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Does Anyone Here Have a Spine?

 

I guess it was bound to happen. We now have striking proof that what passes for the various progressive movements here in Oregon Has morphed into a mindless pro-Kerry movement.

The same nonprofit, pro-Democrat professionals and political careerists who gave us the bankrupt ABB virus have shed all pretenses and sent out a letter under the auspices of something called United Progressives for Victory.

Here’s the offending missive and my responses:

An Open Letter to Oregon Progressive Voters from United Progressives for Victory

This election is about ending the reign of George Bush, who is intent on dismantling and destroying all that we have worked for years to achieve. This election is about the continued survival of progressive values in American political life.

MD: Somehow by unconditionally surrendering to the party that has recently done all it could to dismantle the New Deal will help the survival of progressive values?

For years we have fought for social and economic justice, for access to health care, for a cleaner environment, for better education for our children and for better jobs for our workers. We have opposed economic and environmental racism, discrimination against gays and lesbians, and have fought against the ever-stronger influence of corporate interests over government decision-making.

Economic Justice–Kerry has voted for NAFTA, GATT, WTO, PNTR with China and Vietnam, etc.

Health Care–Kerry has no record whatsoever after 20 years in the Senate regarding reforming health care. The incoherent “plan” he touted at the third debate would leave over 20 million Americans without health coverage.

Cleaner Environment–when the New England cod fishery collapsed, Kerry fought against limits and railed against bad science ­ taking the anti-environment position in backyard issues and pro-environemnt stands on issues far away–much like that ineffective, unpleasant, “progressive” signer of the letter Rep. Peter DeFazio does on environmental issues other than Timber Policy in Oregon.

Better Education ­ Kerry voted FOR the No Child Left Behind Act.

Antigay and Lesbian Discrimination ­ Kerry has forcefully come out against Gay Marriage and did so yet again in the third debate.

Corporate influence ­ Kerry has been a top recipient of corporate cash for years. A detailed analysis of Kerry’s corporate funders was published by In These Times. Kerry has garnered over $1.2 million per day since the Super Tuesday Primaries. It’s virtually ALL corporate cash. Economist writers John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge concluded “The Democrats are marginally less addicted to corporate largesse than the K Street conservatives at the helm of the Republican Party, but only in the way that a cokehead is in less trouble than a heroin junkie.”

And massive amounts of questionable pro-Democrat corporate moneys have been pumped into environmental and peace groups in support of Kerry’s campaign. George Soros alone pumped $10 million into the liberal front group Americans Coming Together (ACT) and then garnered a similar total from his cronies. Soros has put and estimated $30 million of his money into projects designed to influence the vote towards Kerry, including over $5 million to another liberal anti-Bush activist group, MoveOn.org.

We’ve yet to find out who anonymously donated over $100 million to the Sierra Club, one of the most obvious pro-Democrat fronts.

Another four years of George Bush is four more years of right-wing conservatives coming back to finish the job of destroying our environmental and consumer protections, weakening our public education and civil liberties, taking away a woman’s right to choose, sending jobs overseas and taking away from working families to give tax breaks to the rich.

Again, Kerry was one of 74 Senators who voted to repeal Welfare. He voted FOR Justice Scalia’s appointment to the Supreme Court. And Kerry not only voted for it, he even brags about writing parts of the Patriot Act.

As to Choice, I simply cannot decipher what Kerry’s muddled position is here, other than he sure uses the issue every time it’s brought up to cite his Catholic connection to JFK.

Republicans want to stay in power and they’re using whatever means necessary, including circulating petitions to get Ralph Nader on the ballot and sending him thousands of dollars to support his campaign. And they are still using Ralph Nader today to divide and conquer the progressive vote, with their support of a Nader write-in campaign in Oregon.

Puhleeze! “Whatever means necessary?” The Democrat Secretary of State in Oregon made up rules to disenfranchise over 10,000 petition signers in order to keep Ralph Nader off the ballot. Pro-Kerry union goons intimidated Nader petitioners, including knocking on doors at night and threatening people.

We say to all progressive voters in Oregon: Don’t fall for the dirty tricks of the right wing!

I agree. Never fall for the dirty tricks of either branch of the right-wing?

We share Ralph’s passion for America’s workers and consumers. We stand with him in demanding that all Americans must have access to healthcare. We agree with him that we have to work to keep our economy strong, our children healthy, our communities safe and to make corporations respect the laws of our nation. We, too, value a more peaceful world where America is respected again.

But we will not vote for him this election. It is too close and too important to risk our future on a vote for Ralph that will give George Bush four more years to destroy the causes we care about. So we will not be writing in Ralph Nader’s name on November 2. We will be casting our ballots for John Kerry and John Edwards.

