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Intro: "It is urgently important to prevent a Republican administration under Romney/Ryan from taking office in January 2013."

Long-time anti-war activist and hero of the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg. (photo: Mark Constantini/SFChronicle)
Long-time anti-war activist and hero of the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg. (photo: Mark Constantini/SFChronicle)


Defeat Romney, Without Illusions About Obama

By Daniel Ellsberg, Reader Supported News

18 October 12

 

t is urgently important to prevent a Republican administration under Romney/Ryan from taking office in January 2013.

The election is now just weeks away, and I want to urge those whose values are generally in line with mine -- progressives, especially activists -- to make this goal one of your priorities during this period.

An activist colleague recently said to me: "I hear you're supporting Obama."

I was startled, and took offense. "Supporting Obama? Me?!"

"I lose no opportunity publicly," I told him angrily, to identify Obama as a tool of Wall Street, a man who's decriminalized torture and is still complicit in it, a drone assassin, someone who's launched an unconstitutional war, supports kidnapping and indefinite detention without trial, and has prosecuted more whistleblowers like myself than all previous presidents put together. "Would you call that support?"

My friend said, "But on Democracy Now you urged people in swing states to vote for him! How could you say that? I don't live in a swing state, but I will not and could not vote for Obama under any circumstances."

My answer was: a Romney/Ryan administration would be no better -- no different -- on any of the serious offenses I just mentioned or anything else, and it would be much worse, even catastrophically worse, on a number of other important issues: attacking Iran, Supreme Court appointments, the economy, women's reproductive rights, health coverage, safety net, climate change, green energy, the environment.

I told him: "I don't 'support Obama.' I oppose the current Republican Party. This is not a contest between Barack Obama and a progressive candidate. The voters in a handful or a dozen close-fought swing states are going to determine whether Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are going to wield great political power for four, maybe eight years, or not."

As Noam Chomsky said recently, "The Republican organization today is extremely dangerous, not just to this country, but to the world. It's worth expending some effort to prevent their rise to power, without sowing illusions about the Democratic alternatives."

Following that logic, he's said to an interviewer what my friend heard me say to Amy Goodman: "If I were a person in a swing state, I'd vote against Romney/Ryan, which means voting for Obama because there is no other choice."

The election is at this moment a toss-up. That means this is one of the uncommon occasions when we progressives -- a small minority of the electorate -- could actually have a significant influence on the outcome of a national election, swinging it one way or the other.

The only way for progressives and Democrats to block Romney from office, at this date, is to persuade enough people in swing states to vote for Obama: not stay home, or vote for someone else. And that has to include, in those states, progressives and disillusioned liberals who are at this moment inclined not to vote at all or to vote for a third-party candidate (because like me they've been not just disappointed but disgusted and enraged by much of what Obama has done in the last four years and will probably keep doing).

They have to be persuaded to vote, and to vote in a battleground state for Obama not anyone else, despite the terrible flaws of the less-bad candidate, the incumbent. That's not easy. As I see it, that's precisely the "effort" Noam is referring to as worth expending right now to prevent the Republicans' rise to power. And it will take progressives -- some of you reading this, I hope -- to make that effort of persuasion effectively.

It will take someone these disheartened progressives and liberals will listen to. Someone manifestly without illusions about the Democrats, someone who sees what they see when they look at the president these days: but who can also see through candidates Romney or Ryan on the split-screen, and keep their real, disastrous policies in focus.

It's true that the differences between the major parties are not nearly as large as they and their candidates claim, let alone what we would want. It's even fair to use Gore Vidal's metaphor that they form two wings ("two right wings," as some have put it) of a single party, the Property or Plutocracy Party, or as Justin Raimondo says, the War Party.

Still, the political reality is that there are two distinguishable wings, and one is reliably even worse than the other, currently much worse overall. To be in denial or to act in neglect of that reality serves only the possibly imminent, yet presently avoidable, victory of the worse.

The traditional third-party mantra, "There's no significant difference between the major parties" amounts to saying: "The Republicans are no worse, overall." And that's absurd. It constitutes shameless apologetics for the Republicans, however unintended. It's crazily divorced from present reality.

And it's not at all harmless to be propagating that absurd falsehood. It has the effect of encouraging progressives even in battleground states to refrain from voting or to vote in a close election for someone other than Obama, and more importantly, to influence others to act likewise.That's an effect that serves no one but the Republicans, and ultimately the 1 percent.

It's not merely understandable, it's entirely appropriate to be enraged at Barack Obama. As I am. He has often acted outrageously, not merely timidly or "disappointingly." If impeachment were politically imaginable on constitutional grounds, he's earned it (like George W. Bush, and many of his predecessors!) It is entirely human to want to punish him, not to "reward" him with another term or a vote that might be taken to express trust, hope or approval.

But rage is not generally conducive to clear thinking. And it often gets worked out against innocent victims, as would be the case here domestically, if refusals to vote for him resulted in Romney's taking key battleground states that decide the outcome of this election.

To punish Obama in this particular way, on Election Day -- by depriving him of votes in swing states and hence of office in favor of Romney and Ryan -- would punish most of all the poor and marginal in society, and workers and middle class as well: not only in the U.S. but worldwide in terms of the economy (I believe the Republicans could still convert this recession to a Great Depression), the environment and climate change. It could well lead to war with Iran (which Obama has been creditably resisting, against pressure from within his own party). And it would spell, via Supreme Court appointments, the end of Roe v. Wade and of the occasional five to four decisions in favor of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The reelection of Barack Obama, in itself, is not going to bring serious progressive change, end militarism and empire, or restore the Constitution and the rule of law. That's for us and the rest of the people to bring about after this election and in the rest of our lives -- through organizing, building movements and agitating.

In the eight to twelve close-fought states -- especially Florida, Ohio, and Virginia, but also Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin -- for any progressive to encourage fellow progressives and others in those states to vote for a third-party candidate is, I would say, to be complicit in facilitating the election of Romney and Ryan, with all its consequences.

To think of that as urging people in swing states to "vote their conscience" is, I believe, dangerously misleading advice. I would say to a progressive that if your conscience tells you on Election Day to vote for someone other than Obama in a battleground state, you need a second opinion. Your conscience is giving you bad counsel.

I often quote a line by Thoreau that had great impact for me: "Cast your whole vote: not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence." He was referring, in that essay, to civil disobedience, or as he titled it himself, "Resistance to Civil Authority."

It still means that to me. But this is a year when for people who think like me -- and who, unlike me, live in battleground states -- casting a strip of paper is also important. Using your whole influence this month to get others to do that, to best effect, is even more important.

That means for progressives in the next couple of weeks -- in addition to the rallies, demonstrations, petitions, lobbying (largely against policies or prospective policies of President Obama, including austerity budgeting next month), movement-building and civil disobedience that are needed all year round and every year -- using one's voice and one's e-mails and op-eds and social media to encourage citizens in swing states to vote against a Romney victory by voting for the only real alternative, Barack Obama.

Daniel Ellsberg is a former State and Defense Department official who has been arrested for acts of non-violent civil disobedience over eighty times, initially for copying and releasing the top secret Pentagon Papers, for which he faced 115 years in prison. Living in a non-swing state, he does not intend to vote for President Obama.



Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

 

Comments   

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+82 # AndreM5 2012-10-18 09:00
Willard is not qualified to be Prez regardless of who owns him.

David Stockman offers some succinct analysis here:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/10/14/david-stockman-mitt-romney-and-the-bain-drain.html
 
 
+44 # brux 2012-10-18 09:34
> I told him: "I don't 'support Obama.' I oppose the current
> Republican Party. This is not a contest between Barack
> Obama and a progressive candidate. The voters in a
> handful or a dozen close-fought swing states are going
> to determine whether Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are
> going to wield great political power for four, maybe
> eight years, or not."

> As Noam Chomsky said recently, "The Republican
> organization today is extremely dangerous, not just
> to this country, but to the world. It's worth expending
> some effort to prevent their rise to power, without
> sowing illusions about the Democratic alternatives."

It just breaks my heart to see that it will not be
until after most of us are long dead and gone that
humanity might have just the slimmest of chances
to develop human values and start to put things
right in the world ... and maybe much longer or
even never.

All the leaders in human rights work their entire
lives, many are hurt or killed and still the masses
of people must be held hostage, their lives taken
and used for the sustenance and growth of immoral
and inhuman systems that serve a tiny number of
people who are trashing the planet for their own
amusement.

If there is a God how could it possibly be happy
with its supposed ultimate creation?
 
 
+17 # AMLLLLL 2012-10-18 10:36
Wow..do you really think we're its ultimate creation?
 
 
+43 # nancyw 2012-10-18 11:07
Brux said 'supposed' ... This thought or belief is touted by many - that we're the top of the chain... and what a mess we've made.

I think we have sunk to the bottom. We need to fight our way up to morals, respect, co-existence, and ethics. We need to start now... well, yesterday. Vote Democratic!
 
 
+3 # Eduardo3 2012-10-19 20:52
Please, if you don't live in one of the states he mentioned in the article, vote for the Green Party's Jill Stein. As a Florida voter, I will do my part and vote for Obama and Democratic Senator Bill Nelson.
 
 
+19 # BlueReview 2012-10-18 13:43
I think Romney and Ryan believe that they're the ultimate creation.
 
 
+8 # Trueblue Democrat 2012-10-20 06:49
I no longer remember who said this a decade or so ago about another political figure, but I will say it now about Romney, Ryan and their ilk:

I cannot believe that they are Evolution's last word on the subject.
 
 
0 # brux 2012-10-25 00:46
do you know what "supposed" means ?
 
 
+11 # indian weaver 2012-10-19 04:45
Some folks may actually believe that God considers us humans his ultimate creation. That's laughable but true about many people. But, everything else is better than us humans as nothing else is destroying our planet and basis / reason for existence and of survival. Everything else respects the planet and knows it must not be raped, or we're all going into extinction. Well, we are raping her My Great Mother Earth to death, and the USA is leading the way. As it is, that is what we are doing and where we are going. The Gods might watch but it's up to us, not them, to save ourselves. I know we humans are unable to stop greedy behavior, so self - extinction is underway now. Too bad only the humans don't become extinct as we are victimizing the innocent universe. Once the vicious cycle of Global Warming gets well underway, it'll accelerate and incinerate the planet.
 
 
+9 # indian weaver 2012-10-19 16:50
By the way to myself and readers, this is the reason no other intelligent life has ever been discovered, nor ever will be. We all self - incinerate to pay for our greed and so do our planets. Global Warming is basically the universe's way of disappearing cosmic detritus like us. Another Earth will start up a billion years from now and we can all try to get it right then. I don't think we even tried this time.
 
 
+1 # Rita Walpole Ague 2012-10-20 06:26
The answer to your final question isn't really an answer. since our beginnings, the best and brightest, truthtelling theologians, et. al. have admitted that we humans are incapable of understanding evil, where it comes from, what it's all about, and how it is that an Almighty God/Great Spirit/Allah/Bu ddah, et. al., tolerates such evil and does not permanently deliver us from same.

And yep, 'tis evil indeed that has, forever and a day, pushed us toward total power over all and greed, greed, greed. Here's how I've been objecting (in addition to online comments/replys such as this): an auto rear window sign that reads: Deliver us from evil...
WALL STREET VILLAINAIRES, and a large yellow poster with big black lettering:

HONK and SAY NO TO GREED
 
 
-15 # jlstiles 2012-10-20 10:56
It breaks my heart to see your heart broken. Actually, my eyes watered up from vomiting after reading your post but that counts as crying, right?
 
 
+144 # Barbara K 2012-10-18 09:37
Romneyhood is the worst choice of anyone for President. He is not fit to hold that office or to live in the White House, or to be Commander-in-ch ief, or anything else. He is a war-mongering, woman-hating, soulless, bully in an empty suit. He has nothing good to offer. He only wants to dismantle what we need to survive. He knows nothing of what the regular Americans go thru on a daily basis. We need to just send him back to his Ivory Tower and force him to pay his darned share of taxes. That alone makes him unfit for the presidency, He's not fit to lick Obama's boots.
 
 
+60 # Billy Bob 2012-10-18 09:40
What we need is a Constitutional Amendment to change the electoral process:

1. Jungle primary with ALL candidates from all parties.

2. Automatic run-off between the top two vote getters.

PROBLEM SOLVED.

Until then, in this universe, the United States has a two-party electoral system. Liberal 3rd parties don't compete with the repugs. They only split the left-wing vote and ensure a repug victory. That's why Nader's campaign was funded by the GOP in 2000. Nader accepted their money gladly. 93,000 people in Florida voted for him. Gore only had a few hundred votes stolen from him by the Supreme Court.
 
 
+25 # dkonstruction 2012-10-18 10:10
BB, i agree we need to change the voting system but i would prefer a system where one could vote for their top 2 candidates and if your first choice did not make it into the top tier your vote would be cast for your second choice. this would allow all to vote their concience as their first choice and if that choice turned out to be a "wasted vote" your vote would automatically shift to your second choice.

And, though, i don't think Nader should have run in Florida in 2000, Gore won (all of the independent media outlets that looked at it and did the full recount said the same thing) not to mention that 94,000 people were thrown off the roles (97% of which turned out not to be convicted felons and even Pat Buchannan said that all those Jewish votes he got in Palm Beach county were probably meant for Gore)
 
 
+9 # BradFromSalem 2012-10-18 11:08
BB and dk,

I agree with both of you, but would extend the jungle primary into the Primary system. Primaries would be paid for and managed by the federal government. The order of states voting are decided by voter turnout for the last election. The 4 top vote winners from each state are automatically on the ballot. Same process where each voter gets 8 votes. candidates can affiliate with a party, but that does not limit the final ballot to one from each party.
I also would keep the Electoral College to prevent the race totally being about a couple of states.

There are more details, but I would just add that the Constitutional amendment must have a clause requiring a secure, verifiable, paper trail.
 
 
+4 # dkonstruction 2012-10-18 11:47
Quoting BradFromSalem:
BB and dk,

I agree with both of you, but would extend the jungle primary into the Primary system. Primaries would be paid for and managed by the federal government. The order of states voting are decided by voter turnout for the last election. The 4 top vote winners from each state are automatically on the ballot. Same process where each voter gets 8 votes. candidates can affiliate with a party, but that does not limit the final ballot to one from each party.
I also would keep the Electoral College to prevent the race totally being about a couple of states.

There are more details, but I would just add that the Constitutional amendment must have a clause requiring a secure, verifiable, paper trail.


Agreed, except for keeping the electoral college (i would also abolish the Senate which is also an inherently undemocratic body)...and all elections, not just primaries, should be publicly funded with the TV networks (those that get and use the public airwaves basically for free) should be required to provide equal time to all candidates on the ballot (not just those from the 2 major parties or the 1 major party with the 2 wings).
 
 
+8 # Granny Weatherwax 2012-10-18 14:18
I would be very careful about going to a monocameral system. They tend to be terribly unstable.
 
