Tag Archives: libertarian party

A Call to Action: OPEN THE DEBATES!

UH, AREN’T THERE MORE THAN LIKE, TWO DUDES RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT?

Editor’s note: The good people over at Ralph Nader’s campaign humbly asked us to remind you that Mr. Nader IS running for President of the United States (although you probably won’t see him in the big corporate debate this Friday night.) and that he needs your help now. This Thursday, September 25, is a National Day of Action to Open the Debates, and we’re totally, 100% down with that idea.

While this blog endorses no candidate in the 2008 race, we do believe in free and open speech and that  legitimate independent and third-party candidates should have the opportunity to have their voices heard in all of the nationally-televised presidential debates. So we post this action alert from the Nader campaign and encourage our readers to take part in the National Day of Action this Thursday, no matter which candidate they plan to vote for.  This isn’t about left and right — it’s about right and wrong.

If you’re a Democrat or a Republican, a Green, a Libertarian, or an independent, I’m sure you would agree that this is an issue of the utmost importance, that we should have fair and inclusive debates during the most critical election season of our lifetimes.

If these candidates are excluded from the debates, who will speak for the thirty percent of registered voters who consider themselves independents?  What about those voters who are still undecided?
 
 

 

Let’s hear what Nader, Barr and McKinney have to say. What harm could there be in giving them a forum?

If you share our belief that these debates should be fair and open, then please take action right away. Below are detailed instructions on how to contact the “Powers That Be.” Do it and give `em hell!

(Courtesy of VoteNader.org. Flyers available for download and distribution here.)

Here are five ways you can take action on Thursday to
Open the Debates:

  1. Write letters to the editor, to the corporations and organizations sponsoring the CPD debates, to the debate moderators and broadcast organizations, and to your friends and family members. Watch this space for links to writing samples you can use for your campaign.
  2. Call the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), Obama and McCain Campaigns, Talk Shows, and National and Local Media Outlets.
  3. Sign online petitions calling on the media and the Obama and McCain campaigns to agree to America’s demand to Open the Debates.
    • Support the Open Debates campaign to reform the Presidential Debates process by signing their online petition.
    • Crank up a budding petition effort started earlier this month at www.thepetitionsite.com, with the ambitious goal of gathering 100,000 signatures for the inclusion of Ralph Nader and Bob Barr in the debates.
  4. Print posters, fliers and literature to pass out and hang up at college campuses and other high traffic areas, and banners to display to morning and evening rush hour traffic. You’ll find links to downloadable materials at http://votenader.org/debates. Once again, check back often for additions to the collection.
  5. Protest outside the Democratic and Republican headquarters in your community, at corporations that sponsor the debates, at radio stations, newspapers and media outlets not covering Ralph Nader, Bob Barr, Cynthia McKinney, and other third party candidates.

Links to more information on the debates:

Commission and moderators’ contact information:

Commission on Presidential Debates
1200 New Hampshire Ave NW #445
Washington, DC 20036
202-872-1020
http://www.debates.org/index.html

Here is a sample email you can use when writing to Janet Brown, Executive Director of the CPD:

Dear Janet Brown, (jb@debates.org)
 
As a voter who is still undecided in the 2008 election, I ask that you allow all legitimate independent and third-party candidates take part in the upcoming presidential debates. I want to hear what Ralph Nader,Bob Barr, and Cynthia McKinney have to say.
 
Our process is supposed to be free and open, and it is my firm belief that all of these candidates should have the opportunity to be heard in a nationally-televised debate.
 
There are more than two candidates running for president, more than two political parties in this country. Please serve the American voter and include ALL of the candidates in these debates!
 
Thank you,
your name

Schedule & Moderators 2008

Friday, September 26th, First Presidential Debate
The University of Mississippi, Oxford
Jim Lehrer
Executive Editor and Anchor, The NewsHour on PBS
MacNeil/Lehrer Productions
2700 South Quincy Street
Arlington, VA 22206
703-998-2138
onlineda@newshour.org

Thursday, October 2nd, Vice-Presidential Debate
Washington University, St Louis, Missouri
Gwen Ifill
Senior Correspondent, The NewsHour, Moderator & Managing Editor, Washington Week
PBS

Tuesday, October 7th, Second Presidential Debate
Belmont University, Nashville, Tennessee
Tom Brokaw
Special Correspondent
NBC News

Wednesday, October 15th, Third Presidential Debate
Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York
Bob Schieffer
Chief Washington Correspondent and Host, Face the Nation
CBS News

