Tag Archives: Ralph Nader

Who Are You Voting For?

Well, now’s the time to make up your mind, if you haven’t already. Who will you be voting for Tuesday?

Drop a comment below and tell us who and why…

Barack Obama?

John McCain?

Ralph Nader?

Cynthia McKinney?

Chuck Baldwin?

Other candidate (please specify)?

Writing in Robert F. Kennedy Jr.?

Or are you not planning to vote at all? If not, why not?

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Filed under barack obama, election 2008, hillary clinton, media, politics, RFK Jr., robert kennedy jr., Uncategorized

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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Filed under barack obama, election 2008, environment, global warming, hillary clinton, media, politics, Uncategorized

RFK Jr. on the 9/11 Truth Movement

What made these towers fall? Inquiring minds want to know...

What made these towers fall? Inquiring minds want to know...

RFK JR: WHERE HE STANDS ON 9/11 TRUTH

In the wake of the 7th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Ralph Nader’s well-timed call for a “real investigation,” and this blog’s week-long series of features on independent, third-party and true maverick candidates like Jesse Ventura, Nader, Ron Paul, and Cynthia McKinney all who question the official story, many of our readers have been asking us where Robert F. Kennedy Jr. stands on the question of 9/11 Truth.

Some have pointed out that Kennedy’s uncle, President John F. Kennedy, often warned against such an “inside job” happening in America, citing 1962′s Operation Northwoods, his famous anti-secrecy speech (see video clip below), and even a fascinating doodle by Kennedy from late 1963 in which he scribbled “9″ and “11″ and the word “conspiracy” as proofs that he must have been either incredibly psychic or else knew something we didn’t 45 years ago.

In To Seek a Newer World, Robert F. Kennedy wrote these controversial and perhaps telling words which some have interpreted as a warning to mankind:

“All of us will ultimately be judged and as the years pass we will surely judge ourselves, on the effort we have contributed to building a new world order and the extent to which our ideals and goals have shaped that effort.”

Does this mean RFK saw exactly what was happening and refused the Electric Kool-Aid that was being passed around in the late 1960s? A lot of folks sure seem to think he was blessed with second sight!

Others point to the assassinations of both Kennedy brothers as inside jobs, and openly question how any member of the Kennedy family could fail to see that 9/11 was another coordinated “hit.” How could the Kennedys, of all people, know of this tyranny and not speak out against it, they ask?

So, to put the question to rest, here is what RFK Jr. has said on the record about 9/11 Truthers, the Pentagon plane mystery, bombs in the Twin Towers, and all that jazz.

These comments were made during an interview Bobby did with Philip Shenon, investigative journalist for the New York Times and author of the book The Commission, about the 9/11 Commission. The date of this interview was May 10, 2008, and aired on Ring of Fire, Kennedy’s weekly Air America radio show.

Below are direct permalinks to the interview on the official Ring of Fire and GoLeft.tv websites, so you don’t think we’re making this stuff up! Direct from the source, folks!:

AUDIO LINK – (Interview segment begins about halfway into the hour)
VIDEO LINK – (9/11 Truth issue is raised around 14:20) 

We encourage our readers to take 20 minutes out of their day to listen very carefully to this interview and understand where Kennedy stands on the 9/11 issue.

Many of RFK’s supporters are openly skeptical of the government’s official story about the events of September 11, and the 9/11 Commission. But in the interest of presenting the facts, we want Kennedy’s supporters to know what they are. We do not want any one putting words in Kennedy’s mouth by saying he stands for 9/11 Truth when he clearly does not.

You might think he’s wrong – and feel free to disagree with him – but at least you now know what his take is on the 9/11 Truth movement. We do not censor comments on this blog (avoid personal attacks, and you’ll be welcome here), so 9/11 Truthers are encouraged to express themselves in this forum. Let’s have an open, honest debate. Bring your evidence, bring your facts, and let’s get into it!

