Monday, August 30, 2004

More About Republican Money

Guess Who's Taking Republican Money Now?

The Hypocrites of TheNaderbasher.com


By SHAUN JOSEPH

The Democratic Party's Nader bashers sunk to a new low with a television ad attacking Republican financial support for Ralph Nader's presidential campaign--which ends with the Bush-Cheney campaign logo altered to read "Bush-Nader." The ad was paid for by TheNaderFactor.com, one of several groups connected to the Democrats that has frantically attacked Nader for daring to offer a left-wing alternative to John Kerry's Republican Lite campaign.

"[Nader] is now at a point where his entire legacy may come down to him helping Bush stay in office for another four years, and him cooperating with the right-wing groups that he's opposed," Chris Kofnis, an adviser to the group, snarled to the New York Times. Neither Kofnis nor the Times bothered to mention that campaign contributions from known Bush supporters constitute less than 5 percent of the $1 million that the Nader campaign has raised.

Still, given their sanctimonious tone, you'd think that the Nader bashers would at least set a squeaky-clean example. But you'd be wrong.

Seems TheNaderFactor.com needs to listen to that old saying about stones and glass houses.

TheNaderFactor.com is the main project of the National Progress Fund, one of the so-called "527 organizations" that emerged after the passage of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law to ensure that campaign financing was not actually reformed.

The official purpose of the National Progress Fund is "[t]o engage in election-related activity for the purpose of supporting progressive issues." To date, the only "progressive issue" associated with the organization is the claim that Nader--after four decades of liberal opposition to corporate power and political corruption--is conspiring with right-wing Republicans to help Bush keep the White House.

Does the National Progress Fund live up to the standards it demands of Nader?

Not so much.

According to reports filed with the Internal Revenue Service (the IRS, rather than the Federal Election Commission is responsible for monitoring 527 groups), the organization's largest donation from an individual is $25,000, from Robert "Bobby" Savoie. Savoie was head of Science and Engineering Associates, which recently merged to become Apogen Technologies, where Savoie is vice chairman.

Savoie's company is a major federal contractor, providing all manner of services to the Department of Energy, the IRS and the Pentagon. Currently, Apogen is doing an especially brisk business with the Department of Homeland Security--designing databases to track the movements of foreign visitors to the U.S.

Does it seem odd that someone who has done well by Bush's "war on terror" would help the Democrats? Actually, Savoie has a long record of keeping his bread buttered on both sides.

About a month before his donation to the National Progress Fund, he handed over $25,000 to the Republican National Committee--and a month before that, he gave $2,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee. His wife, Lori, by happy coincidence, gave equal amounts to the same organizations on precisely the same days.

According to the New York Times, TheNaderFactor.com's anti-Nader television ad cost $5,000 to produce and $20,000 to run a dozen times in New Mexico and Wisconsin at the end of August. Precisely the amount that Savoie gave to the Nader bashers--and to the Republican National Committee the month before.

Savoie isn't an exception. Like plenty of other rich, politically connected executives, he keeps thousands flowing to both major parties, so that millions flow back to them, no matter who wins. The idea of a genuinely independent alternative raised by Nader's campaign is naturally terrifying--so Savoie joined right in with the liberal attack on Nader.

The Democrats and Republicans share the same corporate backers, and they share the same manual of dirty tricks for political campaigns. We expect slander and hypocrisy from the two parties of the Washington status quo. But progressives who say they want to win real change ought to know better.

Shaun Joseph writes for the Socialist Worker.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

FEATURED LINK: IRAQ BODY COUNT

Iraq has rapidly become a mini-Vietnam, though it has the potential to become a full scale version. In 2004, two pro-war candidates are running. Both would like to keep troops in Iraq, as great in number and as long as possible. But the American presence in Iraq is very dangerous-- even deadly. At least 13,000 people have already died in Iraq. Although the news only mentions American Deaths, every day more and more Iraqis and Americans are being killed.

Most the Iraqis killed have been civillians. These are the innocent people that Bush and Kerry are claiming to "liberate." One can only assume George Bush believes the only good Iraqi is a dead Iraqi.

American Voters need to understand that their vote has consequences for people all over the world. From sweatshop workers to Iraqi civillians, 4 more years of American Politics as usual can become devastating. Voters should visit http://www.iraqbodycount.net/ before deciding to throw their vote to one of two pro-war, pro-death candidates.

Millions of Americans believed George Bush when he said this war was necessary. Millions believe John Kerry as he tells us this war must continue. But can the thousands of dead civillians really be necessary? Or is it possible that Bush and Kerry are trying to distract us from all the death so to manipulate our vote.

Ralph Nader is the only candidate who believes America needs to wash her hands of this civilian bloodshed by bringing the troops home.

Please visit http://www.iraqbodycount.net/ and remember, a vote for Ralph is a vote to honor those killed by Bush's war.

