The following letter is from Ralph Nader. I am not sure that I agree with Ralph's publicly asking Moore for an apology. Like most Democrats, Moore just went with the "He's not Bush" theory of voting. It didn't work, obviously, and was a horrible waste of hundreds of millions of dollars of effort, but you can't blame people for trying -- there didn't appear to be much of a choice.
Still, I do understand how much frustration Ralph must have felt-- he wanted to offer that choice to people and had a genuine platform which would have stood up well against the Republicans-- and instead he had to spend almost all of his efforts and funds just getting onto the ballot.
For someone like Ralph, there can be nothing more galling than having his very right to be heard being actively opposed by former allies like Moore who had joined with the Democratic Party ...Therefore I find it hard to blame Nader for venting a little of his anger.
Will the real Michael Moore ever re-emerge and shut the door on his theatre of the absurd? It was a wild and crazy run, was it not, Michael? Weeks of standing before large college audiences mixing a potion of book and movie promotions with a message that was more laughable than producing laughter. You told the young men and women that “George W. Bush and John Kerry both suck. Vote for Kerry.” That is supposed to be “cool?” Here you were -- against the Iraq War occupation, pro-justice for the Palestinian people, against the Patriot Act, against the swollen military budget and you were telling the university students to vote for Kerry who is on the complete opposite side of these issues.
Now that you no longer have to pose as a “least-worster”, with no more tactical excuses, what is your post-election confession? So far your website has dodged this question, unless that is you have no reflections on the merit of abandoning both your principles and your authentically progressive friends for candidates – - Kerry and Edwards—who so often performed as crypto-Republicans during the campaign.
They were unable to stand for much of anything – - not standing against the war or for an anti-poverty agenda, for corporate reform, for consumer justice, or for cracking down on the epidemic of corporate crime, fraud and abuse. They could not even stand up for the simple right of wrongfully injured and defrauded Americans to have their full day in court without tort deform handcuffing judges and juries by the Bushistas. Ah, remember your strong stands in 2000 on these and other such matters? Some excerpts are on our website votendader.org for your recollection. You had more moxy before the Academy Awards in 2003 than you had on your campaign trail this year.
Michael, you have to rehabilitate yourself and remove the stains of your political apostasy. Get off your self-demeaning “Bill Maher Show knees” and once again confront the forces of corporate power and domination. Jettison your image as the Court Jester for the Democratic Party and its serial, crude violations of other candidates’ civil liberties to be on the ballot, to express their freedom of speech regarding a just society and world inside the electoral arena without being subjected to dirty tricks, hired corporate law firms, phony lawsuits, harassment and intimidation of signature gatherers.
Redeem yourself or forever be consigned to history’s judgment of political turncoats, renegades and saboteurs.
You can start this redemption by contributing toward the expenses of those disillusioned young people on our campaign, who wondered throughout this year what was happening to their cinematic Captain Courageous, and urging your wondering email list to visit our website and do likewise.
I watched a broadcast of a news conference this morning on the "Future of the Democratic Party" and heard the leaders of the Democratic Leadership Council laughingly dismiss the half million voters who had followed Ralph Nader as not being worthy of their thought or efforts and ridicule the campaign itself-- someone said something like "a hemmorrhoid could get more votes than that" though strangle there was a sort of olvice branch extended to Ralph Nader himself-- they hoped that he would come back to the Democratic Party.
I have always been a registered Democrat and consider it likely that I will support Democratic candidates in the future. But to have my support for Ralph Nader and my efforts to get others to support him result in such scorn-- that is hard to take. Their opinion is that the Democrats do not need to take the views of people like Ralph Nader or his supporters into account.
I think that is precisely the problem facing the Democratic Party-- that it has moved away from considering the views of the people who make up its membership. I don't mind being given only a minor consideration-- I mean, I recognize that Ralph Nader only pulled a tiny number of votes nationwide-- but to be totally dismissed hurts.
As long as people like Al From and the "Democratic Leadership Council" remain in positions of authority with regard to the Party, the Party will not reflect the views of its members.
One of the things I learned in campaigning for Ralph Nader was that the media has its stories, for the most part, before it even gets to the scene.
