Monday, February 25, 2008

Now and Nader

Pariah or Prophet?
By: Chris Hedges

It was an incompetent, corporatized Democratic Party, along with the orchestrated fraud by the Republican Party, that threw the 2000 election to Bush, not Ralph Nader. Nader received only 2.7 percent of the vote in 2000 and got less than one-half of 1 percent in 2004. All of the third-party candidates who ran in 2000 in Florida—there were about half a dozen of them—got more votes than the 537-vote difference between Bush and Gore. Why not go after the other third-party candidates? And what about the 10 million Democrats who voted in 2000 for Bush? What about Gore, whose campaign was so timid and empty—he never mentioned global warming—that he could not carry his home state of Tennessee? And what about the 2004 cartoon-like candidate, John Kerry, who got up like a Boy Scout and told us he was reporting for duty and would bring us “victory” in Iraq?

Nader argues that there are few—he never said no—differences between the Democrats and the Republicans. And during the first four years of the Bush administration the Democrats proved him right. They authorized the war in Iraq. They stood by as Bush stacked the judiciary with “Christian” ideologues. They let Bush, in violation of the Constitution, pump hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into faith-based organizations that discriminate based on belief and sexual orientation and openly proselytize. They stood by as American children got fleeced by No Child Left Behind. Democrats did not protest when federal agencies began to propagate “Christian” pseudo-science about creationism, reproductive rights and homosexuality. And the Democrats let Bush further dismantle regulatory agencies, strip American citizens of constitutional rights under the Patriot Act and other draconian legislation, and thrust impoverished Americans aside through the corporate-sponsored bankruptcy bill. It is a stunning record.

Bush is the worst president in American history. If Gore, or Kerry, had the spine to take him on, to challenge corporate welfare, corporate crime, the hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate bailouts and issues such as labor law reform, if either had actually stood up to these corporate behemoths on behalf of the working and middle class, rather than mutter thought-terminating clich├ęs about American greatness, he could have won with a landslide. But Gore and Kerry did not dare to piss off their corporate paymasters.

There are a few former associates in the film who argue that Nader is tarnishing his legacy, and by extension their own legacy. But Nader’s legacy is undiminished. He fights his wars against corporate greed with a remarkable consistency. He knows our democratic state is being hijacked by the same corporate interests that sold us unsafe automobiles and dangerous and shoddy products. This is a battle not for some unachievable ideal but to save our democracy.

“I don’t care about my personal legacy,” Nader says in the film. “I care about how much justice is advanced in America and in our world day after day. I’m willing to sacrifice whatever ‘reputation’ in the cause of that effort. What is my legacy? Are they going to turn around and rip out seat belts out of cars, air bags out of cars?”

These corporations, and their enraged and manipulated followers in the Christian right, tens of millions of them, if left unchecked will propel us into despotism. The corporate state has rigged our system, hollowed out our political process and steadily stripped citizens of constitutional rights, federal and state protection and assistance. This may be the twilight of American democracy. And it is better to stand up and fight, even in vain, than not to fight at all.

@ Truthdig


Nader thinks like a lot of us regarding corporatistas and their persistent pursuit of profit at all cost and although he has been fighting a battle he will never win, has never engaged the very people affected by the corporatista policies.

For that reason I believe he has dwindled to a minor bit player even though his message rings true. We all know and see what is happening around us quite powerless to change it, it is after all capitalism, the American way, and who does not like money or just plain need money whether we like it or not?

Ralphie proves one thing. If one wants to change the status quo, one has to embrace many others, it cannot be done alone. That is what Ralphie is trying to do, change the complete corporate structure, alone, just him and his enormous ego against the entire corporate structure here in the United States.

Good luck with that.



David B. Benson said...

He'll have to convice one heck of a lot of people...

David B. Benson said...

Resource roits?

Middle East inflation agitates lower classes

David B. Benson said...

convice means 'with vice' (whatever that ought to mean).


David B. Benson said...

vicis turn, change, succession; exchange, interchange, repayment; plight, lot;

Take your pick, it seems.

DEN said...

Gee Doc, you having trouble getting going this AM?

David B. Benson said...

Den --- Yup.

DEN said...

*vidi vici vini*

I saw , I conquered , I came.

Saladin said...

A supplement to Mr. Benson's link:

February 22, 2008

Inflation: America's Greatest Export

Peter Schiff

Unfortunately one of the few things still made in America is inflation. In fact, it now ranks as our greatest export.

A significant by-product of the current global economic system, wherein Americans spend money they do not earn to buy foreign products that they do not make, is that trillions of dollars are now parked in foreign banks just looking for somewhere to go.

