"News Fit to Transmit in the Post Cassini Flyby Era"
Special Endorsement Issue - CBS 60 Minutes II on Missile Defense - Peltier Benefit Press Release
It is about a week from the U.S. Presidential Elections with much debate on a Nader vs. Gore vote that could swing the election to Bush. Four years with George Bush as President could prove disastrous. He is a bigger supporter of big oil, missile defense, Reaganomics, and a racist and cruel prison industrial complex. Based on these and many other issues, including the best situtation for Leonard Peltier, Flyby News is endorsing Al Gore in tightly contested states and Ralph Nader / Winnona LaDuke of the Green Party in states where a vote doesn't jeopardize accelerating policies that threaten irreversible harm to our environment. Flyby News' win/win strategy for Al Gore and the Green Party is in concern for the planet and an opportunity for better choices in 2004.
Another Flyby News Endorsement is for Carla Howell,
who is a Libertarian Candidate challenging Ted Kennedy's seat for Senator of Massachusetts. Carla Howell is for small and efficient government/military, individual freedom and the transformation of the criminal justice system by ending the prohibition of drugs. She is clearly spoken with an intelligent transformative agenda. We need significant change, sooner rather than later, without making matters worse.
Please, make your vote count November 7!
1) Maximizing Ralph: The Free Nader Vote
2) 60 Minutes II, On Tuesday October 31
2 Part Special On Star Wars
3) News Release - Peltier Benefit
Countdown to Clemency
1) Maximizing Ralph: The Free Nader Vote
Maximizing Ralph: The Free Nader Vote
Don Hazen, AlterNet
October 10, 2000
For liberals and progressives (and any radicals or anarchists who are voting), it's getting close to the time to fish or cut bait in the presidential election. The choice this year appears to be a stark one: vote enthusiastically for Ralph Nader, whose critique of corporate power is filled with outrage and overwhelming facts and figures, or hold your noise and vote for Al Gore, who -- in supporting increased military spending, massive prison expansion, the murderous drug war, the current health care system and much more -- is neither liberal nor progressive.
No issue has dominated liberal and progressive political debate more this election cycle than the Gore/Nader dilemma. Many pages of rhetoric and much public hand-wringing has gone into deciding who to vote for, especially in lefty magazines like The Nation and In These Times, on progressive web sites like TomPaine.com and NewsforChange.com, and in public gatherings like the big Nation event in LA during the Democratic Convention and a recent conference in New York called "Independent Politics in the Global Age."
The Nader vote is risky, according to the conventional wisdom, because it could be a vote for Bush, who would turn back the clock of social progress. The Gore vote is the safe one, the infamous "lesser of two evils." Voting safe suggests protecting such cherished goals like worker's rights and a women's right to chose.
But is this conventional wisdom correct? Must we choose between idealism and pragmatism? Must we fall back to a candidate we don't want, when there is a candidate who is articulating virtually every issue we care about with clarity and intelligence? The answer is a clear no -- the Nader/Gore dichotomy is a big exaggeration. Here's why.
The overwhelming majority of states are shoe-ins for either Bush or Gore. In fact, their campaigns have already decided that more than 35 states where there are significant leads for one candidate aren't worth fighting over, and their voters don't deserve a nickel's worth of political ads. In New York, for example, Gore is ahead by 19 points. Why would the parties squander their soft money there?
Likewise, why would a progressive New Yorker squander their vote on Gore?
The Ivins Rule
Given the nature of our winner-take-all, corporate-money-drenched democracy, many believe that voting isn't the best way to create social progress. For them, voting is tactical; it's about setting the agenda and holding politicians accountable. In this election, progressives who feel that way have an opportunity to make a significant statement, to send a loud and clear message to the political establishment -- we won't let our issues be left out of politics anymore.
[for a Reference Article by Molly Ivins on Star Wars
Actually, the concept is pretty simple, as the ever-wise Molly Ivins points out.
She has written:
"My voting philosophy is simple: In the primaries, go with your heart; in the finals, vote your brain.... The point here is to move the debate. I am so sick of having to listen to Newt-Gingrich, Rush-Limbaugh Republicans and the Democrats who keep caving to them that I'll vote Nader in a New York minute. OK, that's because I live in Texas, where a vote for Nader is a 'free vote.' Our electors are going to Dubya no matter how Democrats here vote, so for us this is the equivalent of a primary vote: Go with your heart. The same is true in states with the reverse situation. Massachusetts and New York will go Democratic no matter how the progressives vote; and if we can get Nader and the Green Party the 5 percent they need to qualify for federal spending in 2004, we will, in fact, move the debate. There's every reason to do it, and no reason not to. As for you voters in swing states, where you might actually make a difference, why don't we wait and see how it looks in November?"
