FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Nine Arguments for Nader

Here’s a number that offers telling reasons for voting for Ralph Nader in the fall. Nine Democrats. Last week the US senate finally voted $934 million to wage war in Colombia. The House voted earlier this year to provide $1.7 billion in anti-narcotics aid for Colombia over a two year period. The Senate bill only covers the first year.

So where does the “nine Democrats” number figure in this picture? The sum total of puissant legislators who voted for Senator Paul Wellstone’s amendment, that would have taken $225 million from the $934 million and spend it instead on domestic drug treatment programs, consisted of nine Democrats and two Republicans. Here they are: Boxer (D-CA)(co-sponsor), Grams (R-MN) Murray (D-WA), Byrd (D-WV), Harkin (D-IA), Specter (R-PA), Dorgan (D-ND), Leahy (D-VT), Wellstone (D-MN), Feingold (D-WI), Mikulski (D-MD).

Notice how closely the numbers mimic the few cosponsors of Feingold’s bill to slap a moratorium on the federal death penalty. And where were those supposed liberals like Kennedy, Kerry, Bayh, Feinstein, Schumer, Torricelli, Levin, Durbin, Reid, Reed, Sarbanes? We need the Democrats to recapture Congress?

Here’s another number: nineteen,
being the senators who voted in favor of Slade Gorton’s (R-WA) amendment slashing the Colombia package from nearly one billion to $200 million in order to pay down the national debt: Allard (R-CO), Gorton (R-WA), Kohl (D-W), Boxer (D-CA), Gramm (R-TX), Leahy (D-VT), Collins (R-ME), Grams (R-MN, Mikulski (D-MD), Craig (R-ID), Gregg (R-NH), Murray (D-WA), Crapo (R-ID), Harkin (D-IA), Specter (R-PA, Enzi (R-WY), Hutchinson (R-AR), Thomas (R-WY), Fitzgerald (R-IL).

So here we have the alliance against folly in Colombia, cemented between Republican fiscal conservatives and the radical Democratic faction. If you toss in Feingold and Wellstone, who didn’t vote for Gorton’s amendment we reach a grand total of 21 senators unpersuaded by the administration’s arguments that the way to win the war on drugs here is to throw money into the banks accounts of Colombian military officers and Pentagon contractors. New Yorkers will note the absence of their two Democratic senators ? Moynihan and Schumer – from the list.

The administration is fighting a counterinsurgency war under the pretext of drug interdiction, as George W. Bush accurately points out. (Bush, please note, is all in favor of counter-insurgency in Colombia, thus buttressing allegations that he dealt cocaine in his Yale years. All dealers like prices supports for their product, which one of the prime consequences of US drug interdiction.)

What of the dreaded “narco-guerillas”?
As the Council on Hemispheric Affairs in Washington sensibly pointed out last week, “The FARC, founded by Marxist guerrillas decades before the emergence of cocaine production in Colombia, imposes ‘taxes’ on drug lords and coca farmers to fund their multi-million dollar military operations, its militants are rarely involved in the actual cultivation and trafficking of drugs. In fact, the right-wing paramilitary, which both the Colombian and U.S. governments acknowledge is responsible for 78 percent of the nation’s human rights violations, is known to be far more deeply involved in narco-trafficking than their leftist counterparts. While the U.S. aid package will undoubtedly reduce drug production, the paramilitary groups’ deep ties to the Colombian armed forces and large-scale dependence on the drug trade will invariably lead to selective eradication efforts.”

But all this commotion over the senate vote obscures the fact that the US is already waging a major bio-war in Colombia, evoking the bio-war waged with Agent Orange against Vietnam thirty five years ago. The Colombian national police force has already is already busy spraying from the air, with the financial backing of the U.S. Colombia is getting $330 million during this year and the next irrespective of the new Senate legislation).

As in Vietnam, aerial spraying has indiscriminately doused people, fields and livestock with poison. International observers say that the toxic effects of this spraying have destroyed vegetable crops and fruit orchards and contaminated streams and lakes, killing fish and farm animals. Several children have reportedly died after being doused by the spraying. Thus far, the hardy coca plant has been resistant to these poisons, flourishing in contaminated soil. McCaffrey’s triumph could be to wipe out all agriculture other than coca-growing. His next stroke, disclosed in the June 1-15 edition of CounterPunch, is to launch a fungus developed by US bio-warriors, designed to attack the coca plant and opium poppy. This fungus could, so to speak, jump the tracks and further devastate Colombian crops. Meanwhile, if conditions in Colombia prove too arduous, the drug lords will simply shift operations to Ecuador or Peru, just as they shifted from Bolivia to Colombia.

