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Ok. I get these Kucinich updates every day, and I don't share them… - The Life and Thoughts of Zach

Dec. 13th, 2003

04:13 pm

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Ok. I get these Kucinich updates every day, and I don't share them with you all because it'd be lame to just post other people's words on my website over and over again but this one was particularly good, and as before, a few of you have expressed an interest in learning about Kucinich.

ARE THE POLLS WRONG ABOUT KUCINICH?
That's the headline of an article at Utne.com that shows that the www.kucinich.us website is the second most read presidential campaign site, and which presents other reasons to believe Kucinich's low ranking in some polls is misleading.

WHAT ARE PRIMARIES FOR?

The Democratic caucuses and primaries are the time to support the candidate who has the best chance of defeating George W. Bush. Clearly, that candidate is Dennis Kucinich. The primaries are not the time for supporting the candidate who you think has the best chance of winning the primaries. That's exactly as useful as staying home. Why is Dennis the one to beat Bush?

1.-Dennis' platform fits his record. He opposes the "PATRIOT Act" now, and is the only candidate who voted against it. He opposes the war now, and is the only candidate who voted against it or who opposed it from the start. And he is the only one who will bring our troops home in 90 days.

2.-Dennis cannot be attacked for planning to cut services or raise taxes because he is the one candidate with the guts to cut the bloated Pentagon budget and end the occupation of Iraq. He makes proposals and explains how he will pay for them. And his tax plan is laid out in detail at http://www.kucinich.us/taxes_under_kucinich.php

3.-Dennis and most Americans want single-payer universal health coverage. President Bush and most other candidates want to keep the HMOs and private insurance companies in charge.

4.-Dennis is the only candidate with a plan to end NAFTA and withdraw from the WTO, replacing these corporate trade agreements with fair bilateral trade based on workers' rights, human rights, and the environment. The other candidates side with the current President in wanting to maintain NAFTA and the WTO.

5.-Dennis has a history of attracting swing voters and "Reagan Democrats" in winning elections against better-funded Republican opponents, it is Dennis Kucinich. He has repeatedly defeated entrenched incumbents. He beat a Republican incumbent for mayor in 1977, for state senator in 1994 (overcoming the national right-wing tide) and for Congress in 1996.

6.-Dennis' Congressional district includes the suburb of Parma, Ohio, described as "one of the original homes of the Reagan Democrats." An Ohio daily calls it a "conservative Democratic district," which he carried by 74% in 2002. Being a success there may be a better predictor of national success than holding statewide office in a liberal stronghold like Vermont or Massachusetts.

7.-Dennis, unlike some other candidates, opposes the death penalty, will end the war on drugs, supports the Kyoto treaty, will take us to 20 percent renewable energy by 2010, and will back no justice who will not uphold Roe v. Wade.

8.-Dennis attracts third party voters and Ralph Nader supporters.

9.-Ohio has 20 electoral votes. It is the state that is key to national victory; only two candidates in the 20th century
have won the presidency without carrying Ohio.


Listen to MP3 of some of the below moments from the NH Debate Check out the wild applause.
KOPPEL: When you hear some of your colleagues here -- you know, I get a little bit of a sense of sour grapes here, that if anyone else on this stage had gotten Al Gore's endorsement, he would have been happy to have it. What do you think?

KUCINICH: Well, I can't say I was really counting on it.

(LAUGHTER)

But let me say, Ted, let me say -- let me say that some of the best talent in American politics is on this stage right now.

(APPLAUSE)

And with all due respect to you, Ted Koppel, who I've admired over the years greatly...

KOPPEL: There's a zinger coming now, isn't there?
KUCINICH: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

To begin this kind of a forum with a question about an endorsement, no matter by who, I think actually trivializes the issues that are before us.

(APPLAUSE)

For example, at this moment there are 130,000 troops in Iraq. I mean, I would like to hear you ask during this event what's the plan for getting out. This war is not over. I have a plan, which is on my Web site at kucinich.us, to get the United States out of Iraq.

KUCINICH: I want to talk about that tonight, and I hope we have a substantive discussion tonight and that we're not going to spend the night talking about endorsements.

(APPLAUSE)
KOPPEL: Well, we've got...

(APPLAUSE)

BREAK----

KOPPEL: This is a question to Ambassador Braun, Reverend Sharpton, Congressman Kucinich. You don't have any money,
or at least not much. Reverend Sharpton has almost none. You don't have very much, Ambassador Braun.

KUCINICH: We've raised $4.5 million. I mean, that's not nothing.

