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Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Here is the web letter I posted, in response to a response from Geneva, as well as Cockburn's aricle, in The Nation (the subsciption was given as a gift--anyone have suggestions for a better periodical this Xnas?)I also included the response from Geneva. Cockburn's article is in this bi-weekly copy of The Nation (in print) , but you have to kinve look around, online, for it.
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The Nation US Politics & Government Barack Obama

Web Letters: Against Obama Beat the Devil
By Alexander Cockburn
This article appeared in the November 10, 2008 edition of The Nation.

October 22, 2008

Write a Web letter about this article.

We look forward to hearing from you.

The post from Geneva, says a lot. It is alot easier to worship Obama from afar. (I suppose he is a US citizen?) The "world wants Obama"? Good.

Give up your single-payer heatlh care. Bail out your stock markets with taxpayer dollars, and give it to the thieves that stole it. Set the "rate of richness" at six times what the average citizen makes. (Offer working people a $1,000 bribe). Give up regulation of trade, and allow your government to hold people agaisnt their will, spy on them illegally, etc. Oh--dont forget to increase your military budgets, even as the middle class suffers--we have to keep up that "war on terror"!

Then--you too can have an "I love the free market" nation"! (Obama's words)

I don't agree with everything Cockburn said, I am not voting for Nader. I may even vote for Obama! But, it will be either because (1) I am so sick of hearing racists in Ohio--so it would be a "racist" vote, to vote for an African-American just to spite my bigoted neighbors, or (2) so that, maybe, some of my middle-class family and friends can get some help. I am one of those "stupid poor people" you keep goading. I was actually dumb enough to go into social work--MSW--and you thought teachers were broke!

If the press says Obama is a "socialist"--that's rich! I am a socialist--and never more proudly! After Wall St., I never want to hear a capitalist say that we "can't afford anything" again! But, of course, even with Dems in both Houses and the pseridency, it will be the cause of choice. "If only we hadn't had to bail out Wall St." Bull.

The "healthcare plan" stinks. Fifteen million will still be without, and it is market based. It is doomed. The FISA amendment, the Wall St. bailout... (Sanders, Kucinich, Kaptur, et al. all had plans that would've left more of the burden on the thieves--the Dems wouldnt even allow votes on them!)

It's fine to vote for Obama--it's a strategic decison. But, dont try to pretend he is a progressive.

Or better yet--stop trying to pretend the Democratic Party is progressive. Other countries want Obama? Sure--and I want single-payer healthcare, progersive taxation, five parties to choose from, a Parliament, etc.--and I cannot afford to move.

This is neo-liberalism, and it boggles the mind how many of my former "heroes" have bought into it. After eight years of Bush, this should be the "progressives' year." If it is not now, it never will be.

One more thing--to the censors at the "liberal" websites. Well, you've lost me as a Democrat for life! Common Dreams is particularly bad on this--there are entire websites set up to chat about "being banned from CD"! Is this the "progressive " hope and dream? For shame.

Kyle Christensen

Dayton, OH
10/27/2008 @ 4:20pm

I don't know where Cockburn got the idea that Obama is a "reformist" candidate. Perhaps he is being led astray by the feeble attempts of the McCain team to brand him a "socialist." Nor can I think of an avowed "reformist" over the past century who has ever been elected to the presidency, with the possible exception of FDR in his second term. Get real, man! I like a lot of the things that Nader says and, along with fellow lefties, even voted for him in 2000. But politically he is zilch. To my knowledge, he has never lifted a finger to found a political organization that fields candidates at the grassroots level. At best he is a narcissistic spoiler. If voting for Obama is a vote against McCain/Joe the Plumber, a vote for Nader is a vote against Obama--nothing more.

Thomas Ganiatsos
Marangopoulos Foundation for Human Rights

Geneva, Switzerland
10/25/2008 @ 08:11am

John--I just tried to click your link on "wishful thinking"--and it is "banned" for me! It is fron CD--they even bann me from old articles they posted. This is so unfair. Gawd, it pisses me off!!

Honestly, John, do you think that it is fair that I cannot click on links provided by someoen else, even if I cant comment?

How angry would you be?

Personally, I'm much more excited about McCain's defeat than I am by Obama's victory. After eight years of Bush, I think it's very important that the American People NOT say, "Please sir, may we have another?"
And I try to cut the voters some slack. They're working within a bad system that offers bad choices, between third-party candidates who can't win and major-party candidates who shouldn't win. In the end, if Obama wins, I'd say the voters did the best they could reasonably be expected to do.

