Friday, May 28, 2010

Ralph Nader and Election of 2000

By Sodium

Because I was recently involved in an unpleasant debate about Ralph Nader and Presidential election of 2000,it is probably in order to re-assess Nader's influence on election 2000,if any.

There were wild accusations lodged against Ralph Nader because Al Gore lost the election to George W. Bush in 2000,inspite of the fact that the result of the election was really determined by the Supreme Court decision of 5:4. In other words, George W. Bush was not ELECTED but APPOINTED by a one vote majority in the Supreme Court. And yet, Ralph Nader was to blame by those who were looking for excuses to blame, whether it was Ralph Nader or some body else in Ralph's position, the excuses or rather the accusations had to be lodged, any way.

The major accusations publicly declared against Ralph Nader were / are the following:

* Because of Ralph Nader, Al Gore lost the election to George W. Bush by a slim margin. If Ralph was not running, Al Gore would have been elected President.

* One absurd claimer had claimed that George W. Bush won the 4 electoral votes of New Hampshere by only 1,000 votes. If Nader was not running Al Gore would have one those 4 electoral votes and subsequently would have won the Presidency.

* If Ralph Nader was not running all the 24 or 27 (I cannot remember the exact number) electoral votes of Florida would have been won by Al Gore and hence the White House.

* Ralph Nader has an ego problem for he keeps running for President and thus he keeps spoiling the Presidential election for the Democrats.

In my personal reviews, all the above accusations are excuses at best, or false at worst. Reasons:

(1) When Al Gore loses his home state of Tennessee, ( 11 electoral votes)which could have put him at the top and thus would have won the Presidency ), that alone indicates that Al Gore and his handlers ran a poorly coordinated campaign.

(2) The claim that George W. Bush had won the 4 electoral votes of New Hampshere by only 1,000 votes was incorrect, because the final tally of the votes for that state indicated that Bush won it by approximately 4,000 votes. Hence, if Nader was not running and the votes that were casted for Ralph were divided between Bush and Nader in the exact proportions that gave Bush the 4 electoral votes, still Bush would have won the state by even a wider margin. In addition, Senator John MaCain won New Hampshere in the two Republican primaries of 2000 and 2008, indicating there was a trend there that could not be ignored-favoring the Republicans.

(3) It was so obvious that Al Gore and his handlers kept a distance from the Clintons. This was proven to be a blunder, since many African American voters did not bother to vote in Florida because former President Bill Clinton was so popular in the African American community to a point that they dubbed him, in admiration, as " the first Black American President. " In other words, they sensed the drift, while some of their leaders were calling for unity but with no avail from the Al Gore's camp. In addition, Al Gore and his handlers declined to meet with Florida's leaders of the Florida's Muslim Americans, while George W. Bush met with them and received their 64,000 (sixty four thousands) as a result of his meeting with their leaders. That was so, according to former Congressman Paul Findley of Illinois, who had / has close contacts with the Muslim communities in the United States. He certainly wrote a book about them and their achievements entitled "Silent No More". His article about the 2000 presidential election, has been published in the magazine called "The Washington Report On Middle East Affairs" of January / February,2001 attested to that.

(4) As to the accusation that Ralph Nader was serving his own selfish ego as he keeps running for President and keeps spoiling the election for the Democrats, it was / is false also. It is well reported in the media that Nader intention from running was not to spoil the election to the Democrats but rather to keep certain issues alive in the campaign. He offered not to run, if the Democratic candidates would adopt just three issues out of a list of 20 issues and discuss them in the campaigns. Unfortunately, his offers were ignored or rejected. That neutralized the ego accusation.

Based on the reasons outlined above, Ralph Nader was not the cause for Al Gore's loss of the 2000 election to George W. Bush.

Al Gore had defeated Al Gore by running a poor campaign and no body else had defeated him.

For more proofs that prove that Ralph Nader was not the cause for the Democrats in losing the Presidential election of 2000,please check the following link:


Monday, May 10, 2010

Chris Hedges and his Critics

By Sodium

Recently,I was involved in debating a fine poster on one of the forums of Truthdig website. The poster impressed me by his usually unoffensive responses. However,he criticizes the writing of Chris Hedges often but not really frequently. I could never figure out to what group of the five groups of critics I categorized through the last three years of taking notes about the weekly hard core critics of Hedges. Hence,this fine poster has compelled me to review my files that I have accumulated in the last three years as a regular blogger at Truthdig website.

My files indicate that the hard-core critics who want desperately to refute or,at least,discredit the writings of Chris Hedges are five different groups,motivated by different causes and hence categorized accordingly:

(1) The Extreme Right Evangelical Christians: This group of critics hates the guts of Hedges because he has exposed their agenda for the U.S.the main point of which is to control the political structure of America and change it from secular type of government to a Christian one. Anyone who stood against their attempts to fulfill their agenda must be fought and marginalized.

(2) The Israel's Apologists or as some writers dubbed them,"The Israel's Firsters": Those Firsters also hate the guts of Hedges because more than once he has exposed in some of his columns,Israel's inhuman atrocities being committed on daily basis against the Palestinian people. He wrote several column on this topic but one column would remain an outstanding one,entitled "Starving Gaza". It can be found in Truthdig's archive.

(3)The Neoconservatives: It is well known that the neoconservatives were the ones who instigated the illegal and immoral war against Iraq,especially those who wrote and signed the "Project for the New American Century",(PNAC) for short. The irony about those warmongering hawks is the fact that none of them has served in the military,and yet they are,indeed,warmongers to the hilt. Because of this fact,some writers dubbed them as the "Chicken Hawks" for sarcasm. Why they hate Chris Hedges? Because Hedges has been against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the top of that,Hedges wrote several columns specifically against what was going on in Iraq,exposing and discrediting their unparalleled blunder in the entire history of the U.S. One especially effective column was entitled,"Beyond Disaster". It can be found in Truthdig's archive.