 
+1 # BradFromSalem 2012-10-19 06:24
dk,

The Senate is designed to represent the states; by giving each state a voice, and slightly balancing the power of large states in the electoral college, I would argue is more democratic in a federal structure.

In fact, I might even consider the idea of splitting the House into 2 components, one that each district represents the equivalent of the the smallest state's population. The second larger House would represent the original number of people that was written into the Constitution. This group would initiate all laws, with no debate. The idea is that Congress is spread too thin, each Representative cannot possibly represent his or her district.

And, I don't give a fig about campaign cash if a) corporations are barred from participating and b) debates are free and open to all qualified candidates. We still need to define qualified, but it is certainly wider than Democrat, Republican and maybe one other, sometimes, maybe, but only one, and they are polite about it, and say please and may I to the Democrats and the Republicans. It's also preferred that they be white, but blacks are ok unless they are angry, but mostly maybe.
 
 
0 # dkonstruction 2012-10-19 10:38
this is a longer conversation (though a good one)...we'll have to meet for a beer somewhere between us...though that would mean we will both have to bring designated drivers.

in brief i would argue that the senate was established both to keep power from "the people" but more importantly to maintain the dominance of the southern slaveholding states (who ruled for much of the first part of the nation's history).

have to think a bit more on your proposal for restructuring the house....it's an interesting idea for sure.

i would certainly agree that your campaing finance reform would be way better than what we have now but still think that ultimately public financing is the only real way to truly level the playing field...i'll still vote for ya and your current plan though as it would still be a huge step forward.
 
 
+1 # BradFromSalem 2012-10-19 11:50
My main objective is to put out ideas; defend and explain as necessary, but be willing to listen and adopt other ideas.
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2012-10-18 12:24
So, you'd have a PRE-primary primary? Interesting.
 
 
+1 # BradFromSalem 2012-10-19 06:31
No, just a primary to get to the maximum of 4 candidates for each state's ballot. Probably we would need a metric for the number of signatures you need to get ballot access, and I would be open to that access being at the Congressional district level.

Big picture is we need to look at how to make our elections work in the 21st Century, where we all vote as individuals instead of just the landowning patriarchs. That model is out of date.
 
 
0 # ericlipps 2012-10-18 13:40
Quoting dkonstruction:
BB, i agree we need to change the voting system but i would prefer a system where one could vote for their top 2 candidates and if your first choice did not make it into the top tier your vote would be cast for your second choice. this would allow all to vote their concience as their first choice and if that choice turned out to be a "wasted vote" your vote would automatically shift to your second choice.

And, though, i don't think Nader should have run in Florida in 2000, Gore won (all of the independent media outlets that looked at it and did the full recount said the same thing) not to mention that 94,000 people were thrown off the roles (97% of which turned out not to be convicted felons and even Pat Buchannan said that all those Jewish votes he got in Palm Beach county were probably meant for Gore)


ALL candidates from ALL parties? No way top square this with a verifiable paper ballopt, when there might be a dozen or more parties (some quite small) eligible for inclusion under such a system.

Better to eliminate the Electoral College and, if no candidate wins a popular-vote majority, THEN stage a runoff between the top two vote-getters.
 
 
+2 # BradFromSalem 2012-10-19 07:47
ericlipps,

We need to increase the signature requirements to get on the ballot, and make it standard across the country in federal elections. Parties are not part of our election system, we have just allowed the Dems and the Repugs to make the rules.
 
 
+4 # Clementine 2012-10-18 10:35
ever thought of using preferential voting?
 
 
+4 # Scott Galindez 2012-10-18 10:57
We have advocated Instant Runoff Voting in the past...

We are a long way off from getting it.
 
 
+46 # Regina 2012-10-18 10:51
Dream on for a futuristic myth, Billy Bob. But we're in dire danger of losing our future. We need to vote NOW to head off the vile gang that, if they can steal their way into office, will wreck the nation beyond rescue. The ONLY choice for survival for the rest of us -- "lower" than the RomneyRyanRoyal ty -- is to reelect Obama. We must also elect a Congress ready to work for their salaries and perks, not a "Tea" Party brat-pack that collects all that federal slush for doing nothing, obstructing every constructive measure that even comes up for a vote and pushing their spite in repeated votes, thankfully defeated thus far.
 
 
+19 # Billy Bob 2012-10-18 11:29
I agree. As I said, a 3rd party vote at this point is complete suicide - EVEN in so called "safe states". OWS could make this a core issue and Democratic Congressmen currently in office could get behind it. It would probably take decades of mounting pressure to make it happen. However, there's no honest reason for even a t-bagger to disagree with it.

They wouldn't though. Afterall, the repugs enjoy a huge financial advantage overall.
 
 
+3 # Eduardo3 2012-10-19 21:16
I agree about the importance of re-electing Obama. But please explain how a 3rd vote is "suicide" in a blue state like New York. My opinion is that if you don't live in a swing state you should vote for Jill Stein. The Green Party has a goal of reaching 5% of votes in order to advance their agenda. It is beyond insane that with climate change already altering life as we know it on this planet, not one but two Presidential debates could have gone by with neither mainstream candidate addressing the issue or even being asked about it. Instead they argue over which one loves oil and gas more than the other. As one analyst said, talking about energy policy without talking about climate change is like talking about smoking without talking about cancer... The Green Party does not play that game, and they need to be heard.
 
 
+13 # dkonstruction 2012-10-18 11:35
More of us should "dream on" Regina as well as have a real utopian vision of what kind of country, society and world we want...this is a good and not a bad thing and is in no way contradictory with voting for Obama (isn't this the whole point of Ellsberg's piece?).

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

Proverbs 29:18


“A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at…” Oscar Wilde


If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else
Yogi Berra


“The history of our times calls to mind those Walt Disney characters who rush madly over the edge of a cliff without seeing it, so that the power of their imagination keeps them suspended in mid-air; but as soon as they look down and see where they are, they fall.”
Raoul Vaneigem

Otherwise all we are left with is....


“There is no alternative.”
Margaret Thatcher
 
 
+10 # Regina 2012-10-18 14:44
Sorry, dk -- I'm so old I can't afford to dream of any Utopia. If the people perish when there is no vision, think also of the vision that vanishes when people perish. We all run out of time, some sooner than others. --Regina.
 
 
+1 # dkonstruction 2012-10-19 06:39
Quoting Regina:
Sorry, dk -- I'm so old I can't afford to dream of any Utopia. If the people perish when there is no vision, think also of the vision that vanishes when people perish. We all run out of time, some sooner than others. --Regina.


Regaina, respectfully, I'm no spring chicken either but if we lose our vision of the kind of country, society and world we want to live in then "they" have indeed won. Having a "utopian" vision doesn't mean that you abandon reality or the real day-to-day struggles and battles that need to be waged (which is why i have argued vehemently against those that say there is no difference at all between the two parties even though i agree with Vidal that we are really talking about one party with two wings). But, a vision, also provides a "road map" so that we don't at the same time wind up struggling for things that in the end don't move us closer to what we want or have us going down a road that ultimately leads us in the wrong direction.

Unfortunately, i think, that far too much of the "progressive" community has lost all sense of vision and so the best we can ever muster is a "reactive" politics instead of initiating a "proactive" one. We may both be long gone before such a vision is ever realized but that doesn't make it any less critical to have one.
 
 
+29 # Billsy 2012-10-18 11:00
To this one must add a requirement (similar to Australian law) that EVERYONE cast a vote even if for none-of-the-abo ve, forcing candidates to address ALL voters. I am ashamed of our voter turnout, particularly in elections solely of local importance. The largest demographic may indeed by non voters. All these millions of dollars spent on mind-numbing tv ads all targeting those too uninformed to chose a candidate after months of campaigning.

Additionally, we must limit campaign funding to public sources lest the wealthy maintain their strangle-hold on the electoral process.

Finally, these campaigns must be limited to a period no longer than 2-3 months. The psychological effect of our emotionally vitriolic campaigns has left this country far too divided for its own good.

As for ranked choice elections. Don't know that it would be helpful. A parliamentary govt. would help by allowing greater participation than the two corrupt party system in place currently and forge coalitions and a spirit of compromise sorely lacking in Congress today. Our system, in the words of Dennis Kucinich who understands it too well, is dysfunctional, corrupted by the influence of private donations and never ending campaigns as well as obstructionist procedures like filibustering that prevent an administration from effectively governing.
 
 
+8 # wrknight 2012-10-18 11:52
For the most part, non-voters are the largest demographic group. Only in presidential elections do we get more than 50% of voters to show up at the poles. In the mid term elections in 2010, fewer than 40% of voters bothered to vote, and in strictly local votes the turnout is much worse.
 
 
+7 # Scott Galindez 2012-10-18 17:41
Local politics is where you build third parties, I was at the ist Green Party congress in West Virginia, most there wanted to hold off on National politics and build locally.

Its a slow process but if the focus is put on city council, mayoral elections and such while not wasting resources on National elections many progressives will vote Green locally and Democrat nationally until the party becomes strong enough.
 
 
+1 # BradFromSalem 2012-10-19 12:13
Billsy,

Personally, I am not in favor of forcing people to vote. Its probably my social Libertarian side coming out. That is why I suggested we give an incentive for higher voter turnout.

I think preferential ranked non party affiliated voting using a ranking system would allow additional parties to participate and be included in the process, and not just a sideshow. For example, if the Primaries consisted of all the comedy acts that ran for president as Republicans, a couple of Libertarians, a few Greens, maybe even a Commie and Obama; who do you think would be the last four standing? It is possible that none of them would be a Republican.

Notice also that I stated that all debates must be televised with all candidates, no corporate $$ at all. I would also ban all anonymous contributions and Super Duper Pacs as well.

Also by having the federal government control the Primary process, the entire Primary season could be cut in half. Currently, its running about 18 months. have the first Primary in April and finish them by the end of July. That means most campaigns won't start up until early February.

The bottom line is we need to alter America for the people. The details still need to be hashed out.
 
 
0 # dkonstruction 2012-10-19 12:50
How 'bout free beer. always worked to increase voter turnout at student gov't meetings when i was in college...of course by the time we got to voting it was questionable whether anyone knew what they were voting for but that's another question.
 
 
0 # Eduardo3 2012-10-19 21:30
Low voter turnout is a problem, but I don't think forcing people to vote is the answer. People should be free to express their disdain for politicians by abstaining from the electoral process if that is their wish. And certainly forcing everyone to vote will do nothing to increase the level of *informed* voters. Without other reforms it would actually increase the level of uninformed voters. I think more people would vote if they could see their vote actually making a difference in their lives, or if they were any viable candidates or parties they could actually be enthusiastic about. So those other structural changes are all much more important. I also don't see how in a country where free speech is the law you could effectively limit the length of a campaign. People will just do campaign-like things but not call it a campaign.
 
 
+3 # Tje_Chiwara 2012-10-21 05:58
Quoting Eduardo3:
Low voter turnout is a problem, but I don't think forcing people to vote is the answer. People should be free to express their disdain for politicians by abstaining from the electoral process if that is their wish.

They can express their disdain by voiting for "None of the Above" . . . It is critically important that the citizenry realize that they get what they vote for. Not voting only encourages disengagement. Having to make a choice makes you realize there is a consequence . . . an important lesson that could only be taught by affirmatively requiring a vote. It also would completely destroy the usefulness, so embraced by the Repubs, of voter suppression.
 
 
+15 # Granny Weatherwax 2012-10-18 14:16
Agreed until PROBLEM SOLVED (not included)

3a. Mandatory cap on campaign finances, strictly enforced

3b. Campaign expenses reimbursed by the govt for all candidates above 4% votes.

4a. Free (as in free beer) speech on TV / radio imposed on same as a condition to get the license.

4b. Same air time for all candidates, strictly controlled and enforced.

4c. Prohibition of other political ads during that time.
In particular, repeal Citizens United.

5. Verifiable voting process; govt audited voting machines if voting machines at all; paper trails etc.

Then, and only then, could we have a proper democratic process.

Short of that this is Plutocracy for the whole of us.

Don't hold your breath, but show fortitude. As William of Orange once put it "It is not necessary to hope to undertake, not to succeed to persevere".

movetoamend.org
 
 
+6 # Billy Bob 2012-10-18 16:27
Thank you. I agree with all of that. You just filled in many of the details for me. Even that still wouldn't be enough. This isn't like Twit's 20% tax plan where a simple sentence with no substance behind it would suffice. It would be a very complex undertaking and require, like I said, decades of persistence to even have a chance.

It absolutely WON'T happen quickly enough to please the kinds of voters who want everything now. It's not even possible.

The main obstacle to all of this would be the repug party. A few Democrats would get behind it. The repug party would laugh it off the floor before it got a chance. For now, we'd need to rely on a very strong Democratic Party with foresight. That hasn't happened in several decades.
 
 
0 # Eduardo3 2012-10-19 21:39
Wonderful ideas. But both Democrats and Republicans would fight things like 3b tooth and nail since allowing other parties to actually compete on a fair platform would seriously threaten their monopolies on power. And all the corporate-owned media (mainstream, conservative, and liberal) would oppose 4a just as strongly, since they thrive on the money from all those ads
 
 
0 # brux 2012-10-19 20:23
> 3a. Mandatory cap on campaign finances, strictly enforced

How you ever considered how hard that would be to enforce?

Whatever, I think its also a good idea to put candidate airtime together ... if not debates, because I am not sure debates really tell us that much, especially lately, more parallel appearances but make it mandatory that everyone gets to speak at every occasion in whatever format they choose.
 
 
0 # bingers 2012-10-20 09:03
I would add, either explain your position in detail or not offer it at all.

Also, a crippling fine for any lie or spin in an ad.

Making political PACs a crime.

Making lobbying a crime as it once was.

If you allow the stupidity of the SCOTUS decision that money is free speech, then any donation above the level that the poorest person in the country can afford should be illegal, as it infringes on their rights.
 
 
+1 # michelle 2012-10-18 17:12
Automatic run-off between the top two vote getters.

That has been done in California State Seats and much to my dismay I am in a district where the top two vote getters are both republicans. Greens do no stand a chance of ending up in the top two. It will end any chance of more than two parties.
 
 
+43 # fredboy 2012-10-18 09:48
Romney is Gordon Gekko. He believes greed is good. And a few win, and everyone else loses. Is that America?
 
 
+16 # Cassandra2012 2012-10-18 13:17
Actually I thinking perhaps he was the anti-Christ that Christians are so fond of evoking.
 
 
+13 # Billy Bob 2012-10-18 16:28
He sure fits the profile.
 
 
+1 # Kootenay Coyote 2012-10-18 14:44
Isn't it?
 
 
0 # Eduardo3 2012-10-19 21:41
Yes, unfortunately.
 