In a healthy trade relationship, a nation pays for its imports with equal exports that result from real productivity that pumps up demand. In contrast, the current U.S. import boom has been created by the artificial demand of inflation, in which increased money supply has put more dollars in the hands of U.S. consumers. Normally, such growth in money supply would result in more substantial increases in domestic consumer prices. However for a number of reasons, the United States has been able to partially dodge this bullet. In short, we have exported our inflation abroad.

Our foreign creditors basically have two choices as how to dispose of their excess dollars. They can use them to buy U.S. financial assets, such as bonds, stocks or real estate, or they can exchange them for other currencies or commodities, such as gold or oil. If they choose the former, foreign central banks are off the hook, as those dollars find their way back to the U.S. economy without any additional money creation. However, as foreigners are increasingly choosing the latter, foreign central banks have been “forced” to print money like it’s going out of style.

In years past, foreign investors were happy to hold strong U.S. dollars, which they either saved as a store of value, or used to purchase mighty Wall Street stocks and bonds. However, when the dollar began its epic swan dive, and U.S. investments began to grossly underperform non-U.S. alternatives, private investors dumped their dollars en masse by exchanging them for local currencies. The unwanted dollars then became the property and problem of foreign central banks.

If central banks did not buy these dollars, foreign citizens would have been forced to sell their surplus dollars on the open market. To prevent this from happening these banks have become the buyers of first and last resort. However, to sop up all of the excess supply, central banks must create more of their own, resulting in rapidly expanding money supplies. As much as Wall Street and government economists pretend otherwise, the expansion of money supply is the essential definition of inflation. The real reason that prices are rising in China is that so many yuan are being printed to buy up all these surplus dollars.

For much of the past decade foreign central banks invested their swelling U.S. dollar reserves in U.S. debt instruments, such as treasuries and mortgage backed securities. Not incidentally, these purchases helped sustain our housing and credit bubbles. But as a result of increasingly poor returns, sovereign wealth funds have recently been created to buy tangible assets instead, such as large portions of Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley. Thus far these investments have performed poorly (note the 50% decline in the value of the China’s stake in Blackstone). However, my guess is that such losses are of little concern, as the Chinese understand that any active use of their dollars, regardless of short-term performance, is seen as a positive because ultimately their unused dollars might be practically worthless!

It is no accident that those regions experiencing the highest inflation are those with currencies pegged to the dollar. The formerly strong dollar provided a compelling rationale for nations with weaker currencies to maintain currency pegs. The linkage provided badly needed discipline to their central banks and created confidence in their currencies. However, it makes no sense at all for a nation with a strong currency to peg to a weaker one. It is analogous to an honor student cheating on his exam by copying the answers from the worst student in the class.

Many economic analysts have noted that rising prices in China are now resulting in higher import prices for Americans. Ironically, many have concluded that this is evidence of China exporting inflation to the U.S. rather than China merely returning the inflation to its original source.

Initially, the strong productivity growth of these export nations worked to lower consumer prices and masked the inflationary impact of rapid money supply growth. However, with prices now exploding throughout Asia and the Middle East, governments can no longer ignore the inflation problem. China has recently imposed price controls to deal with rapid increases in consumer prices. However, as this merely attempts to mask the symptoms of inflation rather than addressing its root cause, this policy will prove as ineffective as it did in the United States in the 1970’s. Once all of these misguided cures fail, Asia and the Gulf nations will swallow the only medicine that will work. They will completely pull the plug on their dollar pegs. When they do it will not just be the dollar, but the entire American economy that goes down the drain.

The manner in which this massive bundle of funds will be disposed will have a gargantuan impact on the trajectory of the world economy. Unfortunately for America, the decisions are out of our hands, but the ramifications will largely be ours to bear.

For a more in depth analysis of our financial problems and the inherent dangers they pose for the U.S. economy and U.S. dollar denominated investments, read my new book “Crash Proof: How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse.”
It's going to get SO much worse too.

David B. Benson said...

Saladin --- I certainly agree with your concluding line.

David B. Benson said...

The Shrub still fails to understand that he is only there to enforce the laws that Congress passes:

Bush: What we asked the telecoms to do was legal

instead of doing whatever his handlers tell him to do.

DEN said...

Telephone and Internet providers like AT&T, Verizon and SBC are facing about 40 lawsuits from customers who say their privacy was violated as part of Bush's "Terrorist Surveillance Program" he says began after 9/11. Only if they are found to have violated privacy laws would these companies face the "billions of dollars" in penalties Bush warned against.