(4) The Hard-Core Democrats: No need to elaborate on this group,since it is to be expected that they hate Hedges's guts for being an exponent in criticizing President Obama. And from the very start of the election campaign,Hedges has supported Ralph Nader for the presidency. Thus,hating Hedges by them may be understandable but not necessarily correct or even legitimate.

(5) The Show Off Critics: This group embodies a a variety of posters. Just to name a few,the following subgroups will give an idea of their various composites:
A. Posters who likes to parade their phony "knowledge?". Plagiarism cannot be
ruled out.
B. Bloggers who like to high jack the forums to express their ideology. They are
usually rude and they have no courtesy for Hedges and his columns.
C. The strong believers in the "Conspiracy Theory" in every major events,
ranging from Kennedy assassination to the tragic event of 9/11.
D. The silly posters who enjoy using sarcasm against Hedges and everyone else
except their friends of bloggers who shower the m with complements. One
blogger called those friends "The Boiler Room Club".

Final words: In spite of all those five groups of critical posters,the numbers of bloggers who have shown support to and admiration for Chris Hedges far exceed the number of all of his critics combined in the ratio roughly 2:1. This is a rough estimate,on my part,by counting the number of pros and cons posted on a particular forum of Truthdig. This healthy ratio may rise or fall,depending upon what Hedges writes and of course on the level of interest.

I regret the fact that I could not assign the fine blogger I had debated recently to any group cited above. He/she is a class by himself or herself,because his/her approach to debating is very healthy

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The "Great Soul" of India and his "Ahimsa".

This topic is about Mahatma Gandhi who is considered the father of non-violence resistance for the achievement of political objectives. In many of his writings and communications with other persons of his time,he often mentioned the word "Ahimsa". Hence,the first question that comes to mind is: what is "Ahimsa"? "Ahimsa" is a Hindu 's word and means simply "Non-Violence". That is not enough to understand Gandhi's perception of "Ahimsa","Non-Violence". In order to be able to do so,one must absorb and assimilate correctly the following issues:

(1) Gandhi was not only a citizen of India,but also a citizen of the British Empire.

(2) The mighty military power of the British Empire,especially its Navy had ruled the world and Gandhi had to live and accept that giant reality. In other words,he had to deal with his British rulers in a rational way,not in an emotional manner. And he had done so admirably.

(3) Gandhi's Perception of "Ahimsa","Non-Violence".

No need to dwell on points (1) and (2),since anyone who is interested can find their details in the Internet or,better yet,in reliable history books in a good library. Therefore,an attempt will be made below only on point (3) cited above:

(3) Gandhi's Perception of "Ahimsa","Non-Violence:

If one follows carefully Gandhi's statements and communications with others,one may notice that "Ahimsa" meant not only "Non-violence" to Gandhi but also "Love of Humanity". Perhaps,that is why he had never hated the British while he fought their military occupation and certainly their decades of colonization of his beloved India. His statement,"HATE THE SIN,NEVER THE SINNER",may explain his fundamental belief and noble philosophy toward the British as human beings he could not ignore his connection to them through a commonality called "HUMANITY". Therefore,the greatness of Gandhi stems not only from the fact that he forced Great Britain to withdraw from India without firing a single shot,but equally important was the fact that he really never hated the British,the colonizers of his beloved homeland. Hence,his greatness stems from two unique feats: Non-Violence and Love of his fellow human beings who happened to be the British,his colonizers and,in many ways,his tormentors as well.

Human history is full of violence in which empires ascended on the ashes of other empires defeated and the cycle of violence has its own dynamic with no end in sight, until Gandhi came along and proved by adhering firmly to his perception of "Ahimsa" through determination,endurance,patience,diligence,dedication and love for humanity, an empire could be defeated without firing a single shot against it. And as a result a Culture of Non-violence was intruduced. Dr. Martin Luther King of the U.S.A. and Neslson Mandela of South Africa had adopted Gandhi's Culture of Non-Violence and had succeeded in achieving freedom for their people,in varying degrees.

To summarize,one may conclude the following facts about Gandhi and his poverty stricken India:

FACT ONE: In order to comprehend Gandhi's Culture of Non-Violence,there are three pre-requisites that must be fully understood:
(A) Gandhi's as a citizen of India and a citizen of the British empire.
(B) The extent of the military might of Great Britain,especially its Navy which really ruled the world,including,of course,India.
(C) Gandhi Perception of "Ahimsa",meaning Non-Violence.

FACT TWO: Gandhi's greatness stems not only from forcing the British Empire to withdraw from India without firing a single shot against them,but also from the fact that he had never hated them. The proof of that was the fact that he unequivocally supported Britain's war efforts against the Nazi of Germany.

FACT THREE: Until his assassination,he was true to his belief in the superiority of "Ahsima" over or to "Himsa",translation: "Ahimsa,Non-Violence" and "Himsa,Violence".

FACT FOUR: After the British were forced to leave the Indian subcontinent,India emerged as the largest democracy the human kind had ever seen.

FACT FIVE: Economic changes in India have been tailing political changes since poverty is still wide spread. Gandhi's efforts have produced the excellent political changes. What India needs now an ECONOMIC GANDHI.

FACT SIX: Gandhi will remain one of the most towering figures of the 20TH century,whether his critics like or not. Hence,describing him as the "GREAT SOUL" of India fits the occasion,indeed.

For further reading on Mahatma Gandhi,the following books are highly recommended:

Mahatma Gandhi
His Life And Ideas
Charles F. Andrews.

The Gandhi Reader
A Soursebook of His Life and Writing
Edited by
Homer A. Jack.