 
0 # bingers 2012-10-20 09:04
Quoting fredboy:
Romney is Gordon Gekko. He believes greed is good. And a few win, and everyone else loses. Is that America?


Sadly, yes it is now.
 
 
-28 # GDC707 2012-10-18 09:54
So, if we all vote for Obama, even if we detest the man, what incentive does he or any other Third Way Neoliberal corporate bootlicker have to work for policies that help we the people?
 
 
+17 # brianf 2012-10-18 11:20
He didn't say we should all vote for Obama. I realize that is what most people heard, but he said something very different. He said vote for Obama IF you live in a swing state. If you don't live in a swing state, you can sway the Democrats by voting for the Green Party or another truly liberal alternative. When enough people do that, the Democrats will be sure to move towards policies that help we the people.
 
 
+14 # brianf 2012-10-18 11:41
It's sad how few people understand the way the president is elected in the US. Ellsberg and Chomsky get it. It's called the electoral college, and it only applies to the election of the president and vice president. It means that the most important thing to the way you vote for President is which state you live in and whether or not it is a swing state.

Swing states will decide the election, and if you live in a swing state, you MUST vote for the better of the top 2 candidates. There are too many similarities between Obama and Romney, but there are HUGE differences. Be sure to vote, and vote for Obama.

But for the those who live in the non-swing states (the majority of Americans), voting for either Romney or Obama is throwing your vote away. The only thing that will do is encourage both parties to keep moving towards a semi-fascist corporatocracy. It will NOT influence the election. If you want your vote to do some good, vote for the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein. If enough people do that, the Democrats will realize they need to put people and life ahead of corporations and money if they don't want to become irrelevant.
 
 
+25 # wrknight 2012-10-18 11:55
He is also saying you need to vote against Romney and you need to make your vote count. A vote for anyone other than Obama will discount your vote, and not voting is handing the government to the Republicans on a silver platter.
 
 
+5 # brianf 2012-10-18 16:52
Not quite right. A vote for anyone other than Obama is unwise IF YOU LIVE IN A SWING STATE. That is what Ellsberg said.

Voting for either Obama or Romney in a state where either is sure to win is just wasting your vote. It does no good at all. If the outcome is decided, your vote will not change the outcome. So why not make use of your vote instead of wasting it? Vote for someone better than Obama. But ONLY if you don't live in a swing state.

It's really not that complicated. I don't see why this is so difficult for people to understand.
 
 
+2 # dkonstruction 2012-10-19 07:19
Quoting GDC707:
So, if we all vote for Obama, even if we detest the man, what incentive does he or any other Third Way Neoliberal corporate bootlicker have to work for policies that help we the people?


The same reason that FDR had for pushing the New Deal or that Johnson had for pushing for the Voting Rights Act or that a conservative Supreme Court gave us Brown vs. Board of Education; because there was a mass social/politica l movement demanding it. Change in this country has never come because we elected progressive leaders it has come from organizing, struggle and building a politically powerful mass movement. That is our challenge and that is a very different (and much harder) task then merely trotting out a 3rd party presidential candidate (who has no chance of winning) every 4 years. One is serious politics (and thus hard labor intensive work) and the other is mere spectacle (and provides the illusion of meaningful politics..."a vote of conscience" while at the same time simply denying the real consequences of that kind of phony protest e.g., millions losing extended unemployment benefits or millions of poor and working class women losing insurance coverage for basic reproductive health care).

Not to mention that Ellsberg (nor Chomsky for that matter) never said we should "all" vote for Obama but rather only those of us in swing states.
 
 
0 # bingers 2012-10-20 09:06
Disagreeing with some of his policies doesn't mean we detest him. That's just the fevered brain of an Obama hater blathering.
 
 
-28 # GDC707 2012-10-18 10:10
The answer is that O doesn't have any incentive to help the 99% If we all just continue to vote for him because, as Rahm Emmanuel said "they have nowhere else to go." We are screwed under the Dems and screwed under the R's. Gee, that's a great rallying cry Mr. Ellsberg. The R's are heading for the cliff at 90 miles an hr, and the Dems at 70. So we go over it on Tues instead of Thursday. Big Deal. At least if you vote 3rd Party you are registering your total disgust with the entire 2 party failed (except for the 1%) dictatorship. There is NO reason to believe the Democrats will serve up any enlightened candidates in the future who will work for us, (especially if we continue voting for them) so STOP supporting them. One thing is becoming clear. The disenchantment of Progressives with Obama and the Dems is frightening the party establishment. Im seeing more articles like this pleading with us not to abandon the Dems. Well, good. The Dems have done nothing to deserve our support and are NOT "entitled" to it. Move beyond binary thinking. The 2 parties are laughing at your helpless complicity.
 
 
+10 # Linwood 2012-10-18 12:52
I certainly understand your disillusionment , GDC707, I feel the same way, but I would suggest that the reason the Democrats have disappointed/be trayed us is because they as well as the Republicans, are in hock to the big money interests. It's the fault of the system, not the party.
 
 
+5 # Rain17 2012-10-18 13:49
I'm sorry but I think that Obama has done a great job, given the circumstances. And you may not like the ACA--I wanted the public option--but it is helping people avoid financial ruination from not having insurance. It's hardly a panacea, but it is helping people.

Obama got rid of the gays in the military ban. He also reformed the student loan programs. He also passed some financial reform, although it admittedly wasn't what I wanted. OBL and many Al-Qaeda terrorists are gone.

What else did you honestly expect? He didn't have the votes for much else. I didn't expect him to magically change everything.
 
 
+7 # dkonstruction 2012-10-19 07:25
Saying we didn't expect him to "magically change everything" is very different from saying he has done a "great job" when he (not congress) pushed for such things as the NDAA, including SS "on the table" in the budger deficit negotiations (as John Conyers...an Obama supporter...poi nted out), being complicit/invol ved in the illegal overthrow of the democratically elected president of Honduras or doing all they could to make sure that Aristide's party would not be on the ballot in Haiti (despite the fact the Aristide himself was democratically elected and his party is by far the most popular in Haiti, prosecuting Bradley Manning and Julian Assange; etc. So, "what else did i honestly expect"? I did not expect a supposedly progressive democratic president to push for such policies on his own (these were not things that the rethugs forced on him).

So, it is one thing to say we need to vote for Obama to keep Romney out but it quite another to defend in any way shape or form policies that have been out and out heinous, reactionary and impeachable offenses.
 
 
-2 # bingers 2012-10-20 09:11
First of all, NDAA has the provision that it cannot be applied to citizens and it was nothing more than a continuing policy that congress did indeed write.
 
 
+1 # bingers 2012-10-20 09:09
You may not be aware of it, but the ACA contains 95 Republican amendments, every one of which was for the sole intent of weakening it.
 
 
+2 # wrknight 2012-10-18 14:46
GDC707: You can guarantee the 1% and the rest of the people who drink the Republican Kool-Aid don't share your views and they will vote. So go ahead, vote for Mickey Mouse or your favorite candidate who has no chance of defeating Romney. Or don't bother voting at all. You might as well race for the cliff at 90 mph instead of 70 mph. That way you will get it over with sooner.
 
 
+5 # jky1291 2012-10-18 21:43
As you devoted posters on RSN know, I have been and still am a firm believer that we need a viable 3rd Party presidential candidate to salvage our nation from the challenges we face. But, with 6 - 9 billion dollars being projected to be spent on this election, no non corporate independent 3rd party candidate superior to President Obama was willing to expose themselves to the reprehensible abuse being heaped on the opponents of the multinational corporations' funded U. S. Chamber of Commerce and all the other undisclosed billionaires' phony "educational" Super PAC's. Despite that fact I would have been willing to deny President Obama my vote for his complicity in his corporate acquiescences, and let the chips fall where they may, until Romney's threat to position Paul Ryan a heartbeat away from imposition of the Fourth Reich. I still have reservations about President Obama's ability to substantially overcome corporate control of our total government, but I have no such reservations concerning the total demise of this country descending into apocalyptic civil war resulting from the 1%'s total enslavement of the 99% under a Ryan influenced administration. The destruction of the great state of Wisconsin was just a trial run for the dictatorship of the 1% over the entire world. VOTE FOR OBAMA! or be responsible for the self-fulfilling religious prophesies of Armageddon. A vote for Obama is a vote AGAINST RYAN!
 
 
0 # dkonstruction 2012-10-19 06:46
GDC707, i agree with your take on the dems completely. But to believe that by simply voting for a 3rd party presidential candidate every 4 years that one is less "complicit" than those like Ellsberg or Chomsky that have taken a principled position that while they don't support or endorce Obama believe that a republican victory will be far worse for millions of people is a dangerous illusion.

I have never been a democrat and like you want to see a real alternative. But this takes hard work at the grass roots level to build something and that means it has to happen every day in between elections because otherwise we build nothing and then may feel like we have a "clean conscience" by voting for a 3rd party candidate every 4 years when in fact, as Sartre understood years ago we all have "dirty hands" which in this case is from (possibly) being the cause of a republican victory that would make the lives of millions demonstrably worse (e.g. losing long term unemployment benefits or basic health care coverage for reproductive health care needs). These are not "revolutionary" changes or differences for sure but it is never "revolution or nothing" and our decisions also have to be based on the very real effects that they will have on millions of people. So, if say Romney is elected because of votes for a 3rd party candidate in a swing state which then leads to millions losing unemployment benefits or reproductive health care how is this a vote of "conscience"?
 
 
+5 # brux 2012-10-19 20:28
You can always tell on RSN when someone has struck a nerve.

If there is a comment that gets lots of negative points that is also not just right wing trolling, it is often a truth that a part of the left that cannot understand reality will attack with negative votes.

Your comment that we are screwed under both parties if not right is at least worth considering seriously.
 
 
0 # bingers 2012-10-20 09:13
Quoting brux:
You can always tell on RSN when someone has struck a nerve.

If there is a comment that gets lots of negative points that is also not just right wing trolling, it is often a truth that a part of the left that cannot understand reality will attack with negative votes.

Your comment that we are screwed under both parties if not right is at least worth considering seriously.


Possibly on rare occasion, but as a rule it's because the post is a masterpiece of stupidity or ignorance.
 
 
+3 # brux 2012-10-20 11:55
I disagree with you.

You just fail to worry about or account for Obama's striking continuity in policy with Republicans on most issues, and his failure on other issues that act in ways that will end crises, thus bringing on more debt and more excuses for austerity and cuts in the social safety net.

It is entirely progressive and reasonable to criticize Obama. It's fine to disagree, particularly if you can prove it, but it is not OK to attack the question that is a not a right wing troll attack.

That is the problem with this website.

As I said, right wing trolls who do not further intelligent discussion deserve to be called on it or voted down in most cases, but people who are asking legitimate or sincere questions or comments do not deserve that, and the failure to pursue rigor by the right is not a good excuse for the left to do it as well.
 
 
+3 # bingers 2012-10-20 09:08
Well, if not for bigots and dumb people the republican party would have vanished 30 years ago.
 
 
+15 # alan17b0 2012-10-18 10:19
Mr Ellsberg gets it. Note that he
is writing to waverers(if there are
any), in Florida, Ohio, Virginia,
Penna.

I don't think he sufficiently emphasizes
the duty of those of use in non-battlegroun d states to V O T E
F O R
S O M E O N E
E L S E ! !

Getting rid of the Duopoly will be
a multi-year project. But now is a
good time for those of us in CA, NY,
IL, MA, MD, etc to start.

Best wishes,

Alan McConnell, in Silver Spring, MD
 
 
-4 # Rain17 2012-10-18 13:58
And that's likely to be a fool's errand. The US is not going to become a proportional system anytime soon. I honestly don't see the Greens becoming a viable option because, to be blunt, they lack the organizational capability or seriousness to really become a competitive political party. The other point is that a majority of Americans, especially in the interior of the US, simply does not support the majority of the Green Party agenda.

The Green Party may be a local force in places like parts of Alaska, San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, parts of Montana, parts of Colorado, Boulder, parts of New Mexico, Madison, Ann Arbor, Amherst, Cambridge, and parts of Manhattan. That is, I could see them winning a seat or two in the legislature of these states and maybe a city council or county council position. At the very most, although unlikely, they could perhaps win a House district based in a place San Francisco. But that would require the stars to align perfectly.

Supporting the third party only elects Republicans in most places in the US, save for San Francisco or Greenwich village. That's the brutal truth.
 
 
+8 # brianf 2012-10-18 17:15
You are misunderstand what alan17b0 is saying. He is talking about the presidential election. That is the only election where this strategy makes sense, because of the way the electoral college works. Supporting a third party for President in most of the country will not affect the outcome of the presidential election one bit, because there is uncertainty in only a few swing states. Your arguments would make sense if all states were swing states, but most aren't.

The Green Party could be come a national force if people voted intelligently and voted for what they believe in. A huge number of Democrats are more closely aligned with the positions of the Green party than with those of the current Democratic party. If a fraction of those (in non-swing states) voted their beliefs, the green party could get traction. 5% of the vote = federal funding. 15% = getting into the debates. Then the Democrats would have to either move to the left and win back those votes, or admit they are a centrist party.
 
 
+2 # Rain17 2012-10-18 20:53
Again I think you overestimate the strength of the Green Party. And even if "they voted their beliefs", by voting Green, they would be helping the Republicans.
 
 
+5 # dkonstruction 2012-10-19 07:29
Quoting Rain17:
Again I think you overestimate the strength of the Green Party. And even if "they voted their beliefs", by voting Green, they would be helping the Republicans.


I agree that currently the Greens are not a force and also that given there limited resources that trying to run a national campaign they may never become one...however, what if they began with a targeted campaign say in NY and Cal. I believe if they concentrated their efforts in a couple of key large dem. states that they could become a political force in those states with enough of a vote to have some real leverage. It will take time and the strategy has to be conceived from the very beginning as being for the long haul over several if not many election cycles but there is not reason why this could not be done if people are serious and committed to the hard, labor intensive grass roots work that this requires. if all people want to do is simply trot out a 3rd party presidential candidate every 4 years then they are not serious for this in fact builds nothing and has been shown time and time again can lead to disasteroud results.

So, yes we can build a 3rd party movement in this country but it has to be done thoughtfully and strategically and with alot of hard work from those who are talking about the need for it.
 
 
+1 # brux 2012-10-20 12:02
I will probably vote for Jill Stein in CA which is firmly in the Obama camp as an intended signal that people, me, are fed up and unhappy with the two major parties.

However, this is such a infinitesimal act that it will never be noticed by anyone, even if lots of people do it, and my question or concern would be what makes us think the Greens are any more effective in fighting the Republicans?

The thing is that the world is defined by the network of business, and the greens seem to go at this problem outside of that understanding, so if they came to power, how to they drive a system they do not really understand? How do they not end up just like the Republicans and Democrats?

That is, the Republicans and Democrats and the people who own then are still out there and not going to go away? Those people are the problem, and not even all of them.

