Stop the Train or Just Slow It Down?

I recently went to an impeach-Bush event at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland with my 9-year-old daughter Eileen, and I was immediately saddened to see that all the people there (including me and except for Eileen) had gray hair, and that less than half of the seats were filled. Eileen was privileged that night to see two of the most famous living American patriots, Daniel Ellsberg and Cindy Sheehan, speaking passionately and eloquently for the impeachment of George Bush and Dick Cheney.

Before the speeches started, I got into an argument with a trim older gentleman over voting for Barack Obama vs. voting for Ralph Nader. His analogy was that we're all riding on a train headed for disaster, and that the Democrats look out the left window and want to head towards the sea, while the Republicans look out the right window and want to head towards the mountains. "But no matter who gets to drive," he said, "it's the same train on the same track, and there's a 'Bridge Out!' sign up ahead. It is time to stop selling our political souls, to stop voting for the 'best worst' [as Ralph Nader puts it]. It's time to vote for what we believe, for what is right!" And for him, the ONLY viable choice, if we are to have any hope of stopping the train and putting down new track, is independent candidate Ralph Nader.

I argued that the result of millions of us progressives voting our consciences for Nader in the 2000 election was that Gore got considerably less of the popular vote, and that had we voted for Gore, the two major crimes of the election, the theft of many thousands of black votes by computer database purges spearheaded by Jeb Bush in Florida and the treasonous appointment of Bush to the presidency by the Supreme Court, would have seemed more blatant and more criminal. I mentioned that for a few days, Nader had held the power to choose the next president of the United States. He could have given his votes to Gore at the last minute like Ross Perot gave his votes to Bill Clinton, and a million Iraqis who are now dead would almost certainly be alive, drinking tea, going to classes, watching TV, walking around right this minute. Bush "won" Florida by only 537 votes, I added.

I admitted that Obama is no great Savior and that he would probably continue making compromises and selling us out. But you must admit, I said, that Engineer Obama would slow the train down, relative to the speed it would continue going if John McCain became the next Engineer. Electing Obama would result in a substantial saving of human lives!

A substantial saving of human lives, maybe millions! I don't know what it is about most Americans that makes them so cavalier about the sacrifice of the lives of non-Americans, especially ones with brownish skin. I sometimes ask people how many DICPT's their car gets (Dead Iraqi Children Per Tank). When Americans, even some progressive ones, talk about casualties in other countries, they do it with the emotionality of someone mentioning ants killed at a picnic.

Further, I argued, since it's a given that most of the passengers on the train are very ignorant, and since it’s a given that the train is literally mowing down millions of Third World people every year as it rushes down the tracks, we can't afford to be so pure and self-righteous when we vote, when our "protest vote" results in horrible injuries and deaths for real people--both Third World people and American people--plus imposes a huge national debt on our own children and grandchildren, basically enslaving them by selling their future labor against their will!

After Obama is elected, I told him, it won't be the end of our political lives. That will be when things just start to get interesting. "If you and I continue to apply our activist energy," I said, "we can push Obama to do the right things to save our country, and if that fails, we can make sure that the next candidate will be even more progressive."

I sympathized with this man's strong urge to vote for Nader, whom he respects and admires. Cynthia McKenney is running for president now as well, as the Green Party candidate, and I think she is perfect for the job. But I wouldn't dare campaign or vote for her because the ignorance of the American people is a given, just like icebergs in the path of an ocean liner, and the ignorant are mentally disabled in such a way that they cannot see her merits. Therefore if she were to start to gain some traction, she would only take votes away from Barack Obama, the only candidate who, in the world as we presently find it, can defeat McCain in November.

It is incredibly bourgeois, decadent, arrogant, and selfish to sacrifice the lives of literally millions of foreigners so you can make your little progressive or libertarian point at the ballot box! As the despicable little Lord Farquaad says in the animated movie Shrek, "Many of you may die, but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make."

McKenney doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell, or an Oreo's chance in milk, or whatever you say about radical black ladies. The same goes for Nader and Libertarian candidate Bob Barr, although they both have much to recommend them. The only way to stop McCain is to vote for Obama, and the only way Obama is going to win is if the people get behind him. If the election were held today, when you include vote stealing and polling-station-intimidation tactics, McCain would probably win.

