A Gentle Reminder

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

This will probably step on a lot of toes around here but believe me, that is not my intent.  I just want to point out, to remind you as it were, that much of the passion being expended on the Presidential campaign is wasted emotion.  I want to tell you that the horse race, in which so many of you have invested so much, is really a rat race after all.  For all their happy crap none of the establishment candidates will serve our interests.

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Clinton has made a flat promise that the United States will “get out of Iraq” while she is president. She says she has a plan to “end the war” and “a definite timetable to bring our troops home.” On closer examination, it turns out that all these promises are so carefully hedged as to be virtually meaningless. There is no “definite timetable” to bring the troops home or end the war. She has said she “wants” to begin troop withdrawals in the first 60 days of her presidency-but has also talked about leaving a “vastly reduced residual force” in the country for “a limited period of time.”

Clinton’s pledge to “end the war” contains so much fine print that it is hardly a pledge at all, more a general aspiration. She has described several “vital U.S. national security interests” in that country, including fighting al-Qaeda, protecting the U.S. embassy, training Iraqi troops, protecting the Kurds, and countering the influence of Iran. She has refused to commit herself to pulling all U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of a second presidential term.

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I’m not here to trash the three leading candidates, that’s been done to death, I am here to dismiss them.  All three of them voted for the Patriot Act, and none of them have called for its repeal.  Hillary and Obama have both sold out to the Military Industrial Complex pledging a larger military (for what is already the largest military machine in the world) and a continued occupation of Iraq, and Edwards says all the right things while doing all the wrong things (voted for No Child Left Behind, the Patriot Act and the Iraq War).

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“My position is very clear: The time has come for decisive action to eliminate the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.  I’m a co-sponsor of the bipartisan Resolution that’s presently under consideration in the Senate.  Saddam Hussein’s regime is a grave threat to America and our allies.  We know that he has chemical and biological weapons today, that he’s used them in the past, and that he’s doing everything he can to build more.  Every day he gets closer to his long-term goal of nuclear capability.

Democracy will not spring up by itself overnight in a multi-ethnic, complicated society that’s suffered under one repressive regime after another for generations.  The Iraqi people deserve and need our help to rebuild their lives and to create a prosperous, thriving, open society.  All Iraqis, including Sunnis, Shia and Kurds, deserve to be represented.  This is not just a moral imperative.  It’s a security imperative.  It is in America’s national interest to help build an Iraq at peace with itself and its neighbors, because a democratic, tolerant and accountable Iraq will be a peaceful regional partner, and such an Iraq could serve as a model for the entire Arab world.”  

Senator John Edwards (Democrat, North Carolina)

Speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies

October 7, 2002

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My main point is that all of these candidates are firmly in the control of the Military Industrial Congressional Media Complex (to use the most modern terminology), and their election to the office of the Presidency (financed by said MICMC) will mean a change in style only.  There will be no change in substance.

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It is conceivable that a significantly reduced U.S. force might remain in Iraq for a more extended period of time [if the Iraqi government fulfills a number of conditions, including disbanding militias and moving toward political reconciliation.] Such a reduced but active presence will also send a clear message to hostile countries like Iran and Syria that we intend to remain a key player in this region.

Obama, Nov 2006

Source

We will still have the ongoing illegal occupation of Iraq, a bogus war on terror, a bogus war on drugs, the highest rate of incarceration of any country in the world.  We will still spend more on bombs, bullets and missiles than all other nations combined, we will still be the largest merchant of the weapons of death and destruction, and the rich will still get richer while the poor get poorer.

It’s nothing short of pathetic that the Democrats can’t hear our cries for justice, an end to the bullshit war in Iraq, or impeachment for the criminal thugs currently being allowed to run our government and ruin our nation.  But they expect to be heard when they come to us for votes and money.  What gall these hypocritical bastards have!  And how pathetic is it that we still respond to them, as if they hadn’t just handed us the cruelest fucking of our lives?

All of these sorry rat bastards have allowed Bush and Cheney to do what they have done.  They are up to their elbows in the raping of America, the pillaging of the Treasury and the mugging of Iraq.  They have enabled Bushco at every juncture.  They are all culpable.

“They are not your friends.”

Mike Stark

If you believe a single campaign promise made by any of these hypocrites, you are hopelessly naïve and will no doubt be shocked to learn that you have been screwed (yet) again.

