Amy Goodman, Bernie Sanders, Democracy Now!, Dr. Jill Stein, Hillary Rodham Clinton, KPFA, Pacifica Radio Network, Ralph Nader (b. 1934), transcript, Two-Party Dictatorship
LUMPENPROLETARIAT—It is now official, although we already knew with great certainty that this would happen. The two-party dictatorship will not debate their political opponents. That is to say, the Democratic and Republican parties, who collude to monopolise the democratic process, will not allow any of their opponents to debate them during the nationally broadcast presidential debates. What do you think about that? What shall we do about that?
Instead of a sincere and adult national political discourse in which the full range of the nation’s political consciousness is addressed, the two-party dictatorship will engage in political pantomime engineered to persuade us that they sincerely represent different interests than the same set of corporate, military industrial complex, and Wall Street interests, which funded both of their corporate political parties. Attorney, consumer advocate, former U.S. presidential candidate, and freedom fighter Ralph Nader has been interviewed by Democracy Now! to discuss this question of political censorship in the United States presidential debates.  Listen/view (and/or download) here. 
[Working draft transcript of actual radio broadcast by Messina for Lumpenproletariat and KPFA Radio.]
DEMOCRACY NOW!—[19 SEP 2016]
[(c. 47:00) As KPFA is currently in the midst of a fund drive, set against the backdrop of a very real budgetary crisis at KPFA, Christina Anisted(sp?) is appealing for listener funding of free speech radio, so that they won’t have to go off the air, or start taking corporate money and selling out.]
[(c. 9:51) Nader: “If you’ll let me” articulate it… Nader had to appeal to Goodman to give him a chance and get deeper into these issues. Nader was plugging his websites for more information, but Goodman just cut into that to change the subject to ask about the Libertarian Party. That was a pedestrian question because most progressives already understand that the Libertarian Party is not progressive in its political positions. But when all was said and done, Amy Goodman ran defence for Hillary Clinton and never gave Ralph Nader an opportunity to disabuse progressives and liberals of their illusions about Hillary Clinton as being anything other than a Wall Street candidate, an anti-working class candidate, an imperialist candidate. Probably, the most important thing Democracy Now! could have done would have been to focus Ralph Nader’s expertise on the candidates about which free speech media audiences may be undecided. It’s easily understood that free speech audiences, who are by and large, anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, and pro-peace, pro-human rights, are not electorally supporting Trump. But they may be wondering whether to support Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party or to support someone like Dr. Jill Stein and the Green Party. Democracy Now! would have better served its audience had it focused Ralph Nader’s expertise on the pros and cons of voting for Hillary Clinton and of supporting the Democratic Party. It seems to be an act of cowardice for KPFA, as a part of its local, regional, and national role within its concentric spheres of influence, to not endorse any candidates or political parties during elections. If there existed no such consensus within KPFA, which many of us know there does not, then each political faction within KPFA could endorse their electoral picks for the benefit of their audiences, and in the spirit of transparency, or at the very least circulate a poll internally to get a sense of who KPFA staffers and volunteers are planning on supporting electorally. That would be in keeping with the Mission Statement of KPFA/Pacifica Radio Network. Local SF Bay Area press would usually publish pros and cons of voting for this or that candidate, or who their picks were in a given election. And, historically, newspapers and the press used to be transparent about their political preferences, or whom they understood best represented the interests of their audiences. But, nowadays, there’s this stifling notion of objectivity of the press, which is often misunderstood, and is often allowed to suppress dissent and/or free speech. Often, press either leans politically left or right, but they feign neutrality. It’s very telling that Amy Goodman, almost rudely, made Nader “be specific” about his critiques of Donald Trump, which we already know and understand on the left. But Amy Goodman did not give Ralph Nader an opportunity to expose the crimes of Hillary Clinton when Ralph Nader said he was not going to vote for Hillary. Goodman did not ask Nader to “be specific” about his rejection of Hillary Clinton. Amazingly, somehow, Amy Goodman was not even slightly curious about why Ralph Nader would reject Hillary Clinton for the U.S. Presidency. Are we to believe Goodman wasn’t even slightly curious about the gender question, or the first-woman-president question? No, no, my friends. There is clearly a political agenda subtext here, which deprives the people of a more honest discussion via listener/viewer-sponsored free speech media. From the point of view of many of us, who have listened to Amy Goodman’s reporting over the years, we suspect that she doesn’t want to fully expose the problems with the Democratic Party and their operatives. This is due to the reform-the-Democratic-Party-from-within ideology.]
