This message brought to you by the great unheard, unwashed masses of America, and the poor, the halt, the lame, and the financial-war-weary everywhere.
I am registered as an Independent. I do not “support” Obama or any other Republican. I am growing weary of the liberal/progressive blogosphere arguments regarding Ron Paul vs Obama, as though these were our only two choices. While the so-called liberals claim they do not, strictly speaking, “endorse” Ron Paul, one might note that support (even if not technically the same as endorsement) is implied by the act of presenting one or two of someone’s ideas as reasonable, while at the same time completely ignoring his less than reasonable (i.e., batshit crazy) ones. It is said that Ron Paul would “end the wars”. Sure, at least, the US military involvement in them. He did come up with a swell idea post 9-11 for handling the Global War on Terror – hire a bunch of mercenaries and pay them to run around the globe killing people we don’t like. In other words, privatize the entire Armed Forces. Privatization is his answer for everything. And if you think you can’t have war without an official US military – check out Bechtel and the water wars, or Monsanto hiring a troop of Xe mercenaries to guard their fields. This is our bleak future under Ron Paul.
How about this? If we restore regulations to the banking industry and impose actual laws on the largest corporations, the wars would end. At this point, it is the big banks and the bohemoth corporations that are running our Congress and pressing for global resource wars all over the place. We also need to reinstate the idea that war profiteering is bad (think Dick Cheney and Halliburton) and that our members of Congress should be held to the same insider-trader laws everyone else is. They have no compelling reason not to promote wars, when they stand to profit by buying shares in the very companies they know in advance will be awarded lucrative contracts to destroy a country, rebuild that country, or get no-contest bid resource contracts after the invasion/war/democratization.
Why are the progressives promoting candidates they supposedly don’t “support” or “endorse”, when there are candidates out there without the nutty Ayn Rand free-market supply-side trickle-down theories that are getting ready to lay further waste to our economy? How’s about they just stop talking about Ron Paul and instead give some air-time to candidates to whom they could have no objection on any issue? Is it because they believe that outside the Dem/Rep circles, no candidate is worthy of discussion? Third parties never work? (The Tea-baggers got people into office – and their people are lunatics. Many countries have multiple parties; I never hear them saying, “No, we should only have two parties and they should both really be the same.”) The mainstream media won’t cover them? (So why aren’t we? We have the internet. We may not have it for long. Let’s use it.) Wait, did we buy all that shit about how someone else – who, we are never exactly sure – gets to choose the candidates and we can’t talk about any other person running? No wonder the Left never wins. We concede the fight before anyone fires a shot. Hell, at this point, we are rooting for the other team. Weird. And very stupid. We should be pushing for an outside party as hard as we can, given that this election is between evil wicked bad and insane evil wicked bad.
Here are two candidates we should be talking about. If “progressives” and “liberals” talked as much about these two as they did about Oblahblah and the Pawpaw, we might just get some attention focused on all of what needs to change, instead of just one issue and conceding the country to the austerity oligarchs. (The Republicans and Obama sure won’t be mentioning them, nor will the ass-kissing media whores.) The information about each is from wikipedia, for the sake of simplicity, and matches their campaign stances.
Jill Stein, Green Party
In October 2011, Stein announced her candidacy for the presidential nomination of Green Party in the 2012 general election.
Stein advocates for the creation of a “Green New Deal”, the objective of which would be to employ “every American willing and able to work” to address “climate change…[and the] converging water, soil, fisheries, forest, and fossil fuel crises” by working towards “sustainable energy, transportation and production infrastructure: clean renewable energy generation, energy efficiency, intra-city mass transit and inter-city railroads, “complete streets” that safely encourage bike and pedestrian traffic, regional food systems based on sustainable organic agriculture, and clean manufacturing of the goods needed to support this sustainable economy”. The initial cost of the Green New Deal would be funded by various mechanisms, including “taxing Wall Street speculation, off shore tax havens, millionaires and multimillion dollar estates” as well as a 30% reduction in the U.S. military budget. She cites a study of the economic effects of the 1930s New Deal projects by Dr. Phillip Harvey, Professor of Law & Economics at Rutgers School of Law as academic evidence for the Green New Deal.
In October 2011, Stein began participating in the “Occupy” protests at the Occupy Boston peaceful protest. Speaking to the protesters, Stein said “The Occupy movement is a cry for change from workers whose jobs have been shipped overseas and young people whose future is being stolen from them by politicians intent on serving Wall Street rather than the people…People are being forced from their homes by big banks that defrauded consumers. The planet is being sacrificed to protect profits of polluters.”
In August 2011, Stein gave indication that she was considering running for President of the United States with the Green Party in the 2012 national election. She indicated in a published questionnaire that she had been asked to run by a number of Green activists and felt compelled to consider the possibility after the U.S. debt-ceiling crisis which she called “the President’s astounding attack on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid – a betrayal of the public interest…”.