Friday, August 27, 2004

An UpDate from LETNADERDEBATE.ORG

I just received this update from LetNaderDebate.org If you haven't already signed the petition, go there now and do it. Getting Ralph in the debates is still a conceivable possibility.
We’re getting ready to send our next 2,000 signatures to President Bush, so if you have signatures with you, please fax them by Sunday night to 212-803-1899.

Yesterday John Kerry made news by challenging President Bush to weekly debates from now until the Nov. 2 presidential election. Writes Reuters, 'It is not unusual for challengers to seek more debates to become better known among voters and for incumbents to turn them down.' While the major party candidates begin to play politics with the debate issue, this is really our moment to step in and demand that Americans want Nader included so we can have real debate and dialogue on the issues facing our county.

Here are LetNaderDebate.org highlights from the past several days:

• In California, Jason Olson, Dave Mollo and Glen Miracle have been going out on the streets every weekend in the San Francisco Bay area. They got “LetNaderDebate” t-shirts made up at a local printer. “People love seeing us on the street,” said Jason. 'Even if they don’t sign the petition, they are glad that someone is talking about the issue of democracy this year.” Jason and the team have gathered hundreds of signatures so far, and are working to recruit volunteers and attend local events, like the “Weapons of Mass Democracy” rally in Colton California next weekend. If you live in the Bay area and want to get involved with Jason and company, send an email to Jason_1975@yahoo.com.

• The Committee for a Unified Independent Party, a think tank for independent voters, released the results of a poll of independent voters they conducted during August. The survey of 700 independents from 36 states asked whether the Democratic Party officials should be allowed to prevent Ralph Nader from getting on the ballot. Seventy-one percent of respondents answered 'Should not.' Read more about this important survey of independent voters at www.cuip.org

• With seven days to go, we have raised $21,120 - well within shooting distance of our $25,000 goal. We have received donations from supporters in 37 states. In addition to raising the $25,000 by August 31st, we’d like to have donors from every state on board. So, if you are from Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Hawaii, Louisiana, North Carolina, Delaware, West Virginia, Idaho, Oregon, South or North Dakota, now is a great time to come on board and make a donation! If you live in one of the other states, it is also a great time to give! Every dollar we raise fuels our on-line advertising campaign and attracts hundreds of new supporters. Please give today!

Remember, fax in those signatures by Sunday night. Keep talking to people and make a donation. Every dollar we raise and every person we talk to strengthens our position to get Nader into the debates.

COME PROTEST THE RNC

COME PROTEST THE RNC WITH THE NADER CAMPAIGN!

Hello student organizers and volunteers. It's time to show George Bush that he better shape up and listen to his constituency, the American People.

Come protest with us on Sunday! We're meeting at 10 AM at 20th St. & 6th Ave. A group from the national office will be there, including me! I hope to finally meet and march with you all. We'll have t-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers, signs and flyers. Bring any signs that you've made yourself!

Let's show them what we're made of.

SEE YOU IN THE STREETS!



If you're in the city and can't find us, feel free to give me a call on my cell phone at 847-571-2260.



Here's the schedule for the convention.

- Saturday, August 28th - Noon to 6 p.m.
Washington Square Park - "A Green World Is Possible" - Peter Miguel Camejo is among the speakers.

- Sunday, August 29th - Meet at 10 a.m.
20th Street & 6th Avenue - March with the Nader/Camejo Contingent up 7th Avenue to Central Park.

- Monday, August 30th - 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Synod Hall, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 110 St. & Amsterdam Ave. - "Fighting the Bush Agenda: Can We Do Better than Anybody But Bush?" Peter Miguel Camejo will speak.

- Tuesday, August 31st - 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Miller Theatre, Columbia University, 2960 Broadway at 116th Street - "The Campus Anti-War Counter Convention" Ralph Nader will be speaking.



If you have any questions shoot me an e-mail at ben@votenader.org or give me a call at (202) 265-4000.



Wednesday, August 25, 2004

WHY THE HIPHOP GENERATION SHOULD NOT VOTE FOR KERRY

Why The Hip Hop Generation Shouldn't Vote For Kerry
Davey D.com, Commentary,
Bakari Kitwana, Aug 24, 2004


When I say to hip-hop kids that perhaps we shouldn't vote for John Kerry, the universal first response is raised eyebrows. Then come a flurry of questions, mostly critical and heartfelt ones. These are reactions I've come to be expect, especially from a left leaning emerging voting bloc.

This election year, the emerging hip-hop voting bloc-the potential group of young voters regardless of race, age, sex and class who routinely make hip-hop artist go platinum almost overnight-has reared it's head like no other. Many hip-hop voters even those well over 18
are coming to participate in the electoral process for the first time. We've mostly remained out of the process but are now eager to flex within it.

The hip-hop voting bloc may be America's only hope of saving our democracy from what it's become, a playground for the wealthy and corporate elites. But if we aren't careful, we'll be eaten alive by a fine-tuned machine that welcomes us in the door, gracefully escorts us to a seat, entertains us to the max, secures our vote and leaves us scratching our head after November 4th, asking, what just happened? Better still, what was our role in making it happen?