Before anyone turns this into a flame war, keep this in mind: Kennedy openly admits in the above interview that he hasn’t taken the time to really look into the evidence. Maybe he should. So our readers who hope to convince Mr. Kennedy can be most helpful by pointing out where he can find the info he needs. Post external links to reputable sources and documents online, or better yet, print out a stack of documentation and mail it to him (that’s the stuff he’ll actually look at – he doesn’t have much time for websurfing). Or call him up on his radio show and ask him about specific 9/11 facts. Perhaps you’ll bump into him at a booksigning and have the chance to talk to him in person. Respectful disagreement is what America is all about, with an emphasis on respectful. At least that’s our motto here.

It’s a tough issue, this whole 9/11 “inside job” thing - one that divides my own family and even this blog’s own editorial staff argues amongst ourselves as to whether “the gubberment did it” or not. Wouldn’t surprise me if the Kennedys themselves are divided over what really happened on Sept. 11. What about RFK Jr.’s supporters? Where do you stand, and do you think Bobby is right or wrong? Let us know…

Example of the JFK/911 Connection perpetuated by many conspiracy research groups across America today, this one in Portland, OR.

 
Copyright 2008 by RfkJrForPresident.com.

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Filed under election 2008, environment, impeach Bush, JFK, John F. Kennedy, media, politics, president kennedy, RFK, RFK Jr., robert f. kennedy, robert kennedy jr., senator robert kennedy, the kennedys, Uncategorized

Don’t Start the Revolution Without Ron Paul

What, no flag pin?

This week, Rep. Ron Paul refused to endorse McCain and encouraged his supporters to vote third-party in 2008

RON PAUL LEADS CAMPAIGN FOR LIBERTY, CALLS FOR THIRD-PARTY UNITY

WASHINGTON — Republican Rep. Ron Paul, the libertarian-leaning Texas lawmaker who attracted a devoted following in the GOP primaries, held a news conference Wednesday to present a united front of minor-party presidential candidates.

“Presidential elections turn out to be more of a charade than anything else,” said Paul, adding there was no difference between the major-party candidates, Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. Barack Obama.

“We represent the majority of the American people,” Paul said, referring to the 60% of eligible voters who don’t cast a ballot.

With Paul at the news conference were independent candidate Ralph Nader; former Georgia Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party candidate; and Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party candidate. Bob Barr, the Libertarian candidate, was invited but said at his own news conference later that he declined because Paul didn’t endorse one candidate.

“We need today, now, 55 days before this election, bold, focused, specific leadership and that is not the amorphous kind that says any of the above or none of the above,” Barr said.

Earlier, Paul called the presidential elections a charade and said voters are faced with the “lesser of two evils.”

The majority of Americans are unhappy with their choices in the race, Paul said. He urged the three third-party candidates to bring all their supporters together to vote against the “establishment candidates.”

Paul, 73, a former doctor, ran for president as the Libertarian candidate in 1988. He is unopposed in the November race for his congressional seat.

Nader derided news media focus on what he called “lipstickgate,” referring to the bickering between the McCain and Barack Obama campaigns over whether a phrase used by Obama was a sexist comment against Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

Nader, a consumer protection advocate, acknowledged differences among the third-party candidates such as government regulation of health and safety standards. But he added that he shares Paul’s support for more opportunity in the political process for third-party candidates.

Nader and the others complained about the difficulty of getting into the debates, which is determined by the Commission on Presidential Debates — created by the Democratic and Republican parties.

“Why are we rationing debates in this country?” Nader asked.

The Commission on Presidential Debates limits debate participants to candidates who have a 15% standing in the polls.

Paul also said he rejected a request from Phil Gramm to endorse John McCain’s presidential bid. Gramm is the former McCain adviser and ex-senator whom the campaign jettisoned after he said the country was a “nation of whiners” about the economy. Gramm defeated Paul in the Republican primary for the Senate in 1984.

Paul said Gramm called him this week and told him, “You need to endorse McCain.” The Texas congressman said he refused.

“The idea was that he would do less harm than the other candidate,” Paul said.

Story from the Detroit Free Press.