On October 24, 2011 Stein launched her campaign at a press conference in Massachusetts, saying “We are all realizing that we, the people, have to take charge because the political parties that are serving the top 1 percent are not going to solve the problems that the rest of us face, we need people in Washington who will refuse to be bought by lobbyists and for whom change is not just a slogan”.
Rocky Anderson, Justice Party
Considered perhaps the “greenest” mayor in the United States, Anderson gained international renown for his Salt Lake City Green Program – a comprehensive effort to improve sustainability and reduce the City’s environmental footprint – achieving a 31% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from municipal operations in 3 years. Elements of the program, which Anderson described as covering “everything from dog waste to nuclear waste,” included initiatives to improve the efficiency of the City’s fleet and use of electricity, measures to make Salt Lake City more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly, and cogeneration plants at the City’s landfill and wastewater treatment facilities that recapture methane to generate electricity.
As part of the Salt Lake City Green program, Anderson committed Salt Lake City to the Kyoto Protocol goals in 2002 (despite the U.S. not doing the same)… The City surpassed its Kyoto goals in 2006, seven years ahead of schedule. In 2003, Anderson received the Climate Protection Award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the Sierra Club acknowledged his environmental work with its Distinguished Service Award. In November 2005, the Salt Lake City Green program led to the receipt by Salt Lake City of the World Leadership Award for environmental programs, presented by the World Leadership Forum in London…
While serving as mayor, Anderson informed and inspired other municipal officials about the importance of educating constituents about climate change and of taking measures to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For three consecutive years, he organized and co-hosted with Robert Redford and ICLEI the “Sundance Summit: A Mayors Gathering on Climate Protection,” attended by dozens of mayors from throughout the United States. At the Sundance Summit, mayors learned the science of climate change, how to communicate regarding the causes, consequences, and solutions to climate change, and best practices in cities implementing ground-breaking climate protection practices…
During Anderson’s tenure as mayor, he created the “e2 Business” program, recruiting local businesses to implement major sustainability practices and led a national campaign against the environmentally and economically destructive use of plastic water bottles—what he has called “the greatest marketing scam of all time.”
Anderson, whose 2002 Olympic theme was “Strength Through Diversity,” advocated repeatedly for the interests of minority communities in Salt Lake City… Anderson created the Family to Family program, which made it possible for Salt Lake City families to provide direct emotional and financial assistance to the airport workers and their families, while gaining a better understanding of the plight of immigrants.
Anderson received the League of United Latin American Citizens’s first-ever “Profile in Courage” award, as well as the National Association of Hispanic Publications’ Presidential Award, in 2006.
Anderson signed an executive order in 2000 implementing a full-fledged affirmative action program in City hiring. This program led to historic levels of ethnic minority hiring and retention in City government…
Anderson also signed executive orders that extended benefits to domestic partners of City employees, and banned discrimination against City employees on the basis of race, creed, gender, or sexual orientation…
Anderson restructured Salt Lake City’s criminal justice system and, after reviewing the peer-reviewed literature indicating that DARE is ineffective in reducing drug use, discontinued the DARE program in Salt Lake City schools. He supported implementation, instead, of programs—ATLAS and ATHENA—that have demonstrated success. He called for an end to the failed “war on drugs” and for better drug prevention education, implementation of harm reduction policies, and the availability of substance abuse treatment on demand…
Instead of pushing for more minor offenders to be sent to jail or prison, Anderson built innovative restorative justice programs, which earned him a nomination for a second World Leadership Award. He implemented reforms ensuring that mental health courts channelled mentally ill criminals into mandatory treatment programs rather than putting them behind bars. People arrested on drug charges, or for prostitution or soliciting prostitutes (as well as several other types of offenses), were sent through a comprehensive course of counselling rather than automatically being handed criminal convictions and sentences for incarceration. The results were better and the costs were far less than those entailed in pursuing the traditional retributive approach.
As mayor, Anderson was a strong advocate for local businesses, saying, “Loyal, locally-owned businesses deserve our support. When we ‘buy locally,’ our economy is strengthened and our quality of life is enhanced. Consumer dollars are regenerated within our community and we help preserve the charm and uniqueness local businesses provide.”
Anderson promulgated an administrative rule providing that, in considering bids, the city would give preference to companies paying a living wage to their employees…
Called by Amy Goodman “one of the most outspoken critics of the Bush administration and the Iraq war,” Anderson was a leading opponent of the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the U.S., both before and after the invasion, and was the only major city mayor advocating the impeachment of President Bush and Vice-President Cheney. He spoke often against the Iraq invasion and occupation, and for impeachment, including at several large rallies and state and federal legislative hearings…and on national television and radio programs…
Interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on CNN after an anti-war rally marking the fourth anniversary of the invasion and initial occupation of Iraq, Anderson advocated the impeachment of President George Bush, saying:
“This president, by engaging in such incredible abuses of power, breaches of trust with both the Congress and the American people, and misleading us into this tragic and unbelievable war, the violation of treaties, other international law, our constitution, our own domestic laws, and then his role in heinous human rights abuses; I think all of that together calls for impeachment”.