I didn't mention this to the man at the impeachment event, but one weakness of my argument is that the ignorant, complacent, dim-witted passengers on the train, stirred to just enough awareness by a glimpse of the "Bridge Out!" sign to elect Obama as Engineer, would become complacent again soon after Obama took over the controls of the train and things started to get better. Then, once again, because of their ignorance, they would be susceptible to manipulation by the psychopaths who make money by extracting resources and wealth from Third World people as they mow them down, using the labor and battlefield sacrifices of brave Americans as lubrication for the gears of the train's engine. These selfish psychopaths vaguely realize that the end destination of the train is not good, but the trip to get there is set up perfectly for them to make a killing, pun intended. The title of a recent Noam Chomsky book sums up their attitude nicely: Hegemony or Survival. They have opted for temporary hegemony now instead of long-term survival into the future.

Anybody over 45 has seen this whole cycle play out before. Americans learned nothing from the Vietnam War, even though it had resulted in the needless, immoral, insane killing of 3 million Vietnamese, 1 million Cambodians, and 1 million Laotians, plus over 50,000 American soldiers. Actually, we did learn for a few minutes. After Nixon and Ford, we elected pro-environmental, relatively peaceful Jimmy Carter. But after Carter we relapsed into our intellectual coma and elected the first neocon, Reagan, followed by neocon foot soldiers Bush 1 and Bush 2, and doomed ourselves to repeat the Vietnam War. Now we've added another million deaths in Iraq to our list, and the murder of another 5,000 of our bravest citizens.

So, perhaps I'm arguing not so much for making things better forever as for pulsing them from bad to better and then back to bad again every decade or so! Perhaps voting for Nader, McKenney, or Barr, even if it does hasten World War 3*, is, looking at it from the God's-eye view, the best. Like I've heard many a Republican say, "Nuke 'em all and let God sort 'em out!" Maybe a global thermonuclear war wiping out most or all of humanity is better than a progressive century in which America regains its economic greatness and its reputation for being a beacon of freedom and the most innovative country in the history of humanity. Call me a chicken, but I don't think so!

Maybe we're just screwed, period, like the dinosaurs were.

But at leaast they have good strong liquor on this train, and since I'm riding in one of the nicer, higher cars, I can barely hear the crunching of children's bodies under the wheels or see them splatting against the windows.

It's a fact that most of the passengers on this American train put their hands over their ears whenever you try to talk sense to them, and like children, they loudly chant, "La, la, la, la, la!" until you stop talking. The moment you start reasoning with them again, they cover their ears and start jabbering. We also know from experience how much time it takes to teach even one of these imbeciles to start thinking independently and analytically. Slowing the train down is crucial, because it gives us more time. And time is clearly of the essence!

Ideally, the majority of our people would somehow see the rightness of voting for Nader, McKenney or even the fundamentalist Libertarian Barr (like Marxism and like many religions, Libertarianism would work if human nature were perfect). Then the murderous train could be stopped, new track laid down, and everybody would live happily ever after. The murder of Third World people by Americans would stop, and our treasury would no longer be raided to support a war machine that only enriches billionaires. No longer would our children be plucked off the train to serve in our military, to help clear the way for the billionaires' train to mow down more people and take their stuff.

But I doubt that even Jesus could convince the people to listen, change, and vote for McKenney, Nader, Barr, or the brave Congressman Dennis Kucinich. In order to impress generations of people who have grown up watching amazing special effects in the movies, his miracles would have to be far better this time around.

An announcer began introducing the night's speakers. Ellsberg and Sheehan were taking their places at a long table on the Grand Lake Theater's stage, and I had to end my conversation with the stubborn Nader supporter (pardon my redundancy--the word "stubborn" is not necessary when talking about Libertarians and Nader supporters). I told him, "Don't get me wrong, I do understand how you feel about voting for a man you don't even really believe in. I was ready to campaign full time for Obama, but now that he's bending so far to the right of center and contorting himself a la Gore and Kerry, it's hard for me to even lift a finger to help get him elected. 

But I keep reminding myself that if McCain wins, the quality of my children's lives will almost certainly be diminished for the rest of their lives. Their very lifespans will likely be shortened, and possibly, if McCain gets World War 3 going, shortened down to a very few years! It is certain that McCain would continue to ravage our environment and waste our national treasure. Those are two of his campaign promises.