This tidbit of wisdom will be forever known as the Ivins Rule. Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel calls the Ivins Rule "strategic voting." But hey, shouldn't all voting be strategic?
As sociologist Harry Levine reminds us, "election results nowadays are very knowable -- not the exact percentage of the vote, but the outcome and likely range of victory. Gore, Lieberman, Bush and Cheney are all campaigning like mad in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Missouri, Florida and a few other states because those are the states where the elction is turning, where it's close. The rest of the states are fairly certain to go one way or the other, and there are good guesses about the percentage."
Why is voting for Nader without risk possible? Because of the Electoral College, it makes no difference if Gore or Bush win a particular state by one vote or by a million. The president is not elected by the popular vote, but by a majority (270) of the 538 electoral votes. These electoral votes are cast by state, and it's winner-take-all within each state. Thus, a Nader vote has no chance of "spoiling" the outcome for Al Gore unless it potentially changes the outcome within each state. And for 90 percent of the states (including the biggest ones), that's not going to happen.
Many articulate Goreites have missed this point, and insist on hammering home the spoiler argument. Of course, we need to consider their motivation. From Paul Wellstone to Barney Frank, Jesse Jackson (both Senior and Junior, although at least Junior tried to get Nader into the presidential debates) to Bob Borosage, Joe Conason and on and on, they are elected officals who need the Democrats to get themselves reeclected, or people with funding ties to trade unions deeply invested in a Gore victory, or pundits with sources of inside information in White House establishment, etc, etc.
It's not that these Gore apologists should be completely blamed. These guys are practicing the pragmatic politics that works for them, a position they think is the "left wing of the possible." But working constantly within the system and losing touch with the larger progressive base -- especially with the many disgusted voters who have dropped out -- can backfire on you in the end. Much more than a solid Gore victory is possible in this election. If progressives vote smart, we could elevate the Nader populist critique to much larger audiences.
To make the numbers case is Steve Cobble, a Nader supporter but one who, as an advisor for Jesse Jackson and many others, has earned a reputation as one of the most acute analysts of voter patterns and the arcane machinations of the political system. Cobble broken down the numbers in an article for TomPaine.com, and come to this conclusion:
"Except for a very small number of states, progressives have a free vote. They can vote their conscience for Ralph Nader, and help him get the 5 percent he needs to build a new fourth party. In at least two-thirds of the country, and perhaps as many as nine states out of ten, a vote for Ralph Nader is not a vote for George Bush. It's really a vote for Ralph Nader."
Here is Cobble's run down, state by state:
(1) Safe for Bush (17 states): Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming.
In these states, every progressive can vote for Nader knowing that they are not endangering the Supreme Court in any way.
(2) Leaning toward Bush (7 states): Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Nevada, New Hampshire.
Same basic rule -- in these states, progressives can vote for Ralph safe in the knowledge that none of these states are absolutely necessary to build a winning electoral coalition for Gore.
(3) Safe for Gore (15 states): California, Connecticut, D.C., Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, West Virginia, Vermont.
In these states, progressives can not only vote safely for Nader, they can each recruit one or two other friends to vote for Ralph, secure in the knowledge that George Bush has given up (or will give up in early October) on winning these electoral votes.
(4) Leaning toward Gore (7 states): Delaware, Iowa, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, Wisconsin.
These states are likely to end up in Gore's column, unless he badly blows the debates. If they do maintain his current lead, then progressives are secure in voting for Nader.
(5) Toss-up (5 states): Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio.
In these five swing states, the Ivins Rule applies most strongly -- check the state polls right before election day, then make your judgment.
The Moore Rule
There is another complementary take on the Ivins Rule -- the Michael Moore rule:
"If you didn't vote at all in 1996, then you are free to vote for Ralph Nader no matter where you live. As a non-voters, you are part of the biggest party of all, and you should come to the polls to help build a fourth party that can offer you more choices in future elections."
Moore goes on to note that if non-voters show up at the polls for Ralph, they are likely to vote for Democrats in state and local elections, since most races don't have Green Party candidates on the ballot. In that scenario, Gore and the Democrats will owe Nader a big thank you, especially if the extra voters help secure the House or Senate for the Dems.
Cobble makes a similar appeal:
"If it bothers you that you might be a 'spoiler,' then follow the [Ivins Rule] and you won't risk it. If it doesn't bother you, then let's spend the last few weeks identifying and turning out the 5 percent we need to build an alternative (while taking back the House from the remaining Gingrich crowd at the same time, and maybe even the Senate from Helms and Hatch).
