than a dozen parties the telecom is throwing at the two conventions.
In addition, as per the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, because of exceptions allowed by the Federal Election Commission, “Millions of unregulated dollars are being funneled to the national party conventions through so-called, nonpartisan ‘host committees.’ These committees claim to be helping Denver and the Twin Cities, but they are really just using the sizable donations for political purposes.” This tax-deductible, “soft money” includes the million dollar contributions the Obama campaign has solicited for the skyboxes at Invesco Field during his acceptance speech.
There will be more than 400 parties and other events at the Democratic and Republican conventions. Corporations and other special interests will contribute more than $100 million. That can buy a lot of influence. Just a few of the others involved: the Nuclear Energy Institute, Allstate, Wachovia, Union Pacific, ConocoPhillips, Molson-Coors, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Qwest, Target, Staples, SEIU, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle, Nancy Watzman, director of the Sunshine Foundation’s interactive Party Time Project, which is monitoring convention activity, noted, “These are all the same people who have a big lobbying presence in D.C., and they all have major issues before Congress and the executive branch.”
Amanda Burk, a Denver party planner told The New York Times, “We’re trying to comply with the law and still make sure people get enough to eat.” Ms. Burk, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Unlike the more than 37 million Americans who live below the poverty level, lobbyists and the fat cats they represent will never go hungry. Like water inexorably seeking its level, eroding as it travels, they will find a way.
My dad wouldn’t have let these guys anywhere near his cash registers.
So why cover it?
Really, why feed it into it further?
It's nothing but a pageant. It's going to eat up time non-stop and defocus the country.
Or maybe you consider the 'issue' of houses to be an issue.
Wow, way to high road it Barack. Way to stick to the issues.
He has no issues. So he has to try to work ovretime to turn something into an issue that isn't.
Cindy McCain was born into money, John McCain wasn't.
In their marriage, there is joint-property and there is property that is just Cindy's.
Some of that is legal, some of that is just the way they wanted it to be between themselves.
The difference being Cindy didn't get into bed with a convicted felon to get a house. That would be Barack and Michelle. They live in the mansion that Tony Rezko made possible, you'll remember that house. As the song says.
I did a call around of people I grew up to ask how many homes they owned. Repeatedly, I was given one answer and then a "Wait . . ." I'll share that C.I. has six homes. If you ask (and C.I. didn't have to hesitate), it's two plus one that is a vacation home and three that other people live in. But most weren't like C.I. Most didn't reel off the answer quickly.
Most gave a number. Then wanted to say "Wait." Then asked if rental property (that they rented to others) counted and did vacation homes count?
Others wanted me to define "home."
The answer is not as simplistic as Barack wants to play like it is. What's very simple is a convicted felon is responsible for Barack having a mansion.
What is simple is that Barack has no campaign to speak of which is why the media is focused on how many homes someone owns. (I own two myself and my brother and I have two together. The one out of the country, I rarely go to anymore and that's really his main base. We never felt the need to split up what our parents left us.)
"Democrats and Obama prepare platform of war and reaction" (Bill Van Auken, WSWS):
In the course of his campaign, Obama has pledged his fealty to the US Zionist lobby, while echoing the Bush administration’s threats to launch military strikes against Iran. He has called for US military strikes in Pakistan.
He has spelled out the real significance of his primary campaign rhetoric about an end to the war in Iraq, making it clear that his call for withdrawing "combat troops" --16 months after taking office--envisions leaving a "residual force" consisting of tens of thousands of US military personnel and mercenaries to continue the colonial-style occupation.
Moreover, those troops that are "redeployed" from Iraq, under Obama's plan, are to be dispatched to Afghanistan in order to escalate the brutal campaign to suppress the resistance of the Afghan people to foreign occupation.
He has likewise called for the augmenting of America's bloated war machine with an additional 100,000 soldiers and Marines, as well as for increased military spending.
Finally, over the past two weeks, Obama has thrown himself fully into the aggressive US campaign against Russia, competing with his Republican rival Senator John McCain in belligerent denunciations of Moscow and demands for retribution over the events in Georgia.
