Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Nader, Obama and 'White Guilt'

In the interest of full disclosure, I'll admit that I was a staunch supporter of Ralph Nader's 2000 presidential campaign. In fact a pro-Nader piece I wrote called, "The Lesser of Two Evils or The Greatest Common Good" found its way onto listservs and blogs across the Internet in October of that year.

However, I have become disappointed in Ralph Nader, his decision to abandon the Green Party, and the fight to create a viable option to the nation's oppressive two party system. His actions since 2003 seem self-serving and divisive to me.

So I had to weigh in when I saw that Nader is catching flack for some comments he made to Colorado's Rocky Mountain News recently:
"There's only one thing different about Barack Obama when it comes to being a Democratic presidential candidate. He's half African-American," Nader said.

"Whether that will make any difference, I don't know. I haven't heard him have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos. Payday loans, predatory lending, asbestos, lead. What's keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white? He doesn't want to appear like Jesse Jackson? We'll see all that play out in the next few months and if he gets elected afterwards."


"I mean, first of all, the number one thing that a Black American politician aspiring to the presidency should be is to candidly describe the plight of the poor, especially in the inner cities and the rural areas, and have a very detailed platform about how the poor is going to be defended by the law, is going to be protected by the law, and is going to be liberated by the law," Nader said. "Haven't heard a thing."

Barack Obama's response to this statement was:

"What's clear is, Ralph Nader hasn't been paying attention to my speeches," he said. "Ralph Nader's trying to get attention. He's become a perennial political candidate. I think it's a shame, because if you look at his legacy ... it's an extraordinary one. ... At this point, he's somebody who's trying to get attention, whose campaign hasn't gotten any traction."

Well, I have two comments to make about that. First of all, I've been to three Obama events in the past six weeks covering election issues for MTV's Street Team '08, and I can say, I haven't heard him talk about these issues either. With the exception of criticizing John McCain's economic stance and his pretty general talking points about improving education for everyone, Obama doesn't say a lot about the conditions of Black folks. If anything, it is most evident that he DOESN'T talk about Blacks much at all. More on that in a minute.

My second comment to Obama's reaction is that he is right. Nader talking about criticizing Obama and the Democrats will get him more press than he'll receive talking about his stance on the issues. The same was true in 2000 when he outlined the differences between him and Al Gore stating that Gore was no different than Bush. This attitude has proven to be horribly false, but the point remains... no one is listening to Ralph Nader's good ideas. They only listen to his controversial statements

Nader said he is not impressed with Obama and that he does not see him campaigning often enough in low-income, predominantly minority communities where there is a "shocking" amount of economic exploitation.

He pointed to issues like predatory lending, shortages of health care and municipal resources, environmental issues and others.

"He wants to show that he is not a threatening . . . another politically threatening African-American politician," Nader said. "He wants to appeal to white guilt. You appeal to white guilt not by coming on as Black is beautiful, Black is powerful. Basically he's coming on as someone who is not going to threaten the white power structure, whether it's corporate or whether it's simply oligarchic. And they love it. Whites just eat it up."

This may be true, but I've talked to several of my Black friends who like the fact that Obama doesn't speak like a Black politician. He speaks like a winning politician. The absence of race in his rhetoric is calculated, and it is working.

Nader's comments are also calculated. He will raise questions about Obama in an attempt to get some of those votes to swing his way.

What Nader doesn't have this year as he did in 2000 is a national party that is standing behind him. In fact, Cynthia McKinney, a Black woman, is the likely Green Party nominee. McKinney doesn't shy away from discussions of race, and that has gotten her into trouble in the past.

Lebanese-American Nader, on the other hand, was accused of avoiding the issue of race by his supporters during his own 2000 campaign, ignoring racial disparities and couching the debate in terms of class. He hasn't discussed the plight of Arab Americans, and he hasn't talked about the problem of Islamophobia. This is a problem Obama will be forced to address in 2008. What about Nader?

So while I don't agree with the substance of Nader's criticisms, I do disagree with his own hypocrisy. Frankly, this a case of the pot calling the kettle Black?

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Is The Surge Working?

From Huffington Post:

The statement is made in the U.S. media, over and over again, as if it is as factual as the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening: "The surge is working."

But just because the media has parroted the talking points of the Bush administration and John McCain's campaign in making such an assertion, it does not make it true. And a report released by the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) yesterday does something that McCain and the White House probably wish would not be done: actually evaluating progress in Iraq against the goals the administration laid out in January 2007 when undertaking the surge.

Guess what? In many material ways, the surge isn't working. Sorry to rain on the parade of CNN, Fox News, ABC, CBS, etc. with the facts.

Click HERE to read more

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Juneteenth, the Media & History in the Making

Originally published at

The founders of the United States included freedom of the press in the first amendment because they understood that a people cannot truly be free if they don’t have accurate information about what’s going on in their world.

With no access to accurate news and information, 19th Century African Americans in Galveston, Texas thought they were still slaves, though legally they had been freed. In the 21st Century we have unprecedented access to tell our own stories, connect and learn from each other, and the ability to change the present and record history as it happens.