Back to the halls of Congress,
and yet another number for you. In a 363-56 vote reps of we-the-people defeated a motion that would have withdrawn the approval of Congress from the agreement establishing the WTO. Under the 1994 laws authorizing U.S. entry in the WTO the administration has to submit a report on the costs and benefits of membership. After the report is filed, any member of Congress can sponsor a resolution to withdraw from WTO.

Ron Paul of Texas duly did so, arguing that U.S. entry in the WTO is illegal and unconstitutional, Paul said. “It is the U.S. Congress that has the authority to regulate foreign commerce. Nobody else.” As with the senate resolution on Colombia put forward by Gorton, Paul and such Republican legislators as Bob Barr of Georgia formed common cause with anti-WTO radical Democrats like Kucinich or McKinney.

So there’s the math.
About 30 senators and 56 representatives can be relied upon to the right thing on big ticket items like wars abroad and the WTO. Against them are ranged the massed legislators of the Permanent Government , which is presently exerting itself mightily to keep Ralph Nader out of any debating venue for presidential candidates where he might have an opportunity to lay out these realities. CP

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink co-written with Joshua Frank. He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net. Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined! and A Colossal Wreck are available from CounterPunch.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
February 21, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Election Con 2020: Exposing Trump’s Deception on the Opioid Epidemic
Joshua Frank
Bloomberg is a Climate Change Con Man
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Billion Dollar Babies
Paul Street
More Real-Time Reflections from Your Friendly South Loop Marxist
Jonathan Latham
Extensive Chemical Safety Fraud Uncovered at German Testing Laboratory
Ramzy Baroud
‘The Donald Trump I know’: Abbas’ UN Speech and the Breakdown of Palestinian Politics
Martha Rosenberg
A Trump Sentence Commutation Attorneys Generals Liked
Ted Rall
Bernie Should Own the Socialist Label
Louis Proyect
Encountering Malcolm X
Kathleen Wallace
The Debate Question That Really Mattered
Jonathan Cook
UN List of Firms Aiding Israel’s Settlements was Dead on Arrival
George Wuerthner
‘Extremists,’ Not Collaborators, Have Kept Wilderness Whole
Colin Todhunter
Apocalypse Now! Insects, Pesticide and a Public Health Crisis  
Stephen Reyna
A Paradoxical Colonel: He Doesn’t Know What He is Talking About, Because He Knows What He is Talking About.
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A New Solar Power Deal From California
Richard Moser
One Winning Way to Build the Peace Movement and One Losing Way
Laiken Jordahl
Trump’s Wall is Destroying the Environment We Worked to Protect
Walden Bello
Duterte Does the Right Thing for a Change
Jefferson Morley
On JFK, Tulsi Gabbard Keeps Very Respectable Company
Vijay Prashad
Standing Up for Left Literature: In India, It Can Cost You Your Life
Gary Leupp
Bloomberg Versus Bernie: The Upcoming Battle?
Ron Jacobs
The Young Lords: Luchadores Para La Gente
Richard Klin
Loss Leaders
Gaither Stewart
Roma: How Romans Differ From Europeans
Kerron Ó Luain
The Soviet Century
Mike Garrity
We Can Fireproof Homes But Not Forests
Fred Baumgarten
Gaslighting Bernie and His Supporters
Joseph Essertier
Our First Amendment or Our Empire, But Not Both
Peter Linebaugh
A Story for the Anthropocene
Danny Sjursen
Where Have You Gone Smedley Butler?
Jill Richardson
A Broken Promise to Teachers and Nonprofit Workers
Binoy Kampmark
“Leave Our Bloke Alone”: A Little Mission for Julian Assange
Wade Sikorski
Oil or Food? Notes From a Farmer Who Doesn’t Think Pipelines are Worth It
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of Vengeance
Hilary Moore – James Tracy
No Fascist USA! Lessons From a History of Anti-Klan Organizing
Linn Washington Jr.
Ridiculing MLK’s Historic Garden State ‘Firsts’
L. Michael Hager
Evaluating the Democratic Candidates: the Importance of Integrity
Jim Goodman
Bloomberg Won’t, as They Say, Play Well in Peoria, But Then Neither Should Trump
Olivia Alperstein
We Need to Treat Nuclear War Like the Emergency It Is
Jesse Jackson
Kerner Report Set Standard for What a Serious Presidential Candidate Should Champion
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Home Sweet Home: District Campaign Financing
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Latest BLM Hoodwinkery: “Fuel Breaks” in the Great Basin
Wendell Griffen
Grace and Gullibility
Nicky Reid
Hillary, Donald & Bernie: Three Who Would Make a Catastrophe
David Yearsley
Dresden 75
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail