Friday, October 31, 2008

Concerning Ralph Nader (part of "What's Your Breaking Point?")

But we don’t have to vote for either Senators Obama or McCain, do we? Ralph Nader has a more impressive legislative record as an outsider than do Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain combined. And he has a proven record of fighting the culture of Washington. Just think of the Freedom of Information Act, Clean Air, Clean Water, automotive safety, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Yet despite these accomplishments, Obama and McCain do not believe they should even have to debate him.

What they don’t tell you is that the so-called independent Commission on Presidential Debates is actually a private corporation run by former leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties. The Commission, which was formed in 1987, is currently led by Frank Fahrenkopf, a former head of the Republican National Committee, and Paul Kirk, the former head of the Democratic National Committee. No wonder they won’t debate Nader or anyone else.
Of course they justify this by saying Nader isn’t polling well enough to include him in the debates. Yet, interestingly, both McCain and Obama were losing their respective primary races until they were let into televised debates. And there are well-known examples of how letting a candidate debate "mainstream” candidates can lead to a different outcome. Jesse Ventura won the governor’s race in Minnesota in 1998 when he was allowed to debate the Republican and Democratic Party candidates, going from 9 or 10 percent in the polls to ultimately winning the contest.

Ralph Nader polled at five percent and above at least four different times this year in national polls, and he even reached 10 percent in one poll in the state of Michigan (conducted by Lansing-based EPIC-MRA, 4/15/08). This should have been sufficient to gain access to the presidential debates. Ross Perot got in the debates in 1992 even though he was polling below 10 percent. Perot went on to win 19 percent of the vote, and his warnings about NAFTA and deficit spending influenced Clinton policy and proved prescient. Afterwards, the two parties retaliated by creating a 15% threshold which ironically no candidate is likely to reach without being included in televised debates.

The worse part of the so-called presidential debates as they are currently produced is that two-party control ensures that the questions are not sufficiently hard-hitting. Isn’t it appalling that we saw three debates between Obama and McCain at a time our country is suffering its worst economic crisis, and no one asked these men "Why should Americans have any confidence either of you is the best choice to tackle these problems given that both of your political parties helped pass laws that made this crisis possible—or even inevitable?”

They also like to say that voting for Nader is throwing your vote away. The Democrats often cite the 2000 election to blame Nader for Bush’s victory. But they noticeably never mention the 1992 election, when Bill Clinton won because Ross Perot "spoiled” the race for George Bush’s father, an incumbent president. By the way, Clinton got only 43 percent of the vote in 1992 compared to 48 percent by Bush in 2000.

And they offer no explanation for why they haven’t worked on election reform since 2000. Imagine claiming your political party lost the presidency because the "winner” was declared even though he hadn’t won a majority of the votes cast? Then imagine doing nothing to make sure it wouldn’t happen again. Isn’t it odd that the Democrats haven’t worked on election reform in the past eight years?

They never will change the system because the way things are now, they can be assured that they will be in office roughly half the time. They also count on people to accept their arguments that Nader and other third parties aren’t polling high enough to get your vote; that the real contest is between just two candidates.

If all else fails, they argue that it’s the most important election of your lifetime. I’m 43 years old and I’ve heard this argument each time the presidential race has come up.

If you accept these arguments, you are in effect rewarding the two parties for not fixing how we do elections in this country. You reward them for creating the Commission on Debates. You guarantee that things will not change. And you ensure that candidates that support single-payer health care, decent wages and pensions for workers, controls on corporations and a foreign policy based on achieving peace rather than driven by self-interest, cannot ever be heard.
Nader wants a more humane and democratic society. He’s seen that you can’t get anything done in Washington because senators like Obama and McCain ignore what’s good for Americans in pursuit of their own interests. Sure McCain talks like a maverick and Obama talks like a revolutionary, but look closely and you will see repeatedcapitulations to the very entities our government needs to get away from if we are to build a more democratic society.

continue reading Matt Gonzalez's article about the candidates and your vote here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mr. Zinn's Reversal

I just received an e-mail from the Nader campaign about Howard Zinn:

Howard Zinn now says he's voting for Nader.

The famous historian lives in Massachusetts, where Obama is ahead by 20 points.

Zinn created a stir earlier when he said he was voting for Obama.

He legitimately took some heat for supporting the corporate Obama.

But late last night, Zinn admitted in an e-mail to our campaign that he made a mistake and now says he will vote for Nader.

And Zinn urges all people of conscience to vote for the true progressive in slam dunk states.

Of which there are now many.

(Zinn says that in non slam dunk states, he urges people to vote for Obama. We obviously disagree with that bit of advice.)

Or as Ralph Nader put it today:

"A vote for Nader/Gonzalez on November, rather than being wasted by piling onto an Obama landslide or McCain implosion, will produce a stronger hammer and watchdog for what millions of Americans want -- including public Medicare for all with private delivery and a living wage for the one in three workers who don't make one."

"Unless millions of voters of conscience choose the progressive hammer and watchdog of Nader/Gonzalez, millions of votes will be tactically wasted and serve only to increase the mandateless landslide of Barack Obama."

So, if you are ambivalent about this election, fear not.

If you live in a slam dunk state, follow the advice of Howard Zinn.

Vote Independent.

Vote Nader for President.

Onward to November

The Nader Team

It's True!

You Really Have to Pay Attention to Words

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Women Police in Iran

A brief news piece (w/ pictures) on women police officers in Iran and their training.

The Paris Review - Dragnet Tehran

Saturday, October 25, 2008

When Will You Start Helping to Change the Democrats?