In order to have the right leadership we need a plan, and to have a plan we need understanding, and to instill that understanding in the people, meaning we need to the media too.

Over time things just are going to naturally work out to destroy any opposition to the status quo and the idiots at the world today will just get more emboldened to make decisions that ignore most of us.
 
 
+1 # Eduardo3 2012-10-19 21:55
Rain, you are missing the point. It's now about how strong the Green Party is now. It's about helping them to become stronger in the long run. And if they reach that 5% threshold and get federal funding, they can hopefully help change the debate on the fundamental issues of our day, such as climate change and health care. A vote for Jill Stein for President does help the Republicans - but ONLY IF you live in a swing state.
 
 
0 # bingers 2012-10-20 09:15
I'm sorry, I went to hit Positive and accidentally hit negative, so count yourself with 2 more +s
 
 
+7 # Douglas Jack 2012-10-18 10:27
Vote for Obama even though he only barely understands peace. Given Bain-Capital & Romney's investment & present control in eVoting, we won't get another chance.

Next we must restore the Economic Democracy which is the heritage of all humanity's 'indigenous' (Latin 'self-generatin g') heritage worldwide as well as First Nations here in the Americas & the USA. 'Economic' (Greek 'oikos' refers to the multi-home) unity in the proximity & intimacy of multihome dwellings: female & male, intergeneration al, inter-disciplin ary, multiple capacities work together in mutual aid with organization, time-based human-resource accounting & progressive youth to elder representation in the specialized Production Societies is facilitated. Only when we have loving control of a welcoming ecological economy for all will we have control of our politics.
https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/relational-economy/8-economic-democracy
 
 
+8 # James Smith 2012-10-18 10:47
This exactly expresses the things I have been saying before BHO was even elected. He is just another politician and, for the reasons Ellsberg gives, might as well be the hand-picked successor to Bush.

We are still engaged in counter-product ive wars, constitutional rights are still being taken away by the "Patriot" Act and other rulings that are more of the same.

Having said all of that, I agree that Romney/Ryan will be far worse. I personally don;t give the USA many more decades before it splits into several mutually-antago nistic countries. I just hope the one that's a totalitarian theocracy doesn't have nuclear weapons. They would be used as "God's Holy Fire" without a second's hesitation.
 
 
+21 # DaveHOz 2012-10-18 10:51
The sad fact is, there is no viable progressive party currently in the US. We have a conservative party (Democrats) and a fascist party (Republicans). And I'm afraid it will remain that way until -- *somehow* -- we can get big money out of the system.
 
 
+32 # BlueReview 2012-10-18 10:53
So, I'm reading an AlterNet article on Mitt Romney, and I came across this paragraph:

Romney's fellow Mormon, Glenn Beck, the controversial right-wing talk radio host, speculated about a Romney victory at the polls by noting, "I think God is trying to make this so clear to us that, if it happens, it's His finger."

Sooooo . . . if Romney wins, it's God giving us the finger? Never thought I'd agree with Glen Beck!
 
 
+15 # BradFromSalem 2012-10-18 11:10
If that's true, I will become an atheist! So help me G-d.
 
 
+11 # dkonstruction 2012-10-18 11:44
Quoting BlueReview:
So, I'm reading an AlterNet article on Mitt Romney, and I came across this paragraph:

Romney's fellow Mormon, Glenn Beck, the controversial right-wing talk radio host, speculated about a Romney victory at the polls by noting, "I think God is trying to make this so clear to us that, if it happens, it's His finger."

Sooooo . . . if Romney wins, it's God giving us the finger? Never thought I'd agree with Glen Beck!


That means then that the converse is also true right so if Obama wins its God giving the finger to those who claim to be speaking/acting in his/her/its? name....we should hold them to this one and demand they "repent" and abandon their clearly "sinful" ways when Obama is reelected.
 
 
+1 # Eduardo3 2012-10-19 21:57
LOL
 
 
+26 # Vardoz 2012-10-18 10:58
These are the choices we are stuck with and it is clear that Obama is the better choice. Faults and all. Romney, Ryan, Rove are simply dangerous for the American people and they are a threat to our health, safety and welfare - Constantly pandering to the energy companies as we are nose diving into Global warming with no interest in protecting our environment on which all life depends shows you how irresponsible this regime would be and from what I have read non of the oil from the XL pipline will stay here it will all be exported. They lie like they breath and they now ant to hack into the voting machines to make sure they steal the election. The Kock brothers are telling their employees if they vote for Obama they will be fired so you can imagine how much is at stake with this election. It's life or death for us and our nation and planet!!!!
 
 
+15 # MainStreetMentor 2012-10-18 11:06
Maybe we should move to form a Democracy - you know, like our forefathers did ... 'cause what we have now is a kakistorcratic plutocracy, and its' members are buying up our officials as fast as they can write the checks.
 
 
+7 # Glen 2012-10-18 12:16
We are past all that MainStreetMento r. The U.S. has entered an entirely new stage and will never go back to the "good old days" when the population was a hell of lot smaller, corporations did not exist, banks did but were basically under control, and there were not so many states and amazing issues.

A democracy is not meant for such a large population with so many problems. That, of course, does not mean another system must be totalitarian or similar. It could be done, but citizens must realize that change must come.

Our problem is that those who want the control and to take over the government are not interested in a decent governing system.
 
 
+22 # ganymede 2012-10-18 11:09
When are you holier than thou liberal/progres sives going to get off your duffs and realize that America is a flawed, warmongering, kleptocratic 'democracy' and grown-up compromises have to be made if we're going to improve things. Of course Romney/Ryan would be disastrous-more wars, poverty, poor health, etc. Obama with all his faults is the closest we've come since FDR in getting an authentic leader who, in order to stay alive has had to make serious compromoses. Being passive about this election is a guarantee that we will continue to sink into barbarism.
 
 
+10 # BlueReview 2012-10-18 14:10
The problem is, that the GOP "leaders" are not interested in compromise.
 
 
+2 # Jerry 2012-10-18 11:16
For all that don't have to cave to the two party duopoly: ttp://davidswan son.org/node/38 40 There's a Real Debate With Debating in It Next Tuesday / Let's Try Democracy!
 
 
+8 # Shorey13 2012-10-18 11:35
Interesting that no one, no one, either on the National scene, or on these "progressive" comment threads, ever talks about the horrific IMMORALITY of our economic system. If you even pretend to support any of the major religions, you have, as Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, an OBLIGATION to refuse to participate in this evil system. Non-violent civil disobedience, fueled by moral anger, can bring down even the most repressive government.
 
 
0 # Douglas Jack 2012-10-18 13:40
Shorey13, I've proposed the economic road as the only road to give us the power to straighten out politics. Folks tend to try to reinvent ourselves out of the disaster using the same tools which got us into this mess. Economics as presently understood is filled with 'traps' of our own making. We don't need 'reaction' as in non-violent disobedience but 'pro-action' as in organizing our working & buying grouped together in critical mass & investing together. Mohandas Gandhi's 'Satyagraha' (Hindi 'Truth-search') is based in economic 'swaraj' (Hindi 'self-sufficien cy') where working together to achieve essential services is key. Humanity's 'indigenous' (Latin = 'self-generatin g') Economic Democracy is based in multihome housing & the animation of investment & exchange through inclusive integrated values (capital-curren cy-social-secur ity-education-c ommunications etc), time-based accounting of the string-shell for progressive ownership from youth to elder. Exactly the Roman battered Celtic tradition we left in Europe & the First Nation tradition we destroyed here. Back to the future. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/relational-economy/8-economic-democracy
 
 
+2 # dkonstruction 2012-10-19 07:43
Great (and important) comment and contribution Douglas Jack! We need more talk about what we can do with the resources that we have (or should have) available.

When the Black Panthers talked about the lack of decent food for school kids they didn't just bitch about it but rather organized an amazingly successful breakfast program for kids (getting donations from the community). Or when the "complained" about police brutality they didn't just complain but rather organized to have people follow the cops so that there would be witnesses to keep them accountable and stop there abusive practices.

When the unions (in earlier days) faced the lack of affordable housing for their members they built it for them (using their own union funds).

People in Mondagon Spain built the largest, most successful worker-owned cooperative (now a co-operative of co-operatives including their own bank since it has been that successful)that now employs nearly 85,000 people (in the US look at the work of the Democracy Collaborative in Cleveland and how they have built a large worker-owned "green" dry cleaning business that services hospitals and universities).

When people were facing evictions here in the 1930s the communists and IWW organized eviction watches that moved people back into their apartments after they had been evicted.

We have to more than just complain and instead talk about how we can build the alternative institutions we need.
 
 
+8 # WolfTotem 2012-10-18 11:36
OBAMA - BUYING TIME.

ROMNEY - DOING TIME.

An indefinite sentence. They'll be seeking and finding ways of turning 8 years into 88 for their candidates.
 
 
-12 # orwell, by george 2012-10-18 11:53
shocking to see ellsberg endorse the torturer of brad manning, the war criminal obama.
the commenters on commondreams.or g all condemn ellsberg and chomsky on this.
endorse fascism and murder? no way.
not even complicated.
don't vote for murder.
this is apparently a democratic party organ.
 
 
+11 # dkonstruction 2012-10-18 12:39
Quoting orwell, by george:
shocking to see ellsberg endorse the torturer of brad manning, the war criminal obama.
the commenters on commondreams.org all condemn ellsberg and chomsky on this.
endorse fascism and murder? no way.
not even complicated.
don't vote for murder.
this is apparently a democratic party organ.


Ellsberg and Chomsky do not "endorse" Obama which is clear if you read their pieces.

And for so-called progressives/ra dicals/revoluti onaries to condemn two of the most committed activists/intel lectuals who have been fighting the good fight for more than half a century is something to be ashamed and not proud of. Just another example of the "the poverty of theory" to borrow EP Thompson's phrase of so much of the American (so-called) "left"
 
 
+7 # Agis 2012-10-18 12:04
Mr. Ellsberg is suggesting that voters choose the lesser of two evils, provided that they are residents of "swing states." There's merit in this position, but I find myself reminded of the fall of the Soviet Union. It collapsed suddenly, without bloodshed, because the people united around the idea that they would no longer grant legitimacy to the corrupt political party that had governed them so poorly. I'm of the opinion that the only hope for the United States is that the American people unite around the idea that the two-party system is corrupt, and act accordingly. I've come to believe that the Democrat and Republican Parties really do not differ from each other in terms of their collusion with corporate interests. And as long as these parties advance the corporate agenda, the parties will be trying to sell us austerity measures and so-called "free trade" deals that will impoverish Americans and ultimately spell the end of Medicare and Social Security.
 
 
+7 # Billy Bob 2012-10-18 12:21
The trouble with your philosophy is that OUR country could also collapse without destroying the repug party. About 2% of the American voting public will vote for a 3rd party in this election. That's not enough to do anything BUT split the vote of one of the other parties enough to cost the election.
 
 
+4 # Agis 2012-10-18 14:09
What passes for a Democrat these days is more conservative that Republicans were 20 or 30 years ago. This is the inevitable consequence of Americans' choosing the lesser of two evils every four years. By choosing the slightly preferable candidate, Americans are in essence diluting the power of their vote.
 
 
+7 # Billy Bob 2012-10-18 16:34
No. This is what happens when the media is corporate owned. This is also what happens when people don't get active until elections and use their vote to protest one party rather than protesting all along and doing what they need to at the polls.

The left didn't get behind Hubert Humphrey in 1968 because he wasn't left-wing enough. How much did it help to have Nixon in office?

The left refused to get behind Carter in 1980 because he wasn't sufficiently liberal enough. How much did it help to have Reagan in office for the next 8 years.

Maybe you're too young to remember anything before Clinton, but this argument has a long past and splitting the vote of the left has NEVER ended in anything other than right-wingers having unchecked power.
 
 
+9 # dkonstruction 2012-10-18 12:51
Quoting Agis:
Mr. Ellsberg is suggesting that voters choose the lesser of two evils, provided that they are residents of "swing states." There's merit in this position, but I find myself reminded of the fall of the Soviet Union. It collapsed suddenly, without bloodshed, because the people united around the idea that they would no longer grant legitimacy to the corrupt political party that had governed them so poorly. I'm of the opinion that the only hope for the United States is that the American people unite around the idea that the two-party system is corrupt, and act accordingly. I've come to believe that the Democrat and Republican Parties really do not differ from each other in terms of their collusion with corporate interests. And as long as these parties advance the corporate agenda, the parties will be trying to sell us austerity measures and so-called "free trade" deals that will impoverish Americans and ultimately spell the end of Medicare and Social Security.


I would argue that the Soviet Union did not "collapse suddenly" but even if that were true the US is not the Soviet Union and if the US "collapses suddenly" the result is more likely to be fascism so too long for the collapse of the US is suicidal at best.
 
 
+5 # dkonstruction 2012-10-18 13:03
Quoting Agis:
Mr. Ellsberg is suggesting that voters choose the lesser of two evils, provided that they are residents of "swing states." There's merit in this position, but I find myself reminded of the fall of the Soviet Union. It collapsed suddenly, without bloodshed, because the people united around the idea that they would no longer grant legitimacy to the corrupt political party that had governed them so poorly. I'm of the opinion that the only hope for the United States is that the American people unite around the idea that the two-party system is corrupt, and act accordingly. I've come to believe that the Democrat and Republican Parties really do not differ from each other in terms of their collusion with corporate interests. And as long as these parties advance the corporate agenda, the parties will be trying to sell us austerity measures and so-called "free trade" deals that will impoverish Americans and ultimately spell the end of Medicare and Social Security.


so basically the position of the "i won't vote for the lesser of two evils" is: well, if Romney gets elected and he cuts off extended unemployment benefits for millions, fuck 'em; if romney wins and he eliminates the mandate to include basic reproductive health care for women in health insurance policies, fuck 'em"...you may not see it this way but to the folks these benefits that's exactly what you are saying to them.
 
 
+4 # Billy Bob 2012-10-18 16:38
I'd like to add a few things to your excellent reply: It's also saying that if Romney wins and millions lose their Social Security and Medicare, fuck 'em. If we go to war with Iran which costs the lives of more people at home and abroad than Iraq and Afghanistan COMBINED, fuck 'em.

THANK YOU for puting it so perfectly. You've cut through the b.s. and gotten to the heart of the matter. If you don't mind, I'll continue using your argument whenever it helps.

The people who make this argument don't seem to have anything to lose. Perhaps they're all rich. Perhaps they don't love anyone relying on Social Security. Perhaps they wouldn't be affected by a draft to go to war with Iran.

When they say fuck 'em, they're refering to this entire country.
 
 
+2 # dkonstruction 2012-10-19 10:45
Quoting Billy Bob:
I'd like to add a few things to your excellent reply: It's also saying that if Romney wins and millions lose their Social Security and Medicare, fuck 'em. If we go to war with Iran which costs the lives of more people at home and abroad than Iraq and Afghanistan COMBINED, fuck 'em.

