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Positive News    H3'ed 7/5/22

Nader's Raiders Ride Again, Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

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Capitol Hill Citizen April 2022 Pilot Issue
Capitol Hill Citizen April 2022 Pilot Issue
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I love Ralph Nader. There, I said it. That's my lede.

This guy is a gen-u-ine hero of mine. 50 f*cking years of American integrity. Pinch me someone. (I said pinch, not punch, Judy.)

It finally arrived, with so much mounting anticipation, I was rejuvenated by the process. It was like happily discovering that this old guy had one last portnoy's complaint in the offing. And there it came, 10,000 miles to me and two months late, the pilot issue of Capitol Hill Citizen. Just 5 degga dollars. Clean tabloid with 'above-the-fold' headline goodness: The decline and fall of the US Congress. There it was for all to see. You wouldn't find that in the MSM, where scrutiny is often motivated by corporate interests, especially along the lines of national public interest stories. And what a smell! What tactility! Sweet Cheeses! -- Nader even co-opted the WaPo motto, replacing Democracy dies in darkness, with the more enlightened Democracy dies in broad daylight. I swooned.

WaPo is Jeff Bezos's paper. Some say that had Bezos applied a little pressure on Khashoggi's columnizing dissent against MBS, Biden wouldn't be going to the Kingdom next week to suck up to the heir apparent for lower oil prices, to beat down Putin in time for the midterm elections, and stop his sorry ass from getting revenge-impeached. Nobody can stop MBS or the Saudis -- or the Republicans. When Trump was in the Kingdom for a 'fabulous' (or is that fatuous?) negotiation of new wealth for his family corporation, he left them with a telling curtsy. And when Bezos pretended to be upset at the human rights violation of Jamal (cousin of "playboy" Adnan) in the Istanbul embassy (you can almost hear ErdoÄŸan, the journo jailer, laughing at the discombobulation of K) MBS sent a swarm of flies to harass Bezos and had his mobile tapped. MBS may have gotten the idea from Obama's IC who wouldn't stop hacking German chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone to overhear any plans for weaselling out of NATO and stopping a goaded Russian aggression in the future. Won't see that news in the MSM. CHC neither.

The brandspankingnew Capitol Hill Citizen is full of wahwahwahs of enemies afoot and Congressmen asea. It reminded me of the battle of papers that took place at journalism's beginnings in Boston after March 5, 1770, the night of the eventful protest that took place outside the Customs House and led to newly-freed slave Crispus Attucks being shot dead by Red Coat coppers. Some a**hole threw a snowball and down Crispus, exclaiming, some say, "motherf*cker, they shot me." (Wow. 250 years of shooting Africans dragged to America dead. That's sumpin.) Anyway, afterward, The Boston-Gazette, to which Paul Revere (the sugar company is named after him, if you need a reference point) said it was a "massacre" to Boston Brits, while the competing paper, The Boston Chronicle reported it as an "unfortunate affair," and was attacked for that complacency, Revere saw that ads there were pulled, and the competition went belly up. It was like the 1980s Herald versus the Boston Globe war all over again. Without the Wingo. Reagan and his voodoo boys played the Sons of Liberty in this one.

It also reminds me sadly of The National, America's sports daily paper, that folded after a year. Real gem though. I didn't give a sh*t if the scores were last week's, the writing was superb and you didn't need the implied bj you'd get if you subscribed to the Murdoch mouthpiece. (See the Wingo link above.) Let's hope that Nader settles some scores on time

2000. I get so angry. I get so angry still. I get so angry still when I hear "lefty" folks continue to blame Ralph for the electoral catastrophe in Florida, as if he was responsible for Gore's inability to win his own home state of Tennessee, where the still waters run deep. Like he filled up a database with false felons, most of 'em Black, who got needlessly disenfranchised from our exceptional political system (see Greg Palast) -- a database owned and controlled by ChoicePoint (Richard Amitage on the board, then on to GW Bush's State Department). Like Ralph hung the chads. Like Nader was the gubna of Florida who helped his brother win the election. It's just as well Ralph didn't win the election he'd have been caught without a ticket and have been discovered beneath a truck, as the Bard from Duluth would say. 2000.

The MSM is so weak and pusillanimous in its own way tha ramp up its creds it has hired IC known liars folks -- John Brennan, James Clapper -- to spout national security drivel and keep the press away from their post-administration wealth portfolios. It also invites the view that the MSM is in bed with the IC, creating a sense that they are now political propagandists for the State. Donald Trump was correct about two things: "fake news" and "fraud at the poll." The MSM spouts false news on national political issues all the time. Russiagate, for instance. The Wuhan virus origin story, for another instance. They mock and saturation-cover Trump's voter fraud claims, but totally ignore disenfranchisement at the state level. Hell, even Jan 6 is, at heart, a states-specific problem. And as Palast has indicated, a Jan will happen again if the oozing problem is merely bandaged. Palast was on the Ralph Nader radio program a while back to explain the situation at the polls.

CRC also reminds me of the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG) newspaper that was put out in the '80s in Boston. All of the news the MSM wouldn't cover sufficiently had a voice there back then: Rent and landlord issues. Recycling. Public Transit. Consumer Protection. PAC Contributions. Balanced Media Coverage. Toxic Waste Cleanup. Safe Drinking Water. Ozone Layer. Today, they add, Affordable Higher Education and Health Care as crisis issues. Public Interest. Public Interest. Public Interest. Not partisan, divisive bullshit.