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Filed under austin, barack obama, election 2008, impeach Bush, media, politics, RFK Jr., robert kennedy jr., texas, Uncategorized

Ralph Nader Demands A “Real” 9/11 Investigation

NADER TAKES RISKY-BUT-BRAVE STAND

On the 7th anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 attacks, Ralph Nader has become the only presidential candidate (besides Green party nominee Cynthia McKinney, who has been a 9/11 Truth advocate since 2002) to demand a “real investigation” into the events of that fateful morning.

It was more than just campaign rhetoric; more than just the usual faux indigination we so often get from the candidates on days like these. Ralph Nader made it a promise, a solemn pledge to the American people.

So if you’re skeptical of the government’s official story about 9/11, and you want to see a real investigation into this national tragedy, looks like Ralph Nader’s your man this November. Or Cynthia McKinney is your woman.

Nobody else in this race is going to crane their necks very hard looking for the truth. They’re all too busy reading the TelePrompTer, checking their hairstyles in the mirror, and putting lipstick on pigs.

Remember that old Southern saying, “when pigs fly?” That’s exactly what you’ll hear from both John McCain and Barack Obama if you ask them for a new investigation into 9/11.

When pigs fly, indeed. Next thing ya know, we’ll be watching painted pigs flying into skyscrapers.

Hey, stranger things have been known to happen in America.

The flying pig, unofficial symbol of the City of Cincinnati, Ohio

The flying pig, unofficial symbol of the City of Cincinnati, Ohio

If, by some miracle, Nader actually got elected, I think I’d feel pretty good about letting him run the store. One thing I do know about Ralph Nader: he loves the Constitution and knows the law like nobody’s business. He prosecutes people who violate it, which is more than I can say for our Democrats in Congress.

Here’s the full story and video of Ralph Nader’s explosive comments:

RALPH NADER CALLS FOR “REAL” 9/11 INVESTIGATION

Independent presidential candidate says he supports 9/11 truth movement

Story by Steve Watson
Infowars.net

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader pledged support for a new investigation into the events of 9/11 Monday, commenting that the 9/11 Commission was “flawed, right from the get go”.

Nader was questioned by members of We Are Change Ohio at a campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio earlier this week.

Asked if he supported the 9/11 Truth Movement and the efforts of activists and victims’ families to expose the lies surrounding the attacks, Nader responded;

“I was there when they were collecting signatures in the audience and I supported it.” Nader ommented, referring to We are Change’s activities at the meeting.

“The 9/11 Commission, first of all, it took the members of the great families to push the administration even to have an inquiry, can you imagine an attack like that and the government didn’t even want to have an inquiry?” stated Nader.

“And second, the ground rules for the 9/11 Commission were that they weren’t going to name names, or hold anybody responsible, that’s a real investigation,” he added with irony.

“So right from the get go it was flawed and there needs to be another one, and the best place to have it is New York City.” Nader concluded.

Nader was a key figure in the original movement to establish the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a government agency that has been fiercely criticized for its role in declaring the air at ground zero safe to breathe, when in reality it contained deadly toxins that have led to the chronic illnesses and slow deaths of hundreds of first responders.

Nader recently spoke with Alex Jones (Mp3) concerning the lack of difference between the two main party candidates, the violations of the Constitution by the current administration, the futility of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the reasons he is running for president for a fifth time.

HERE’S THE VIDEO FROM NADER’S SPEECH YESTERDAY:

(Apologies for poor audio/video quality)

NADER ASKS RON PAUL SUPPORTERS TO JOIN HIM

* Ralph Nader posted this message on his website after holding a news conference at the National Press Club yesterday with former presidential candidate Ron Paul:

Ron Paul and Ralph Nader, September 10, 2008

Today, along with other third party candidates, I joined Congressman Ron Paul to endorse a common agenda that stands up for the US Constitution by ending illegal wars, and protecting the privacy and civil liberties of all persons under US jurisdiction. We also jointly called for an immediate halt to the increase in the national debt, an end to corporate subsidies and taxpayer bailouts of corporations, and to start aggressively pursuing prosecution of corporations that commit crimes and frauds.