Barack has no plan to end the illegal war and no desire to. No wonder we're supposed to obsess over how many houses.
The empty suit has nothing to offer and it's time for him to get catty yet again.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, August 22, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the Shi'ite thugs want the Sunni ones gone, US war resister Robin Long is court-martialed and sentenced to 15 months imprisonment, there is no treaty ('agreement') between the US and Iraq yet, and more.
Starting with war resistance. US war resister Robin Long was extradited from Canada in July. He was turned over to US authorities at the border by Canadian authorities (that is not deportation) and has spent the last weeks at Fort Carson in Colorado. Utah's Daily Herald noted last night that Robin "plans to plead guilty Friday to a reduced charge of desertion, his lawyer said." The Detroit Free Press added: "He faces a dishonorable discharge as well as prison time." The Whig Standard explains that Robin's attorney James "Branum said Long has reached an agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to desertion with intent to remain away permanently, a lesser charge than desertion with intent to shirk hazardous duty." Nick Kyonka (Toronto Star) quotes Branam explaining, "In exchange for him pleading guilty, they've agreed to (lower) the three-year maximum sentence that usually comes with those charges." Branum added, "I think they want to prosecute him for free-speech issues without actually charging him for them." Free Speech Radio News will have an audio report today (for those needing or requiring audio).
Karen, with Fort Carson Public Affairs Office, states Robin was sentenced to 15 months, reduced in Rank E1 and given a dishonorable discharge. Long has been held at the Criminal Justice Center in El Paso County while awaiting the court-martial. He will received credit for the time he has served ("about 40 days").
The Canadian government has announced that US war resister Jeremy Hinzman will be deported if he does not leave their country by September 23rd. Whether he would be deported or "deported" is an unanswered question. Actions are taking place to make the Stephen Harper government respect the will of the people and let Jeremy remain in Canada. Jeremy is being highly pro-active and has already taped a video, which you can find at the War Resisters Support Campaign, where he speaks directly to Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada:
Jeremy Hinzman: Hello, Mr. Harper. This is my family Nga, Liam and Meghan. We've been in Canada for the last four and a 1/2 years. I was a specialist in the 82nd Air borne division of the United States Army and served honorably in Afghanistan. In 2004, my family and I came to Canada because we would not participate in the Iraqi War, a war which Canada also refused to participate in because it was condemned by the international community. One of your predecessors, Pierre Trudeau, once said that Canada should be have from militarism and we took him at this word. On June 3, 2008, the Canadian Parliament passed a motion saying that United States war resisters should be able to remain in Canada. We're asking you to abide by this motion and allow us to stay in Canada. Thank you.
Title Card: On September 23rd, the Harper government plans to deport the Hinzman family back to the United States.
Title Card: Hinzman faces a court martial and up to 5 years in military prison for opposing the Iraq war and coming to Canada.
Title Card: War Resisters Support Campaign (Canada): www.resisters.ca
In addition, Independent Catholic News reports that demonstrations will take place in support of war resisters (10-hour vigil outside Canada House in Trafalgar Square) and "members of Pax Christi, the Oxford Catholic Worker and Fellowship of Reconciliation will join Voices in the Wilderness". The War Resisters Support Campaign announces:
September 13th is a pan-Canadian Day of Action to support U.S. Iraq war resisters and to demand that the Harper government immediately stop the deportations. Actions, demonstrations, and pickets will take place in cities and towns all across Canada. Click here to see a list of actions and to download materials.
If your city is not listed, consider organizing a local action for September 13th. Whether it is petitioning in your local farmer's market, picketing a Conservative MP's office or rallying at a federal building, we need to go all out to stop the deportation of resisters like Jeremy Hinzman and Corey Glass!