To me, Ralph Nader is like the classic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington story, although I doubt Nader was ever naive, and he's twice as handsome as Jimmy Stewart. Remember that long democratic filibuster where he swoons and Harry Carey comes to the rescue. IMDB lists the film as an 8 rating. But many Republicans would have preferred Jimmy Smith as George Bailey on the bridge in the night over the dark frozen waters below and, in their alternate version, would have strongly encouraged him to jump -- "It's a miserable life," they'd ghost-moan, "Jump!" -- and he'd jump and there's be no filibuster to worry about later. "Fix Congress, will ya?" the ghosts would crow, after the deed, dusting their hands, missionaccomplished style. But Ralph ain't no Hollywood goody two shoes -- he's the real thing: stable, smart, honest, durable, and completely devoted to the public interest in his deeds. He's a real antidote to the Turd Blossom stew served up in the MSM since way before 9/11.

The Capitol Hill Citizen reminds me of Nader's wonderful cookbook that he put out a couple of years back (see my review), full of charming Lebanese (his alma mater) cucumber based dips, salads, baba ganoush, soup that chickens would sell their souls to be in, and, in short, varieties of edible vegetation comprising pretty much (from what I could see) the mediterranean Diet that showed how simple and tasty life could be, served up to quiet, caring, informed Americans. Nothing ugly.

(As an aside, the cookbook reminded me of the time in Sy Hersh's memoir, Reporter, where Ralph and Sy met each other for the first time at lunch at the pentagon and during the conversations Ralph would intervene. Sy wrote:

My [office] neighbor a few doors down was a young Ralph Nader, also a loner, whose expose' of the safety failures in the American automobile industry had changed the industry. There was nothing in those days quite like a quick lunch at the downstairs coffee shop with Ralph. He would grab a spoonful of my tuna fish salad, flatten it out on a plate, and point out small pieces of paper and even tinier pieces of mouse sh*t in it. He was marvelous, if a bit hard to digest.

See my review.)

CRC. The lay of the land.

The aforementioned piece by Bruce Fein, "The decline and fall of the US Congress," has a sub-head that tells it all: Flagrant dereliction of duty shifts power to the White House. We read in the piece:

In flagrant violation of separation of powers, Presidents of all political persuasions have unilaterally initiated war, spent money, made treaties requiring Senate ratification via executive agreements, promulgated laws via rule-making, arbitrary waivers, or executive orders, and appointed officers, like the national security adviser or "acting" secretary of departments without Senate confirmation.

Mmm, mmm, good. Soup's on. Stay away from the tuna salad though.

Above the fold, Russell Mokhiber: "Manchin, Capito and Mooney stiff arm citizens." The word 'citizens' sits differently in a public interest newspaper. You feel proud to be an American again. You're not just cash kine to CRC. Sub-head: No answer on corporate crime. The lede:

Wise elders taught me a key lesson about democracy -- have low expectations. I had an uncle who referred to his Congressman as beneath shoes. But increasingly my elected officials consistently fall below however low I set the bar.

I swoon!

Below the fold, even more delectable: A Ralph Nader interview: "Noam Chomsky: Cancelled before cancel was cool." Ooh. Snark. Two of my heroes in conversation. Hold me up. The interview begins:

Ralph Nader: Let's say you had the Congress you dream of and it was ready to open its session. What would you have the Congress do?

Noam Chomsky: The first thing that the Congress would do is pass legislation introduced by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ed Markey in 2019. And they just reintroduced it. It is a detailed proposal of feasible steps that can be taken to address the most severe crisis that has risen in human history.

The fact is that we are heating the globe to the point where human survival and survival of millions of other organisms will become impossible in the not very distant future. Unless that problem is solved, nothing else matters. And there is a resolution sitting there which does detail carefully and responsibly how this can be addressed within current means.

Second thing we do is cut back the military budget radically, so that it becomes literally a defense budget, which is a very skimpy budget because the US military faces almost no enemies. So a skimpy military budget would cut back pollution enormously. The military alone producers as much greenhouse gas as about 140 medium-sized countries. It would also free up badly needed resources to take the next step.

The next step is to try to raise the United States to the level of the civilized world.

Wow. And that's just the beginning of their amazing rap session.

And a nice big splashy TOC. 5 fuckin interviews! A page 2 editorial on nuke roulette, that has you thinking of Deer Hunter, Bobby De Niro saving us all from mutual assured destruction (MAD) in the nick of time. Come to think of it, he did the same thing in Taxi Driver. Chomsky, Nader, and Ellsberg have been warning us about nukes for a long time. Cancel?!

There's a critical piece on the Black caucus in Congress. (Black Agenda Report has been knocking them since Obama's early days.) There's a critical Mondoweiss piece on Israel's apart-hate regime, as well as its sheltering of the killers of Alex Odeh. There's a piece on failed healthcare legislation and how to fix it. There's a piece that seems to laugh at Congresspeople who are complaining that "nobody will run" for Congress if their stock portfolios are held accountable for inside information, such as rocked the body in 2020 with revelations about Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein's holdings.

There's no crossword puzzle, but there are plenty of clues and answers to make up for the lack of wordplay. I love the paper already. I believe that CRC , along with the late Ed Asner's astute and often hilarious book, The Grouchy Historian An Old Time Lefty Defends Our Constitution Against Right Wing Hypocrites And Nutjobs, as well as the late George Carlin's Brain Droppings, is just the tonic old lefties need and an inspiration to the newbies of future disappointment.

It's well worth the read and, at $5 per month, affordable. Get off the grid for a read.

Why not sign up for free at my Tantric Disposition Matrix, my Substack site.

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John Kendall Hawkins is an American ex-pat freelance journalist and poet currently residing in Oceania.

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