The 1st Annual Juneteenth celebration at The Woodward restaurant on June 18 and the 10th Annual Allied Media Conference on June 20-22 at Wayne State University, both in Detroit, illustrate the connection between history and the recording of “history in the making”.

Read More HERE

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

THIS Is Why They Want to Attack Iran

From Reuters via Yahoo News:
The market is full of oil and the rising price trend is "fake and imposed," Iran's president said on Tuesday, partly blaming a weak U.S. dollar which he said was being pushed lower on purpose.

"At a time when the growth of consumption is lower than the growth of production and the market is full of oil, prices are rising and this trend is completely fake and imposed," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a televised speech.

"It is very clear that visible and invisible hands are controlling prices in a fake way with political and economic aims," he said when opening a meeting of the OPEC Fund for International Development in the central Iranian city of Isfahan.

Iran, the world's fourth-largest oil exporter, has repeatedly said the market is well-supplied with crude and blames rising prices on speculation, a weak U.S. currency and geopolitical factors.

"As you know the decrease in the dollar's value and the increase in energy prices are two sides of the same coin which are being introduced as factors behind the recent instability," Ahmadinejad said.

With record oil company profits and a sinking world economy, do we need any more proof than Ahmadinejad's statement to know that we are being manipulated by the oil men?

Bush and Cheney created the instability in the Middle East with their illegal invasion of Iraq. They keep it going with their threats against Iran.

Iran's nuclear program isn't a threat. It is this:

Ahmadinejad reiterated his view that oil should be sold in a basket of currencies rather than U.S. dollars, an idea which has failed to win over other OPEC members, except Venezuela.

"The ever-increasing decrease in the dollar's value is one of the world's major problems," he said.

"A combination of the world's valid currencies should become a basis for oil transactions or (OPEC) member countries should determine a new currency for oil transactions," he said.

Iran, embroiled in a standoff with the West over its nuclear program, has for more than two years been increasing its sales of oil for currencies other than the dollar, saying the weak U.S. currency is eroding its purchasing power.

Ahmadinejad, who in the past has called the dollar a "worthless piece of paper," suggested "some big powers" were driving it lower on purpose:

"The planners for some big powers are acting to decrease the dollar's value," he said. "For years they imposed inflation and their own economic problems to other nations by injecting the dollar without any support to the global economy."

Now the dollar is sinking, and Ahmadinejad's advice is logical, but except for Venezuela, OPEC nations have resisted the change. As the U.S. economy edges closer to free fall, how long will those countries keep propping up the greenback?

Click HERE to Read the Full Article

Negotiating With Terrorists

From George Washington's Blog:

...both Ralph Nader

and attorney, longtime activist and 24-year public defender Bob Fueur

say Congressman John Olver disclosed that Congress is terrified that -- if Bush or Cheney are impeached -- they might bomb Iran, declare martial law and suspend the 2008 elections.

Indeed, leading neocon Daniel Pipes said in a recent interview posted at National Review Online, that if Obama is elected in November, Bush will attack Iran in the remaining ten weeks of his term.

If what Olver or Pipes say is true, then Bush and Cheney are literally terrorists. And Congress is literally negotiating with them by saying - in essence - "please don't bomb Iran or declare martial law and suspend the elections, and we won't impeach you".

I thought we didn't negotiate with terrorists.
Read the whole post HERE

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AUDIO: Putting Impeachment Back On The Table

Originally Published at

Click HERE to listen to the 3 min 59 second audio report.

Former presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich defied Democratic Party leaders when he filed 35 Articles of Impeachment against George W. Bush on June 10. A day later members of Veterans for Peace visited the office of Judiciary Committee Chair John Conyers (D-MI) asking him to hold an inquiry.

The Dems say impeachment would be a distraction from the upcoming election, but thousands of Americans believe the Bush Administration should be held accountable for its crimes against humanity.

What do you think?

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

IMPEACH BUSH: Kucinich Files Articles

Former presidential candidate Congressman Dennis Kucinich defied Democratic Party leadership by filing Articles of Impeachment against President George W. Bush on June 9. Despite arguments from constitutional scholars and activists that Bush should be charged with many crimes, the Democrats have consistently ruled that impeachment is "off the table".

View the 48 minute video of the proceedings here.

In November, House leaders killed Kucinich's resolution to impeach Vice-President Dick Cheney. Now Kucinich returns with 35 articles that outline the litany of crimes committed by the Bush/Cheney administration. They are expected to do the same this time.

Failure to hold Bush and Cheney accountable for their many crimes is a HUGE mistake, by both the Democrats and the Republicans. It demonstrates to the world that there is no respect for the rule of law in the United States. It demonstrates the Democratic Party's complicity in government policies that have brought the world to the brink of financial chaos and endless war. It sets a dangerous precedent and leaves any new president with the dictatorial powers that Bush and Cheney now possess.