Which brings us back to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. Senator Kerry seems like a nice guy. A decorated Vietnam War veteran, something he wears on his sleeve, sometimes annoyingly so, but understandable in an election year when the sitting president took the
easy way out. A Yale graduate; in the Senate for two decades; the father of two daughters. You gotta love him.

On the personal political record tip, he now says he's for affirmative action, although in 1992, in a lecture he gave at Yale he described it as "reverse racism" and "divisive." On his voting record in Congress, his Republican critics hit the nail right on the head: Kerry tends to talk out of both sides of his neck. More troubling than his doublespeak is Kerry's insider elite background.

Of the 40 millionaires in the Senate, he's the richest, worth over $160 million. This doesn't include his wife's family net worth, which is estimated at nearly $1 billion. Wealth aside, Kerry's wife Teresa Heinz Kerry, feminist advocate that she is, defected from the Republican Party to become a Democratic just last year. This and more regarding Kerry, is the stuff that makes you go, hmmm.

But when it comes to the hard decisions that will come after the election-from administration appointments and to advancing policy changes, it is no longer simply the Kerry show. As such, the Democratic party's track record and it's corporate elite associations are a better indication of what Kerry will do to help or hurt us rather than Kerry himself. So don't get caught up in how good Kerry (or his daughters) looks or what he says he's going to do from jobs to affirmative action. Just as any other president if elected he'll be beholden to a ton of agendas. Somewhere in the process is a way of getting our issues on the table. But we aren't there yet. More important it's what we do between now and November as much as on November 4th that could determine if we as a voting bloc will ever arrive.

In this election, just as it's been for the last several decades Democrats are not offering the hip-hop generation anything to get excited about.

Even when the Democratic Party is speaking out on issues that matter to hip-hop voting bloc, when it comes to outlining solutions, they aren't willing to go far enough. As brilliant as Barack Obama was during the recent Democratic National Convention, and as inclusive as John Edwards tried to be, both did what they were supposed to do. They were given a national platform to rouse our emotions, but charged with the pretty transparent task of not departing too far from the script.

In June the first ever National Hip-Hop Political Convention convened in Newark, New Jersey. Delegates from around the country worked diligently to create a national agenda of issues that matter to the hip-hop voting bloc. In short, the agenda calls for universal healthcare, living wage jobs, reparations, education reform, and an end to mandatory minimum sentencing, among other critical human rights concerns.

Attempts to present the agenda at last month's Democratic National Convention were at best lightly entertained, but ultimately ignored. National Hip-Hop Political Agenda aside, not two minutes, not one minute of Democratic National Convention airtime was given to the hip-hop voting bloc' s issues. Contrast this to stem cell research, a debate hardly in need of a public hearing.

This isn't to say that the Democratic Party doesn't pay lip service to issues like higher paying jobs and education reform-both issues that matter to hip-hop voters. However, not any of their proposals go the distance that most hip-hop voters require to see substantive change in our lives that we can measure on a daily basis.

For example Democrats propose raising the minimum wage to $7/hour. They also call for a tax credit of $1000 to offset college tuition costs. Any hip-hop generationer can attest to the fact that $7/ hour is hardly a living wage and that a $1000 tax credit won't put a dent in the college costs.

Our generation came of age victims of a deteriorating public education system, working class jobs without benefits, rising college tuition costs and ever increasing limits on financial aid. We also saw far too many of our friends and relatives head off to prison after casting their lot with the drug game, even as they knew the odds were stacked against them: their motto was live a little rather than not at all. Repairing at least some of the damage done to youth in the 80s and 90s is part of the critical distance that Democrats should go for our vote.

And the name of the game is politics, not the-Republicans-are-too-evil so-we-can't-really play-the-game.

Taking the position that the Republican Party should be avoided like the plague allows us to fall right into Democratic Party's trap; they don't have to work for our vote because they already have it.

Likewise, we shouldn't allow the current anti-Bush mania to sidetrack us. Being anti-Bush is not reason enough to vote for Kerry.

Being anti-Bush, as it's being played out, is an emotional response designed to get us on someone else's bandwagon. At best, being anti-Bush is a political sentiment, not a political perspective.

The anti-Bush crusade of course, has it's roots in the Democratic Party. The anti-Bush movement ironically was spawned by campaign finance reform, in the form of 527 non-profits. 527 groups have been around for 4 years, but have now taken on a new importance. Mostly these are Democrats who have found a creative way to keep in the game all that lovely unlimited so-called soft money outlawed by the BiPartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.

Essentially, the anti-Bush 527 committees are not just anti-Bush, but pro Kerry, even if it's illegal for them to say so. At the end of the day, they are Democratic party footsoldiers and these wannabe hip-hop voter svengalis aren't seeking the hardcore change that the country needs, which inspired our generation to delve into electoral politics in the first place.

Neither should we buy into the tired argument that a vote for Nader is a wasted vote. Also, we shouldn't be duped by the reasoning that somehow if you're anti-Bush and didn't vote for Gore in 2000, then you're personally responsible for the Iraq War. Again an twisted attempt to put hip-hop voters on the Kerry bandwagon.