I got involved in the Nader campaign in mid-September. From then until mid-October, there were almost no stories on Ralph or at most one a day from all the newspapers across the country. There was no TV coverage at all.
I attended speeches at Harvard and at Brown and saw no reporters, no TV, nada. Two weeks before the election, Nader announced that he knew that he wouldn't win. From that point on, newspaper coverage grew exponentially. From no stories to one a day, two a day, five and then ten a day, it was exciting. Ralph even got interviewed by David Letterman.
Almost all of the coverage focused on Ralph's potential role as a spoiler, even as his campaign press room continued to put out position papers on various issues. At one point Nader even put out a press release: "Ralph Nader hands the election to John Kerry on a Silver Platter: 10 Ways to Beat George Bush". Didn't see it mentioned once in the news.
The weekend before the election, I finally saw my first television cameras trained on Ralph. Making a brief appearance in Providence, Rhode Island at AS220, a local arts mecca, Ralph gave a nice 20 minute speech. He talked about why he was running, what was wrong with the Democratic Party, what sorts of things people should demand from their government, and why there was no real difference between Kerry and Bush.
The TV reporter from ABC then asked her question: 1) Ralph, do you care that you might wreck everything? I don't remember if the reporter from NBC said anything. I don't think so.
To be fair, CBS wasn't there. They didn't even bother to show up. They left it to NBC and ABC and the Providence Journal that night. They were probably too busy covering 'real' news.
It was as if he hadn't even given his speech. I was so frustrated.
After the reporters had finished their one minute of questions, Ralph was about to leave (he was making stops all over New England that day). He waved to his army (very small but nevertheless formidable) of supporters. I asked him, "The Red Sox did it. Why not you? Do you want to be President?" He said that he did want to be President and that "the Red Sox had had the benefit of a level playing field." It was as if "he had to pitch from 500 feet off home base."
Both the NBC and ABC stations ran stories that night on their 11:00 news. It was actually the lead story on ABC-6 and they both used clips from the speech and questions.
Both also gave time to a Kerry employee from the naderfactor.org who had been following Ralph around from town to town across the country and giving interviews to all the press. They did not know that he was an employee. They did not know that he was not local. He got his 30 seconds of air time to decry Ralph's negative impact. But this time at least, I got mine too.
Real journalists know the answers to the questions before they ask them. They only ask as a courtesy.
Real journalists know what the real stories are. There was little except pictures of John Kerry waving at crowd in the last weeks of the campaign. This represented reality.
Letters to the editors at the newspapers that do not fit the mold are not used. Even Slashdot rejected every single posting I made about Ralph Nader. (I think that I made 18 submissions.) I can't quite recall where the editors announced their support for either Kerry or Bush but they surely weren't open to third party candidates.
Americans themselves have to take the blame for the lack of issue discussion in this campaign. They didn't demand it. It didn't happen. There was little difference between the two major parties on the most significant issue of the campaign-- the war.
There was a lot of discussion about heroism or the lack thereof and cronyism, and there was a lot of hand wringing about some actual journalism that actually got done by CBS. Dan Rather ran a story based on his gut instinct as a journalist. He didn't check it enough. He didn't get it vetted by the White House. He has since apologized and has learned-- Never run a story unless it comes directly from one of the major party press rooms. You can't take risks. You can't afford to be wrong.
(This was originally written as a comment to a posting of a news article on Slashdot where someone at CBS said that there was no evidence of "journalism" being done by bloggers/
BY TOM INCANTALUPO
December 1, 2004
A public advocacy group founded by Ralph Nader is warning that language quietly added by Washington lawmakers last month to appropriations legislation endangers state and local influence on the siting of energy facilities within their borders, such as the $700-million floating natural gas terminal proposed for eastern Long Island Sound.
Meanwhile, some industry experts are questioning the need for the more than 30 liquified natural gas terminals proposed in the United States, many of which are controversial, although demand for natural gas is rising. Four liquified natural gas terminals are in operation now.
And the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is expected within a few days to formally put out a call for public comments on the Long Island Sound proposal, an agency spokeswoman said.