Exhibit A in the drive by both Obama and Edwards to “clean up” Washington is their refusal to accept “a dime” from “Washington lobbyists.” It distinguishes them clearly from their chief Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, who has raked in more than $500,000 from the lobbying industry this year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (website is opensecrets.org) But it turns out that both Edwards and Obama have adopted a narrow definition of the word lobbyist, which raises questions about the effectiveness of their campaign.

They still take money from state lobbyists.

They make no attempt to distinguish between lobbyists for big corporations and lobbyists for small non-profits. They treat a lobbyist for Haliburton in the same way as a lobbyist for child poverty or cancer research.

They accept money from former lobbyists and future lobbyists.

As Clinton has pointed out, her rivals have no problem taking money from the people who pay the lobbyists, and give them their “marching orders.” (ABC News debate, August 19, 2007.)

They have no problem about taking money from people representing other “special interests,” e.g. trial lawyers and the hedge fund industry.

So far this year, according to Opensecrets.org, Edwards has taken more than $8 million from lawyers and law firms, some of whom employ the federally-registered lobbyists whose lucre he refuses to touch. Obama is not far behind: $7.5 million. (Clinton has taken $9.2 million.)

Obama has emphasized that he does not take money from PhRMA, the powerful lobbying arm of the pharmaceutical industry. On the other hand, he does not seem to mind taking money from senior employees of PhRMA members, such as Pfizer and Eli Lilly. Campaign finance records show that he has raised about $250,000 in pharmaceutical-related contributions this year. (Clinton collected $269,000.) He has also not been averse to helping out Illinois-based pharmaceutical companies with “tariff suspensions.”

Source

Whichever of the three leading candidates becomes President, I predict the day soon will come when you smack yourself on the forehead and exclaim, “I could’ve voted for Kucinich!”

“Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it’s from Neptune.”

Noam Chomsky

Impeach-Them-All

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    • OPOL on January 20, 2008 at 4:08 pm
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    • kj on January 20, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    • Edger on January 20, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Obama was in friendly territory in Chicago as he appeared at a forum attended by 800 members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC], an influential pro-Israel lobby. He received a standing ovation from the crowd and a hug from one of the group’s leaders.

    Obama said global leaders must do whatever it takes to stop Iran from enriching uranium and acquiring nuclear weapons. He called Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “reckless, irresponsible and inattentive” to the day-to-day needs of the Iranian people.

    The Iranian “regime is a threat to all of us,” Obama said.

    While Obama wouldn’t rule out force, he said the United States should engage in “aggressive diplomacy combined with tough sanctions” to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear threat.

    AIPAC’s hypocrisy is stomach-turning, to say the least. The goliath lobbying organization wants Iran to be slapped across the knuckles while the crimes of Israel continue to be ignored. And who is propping up AIPAC’s hypocritical position? Senator Hillary Clinton of New York.

    As the top Democratic recipient of pro-Israel funds for the 2006 election cycle thus far, pocketing over $58,000 as of October 31 last year, Senator Clinton now has Iran in her cross-hairs.

    During a Hanukkah dinner speech delivered on December 11, hosted by Yeshiva University, Clinton prattled, “I held a series of meetings with Israeli officials [last summer], including the prime minister and the foreign minister and the head of the [Israeli Defense Force] to discuss such challenges we confront. In each of these meetings, we talked at length about the dire threat posed by the potential of a nuclear-armed Iran, not only to Israel, but also to Europe and Russia. Just this week, the new president of Iran made further outrageous comments that attacked Israel’s right to exist that are simply beyond the pale of international discourse and acceptability. During my meeting with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, I was reminded vividly of the threats that Israel faces every hour of every day … It became even more clear how important it is for the United States to stand with Israel …”

       The presidential front-runner, Hillary Clinton, is the leader of the party’s hawkish wing and recently called for a surge of U.S. troops into Afghanistan. John Edwards, the most “leftward” major presidential contender, just delivered a bare-knuckled speech in which he castigated the Bush administration for not being tough enough with Iran. “To ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons, we need to keep all options on the table,” Edwards warned.

    August 4, 2006, Ari Berman, The Nation

    AIPAC’s Hold

    In early March [2006], the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) held its forty-seventh annual conference in Washington. AIPAC’s executive director spent twenty-seven minutes reading the “roll call” of dignitaries present at the gala dinner, which included a majority of the Senate and a quarter of the House, along with dozens of Administration officials.