(LAUGHTER)

KOPPEL: You've got about $750,000 in the bank right now, and that's close to nothing when you're coming up against this kind of opposition. But let me finish the question. The question is, will there come a point when polls, money and then ultimately the actual votes that will take place here in places like New Hampshire, the caucuses in Iowa, will there come a point when we can expect one or more of the three of you to drop out? Or are you in this as sort of a vanity candidacy? Reverend Sharpton, you go first.

BREAK---

KOPPEL: When do you pull out?

KUCINICH: After I -- when I take the oath of office, when you're there to cover it...

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

... and I can tell you, Ted, you know, we started at the beginning of this evening, talking about an endorsement. Well, I want the American people to see where the media takes politics in this country. To start with endorsements...

(APPLAUSE)

We start talking about endorsements, now we're talking about polls, and then we're talking about money. Well, you know, when you do that, you don't have to talk about what's important to the American people. Ted, I'm the only one up here that actually...

(APPLAUSE)

... I'm the only up here on the stage that actually voted against the PATRIOT Act and voted against the war -- the only one on this stage. I'm also...

(APPLAUSE)

... I'm also one of the few candidates up here who's talking about taking our health-care system from this for-profit system to a not-for-profit, single-payer universal health care for all.

(APPLAUSE)

I'm also the only one who has talked about getting out of NAFTA and the WTO and going back to bilateral trade...

(APPLAUSE)
... conditioned on workers' rights, human rights and the environment. Now...

KOPPEL: Congressman?

KUCINICH: ... I may be inconvenient for some of those in the media, but, you know, I'm sorry about that.

(APPLAUSE)

Current Mood: political

Comments:

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From:folkyboy
Date:December 13th, 2003 04:08 pm (UTC)
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i had a feeling that Kucinich is down in the polls because if you discuss him with people in the South (a majority of the heavy voting community) no one knows who the man really is. he needs to take over THEM more so than Iowa and stuff. well, now anyway.

+ it's all younger people who are reading his website then NOT voting. the man has a shit of a lot to say. i just wish he'd say it to more people.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:December 14th, 2003 12:17 pm (UTC)
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well hopefully those young people WILL vote. That's what it comes down to for progressives in so many elections, can we get the disenfranchised masses inspired enough to vote?
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From:mathuaerknedam
Date:December 14th, 2003 12:29 am (UTC)
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Okay, I'm working my way through the issues on Kucinich's site, but I haven't seen anything specific about his position on farm subsidies. Does he have one?
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From:zarfmouse
Date:December 14th, 2003 10:48 am (UTC)
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My understanding is that he would continue to subsidize farming but would propose massive reform of the current subsidy system to move the focus away from monocrop mass production towards local food systems.
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From:mathuaerknedam
Date:December 14th, 2003 12:40 am (UTC)
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This may be urban legend. If so, hopefully someone can debunk it. By my understanding, when the social security system was enacted in 1935, the average lifespan was only 62 (or less, by some accounts)? If so, the system appears to have been designed such that most people would never collect. Is this true?
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From:zarfmouse
Date:December 14th, 2003 10:44 am (UTC)
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I've been discussing this a lot with other folks.

The fact of the matter is that Social Security is designed to work well and it would be completely solvent for at least our generation's retirement and probably much further out. Minor tweaks to it's structure should keep it solvent indefinitely. The ONLY real threat to the Social Security system is that the government has borrowed so much money from the Social Security Trust Fund that there is a danger the government will be unable to repay it's own debt to itself. The structure of Social Security is fine, it is the fact that politicians have abused that pool of money in the deficit spending frenzy of Reagan and both Bushes. It can still be saved but there has to be an honest effort by the government to really commit to repaying that debt instead of all this bullshit fear mongering about how it is definitely going to fail and should be replaced with something else. That fear mongering is just a way for those who are culpable for screwing it up to side step the issue.
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From:mathuaerknedam
Date:December 14th, 2003 12:55 am (UTC)
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(I'll be trying to limit all of my questions/comments to those raised from reading Kucinich's site, though they may otherwise be various and sundry. Don't want to hijack your lj...)

Kucinich seems to kinda hint at restoring corporations to their original intent. Is that his intent, or is it less fundamentalist than that? (This is one of the things that's irritated me about the Libertarian platform. They want to roll-back Federal government to it's beginnings, but they seem to have no interest in rolling-back corporations.)
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From:boannan
Date:December 14th, 2003 01:39 am (UTC)
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I'd be interested in seeing a candidate pursue the fact that corporations derive their legal existence from state charters, and that states could possibly use their powers to revoke charters for the corporations that are guilty of serious abuses.