The speeches by Ellsberg, Sheehan, and others that night were truly great, but I doubt they'll ever show up in history books. As usual with progressive events, we were preaching to the choir. So I'm trying to spread their message where it's not yet being heard. I stand outside of supermarkets and register voters. I give away expensive Obama lawn signs and bumper stickers that I buy at the "Obama Store" on his Web site. And I write e-mails to hundreds of people on my list, providing powerful glimpses of truth via brilliant YouTube videos and short on-line articles by the likes of Naomi Klein, Katha Pollitt, and Robert Scheer. Every bit of buzz we can create through a simple conversation at work or with a prominently placed bumper sticker is worth it. People are very lost right now--there is a vacuum in their minds that needs to be filled--and if people start perceiving Obama as a happening, a lot of them will jump on the bandwagon and vote for him.

If we don't bring younger people into our political process, America is pretty much doomed. Looking across the audience at the Grand Lake Theater impeachment event, I couldn't help wondering who would take over once us graybeards and graymanes bite the dust. You don't need a degree in psychology to realize that McCain isn't going to activate young voters, except maybe to make them feel like smoking more pot or dropping more Ecstasy to blot out the whole mess.

Let me leave you with this thought, and forgive me for repeating myself: It is incredibly bourgeois and decadent to spend the lives of literally millions of foreigners so you can make your little progressive or libertarian point at the ballot box. 

The Real McCain 2
*We might as well start using Arabic numerals instead of Roman numerals. People are going to have have trouble with the Roman numerals when we get up to World War IV, V, IX, etc.


  1. Very good summary. I hope you will continue to post your thoughts in this blog.

    By the way, I think the best way to ensure a Democrat's president is to found an extreme right-wing party and establish a Ralph Nader equivalent on the conservative side.

    Found a party, find someone who is willing to say all the things the bible belt wants to hear and get some votes from the former supporters of the Republicans.

  2. Hi Jeff,
    I met you at movie night and we both noticed the strange lack of bumper stickers on cars lately, especially political ones. I read your comments about this coming election and agree with you on most points. I would just like to comment on a few things about the total picture.
    1. Any semblance of democracy ended when king george stole the first election. Kucinich, Wexler and most democratic leaders realize this but they can't do a damn thing about it if they don't have the 60 votes to break a filibuster. Pelosi knows this but does a very poor job at educating the public of this fact. They need better PR to be honest.
    2. It wasn't just black votes that weren't counted, many white voters were discounted also.
    3. We live in a VERY entrenched 2 party system. Even Ross Perot with his millions of dollars and his very informative charts warning us of NAFTA and the 'giant sucking sound' of loss of jobs could not win the presidency. Some say his life and family was threatened during his second run. He proved he was a real threat because he had money to get the message out. Now, most people are afraid of throwing their vote away and rightly so. In our system, unless it changes to a parlimentary or some form of proportional representation it will always be the lesser of the evils here. Period. Big biz is too entrenched and Americans aren't paying attention and they know it.
    4. I never really was a big conspiracy person before, but with the internet and the information that is currently still available, US military has plans to censor it, there seems to be a lot of crap going on behind the scenes and war may just be a means to a more sinister end. Familiar with PNAC? Some say it's worse than that. Population reduction on a mass scale is one theory. So for these psychos in office, this could just be practice for something much worse. It's all about weapons and information technology! and who conrols it. Bush has allocated billions for new weapons systems. Katrina was practice for disarmament and other crowd control. From what I've read, the military and the intelligence agencies are made up of around 75% republicans. It's probably even more now with the systematic removal and attacks of dissendents and whistle blowers from this crime syndicate. Add fear of reprisal when your in the system and it's not a pretty picture.
    5. You seeI believe they have weapons that are far more dangerous and insidious than most people realize. I'm talking about HAARP, electromagnetic and directed energy weapons that are in place now around the globe. They have spent a lot of money and time since the 50s, a lot of it black budget money on studying the effects of frequency and energy on the human nervous system including ways to control and influence people's minds and behaviour. It's silent, subtle and very effective. It's the perfect weapon. The Army called it 'a revolution in military affairs'. There were reports of the military using them on Iraqis. Just google 'mind control', 'directed energy weapons' 'HAARP'. It's sounds scifi, but that's exactly what they're counting on, dismiss as silly nonsense. Amazingly, there are patents on many of these technologies that are UNclassified and available for the public. Many are classified now and have gone black. I could go on if your interested but consider this, with all the crimes of probably the worst president ever to hold the white house and McCain aligned with him on the war and most issues, why isn't Obama 20 points ahead at least?? European poles show Obama beats McCain across the board, but in the US it's neck and neck. Huh?? No way, something is not right and like I've predicted, if it's even within 4-5 points on election day, they will steal the election for a third time. I believe now that nothing happens by accident or incompetence. That's what they want most people to believe. Just crack jokes about the idiot and everything will be ok when he's gone, WRONG. Most of it is clearly plotted and planned. Eisonhower tried to warn us at his farwell speech, 1961. 'We must guard against the acquitision of unwarranted influence of the 'military, industrial,(congressional) complex'
    6. Your right about young people. Very sad. You can thank the stupid rap culture for most of that problem. The new cool is being and looking like a dumb ass, corporations prop them up and the masses follow. So simple. Most people are always 5-10 years behind the curve and the powers know it.
    Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts. We must continue to fight for what millions of past Americans died, defending the Constitution.
    Live free or die trying.