    On July 18, the Senate unanimously approved a nonbinding resolution “condemning Hamas and Hezbollah and their state sponsors and supporting Israel’s exercise of its right to self-defense.” After House majority leader John Boehner removed language from the bill urging “all sides to protect innocent civilian life and infrastructure,” the House version passed by a landslide, 410 to 8.



    AIPAC not only lobbied for the resolution; it had written it. “They [Congress] were given a resolution by AIPAC,” said former Carter Administration National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, who addressed the House Democratic Caucus on July 19. “They didn’t prepare one.”



    When it comes to the Israeli-Arab conflict, the terms of debate are so influenced by organized Jewish groups, like AIPAC, that to be critical of Israel is to deny oneself the ability to succeed in American politics.

    • Edger on January 20, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    You may be from Neptune…. but these candidates, and most of the House and Senate, are from somwhere far, far, faaar beyond Neptune.

    Somewhere way out there…

    • Edger on January 20, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    and from financial news around the world, as well as from news of multipolar geopolitical alliances being formed, that th rest of the world is moving to bring to reality Ronnie Raygun’s fantasies that he had forced the Soviet Union to bankrupt itself into economic collapse with unsustainable military spending.

    Only this time no fantasy. And they are doing it to contain and bring down U.S. hegemony.

  1. On the one hand, I agree with you totally.

    On the other hand, I wonder if there is a case to be made for incrementalism. Or maybe even just a softening of the worst of it all. I know there’s not a lot of daylight between these three, but there is just a sliver.

    But then, my worry is that people will disengage because it looks like things have gotten better when they really haven’t.

    In the end though, as commented above by Edger, it all might be tumbling economically anyway and we better just do what we can to be as prepared as possible.

    Do I sound confused?? Well, that’s about the state of things in my mind today.

    • KrisC on January 20, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    excellent diary-AGAIN!

    How about a little “Change?”

    What this country really needs is to stop watching corporate sponsored television, corporate sponsored faux-debates and wake the fuck up from the terrible nightmare of EVERYTHING falling apart so that we may move into the future of limitless possibilities, innovations, peace and well-being for all.  I was hoping Al Gore would run, I can understand why he didn’t want to seeing what Dennis Kucinich is going through with the media.  The corporations really don’t want us to see what he has to say…

    I rented “The Future We Will Create: Inside the World of T.E.D.” from Netflix the other night after Dennis Kucinich was excluded from the NV debates.  I needed something to up-lift me and seeing what our future can, and indeed does hold for us, I felt better.  But more than “feeling better”, there is a ray of hope and as long as there is that light, the darkness cannot prevail.

     

  2. 😉

  3. Personally, I have been thinking along the same lines for quite some time now.  

    As corporations have gained more and more power and ultimate power enabled by Bush, I cannot see how any corporately backed candidate will be any different, other than, perhaps, having a softer approach.

    I think, too, that the Repugs want to see Hillary, as nominee, because they feel certain McCain, as nominee, could beat her.

    Whatever, I think we’re truly screwed once again.

    The wars will go on.

    Elections are already screwed.

    The economy is screwed.

    The laws are against us.

    Congress is a collective paraplegic!  Etc.

    Kucinich is the only one who could and would make a difference.  I am planning on writing him in in the primaries, if he’s not on the ballot.  I wish others would do the same.  It would probably not make any difference finally, but at least it would show the voice of the people.

  4. in David Michael Green’s piece in this weekend’s Counterpunch…

    • icosa on January 20, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    I started reading blogs when Cindy sat in the ditch in Crawford.  I have watched this awakening that is happening in America ‘online’.  How hard, I have thought, to have to wake up so quickly, to find oneselve in this nightmare.  I, like many, have been following, studying, (doing my homework) for a great many years.  I have been ‘yelling’ to closed ears and minds.  Always though, I have believed this in about consciousness and now I see the results almost every day.  I believe critical mass has been reached as some of the very people I thought would never see what I was seeing have started doing and saying such profound things.  

    I only visit liberal sites but I know this awakening is happening to conservatives I know also.  I try to imagine how hard it must be to a “Republican”, wow, a double wammy.

    I further believe we are undergoing a planetary initiation.  Many will pass this final test, many will not. This, to me, is all Spiritual.  Bush is a tool being used to awaken us..pretty amazing to me but how to do it otherwise, I often wonder.

    This site is amazing.  I love visiting here and reading some of the most insightful essays/diaries and comments.

    Thank you OPOL.  I smile.