[SNIP] (c. 59:59)
Learn more at DEMOCRACY NOW!.
[This transcript will be expanded as time constraints, and/or demand or resources, allow.]
[The following transcript and text is from DemocracyNow.org.]
DEMOCRACY NOW!—[19 SEP 2016] It’s official: When the first presidential debate takes place next Monday, a week from today, it will exclude third-party candidates from the debate stage. The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Friday that both Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party failed to qualify by polling at 15 percent or higher. This comes as polls show Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are among the least popular major-party candidates to ever run for the White House. We get reaction from four-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who has previously been excluded from debates. He has a new book titled “Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think.”
AMY GOODMAN: Well, it’s official. When the first presidential debate takes place next Monday, a week from today, it will exclude third-party candidates. The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Friday that both Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party and Libertarian Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, failed to qualify by polling at 15 percent or higher. Johnson is currently polling at 8 percent, has reached as high as 12 percent at some points. Dr. Stein is reportedly averaging about 3 percent and has peaked at 6 percent in some national polls. A recent poll by Morning Consult found more than half of registered voters believe Johnson should partake in the debate scheduled for September 26, and nearly half believe Stein should, as well. This comes as polls show Trump and Clinton are among the least popular major-party candidates to ever run for the White House. McClatchy recently polled voters under the age of 30 and found 41 percent backed Clinton, 23 percent supported Johnson, 16 percent backed Stein, and only 9 percent backed Trump.
In 2012, Stein and her running mate, Cheri Honkala, were arrested as they attempted to enter the presidential debate site at Hofstra University, the same location where Monday’s debate will take place. Democracy Now! was there at the time of their arrest, when the third-party candidates were blocked by a solid wall of police before sitting down on the ground. They were then arrested.
DR. JILL STEIN: Well, we’re here to stand our ground. We’re here to stand ground for the American people, who have been systematically locked out of these debates for decades by the Commission on Presidential Debates. We think that this commission is entirely illegitimate; that if—if democracy truly prevailed, there would be no such commission, that the debates would still be run by the League of Women Voters, that the debates would be open.
POLICE OFFICER 1: Ladies and gentlemen, you are obstructing the vehicle of pedestrians and traffic. If you refuse to move, you are subject to arrest.
Remove them. Bring them back to arrest them, please.
POLICE OFFICER 2: Come on, ma’am.
POLICE OFFICER 3: Would you step up, please? Stand up, please?
POLICE OFFICER 2: We’ll help you. Come on. Thank you, ma’am.
POLICE OFFICER 3: Thank you, ladies.
POLICE OFFICER 2: Watch the flag.
POLICE OFFICER 1: Thank you, ladies.
AMY GOODMAN: That’s the Green Party’s presidential candidate in 2012, Jill Stein, seeking entrance to the presidential debate at the time at Hofstra. This year she’s continued to demand four-way presidential debates and said in a statement she plans to show up with hundreds of supporters outside that first debate. The debates are organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which is controlled by the Democratic and Republican parties. It’s said it will review the criteria for the second and third debates in the future.
In a minute, we’ll be joined by former third-party presidential candidate Ralph Nader. But first, this is George Farah, the founder and executive director of Open Debates, speaking on Democracy Now! about how the Democrats and Republicans took control of the debate process.
GEORGE FARAH: GEORGE FARAH: The League of Women Voters ran the presidential debate process from 1976 until 1984, and they were a very courageous and genuinely independent, nonpartisan sponsor. And whenever the candidates attempted to manipulate the presidential debates behind closed doors, either to exclude a viable independent candidate or to sanitize the formats, the league had the courage to challenge the Republican and Democratic nominees and, if necessary, go public.
In 1980, independent candidate John B. Anderson was polling about 12 percent in the polls. The league insisted that Anderson be allowed to participate, because the vast majority of the American people wanted to see him, but Jimmy Carter, President Jimmy Carter, refused to debate him. The league went forward anyway and held a presidential debate with an empty chair, showing that Jimmy Carter wasn’t going to show up.
Four years later, when the Republican and Democratic nominees tried to get rid of difficult questions by vetoing 80 of the moderators that they had proposed to host the debates, the league said, “This is unacceptable.” They held a press conference and attacked the campaigns for trying to get rid of difficult questions.
And lastly, in 1988, was the first attempt by the Republican and Democratic campaigns to negotiate a detailed contract. It was tame by comparison, a mere 12 pages. It talked about who could be in the audience and how the format would be structured, but the league found that kind of lack of transparency and that kind of candidate control to be fundamentally outrageous and antithetical to our democratic process. They released the contract and stated they refuse to be an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American people and refuse to implement it.