Both Congressman Paul and I also support holding President Bush and Dick Cheney to account for their transgressions against our Constitution.

Today’s coming together of third party candidates marks the beginning of the realignment of American politics.

While Congressman Paul and I do not agree on all things — such as health and safety regulations and health insurance systems and how to handle areas where the market fails or is not up to the task of getting the best outcomes for the American people — on the overriding foreign policy, reckless waste financed by deficit spending, and civil liberties issues of the day, we stand together. He is a stalwart who has consistently stood up for what he believes in and never wavered when he is opposed by the legions of commercial interests and lobbyists that swarm the Capitol.

Congressman Paul said today, “the strongest message can be sent by rejecting the two-party system, which in reality is a one-party system with no possible chance for the changes to occur which are necessary to solve our economic and foreign policy problems.” He also called on his supporters to vote for Nader/Gonzalez or one of the other non-establishment, principled candidates, who support the joint statement issued today.

For all the millions of people who have broken free from the establishment parties’ domination over our dwindling democracy, Nader/Gonzalez presents a clear choice for those who want to support a candidate who will stand up against the war and stand up for personal liberties and privacy that have been trampled on by the notorious, misnamed, PATRIOT Act, the FISA ‘snoop’ Bill, and the unilateral dictates of the Bush/Cheney regime.

Some unfairly paint the Nader/Gonzalez candidacy as being for big government. Nothing could be more untrue.

Nader/Gonzalez supports a government of the people, by the people, for the people. We agree with Congressman Paul that government is rife with waste and corporate demands, and needs to be scaled back in many areas — most of all the bloated, wasteful US military budget, which is half of the government’s total operating budget.

We are also against big government doling out hundreds of billions in corporate welfare, subsidies, and bailouts to companies.

We support abolishing income tax on the first $50,000 of income to be made up with a fraction of a percent Wall Street speculation tax, especially on derivatives.
Click here to listen to Ralph’s remarks at yesterday’s press conference.

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Filed under barack obama, election 2008, impeach Bush, media, politics, president kennedy, RFK Jr., robert f. kennedy, robert kennedy jr., senator robert kennedy, the kennedys

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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Filed under election 2008, hillary clinton, media, politics, RFK Jr., robert kennedy jr., texas, the kennedys, Uncategorized

Ventura Asks RFK Jr: “Do You Want To Be President?”

We now bring you the conclusion of our two-part feature on Jesse Ventura (click here to read part one). The former Minnesota Governor is considering an independent run for U.S. Senator or possibly even President of the United States in 2008.

In his new book, Don’t Start the Revolution Without Me, Ventura wrestles with the toughest question of all: “Should I do it?”

And the second toughest question: “who should I take with me?”

While he never fully answers the first question — leaving readers in suspense at the end of the book — he has the second one all figured out. Ventura wants Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as his Vice Presidential running mate.

(Applause)

Actually, Jesse makes it clear in the book that he’d be perfectly content to play second fiddle behind a strong presidential contender. After reading of their conversation below, one gets the impression that if Kennedy preferred the top of the ticket, Ventura would happily give it to him. You’ll notice, for example, that never once does Ventura mention anything about Kennedy being VP; it’s clear that he’s not there to offer RFK the number two slot.

(Standing ovation)

Sure sounded like a great idea. Now all Jesse had to do was somehow convince Kennedy to run with him. And so off he went to ask Bobby The Question.

I mean, the really big question: “Do you — or don’t you — want to run this country?”

Read on for Bobby’s answer…

Jesse Ventura

VENTURA ASKS KENNEDY: “DO YOU WANT TO BE PRESIDENT?”

The meeting took place late last year in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where RFK was vacationing with his wife Mary, and their children. Ventura had heard that Kennedy was coming, and since he only lived about 90 minutes away, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to ask…under the perfectly innocent guise of a diving trip, naturally.