I have said that I will probably vore for Obama--does that mean that I have no free speech because I think that he is a moderate to conservative?

Does this mean I cannot criticize? Does this mean that I shouldnt even be allowed to READ articles that CD reprints from other sites (which ones I cannot now find out?)

Maybe they read my letetr on The Nation.

In any case, it is illegal. I want Obama to win.

But, my brother in law is an attorney in NYC--after the election , they had better, at least stop trying to ban my comments OFF OF THEIR SITE!
If they are 501 status, they have a DUTY to "educate". They have NO right to stop me from reading articles.

Maybe someone who can still relay messages to CD should make them aware of this??!

SteveB: And I try to cut the voters some slack. They're working within a bad system that offers bad choices...

Sure, but I'm not talking about those choices; I'm speculating about what'll happen after those choices are made (and especially focusing on Obama's singular ability to make things happen the way I'm speculating they will). As I've said before, I'd love to be wrong, but I don't expect to be—I think what we'll be seeing is much more along the lines of the "frenzy" link (from my hometown self-congratulatory liberal Mark Morford).

KDelphi: Actually I think they can ban anyone they want (just as they were within their rights to erase my existence on their site). I just think they shouldn't.

On the technical side, to ban you they'd have to identify you. I think it's unlikely that they'd ban people by IP address, but if that's what they're doing you can just try resetting your Internet connection (e.g. disconnect from your DSL or cable modem and then reconnect, possibly along with powering it off in between, so it'll get a new IP address). If that doesn't work maybe they're ID'ing you by cookies, so you can try deleting all of the cookies for commondreams.org from your browser (Google can tell you how). If neither of those work, maybe you're having some other problem.

If you do want to at least be able to see articles on CD, though, you can use an anonymizer like http://anonymouse.org.

Yes, the real crime, in my mind, isn't the voting-for, it's the looking-away that happens after the election, when your preferred candidate carries out the criminal duties of a US commander-in-chief.

I'm not sure how much this has to do with Obama's eloquence, though. I'm sure it helps, but I'd bet most Dems would stand behind a sack of potatoes if it got elected to the White House with a "D" next to its name.

And the Republicans play an important role in this, too. All the shit they've been throwing at Obama up til now is nothing compared with what they're prepared to throw if they lose. In an environment where the Dem President is being called a terrorist (for the wrong reasons, e.g. NOT because he supports terrorist raids by the US on Syria and Pakistan) it's hard not to side with the guy. I think Clinton benefited enormously from this effect.

Maybe the two parties collude in this: "Hey, I'll accuse you of murdering Vince Foster, and you use the resulting sympathy from your base to screw them over on NAFTA."

Nah, I guess not. As in most cases where conspiracy is suspected, there is no conspiracy, simply because no conspiracy is required. All that's needed is for everyone to do they job they're well-paid to do.

And I try to cut the voters some slack. They're working within a bad system that offers bad choices, between third-party candidates who can't win

The reason those third-party candidates can't win is because the voters whom you're cutting slack refuse to vote for them. So tell me again why you're cutting them slack?

It is my IP address--I think. It says, "Sorry. is banned". Even when I try to open an article.

It simply has to be because I am a Socialist (believe me when I say that Obama is not)and, I disagreed alot. I also wrote a letter back , when the webmaster emailed me (he did it to alot of people) a plea to support Obama. I just said that I didnt think it was appropriate, and, since it was based on a person close to him thay had died, who supported Obama, I would be happy to vote for a supporter of single payer (like HR 676)in her honor. I wasnt being smaart--I was simply pointing out an inconsistecy. I also pointed out that, in the last 5 yrs. I have lost family and friends (4) to a lack of good health care. So, please do NOT lecture me on health care,. We need single payer . Everyone has it.

Nader voters were "tolerated". They even had Snow Dogh (was he a fake? He was so "friendly" about his opposition! lol)

I cant do the "anonymous" thing--my pc HD and RAM are too small and old. (It just says that the "file is too big")

I have to empty cookies and temps. after every session, or my browser slows to a halt. The worst part may be that they still send me newsletters--like "here are the topics, but youi cant read them". I would jsut block them, but I would LIKE to read the articles! Some, I can find on other sites. If someone can get there, bet me dimes to donuts that they dont post the Howard Zinn article backing Nader. This is NO way to gain a "broad progressive coalition of support" as they keep saying they want,

Now, an Obama campaigner is at my door--I just told him I was trying to decide between Obama and Third Party--he said "fine", when I told him my reasons .