 

Obama/Biden ’08
333 North Michigan Avenue
P.O. Box 8102
Chicago, IL 60680
866-675-2008
E-mail contact form at http://my.barackobama.com/page/s/contact2

WE RECOMMEND CALLING THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN FOR FASTEST ACTION:

(Call Barack Obama at 866-675-2008.
Hit 6 to speak with a campaign volunteer.
Once connected, politely tell them you would like to see Senator Obama fight for the right of independent and third party candidates to be included in the debates. Ask the volunteer to leave a message with the campaign manager. Same basic procedure when contacting the McCain campaign, info below:)

McCain/Palin ’08
P.O. Box 16118
Arlington, VA 22215
703-418-2008
E-mail contact form at http://www.johnmccain.com/Contact/

 

EVERY AMERICAN VOTER SHOULD KNOW WHAT THEIR CHOICES REALLY ARE

OPEN THE DEBATES!

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Let’s Face It…We’re Screwed!

We're Screwed bumpersticker

OH, YOU KNOW YOU WERE THINKING IT, TOO

Well, my friends…the deadline to get independent presidential candidates on the Texas ballot was May 8th, and in many other states around the nation, that deadline has either already passed or is coming up very soon. Which means it’s too late now for any new candidates to file.

Put more bluntly, it means we’re screwed in `08.

I don’t mean to be a party-pooper, a bummer, a drag, a hope-smasher, or naysayer, but — it’s time we all faced reality at this point. So here `tis:

Without ballot access, we’re screwed. And we ain’t got it.

We are left now to choose from three (soon to be two, if those silly pillow-fighting Dems ever make up their minds) sitting U.S. Senators at a time when Congressional approval ratings are at an all-time low. And yet, quite incredibly, these are our choices.

For those still seeking alternatives this election year, well…you’re screwed!

There’s always Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, Ron Paul (should he decide to run third-party), the Green and Libertarian party candidates, of course, if you are lucky enough to have them appear on the ballot in your state. If they’re not allowed on your ballot, well…you’re screwed!

What about Robert F. Kennedy Jr., you ask? Barring a miracle, or an offer from Senators Clinton or Obama to come on the Democratic ticket as a Vice Presidential running mate, it looks like Mr. Kennedy won’t be going to Washington. At least not this year.

Which only underscores the fact that, well…we’re screwed in `08.

But look on the bright side (you mean there is one?): if you’re going to walk into the voting booth this November to cast a vote for the lesser of two evils, at least you can look good doing it. If you are not allowed to vote your conscience, you can wear it on your sleeve…or your chest, as the case may be.

We're Screwed `08 T-shirt

THE MUST-HAVE TEE OF THE 2008 ELECTION SEASON

A political tee that is non-partisan. Let’s be honest here.

These babies were printed up by the our fellow frustrated Americans over at We’re Screwed `08.

Copyright RFKin2008.com.

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Ventura: Both Parties Responsible for Iraq Mess

We thought Memorial Day would be a most appropriate time to bring you a few thoughts on the Iraq War from former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura.

This onetime pro wrestler, Navy SEAL, politician and patriot has strong opinions about what’s happening to our country – and a few creative solutions to these problems, too.

Today’s installment is Part I of a two-part series on Governor Ventura, who is considering a run for the White House as an independent candidate. If Ventura runs, he says he wants Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as his VP.

We’ll tell you more about that tomorrow in Pt. II. You won’t want to miss it. 

Kinky Friedman and Jesse Ventura, 2006

Kinky Friedman, a Lone Star icon and 2006 independent candidate for Texas Governor, plots political strategy with former independent Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura (who has since shaved off those fabulous, freaky Fu Manchu whiskers).

VENTURA ON IRAQ: BOTH PARTIES ARE RESPONSIBLE

In his new book, Don’t Start The Revolution Without Me, former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura reflects on how the Iraq war has served to deepen his independent convictions. He rightly blames the Bush administration and a Republican-controlled Congress for the start of the war, but certainly doesn’t spare the Democrats any blows, either.