An August 15, 2004 New York Times article about Ralph Nader's campaign ("The Secret Shame of the Nader Booster,") quoted president of Appleseed Recordings Jim Musselman, asking the rhetorical question, "We get to choose from seven different types of Coca-Colas in the supermarket, but we should only have two choices for president?" It' an important question that gets to the heart of why we shouldn't vote for John Kerry.

Democrats aren't giving us any real alternative. Kerry isn't the lesser of two evils, he's maybe the lesser of two evils-maybe he won't do us as bad as Bush, but we don't know for sure. If Kerry has such a wonderful America in store for us, why is it that this Democratic presidential campaign is focused not on Kerry 's merits but on Bush demerits instead?

It's time to put Democrats on notice that there are enough swing voters willing to go at least a second if not third way, write in our candidates or withhold our votes altogether. This is the only leverage we have at this point as a voting bloc to get our issues on the nation's agenda. At some point too this will require hip-hop voters to get involved in the electoral process beyond simply voting.

First we must support the political work of organization's like Citizens Change, The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, the Hip-Hop Civic Engagement Project, the National Hip-Hop Political Assembly, L.I.S.T.E.N. (Local Initiative Training & Education Network), The Urban Think Tank Institute and The League of Pissed Off Voters. Second we have to get involved in the various local hip-hop activist efforts across the country working to mobilize voters and organize youth at the local level-from the Ohio-based B.U.I.L.D. (Blacks United in Search of Local Democracy) to the Denver-based Colorado Hip-Hop Coalition. Finally, we must adhere to the adage "put your
money where your mouth is" and financially contribute to campaigns, candidates and or organizations that advance our issues.

These efforts, along with a strategic use of our vote, is the only way to get the issues that matter to the hip-hop voting bloc nationally debated in the same way the prescription drug benefit and gay marriage have captured the nation's attention. If we do this we can and will see in our lifetime substantive change on issues that matter to us. To settle for anything less is to certainly condemn our emerging political movement to the history books of "what could have been" and "if only." In the meantime, to vote for Kerry just because is nonsense.

Bakari Kitwana is the author of The Hip-Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis is African American Culture, co-founder of The National Hip-Hop Political Convention and an organizer of The National Hip-Hop Political Assembly.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

TUESDAY COUNTDOWN TO THE ELECTION: THE IRAQ WAR

Every Tuesday from now until the election we will focus on a different issue of importance in the Nader/Camejo Campaign. This Week's Issue Is: THE IRAQ WAR.

To remind readers of what they know too well, Nader/Camejo points out the five falsehoods that have led to the Iraq War:

1. Weapons of Mass Destruction. The weapons have still not been found. Nader emphasized, "Until the 1991 Gulf War, Saddam Hussein was our government's anti-communist ally in the Middle East. We also used him to keep Iran at bay. In so doing, in the 1980s under Reagan and the first Bush, corporations were licensed by the Department of Commerce to export the materials for chemical and biological weapons that President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney later accused him of having." Those weapons were destroyed after the Gulf War. President Bush's favorite chief weapons inspector, David Kay, after returning from Iraq and leading a large team of inspectors and spending nearly half a billion dollars told the president :We were wrong." See: David Kay testimony before Senate Armed Services Committee, January 28, 2004.

2. Iraq Ties to Al Qaeda-9/11. The White House made this claim even though the CIA and FBI repeatedly told the Administration that there was no tie between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. They were mortal enemies - one secular, the other fundamentalist.

3. Saddam Hussein was a Threat to the United States. In fact, Saddam was a tottering dictator, with an antiquated, fractured army of low morale and with Kurdish enemies in Northern Iraq and Shiite adversaries in the South of Iraq. He did not even control the air space over most of Iraq.

4. Saddam Hussein was a Threat to his Neighbors: In fact, Iraq was surrounded by countries with far superior military forces. Turkey, Iran and Israel were all capable of obliterating any aggressive move by the Iraqi dictator.

5. The Liberation of the Iraqi People. There are brutal dictators throughout the world, many supported over the years by Washington, whose people need "liberation " from their leaders. This is not a persuasive argument since for Iraq, it's about oil. In fact, the occupation of Iraq by the United States is a magnet for increasing violence, anarchy and insurrection.

The campaigns of George Bush and John Kerry will continue to ignore the Iraq issue because both George Bush and John Kerry support the illegal and unconstitutional invasion. The Nader/Camejo campaign is the only one calling for an immediate withdraw of all US Troops and corporations and has a plan to facilitate such an exit strategy.

For those Democrats fond of the "lesser of two evils" propaganda, we do well to recall that John Kerry has told The WallStreet Journal that he will keep troops in Iraq longer than President Bush will and that he will put more troops there than the President has. Apparently, when Senators Kerry and Edwards voted for the war, their plan was "if troops are killed, they are replaceable."