In addition they are coordinating screenings of Michelle Mason's documentary on war resisters Breaking Ranks for September 14th. Spencer Spratley (Center for Research on Globalization) publishes an open letter to Stephen Harper where he notes, "I feel that some of your polices are beginning to depart from deeply held traditional Canadian values. And you are transforming the face of Canada with the mandate of a minority Government. You also have a majority in the House of Commons who voted, on behalf of Canadians, to support the request made by American War resisters to remain in Canada. I believe you are turning your back on a majority of Canadians on an issue that is very important to us. That is not the sign of a democratic Prime Minister. Somehow Canada has always been a little bit different and we have always been proud of that. We don't want to be more like anyone else. . . . . Sir, in the name of decency, compassion, and a higher justice, I request you to allow American War resisters to remain in Canada as conscientious objectors. Please don't send them off to have their lives and families desroyed by an unjust war. Your decision to begin deporting American war resisters lacks decency and compassion. I strongly urge you to reconsider your position."
Courage to Resist alerts, "Supporters are calling on Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, to intervene. Phone 613.996.4974 or email http://email@example.com,"Iraq Veterans Against the War also encourages people to take action, "To support Jeremy, call or email Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and ask her to intervene in this case. Phone: 613.996.4974 email: firstname.lastname@example.org."
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Yovany Rivero, William Shearer, Michael Thurman, Andrei Hurancyk, Megan Bean, Chris Bean, Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Daniel Baker, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).
In England, police are announcing that three suspects have been taken into custody for threats against Gordon Brown, the country's Prime Minister. Reuters explains that did not just happen and at least two of the three have been in custody since last week. The threat against Brown was in written form (Telegraph of London has posted it), from "the Leader of al-Qaeda in Britain, Shaykh Umar Rabie al-Khalaila" and demanded both "A complete withdrawal of the British troops from Afghanistan and Iraq" and "To free all Muslim captives from Belmarsh prison, and the foremost of them Shaykh Abu Qatada al-Filistini and Shaykh Abu Hamza al-Misri." The threat gave the deadline of "the last day of March 2008" and, yes, that has passed. "Threats" may be too strong of a word. If the demands weren't met (and they clearly weren't) the note promised to "target all the political leaders especially Tony Blair" former Prime Minister "and Gordon Brown, and we will also target all Embassies, Crusaders Centers and their Interest through out the country, with the help of Allah." 'Target'? Via protests? Via violence? The letter is not clear. Which may be why the BBC -- which is hyping the story to high-alarm-level -- tucks this at the end of their report, "Police have until Thursday to charge the men, release them or seek an extension to their custody." We'll go ahead and bring in presumed Republican candidate in the US, John McCain who, as Kat explained last night, had campaign headquarters in New Hampshire and Colorado evacauted yesterday as a result of 'strange' envelopes with at least one containing substance. CNN reports that the substance remains unknown ("tested positive for protein") but is "not dangerous." Mary Hudetza (AP) notes that there's a suspect "Sheriff's officials said the inmate suspected of sending the letter is Marc Harold Ramsey, 39, who has been incarcerated since September 2007 on investigation of felony menacing, harassment and second-degree assault on a peace officer. Ramsey may face federal felony charges for Thursday's incident, sheriff's officials said." Back to Iraq.