During his campaign this year Barack Obama will tie John McCain to "the failed policies of George W. Bush". If Bush is so bad, why won't Obama put his support behind impeachment when the crimes of the president are so egregious?

In fact, many of the same propaganda tactics that were used to start the Iraq war are being used by Democrats, Republicans and the media to incite a war against Iran, another nation that has not attacked anyone. There is no evidence that Iran's nuclear program is being used for weapons, and there is no evidence that Iran is supplying insurgents in Iraq. Still Obama says Iran is "a threat to us all." John McCain has consistently attempted to tie Iran to Al-Qaeda even though the Shiite Iran and Sunni Al-Qaeda would never work together.

We're being set up again. If the Democrats allow Bush and Cheney to get away with the many crimes listed below they are guilty of aiding and abetting the criminal regime. They will push forward with their plans for war against Iran.

Congressman Kucinich has laid out an extensive indictment of the president. Here is the index of article titles:

Article I
Creating a Secret Propaganda Campaign to Manufacture a False Case for War Against Iraq

Article II
Falsely, Systematically, and with Criminal Intent Conflating the Attacks of September 11, 2001, With Misrepresentation of Iraq as a Security Threat as Part of Fraudulent Justification for a War of

Article III
Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction, to Manufacture a False Case for War

Article IV
Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Posed an Imminent Threat to the United States

Article V
Illegally Misspending Funds to Secretly Begin a War of Aggression

Article VI
Invading Iraq in Violation of the Requirements of HJRes114

Article VII
Invading Iraq Absent a Declaration of War.

Article VIII
Invading Iraq, A Sovereign Nation, in Violation of the UN Charter

Article IX
Failing to Provide Troops With Body Armor and Vehicle Armor

Article X
Falsifying Accounts of US Troop Deaths and Injuries for Political Purposes

Article XI
Establishment of Permanent U.S. Military Bases in Iraq

Article XII
Initiating a War Against Iraq for Control of That Nation's Natural Resources

Article XIIII
Creating a Secret Task Force to Develop Energy and Military Policies With Respect to Iraq and Other Countries

Article XIV
Misprision of a Felony, Misuse and Exposure of Classified Information And Obstruction of Justice in the Matter of Valerie Plame Wilson, Clandestine Agent of the Central Intelligence Agency

Article XV
Providing Immunity from Prosecution for Criminal Contractors in Iraq

Article XVI
Reckless Misspending and Waste of U.S. Tax Dollars in Connection With Iraq and US Contractors

Article XVII
Illegal Detention: Detaining Indefinitely And Without Charge Persons Both U.S. Citizens and Foreign Captives

Article XVIII
Torture: Secretly Authorizing, and Encouraging the Use of Torture Against Captives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Other Places, as a Matter of Official Policy

Article XIX
Rendition: Kidnapping People and Taking Them Against Their Will to "Black Sites" Located in Other Nations, Including Nations Known to Practice Torture

Article XX
Imprisoning Children

Article XXI
Misleading Congress and the American People About Threats from Iran, and Supporting Terrorist Organizations Within Iran, With the Goal of Overthrowing the Iranian Government

Article XXII
Creating Secret Laws

Article XXIII
Violation of the Posse Comitatus Act

Article XXIV
Spying on American Citizens, Without a Court-Ordered Warrant, in Violation of the Law and the Fourth Amendment

Article XXV
Directing Telecommunications Companies to Create an Illegal and Unconstitutional Database of the Private Telephone Numbers and Emails of American Citizens

Article XXVI
Announcing the Intent to Violate Laws with Signing Statements

Article XXVII
Failing to Comply with Congressional Subpoenas and Instructing Former Employees Not to Comply

Article XXVIII
Tampering with Free and Fair Elections, Corruption of the Administration of Justice

Article XXIX
Conspiracy to Violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965

Article XXX
Misleading Congress and the American People in an Attempt to Destroy Medicare

Article XXXI
Katrina: Failure to Plan for the Predicted Disaster of Hurricane Katrina, Failure to Respond to a Civil Emergency

Article XXXII
Misleading Congress and the American People, Systematically Undermining Efforts to Address Global Climate Change

Article XXXIII
Repeatedly Ignored and Failed to Respond to High Level Intelligence Warnings of Planned Terrorist Attacks in the US, Prior to 911.

Article XXXIV
Obstruction of the Investigation into the Attacks of September 11, 2001

Article XXXV
Endangering the Health of 911 First Responders

Bush and Cheney should be impeached, indicted, tried and convicted for high crimes and misdemeanors. If the Democrats refuse to defend the Constitution and do their duty by following through with impeachment, the entire lot should be tarred and feathered.

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Friday, June 06, 2008

VIDEO: Obama Brings Message of Change to Troy, Michigan

Originally Published at

Two days after Michigan's delegates were reinstated, and a day before he clinched the Democratic nomination, Barack Obama spoke to an enthusiastic crowd in Troy. Nadir asked several first time voters what they thought about Obama's message. Does he speak to the issues they face as young adults in Michigan?