Election Plan - 2004

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We declare a national emergency in uncovering what really happened on 9/11/2001 through an immediate call for an independent collaborative investigation worldwide. The U.S. government could help us but instead is doing everything it can to stop any investigations into 9/11.


By Ted Rall

Bush must be laughing his ass off.

Voters too dim to recall yesterday's news are letting him get away with running on the imaginary successes of a phony record.

Lazy journalists are allowing him to run on a patently fictional platform of promises while ignoring the disastrous realities he has planned for 2004.

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Now Democrats, falling for Karl Rove's silly "we'd love nothing more than to run against Howard Dean baiting, are about to hand him the November opponent nominee Republicans wanted all along: John Kerry

Hit the theme from the old Mary Tyler Moore show. New lyric: stupidity is what's all around.

By all rights Bush ought to be warming a prison cell right now.

His own CIA employed weapons of mass destruction hunter, David Kay, has given up his WMD search, conceding that there are none.

Kay, who supports both Bush and his preemptive wars, thinks Saddam Hussein destroyed them all within six months after the end of the 1991 Gulf War just as he was supposed to. "It turns out we were all wrong," Kay told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Well, not all of us. Not the millions of people who took to the streets to march against the war. But apparently they don't count.

In a case study of revisionism gone wild, the American media has embarked on a witch hunt against the CIA--the one intelligence outfit that repeatedly warned Bush's war cabinet that there was no solid evidence that Iraq posed any kind of threat.

"How could the nation's $40 billion-a-year intelligence apparatus, focused on Saddam's regime for more than a decade, have been so wrong?" chides USA Today.

"How did the [CIA] make the leap from suspect intentions to bold claims of existing WMD programs?" asks Newsweek.

The CIA did no such thing. Director George Tenet has obviously struck a Machiavellian deal with the White House. He takes the election-year heat certain to be doled out by Bush's handpicked investigators into "intelligence failures"; in return, Bush lets him keep his job.

Why so-called journalists are going along with this transparent farce is yet another instance of intelligence failure.

Aris Pappas, who worked for Tenet's Iraq intel panel, says that the CIA had "gone blind for three years" after Saddam threw out UN inspectors in 1998. After that the U.S. didn't know what Iraq was up to--or not.

"They keep referring to a 'mountain' of evidence," says Pappas. "But it was corroborative evidence."

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell and Rice didn't ask Americans to go to war--to send more than 500 of our young men and women to their graves--based on circumstantial evidence.

They said they were sure; most of us believed them. Moreover, the CIA didn't make the case for war--the Gang of Five did.

But thanks to a compliant media, America remains befuddled.

A mere 43 percent of respondents to a USA Today poll believe that Bush deliberately misled them about Iraq's WMDs. Perhaps that's because even Democratic leaders are afraid to say what needs to be said: Bush lied about what he knew about Iraq and should be impeached.

Their unwillingness to seize such opportunities is a surefire prescription for a Bush victory in November.

Meanwhile broadcast and print outlets are dutifully analyzing and discussing Bush's ridiculous proposals to send astronauts to Mars, reform Medicare and allow every illegal immigrant willing to work for a dollar per hour into the country.

But that's all election-year bluster designed to throw clueless Democrats off balance. The Bushies have big plans for next year, but they're not what you think.

Bush-watchers are arguing whether the White House's renegade neoconservative PNAC pack has next targeted Syria, North Korea or Iran for regime change in 2005.

The answer, according to Administration insiders, is apparently none of the above.

"Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar represent a threat to the world, and they need to be destroyed and we believe we will catch them in the next year," U.S. Army spokesman Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty said in January. Pentagon planners are weighing going back to the future--launching an election-year spring offensive in Afghanistan, followed by a full-fledged reinvasion next year.

This time we'd send in the 100,000-plus troop complement that would have been required to do the job correctly in the first place.

Afghanistan 2.0 would be a potent issue for Democrats if they were smart enough to do something with it.

Refighting the war, after all, would be a tacit admission that Bush & Co. screwed up the first skirmish in the war on terrorism and let Osama, American Enemy No. 1, get away.

Since a Second Afghan War would require an increase in overall combat troop strength, liberals could ask where Bush plans to find those extra soldiers.