Anderson also did not spare criticism for the Democratic Party, saying:
“The fact that anybody would say that impeachment is off the table when we have a president who has been so egregious in his violations of our constitution, a president who asserts a unitary executive power, that is absolutely chilling.”…
Understanding that grassroots organizing and mobilizing is a source of tremendous power for positive social and economic change, Anderson decided after serving almost eight years as mayor of Salt Lake City that he would not run for re-election and, instead, devote himself to educating, motivating, and mobilizing people to push elected officials and others to take action to prevent or stop major human rights abuses. Anderson has stressed the importance of people at the grassroots level advocating for progressive change, stating, “We keep expecting elected officials will do the right thing, and the fact is they never do unless they’re pushed.”
In January 2008 he founded High Road for Human Rights, a non-profit organization formed to achieve major reforms of US human rights policies and practices through unique, coordinated, and sustained grassroots activism, complementing the work of other human rights organizations… High Road for Human Rights primarily addresses five issues: torture and the undermining of the rule of law, genocide, slavery, the death penalty, and the human rights implications of the climate crisis.
Anderson testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee during a hearing on September 25, 2008 concerning executive branch abuses of power and spoke at rallies organized by High Road for Human Rights, calling for accountability for torture. He has also researched, written, produced, and narrated two multi-media pieces on torture and the undermining of the rule of law.
For his work on human rights matters during his tenure as Executive Director of High Road for Human Rights, Anderson received the Morehouse University Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee’s Patriot Award.
After President Obama’s election, Anderson was instantly critical of many of his policy positions and staff selections, such as Susan Rice, whom Obama appointed as United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Anderson faults Ms. Rice for “doing nothing” to stop the 1994 genocide in Rwanda as a staff member of the National Security Council… Anderson was also critical of the appointment by Obama of John Brennan as his counterterrorism adviser because Brennan, as a member of the George W. Bush administration, publicly supported wiretapping, “enhanced interrogation,” and the “rendition” of war-on-terror suspects to offshore prisons beyond the reach of American law. Anderson also pointed to Obama’s complete change of position after he received the Democratic nomination for president on the question of immunity for telecom companies that illegally cooperated with the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. Deeming himself to be “non-partisan” in his critiques of policy, Anderson has subsequently gone on to fiercely criticize the Obama administration in numerous areas, alleging that in certain spheres it has a worse record than the Bush administration. For instance, he has stated as follows:
“I don’t know what people were expecting, all this hope and change nonsense…. There’s no question that we’re seeing a continuation [of the harm to], and even in some instances a worsening of our republic under this administration. The Obama Administration has contended that no documents stamped as secret by a government agent should ever be allowed into evidence by our courts. That even goes beyond what the Bush Administration did.”
Anderson has emphasized the discrepancy between Obama’s position as a candidate for the 2008 presidency, and the actions he has actually undertaken as President, stating that “President Obama has betrayed us in almost every single way from being a candidate to being the President of the United States.” Anderson has pointed to Obama’s failure to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, refusing to prosecute what Anderson deems to be the “war criminals” of the Bush administration, continuing renditions, violating the War Power Clause of the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution by committing military troops to Libya without congressional authorization, and continuing, and even expanding, the occupation in Afghanistan. Anderson has stated that Obama is “the least deserving recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in the history of the Nobel Peace Prize.” Concerning Obama’s betrayal of the rule of law, Anderson has commented as follows:
“The complacency that has allowed wars of aggression, wars of choice, we weren’t forced into them, they were totally illegal wars under international law, the kinds of war crimes that took place, with people just saying, even our current president, ‘Oh, let’s put that behind us. Let’s not call people to account. Let’s not enforce our laws… ”
Anderson has pointedly criticized Obama for violating the Convention Against Torture, to which the US is a signatory, since every signatory to the convention is required to prosecute or extradite for prosecution those responsible for torture, something Obama refuses to do…Anderson has stated that despite his earlier belief that the Bush Administration would be merely an “aberration” in the history of the US, “President Obama has institutionalized some of the worst abuses of the Bush Administration.”
On August 11, 2011, major news media in Utah reported that Anderson had denounced the Democratic Party and resigned his membership with it. Anderson wrote in his letter to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that “Until the Democratic Party shows some spine and draws a line in the sand — that an end to the tax breaks for the wealthy needs to be part of any debt/budget bill — please take my name off your list.” He added that “I’m done with the Democratic Party…” and that “The Constitution has been eviscerated while Democrats have stood by with nary a whimper. It is a gutless, unprincipled party, bought and paid for by the same interests that buy and pay for the Republican Party.”
On November 29, 2011, the Salt Lake Tribune quotes Anderson as saying, “I’ll be announcing my candidacy,” for the 2012 presidential nomination of a new national political party. This party was not named, though it was later reported to be called the “Justice Party”. Its formation is reported to have been discussed among Anderson; Margaret Flowers, a medical doctor and proponent of a single-payer health plan; Kevin Zeese, an organizer of the Occupy D.C. movement; and former U.S. Rep. John Anderson, who ran for president as an independent in the 1980 presidential election.