Arriving around lunchtime at Kennedy’s rented Moorish-style vacation home, Ventura held Kennedy’s young boys spellbound with stories from his pro wrestling and Navy SEAL days. Before long, Ventura had completely charmed RFK’s kids (always a wise strategy when trying to convince them to let you borrow their father for the next four to eight years).

After a day of diving with Bobby and his son Conor at the edge of the continental shelf, Ventura carefully began turning the conversation a bit more political. He broke the ice by telling a few tales about his teaching fellowship at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

“What did you teach?” Conor asked.

“Third-party politics,” I told him, and added: “Something your dad doesn’t know anything about!” Bobby laughed.

Back home again, the adults retired to a balcony overlooking the ocean and watched the sunset. Now seemed like the time. There wasn’t going to be another moment like this one. Never one to miss his cue, Ventura dove right in:

Now we got heavy into politics. We both spoke about how outraged we are concerning what’s happening in America today. We talked about the “war on terror.” Robert said the Iraq War has done nothing but create more terrorists. When I described myself as a fiscal conservative who is liberal on social issues, Mary said, “That describes Bobby, too.” We seemed to be finding considerable common ground between us…

…Sitting down again, I looked across at Robert and asked him, matter-of-factly: “Do you want to run the country?”

What did he say?” Mary responded.

Robert stood up. After a pause, he said quietly: “Yeah, I want to.”

(Wait, WHAT did he say?)

Bobby added that someone with the Green Party had asked him to consider becoming its candidate in 2008.

“Oh, don’t do what Nader did!” I told him. “You should leave the Democrats and run with me as an independent.”

Was I serious? Robert looked at me quizzically.

“I’m the most powerful man in America!” I announced. “Do you know why?”

“Why?” Mary asked, wide-eyed.

“Because I’m the only one who can unite both parties against me!”

We were hot into this when (Bobby’s son) Finn, who was doing headstands behind us, suddenly crashed into the Ping-Pong table and raised a big welt on his foot. Mary said she’d better run upstairs and get some ice.

I realized it was time to go.

First, though, I approached Robert, who was also standing on the stairs, one more time. Again I urged him to go independent.

“I am independent,” he said. “You should become a Democrat.”

“I’d lose all my credibility!” I exclaimed.

“We’ll keep talking about it,” Robert said.

…He stood on his front step and saluted, with a big grin on his face, as I drove away.

Heading home that night, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. If Robert Kennedy, Jr. ever ran for president as a Democrat, it would be no surprise to anyone. Just another Kennedy going for the brass ring. But if, because he can’t stand what’s happened to politics today, he left the party and ran as an independent, it would – to borrow a phrase from Muhammad Ali – shock the world!

Our thoughts precisely, Jesse.

Ventura fully realizes that now is the time for bold new leaders to step forward, and he’s ready to get down to business right away. It’s time to put partisan bickering and party politics aside for a much greater mission. The world can’t wait. 

Now Ventura has an offer on the table for Kennedy. He’s also considering a run against Al Franken in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race. RFK Jr. is reportedly thinking about reclaiming his father’s Senate seat, or possibly running for another office in New York State. These two men have some big decisions to make in the days ahead — because they seem to realize just how many people are counting on them.

Then again, maybe they should just run for the White House on a last-minute, grassroots, why-the-hell-not independent ticket. It certainly would give the people a lot of hope, even if Ventura/Kennedy (or Kennedy/Ventura, whichever you prefer) statistically could not win. These two would bring critical issues to the campaign the two-party candidates won’t touch, and give independent voters a far more viable option than Ralph Nader or Bob Barr.

No disrespect intended to either Mr. Nader or the Honorable Mr. Barr, but is this the best the independent/third-party movement can offer in 2008? Isn’t a superstar independent candidate going to emerge? America needs one (or two) desperately! Who’s going to step up?

As the man says on page 302 of Don’t Start the Revolution Without Me, “you can’t go through life waiting for the other guy to do it.”

At which point, his wife Terry chimed in with a trumpet blast of truth: “That’s what’s wrong with the country right now!”