Then there is the 'prove you were wiretapped' defense from the Supremes essentially negating all those feared lawsuits so the chimp is a liar as usual, of course we all knew that.

The real puzzler is why all the posturing?

carey said...


Because they've committed so many more crimes than we know. We've only begun to scratch the surface.


A touch of humor in the morning, convice. Definition: The Bush administration.

Good comments on Nader, Den. I see Clinton has an ad showing Obama dressed in Muslim garb or I heard about it. How cute. Bet that has Hajji fuming.

My posts will be sporadic for a while still. Got one more eye to do. Isn't this neat, though? I'll be able to see almost like a young person. Wow.

DEN said...

The Supremes hand the chimp a way out and he still whines?

Crimes-O-Plenty that will not be prosecuted cause the Supremes are rigged.

The Senate is rigged too as evidenced by the last FISA vote.

This entire charade is intended to set up the next 9/11 as the Dems fault even though it is completely beyond their control.

Stock your emergency supplies up.

Saladin said...

I want to share a post that was made by a Myspace friend. These photos are absolutely fabulous.

10 Most Magnificent Trees in the World

I hope the link works, I've never tried to post a Myspace bulletin before.

DEN said...

Rupert won't allow it!

Unless you sign in of course.

DEN said...

traffic time

Hajji said...


At this point, there's hardly reason to "fume".

It would be a complete "non-issue" if Drudge hadn't credited "Clinton Staffer" with bringing the photo to his attention.

You might recall the two Clinton staffers that were forced to resign in December when they were found to be the source of the "Barack HUSSEIN Obama's a Muslim Manchurian Candidate" spam e-mails that are still circulating and still causing ignorant people to be more stupid, today.

I find the latest antics of HRC and crew to be a perfect example of political self-immolation and the latest national polls and the polls from next week's primaries show I'm not alone.

I could NOT care any less than I do should Shrillary decide to draw gasoline-soaked attention with the strike of a verbal match, but I do fear that she'll try to take the tinderbox party up in flames with her.

I AM concerned with something I was discussing today. Some people here are wondering about Obama's percieved neglect to appear at some of the more traditional black colleges and events of late.

While I can intellectualize that the strategy is to focus more on getting NEW votes, I hope it isn't to be at the expense of taking black voters for granted.

I AM told by some of the paid staff that there are PLENTY enough votes for Obama in Ohio, we just have to make sure those votes get to the polls and are COUNTED!

Congrats on the new eyes, btw, Carey!

My sister sez it is the best thing she's ever done for herself.

I've been lucky so far. I just started needing reading glasses while I'm wearing my contacts, espcially in low light.

I have progressive focus lenses in my glasses, but I broke 'em and haven't replaced them, yet.

I also like my contacts for outdoor and water sports and working and sweating and stuff.

It is only the expense that keeps me from joining you in the "see clearly through scary eye surgery" club.


David B. Benson said...

Hajji --- Do not attempt to read without adequate light!

Save your eyes.

Hajji said...

Hajji --- Do not attempt to read without adequate light!


I promised Mom I'd only do it until I need glasses!



a liberal who doesn't jump to conclusions said...

Barack Obama has accused Hillary Clinton of using "shameful" smear tactics after a picture of him wearing tribal robes and headgear in a Muslim region of Kenya was circulated on the internet.

First of all, why does Obama think the photo is "shameful?" He agreed to wear the garb, agreed to be photographed in it, must know that the photo is in the archives of AP, Reuters, and other news organizations, and that the photo first appeared in a news publication back in September, 2006, when he was in Kenya. If Obama believes the distribution of the photo is damaging to his campaign, he should have thought about that a long time ago -- afterall, he has been "running" for president for over three years already. If Obama's campaign continues to make such a big stink about this and continues to refer to the photo as "damaging," they run the risk of alienating many black voters. (Just as he did by stiffing the Black Forum on the weekend.)

Many politicians, when they travel to foreign countries, are photographed in traditional clothing native to the host country. I think it's "shameful" that Obama is now saying that distribution of this photo is "shameful." He's in the photo for godsakes! What an insult to the Somali elders to act as though the photo should not be seen!

The photo appeared at Matt Drudge's Report, with the claim that it was "circulated" by a Clinton staffer, though Drudge did not identify who that staffer allegedly is.

Maggie Williams, Clinton's campaign manager, did not flat-out deny that a staffer "circulated" it because there are over 700 staffers and to flat-out deny it would be impossible since staffers sometimes do things all on their own accord.

If this photo flap is indicative of how Obama and his staff will handle things in the general election, his campaign will crash and burn, for sure.