THANK YOU for puting it so perfectly. You've cut through the b.s. and gotten to the heart of the matter. If you don't mind, I'll continue using your argument whenever it helps.

The people who make this argument don't seem to have anything to lose. Perhaps they're all rich. Perhaps they don't love anyone relying on Social Security. Perhaps they wouldn't be affected by a draft to go to war with Iran.

When they say fuck 'em, they're refering to this entire country.


thanks for the kind words BB. it never ceases to amaze me how some self-proclaimed progressive/rad icals/revolutio naries what have you talk about "vote your conscience" yet don't seem to consider the very real consequences to the very people whose side the claim to be on. i don't question their motives or commitment but think they are at best "misguided" perhaps because their "benefits" are not at risk i.e., they are not personally facing the loss of unemployment benefits or reproductive health care or if they are they can afford to pay for these things on their own. I do think we need to continue to point out the consequences to real people and show that this is not just some abstraction.
 
 
+2 # Agis 2012-10-18 17:11
You are basically arguing that, "I will oppose anyone who wishes that the U.S. political system gives us a greater number of alternatives than the Democratic and Republican Parties. Even if the Democrats disappoint me in several aspects, I do not want them to be challenged by new political parties that come closer to expressing my values." I respectfully suggest that you are buying propaganda.
 
 
-6 # dkonstruction 2012-10-19 04:29
Quoting Agis:
You are basically arguing that, "I will oppose anyone who wishes that the U.S. political system gives us a greater number of alternatives than the Democratic and Republican Parties. Even if the Democrats disappoint me in several aspects, I do not want them to be challenged by new political parties that come closer to expressing my values." I respectfully suggest that you are buying propaganda.


Simply not true Agis. First, since i am in NY i will be voting for the Green party however if i were in a "swing state" i would hold my nose, get stinking drunk, and go vote for the dems. So, i have not bought any "propaganda." I have been anti-capitalist since the day i was born and believe in building an broad and powerful social movement in this country but to believe that simply trotting out a 3rd party presidential candidate every 4 years and believing this is serious alternative, radical or revolutionary politics well this is simply an illusion and in its own way another form of (false) propaganda.

Real people's lives are at stake during this election and whether we like it or not the reality is that either Obama or Romney is going to win. Our work to build a 3rd party happens the day after the election and then every day leading up to the next one otherwise its just BS and the kind of psuedo radicalism that is very dangerous for, as it did in Germany in 1933 it can lead to something far, far worse.
 
 
+10 # Glen 2012-10-18 13:32
Agis, the Soviet Union did not fall of its own weight or anything close. That Fall was assisted by the U.S. The citizens of the Union certainly were averse to what had happened relative to Afghanistan and all else, but the fall came with a nasty push by the U.S. in suckering the Union into going into Afghanistan then proceeding to arm and fund every animal on two legs in that country. In the meantime, everything was done to tear down the monetary system in the Soviet Union.

The U.S. could easily be subject to the same machinations on the part of another country. Globalization will come back to bite.
 
 
+5 # David Heizer 2012-10-18 16:23
Quoting Glen:
Agis, the Soviet Union did not fall of its own weight or anything close. That Fall was assisted by the U.S. The citizens of the Union certainly were averse to what had happened relative to Afghanistan and all else, but the fall came with a nasty push by the U.S. in suckering the Union into going into Afghanistan then proceeding to arm and fund every animal on two legs in that country. In the meantime, everything was done to tear down the monetary system in the Soviet Union.

Not to mention a ruinous arms race.
 
 
+1 # shraeve 2012-10-20 09:13
I tend to agree with you. It is sad, and a sign of Russia's political degeneration, that Nikita Khrushchev is now maligned in Russia and Stalin is regarded as a hero.

Both Khrushchev and Eisenhower saw war first-hand and realized there was nothing glorious or admirable in it. They were both former warriors who wanted peace. They wanted to end the arms race with a summit conference in 1960. But a U-2 spy plane was shot down on May Day, requiring Khrushchev to denounce the US and Eisenhower to try to deny the spy mission, thus dooming the summit.

Did Ike personally order the spy mission? Or was it something the CIA planned, knowing the USSR had the capability to shoot down the plane? If it was the latter, then the CIA effectively sabotaged the summit meeting and kept the cold war going for another 30 years.

Coincidences do happen, but this one was awfully convenient for those people who wanted to continue the cold war.
 
 
+5 # Billy Bob 2012-10-18 16:41
The total privatization of the social safety net could have much the same effect, even though it would be instigated by internal conservative forces who were able to seize an innordinate amount of power, due to liberal wishy-washy holding out for perfection.
 
 
+16 # Art947 2012-10-18 12:08
What many people forget if that when Obama was elected, he didn't say that he would make all the changes that we wanted. He actually alluded to the fact that change is hard work and if you want change then you need to fight for it! To many people thought and acted as if their job to create a better society ended when Mr. Obama was elected. We didn't do the hard work of making sure that our representatives voted for the issues that we considered important. One reminder of this was the lack of participation of those who "cared" in the 22010 election. By throwing up their hands and saying "so what?" they permitted a group, hell-bent on destruction of all that we deemed valuable, to gain power and move us further away from the society that we crave.

GET OFF YOUR BUTTS and make sure that Romney/Ryan don't get elected and move us even further away from an American society based on repect for one another, and one in which we believe that everyone deserves a "hand-up" to advance themselves. This should NOT be a "what's in it for me" society.
 
 
+7 # Rain17 2012-10-18 14:08
Here is the other problem. The right wing has spent decades advancing their viewpoints through direct mail, talk radio, think tanks, Fox News, and aggressive PR. While the left was sleeping the right-wing create the apparatus that continues to benefit them today. At the drop of a hat there are "experts" who can appear on a TV news show to advance conservative viewpoints. Think tanks like the Heritage Foundation are out there 24/7, 365 days a weeks advancing conservative "studies" and "viewpoints" to influence policymakers.

Although progressives are starting to catch up with the Center for American Progress, Current TV, and MSNBC, they still have a long way to go. Republicans may lose elections, but their messaging machine never stops. It is always out there advancing right-wing policy views to the point where many liberals accept conservative assumptions without question. And their messaging machine inevitably influences pundits and non-Fox media outlets' coverage of various issues.

We got here through the last three-four decades of the conservatives dominating the messaging war. They know how to get their position out in simple words and phrases most Americans understand, while liberals take paragraphs to explain their viewpoints. There needs to be better messaging and better organization. That means having messages that ordinary people can understand and organizing with the discipline of a sleek corporation.
 
 
+4 # Billy Bob 2012-10-18 16:42
You're absolutely right. This is where people like George Lakoff come in.
 
 
+5 # Rain17 2012-10-18 20:52
It's not even that. It's about being adept at marketing and operating like a well-discipline d, oiled corporation.
 
 
0 # bingers 2012-10-20 09:21
AMEN!
 
 
+2 # jlstiles 2012-10-20 10:53
This kind of comment makes me sick because it is BS and also mimed from the democratic talking point machine. Obama has not tried to help at all. Every chance he has gotten of his own accord he has kicked progressives in the nads--NDAA, Monsanto, Wars, drones, free trade agreements, privatizing education, even his corporate health plan. We have been protesting and sending letters but he has squashed all dissent more cruelly than GWB. Congress has a 10% approval rating. Are these not clear enough signs for the man to do what is right instead of the above. I mean if those signs don't tell the story we will have to march en masse, a million of us to the white house, and tear it down brick by brick before this cowardly puppet Obama does anything.
 
 
+12 # Susan1989 2012-10-18 12:15
This drama will.play itself out until our country as we know it stands or falls. The world is in transition--hum anity is struggling to evolve--let's hope the kinder choices will be made.
 
 
+8 # orwell, by george 2012-10-18 13:17
americans are inured to the murder of foreigners and the use of soldiers as cannonfodder for corrupt power.
deeply sick
 
 
0 # dkonstruction 2012-10-19 05:12
I am not "inured" Orwell, and to even suggest so is not only wrong but deeply offensive. i have been anti-capitalist my whole life. i have never been a democrat or a liberal or a progressive. I believe that, in the end, the only answer is an end to capitalism on a global scale. but, i have no illusions that this will happen today, tomorrow or next week and so in the mean time, while we are trying to build such an anti-capitalist movement we have to live in the real world and face the real consequences.

So, are you saying that if Romney wins it doesn't matter that millions will lose their unemployment benefits or that millions of women may lose insurance coverage for basic reproductive health care? These may not be "revolutionary" but if we supposed care about the plight of "the masses" well here it is. This is reality. So, by saying that everyone should vote 3rd party (instead of just those of us like myself that are in "safe states" like NY) you are in fact saying that it doesn't matter that millions will lose benefits or insurance coverage. This hardly seems "revolutionary" to me. It just seems calous. I don't question your motives or your commitment to real change. I applaud it and i'm with ya. But, the question is how do we get there and believing that simply voting 3rd party will get us there is a dangerous illusion that has the potential to hurt millions.
 
 
+5 # James Smith 2012-10-19 06:00
What do you recommend to replace capitalism. I agree that unregulated capitalism can be destructive but what do you think would be better?

Regulated capitalism may not be perfect (what system is?) but it's better than anything else. If you would like a more socialist approach. take a look at places like Sweden or Denmark, where the socialist features are powered by regulated capitalism.
 
 
0 # dkonstruction 2012-10-19 10:53
James, thanks for the thoughtful question and comment. This is a longer discussion but the short answer would be a system (whatever one chooses to call it) that is not based on wage labor (which i take to be one of the main pillars of "capitalism" and the root of its being inherently exploitative) and an economy that is not based on profit but rather one based on meeting everyone's basic needs and then wants (i.e., i don't think we don't all have to live as paupers...as my mom once put it "she was in the revolution so we all got bloomingdales and not so we all got JC Penney). Therefore, i also think it has to be a system based on the notion of "the commons" which means that natural and other resources that we all need and depend on for our survival and well being should be "owned" commonly and not privately and administered to maximize profit. Not saying that this will happen tomorrow or next week or will ever be easy but i believe this is the goal...for now, i would certainly take a scandanavian style social democracy over what we have here in the US as this too would be a great leap forward.
 
 
+1 # shraeve 2012-10-20 09:22
Orwell is right about that. It is a deplorable fact that most Americans don't care about the murder of people in developing countries. Think of all the many thousands of Iraqis murdered just to get our hands on Iraqi oil. Or the 24,000 Libyans killed (proportional to 1.2 million Americans) in the NATO imperialist oil grab.

Most Americans don't even care about all the American military people killed in our middle-east wars. They just say it is other people's kids coming home in body bags.
 
 
0 # bingers 2012-10-20 09:23
There's nothing wrong with capitalism that strict regulation doesn't make work, but relaxing regulation on corporations always leads to the eventual collapse of the capitalistic system.
 
 
+6 # seniorcitizen 2012-10-18 13:26
Good article. The idea of Romney in the white house is terrifying. It will be like putting the fox in the hen house. He will have all the wealthy businessmen not paying any taxes and at the same time, in charge of creating jobs for Americans.They can pocket that money, just like they have been doing and send the jobs elsewhere, where labor is cheap. This is not the way America was intended to be and it is not the way America can grow or hope to be free anymore. To put business in charge of our democracy is a far right reach to control the money in America. We will have a power struggle that will cripple the majority of the nation, in addition to giving a few who control the money, the control over everything. Then America will no longer be a free nation. It is terrifying to think of that scenario. The Obama presidency has not been ideal, nor would I vote for him if there were a better choice, for the reasons stated in the above article. There have been good changes made under Obama, such as the AHCA and his fight to protect the rights of women and his ongoing battle with the Republicans who want to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. If we can get the T-party swept out of Congress,the president can get the jobs bills passed that he is proposing. I like the green energy plan that Obama has and his plans for increasing trade with other nations. We have a ways to go, but we can get there better with Obama and a saner Congress.
 
 
+10 # Billy Bob 2012-10-18 16:44
A saner Congress, which will require voters sane enough to keep Repugs from seizing control of this country. Thank you for puting it so well.
 
 
+5 # seeuingoa 2012-10-18 13:29
If Obama wins we will have four more years with kill list, tar sand pipeline
and indefinite detention.

If Romney wins we will have the same
aggravated, plus extra Hell from all
other issues.

Good for America in the long run!

The Americans are so complacent that
they don´t act if Hell is not there,
so let us go to Hell as soon as possible
so we can have a revolution that changes
our way of thinking.
 
 
+10 # David Heizer 2012-10-18 16:30
Easy to sanguinely advocate, until one reflects upon what it is like to go through an actual revolution. You think this is bad?

Also, full-scale revolutions invariably turn bad; bad actors always manage to seize power from the idealists. And we have nukes.

Be careful what you wish for.
 
 
+10 # Billy Bob 2012-10-18 16:47
If Romney wins what will you say to the million who will die in the NEW IRAN WAR?

If Romney wins, what will you say to the millions who will lose their Social Security?

If Romney wins what will you say to the millions who will no longer be able to borrow money for college?

dkonstruction put it pretty clearly...

You're saying, "fuck 'em".
 
 
+7 # brianf 2012-10-18 17:20
That's what people were saying when Cheney and Bush were running. Things did get much worse, but people didn't learn their lesson. Some people did, but only temporarily. So, not good in the short run or long run.
 
 
+4 # dkonstruction 2012-10-19 05:06
This was the same position taken by the German Communist Party in 1933 when they said (based on their doctrine of "social fascism" better fascism than social democracy and so they refused to enter into an alliance with the socialists (the socialist too have some responsibility here) and the result was Hitler winning the election with a minority of the vote (he only got a slightly under 40% which means together the left still had 60% of the vote but because it was split hitler and the nazis won. This was a dangerously wrongheaded strategy then and it so today. We have to learn from history and not repeat our own mistakes. Voting for Obama, as Ellsberg so clearly states, does not mean we support or endorse him but rather that we understand that for millions of real people a Romney victory would mean their lives would be much, much worse.

Yes, we need a revolution but that does not magically appear when things get so bad (hell). Sadly, it just doesn't work that way.

We have to build the movement but that happens in between elections and not by just voting 3rd party every 4 years.
 
 
+1 # shraeve 2012-10-20 09:42
Sorry, dkonstruction, but you have your history wrong. Hitler did not come to power through an election. In the 1932 election the Nazi Party lost seats in the legislature. Their vote fell from 37% to 32%. Hitler came to power through a series of behind-the-scen es maneuvers by several major players (Papen, Schleicher, and Hindenburg's son, Oskar) who thought they could control and use the Nazis.
 