Some of Obama's supportes (liek websites) are making it harder to support him. I pointed out that debated FISA on HIS website! I'm sorry, I'm just hurt and angry.
What would YOU do?

Should I have NOT put that number up there? I dont even know what it means. Will SPAMers find it, etc? Take it off , if I shouldnt have put it---thanks.

I wish I was more "informed" abou the internet.Well, alot of things.

The reason those third-party candidates can't win is because the voters whom you're cutting slack refuse to vote for them. So tell me again why you're cutting them slack?

Three reasons:

1) Sure, someone can vote for Nader or McKinney (I'm voting for McKinney, myself) but they know that very few others will join them, so a vote for a third party candidate seems to be a waste (and, in fact, it is a waste, if you focus solely on the short-term goal of getting the Republicans out of the White House). So we can't really blame someone for making their decisions based on a real-world calculation of who is likely to get elected, rather than a theoretical scenario where everyone votes the "right" way.

2) For most people, a vote for a third-party candidate would be a vote for someone they haven't heard of, or know little about, or who has unimpressive qualifications. Even if it's someone they have heard of, like Nader, they may have questions about his actual abilities as an administrator and manager of a $1 trillion-a-year enterprise - doubts that usually don't get aired, because we all know Nader's never getting close to being elected. The sad reality is that people with the potential to make good candidates get snapped up by the major parties. Think about it: if you were interested in a career in politics, had a winning personality and the enormous amounts of energy needed to run for office, why would you choose to spend your life losing elections as a Green? Yes, we do get extraordinary people who go third-party out of conviction, but those are rare. Most of the time we're offering up people who don't have the resume that most voters expect from a candidate - especially a candidate for higher office. Should we blame the folks who don't vote for them?

3) I don't think we're going to get anywhere by treating voting as a case of individual moral failure. We have to look at the systemic issues that lead people to keep voting for major parties, and work on them. Usually, leftists and progressives don't have a problem with a systemic approach: we don't choose to explain crime as a consequence of "bad people", we look to systemic causes, like poverty or racism. But when it comes to voting, we forget to take this systemic approach.

I dont BLAME anyone for voting any way that they want. I just dont think some understand what it is like to , after spending almost half of their life voting Dems, waiting for "change", eight years of neo-conservatism, and, then, having the Dem candidate turn out to be--guess--another CENTRIST!

I left the Party about a decade ago.(I registered with a minor party). I came back in 2000, heavily campaigned for Gore (I really kindve like him), then Kerry--just to get rid of Dubya (I have family who went to Yale with Dubya, so I knwe what he woudl be). I had to "un-register" with the Dems.

And, now they want me to vote AGAIN for someone who , basically , offers the samosamo. I am REALLY having trouble with that! Is it NOT fun...everyone is so gung-ho Obama--no one even wants to talk about anything else.

I had decided--but, then I listen to Obama on tv, read these Moonie-sounding blogs, (when I'm allowed!), someone comes to the door--and, as I discuss him--it just reminds me of all the ways he has disappointed me. And, the Democratic paarty , in general has.

I can MAKE myself "do it again"--sigh--but why? He's not going to lose..I heard Bill Clinton today , echoing what I had been thinking--when a party puts forth a candidate, they are pretty much saying, "Is this good enough?" Its like a job interview.

If I say, "Yes", what right do I have to complain?

SteveB: So we can't really blame someone for making their decisions based on a real-world calculation of who is likely to get elected, rather than a theoretical scenario where everyone votes the "right" way.

Sure we can. The unspoken premises needed to justify that statement are that the person in question is 1) a potential Nader/McKinney voter and 2) living in a swing state. But plenty of progressives vote for Democrats even in safe states (case in point: the SF Bay Guardian newspaper backed Nader in 2000 but is endorsing Obama now, even though there's no question how California in general and San Francisco in particular are going to go). If just the progressives who could safely do so actually would vote for progressive candidates, that could easily produce a noticeable enough bump in support to create a groundswell, help them qualify for federal matching funds, get them into the debates, etc.

So can we blame these progressives for failing to do what they can do (safely, without any danger to their Democratic alternative) to make third parties a viable option? Absolutely.