A draft?

Two-year deployments of the reserves?

Unfortunately guys like Kerry are too busy making fun of the red planet red herring to wave this chunk of red meat at voters.

(Ted Rall is the editor of the new anthology of alternative cartoons "Attitude 2: The New Subversive Social Commentary Cartoonists," containing interviews with and cartoons by 21 of America's best cartoonists. Ordering information is available at amazon.com.)

2004 Election Plan?

By Michael Albert

Between now and U.S. election day, and for some time thereafter, there will be an intermittent stream of leftist discussion, debate, exhortation, and sometimes recrimination about what to do, when to do it, and with what methods and means.

I think reasonable people committed to justice, democracy, peace, and even - as in my case - uprooting every last vestige of corporate, racist, sexist power and greed - can disagree.

Certainly now, but even as we get closer to the election, I doubt that any single approach will be so evidently correct that disparaging those with other approaches will make sense.

That said, can we at least settle on some criteria for what we would like to achieve by our electoral approach? And if we can come up with criteria, maybe we can even suggest an optimistic scenario worth considering.

What is important about the election is not the time between now and the conventions. It is not the convention weeks, themselves. It is not the time between the conventions and the vote. What is important is the time between the vote and the rest of history. It is the future.

This claim - which seems uncontestable - doesn't tell us precisely what to do, but it does suggest how to sensibly assess different electoral proposals. We must ask, what will be their lasting effect, post election?

To make a case for election 2004 strategy, we will have to describe the proposed approach, including the steps it implies for the pre-election period, of course. But our argument must rest on claims about post election impact.

If so, here are two simple thoughts.

One post election result we want is Bush retired. However bad his replacement may turn out, replacing Bush will improve the subsequent mood of the world and its prospects of survival. Bush represents not the whole ruling class and political elite, but a pretty small sector of it. That sector, however, is trying to reorder events so that the world is run as a U.S. empire, and so that social programs and relations that have been won over the past century in the U.S. are rolled back as well. What these parallel international and domestic aims have in common is to further enrich and empower the already super rich and super powerful.

Seeking international Empire means war and more war - or at least violent coercion. Seeking domestic redistribution upward of wealth and power, most likely means assaulting the economy via cutbacks and deficits, and then entreating the public that the only way to restore functionality is to terminate government programs that serve sectors other than the rich, cutting health care, social services, education, etc.

These twin scenarios will not be pursued so violently or aggressively by Democrats due to their historic constituency. More, the mere removal of Bush will mark a step toward their reversal.

Think about election night. Think about watching the returns. Think of your heart and soul's reaction if Bush wins. Think of billions of other people plummeting into passivity from despair over the same picture. Think of Bush and his coterie savoring victory and deciding that they can do anything for four more years. Ee want Bush out.

Second, we want to have whatever administration is in power after Election Day saddled by a fired up movement of opposition that is not content with merely slowing Armageddon, but that instead seeks innovative and aggressive social gains. We want a post election movement to have more awareness, more hope, more infrastructure, and better organization by virtue of the approach it takes to the election process.

Can we chart a course likely to promote both of these outcomes at the same time?

Here is a proposal. The Greens are the clear-cut vehicle for a leftist electoral campaign in the U.S. They have grown in membership and state chapters steadily and are now a relatively formidable entity able to muster considerable visibility and communicative pressure in nearly every state.

Suppose the Greens nominate Michael Moore for President? Or maybe Barbara Ehrenreich, or Ron Daniels, or Ralph Nader, say. How about running their candidate aggressively in all states where the final ballot is simply a foregone conclusion? Moore running in Texas and in Massachusetts seeking as many votes as possible in those and in similarly uncontested states is not going to impact the broader election because were Bush to lose Texas or were whatever Democrat is running to lose Massachusetts, the whole election would be a gigantic stampede uninfluenced by our project. And there are many other such states.

Perhaps the candidate is Ehrenreich, not Moore. Regardless, Ehrenreich's message as candidate in every state, like Moore's or anyone else's, is vote smart. Vote for impact. In the cut and dried uncontested states, do not waste your vote, vote Ehrenreich. In the closely contested swing states, Ehrenreich tells the electorate to vote for the Democrat, but also support Ehrenreich and the Greens.