On page 267, he body-slams Bush for The Big Lie which took us into Iraq:

“Okay, if we lie to our government, we go to jail. But what happens when the government lies to us?…Oh, that’s right, we go to war. And I make the point that I’m not talking only about the current war, but how the Vietnam War escalated after Lyndon Johnson’s administration concocted the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

I’m also very angry at the Democrats, who were cowards from the beginning of the Iraq ordeal. They seemed so frightenend of their political standing, or of what Karl Rove and the Bush machine had created, they wouldn’t just stand up and say no. Even now that the Democrats control Congress again, they will only go so far. They want a timetable for withdrawing our troops, but they don’t seem ready to hold Bush’s feet to the fire to get it. I, at least, give the Republicans credit for having courage, misguided though it may be. I don’t think anyone who voted for this war deserves to be president, Democrat or Republican.

What frustrates and angers me more than anything is this: It’s my generation. We’ve been lead down this primrose path once before already, with Vietnam. Shouldn’t we, of all people, know about being deceived? How dumb can we be? Now we’ve gone and done the very thing we protested so vehemently against in our youth. We’ve become what we feared.

Maybe it’s time we recalled the words of Robert F. Kennedy, when he was running for president in 1968: “I am concerned – as I believe most Americans are concerned – that the course we are following at the present time is deeply wrong. I am concerned – as I believe most Americans are concerned – that we are acting as if no other nations existed, against the judgment and desires of neutrals and our historic allies alike. I am concerned – as I believe most Americans are concerned – that our present course will not bring victory; will not bring peace; will not stop the bloodshed; and will not advance the interests of the United States or the cause of peace in the world. I am concerned that, at the end of it all, there will only be more Americans killed; more of our treasure spilled out; and because of the bitterness and hatred on every side of the war, more hundreds of thousands of (civilians) slaughtered; so they may say, as Tacitus said of Rome: `They made a desert, and called it peace.’”

RFK's 1968 campaign

WOULD RFK HAVE LEFT THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY?

Ventura is right, in a sense: had the political climate within the Democratic party in 1968 been what it is today, Robert Kennedy might have been forced to run as an independent. RFK’s turn against his party, his president, even his own late brother’s policy on Vietnam could have – and in today’s political world, likely would have - cost him the Democratic party nomination.

Try to imagine the Republican party nominating an anti-war candidate in 2008. Not gonna happen. No matter how unpopular their president is; no matter how misguided the policy which lead us into Iraq and keeps us there day after bloody day, they’re still towing the party line when it comes to the war.

Which brings us back to the here and now: if the majority of Americans want the war in Iraq ended as soon as possible, and two of the three U.S. Senators currently running for the presidency voted to authorize this war, does that leave only Barack Obama as “qualified” to be president, by Ventura’s logic?

Perhaps. But what we don’t know is this: would Barack Obama be opposing the war if a Democratic president had gotten us into it? Would Clinton?

It’s an interesting hypothetical, one to consider. Although Hillary Clinton undoubtedly made the wrong choice in voting to authorize our invasion of Iraq, at least we can evaluate her as a presidential candidate based on her vote (and her later mea culpa). In Obama’s case, we just don’t know. He wasn’t in the Senate at the time of that critical vote. We can only assume that his motivations to oppose the war are strictly moral, and not political.

Although Ventura says that Obama is the best of the two-party choices this year, he still has his doubts. Is Obama qualified? Will he be the strong leader we need now? Who’s really pulling his strings? Can he be trusted to uphold all those lofty campaign promises?

Obama’s a gamble, yes – but it seems the American people have nothing left to lose. We’re probably going to put Obama in the White House this November simply to free ourselves from more of the same-old, same-old, if for no other reason.

Unless some formidable independent contender should suddenly appear on the horizon to challenge the two-party system. With the exception of Ralph Nader, independent voters are left with a barren landscape of choices so far this year.

There is, of course, another option Ventura’s been thinking about. You know that old saying, “if you want a job done right, do it yourself?”

Perhaps we could add to that sage wisdom: “And always be sure to pick an unimpeachable running mate!”

AND WE ALL KNOW WHO THAT IS

For Jesse Ventura, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is exactly that man. In his new book, Ventura makes no secret of who he wants to run beside him, even going so far as to put forward a fantasy-scenario of this “dream ticket” burning up the campaign trail this summer.

And it all sounds really good – great, in fact – so good you find yourself starting to dream about it, too…Until the last two pages, when the dream turns into a nightmare.

Thankfully, that’s only fiction. What this blogger worries about, though, is that if strong, brave leaders like Ventura and Kennedy don’t offer themselves to represent the people during America’s “hour of maximum peril” (to quote JFK), we may wake up one morning soon to find that our worst nightmares have come true.

