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MARX: A HERO FOR OUR TIME? — Suddenly, everyone from the Wall Street Journal to Rolling Stone seems to be talking about Karl Marx. Louis Proyect delves into this mysterious resurgence, giving a vivid assessment of Marx’s relevance in the era of globalized capitalism. THE MEANING OF MANDELA: Longtime civil rights organizer Kevin Alexander Gray gives in intimate portrait of Nelson Mandela and the global struggle of racial justice. FALLOUT OVER FUKUSHIMA: Peter Lee investigates the scandalous exposure of sailors on board the USS Reagan to radioactive fallout from Fukushima. SOUTHERN DISCOMFORT: Kim Nicolini charts the rise of Matthew McConaughey. PLUS: Mike Whitney on the coming crash of the housing market. JoAnn Wypijewski on slavery, torture and revolt. Chris Floyd on the stupidity of US policy in Ukraine. Kristin Kolb on musicians and health care. And Jeffrey St. Clair on life and death on the mean streets of an America in decline
Gutless, Spineless and Clueless

Bush is Falling, But the Democrats are Sinking Faster

by RALPH NADER

You would think that with all the troubles surrounding George W. Bush and the Republican leadership in Congress ­ from the life-costing bungling of Hurricane responses to the deepening quagmire in Iraq to the front page stories of corruption, self-dealing and national security leaks ­ you would think th Democrats would be in the ascendancy.

Not so. The polls are plummeting for George W. Bush on a whole variety of questions, including the key approval rating being at a record low for him. But the Democrats seem to be sinking right along with the besieged Republicans. Stan Greenberg, a leading Democratic Party pollster, declares that "feelings about Democrats are at a 54 month low." Another pollster, John Zogby, reports that the Democrats are floundering because people do not perceive them as having any credible national leaders.

Instead of drawing bright and bold lines with the Republicans about the nation’s future directions, leaders in the Democratic Party have persuaded themselves to just stand by and let the Republicans sink themselves. By standing by, the Democrats are feeding the "pox on both your houses" mindset of many citizens.

Apart from protecting social security, what do the Democrats fight for these days? As a Party they are headless regarding the Iraq war-occupation. Their leaders cannot even follow some of their own members in Congress and propose a responsible but definitive exit strategy. This is the passive case even though there are former leading retired military, diplomatic and intelligence officials who have done just that.

I and others have called on the Democrats to raise the roof on Bush’s grotesque dereliction in still not providing adequate protective armor for the military vehicles in Iraq. Billions for the Halliburtons; lethal excuses for the soldiers.

Also, deliberately undercounting US casualties in Iraq because thousands of serious injuries and sicknesses were not incurred directly in combat is a monumental display of disrespect by Bush for these soldiers and their families. Lowballing the human casualties keeps the public’s political opposition lower than putting out the truth about the injury and sickness toll being double the official false figures coming from the Bush regime.

To this day, in criticizing Mr. Bush, even the anti-war Democrats like Rep. Dennis Kucinich use the false lowball figure of injuries.

To this day, Democratic House Leader, Nancy Pelosi, with arguably the most anti-war constituents in the nation residing in her California district, is not leading the Democrats with even comparable statements that some Republicans are making.

Consider the following:

From Vietnam war veteran, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, who, after returning from one of several trips to Iraq, said: "We should start figuring out how we get out of thereour involvement there has destabilized the Middle East. And the longer we stay there, I think the further destabilization will occur."

From Rep. John Duncan, Jr., conservative Republican from Tennessee, who urges conservatives to oppose the "undeclared and unnecessary war" not only because of the deaths but because "there is nothing conservative about this war;itmean[s] massive foreign aid, [and] huge deficit spending."

From CIA Director Porter Goss, who told the Senate in February that the war in Iraq has become a recruitment and training ground for more and more terrorists who will go back to other countries.

From Walter B. Jones, Jr., Republican Congressman from North Carolina, comes the declaration that he wants out of Iraq ­ a war he once prominently supported but does no longer because the President did not tell him the truth when invading that country.

These legislators come from regions where a much larger percentage of the people support the war than in Nancy Pelosi’s District. There is a growing majority of Americans who believe that war was a costly mistake and want out.

On other major matters affecting and afflicting the American people, the Democrats, dominated by their corporate connectors, are not up front.

On defending our civil justice system from the corporate attack on injured or defrauded people’s right to their full day in court, the Democratic Party is gutless.

On moving serious corporate reforms to stop corporate crimes that have drained trillions from workers, investors and pensioneers, the Democrats are spineless.

On challenging the huge waste, fraud and corruption in government contracts and programs under the Republicans, the Democrats are hapless.

On raising the impoverished minimum wage to give working Americans a living wage, the way Senator Ted Kennedy has been calling for, the Democratic Party is clueless.

The Democratic Party will continue sliding into serial haplessness until a new breed of "jolters" comes to take over.

RALPH NADER is the author of The Good Fight.

For more information, see DemocracyRising.US.

























CLARIFICATION

ALEXANDER COCKBURN, JEFFREY ST CLAIR, BECKY GRANT AND THE INSTITUTE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF JOURNALISTIC CLARITY, COUNTERPUNCH

We published an article entitled "A Saudiless Arabia" by Wayne Madsen dated October 22, 2002 (the "Article"), on the website of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, CounterPunch, www.counterpunch.org (the "Website").

Although it was not our intention, counsel for Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi has advised us the Article suggests, or could be read as suggesting, that Mr Al Amoudi has funded, supported, or is in some way associated with, the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

We do not have any evidence connecting Mr Al Amoudi with terrorism.

As a result of an exchange of communications with Mr Al Amoudi’s lawyers, we have removed the Article from the Website.

We are pleased to clarify the position.

August 17, 2005