Howard Zinn explains why you should vote for Obama this election. Third parties can wait he claims as this election will lead to a better opportunity for third parties to turn the Democrats into someone else like they succeeded with in the 1930s.

Zinn complains about the Clinton administration and how it wasn't pushed hard enough by third parties to become a better party or to split into two entities. Also Zinn doesn't believe Nader should run for political office because 1. the political game is hard to change and thus 2. go back to activism outside of politics because there are those who will petition with you and join your cause but not vote for you.

So let me get this straight. A political arena is not a place to try and promote change from outside the two parties. yet paradoxically certain people (i assume since he said nader shouldn't do it) should rise up and challenge the democrats/republicans as they have done before to promote change (even if they don't win -- which im totally in agreement with so long as one party becomes more progressive as a result). Yet right now third parties are working to get the democrats to make bolder moves in policy.

Hold on though.

it's going to be okay with obama in the white house. someone will have a better chance at changing the party while he's in office. sure, why not. but don't come running to me if that doesn't happen in 4-8 years. also don't come to me and give me an argument that change will come from within the two party system in 4-8 years when the third parties failed to turn the two parties away from their weak political stances. i'm voting third party this year and you know, historically speaking, it's damn great to be in the beginning of a what will be seen as true change in the future.

thanks to Matt Schmidt for giving me this as well as a reason to rant.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Change Big Donors Can Believe In

Is public financing of campaigns dead? A year ago, Sen. Obama said, “I have been a longtime advocate for public financing of campaigns combined with free television and radio time as a way to reduce the influence of moneyed special interests.” Regardless of who the winner is, the next president will enter the White House with a long list of major donors to thank.

Continue reading about Obama's spending here

Which Personality of You is You

But what’s more exciting, I think, is the emergence of a different perspective on happiness itself. We used to think that the hard part of the question “How can I be happy?” had to do with nailing down the definition of happy. But it may have more to do with the definition of I. Many researchers now believe, to varying degrees, that each of us is a community of competing selves, with the happiness of one often causing the misery of another. This theory might explain certain puzzles of everyday life, such as why addictions and compulsions are so hard to shake off, and why we insist on spending so much of our lives in worlds­—like TV shows and novels and virtual-reality experiences—that don’t actually exist. And it provides a useful framework for thinking about the increasingly popular position that people would be better off if governments and businesses helped them inhibit certain gut feelings and emotional reactions.

To read more about our personalities and how we are all of them continue reading here

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fooled You (Obama supporter)!

Obama's set for election night in Chicago. His donors get front row seats to his speech on election night. News Cameras everywhere capturing the moment up close and personal.

not so fast.

You'll get front row seats if you were a top donor (no, not all you who donated small amounts that the campaign loves to whore out and speak highly of).

Press corps who shell out 935 dollars will get the best camera areas and views along with a tent internet cable tv, and food. Wow, is that all necessary? and since when did obama's campaign NEED money?

Of course if you're not willing to pay any money or are a small donor you could always stand by the bicycle racks where you might make out an ant that represents obama.

click here for more on the obama's election night specifics.

Banking on Dollar Coins

I'm intrigued by the U.S. Govt's actions to get people to think more 'green' with their money by lessening the use of paper money which costs the govt a lot more to make then it does to make (and recycle!) coins (which also last a lot longer).

Read the article on the govt's initiative to get us to use dollar coins here.

...Then tell me what you think. Would you carry dollar coins in your pocket instead of paper in your wallet?

Kick The Drug Offenders Out of Prison and Put The Corporate Crooks In.

I think Ralph Nader is absolutely right here. If you put people who are used to the finer life in jail you will get prison reform.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

More on Codex Alimentarius

...Just because I thought it was that important (and it is, trust me).

The history of Codex began in 1893 when the Austria-Hungarian empire decided it needed a specific set of guidelines by which the courts could rule on cases dealing with food [1]. This regulatory set of mandates became known as Codex Alimentarius and was effectively implemented until the fall of the empire in 1918. The United Nations (UN) met in 1962 and decided that Codex should be re-implemented worldwide in order to protect health of the consumers. Two-thirds of funding for Codex emanates from the FAO while the other third comes from the WHO.
Check out the article here

Thursday, October 9, 2008


In march, at the peak of Facebook popularity, I quit. with four swift clicks of the mouse, I canceled my account. Gone was the entire online persona I had created for myself – profile pictures, interests and activities, work history, friends acquired – all carefully thought out to showcase to the world the very best version of me, all now deleted.
Continue reading the article at

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"We Need Slaves to Build Monuments."

[Dubai] is already home to the world's glitziest buildings, man-made islands and mega-malls - now Dubai plans to build the tallest tower. But behind the dizzying construction boom is an army of migrant labourers lured into a life of squalor and exploitation.

Click here to read more about worker exploitation in Dubai

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Google Trends

I think this article shows how much of a informational society we have become. It's fascinating to see how curious voters are to find out each issue as they hear it to get others opinions on it. It's extremely optimistic.

The candidates may not have used online search while they were debating, but we sure hope they will every day they are in office. It's changed fundamentally our relationship with politics and we hope that politicians can keep up. Maybe they can even take the lead.
Read the article here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Age of Touchable Virtual Objects is Upon Us.

How is this force field produced? The Airborne Ultrasound Tactile Display uses multiple ultrasound transducers to project waves into the air. Without gloves or attachments, and without risk of penetration in the body, the device takes advantage of a nonlinear ultrasound phenomena called acoustic radiation pressure.

read more about this amazing technology here.

Pitch Fork Media's Top 100 Albums of the 90s

I was impressed, to say the least, with this list. It had many albums that I never thought i'd see on a top any list.

The Top 100 Albums of the 90s