Ventura, to his eternal credit, has offered himself wholeheartedly (as any good soldier would when he hears the call of his country). He has said he is willing and able to run for president as an independent and believes he can win.

He’s not the coy, passively-reluctant candidate. This old fighter is just itching to get back into the ring for another round: “Give me ballot access,” he recently told Larry King, “and I’ll beat `em all!”

I’m in no position to disagree with that statement. The Maverickfrom Minnesota only needs two things right now to become the first independent President of the United States: 1) ballot access, and 2) RFK Jr.

But can Ventura convince Kennedy to leave the Democratic party and join him on The Quest?

We’ll explore that question in Pt. II tomorrow. Stay tuned…

 

Copyright RFKin2008.com. Book excerpt copyright 2008 by Jesse Ventura. 

UPDATE: Jesse Ventura told CNN’s Larry King this week he is considering an independent bid for the Minnesota U.S. Senate Seat that Al Franken is currently running for. Should Jesse do it? Or is there already one comedian too many in this race?

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Op-Ed: Give Peace A Chance in `08

PEACE ON EARTH

(Unless you happen to live in Iowa or New Hampshire, that is…) 

Over the holidays, voters in Iowa and New Hampshire will no doubt be bombarded with political advertising and nonstop lobbying from candidates in last-minute efforts to convert them.

Imagine your phone ringing off the hook with campaign calls during holiday meals, or while you are trying to spend some quality time with visiting relations. 

So much for Silent Nights. Peace on earth, you say? Try living in Iowa or New Hampshire, where a moment’s peace from the political onslaught can’t seem to be bought for any price.

The people of Iowa and New Hampshire are the guinea pigs in this experimental process of moving primary elections ahead to early January for the first time in history, and they certainly have our sympathies. Over the course of the next few days, voters in these key early primary states will be making their final decisions as to which candidate they will vote for, setting the stage for what follows in the national political arena.

But after nearly a year of presidential politicking, these battleground state voters are divided among the leading candidates, and more than half are still undecided, according to recent CBS/New York Times polls in Iowa and New Hampshire.

That makes the race up for grabs in the opening weeks of 2008, and things could get really interesting. It’s all going to depend on what the “great undecided” choose to do.

For your consideration, we would like to present a recent editorial that speaks to the undecided voter and makes a mighty compelling argument that if you want change, if you truly want peace on earth, it is time to stop voting for the lesser of two evils.

PUT PEACE BEFORE PARTY

By Kevin Zeese

Peace voters have choices in 2008, but will they have the courage to support peace candidates?

In recent debates the candidates were asked whether they will support the nominee of their party. Despite increasingly harsh rhetoric between the candidates only two candidates had the courage to put peace before their party and refused to issue blanket support for their party nominee. Rep. Ron Paul and Rep. Dennis Kucinich responded they would not support the nominee unless the nominee opposed war as an instrument of foreign policy.

This deserves loud applause from the peace movement. No doubt both candidates will pay a political price for taking such a stand. They may get the “Gravel Treatment” – presidential candidate Mike Gravel was harshly critical of the top tier candidates of the Democratic Party and now is excluded from the debates because the Democratic National Committee no longer considers him a serious candidate and the corporate media, which walks lock-step with the corporate parties, has refused to invite him to any debates. His campaign has all but disappeared.

Kucinich and Paul face other potential repercussions for putting the life and death issue of war and peace before party loyalty. Both are incumbent congressmen and if they are unsuccessful in getting their party’s presidential nomination will seek re-election to Congress. Will they find themselves with a well-funded primary challenger? And, if elected, will they find their committee assignments downgraded? Will they be appointed to subcommittee or committee chairmanships or passed over in favor of party loyalists? There are many ways for a political party to punish lack of party loyalty. So, Kucinich and Paul deserve a great deal of credit for publicly standing up for peace before party.

And, Kucinich and Paul did not just come out in opposition to the current disastrous occupation of Iraq. They came out more broadly for an end to the aggressively interventionist U.S. foreign policy that is dominated by militarism. This is the type of paradigm shifting policy change that is needed in U.S. foreign policy.

The fact that the U.S. spends as much as the whole world combined on the military ensures that every other aspect of American civil life is underfunded. It is why the debt is increasing, infrastructure is failing, the U.S. remains addicted to oil, college is overpriced, health care for all unachievable, and pre-school for children widely unavailable. If the U.S. wants to build economic security at home it needs to stop spending half the federal government’s discretionary spending on the military. If we want to build security from terrorism the U.S. needs to stop creating enemies faster than we kill them. If the U.S. wants “them” to stop hating “us” we need to stop behaving like an empire.