 

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

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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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Your Thoughts: Who Should RFK Jr. Choose As His Running Mate?

bumperstickersm.jpg 

NAME THAT TICKET: KENNEDY/??????

Just for grins (this ain’t no scientific poll!), we’d like to know your thoughts:

If Robert F. Kennedy Jr. ran for President of the United States, who would you like to see as his running mate? Who should he pick for VP?

A few names have already been floated over the past year as potential running mates – we’ve heard some great suggestions so far, such as:

  • Al Gore (wouldn’t that be the environmental dream ticket of the century?)
  • Senator Edward Kennedy (a Kennedy/Kennedy ticket? Interesting!)
  • Rep. Dennis Kucinich (always thought Kennedy/Kucinich had a great ring to it)
  • Former Senator Mike Gravel (longtime Democrat and 2008 presidential candidate who has now converted to Libertarianism)
  • Ralph Nader (although at age 74, we worry a bit about the “one heartbeat away” thing)
  • Senator Hillary Clinton (yes, it has been suggested that if she loses the Democratic nomination, she might just go renegade! How bad does she want the White House, anyway? And as VP, would she actually be the one to answer the phone at 3 A.M.instead of the President?)
  • Former Minnesota Governor and pro wrestler Jesse Ventura (who speaks of a possible independent run for the presidency in 2008 with RFK Jr. as his running mate. No jest!)

 

These are just a few ideas that have been suggested – some are flat crazy, some make sense. But we think the readers of this blog probably have some better ideas. Many of you are Bobby’s biggest fans – you know better than anyone who would make a great running mate for him – so let us know your thoughts.

We want to hear from you: imagining not only a winning ticket on the campaign trail, but who would serve him best in a presidential administration. Who would you like to see as Bobby Kennedy Jr.’s Vice President?

 

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Is Nader Nuts or The Bravest Man In America?

Ralph Nader on Meet The Press Feb. 24, 2008

(Ralph Nader said on “Meet the Press” that he will seek the presidency for a third time in 2008. He plans to announce a running mate later this week.)

IS NADER NUTS? OR THE BRAVEST MAN IN AMERICA?

Let’s face it – to run as an independent candidate in this year’s political climate, you’d have to be either richer than Bloomberg, crazier than Mary Todd Lincoln, or The Bravest Person In America.

Since Ralph Nader’s bank account doesn’t come anywhere close to that of Mayor Bloomberg’s, that pretty much leaves us with the latter two possibilities: he must be nuts or just really, really brave. Which is it? Well…that depends on who you ask, of course.

Ask any “good Democrat” and they’ll likely start sputtering obcenities about how Nader cost them the White House in 2000. Watch the veins pop out of their foreheads as they rant and rave “how dare he run again?” Simply bring up Ralph Nader’s name in their presence, and you’ll start to wonder who really is crazy around here, anyway.

Ask the Republicans, and you’ll get a more polite answer. Naturally. They seem to benefit nicely every time Ralph Nader throws his hat into the ring. Que Sera, Sera, they say with a shrug…whatever will be, will be.

Ask a progressive, and they’ll tell you that Nader is a hero for the common man, a real Democrat in an age of lost liberal principles. They’ll also tell you he’s got balls of steel to take on these corporate-controlled major party candidates. And you know, they’re right.

FEAR AND LOATHING ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

Maybe this is why Nader scares the Democratic party so much. He’s a tireless crusader, unafraid of speaking his mind to anyone. He never played political loyalty games or sat silent on any issue. Whether it was the President of General Motors or the President of the United States (Republican or Democrat), he held them accountable.

The truth of his record over the past 40-plus years cannot be denied. Nader fought for the little guy against big corporate interests and whupped `em time and time again. He was an environmentalist long before it was hip to be green – but never was he yellow. He’s been stabbed in the back by his own Democratic fellows so many times, he could be Swiss cheese with legs.

But that’s not the way it used to be.