Carey said...

In this day and age, it's all up for grabs. Obama's not too worried about the photo, he knew what he was doing back then. It's all part of the old rigamarole of political campaigns.

Just another day of same ole.


I do fear that she'll try to take the tinderbox party up in flames with her.

In the end, I don't think so. Don't know what's ahead, but it'll come from the Republican side, it already is.

I say concentrate on McCain's cozy relationships with lobbyists. This scandal is far from over, we need more investigative digging, David Schuster. The real kind, not just published innuendo.

That's what the NYT was doing. They're not stupid, they can't be the ones to get to the bottom of this. Why? They're a corporation. It's not in their interests.

Don't forget Judith Miller and how the NYT fully backed her like forever. Their motivations are not in the public interest, it's in the corporation.

Carey said...

Excuse me, their motivations are not grounded in the public interest, etc.

I can't see too good.

Hajji said...

Actually, Micki...

Kristol recommends the ‘politics of fear’

This morning on Fox News Sunday, New York Times columnist Bill Kristol recommended that Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) employ the “politics of fear” to attack Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL):

“[Obama’s] riding a wave of euphoria. She [Clinton] needs to puncture it. The way you puncture euphoria is reality, or to be more blunt, fear. I recommend to Senator Clinton the politics of fear.”

Kristol explained that his fear-mongering political strategy would focus on Iran. He recommended that Clinton say the following about Obama: “He wants to negotiate on January 21st with Ahmadinejad.

The photograph is hardly shameful...

Now following Kristol's advice...

THAT is shameful!

kisses to the closet,


Hajji said...


Now, in the midst of the surge, the Bush administration has done an about-face.

Having lost the civil war, many Sunnis were suddenly desperate to switch sides — and Gen. David Petraeus was eager to oblige. The U.S. has not only added 30,000 more troops in Iraq — it has essentially bribed the opposition, arming the very Sunni militants who only months ago were waging deadly assaults on American forces.

To engineer a fragile peace, the U.S. military has created and backed dozens of new Sunni militias, which now operate beyond the control of Iraq's central government. The Americans call the units by a variety of euphemisms: Iraqi Security Volunteers (ISVs), neighborhood watch groups, Concerned Local Citizens, Critical Infrastructure Security.

The militias prefer a simpler and more dramatic name: They call themselves Sahwa, or "the Awakening."

At least 80,000 men across Iraq are now employed by the Americans as ISVs. Nearly all are Sunnis, with the exception of a few thousand Shiites. Operating as a contractor, Osama runs 300 of these new militiamen, former resistance fighters whom the U.S. now counts as allies because they are cashing our checks.

The Americans pay Osama once a month; he in turn provides his men with uniforms and pays them ten dollars a day to man checkpoints in the Dora district — a paltry sum even by Iraqi standards.

A former contractor for KBR, Osama is now running an armed network on behalf of the United States government. "We use our own guns," he tells me, expressing regret that his units have not been able to obtain the heavy-caliber machine guns brandished by other Sunni militias.

The American forces responsible for overseeing "volunteer" militias like Osama's have no illusions about their loyalty. "The only reason anything works or anybody deals with us is because we give them money," says a young Army intelligence officer. The 2nd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, which patrols Osama's territory, is handing out $32 million to Iraqis in the district, including $6 million to build the towering walls that, in the words of one U.S. officer, serve only to "make Iraqis more divided than they already are."

In districts like Dora, the strategy of the surge seems simple: to buy off every Iraqi in sight. All told, the U.S. is now backing more than 600,000 Iraqi men in the security sector — more than half the number Saddam had at the height of his power. With the ISVs in place, the Americans are now arming both sides in the civil war. "Iraqi solutions for Iraqi problems," as U.S. strategists like to say. David Kilcullen, the counterinsurgency adviser to Gen. Petraeus, calls it "balancing competing armed interest groups."


Paying and supplying BOTH sides in a civil war...just to delay the inevitable...

Now THAT's shameful!


DEN said...

It is the waaaaaay of The West!

Starve this war of money and it will cease to exist rapidly.

They are playing both sides against each other and have been for years.

Bringing Democracy whether you like it or not, we will tell you when we are done.

Saladin said...

I'm sorry the link didn't work, but really DEN, I have to sign in to post anything here. Do you think doesn't have issues? I think you know better. We are all being watched and listened to, it is the NEW west, get used to it, it isn't just Rupert. It's everything.

Saladin said...

Hajji, that's par for the course since WW1. War is a racket, that's nothing new.

Alan said...

This musta been what she posted about...

10 Most Magnificent Trees in the World