I did a quick survey of Kucinich's website, and I don't think that this is what he means by "original intent," but I'm not sure.
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From:mathuaerknedam
Date:December 14th, 2003 01:08 am (UTC)
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I'm amused that Kucinich seems to generally support government regulation, but says that organic farmers "don't need the USDA to inspect their operations. They have stricter rules that bind them and they already submit to regular and more stringent inspections." Sounds like support for the positive potential of private oversight. Why os organic farming an exception to the rule?
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From:zarfmouse
Date:December 14th, 2003 09:52 am (UTC)
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It might be that private oversight has positive potential if the oversight mechanism itself is highly scrutinized by the government.

I'm willing to give a little more benefit of the doubt to an industry that is fundamentally based on health and environmental concerns. I'm not sure I fully understand or completely agree with Kucinich's position on this but as long as the position is narrowly scoped like this, it doesn't bother me.
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From:mathuaerknedam
Date:December 14th, 2003 01:16 am (UTC)
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Has Kucinich given any indication on how he will address the fact that money is the primary factor in education equality? I see stuff about rebuilding infrastructure, but from what I've read, that just one of the symptoms.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:December 14th, 2003 10:54 am (UTC)
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There are a number of spending priorities that he lists in his education issues page. He explains where he'll get the money without having to raise taxes. He explains how much he'll spend on various programs. The two big programs are pre-kindergarten and infrastructure. He explains that he is opposed to the voucher system which wuold be a net drain of funds from public schools.

Money spent on infrastructure will help offset the money that states have to spend in that area and make more money available for other aspects of education. As far as I'm concerned, a nationwide net influx of money into the educational system can only be a good thing. It'd probably be useful to look at the details of HR935 to find out what other kinds of funding it provides.

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From:mathuaerknedam
Date:December 14th, 2003 01:33 am (UTC)
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Would Kucinich's healthcare plan allow people to opt out?

Alice's mom would not benefit, and could certainly use the money. She just retired and set up her own insurance. She has a $10k premium, $10k sitting in the bank, and has not been to the doctor in decades. She has a lot of flexibility and the coverage that she needs. How would her situation be improved by Kucinich's plan?

(Not that I expect you to know the answers to any or all of these questions. But if you have clue tokens to disperse, I'd like some.)
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From:zarfmouse
Date:December 14th, 2003 10:04 am (UTC)
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Funding will come primarily from existing government healthcare spending (more than $1 trillion) and a phased-in tax on employers of 7.7% (almost $1 trillion). The employers' tax is less than the 8.5% of payroll now paid on average by companies that provide private insurance.


So basically Single Payer combines the money that employers already spend on private health insurance with the money that the government already spends on Medicare and Medicaid and then pools everyone together so that risk is spread out and the overall cost of insurance is reduced via the equivalent of "bulk purchasing" which allows the insurance to cover all Americans.

So with Single Payer, the nation as a whole will get more health care for less total money which will put more of our earned money into the economy for other purposes.

Alice's retired mom would pay nothing additional for this service because she is not employed.
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From:mathuaerknedam
Date:December 14th, 2003 01:45 am (UTC)
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Kucinich says "Our country and all nations must review and modify all treaties which reject national sovereignty in the cause of a global corporate ethic which does not respect human rights, workers rights and environmental quality standards."

Why not just "Our country and all nations must review and modify all treaties which reject national sovereignty"?

He seems to support this when he says "The sovereign authority of all governments is at stake. Taxpayer dollars are at stake. A NAFTA case brought by a foreign-owned steel fabrication company is trying to overturn "Buy America" laws that require using American steel in highway projects. NAFTA allows foreign-owned companies to challenge our Constitution, our Congress, and our right to enact American laws."
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From:mathuaerknedam
Date:December 14th, 2003 01:49 am (UTC)
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On the subject of NAFTA, I've heard one person (historian/sociologist/anthropologist) say that NAFTA (and it's ilk) is good because is is working to repair a lot of the economic damage that US policy has inflicted on the rest of the western hemisphere. Is this not true?
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From:mathuaerknedam
Date:December 14th, 2003 03:03 am (UTC)
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Kucinich doesn't like the IMF, but I've never quite understood what the problem is with the IMF. Why is a problem for them to have strings tied to money? Are the recipients somehow coerced into accepting the money?
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From:zarfmouse
Date:December 14th, 2003 10:37 am (UTC)
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Most of the recipients of IMF money are countries that have been led by military dictators when the money was accepted and have since either undergone a transition to democracy or at least have new and different dictators. The original dictators that accepted the loans generally skimmed huge amounts of the money to enrich the upper classes at the expense of the nation. Now the nation is saddled with the debt, the folks who took the loans are out of the picture, and the nations are forced to take more loans just to pay the interest on the debt and as long as they are in debt they are forced to divert money away from schools and other public projects and to open their doors to exploitation by foreign interests.