Nader was once the Democrats’ Golden Boy in the 1960s; memorably taking the auto industry to task alongside Senator Robert F. Kennedy in nationally televised Senate hearings. He made headlines with his groundbreaking book, Unsafe at Any Speed, exposing those automakers who knowingly put profit above safety. 

Nader became an American folk hero when executives of General Motors hired private detectives to try and entrap him (unsuccessfully) in a sex scandal – they later apologized publicly and admitted they could not dig up even a speck of dirt on the man.

As a consumer advocate, he went on to create an organization of energetic young lawyers and researchers (known as “Nader’s Raiders”) who produced systematic exposés of industrial hazards, pollution, unsafe products, and governmental neglect of consumer safety laws. Nader is widely recognized as the founder of the consumers’ rights movement.

He played a key role in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Freedom of Information Act and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. For the last three decades or more, Nader has continued to work for political reform through his watchdog group Public Citizen.

Ralph Nader testifies before the Senate in 1966

(Nader testifies before the Senate Commerce subcommittee in 1966)

And now, the unyielding consumer advocate who ran for president in 2000 and 2004, says he’s going to make another bid for the White House this year.

“I have decided to run for president,” Nader announced Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press.

Although he isn’t getting any younger (he’ll turn 74 on February 27th), Ralph Nader says he feels a duty to enter the race because the major party candidates aren’t adequately addressing the influence of lobbyists and wasteful spending in government.

In other words, the real issue, the 800-lb. gorilla in America’s living room. The corporate cancer that is eating our country alive. But how can voters expect the two-party candidates to address the issue of corporatism when they themselves rely on corporate money?

“When you see the paralysis of the government, when you see Washington, D.C., be corporate-occupied territory, every department and agency controlled by overwhelming presence of corporate lobbyists, corporate executives in high government positions, turning the government against its own people, one feels an obligation to try and open the doorways,” Nader said.

IT’S A TOUGH JOB, BUT SOMEBODY’S GOTTA DO IT

When Nader formed a committee to consider a White House run last month, he said he believed the current contenders weren’t standing up enough to corporate interests.

“Look at the major areas of injustice, deprivation and solutions that are not being addressed by the major candidates,” Nader said in a Jan. 30 interview with Bloomberg News.

Among other issues, he cited the need for a “practical timed withdrawal” from Iraq, programs to crack down on corporate fraud and a rearrangement of the U.S. tax system.

Nader said last month that he would want to raise $10 million over the course of the campaign. By comparison, Clinton and Obama each have raised more than $120 million in political contributions.

“I offer the prospect of a competitive discourse over major areas of public policy that are being totally ignored or opposed by the major candidates, Obama, Clinton and McCain,” he told Agence-France Presse.

Nader said he expects his candidacy to do better this time around and will work to get his name on the ballot in all 50 states.

“This time we’re ready for them,” said Nader of the Democratic Party lawsuits that kept him off the ballot in some states.

Challenges to his ballot access would not be surprising, he says, given that both political parties typically treat third-party candidates as “second-class citizens.” Nader said he will decide in the coming days whether to run as an independent, Green Party candidate or in some other third party.

Pointing a finger at Republicans, he described McCain as a candidate for “perpetual war” and said he welcomed the support of Republican conservatives “who don’t like the war in Iraq, who don’t like taxpayer dollars wasted, and who don’t like the Patriot Act and who treasure their rights of privacy.”

So if McCain becomes the Republican nominee, expect more Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul Republicans crossing party lines to support Ralph Nader this year. Picking up these populist conservatives will certainly help Nader’s numbers, but will it make any difference against the Democrats in a general election? Even Nader thinks not.

“If the Democrats can’t landslide the Republicans this year, they ought to just wrap up.”

WILL NADER BE THE RAIDER IN `08?

Nader risks the wrath of Democrats, many of whom blame him for spoiling former Vice President Al Gore’s bid for the presidency in 2000. Nader got 97,488 votes in Florida, the state that decided that election; President George W. Bush ended up winning the state by just 537 votes.

Nader rejected the suggestion that his campaign cost Gore the election.