Sadly, at least one peace group, Friends Committee on National Legislation, is turning its back on these real peace candidates. FCNL whose slogan is “War is Not the Answer,” has published a voter guide that excludes Kucinich, Paul and Gravel – the three candidates who really believe war is not the answer. FCNL readers will not learn about these peace candidates in their on-line voter guide. Why? FCNL decided on an arbitrary cut-off point in polling that excludes these candidates. All the candidates that are included keep the military option for Iran on the table and do not advocate cutting military expenditures, only one (Bill Richardson) calls for complete withdrawal from Iraq. Are these “war is not the answer” candidates?

For Kucinich and Paul this stab in the back from a peace group comes at a bad time. Kucinich recently won a straw poll by the progressive Democracy For America and in early returns Kucinich is leading in the Progressive Democrats of America straw poll. Paul has been doing extremely well in straw polls around the country as well as in fundraising and in some polls is bettering candidates like John McCain. Both seem to be getting some traction but if the peace movement is not going to even report on their positions – a movement which should be the base of their support – then what hope do they have?

Sadly, the FCNL view is not uncommon among peace voters. Too many look at which candidate is most likely to win. Peace voters need to learn that voting for peace candidates is the way to increase their power. Voting for candidates who support the occupation or waffle on whether they will remove the troops in their first term is voting against the interests of peace. It is voting for war as the primary instrument of foreign policy and empire as the goal of U.S. policy – because that is the view of the candidates covered by FCNL. Peace voters need to have the courage to vote for peace candidates.

Paul and Kucinich differ on many issues – Paul is a free-market thinker who sees the solutions to economic disparity, lack of access to health care, poor education, the environment and the housing crisis in less government and more market-based solutions. Kucinich, while agreeing with Paul on bolstering civil liberties and individual rights, sees the solution to health care as ending the for-profit dominated health insurance industry and replacing it with a non-profit single payer system provided by the government. Similarly on environmental issues Kucinich favors a major government investment in alternative energy that is clean and sustainable, Paul doesn’t. Kucinich favors abortion rights, Paul opposes federal government involvement in abortion.

Peace voters have a choice between two solid peace candidates with two very different views of government and the economy, but they have more. Mike Gravel is another long-term peace advocate who has been active against war since the Vietnam era. Some peace voters may also see a candidate in Governor Bill Richardson who favors a complete withdrawal from Iraq, but is keeping the military option on the table for Iran and does not advocate shrinking the U.S. military.

And, in the General Election, peace voters will have other options no matter what the two establishment parties decide. The Green Party recently acquired a new member in Cynthia McKinney. The former Member of Congress recently registered as a Green in California and filed with the FEC to seek the Green presidential nomination. She has been strongly anti-war for her whole career and during her last congressional term sought impeachment of President Bush for his illegal invasion of Iraq.

Ralph Nader, the long-time consumer activist and former presidential candidate who has been working against the Iraq invasion and occupation since before the war began, is also considering a run for the presidency, possibly as a Green or as an independent. He has tirelessly worked to end the Iraq occupation and throughout his career has been an advocate for less spending on the military and more spending on the necessities of the people. Nader has also been a long-term advocate for impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney for their deceptions and manipulations that led to the Iraq invasion.

Another Green candidate worthy of mention is Jared Ball. He is an assistant professor at Morgan State University in Baltimore, has a radio show in Washington, DC, and is founder of FreeMix radio which puts together a monthly hip-hop compilation. He is a veteran of Desert Shield/Desert Storm and an opponent of the Iraq occupation.

The Libertarian Party also has several candidates running and they are likely to nominate a peace candidate as well. The LP’s official position on the Iraq occupation is: “It is time for U.S. forces to withdraw from Iraq as quickly as possible in a manner consistent with the safety of our troops.”

Peace voters will have choices in 2008. There are several candidates who oppose both the Iraq occupation and the use of aggressive military force as the dominant approach to foreign policy. Peace voters make up the majority of Americans, but will they have the courage to vote their convictions or will they be manipulated by the two parties and the corporate media? Will they work and financially support peace candidates? It is a test for the peace movement to see whether it as the courage to put peace first.

Kevin Zeese is executive director of Democracy Rising (DemocracyRising.US) and Voters for Peace (VotersForPeace.US).

*DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in the above editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. or the owners of this web site.

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