 
+1 # cherylpetro 2012-10-18 13:30
I dearly love Daniel Ellsberg, and even named my son after him, BUT he is wrong about Pres. Obama being for Wall Street! HE IS FOR ALL AMERICANS! He wants us to do well, and wants our country to prosper! If Mr. Ellsberg tells us to use this as a strategy to defeat the Republicans, perhaps what Daniel is missing is that Pres. Obama uses that same strategy too! Obama is a "keep your enemies closer" kind of guy! It doesn't work to alienate the other side, but have them on friendly enough terms to work with him. People think he is supposed to come out with guns blazing at all times, but that is not the intellectual, cooler heads must prevail attitude, that Obama most often displays! That cool attitude wins more often than running roughshod over people! Also, you can't win at poker, by showing your bluff! Come on, Daniel, you don't always have to be the renegade, cut the man some slack, have some trust, and understand he has a plan that works best for America!
 
 
+6 # David Heizer 2012-10-18 16:33
His problem is that he really doesn't understand economics, so he hired "the experts" - i.e., the scoundrels who created this mess - to continue to run things. Naturally, the banks' needs get met first.
 
 
+4 # dkonstruction 2012-10-19 07:52
cherypetro, with all due respect there was no need to "keep" people like larry summers or tim geithner "close". Before the election candidate Obama's chief economic advisors were Robert Reich and Joseph Stiglitz but when he was elected he abandoned these progressive economists and instead put his "faith" in the very same forces that got us into this mess. As for "alienating the other side" this was the side that said from day one that there only job was to see obama got nothing and was a one term president. We don't need that kind of "bi-partisandsh ip" what we need is true progressive leadership that can speak to the vast majority of americans (that are either working class or poor) and show them why it is not in their interest to support either the republicans or the "new democrats" (like Clinton who deregulated the financial system, "ended welfare as we know it", and aided in the attack of american workers through free trade agreements such as NAFTA). I don't want "cool heads" i want passionate leadership that says it is criminal for 50% of the country to be in poverty or near poverty, to bail out banks but not homeowners.

The conservatives are waging war against the working class and poor in this country. You don't win such a war by telling people to "keep cool" and calling for more bi-partisanship .
 
 
+4 # Rain17 2012-10-18 13:45
The bottom line is that the US is a winner-take-all system, not a proportional system. In countries like Israel, which operate proportional systems, even minor fringe parties can win a seat or two in the Knesset if they poll around 3% of the vote. In the United States third parties get nothing.

If these people didn't learn their lesson from 2000, nothing will convince them this go-round. If they were willing to march off the cliff in 2000, and the previous eight years didn't teach them anything, nothing will convince them now.

I will never forgive the wealthy celebrities and other activists who pushed for Nader in 2000. They had nothing to lose and could afford the luxury of throwing their votes away on a candidate who had no realistic chance of winning. They were not going to suffer the consequences.

Given the challenges of the last four year, while I agree that Obama has disappointed me in the area of healthcare, I think he has done the best job that anyone could given the circumstances. The votes were just not there for anything more "progressive".
 
 
+10 # nightwolfboy 2012-10-18 14:08
I was honored to be arrested with Daniel Ellsberg at a Pentagon anti-nuke protest in 1980. You would be surprised how "excitable" people in the Pentagon get when Daniel is involved. I think he has this election pegged correctly. If we put this plutocrat Romney into the catbird seat it will set in motion historical forces we have not seen the likes of since the Industrial Revolution. The tumult this super-rich robot will cause is immeasurable. No matter what beef you might have with Obama we need to keep him in.
 
 
+5 # Tom Camfield 2012-10-18 14:45
As for the war-related complaints about Obama, I think he's quite efficiently handled the war he was stuck with. I firmly support the use, when possible, of drone aircraft and special forces in lieu of heavy bombing, missiles, putting ground troops in harm's way.

I also agree 100% that Romney would be an absolute disaster, even after he makes up his mind which way he's going to jump. At the moment, he's like the character in literature who leapt onto his horse and rode off in all directions.
 
 
+1 # dkonstruction 2012-10-19 07:56
He was not "stuck" with overthrowing the democratically elected president of honduras in an illegal coup nor working to prevent Aristide's party from even getting on the ballot in Haits (despite the fact that Aristide was democratically elected and his party is by far the most popular in Haiti.

And, if you support "drone warfare" against individuals that we consider "enemies" or "threats" in countries that have not attacked us or even threatened to attack us then you also could not oppose the use of "drone warfare" in this country by another country to go after individuals in this country that they consider "enemies" or "threats". this is the logic and danger of such a position (even aside from the moral questions).

So, for example, why would it not be OK for Assad to use drones in the US to go after members of the "free syrian army" that he considers to be "enemies" and a "threat"? Or is it just ok for the US to do this?
 
 
+7 # hoodwinkednomore 2012-10-18 15:37
All I have to say is that we are in a terrible predicament. It is precisely b/c our hopes were so high with the election of Obama...the change was a comin' OR we thought it was comin.' The last four years have been hard to take: (more) years of war, record deportations, obscene bank bailouts, no indictments there, nor for the purveyors of barbaric torture...etc, etc, not to mention dismsal energy policies, and completely zero attention towards such cataclysmic things like GLOBAL WARMING. Yet, we still (hopefully) can think with our heads. In othr words, we'd be completely foolish to not vote for Obama/Biden. The only alternative would be a green light for Lyin' Ryan and his scary counterpart who would just completely relish the opportunity to drain the last drop of life blood out of our working class, wehile draining the last drop of oil out of our already highly compromised planet (which may, in fact, be shifting and imploding d/t the empty spaces left after all the drilling, etc. So we absolutely need to vote this one. And we need to vote for Democrats at every turn hereafter. We need to get Citizens United overturned. We need to support 99%Rise, and get our collective behinds out and into the streets whenever possible!!
 
 
+3 # hoodwinkednomore 2012-10-18 15:41
Lyin' Ryan and his lunatic Sugar Daddy...
 
 
+3 # brianf 2012-10-18 17:21
Google "lying for the lord" if you want to see why lying comes so easily to Romney.
 
 
0 # Jeremy 2012-10-18 16:00
As much as I hate the Republican party, I actually feel that some of this "we have to stop the Republicans or the world will end!" stuff is really pretty grand hyperbole. No doubt, they will not govern well, as they have shown over the last several decades. Yet, through Reagan and two George Bushes, Roe v. Wade continued to. The country has not descended into Gotham City-like chaos. No doubt I dislike most of Romney and Ryan's policy proposals, but the fact is that, as with any president's, not all of them would pass, and in fact the issues on which Republicans tend to be most successful are are the ones on which Democrats and Republicans agree the most, so there really -wouldn't- be that much difference.

What I fear more is the Democrats taking us for granted, as they have for quite some time. They have been trending further rightward for decades. The Tea Party has created such a hardline Republican party by making actual, credible threats: "if you don't stick up for us, we'll nominate someone who will or stay home." The left's response, apparently, is just to say that the other guy is worse and write some Big Bird memes.
 
 
-1 # Jeremy 2012-10-18 16:01
(Continuing from my previous post, due to word limitations): The Democrats will only halt their shift to the right if the left finally pulls away from them, even if that means some lost elections, and yes, a few more Republicans in office. Our country will survive the next president, whoever it ends up being. It may not survive, in the longer haul, of the shift of both parties to the right isn't finally stopped.
 
 
+5 # David Heizer 2012-10-18 16:51
Quoting Jeremy:
The Democrats will only halt their shift to the right if the left finally pulls away from them, even if that means some lost elections, and yes, a few more Republicans in office.

A lot of people on both sides of this issue don't seem to grasp the essential difference between abandoning the Democratic Party (via party membership) and yet not throwing the election to the wolves (via voting). We can heartily encourage mass defection from the Democratic Party while still advocating "strategic voting" until such time as a serious rival third party emerges.

Everyone concerned with this topic really should read up on how the election of Lincoln was only possible AFTER the mass defection of the Whigs to the brand-new Republican Party. Stop fantasizing about all the registered Democrats deciding to vote third-party (won't happen), and start figuring out how to get them to actually switch to a new party!
 
 
+3 # brianf 2012-10-18 17:30
I fully agree. However, I think we can have the same effect without losing elections. That is what Ellsberg is talking about.

There are only a few swing states. In those states, everyone who thinks Obama is even a little better than Romney should vote for him. That way he wins.

In most other states, either Romney or Obama has big lead. If Obama wins a state by a little less, it has no effect on who gets elected. If Romney wins by a little more, it has no effect on who gets elected. If people in all of those states start shifting towards a more liberal candidate, like Jill Stein, it won't affect the outcome of the election either. But you can be sure it will affect the way politicians think. Democrats will quickly stop taking us for granted and will listen more when we speak up. That would be a HUGE win.
 
 
+1 # jky1291 2012-10-18 22:08
As you devoted posters on RSN know, I have been and still am a firm believer that we need a viable 3rd Party presidential candidate to salvage our nation from the challenges we face. But, with 6 - 9 billion dollars being projected to be spent on this election, no non corporate independent 3rd party candidate superior to President Obama was willing to expose themselves to the reprehensible abuse being heaped on the opponents of the multinational corporations' funded U. S. Chamber of Commerce and all the other undisclosed billionaires' phony "educational" Super PAC's. Despite that fact I would have been willing to deny President Obama my vote for his complicity in his corporate acquiescences, and let the chips fall where they may, until Romney's threat to position Paul Ryan a heartbeat away from imposition of the Fourth Reich. I still have reservations about President Obama's ability to substantially overcome corporate control of our total government, but I have no such reservations concerning the total demise of this country descending into apocalyptic civil war resulting from the 1%'s total enslavement of the 99% under a Ryan influenced administration. The destruction of the great state of Wisconsin was just a trial run for the dictatorship of the 1% over the entire world. VOTE FOR OBAMA! or be responsible for the self-fulfilling religious prophesies of Armageddon. A vote for Obama is a vote AGAINST RYAN!
 
 
+1 # dkonstruction 2012-10-19 05:01
Jeremy, I suspect we agree in our critique of the dems and you are right it may be hyperbolic to say that the "world will end" if the repubs win (then again maybe not given what Romney might do in Iran or not do on climate change but that's another discussion). But, for the millions that now depend on extended unemployment benefits (which the repubs want to cut off) or to the millions of poor and working class women that depend on their reproductive health care needs being covered by insurance, it matters whether we get Romney or Obama (and a dem. vs. a repub. congress). Is it "the revolution"? of course not. As Ellsberg stated, quoting Gore Vidal, we do have one party with two wings but to millions of real people in their real daily lives there are clearly differences that matter. I agree we need an alternative and that's why "the left" has to work to build one but simply trotting out a 3rd party presidential candidate every 4 years in fact builds nothing and so this is not serious politics. It is merely an illusuion and spectacle when what we need is so much more. So, will our country "survive" the next president? Sure. But the question is what will the "misery index" be for them. For millions (perhaps tens if not hundreds of millions) the "misery index" will be far worse under Romney and the repubs than under the dems. Just ask any of those millions that are dependent upon assistance that the repubs now want to take away.
 
 
0 # bingers 2012-10-20 09:39
We very well may not survive if the Rs control both houses and the WH. That isn't hyperbole.
 
 
0 # Artemis 2012-10-18 16:06
Besides agreeing with Ellsberg that Romney is horribly dangerous, what does anyone say about the people who are around Obama, advising him? Does he really believe in the American supremacist-imp erialist story? There must be advisors and 'experts' exerting huge pressure on him all the time. Who are they and who is the real Obama? Hillary Clinton is another strange character in all of this. If you want to see how very cosy the siamese twins are, take a look at this Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars discussion with Efraim Halevy, former director of Mossad, with former State Department Senior Advisor for Arab-Israeli Negotiations Aaron David Miller. Introduction by Jane Harman CEO of the Center, who speaks of "we", meaning Israel and the USA in a way that echoes Efraim Halvey's vision of the world. These are the people forming America's policies! Halvey may be right when he assesses Iran's threat, but his perspective on the way the world should work is extremely disturbing, the colonialist mentality and condescension are breathtaking, besides the obvious similarities between what he disallows in other countries and what Israel does:
http://www.c-span.org/History/Events/Former-Mossad-Director-Details-Events-in-the-Middle-East/10737435103/
It is worth watching.
 
 
0 # dkonstruction 2012-10-19 06:49
Artemis, i agree with your take on Obama and the dems as i think it is clear that Ellsberg does as well. But, how does this address what he is saying about the need to vote for Obama if you are in a swing state?
 
 
+6 # angelfish 2012-10-18 16:24
President? Boss? President? Boss? I'll opt for the President! Never, EVER vote ReTHUGlican!
 
 
+4 # treadsoftly 2012-10-18 18:16
Re: Mr. Ellsberg's plea: May I suggest that in consideration of his proposal, we should also consider the impact of progressive votes in so-called "blue" states being used as a message to the Democratic Party. As Mr. Nadar's campaign in 2000 showed -- a vote ANYWHERE to "send a message" means that worst candidate wins, because it splits the left. Perhaps those in "red" states lose nothing by casting a protest vote -- but a significant number of protest votes in "blue" states could change the Electoral vote in that state to red. All poll numbers showing the leaning of the various states are estimates.

I understand and share the desire the protest, but this election is too important. As WolfTotem alluded to previously, stating that the Republicans would "be seeking and finding ways of turning 8 years into 88 for their candidates."

To alter our form of governace from a republic to a "true" democracy would require significant constitutional changes that are unlikely to pass within the lifetimes of any reading this. To effect change in the near term, we must work within the framework that we have, and that means participation and activism.

Do not sit out this election. Yet, please don't run the risk of hurting yourself or the rest of the 99% by a protest vote if you are in a "blue" state.
 
 
+2 # cafetomo 2012-10-19 00:29
I voted once.

But when the pellet doesn't appear, the rat stops pressing the lever. We're hardly different, that way.

Walt Kellys' Pogo was well known to have said; "We have met the enemy and he is us", as yet another of his characters swore to go out and vote against every politician in sight. It seems we have seen little more than a bit of musical chairs, since those post Kennedy years.

Still, I wager we might inform the frog that his pot has begun to boil.

Once more unto the breach dear friends, as we possibly stop explaining how wrong the internets are, long enough to vote against one of the two weevils. On faith that it makes flippin' rats' patoot on the scale of difference. Just don't think you can return to tweeting your twits, while things change for you. Not to put too fine a point on it, but we most likely deserve the government we get. Especially as we generally confuse it with the cheer leadership that is assigned to spin it to us. What one has to do with the other, besides less and less these days, I'll be stuffed if I know. But as usual, it seems largely between bread or circuses. We should perhaps wax nostalgic over ancient Rome, when we were afforded both.
 
 
0 # indian weaver 2012-10-19 04:49
This is by far the best justification I've read to vote for the lesser of 2 evils. I've been committed to vote for Rocky Anderson for a long time but now, considering the above, will most likely go for the loser liar coward obama. Incredibly, the other choice is much more horrible. That's how bad it is.
 