  3. “It is incredibly bourgeois, decadent, arrogant, and selfish to sacrifice the lives of literally millions of foreigners so you can make your little progressive or libertarian point at the ballot box!”

    wow how intellectually dishonest and scraping the bottom of the barrel of you. You not only imply that because i want to vote for Cynthia Mckinney i have blood on my hands but you also put it in red font? you remind me of someone you probably hate.... Fox News.

  4. fluorescent, but his point is a valid one: You personally help McCain winning the vote. Even if you disagree, everything McCain will do in the future is also because of you. Your intentions are good, but its not the intentions that count but facts.

    And fact is, that every vote Obama doesn't get is a vot pro McCain.

  5. "anonymous", you make 6 good points. I agree with all but the part about the conspiracy theories. There may be something to them, but you can spend months on the Web reading about them and never get anywhere. It's important to learn about this stuff, but right now we have an even more important binary choice to make, either up or down, life or hell. We have only 2 months to do everything we can to get Obama elected.

    Yes, I know about the PNAC document, and I even have it posted on my Web site, a special version that shows the faces of the criminals who signed off on it. I don't know what to say to people who fixate on Building 7, the Illuminati, HARP, etc. Because these theories attract the type of people who mix science and feelings, their work is such than any actual scientist, such as myself, when reading it, almost has to dismiss it because it all breaks the rules of scientific discussion.

    One simple little plastic cassette tape was all it took to bring down Bill Clinton--when Linda Tripp recorded Monica Lewinski. You guys need to get some dirt on the bad guys, not write more articles about the temperature of burning metal or the speed of falling objects in Building 7.

    Sorry I can't remember your name. But I remember who you are very well.

  6. I have to tell you, i venture every once in a while to the conspiracy sights for a good laugh. Thank you, you did not disappoint. I, like so many of my mindless, robotic right wing idiots find the amount of time and ink spent on declaring the 2000, (2000? eight years ago? are you guys kidding me? Get over it!)declaring the 2000 election stolen mildly amusing. Why don't you spend a little more energy convincing us that embracing Marx would be better for our country. I don't understand how following the ideology of Nietzsche, Rousseau and Marx is progressive, but then again I am nothing but a robot. Thanks again for the chuckles. Looking forward, and i am being serious now,too a reasonable,logical reply ,not just a bunch of conspiratorial pap. By the way, I voted for Perot twice.