There's also a third unspoken premise: that you're describing a dilemma faced by a majority of voters. But you're not. Most people who're going to vote for Obama are dyed-in-the-wool Democrats doing it with unbridled ecstasy; 2008 isn't 2004, and Obama is no Kerry (for better or worse). So we're really talking about a small percentage of liberal/progressive voters...and while these people have proven that they're great at voting strategically for Democrats, they seem to be well-nigh incapable of voting strategically for progressives. The fear and hysteria just take over.

I don't think we're going to get anywhere by treating voting as a case of individual moral failure. We have to look at the systemic issues that lead people to keep voting for major parties, and work on them.

Not a moral failure, but in the case of progressives there's certainly a widespread failure of logic. And I think it does help to point that out (because people get caught up in the fervor and lose sight of what they can do to make things better, as small as it may seem). Fixing the systemic issues (which I agree is very important) will mainly give more freedom to the larger group of potential voters who for the moment are quite happy sticking to the two parties.

BTW, I thought your first comment up there (the one I'm not mercilessly nitpicking) was aces.

KDelphi: I can see where living in Ohio would make it tough for you, but then again, what are the chances that Obama's going to lose by one vote? I say follow your heart.

About your IP address, nope, it's not a big deal to post it (but I'll edit it out anyway just so you won't have to worry). And as I mentioned, you can get around the ban if you can change that IP address. If it's a dynamic IP address (where you get a new one every time you connect) you can just try doing what I said: power off your DSL modem or cable modem and then reconnect. You may need to stay disconnected for a long period of time to get it to change, though. If it's a static IP address (which stays the same every time you connect), you might try calling your Internet provider and asking them for a new one. Actually that'd be a good approach either way—they should be able to help you change your IP address no matter which type it is.

We probably have a different perspective on this because we live in different states. Yes, it must be frustrating to see progressives in solid-blue California still following the lesser-of-two evils approach, but here in Wisconsin (which was, until a few weeks ago, still considered a swing state) you can really feel the fear. I have friends who are still waffling between McKinney and Obama even though Obama's up by 12 in the state polls. Gore won the state by 4,000, Kerry by 11,000, so I ask: how could Obama possibly do worse than that sack of cement John Kerry? But the fear is still there, helped along by a Republican Attorney General who is using every voter-suppression tactic he can lay his hands on.

We shouldn't underestimate the mental scars left on liberal and progressive voters from the 2000 and 2004 "elections." It's knowing that they stole Florida, and Ohio besides, that makes you worry they've got some nasty new tricks still left in the bag. It's like the Republicans are an electoral Freddy Kreuger, who's still coming after you even when you've lopped off all his limbs with a chain saw.

You'd think that the 2006 election would have helped, but it's going to take a lot of Republican defeats before your average liberal can internalize the belief that "Dem candidate ahead by 10 points in poll" actually means "Dem candidate likely to win election."

John--Thanks--I THINK my ISP would want to know "why"--and might not like the "why". Sounds paranoid I know. But, here in Ohio, that is how it is.I will just try to read the articles elsewhere. I csnt stand CD now.

Steve--Au contrare! (I dont even speak much french--dont you just hate it when people do that?) The elections of 2000 and 2004 (which I "participated in with gusto" (meaning I went door to door, stayed in the rain outdside the polls with moveon.org , waited it out with them till 3:00 AM) made me realize the futility of continuining ro vote Democratic. Why? Because they wont fight!! Maybe Obama will. But, the Dems clearly won both races (Ohio WAS stolen--I saw the caging and challenging at two historically black colleges in Ohio--nobody was doing it at the private colleges!). I saw , Kerry, even before the votes were counted--giving a concession speech, as we watched, dumbstruck! I consider the Dem Party to be the greatest betrayer of progressives in the uS.

As I told one of the Obama delegates on CD-(he didnt say so, but I remember him from PDA)-I'd rather have a neo-con look me in the eye and say "I just dont want to pay for kids heatlh care" or ?"I dont give a damn about dead Iraqis" than to hear one more"I feel your pain" (he actually said that) or "its a conundrum" (but Wall St wasnt?) from neo-liberals, who have joined the GOP in the war on the poor--they just do it with a big smiling , attractive face.

I have to admit--I am not really a supporter of Obama--but glad to see bush go! Watching these neo-cons screaming about their money--it is pretty satisfying!

I just wish Obama wanted to re-distribute income the way they fear he will!!

A toast to "nobushism"!!!!

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