 
+2 # haroldburbank 2012-10-19 05:09
must disagree with dan. i am a human rights lawyer. i have sifted through publicly available evidence of obama's crimes and person. one need not be a 9-11 truther, a birther, a tea party member, an oathkeeper, a ron paul voter, or a jill stein idealist to see that obama is, in a word, evil; biblically evil; a man who encourages, cooperates with, otherwise employs evil. from days as a young child and politically aware young man i was taught to never knowingly support evil regardless of practical outcomes, including loss of life, because in the end, one loses one's soul. i still believe that.

i have been taught that by clients as well. i represent israeli military dissident scientist roy tov (see his 2 books, The Cross of Bethlehem, and The Cross of Bethlehem 2), who like dissident israeli nuclear weapons worker mordechai vanunu, became so outraged by israeli military policy that he converted from judaism to chirstianity and began his current life threatening war critic career. he has fled mossad across the world, now lives in daily fear at poverty levels in bolivia, where he credits survival to God alone, and warns the
world to do likewise, having spent decades in the belly of the beast, knowing and at one time building what it plans for us all.

failing to confront evil in all forms risks the soul. i think thoreau understood that.
 
 
-3 # dkonstruction 2012-10-19 06:01
Harold, i respect your pricipled position (as well as the work that you do) but i don't understand how voting for a 3rd party candidate (who has no chance of winning) in a swing state does anything other than potentially bringing about a Romney/Ryan victory? I agree with you take on Obama completely (as i think Ellsberg does) but, again, even if we agree that both are evil, one would, for example, end extended unemployment benefits for millions while the other would not; one would potentially take away basic reproductive health care from millions of poor and working class women and the other would not. As, i have said in other posts, these are far from "revolutionary" differences but nonetheless they will have dramatic effects on millions of people. I agree we need to build and alternative political movement in this country but that is not the same as simply voting for a 3rd party presidential candidate every 4 years. I do not believe that i or anyone else is "risking their sole" by saying that we agree that both are evil but right now this is the choice sad as it is and as "lame" as the differences may be they are nonetheless real with real consequences for millions and so in some ways this is a vote of "conscience" every bit as much as a vote for a 3d party is (i will be voting for the Green Party but only because i am in NY which is a safe state).
 
 
+3 # haroldburbank 2012-10-19 06:51
when evil is imbued in government as it is in the usa today i simply defy it, as did our founders. i do not approach this level of evil as a political problem, but a spiritual one, as did Jesus, for example; the greatest example in my view.
Jesus did not compromise with evil. can you imagine him voting for obama?

THAT is how bad our government is. i believe that there is no political answer to it, not even a protest vote, but since that option is offered, it is the only right option for me. i think there is no compelling argument that electing obama will change a thing for anyone, anywhere, ever. he is now arresting and detaining dissident usa ciitzens without charge and committing them to mental hospitals. see the so called facebook case of former marine dan raub. this is russian style fascism pure and simple.

dan is a friend. i love dan, and respect him greatly. but he is just wrong about this, for spiritual and and political reasons, as far as i am concerned. if you study ghandi, i think this is pretty clear, from the pol-spiritual perspective i am discussing.
 
 
+2 # Eduardo3 2012-10-19 22:44
Okay, so re-electing Obama won't "change" anything. But electing Romney sure as hell will. Obama may be evil but Romney is clearly more so,. He will continue all of the policies you decry, and institute many worse ones. He is likely to lead this country into another war in the Middle East. On day one, he's said he will repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, taking away many people's access to health insurance, which will result in more people dying. And then there's climate change. That is a moral issue if ever there was one, and although the President has not done nearly enough, at least he recognizes it's a problems and wants to invest in green energy. Romney will completely ignore the issue of climate change, leading to untold destruction. And then there's all the other, economic evils that a Romney-Ryan administration would undoubtedly perpetrate. We definitely have a choice between a lesser and a greater evil. I'll pick less evil in the world, thank you very much.
 
 
0 # dkonstruction 2012-10-19 06:06
If we are "serious" about this why are we not putting all of our efforts into getting a big a 3rd party turnout as possible in say NY and Cal. and then build from there? Isn't this the way to build a viable 3rd party alternative in this country instead of spreading our already strained resources (and far too few people) across 50 states with the result being that we go nowhere instead of concentrating all of our efforts on a genuine door-to-door grass roots efforts in a couple of key states and starting this the day after the election and working every day for the next 4 years to build something? Isn't this the real alternative.... otherwise, we will always be in the same position and 4 years from now with no real 3rd party organization or movement we will yet again trot out a candidate that has no chance? And, shouldn't we be starting at the local level and working our way up (i.e., shouldn't we be taking over school boards and local city councils and mayors and state representatives etc., isn't that how you build a real political movement?
 
 
+5 # haroldburbank 2012-10-19 07:00
it is surely worth trying to build 3rd parties. this is the most practical long term alternative to current usa politics. but i have been at it all my adult life without much success, so history is not yet on the side of a usa 3rd party. perhaps it will never be, the elite are so powerfully against it here. but this does argue for voting for some small measure of security dan argues the DEMs offer, by giving up liberties taken by those same DEMs. this was warned against by ben franklin - 'those seeking security at the expense of liberty deserve neither security nor liberty' - since it is a devil's bargain. frankly (no pun intended) i am beginning to see it literally so.
 
 
0 # dkonstruction 2012-10-19 11:09
Harold, i agree completely with your take on Obama and the dems. And, your arguments are thoughtful and principled. Being in NY, I will vote for the Green Party (though i have many problems with them as well) but if i were in, say, Ohio i wouldn't for many reasons but for now i will talk about just two: if the repubs win the WH both houses of congress they may well end extended unemployment benefits for millions as well as do away with requiring health insurance companies to cover basic reproductive health care for women. As "miniscule" as these may be in the grand scheme of things, and they certainly do not begin to address the the impeachable offenses of the current administration that Ellsberg talks about; do we not at the same time as we are working to build a real political alternative also have a responsibility to do what we can to protect whatever "gains" people have won in the past (again, as poor as these may be) and recognize the increased misery to millions should the repubs win it all.

Again, i agree with you completely about the dems and think that we need to be relentless in our criticism/criti que but i also think that our decision needs to be based on the very real effect for millions should the repubs win it all. and, here i simply don't think or accept the idea that there is no difference at all or that we are supporting or endorcing evil by trying to keep the repubs out.
 
 
+2 # jlstiles 2012-10-20 10:45
The decision to go third party is for the millions. Perpetuating this sham by voting for a lessor of evils is more detrimental because it will affirm the lessor of evils to continue its BS. The next election will therefore be worse with both parties shifted even further to the right and we will face this question again, this time with more people suffering than before.
 
 
0 # indian weaver 2012-10-19 12:32
Even with a 3rd party, our government cannot change due to being bought by big money, and ruled by it from now on. tahe depth and breadth of corruption and the institutionaliz ed totalitarian state is far advanced, and irreversible. The only chance we have, and it's not very likely to happen, is that we morph our country into a Parliamentary system to include all citizens viewpoints. Sweden has 8 political parties for example. That is the path to a possible democracy. Our democracy is simply no longer possible even trying to elevate a 3rd or 4th party to the same status as republican or democrat.
 
 
+1 # jlstiles 2012-10-20 10:47
Don't be so hard on yourself. You can do these things but most important is to be free and courageous rather than putting your head in the sand like the idiots who believe there is a substantial difference between Romney and Obama, as if they are working for opposing sides in a real debate.
 
 
+5 # indian weaver 2012-10-19 12:27
I gotta say I agree. I think selling out for the "lesser of two evils" does damage a human's spirit. Such behavior manifests one's inner coward, and / or spiritual ignorance. Death is nothing to fear. Death is by far the best thing that happens to us while alive (ha ha, so to speak). One has to know death to know that. And knowing death is our only important function as humans, why we are here. Once known, then your life begins.
 
 
0 # Eduardo3 2012-10-20 13:08
Huh? We are all going to die some day. But I think most of us would like to as long and healthy a life as we can.
 
 
0 # Eduardo3 2012-10-20 13:15
It seems hard to a have a rational discussion of the issues once religion and "spirituality" inject themselves into the debate. But this country's greatest spiritual leader, Martin Luther King Jr., combined his idealism with pragmatism and was able to achieve great change. I wonder how he would vote if he were alive today? I suspect he would be sympathetic to Ellsberg's argument.
 
 
0 # bingers 2012-10-20 09:44
The problem is that on those abuses, Romney is on board for every one of them, but he has a huge list of abuses that he would impose.

I don't care whether you have to take a drug to be able to vote for Obama, voting for Romney is infinitely worse.
 
 
+5 # Quonomo 2012-10-19 06:25
Wake up. The game is about over. We no longer live in a Democracy. It is a Mussolini Fascist State. The passing of Citizens United was check.

I wondered how long it would take before they, (The Corps), would find a good looking drunk in an alley that they could dress up, sober up, and pump money into to do their bidding. Faster than I thought, hence Myth Romoney.

Now stand back because this is where it is going to get really ugly. If Romoney is elected Karl (Joseph Goebbels) Rove and his band of uber control freaks will go after the states and continue to buy the system. As quick as Myth changes his positions on everything the gap between the two parties will be gone. Checkmate!

This link says it all! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJ4SSvVbhLw. No one could have summed it up better than George Carlin's "American Dream". The one part that was cut is "You have to be asleep to believe it."

Wake up everyone and welcome to The Brave New World.

How sick is this? Dead American's scattered through out the war fields of the world. They died and were maimed for this? Turning all their sacrifices into a much greater tragedy.

The Rethugicans have committed Economic Crimes against humanity to gain power for their corporate overlords.

Jobs? No, anti choice. Jobs? Healthcare? Forget it. Jobs? No, less regulation.

Who are the real terrorists here?
 
 
+2 # Innocent Victim 2012-10-19 10:40
Quonomo: To answer your keen assessment on who are the real terrorists, I'd say the world's key terrorist is the government of the USA. It is about to add 10 more drones to the CIAs fleet child-killers. The top non-governmenta l terrorist is the world-wide nuclear power industry, adding each day to the tonnage of wastes no one knows how to bury safely and to the probability of further catastrophes like Fukushima. The third most terrorizing concern is human induced global warming, which in near decades will cause increasing starvation, disease, homelessness, drought that will kill unimaginable numbers of people, world-wide. Terrorism from religious extremists, whether muslim jihadists or contemporary Judeo-Christian crusaders is a weak fourth place by comparison.
 
 
+3 # indian weaver 2012-10-19 12:37
Global Warming is on the path to destroy the entire planet, not just the stuff on it / in it. The cycle of global warming feeds on itself. The cycle is a vicious cycle and cannot be reversed at some near point in time. Then, it grows and accelerates quickly until we incinerate the planet. Most of the humans still dream on. And why not. The dream is almost burned up into cosmic ash, coming soon and is inconceivable to most. I feel most sorry for the animals and plants, not to mention making rainbows, rain, snow, clouds, water, love and peace extinct.
 
 
+7 # Innocent Victim 2012-10-19 09:29
Mssrs Ellsberg and Chomsky make a strong case for swing-state voters to vote for Barack Obama. Their argument is the lesser evil argument. I live in Florida, a key swing-state. I mailed in my ballot for Jill Stein. The arguments made for me to have voted for Obama did not persuade me. Why not? First, our highly flawed democracy is already lost and unrecoverable. There is no rule of law in the US nor elections that represent the consent of the governed. This country is a confirmed despotism. Short of a revolution, there is no way back. This is not ancient Athens, which after the terrible defeat of the Peloponnesian War was able, within a year, to throw out the 30 tyrants imposed by victorious Sparta and return to democracy. We have never really had anything like the democracy of Athens. Why not? Because our people never came close to being the democrats (small "d") that were the Athenians. We have the sort of government we deserve: a despotism!

That said, our flawed democracy unrecoverable in any case, I felt free to vote my conscience. I could not vote for a war-criminal, Barack Obama, the man described by Ellsberg correctly. He is to me an immoral choice. I voted my conscience, for Jill Stein. No matter, Obama or Romney, our country and the world are faced with "the worst of times", as Dickens called them. The American people, their ignorance, greed, and prejudices are the cause. That Ellsberg and Chomsky have not said!
 
 
+5 # indian weaver 2012-10-19 12:41
Exactly. I'm voting for Rocky Anderson. So what. As millions of americans starve and become homeless, then the truth raises its ugly head and tragedy is on every corner. At that point, Syria looks like a child's playground compared to what is developing here in America right now. And it is irreversible. "No Exit" by Camus. This whole scenario is depressing with a capital D. To say the least.
 
 
+1 # jlstiles 2012-10-20 10:39
Not depressing. It is what is and that is perfect in every way. It is only depressing when it is not accepted. The ignorant Obama lovers and god forbid, the totally insane Romney supporters, are in complete denial, not accepting what is and thus they perpetuate the agony by believing in this faux choice of Romney vs Obama. They haven't the initiative and courage to face what is so they close their eyes and hope.
 
 
-1 # Innocent Victim 2012-10-20 11:53
jlstiles: I find your conception reminiscent of Panglois in Voltaire's "Candide": after each debacle he exclaimed "This is the best of all possible worlds". You say what is is perfect. You have the advantage of fewer words, but your expression lacks the humor of Panglois'.

I think your denial of what is as depressing displays an aloofness from the feelings of people. Depression is a frequent reaction to terrible circumstances which cannot be mitigated. One feels anger but with no target that is safe and turns the anger inward. This is the feeling of depression: rage with no way to vent it.

Many of us who do not accept the faux choice of Romney v. Obama and who vote for an alternative candidate (who cannot win) feel the anger I mentioned. Your prescription of intiative and courage is all well and good when you are above the fray, but when you suffer from the consequences of our government's criminal conduct in the world and at home you feel the anger and find venting it not at all easy.
 
 
+1 # jlstiles 2012-10-20 10:41
Yay, a man with courage and discernment. Thanks for posting and keep doing so--it makes a difference.
 
 
+4 # BobbyL 2012-10-19 09:57
I live in a safe blue state and plan to vote for Rocky Anderson. His solutions to many difficult issues can be found at http://www.voterocky.org/solutions. Progressives and liberals who like me live in safe states where we know who will win should consider sending a message about their extreme dissatisfaction with Obama and vote for a third party candidate of their choice as long as polls indicate their votes will not change anything. If I lived in a swing state I also would probably vote for Obama. However, on what I consider to be the single most important issue, climate change, we are probably fooling ourselves to think it matters who we vote for because it looks like whether Democrats or Republicans control the White House we are heading for global temperatures which will end global civilization as we know it. So in the short term it does matter who wins but in the long term, probably not.
 