The Nader group, Washington-based Public Citizen, said the language inserted by House-Senate conferees into a $388-billion omnibus spending package is aimed at clarifying jurisdiction over energy production facilities.
Tyson Slocum, research director for the Nader-founded Public Citizen's energy program, says it appears to be in response to a legal challenge by California's Public Utility Commission to the federal government's authority over such facilities, a dispute that arose in connection with an liquified natural gas terminal proposed onshore at the port of Long Beach, Calif.
The conferee report says, "Because LNG [liquified natural gas] terminals affect both interstate and foreign commerce, LNG facility development requires a process that also looks at the national public interest, and not just the interests of one State ... Any dispute of LNG siting jurisdictional authority now will be counterproductive to meeting our natural gas needs in the future."
Slocum contends that while the language does not change federal law, it could hobble efforts by states and localities to influence the siting of energy production facilities within their borders.
"It sends a clear signal to federal judges," he said. "It's definitely aimed at chilling efforts by states to have adequate say in these matters."
Also upset about the language is Patrick Lynch, attorney general of Rhode Island, where a proposal is being considered for a shorefront terminal that a Lynch spokesman says is within a few hundred yards of I-95 and within half a mile of a major hospital and a densely populated neighborhood.
"Such [conferee] language is a direct usurping of a sovereign state's rights and ability to control its own destiny," Lynch wrote in a Nov. 26 letter to Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI.), seeking his intercession.
The Long Island Sound proposal, by Broadwater Energy Corp. of Houston is for a 1,200-foot-long terminal moored in New York waters midway between New Haven, Conn., and Wading River. The facility would be operating by 2010, off-loading liquified natural gas from ships.
Promoters say the gas is needed to meet rising demand in the New York area.
Monday, Broadwater won approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to use a "pre-filing" process in which the agency studies the project and seeks public comment on it before a formal application is made by Broadwater.
Robert Ineson, a natural gas expert based in Houston for the consulting firm Cambridge Energy Research Associates, said rising natural gas prices and demand have made imported liquified gas competitive, despite the extra cost of the liquefaction, which is necessary to reduce the volume of gas for shipping.
But, he said, terminals now under construction or proposed in the United States, Canada and Mexico would add 40 million cubic feet a day of capacity, almost four times what his firm projects will be needed by 2010.
"Certainly," he said, "not all of them are needed."
Few local groups have expressed opposition to the Broadwater project, but several have raised questions about its environmental effects and potential safety and security risks. Said president Thalia Bouklas of the Affiliated Brookhaven Civic Organizations, "We'd like to have some kind of forum to hear people on both sides of the issue."
After a day spent recounting in New Hampshire, I have to tell you that there were minimal problems found with the machine count. In fact, out of 4,000 votes recounted, we only found 3 mistakes. The staff of the Secretary of State's Office was highly trained and professional and proceeded to do the recount while politely allowing challenges from the Kerry, Bush, Nader and Badnarik observers. There was also a recount going on of a local State Senate race which had been decided by only 150 votes. I did hear during the day that a recount of manually counted votes had gone on earlier in the week and that a number of discrepancies were found, but I did not see any numbers from that recount.
Presidential Campaign 2004 -- What Eighth Graders Think - Election turns school stage into a political roundtable; [Northwest Edition]
KATIE WARCHUT Journal Staff Writer. The Providence Journal. Providence, R.I.: Nov 2, 2004. pg. C.01
Abstract (Document Summary)
It seems many students agree. In a schoolwide election last week, [Bush] won the election, capturing 48 percent of the vote with 141 votes. [John Kerry] won 36 percent with 107 and [Ralph Nader] won 16 percent with 46 votes.
In the eighth grade, Kerry won by a narrow margin. In the seventh grade, Bush by just two votes. The sixth graders picked Bush over Kerry by 40 votes.
Representatives from political parties speaking to Burrillville students at top from left are Democrat [Sean Siperstein], Green [Greg Garritt], Reform John Bescherer and GOP Christopher Toti. At left, eighth graders Tanisha Fournier, left, Brittany Laprade, center, and John Lace listen to the panelists.