And today, what do we have? We have a private corporation that was created by the Republican and Democratic parties called the Commission on Presidential Debates. It seized control of the presidential debates precisely because the league was independent, precisely because this women’s organization had the guts to stand up to the candidates that the major-party candidates had nominated.
AMY GOODMAN: That’s George Farah, the founder and executive director of Open Debates.
For more on the Commission on Presidential Debates, who is excluded from the first presidential debate of 2016, we’re joined by someone who’s been through this before: yes, four-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader, longtime consumer advocate and corporate critic, has a new book out, Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think. He is speaking today here in New York.
Ralph, talk about this decision that just came down—no third-party candidates in the first debate. You know this well.
RALPH NADER: Well, corporations are deciding who debates, when they debate, who asks the questions. So, in the primaries, you had major corporations decide who gets on, who doesn’t. They excluded, for example, the former head of the IRS, Mr. Everson, former deputy of immigration service, the only man who had any experience in the federal government, because he didn’t have a super PAC sponsoring him. And you can see what they did with Dennis Kucinich in 2012.
Now we have the Super Bowl of debates, and we have another corporation, which is funded by other corporations, like Anheuser-Busch, Ford Motor Company, AT&T. They have these hospitality suites at the debate location. And this is controlled by the two-party tyranny that doesn’t want any competition, doesn’t want voices that represent majoritarian directions in this country, like living wage, full Medicare for all, crackdown on corporate crime, pulling back on empire, civil liberties advance instead of the PATRIOT Act. All of these are represented by our third parties, which cannot reach tens of millions of people. You see, it’s basically a terminal exclusion, because you can go and speak to the biggest crowds of all—I filled Madison Square Garden, the Boston Garden, the Target Center; I reached less than 2 percent of the people I could have reached had I been on one debate. And the polls, again and again, showed that a majority of the people want more people on that stage. They don’t just want the Republican and Democratic Party going through basically parallel news conferences. They’re not really debates.
Learn more at DEMOCRACY NOW!.
 Historically, if we analyse Democracy Now!‘s coverage of presidential debates, they’ve given an edge to the Democratic Party and marginalised alternative political parties, such as the Green Party, the Peace and Freedom Party, and the Libertarian Party. It has been very subtly done. Many, even some on the left, have not noticed. But, for those of us who have noticed, it has been so maddening, that it’s almost an insult for Democracy Now! to now bring Ralph Nader on the air.
The same thing goes for free speech radio KPFA (Berkeley, CA), one of the nation’s strongest free speech/community radio stations, which is carried by affiliates across the nation. KPFA has historically marginalised Ralph Nader, alternative political parties, socialist political parties, alternative conservative parties, and so forth. This has been most devastatingly done during U.S. Presidency Election cycles. But, then, at KPFA, we know that the most cohesive faction at KPFA, currently known as SaveKPFA, has historically been associated with the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club, meaning they are essentially Democrats. So, of course, they’re going to give a subtle edge in their coverage to the Democratic Party.
This goes back to the historical legacy of the politics of the left in the United States. After the McCarthy Era red scares and witch hunts, left scattered. Socialists and communists were criminalised and demonised. So, many of them went into the Democratic Party. The ideology is to transform the Democratic Party from within into a progressive people’s party. But another segment of that post-McCarthy Era scattered left, when it became a crime in the United States to read Marx, to be considered a socialist or a communist, or to question capitalist modes of production, concluded that working within the Democratic Party would never work because of
During this interview, Amy Goodman almost seems out to get Ralph Nader, or to discredit him by calling him out to back up his critiques of Donald Trump. But Ralph Nader does so brilliantly. Nader would have done so in the first place had he been given the opportunity to do so. Once she called him on it, then she gave him enough air time to substantiate his claims.
Ralph Nader refused to tell Amy Goodman who he is going to vote for. That’s an interesting question coming form Amy Goodman. I wish Amy Goodman would have volunteered, or Nader would’ve asked her, who she is planning to vote for. As someone who has regularly listened to Amy Goodman’s broadcasts on KPFA since the late 1990s, met her in person, attended her lectures, read her articles, and so forth, I can say with almost 99% certainty that she would have to admit that she’s planning to vote for Hillary Clinton, despite all of her coverage of Hillary’s political crimes, corruption, opportunism, and lawlessness. At least, Ralph Nader was courageous enough to admit that he’s not voting for Hillary or Trump.
[19 SEP 2016]
[Last modified 16:09 PDT 19 SEP 2016]