Today on NPR's News & Notes, Farai Chideya hosted a roundtable with Eric Deggan (St. Petersburg Times) and John Yearwood (Miami Herald) where they dealt with such non-news topics as the Olympics, political conventions (where the question was at least asked as to whether or not they were "legitimate news events") and "Just this morning US and Iraqi negotiators announced they've reached a deal to withdraw US troops from Iraq." No. There is no deal. At best there is draft. In the US, the treaty (which is what the SOFA actually is) needs Senate ratification -- and Republicans and Democrats in Congress made noises in April of bucking the White House if it attempted to bypass the Senate's Constitutional duties and powers. In Iraq, it will a draft would go through a number of processes including approval by the Parliament. Yearwood made a real ass of himself when Chideya stated that US combat troops would be out by 2011 and that the rest would be out by 2013. Yearwood: "I'm sure that this will be approved by the Parliament as soon as they come back from vacation and they get their act together." When will Yearwood get his act together? Deggan was equally foolish noting that there was talk that timetables were impossible (and "ill advised") "And here we've done it." No, idiot, nothing's been done. And if the two 'reporters' were less concerned with cheerleading Barack and more concerned with reality, they could have avoided making asses out of themselves. David Alexander and Wisam Mohammed (Reuters) explained: "A draft agreement between the United States and Iraq contains no fixed dates for U.S. forces to withdraw, but Iraq would like combat troops out by the end of 2011, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said on Thursday." No deadlines. NPR needs to stop wasting the tax payer's dime with bad gas bagging that's so bad, it's downright embarrassing. No one, not the host, not either of the guests, grasped that it was a draft (and approval isn't a mere formality) nor did they grasp that there was not enough information on the draft for them to know what was in it. The New York Times front paged the nonsense today -- no facts, just a lot of tease conducted by Stephen Farrell. Also missing the boat are Paul Richter and Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) who make a point to note that US Secretary of State Condi Rice "downplayed expectations that approval of an agreement was imminent" -- Condi was correct on that but the reporters had trouble grasping it. She's quoted stating, "We'll have agreement when we have agreement." Leila Fadel and Jonathan S. Landay (McClatchy Newspapers) explain what happens on the Iraq side, first stop the Executive Council and "If the council agrees to the draft, it will move to the Political Council for National Security before going to the Iraqi parliament, which must approve the agreement before the U.N. mandate expires."
Here is Gordon Johndroe, White House spokesperson, speaking today (in Crawford) about the draft, "Towards the end of July, after a secure video conference between President Bush and Prime Minister Maliki, we announced that, as part of any agreement with the Iraqis establishing our future bilateral releationship, would include aspirational time horizons -- goals for women Iraqi troops begin to take over more of the combat mission in various parts of Iraq, which allow for more US troops to come home. So any discussions that are ongoing, that we are having with the Iraqis right now, include these aspirational timelines, these goals for more troops to come home." Afterwards, asked if the talks were still "ongoing," Johndroe replied, "And ongoing and ongoing."
Real news was reported by a small number of reporters. One was Richard A. Oppel Jr. (New York Times) who explores the latest on the "Awakening" Council -- Sunni thugs lured by coin. The White House repeatedly credited the "Awakening" Council members with the small reduction in violence in Iraq. Appearing before Congress in April, US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker repeatedly hailed the "Awakening" as a reason for the reduction. Oppel reports that, "The Shiite-domination government in Iraq is driving out many leaders of Sunni citizen patrols, the groups of former insurgents who joined the American payroll and have been a major pillar in the decline in violence around the nation." Throughout the article, US voices will pop up objecting. Comments made by a Shi'ite general should alarm Americans who mistakenly believe the puppet is anything but a thug himself.Of the "Awakening" members, Brig Nassir al-Hiti declares, "These people are like cancer and we must remove them"; while Gen Nassir declares the "Awakening" are "like a drug addict who quits only to take drugs again." There's no question that the "Awakening" members are thugs; there's also no question that Nouri has put thugs in place in the Interior Ministry, the police force and more. The only difference is one group of thugs is Sunni ("Awakening") and one group is Shi'ite. The US installed the Shi'ite thugs. Elections will take place (provincial elections) at some point. A great deal of what is taking place (the targeting and arrests of "Awakening" members) has to do with Nouri & company shoring up their own power base before going into those elections.
Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) quotes US Gen David Petraeus declaring of the "Awakeing" Councils (also known as Sawa and Sons of Iraq), "We're not going to walk away from them, and as I said, Prime Minister Maliki committed to taking care of them. I do think it is somewhat understandable that the government struggles to hire former insurgents for its security forces or for its ministerial positions... But this is how you end these kinds of conflicts. That's why they call it reconciliation. It's not done with one's friends, it's done with former enemies." Fadel also notes that a "senior Iraqi commander in Baghdad" who states of SOI, "We cannot stand them, and we detained many of them recently." The illegal war has not improved but you can be sure Bully Boy's worried about the little bump (provided by the "Awakening" Councils) that he had hoped to ease out (sneak out?) of office on and how it's fading. Reuters reporter Ali al-Mashhadani (see was noted in the July 31st snapshot) made news yesterday. Karin Laub (AP) reports that Ali al-Mashhadani has been released (finally) and that US Maj John C. Hall told the press the release came about "because he was deemed not to be a security threat."