And as though Kerry were not already as destructive as George W. Bush, he recently confessed he would still vote for the war, even today, knowing what we do now, namely that Iraq had no Weapons of Mass Destruction. Kerry wishes to distance himself as far as possible from the peace movement without having to loose their vote. But those who favor peace should realize that Kerry does not favor them.

"It becomes more difficult every day to know what John Kerry stands for. At the Democratic Convention he said he would not send troops to war unless absolutely necessary; now he says he would have authorized troops for Iraq, despite what we now know. Prior to the Convention, Kerry said he would keep troops in Iraq throughout his first term in the presidency; last week he said he would reduce them in the first six months?then his aides clarified his statement and said reduction was 'a best case target,'" Ralph Nader has responded.

Forty years ago there was a Peace Revolution among American Students. Where has this Revolution gone? Even when the students protested, there was still a draft, still years of war, and still civil discord for generations. Today, when students refuse to speak out, refuse to become active in the peace movement, do they honestly expect to avoid another draft, another war? While John Kerry has attacked President Bush, many people are failing to realize that he is not providing an alternative. Students who oppose the war and oppose the draft should not let themselves be treated like sheep by the pro-war candidates, but instead should declare their political independance in the Ralph Nader Campaign.

COMING NEXT WEEK: CONVENTION WATCH

Next week Students for Nader will be reporting on the Republican Convention in New York. It is ironic that the Convention will start on the same day that millions of American students return to school, since many of the policies spewed forth will affect American young people the most. Each day Students For Nader will report on what these policies are and how they affect us.

If you would like to help report on the Republican Convention, please email JackFate00@aol.com

You do not need any special skills to report on this convention. All you need is a willingness to expose the Republican Party's deep entrenchment in Corporate Power and how this will only serve to hurt Americans, especially young people. If you would like to help, please email me.

COMING NEXT WEEK: CONVENTION WATCH

All next week Students For Nader will be watching and reporting on the Republican Convention in New York. It is ironic that the convention begins on August 30, as this is also the date millions of students return to school. Students for Nader will be closely examining those aspects of the Republican Convention that most affect students.

However, we need help in reporting all of this. If you would like to help report facts and write op-eds about the Convention, please email JackFate00@aol.com.

You do not need any special journalism skills, just a willingness to expose the big business control of the Republican Convention and to show the rest of America's youth what Bush/Cheney are doing to harm us.

Monday, August 23, 2004

STUDENT FOR NADER OF THE DAY: BEN NOWAK

Ben Nowak
Ben Nowak's testimony show how important the Nader/Camejo campaign is, and what is at stake in this election. Over the past 4 years the Republicans have been hurting America's youth in numerous ways to be explored by this blog, and now that a candidate has stood up to try to stop it, the Democratic Party has been compromising this candidate's own freedom to run for office! And although we read about Democratic evil deeds in the paper, no one stops to think about how, in doing so, they are hurting innocent students like Ben Nowak...

Ralph Nader has and forever will be a hero to me. In today's crooked political arena, Ralph Nader is a beacon of truth. He knows what he believes in, and depends on the people of the country to get it done.

"Government of the people, by the people, for the people..."

Nader represents all that I was taught about America and its freedoms--freedoms that I have watched disappear slowly over the last few years.

Yet, I now believe that EVERY individual can make America a better place. Ralph sure has.

This campaign, regardless of the November outcome--has changed my life. I pray every day that thousands more will realize just how much can be done with a vision and the determination to carry it through.

My name is Ben Nowak, a Business Administration major at the University of Wisconsin Marathon County/University of Wisconsin Steven's Point. I am 22 years old, and engaged to a wonderful woman. I find strength in this campaign--because every common American is welcome, not just the elite few. I was born with Cerebral Palsy and thus have faced many trials in my life... Yet I have never lost hope. Many of us in this country are discouraged about the dark state of the nation, however--there is always hope--and something to be done to make that hope a reality.

I'm a Lord of the Rings nut... and this statement has been said by many people in many ways... but this is a summation of my life philosophy:

..."and so do all who live to see such dark times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."


ssivsongoku@charter.net

Friday, August 20, 2004

THE TRUTH ABOUT REPUBLICANS

Students who support Nader have been constantly hit with the following: "The only people who support you this year are republicans who want Nader to hurt Kerry."

Of course, one might wonder if, by implication, they mean to accuse me of being a Corporate Republican who is campaigning for Nader but intends to vote Bush. Such people have no place in a true Democracy. They want to repress voices & choices and keep the two party system thriving so that their pro-war, pro-corporate, pro-tyranny candidates can continue to run our country. Run it into the ground that is.

For those students who have been working on campuses to try to incite students to political action and keep coming across the same students who no longer believe in activism, no longer believe in peace, no longer believe in hope, the same students who keep criticizing Ralph Nader for not playing by the rules, the same students who moan "Ralph is being helped by Republicans and no one in their right mind supports him," the following information might prove useful:

Egg On Their Faces: Democrats' Big Lie Exposed
Center For Responsive Politics Disproves Myth of Republican Funding for Nader:
Finds Only 4% of Nader's Funding Comes from Donors to Republicans
Fifty-one Donors Gave $54,000 to Nader; Same Donors Gave $66,000 to Democrats!