"I support Ralph Nader because he is a genuine American hero, a leader of unquestioned integrity, and a lifelong progressive. He is campaigning on the issues that I believe will most affect the earth in the next few decades -- the impact of globalization on working people and the environment, the rising inequality in wealth, and the increasing corporate domination of democracy."
If these arguments from Cobble and Ivins and Moore can't calm the nerves of jittery progressives everywhere, it may be that nothing can. But with Gore creeping ahead in the polls -- he has 45 percent to Bush's 41 in the very comprehensive American Research Group poll -- it may be a victory for both the Democrats and the Greens come November.
2) 60 Minutes II, On Tuesday October 31
2 Part Special On Star Wars
Next Tuesday (Oct. 31) at 9pm EST (check local listings to confirm time), 60 Minutes II on CBS will air a special two-part program on Star Wars, focusing on Nira Schwartz, the whistleblower at TRW, and Dr. Ted Postol, the MIT physicist whose letter to the White House detailing inherent weaknesses in the Star Wars program was classified as secret.
This is an excellent opportunity to write a brief letter to the editor of your local paper denouncing the Star Wars coverup. Below is a sample letter. Feel free to modify or write your own letter.
To the Editor:
The recent 60 Minutes II show on Star Wars national missile defense confirms that the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization and the contractors working on Star Wars are more keen on protecting their own jobs and profits than protecting the American people. Now it is plain for everyone to see, that for $70 billion the taxpayers get a system that cannot distinguish between a missile and a decoy, and an illegal attempt by the government to cover up that fact. It's time to put an end to this massive corporate welfare program and seek real security through the proven process of arms control.
A few tips before you submit your letter:
* Know your paper's policy about length requirements and deadlines,
* Include your name, address, and phone number to allow for newspaper confirmation,
* Don't forget follow-up. If your leter is not printed immediately, resubmit an edited form with a slightly different angle.
If your letter is published, _PLEASE_ send us an original (if possible) or
at least a good clean copy.
James C. Bridgman
Research & Resource Coordinator
Peace Action Education Fund
1819 H St., NW, #425
Washington, DC 20006
3) News Release - Peltier Benefit
Countdown to Clemency
Benefit for Leonard Peltier, Northampton, MA
Thursday, November 9, 2000 7:00-10:00 P.M.
Leonard Peltier Support Group
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
Gina Chiala, Pat Benabi, Jean Day
P.O. Box 583, Lawrence, KS 66044
Tel: 785-842-5774, Fax: 5796
The Leonard Peltier Support Group of Greater New England is sponsoring music benefits and meetings in support of Native American Activist, Leonard Peltier. The program presented at the Iron Horse Music Hall on October 19 was a success, featuring an exciting blend of speakers, readings from Leonard Peltier's book called Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sun Dance and more than four hours of creative, diverse music by four excellent bands. The next event is scheduled Thursday, November 9 at the Fire and Water Cafe from 7:00 to 10:00 P.M. with acoustic sets by Abdul Baki, Rob Skelton, Jennifer Greer and special guests.
"The purpose of these events," said organizer Jonathan Mark, "is to build a momentum and support for an international action for Leonard Peltier." Many individuals from the Pioneer Valley will be joining people from around the world to participate in the "Free Peltier March" on Sunday, December 10, noon from Union Square to the United Nations on the anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The United Nations has recognized Leonard Peltier as a Human Rights Defender. People interested in bus transportation to NYC from central New England can contact Nicole at 413-586-4632 or , or come early to the Fire and Water Benefit November 9 at 6:00 P.M. for an organizational meeting.
Leonard Peltier may now be facing the most critical time ever in his campaign for freedom and indeed, his life. His only chance for a near future release lies in the hands of President Clinton by Executive Clemency. Already, seven years have passed since Leonard Peltier filed his petition (in a process that normally takes six to nine months). At this point, Leonard and many supporters would welcome a Presidential Pardon "for time served." This is quite reasonable since formerly withheld evidences forced the government to change its position from the time of the trial to later admitting that they couldn't prove who actually shot the two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1975.
Robert Redford's film, Incident at Oglala, tells more of this story and the surrounding circumstances of a time still described by Pine Ridge residents as during the Reign of Terror. Sixty-three Traditional Native Americans were killed from 1973 to 1976. Amnesty International claims Leonard Peltier is a political prisoner, who should be "immediately and unconditionally released." Such concerns are echoed by European Parliaments, Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and millions of people, who believe that Leonard Peltier's freedom is critical for human rights everywhere.
Call the White House Comment Line Today (202)456-1111
Support Presidential Executive Clemency to Free Leonard Peltier
FREE PELTIER MARCH -- DECEMBER 10 -- NYC -- http://www.FreePeltier.org