  7. Hi Jeff,
    Well Im not sure if your second message was for me or not but I'm far from right wing. It's nice to know you get a chuckle at conspiricies as if they couldn't possibly be true, just what they count on by the way. I never really believed in conspiracies myself either before 911 and bushco but after doing a little research myself into Tesla technology and other exotic weapons that most people couldn't believe...I do now. You say people who are 'fixated' on learning about what brought down 2 of America's iconic buildings and killed thousands of people and was used as a false excuse to go invade another country who had nothing to do with 911 and kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people is just "mixing science and feelings"??? huh? I call it trying to find the truth. There's a thousand videos out there that go down the list, fact by fact, inconsistency by inconsistency and this isn't relevant to today's politically system. Are you kidding me? We don't have a real democratic political system anymore jeffey, it's all a facade. We live under a 'Technocracy'. Those who control the technology are running the show. Until electronic voting is removed, another election will be stolen, mark my words. You don't seem to understand Jeffers, Republicans play for keeps, not enough Democrats haven't woken up to this fact yet. These people, not all republicans of course, but the 'powers that be', have no problem threatening, torturing or killing anyone who stands in their way. They can and do justify anything. You will hear more about electronic mind control and directed energy weapons and how advanced they really are soon.
    I'm just the messenger.

  8. Hey, Conspiracy Guy,

    That was another Jeff, who said he gets a good laugh from conspiracy sites. Only the comments with the ape icon are mine. I wish he would have used another name to post.

    > It's nice to know you get a chuckle at conspiracies

    I don't. That other Jeff is basically a jerk. The shit we've been told to believe about 9/11 is pretty implausible. Three skyscrapers fall perfectly into their own footprints in one day from fire, when this has never happened to any building before? No fighters scramble to stop the attacks, yet no one is fired or reprimanded? No bodies are found at the Pennsylvania crash site, etc. All super important questions.

    The conspiracy people are important because their minds are good and checking things out from all different angles. Unfortunately, they do ruin their arguments by veering away from scientific thinking and into the realm of faith--it becomes almost a religion to them. Like I say, one little plastic cassette answering machine tape was all it took to bring down Bill Clinton. Human intelligence would be a better way to go after the neocons since they have already completely compromised the crime scene and wasted the precious window of time immediately after the attacks by preventing serious enquiry.

    > You say people who are 'fixated' on learning about what brought down 2 of America's iconic buildings

    Yes, I say fixated because I've read a lot on it--including all of my wife's textbooks when she took a whole class on "9/11 truth" in junior college--and I know we can't get anywhere until some humans come clean or get caught with the goods--a recorded conversation of Cheney with a general on 9/TEN talking about thermite placement.

    Right now the most important thing we Americans can do is make sure Obama is elected. Just as Hurricane Ike can now be seen approaching Texas, an actual national emergency is approaching our whole nation: Hurricane McCain. Thanks to the bravery and sacrifice of our founders and ancestors, we can stop this political emergency without a military battle and without shedding a drop of blood. Former wrestler Jesse Ventura implores his followers: "Don't waste your vote!" He would prefer they vote for Bob Barr or Ron Paul and make some kind of a statement. But what a lot of progressives (especially conspiracy-nut progressives) forget is that IT DOESN'T MATTER IF YOU LIKE OBAMA OR NOT, BECAUSE THE DAY AFTER THE ELECTION WE CAN START A REVOLUTION AND GET RID OF HIM. Obama is merely the simplest and easiest strategy to stop McCain.

    Many progressives are so fastidious! They say, "I will only protect my windows with oak boards! If there is no oak, I will let the hurricane blow them out!" Obama is the plywood we happen to have at hand right now, so let's use him. Seven and a half years of Bush should have taught everyone just how dangerous it is to let a wild and stupid bear into your house. Our army is broken (isn't that what ENEMIES do?) and our treasury has been robbed (isn't that what enemies do?). Obama, former Harvard law professor, senator, and father of two young children, might be a VERY poor president, but he won't be a wild animal, a dangerous hurricane, the ruination of our nation!

    > You will hear more about electronic mind control and directed energy weapons and how advanced they really are soon.

    Maybe not. The Bildenburgers , the Trilaterals, whoever, are just higher levels of criminals, but they can't even control their own spouses and their own children. Conspiracy people make them into seamless, monolithic powers, almost like gods. With a progressive government and a strong economy and improved education, Earth could be a halfway decent place. When my grandmother was born, women marching for the vote were still beaten and trampled by police on horseback. Now they're running for president. Don't believe so much in darkness or that's what you'll get. You sound too smart for religion, but you still need one so you're hanging up on mind control rays and chemtrails (real or not) when you probably should be working your ass off to get Obama elected. We're on a battle field and that's the ammunition we happen to have for this particular war.