Washington, DC: The Independent Presidential Campaign of Ralph Nader and Peter Miguel Camejo notes that a report by the Center for Responsive Politics provides reliable data that, among the Nader donors surveyed, Republican donors who are funding George W. Bush are giving more money to the Democrats than to the Nader/Camejo Campaign.

The Center for Responsive Politics found only 4% of Nader's funding came from donors who had also given to Republicans. This compares to 25% of Nader's votes in 2000 coming from registered Republicans. These same Republican donors gave more money to Democrats ($66,000), than to Nader ($54,000). See www.crp.org

The Nader/Camejo Campaign makes the following additional points:

In addition to one-quarter of Nader's voters in 2000 being registered Republicans, Nader has worked with individual Republicans throughout the course of his career. One donor mentioned by the Center, Jeno Paulucci, the Florida frozen pizza roll magnate, worked with Nader on public interest issues regarding the Mesabi Iron Range, in Minnesota. Other Republicans in this category include Robert Monks (corporate governance) and Ben Stein (investors' rights).
Not only is the 4% of donations a tiny portion of Nader's support, it comes from people who agree with him on the issues and want him to get his message out to the public.
"For too long the Democrats have been falsely claiming that there is an organized Republican funding campaign supporting us. They disseminate this big lie to provide a cover for their dirty tricks. Now the truth is out?Republican support is minimal, less than the percentage of registered Republican voters in 2000," said Nader. It is time for the media to stop reporting the 'Big Lie' and start reporting the truth.

The Nader Campaign is dedicated to pulling away from George W. Bush Independent and Republican voters who are furious with Bush over many of the same conditions our campaign has been articulating. These include: the Iraq quagmire; the gigantic deficit; the big-government Patriot Act; corporate welfare and corporate crime; federal regulation of local education and "Leave No Child Behind"; and the sovereignty-shredding impact of the WTO and NAFTA.

THE TRUTH ABOUT JOHN KERRY'S COLLEGE PLAN

John Kerry, almost as soon as the primaries were over, set out to campaign on America's College Campuses. His pitch for students: Free college education. While this is more than his opponent, President Bush, has done to reach out to the ubiquitously neglected student voters, there is good reason to believe it is the last note of attention Kerry will give them.

To summarize the plan Kerry was pitching: The burden of college loans should fall on the banks, who are currently profiting too much from issuing these loans and making too much interest from them. Ironically, John Kerry's campaign pitch to college students quickly ended as the bank contributions started rolling. As of this writing, Citigroup is Kerry's Third Biggest Contributor, with nearly a quarter million dollars funding him. Bank of America, who students reading this will know to be a major supplier of student loans, is also among his current top contributors, with over $100,000 paving his potential road to the White House.

But now the let down for students: You're no longer important to John Kerry. He has visited your school, he has shook your hand, and he has eaten in your cafeteria. He promised you a detailed plan on how to provide free college in exchange for a few years of public service. But now that he has other hands to shake, including the CEO of Citibank and Chase Morgan (another major Student Loan provider who has given $116,000 to Kerry so far). All those promises appear to have never even been made. All JohnKerry.com says about college tuition now is:

"As president, John Kerry will offer a fully refundable College Opportunity Tax credit on up to $4,000 of tuition for every year of college and offer aid to states that keep tuitions down. And he will launch a new effort to ensure that all of our workers can get the technical skills and advanced training they need. "
Quite a turn around from "Free college tuition" promises, isn't it?
First, let's look at the numbers. According to CostofCollege.com the average college tuition in a public university for 2003-2004, for in-state students, was $4,694. Deduct Kerry's College Opportunity Tax (COT) and you are only paying $694, which isn't too bad. Unless you are struggling to just find money to eat and your job has been shipped overseas as a result of Kerry's vote on NAFTA. But, figure in that tuition rises an average of 8-10% every year, and by the time you graduate John Kerry's COT just isn't doing what it used to.
And what sort of aid is he going to give states to keep tuition costs down? (In fact, why would that matter at all under his originally proposed Free College Plan?) States keep tuition down by providing money to the schools, which comes from tax money. And where will this tax money come from? From John Kerry's plan to give 99% of corporations a tax break (Wonder if Citigroup & Chase & Bank of America will be among them)? By giving 98% of all Americans a tax break? Where is this money (or this aid) coming from?

John Kerry needs to be honest with the students whose votes he is conning: After 4 years of John Kerry, students will still be poor, still be struggling to finish college, still complaining about perpetually rising college tuition costs. The Senator also needs to realize that some students are not as stupid as the millions of Americans voting for him: We know he will not forget the hundreds of thousands of dollars that the Student-loan banks are giving Kerry to help him "make America stronger at home, respected in the world."