That is, everywhere - and perhaps it is Daniels who runs - Daniels, or Moore, or Ehrenreich says, whoever wins, we must persist as a social movement forcing the new Washington regime to respect and to serve those in need, those who work, those who endure and persevere, by way of the program the Greens have put forth. And put it forth Daniels does.

But how? Nader -- maybe it is Nader who runs - or Moore, or Ehrenreich, or whoever it is, doesn't run alone. The Green presidential candidate runs with a whole slate of others, one person designated as his administration's chief of staff, another person designated his vice president, a third person designated his secretary of state, a fourth as Press Secretary, and so on and so forth, through the whole Cabinet and West Wing. Nader, or whoever the presidential candidate may be, runs with a pledge that if there is sufficient support for him and for the Green platform he will establish a shadow government beginning the day after the election.

This new shadow government will operate alongside the White House and real Cabinet. It will put forth Green program, analysis, and demands regarding every major undertaking the real government pursues and many others we think it ought to have pursued. It will hold teach-ins, tribunals, rallies, and demos, every month for the entire term of the real government.

It will shadow and pressure Washington, providing a vehicle for the immense range of progressive projects and voices throughout the country to manifest their desires and to organize support and visibility for them and thereby pressure the government. It will take seriously what we want for every side of life, and compare and contrast it with the agendas and actions of the forces of money and power, and it will show why our way is infinitely preferable, and fight for its implementation. And imagine running in 2008, on a foundation of four years of explicitly formulated and explored dissident program.

How does such a vast undertaking get funded? If Moore, Ehrenreich, Daniels, Nader, and others were to run as a slate, seeking votes in some states and in any event seeking support in the form of a submitted name and slow mail address or when possible email address submitted to facilitate future communications in every state, how many people would sign on?

Not how many would vote for the Green Presidential candidate and slate. Those who are willing to vote Green will certainly sign on. But how many would vote for the Democrat as the lesser evil, while still being willing to sign on to a project that allowed them to back the morally worthy and politically savvy Greens beyond the simple act of voting, that is, as wanting to support the Green shadow government? I don't know the answer. But given the ease of setting up the infrastructure online to do all this, accumulating millions of potential allies and participants is not impossible.

So let's say 3, 5, or perhaps 10 million people say we like Moore (or whoever). We like what he is saying - even though a very large number of these, at Green request, vote Democrat. And let's say all during the campaign the Green presidential candidate and the ten or twenty other prominent progressives from every imaginable constituency and background who are in the proposed Green administration are also not only communicating and advocating a wonderfully inspiring platform, but also making clear their commitment to build a shadow government that will create, elaborate, advocate, and fight for change in the years to come, with the support and especially the leadership of its supporters.

How many of the 3, 5, or perhaps 10 million people feeling affinity for all of this would pledge $3, $5, or $10 a month to support the shadow government and its undertakings in coming years? Suppose two million to start at an average $4 a month. That's $8 million a month to get started. How much more would effective effort provoke? How many more people participating?

And the idea needn't be only national. Couldn't local congressional, senate, and other Green candidates where appropriate do something similar, with their shadowing of their local administration being part of the national project, feeding it, and being fed by it?

I think something more or less like this is what should have happened post election 2000, rather than relative dissolution after election day. Let's learn from that mistake. Let's not repeat it. Let's demand of our process and its participants a strategy that has staying power.

We talk about periodic elections not being democracy but being mere moments of manipulation. Okay, that is a reason why we should create not only a shadow government, but one that has a rich and highly interactive set of mechanisms for back and forth communication with its electorate and constituencies, for guidance and instruction by that public. If we create that, we will have something so powerful that, in fact, even were Bush to win the election, it would be a much diminished victory for him and his minions. Because our movements would constrain his options and carry on their own agendas, regardless of his presence in Washington.

I think that for election 2004 something like this makes sense. I think the country is ready. It can be done without incurring recrimination and division. It can yield hope and real participation and progress.

I suggest that when the Greens get together to consider their path forward for election 2004, they ought to enlist candidates, conceive program, and establish strategy, not only in light of the diverse details of the current period and the short term virtues of potential candidates and program, but to create a lasting project such as a shadow government.

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