It's Friday. Violence is rarely reported on. Reuters notes an aide of Moqtada al-Sadr was shot dead in Baghdad as was 1 other person, while "guards" were wounded in Samarra when an "Awakening" Council member opened fire on those he worked with, and there was a mortar attack on the Green Zone with at least one mortar making it inside "the heavily fortified Green Zone."
Turning to the US presidential race. The Democratic and Republican Parties have not declared nominees. John McCain is the presumed GOP nominee, Barack Obama is the presumed Democratic Party nominee. Beginning tonight (in most markets) both Bill Moyers Journal and Washington Week travel to Denver but not to cover Robin Long's court-martial. No to cover the same old and tease it out and tease it out. The DNC convention (barring a surprise shocker) is nothing but a pageant and shouldn't even be broadcast, let alone covered. It's garbage, it's trash and IT'S OLD AND OUT OF DATE. But let's all pretend there's something to be learned in Denver at a political convention. (And let's pretend like either show gave a damn when the Green Party had their convention last month.) (They didn't and they didn't provide coverage. So much for the 'diversity' of public television.) Bill Schneider (CNN) breaks down the basics: "Conventions are relics. They don't decide the nominees anymore . . . No one pays much attention to the party platforms except a few ideological activists. So why do we still have them? Two reasons: money and publicity." NOW on PBS uses its time more effectively by traveling to Africa to again examine health care. Book note: Independent journalist and artist David Bacon has his latest book published next month. September 1st, Beacon Press released Bacon's Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants which the publisher notes "explores the human side of globalization, exposing the many ways it uproots people in Latin American and Asia, driving them to migrate. At the same time, U.S. immigration policy makes the labor of those displaced people a crime in the United States. Illegal People explains why our national policy produces even more displacement, more migration, more immigration raids, and a more divided, polarized society."
Back to the US presidential race. Ralph's Daily Audio -- is independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader's audio commentary. Monday through Friday, the campaign provides audio commentary at that page. This is "Bob Herbert's World" from earlier in the week:This is Ralph Nader. The New York Times columnist Bob Herbert has a problem. He's written numerous columns complaining about presidential candidates and their campaigns ignoring serious policy issues. It's as if no one else is running for president in Bob Herbert's world other than Barack Obama and John McCain.In a recent article that he wrote in the New York Times, he complains about how the two major candidates and their campaigns are ignoring the problems of the cities: the poverty, the transportaion problems, the lack of repair and expansion of public works and facilities, the crime. He complains that the mayors have been complaining that they have been abandoned by Washington, citing a recent gathering of city mayors that he attended. In one of these gatherings he cites the mayor of Meridian, Mississippi, John Robert Smith saying that he believes the nation should devote the same level of commitment to developing a first-rate passenger rail system as was marshalled for the interstate highway system in the Eisenhower era. Well, the Nader-Gonzalez campaign has taken a strong stand for the expansion and modernization of passenger rail as a way to save energy, to reduce casualties on the highway and to provide more immediate evacuation of the cities in case of a calamity or a natural disaster. But to Bob Herbert, the Nader Gonzalez campaign which supports almost one-for-one so many of the issues that he advances and champions doesn't exist. To him, the Nader-Gonzalez campaign or any progressive third party campaign doesn't exist in his column so I say to Bob Herbert, "At least level with your readers, Mr. Herbert, tell them that you think the two major parties, Republican and Democrat, own all the voters and there's no one else on the ballot. At least level with them."This is Ralph Nader.