Vote for whomever you wish. But, quit perpetuating the lie that Nader and Nader voters cost Democrats. 350,000 registered Democrats voted for Bush in Florida; Gore won; the Democrats rolled over and went along with the coup. Does that deserve support? I think not.

The epistle ends on this sour note:

Your vote is your voice this election. Make both of them heard loud and clear. Stand with us. Support Ralph Nader’s legacy by voting for John Kerry. Together we will be the difference in the United States in 2004.

Kerry’s War Flip Flop Trifecta

What insulting crap. They didn’t even mention Kerry’s rabid pro-war stance or the Democrats’ Military Pageant of a Convention. So, I will. Here’s a sampling of Kerry quotes from the First Debate:

“And I’m going to lead those troops to victory.”

“I will never let those troops down, and will hunt and kill the terrorists wherever they are.”

“I’m going to get it right for those soldiers, because it’s important to Israel, it’s important to America, it’s important to the world, it’s important to the fight on terror.”

Yep. That’s right ­ in that order. But, that doesn’t stop Peace Advocates from pimping for him.

He gets a trifecta on wars he has been on all sides of when you add in his comments on the invasion of Grenada where he first said in his 1984 Senate campaign: “The invasion represented a bully’s show of force against a Third World nation. The invasion only served to heighten world tensions.”

And then this year he told the same Boston Globe that the Grenada invasion was among the ones he supported. “I was dismissive of the majesty of the invasion of Grenada, but I basically was supportive. I never publicly opposed it,” he said.

It’s bad enough that the unbalanced Rep. Peter DeFazio is on the list of signers. Yet, perhaps the most enlightening thing about how fear-driven these self-proclaimed progressives are is that Harry Lonsdale is signed on here with many of the very same folks who stabbed him in the back and founded the 1990 Democrats for Hatfield when Lonsdale ran against the corrupt senator, who himself recently wrote a commentary in favor of the war, to the delight of his right-wing evangelical brethren and no comment at all from his former peace movement backers.

I remember vividly the anti-Lonsdale attacks of some of these same folks. Oregon PeaceWorks’ longtime editor and board member Peter Bergel, one of the Hatfield supporters behind the 1990 effort to undermine Lonsdale, is a prominent signer of the document. But, then again, it was Green Party member Lonsdale who first surrendered and defined the vacant ABB position back in February in a widely distributed opinion piece.

The Company They Keep

We have a major crisis here in Oregon centered squarely on the Democratic Party. The Democrats have held the governorship for 15 years of steady decline and the rot is palpable. In addition to Secretary of Disenfranchisement Bradbury’s antidemocratic actions, the godfather of Oregon Democrats, former Governor Neil Goldschmidt, has recently admitted to a past years-long rape of a teenager — only after the state’s major newspaper was about to release its findings. No one in the Democratic Party — even though many in the party’s inner circles knew of the rape all along, including current Governor and Goldschmidt protege Ted Kulongoski — cut ties with Goldschmidt or exposed him. To her credit, state Sen. Vicki Walker (D-Eugene) did take it on and helped break the story this year. Too bad she signed on to the letter, as well.

Three-term Democratic Congressman David Wu has even more recently admitted to perpetrating a sexual assault while in college — again, only after the newspaper printed it.

We’re not talking consensual sex a la Clinton here. We’re talking sexual assaults — going unexposed and unpunished for years. The Republicans forced Jack Ryan out of running for Senate in Illinois simply because he took his wife to a sex club! What if he’d been an Oregon Democrat?

Goldschmidt, his current wife and others have also been implicated in schemes to fleece the state’s public employee pension fund (PERS) and the quasi-private occupational accident insurance fund (SAIF). Yet, the silence of these same “progressives” on all this has been deafening. Instead of taking on such corruption and criminality, they join here with members of the very same complicit Democratic Party establishment and go after Nader.

In the end, this has a lot more to do with perceived political access and grant money than it has to do with the issues raised — obviously. Somehow, all these people who consider themselves progressives have morphed into backers of a pro-War, pro-corporate opportunist.

Guess I’m no longer a “progressive.”

MICHAEL DONNELLY of Salem, OR is a longtime forest activist. He is a contributor to CounterPunch’s new book on the 2004 elections, A Dime’s Worth of Difference. He can be reached at pahtoo@aol.com

 

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MICHAEL DONNELLY has been an environmental activist since before that first Earth Day. He was in the thick of the Pacific Northwest Ancient Forest Campaign; garnering some collective victories and lamenting numerous defeats. He can be reached at pahtoo@aol.com

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