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Some Student Ideas for "Patronize Small Business" Week

For those who haven't heard yet, the Nader/Camejo Campaign have designated Aug. 22-26 to be PATRONIZE SMALL BUSINESSES week. Here are a few ideas for how Students can participate:
1. Avoid Fast Food. Instead of going to McDonalds & Taco Bell, go to one of your local restaurants or buy groceries from a small town grocer.
2. Avoid Commercial Bars. If you and your friends want a drink go to the local, independant bar. While you're there, mention to the bartender that its "Patronize Small Businesses Week" and ask if you can't post a Ralph Nader poster. Download posters from the website. If your state is still working on ballot access, try collecting signatures while you are there.
3. Order textbooks through a local bookseller. Most bookstores, even small ones, can order books. Don't buy overpriced books through your University Bookstore or through "Big Box" Vendors like Barnes & Noble.

If you have more ideas for Small Businesses Week, feel free to post them to this blog by commenting on this article, or email them to JackFate00@aol.com


Tuesday, August 17, 2004

BEN MARCUS'S ESSAY: FRUSTRATION

Frustration

First published: Friday, August 13, 2004
Where do I begin to express my frustration with my fellow liberal youth of this country? Every one of us, no matter what age, needs to work for a more progressive and tolerant society. With illegal drug use, inner city crime on the rise and tens of millions of people out of work or earning less than $8.75 an hour, it’s up to the youth of America to step up to the plate.

The fact so many of today’s “progressive” youth have fallen into the corporate political party fold this time and decided to vote for the type of candidate we complain about says something about us. It says to the older generations they have plenty more time in power, not being challenged. It says they can continue to issue empty promises of tuition breaks and better funding for public schools and universities and never follow up on them or even worse, raise tuition and cut college funding and we will not complain. It says our generation is going to get slapped with a huge deficit and an evermore toxic environment. It says the first generation to have total access to the rest of the world via technology cannot fathom the energy to take well enough advantage of it to start building bridges with other future world-leaders to create a more unified Mother Earth.

Whatever happened to fighting for keeping American jobs here, or more affordable housing, or decriminalizing non-violent drug offenses, or the millions of other wrongdoings against our generation by the current? I thought that we, as the heirs to the proverbial throne, were ready to change the paradigm to a more just, peaceful and humane world?

My candidate of choice this election is Ralph Nader. He has proven to me he truly fights in the interests of Americans and not himself or business interests. He has proven to me with a 40+ year track record he knows what he’s doing and how to get things done. He has proven to me with his comprehensive job plan, the economy and job market will expand under him as President. He has proven to me under his extensive universal health care plan, every single American will be able to walk into a hospital and get the help they need. He has proven to me that it is possible to peacefully remove our troops from a country that doesn’t want us there and still do our share to help rebuild. He has shown he is serious about challenging the corporate control of our government and create a government “of, by and for the people.”

John Kerry has proven nothing to me. He has not proven to me he works in the public interest. He has not proven to me he will help to create jobs. He has not proven to me his health care plan will do anything but open expensive health insurance to people who can’t afford it. He has not proven to me that he is against the Universal Service Act of 2003 (Bill S 89 IS and HR 163 IH) which will draft millions of unsuspecting 18 to 26 year olds into the United States Military and send them to places where we are not desired. Indeed, in his rhetoric he promises to continue the occupation of Iraq, not repeal the Patriot Act and not challenge Israel and truly seek peace in the Middle East.

Of course, President Bush has shown all the world that he is a militarist, corporatist and claims to be guided by conversations with God. Obviously he is also a propagandist, a “compassionate conservative,” who has shown little compassion; a “uniter not divider” who has presided over the most divisive government I can remember; and a “reformer with results” who has instituted policies that solidify the corporate hold the status quo’s control of our government.

This is my message to young Americans. Your vote is more valuable and more precious than you can imagine. Your vote is what gives you a voice in this country to stand up for what you think is right and good. It’s what gives you a right to complain. Every party and candidate is fighting hard for your vote because they know whoever has it, wins. It’s as simple as that, so here’s a way to decide who deserves your vote. For every promise and every statement a candidate makes, ask the questions how and why. If that person is not able to give a good clear answer, he or she does not deserve your vote.

Let’s not fall for having to vote for the lesser of evils it is time to vote for the greater good.

Make an educated vote, not one based on fear, because in the words of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.?

Ben Marcus
National Campus Coordinator
Nader for President 2004

LINK OF THE DAY: LET NADER DEBATE

I got an email this morning from Gwen over at LetNaderDebate.org. She asked me to pass on the news about this wonderful movemen & I urge all readers to go & sign their petition to President Bush, urging Ralph Nader's inclusion in this Fall's debate.

There will be three televised debates this fall, and right now only Bush and Kerry will be allowed to participate. Without Ralph Nader's inclusion, the critical issues facing our country - including the war in Iraq - will not be fully discussed. A new campaign www.letnaderdebate.org has formed to insist that Nader be allowed to debate. Democrats, Republicans and Independents who favor democracy over partisanship are signing an open letter to President Bush asking him to use his political clout to ensure that Nader is included.

This campaign is not about who you will vote for, it’s about how (and whether) we can talk to each other about the critical issues facing our nation. National elections are supposed to be the process by which we deliberate over the issues facing our nation. Shutting down that deliberation, whether in the name of “unity” as at the Democratic Convention where 9 out of 10 delegates opposed the war but were pressured to embrace a pro-war candidate, or “patriotic duty” as is likely at the upcoming Republican Convention, has a chilling effect on the capacity of American’s to listen, learn, deliberate, argue, oppose, and debate.

50% of Americans have stopped voting because “slash and burn” politics has completely taken over. The major parties have made it clear that their primary commitment is to themselves and doing whatever it takes to win. It's clear that if there's going to be any change, ordinary citizens are going to have to take back control of our electoral process.

Please sign the letter today at www.letnaderdebate.org and send an email to everyone you know asking them to do the same! Thanks.
Gwen
www.letnaderdebate.org.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Open Debates

Today my new Ralph Nader Buttons, tee-shirt, & bumper stickers came in the mail.
Plus, some information was posted about this November's Presidential Debates which is very exciting. Here it is:
Federal Court Rules That Commission on Presidential Debates is a Partisan OrganizationCPD not credible to run non-partisan debatesNader urges support of Citizens' Debate

CommissionWashington, DC: Independent Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader today applauded a federal court decision that found the FEC acted contrary to the Federal Elections Act by ignoring evidence that the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) is a partisan political organization.

"This decision is the first step toward getting real presidential debates this Fall. A federal court, looking at all the evidence, found that the FEC has been ignoring evidence that the Commission on Presidential Debates is a partisan organization," said Nader. "How can a partisan organization sponsor impartial debates? How can they set up fair rules to determine who should be allowed to participate? They can't. And, they shouldn't. The CPD should be prevented from sponsoring these debates under their partisan auspices."

The decision was the result of a case filed by Ralph Nader, John Hagelin, Pat Buchanan, Howard Phillips, Winona LaDuke, the Natural Law Party, the Green Party, and the Constitution Party. In an 18-page decision, US District Court Judge Henry H. Kennedy, Jr. ruled that a dismissal of a complaint filed by Nader with the FEC was wrong because the FEC was incorrect in finding the CPD was non-partisan. He sent the case back to the FEC, ordering the FEC to remedy the situation.

In reaching its decision that the evidence does not justify the FEC's dismissal of the plaintiffs' complaint of CPD partisanship, the court relied on plaintiffs' allegations, namely:

  • CPD was founded by the two major parties
  • CPD has been co-chaired by the two former DNC and RNC chairmen since its founding in 1987
  • Nine of eleven CPD directors are prominent Republicans and Democrats
  • No third-party member is a CPD director
  • CPD's current conduct shows it to be a partisan organization (Decision, at page 4)

The court found persuasive that CPD decided to exclude all third-party candidates from entering the 2000 presidential debates (even as ticket-holding audience members), absent any evidence that the third-party candidates would cause disruption. The CPD used a facebook of all third-party candidates to instruct security to bar their entry into the debates.

Nader noted: "There is a new presidential debate commission, the Citizens' Debate Commission, which is clearly non-partisan. It should be responsible for this fall's debates, so that the corporate political duopoly does not control the information highway to tens of millions of Americans. With a prestigious board of directors from across the political spectrum, the Citizens' Debate Commission is clearly non-partisan, free from the the control of any candidate or any party. The FEC and the media should work with the Citizens' Debate Commission in planning the 2004 presidential debates."

Polls have consistently shown that voters want more voices and choices in the debates. Among other similar polls, a FOX News poll showed that, in 2000, 64% of the public wanted Ralph Nader and Patrick Buchanan included in the debates.

"The media, and especially the television networks, should now look away from this two-party-dominated debate commission, funded by beer, tobacco, auto, and other corporate interests, and look toward the Citizens' Debate Commission as a much more democratically representative institution to sponsor these debates. Otherwise, the networks will be producing ever-lower ratings while relaying parallel interviews, passed off as debates, by a very partisan and exclusionary CPD," said Nader.

The case was Hagelin et al v. the Federal Election Commission, Civ. Act. No. 0400731 (August 12, 2004). The Citizens' Debate Commission is at http://www.opendebates.org/.

Friday, August 06, 2004

FIVE REASONS YOUNG PEOPLE SHOULD VOTE NADER IN 2004

1. Ralph Nader has promised to not reinstate the draft, unlike Kerry or Bush. In fact, National Socialist Review has called Bush the lesser of two evils in Iraq, since Kerry has promised to put more troops there & keep them there longer than Bush.
2. Ralph Nader believes education should be available to all Americans & won't play to banks who wish to profit off of student loans like Kerry & Bush will.
3. Ralph Nader believes the war on drugs needs reformed & believes certain drugs like marijuanna should be brought within the law.
4. Ralph Nader will not let our future jobs be outsourced through NAFTA & WTO, both supported by Bush & Kerry.
5. Ralph Nader recognizes that young people are more & more turned off to politics & not voting, therefore he is the only candidate reaching out to young people who have been neglected by the two parties.