And (again from Ralph's Daily Audio) this is "Forestalling More of the Same:"This is Ralph Nader. This year two and a half to three million Americans will lose their homes to foreclosures. Next year another two and a half to three million Americans will probably lose their homes. Instead of helping these Americans keep their homes, both the Democrats and the Republicans are bailing out Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Wall St. banks and their high paid executives -- the same executives who got us into this mess by betting the house on sub-prime mortgages. I call this "Socialism for Spectators." Senator McCain takes a hands-off approach to the mortgage meltdown. Senator Obama talks about helping the home owners but is surrounding himself with the culprits: Wall St. bankers. Obama's economic director? Robert Rubin protege Jason Furman. Rubin was the Clintons' Treasury Secretary. He engineered the disastrous deregulation of Wall St. including the repeal of the Glass Steagall Act. This Depression-era law separated investment banks from commercial banking. Had it been in effect, the current mortgage crisis would have been limited. Rubin went on to be an overpaid executive at Citigroup which he helped tank. Rubin is now advising Senator Obama. Nader-Gonzalez would bring back Glass Steagall. Nader-Gonzalez would re-instate the usury laws that cap interest rates and we would regulate Wall St. instead of bailing it out on the backs of American tax payers. This would include forcing mortgage companies to re-negotiate the mortgages of millions of home owners who are currently faced with being thrown out onto the street as a result of foreclosure. Instead of punishing the home owners, Nader-Gonzalez would bring justice to the predatory lenders on Wall St. who deceived them and who got us into this mess in the first place.
Cynthia McKinney is the Green Party presidential nominee. The Green Party of Michigan announces Cynthia will be campaigning in Michigan:
The Green Party of Michigan (GPMI; www.MIGreens.org) willbe hosting a press conference for Congresswoman McKinney at7pm Saturday, August 30 at the International Institute (111E. Kirby, Detroit). The press conference will be followed bya rally with other GPMI Federal, state, and local candidatesat 7:30pm at the same location. The rally is open to thepublic, and free. The following evening -- Sunday, August 31 -- CongresswomanMcKinney will deliver a key policy speech on the eliminationof poverty at the National Welfare Rights Union (http://www.mwro.org/)Awards Dinner. The dinner, starting at 6:30pm, will be heldat St. Paul of the Cross Retreat House, 23333 Schoolcraft,Detroit. On Monday, Labor Day, Congresswoman McKinney will be joiningthousands of union members in Detroit celebrating Labor Day bymarching down Woodward Avenue.
August 27th, while the DNC holds their corporate dog and pony show, Ralph Nader is staging a Super Rally in Denver. From Team Nader:
Next Wednesday, Denver is going to be rockin.
Thousands will be gathered at the University of Denver Magness arena to protest the corporate lockdown on the Presidential debates.
Sean Penn, Val Kilmer, Cindy Sheehan, Tom Morello, Jello Biafra and others will join Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez.
Demanding an end to the corporate control over the Presidential debates.
So, if there is any chance you can get to Denver Wednesday, you can make a donation to reserve your ticket here.
If you can't get to Denver, no problem.
Free Speech TV will be streaming the event live on the Internet. (Wednesday, August 27, 7 p.m. Mountain time, 9 p.m. Eastern.)
Just click here to watch.
Also, the Free Speech TV will be broadcasting the event live on Dish Network Channel 9415.
And many local public access channels will be carrying the Free Speech TV feed.
(If your public access channel doesn't carry it, call them and ask them to do so. Click here for a list of public access channels.)
Anyway, it's going to be an historic event -- protesting the corporate control over our politics -- in the midst of the corporate Democratic spectacle.
So, join us in Denver if you can.
If not, invite your friends over, and dial up the live Internet feed -- or watch on television via satellite or on your public access channel.
Onward to November.
nick kyonkarobin longjeremy hinzmanspencer spratleyindependent catholic reporterthe new york timesstephen farrellrichard a. oppel jr.the los angeles timesned parkerpaul richterleila fadeljonathan s. landaymcclatchy newspapers
david baconwashington weekpbsnow on pbsbill moyers journal
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