“If you look at it analytically, Mr. Gore would tell you that if he’d won Tennessee, everything else being equal, he would’ve been president,” Nader said. “It’s his home state.”

Nader won 2.7 percent of the national vote in 2000 when he was the Green Party candidate. In 2004, his independent presidential campaign drew 0.3 percent of the vote nationwide.

Nader dismissed Democratic criticism of his latest bid for the White House.

“For anybody who thinks that the third try is something that should be demeaned, it represents persistence, it represents never giving up the struggle for justice,” Nader said. “The forces of injustice never take a holiday.”

Ralph Nader in 1976

(Ralph Nader at a Public Citizen press conference, 1976)

CANDIDATES RESPOND

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton Sunday called Nader’s decision “unfortunate.”

Senator Clinton said aboard her campaign plane on the way to Rhode Island that Nader’s candidacy is “not helpful to whoever the Democratic nominee is.”

Illinois Senator Barack Obama, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, said that while Nader is “a heroic figure” for his work on behalf of consumers, “Mr. Nader is somebody who, if you don’t listen and adopt all of his policies, thinks you’re not substantive.”

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said on CNN’s “Late Edition” program Sunday that Nader “would probably pull votes away from the Democrats, not Republicans.”

“Actually, Republicans would welcome his entry into the race,” Huckabee said.

Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, a Democrat who supports Obama, said on “Fox News Sunday” that he doesn’t think Nader’s candidacy will affect the presidential race.

Well, that’s not exactly the way they felt eight years ago.

After Democrats lost the 2000 election, the party faithful’s first response was to clobber their old pal Ralph. Even the mainstream media got into the act, blaming Nader for everything from spoiling the election to the invasion of Iraq to the horrors a George Bush presidency has inflicted upon us all. Nader responded with some equally harsh words in a 2000 Village Voice interview, saying:

“By the way, not one of these critics called me to interview me or to get my views. And they’re reporters? They don’t want to have their fixed mindset challenged.

…And Katha Pollitt, I called her. In my view, she was making incorrect assumptions. I mean, I’ve fought for women’s rights since the ’50s. I’ve been a leader in documenting marketplace discrimination against women that jeopardizes their health, safety, and economic rights. Women pay more, whether for dry cleaning or unnecessary operations. This is something we could never get Ms. magazine and Gloria Steinem to take an interest in. She never called me either, and she said false things about me—that I only called her about platform shoes (which, by the way, broke a lot of women’s ankles). But we’ve talked about the WTO, about the plight of African women when they come down with malaria.

Bobby Kennedy Jr. never called me. When they don’t call, you realize there’s something less than authentic at stake.”

So I take it this means a Nader/Kennedy ticket in `08 ain’t gonna happen?

It’s really too bad, you know. If party loyalty weren’t always in the way, these two men should be natural allies. No doubt they would make one hell of a powerful ticket, a force to be reckoned with in November.

Seems that on every substantive issue, RFK Jr. and Ralph Nader are on the same side of the barricades. They’ve fought for the same causes all their lives and share core beliefs. Then there’s that connection to Bobby’s father, dating back more than 40 years.

But that was then, this is now. The party, and indeed it’s principles, have changed drastically over the past four decades – and some might argue, not for the better.

INDEPENDENTS FINALLY HAVE A CANDIDATE

I rather doubt that Nader, at the age of 74, really wanted to run again. He most likely had hoped someone else would do it this time so he wouldn’t have to. But no viable independent or third-party contender came forward. 

No one.

Millions of progressive, independent, Green Party and Libertarian voters cried out for a candidate to represent them – Ralph Nader listened. He took the risk one more time and threw his hat into the ring because…well…no one else would.

Love or hate Nader, you gotta respect the man for standing up again and going to bat for us. He’s doing what no one else dared to do in 2008 – and for that alone he deserves unqualified praise, not ridicule or scorn.

 

For more information about the Ralph Nader for President campaign, visit the official website: VoteNader.org.

 

Copyright RFKin2008.com. 

 

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