 
+3 # indian weaver 2012-10-19 12:51
Yes Rocky Anderson gets my vote, even though I'm in Colorado, one of the possible swing states. But only to express my understanding of cosmic tragedy and it being here and now. BobbyL is also correct that we are now in the End Game when the entire planet will be incinerated by humans who caused Global Warming. Remember those who have forecast 2012 as the Armageddon, from the Hopi, the Aztec, the Tibetans and other native peoples going back millenia. The Tibetan Kalachakra Tantra discusses the final battle between Muslims and Christians in its book on the Outer History of the Earth (the Kalachakra has 5 such books in it. Kalachakra is a sanskrit word meaning Wheel of Time. Events are predicted, forecast in time by the relative positions of stars and planets. So with the precession of the equinoxes, we can predict within which precession the event it discusses may occur.) It's a slow painful armageddon, not overnight. Armageddon is the realization by humans, one at a time individually that we have doomed our planet to extinction.
 
 
+1 # jlstiles 2012-10-20 10:35
I agree with your vote but you have severly misinterpreted the Mayan and other cultures' 2012 predictions. These cultures were great astromomers and new that 2012 is the year we enter the age of aquarius. The passing into a new age is what was predicted and thus a great transition and transformation will begin, not armageddon. Armageddon is the stuff made into hollywood movies.
 
 
+6 # anoncommenter 2012-10-19 10:26
Like BobbyL, I live in a safe state--although red. I will also be voting for Rocky Anderson. Ellsberg makes an important point that, even though they both are Wall St sellouts, warmongers, and destroyers of civil rights, there are differences between the Democratic and Republican candidates and that those differences do matter (Dr. Cornell West writes similarly). Ellsberg points out that the competition is not between Obama and a progressive candidate--I encourage everyone who is in a safe state to vote your conscience because there we can show that people DO prefer a more progressive candidate over Obama. Rocky Anderson is my choice because of his solid record on environmental protection, protesting the wars, and protecting our civil rights.
 
 
+1 # jlstiles 2012-10-20 10:32
I would say to always vote for your choice, swing state or not. Read Doremus' comment below.
 
 
+4 # Doremus 2012-10-19 11:06
I'm DONE with the Democrats

From "On Wasting Your Vote" by MG Piety in Counterpunch:

"If you vote for a democrat because you think of yourself as progressive you are wasting your vote because what you are actually saying is that you are willing to support a candidate who is not really progressive, that the democrats can continue their relentless march to the right and that you will back them all the way. That is, if you vote for a democrat because you say you are progressive, you are saying one thing and doing another. But actions, as everyone knows, speak louder than words. You can go on posturing about how progressive you are, but if you vote for a democrat that posturing is empty."
http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/10/12/on-wasting-your-vote/
 
 
-1 # bingers 2012-10-20 09:48
But if you vote for a Republican you're voting for an attack on our basic rights.

There is not a single honorable Republican in Washington, save Ray LaHood and not a single honorable Republican governor.
 
 
+1 # jlstiles 2012-10-20 10:30
Yes, yes and yes. Thank you and keep posting. We need to let the uninformed democrats know they are voting for Obomney.
 
 
+4 # davejette 2012-10-19 13:55
This is just more of the lesser-of-evils pleading that comes along every two or four years. Sure, there are some ways in which Romney is worst than Obama, but neither is ethically acceptable. Until we get past this lesser-of-evils mentality and completely reject the two-party shell game, we shall never shift political discourse in our country toward progressive social change. I personally support Rocky Anderson, but a vote for Jill Stein would also be well worthwhile. Especially in swing states, where our influence would be magnified!
 
 
0 # bingers 2012-10-20 09:50
Even if the Green Party became a major force, they would be subject to the very same pressures and would have to become just like the major parties to survive.

If you think voting for a third party would have any real effect, you're living in a pipe dream.
 
 
+1 # jlstiles 2012-10-20 10:29
Yes! Great to see people with your views increasing. This is what we need--to reject the faux choice and assert real choice instead of clinging to a corpse.
 
 
+2 # Jim Watt 2012-10-19 14:23
I would like to thank 'Indian Weaver' for reminding us all that we have a choice to care for our mother or to continue her suffering. There is nothing in the Constitution or Bill of Rights or the Gettysburg Address that endorses or advises the rape of the land and the extermination of our indigenous neighbors here and abroad. Those people who argue that God (curiously resembling an Old, European, male) made us a present of the land in exchange for our continued loyalty to him are worse than unAmerican, they are unHuman!
 
 
+2 # dburdick 2012-10-19 15:11
What a disappointment, especially from Daniel Ellsberg.

Vote for “…a tool of Wall Street, a man who's decriminalized torture and is still complicit in it, a drone assassin, someone who's launched an unconstitutiona l war, supports kidnapping and indefinite detention without trial, and has prosecuted more whistleblowers like myself than all previous presidents put together"?

Who “…has often acted outrageously, not merely timidly or "disappointingl y." If impeachment were politically imaginable on constitutional grounds, he's earned it…”?

Do the unthinkable out of expediency?

No thank you, I live by my conscience.

Your specious argument that the other half of the Republocrat duopoly, “…two wings ("two right wings," as some have put it) of a single party, the Property or Plutocracy Party, or as Justin Raimondo says, the War Party…” places us in more jeopardy, is exposed in its fallacy by almost every word of your post.

I watch too many of my heroes from the sixties fall into the ranks of those who would ease our descent into Fascism, make the evil choice of the lesser of two evils.

We have options, almost all of us, among third party candidates, with solutions to our critical problems. Admitted, they will not be elected, but in our vote we have an American opportunity to register our opposition, meaningfully if only enough of us vote our conscience.

www.voterocky.org/solutions
 
 
0 # Eduardo3 2012-10-19 23:18
I'm all for registering our opposition. And I was impressed by your candidate during Democracy Now's Presidential debate. But. With Republicans controlling the House, and the Senate nearly divided, Romney could do a lot more damage in 4 years than Obama could. (And what kind of person would he nominate for the Supreme Court?) Outcomes matter. It is evil that we are in a situation of choosing the lesser of two evils. But my conscience tells me that preventing a greater evil is a good thing. And those of us in swing states can help do that by voting for Obama this time around.
 
 
+2 # jlstiles 2012-10-20 10:22
Tyranny is counting on this mode of thought. If Obama wins, tyranny will advance as it has steadily done under Obama and the next election will be worse than this in our choice of two evils. Best to face the fight now and vote third party instead of Obomney.
 
 
+1 # jlstiles 2012-10-20 10:28
Good man, may we expand our numbers. Only voting outside this sham of choice between the two major parties will cause what we want. Most Obama faux progressives are well-off and want to keep things as they are. The rest of Obama faux progressives are ignorant of what Obama has done and they see a nice sounding smart guy and believe he is different than the pasty piece of human putrescence that is Romney.
 
 
+3 # Innocent Victim 2012-10-19 15:58
Well meaning observers, like Daniel Ellsberg, should remember that it was a Democratic president who first in recent years broke international law by sending cruise missiles to attack a site in Sudan, a drug factory, that the CIA mistook for something else. If Clinton had drones, he would have been the first to use them. We have seen, from Obama's first term, that the only restraint on a president is the power of Congress to impeach. If there is no opposition party in Congress, as the Democrats were during some of the GWB years, then there is no restraint on a presidential miscreant.
 
 
0 # Eduardo3 2012-10-19 23:25
Good points. But what if we end up with a Republican President, a Republican Congress, and an evenly split Senate? We won't have much of an opposition party then.
 
 
+3 # jlstiles 2012-10-20 10:20
The way it is set up and the way people believe in this theater of choice, one party will never dominate too much over the other. It will swing back and forth between the two but as Innocent Victim has pointed out, one party or the other will further the tyranny. Whether it is republican or democrat makes no difference.
 
 
+1 # Innocent Victim 2012-10-20 14:18
Eduardo3: Yes, that could happen, but in my view the major choices have already been made. The presidency and the congress are both corrupted by campaign financing and have little connection to our people, no matter Democrat or Republican. The differences are in the severity of the burdens they might impose on us. No small consideration, I agree. But this goes to choices beyond Obama and Romney, our subject. Perhaps you have coat-tails in mind. None of Ellsberg's arguments relate directly to them. We are in for it in any case.
 
 
+3 # indian weaver 2012-10-20 04:59
We have already voted in Colorado. I voted for Rocky Anderson of The Justice Party because that is what my conscience told me to do. I can't support Obama anymore, spiritually speaking. We have 16 candidates for President on our state ballot. And we are suffering the crash as much as anyone with our ownership of home threatened by Obama's corrupt regime. Our suffering is bound to continue for 10s of millions with those numbers growing at this very minute. Obama has done too many horrible things on his own, apart from the republican roadblocks of other issues. Romney will drive us over the cliff at 1000 mph. Obama will drive us over that same cliff at 800 mph, both unstoppable assassins, liars and cowards. I despise both republicans and democrats. They are both international war criminals committing crimes against humanity as I type. Afghanistan is now Obama's to lose, just like Viet Nam, and Iraq. All these fake wars are money makers for the War Machine which is unstoppable. That is the very definition of Fascism, the collusion between "government" and "war industry", identical institutions. Did any government ask you to vote for these "wars"? No. So we are out of the picture, the government says "to hell with you, we'll do anything we want to".
 
 
-2 # bingers 2012-10-20 09:55
I almost always agree with you, but this time, no. Obama has done as much as possible to help with homes threatened by the wheeling and dealing of the banksters, but the Republicans filibustered everything he tried to do to fix the economy as part of their "Our most important job is making sure Obama is a one term president" treason. If you want to get mad, get mad at them.
 
 
0 # jlstiles 2012-10-20 10:17
Right on, I agree.
 
 
0 # Eduardo3 2012-10-20 13:26
About this driving toward the cliff at 1000 vs 800 mph metaphor... I don't find it very convincing. If you really believe we're heading to a cliff and you're not suicidal you would want to be driving at the slower speed... AND slamming the brakes.
 
 
-2 # HCRCDK 2012-10-20 07:18
I agree with everything Daniel Ellsberg says in this article. This election especially we must not vote for third party candidates....i f we want Romney defeated we must vote for Obama and Obama only! But...the article goes on to say Mr. Ellsberg is not voting for Obama??? If this is a typo PLEASE CORRECT IT IMMEDIATELY! if this is not a typo PLEASE MR. ELLSBERG you are going against everything you just said in your article. PLEASE VOTE FOR OBAMA!!!! AND CORRECT THAT IN WRITING!
 
 
+2 # shraeve 2012-10-20 09:57
Daniel Ellsberg does not live in a swing state, and therefore feels free to vote his conscience.
 
 
+2 # jlstiles 2012-10-20 10:17
It is painfully obvious in this article that Ellsberg is telling us to vote for Obama in swing states. He says he is not voting "for Obama" but rather "against Romney". He then explains in swing states, voting against Romney means voting for Obama as he is the only other choice. Please take a course in reading comprehension, thanks.
 
 
+1 # FDRva 2012-10-20 09:52
The "totalitarian institution-bui lding in America" ongoing in the US cited by Naomi Wolf in another RSN contribution might explain the parade of people who ought to know better--from Ellsberg to Chomsky to Bill Clinton--who hysterically insist on Obama as a desirable 'lesser evil,' despite any evidence to the contrary.

The Obama White House--no secret here--has an 'enemies list' and asserts under Cheney's Unitary Executive doctrine, the unilateral, unfettered right to kill American citizens--or anyone else--on the president's say-so alone. Talk about a chilling effect on free speech...

Would President Obama be apt to officially order action vs an uncooperative Clinton or Ellsberg?

Not likely.

But who is going to stop him if he does?

Antonin Scalia?
 
 
+3 # jlstiles 2012-10-20 10:12
If anything sends a clear message to the tyranny, it would be a substantial vote outside their theater. Our street protests will be met with violence and demonization as Obama already prepared for with the NDAA. Ellsberg's fundamental assumption that there is actually a struggle between Romney and Obama to gain power is incorrect. Both party mainstreams are run by the same tyranny to create a theater of difference, a theater of debate like a pro wrestling match. Why would you affirm Obama so he could further throw us down the toilet, albeit perhaps slower than a Romney? The only reason Obama would be less detrimental than Romney is for the puppet masters to keep presenting this faux choice not unlike a dictator does in "elections"? Vote third party as it makes not a shred of real difference to vote Obama. Basically it is a meager punt prolonging this sham and sending it down the road for our kids. Let's face this fight now.
 
 
-1 # Jim Watt 2012-10-20 11:00
I am heartened by Indian Weaver's vote even though I think it will not matter; I certainly see no reason of either heart or head that might change his feelings towards the so-called 'civilization' which has decimated his people and is daily destroying the land, the only mother we have. I understand jstiles' anger and refusal to participate in what she/he calls "a faux choice.' And, like Indian Weaver, I have already voted by mail here in Colorado. I voted a straight democrat ticket because I believe it is my only chance to help bring an end to the war in Afghanistan, a difference that I believe actually does matter. I hope Indian Weaver will remember me in his prayers and that jstiles will not see me as an enemy.
 
 
+2 # dburdick 2012-10-21 02:55
As much as I would like to see everyone of every political stripe vote their conscience, I know it won't happen.

Too many have drunk the koolaid, bought the hype.

On the right, there are far too many of the Tea Party persuasion who will vote against Obama, regardless of their distaste for Romney.

On the left, there are far too many who are so afraid of Romney that they will hold their nose and vote for Obama.

On some other planet, there are a minority who actually believe that Obama deserves another term, or that Romney deserves a shot at it.

There is another minority. My minority who understand that Obama has disqualified himself for the reasons clearly pointed out by Daniel Ellsberg, and that there is ample prima facie evidence that Romney is unfit to serve. We will vote our conscience, Rocky Anderson in my case.
 
 
+1 # dburdick 2012-10-21 04:49
My plea to the rest of you.

If you are from ID, OK, or UT, where Romney has more than a 25% lead, or even AL, AK, AR, KY, LA, TX, or WV, where it’s more than 15%, or if you are from HI or VT, where it’s Obama by more than 25%, or even CA, MD, MA, NY, or RI, with Obama by more than 15%, please consider looking critically at all options, including third party candidates on the ballot or approved for write in, and vote your conscience.

Vote for which ever candidate most closely reflects your positions and solutions.

Join us in sending a message that we are angry, and that we don't intend to continue to put up with this travesty.

www.voterocky.org/solutions
 
 
-1 # ghostperson 2012-10-21 21:06
While doing research several years ago about a completely unrelated subject, I came across a reference about the absolutist nature of high-level authoritarian males in the mormon hierarchy. Once a church authority decides an issue, there are no other view points. The issue is concluded. Factor in the only roles for women: bear children, raise them and women having the gift of love. Now make that male, what John Dean (Nixon's White House Counsel) a "high authoritarian," who has no sense of or belief in the common good, no empathy for the poor, no sense of the middle class experience, a corporate raider and a person who focuses only on the 1%. What such a person is is effectively the Manchurian Candidate. A hollow shell programmed to carry out a national and global agenda of autocracy and control that devastates all below the 1%. Romney is Donald Trump without the comb over.
 

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