Greg Palast has a lot of good critique about the IMF, World Bank, and WTO.
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From:mathuaerknedam
Date:December 14th, 2003 03:34 am (UTC)
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Kucinich states that "it is absolutely critical that we nurture programs that enhance opportunities for those who have been historically left behind. To do nothing, to abolish affirmative action, is to use de jure means to fall back into the de facto segregation of the past, which made a mockery of democracy, equality, liberty and justice - the very values on which this nation was founded."

What I've read indicated that since AA has been enacted, ethnic minorities have been hurt and only caucasian women have benefited. Is this true? If so, how is this a good thing?Is there no alternative to AA? Why would abolishing it necessitate "doing nothing"? It seems a little disingenuous to that segregation "a mockery of... equality" while implying that AA does not. Segregation does not necessitate inequality or unequal treatment. AA *does* necessitate unequal treatment. It does so in an attempt to produce equality, but it you have to accept the philosophy that "the ends justify the means". That seems to be George W's philosophy in Iraq.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:December 14th, 2003 11:03 am (UTC)
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Could you show me a URL for whatever you read that says AA has hurt minorities? I have seen no such thing. It is CERTAINLY the case that since the enactment of AA there are more minorities in college, more minorities in executive positions, more minorities in law enforcement, etc.

AA does not, in my opinion, necessitate inequality. If you start from the assumption that skin tone has NOTHING to do with intelligence or ability, then it stands to reason that a non-racist organization will have employment/enrollment that is equivalent to the distribution of race within the population (or perhaps more conservatively, within the applicant pool).

AA simply says that you need to strongly question and scrutinize any situation where this is not happening. It does not say "hire unqualified people of color". It says "given a choice between a qualified person of color and a similarly qualified white male, make the choice that ensures that the employment/enrollment pool is as diverse as the general (or applicant) population.

This whole myth of the "unqualified" people getting accepted into top level schools or of "more qualfied" people getting rejected is a bunch of unsubstantiated bunk. AA doesn't trump race over qualification.

In a non-racist society, AA would be invisible. The outcome from a decision made with AA would be identical to the outcome made without AA. As long as we believe that employers would be "freed" to make decisions without AA that they can not make with AA, that is a sign that we still need AA.
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From:mathuaerknedam
Date:December 14th, 2003 04:22 am (UTC)
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I'm disappointed that his section on reproductive rights didn't even mention the issue of fetal rights. On the whole, I'm surprised that I agree with as many of his positions as I do. I have large issues with some of his positions, but those are probably irreconcilable ideological differences.

I'm impressed, and hope he gets the nomination. I wouldn't vote for him, but he's astoundingly better than George W. Dean is surprising ambiguous in his positions, seems exceedingly anti-Bush (rather than anti-establishment), and is far more centrist.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:December 14th, 2003 11:13 am (UTC)
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Kucinich walks a fine line on the whole abortion question. He has historically been somewhat pro-life for moral reasons (consistent ethic of life...anti-death penalty, pro-life, vegan). He is also, unlike many anti-abortion conservatives, very feminist. He supports Roe v. Wade because he realizes that the alternative was and would be very bad for women. But he would like to create a world in which abortions were less neccessary.

This is a sticky issue for him because many of his supporters (like me) wish he didn't have that former-pro-life skeleton in his closet. On the other hand, he gets a little more cred with the "heartland" moderates ("reagan democrats") because he can explain to them how a person who is somewhat opposed to abortion can be pro-choice and support Roe v. Wade.

I don't know what "fetal rights" means so I can't say what his position on that would be.

You hope he gets the nomination but wouldn't vote for him but think he's better than Bush? Are you saying you wouldn't vote for him in the primary (who would you vote for?) or you wouldn't vote for him in the general if he won the primary (who would you vote for?)?
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From:mathuaerknedam
Date:December 14th, 2003 04:23 am (UTC)
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I'm done now. :-)
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From:mr_ducktape
Date:December 14th, 2003 09:19 am (UTC)
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You're fucking hysterical. <grin>
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