  5. Photobucket

    I think we need to get to work on designing a new bus.  That way, when the ultimate Dem candidate decides to throw us under it, it won’t hurt as much as usual.

    Thanks OPOL.

  6. that delusion reigns right now in the netroots. I’s a shame. People seem to get really stupid about ‘change’ and holding on to their programmed version of reality. They are fighting so  hard about nothing, nothing that even comes close to reality. Maybe it’s better if things fall apart, as that is the nature of change and rebirth. Fear, of the unknown drives the ‘fairytale’ of continuing with this madness and calling it ‘security. Thought of you often OPAL as I have been running around the blog mosh pit called the primary.          

    • Tigana on January 20, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    Most Americans don’t know how much AIPAC costs:

    http://ifamericansknew.org

    • Tigana on January 20, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    http://www.womeninblack.net/

  7. We’re gonna get screwed by all the candidates…that leaves us with only question…

    With or without a little lovin’ along the way.

    Sticking with campaigning for congress critters this year. I’ll vote D in November cause the alternative sucks. My place in the mountains an hour and a half from ‘civilization’ is looking like a good place for retirement. Right now I haven’t set up tv, no radio, and internet is dial-up.

    Hmmm…can I retire yet?

  8. …another rat in office…

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    Great essay, OPOL!  Or, as we used to say “in the day,”

    Right on, brotherman!

  9. Hi OPOL – I went over to DKos expecting to find this on the Rec List. Ha! You are getting more comments here by far.  On second thought, why am I surprised – they obviously don’t speak Neptunese.  qszwek srxpt!

    • Bikemom on January 20, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    There is nothing more “reality based” than the truth.

    • Turkana on January 20, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    but similar, that i’ll put up tomorrow, here and at tlc. essentially, if you get past the bullshit rhetoric, anyone who is serious about change should be supporting dennis; anyone who is serious about experience should have supported richardson. people who claim one or the other as their rationale for supporting obama or clinton need to reassess their own motives.

    • KrisC on January 20, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    speak truth to power

    More power to us all…individually and socially!

    Photobucket

    Why be gentle about it?  We’re here to yell louder-Remember?

    Photobucket

  10. for helping to make this clear, or at least more clear. I was not aware of this:

    National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 H R 4986 passed 369-46 by the US House of Representative

    but it’s not surprising.

    I’d expect those who are looking forward to major changes beginning in 2009 are going to be disappointed once again.

    The establishment rules. Power, money, influence.

    Peace brother.

    • documel on January 21, 2008 at 5:17 am

    What we’re doing in Iraq is murder–premeditated murder.  In an invasion, the country not following the Geneva Conventions should not claim protections mentioned therein, thus, aren’t our soldiers murderers?  Since Congress votes money for this exercise on a very regular basis, aren’t the members also guilty?  Has anyone tried this tack at the Hague?  Not just bushie, any member of Congress that votes for the funding should have a warrant out for their arrest.

    As to the wannabes, none of the Dems running would replace Stevens and Ginsburg with a Scalito–all of the Republicans would.  That alone forces us to help the lesser of the 2 evils.  We need to start a Liberal Party in each state–and all our political donations should go through them.  Not an ACTBLUE but an ACTLEFT.  Also, donations are in the public record, let’s have “secondary” boycotts.  If Ford directors support a Republican, don’t buy a Ford product.  Tell the local dealer why he lost the sale.

    Republicans have perverted the system, our turn now.  I’m fed up with the system as it stands now–most of us are–talking is sound and fury–signifying nothing.  If money is the root of this evil, money should be the weapon of choice.

  11. It was  Eugene Debs who said he’d rather vote for what he wanted and not get it than vote for what he didn’t want and get it.

    Given that there’s little difference between the leading Dem candidates, a primary vote for Kucinich might make sense as a protest vote.  But it’s clear he will not win or probably not even get a single convention delegate.

    Yhat still leaves the general election, when there will be a real difference between the Republican and Democratic nominees, whoever they may be.

    That’s when I revert to being a Yellow Dog Democrat. There’s too much at stake in November to cast a protest vote.  Some may consider it the lesser of two evils, but it will not be a close call at all.

    Meanwhile, we should all be doing something to remind the public and the candidates that there’s a war on, and we want it stopped.  If 10% of the money and energy that’s fueling the politicians were channeled into stopping the war, it would stop.

    • Temmoku on January 22, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    then he bombed Cambodia….some plan.

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