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WHAT A STRONG DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE REALLY MEANS

For decades, chief executives of American multinational corporations have done what no other private individual has the power to do. They have succeeded in shaping domestic and foreign policy to benefit the short term goals and profits of the companies they worked for, without public scrutiny or assurances that these taxpayer-funded policies would serve the public interest.

Perhaps the most powerful ever of these corporate CEOs, the oil oligopolists, over-reached in 2000 by backing two "oil men" for the presidential election. George W. Bush and Richard P. Cheney were/are so deeply indebted to big oil that they callously lied to pursue war on a defenseless country to secure oil and oil contracts. In so doing they defied all reason, judgement, logic and moral responsibility.
In their exuberance to fund the campaigns of George W. Bush and Richard P. Cheney, did the oil chiefs overlook Bush and Cheney's recklessness and pathological indifference to the consequences of their actions or were those considered endearing qualities?

At what point does the public say "enough is enough". Shortsighted and predatory, these corporations cannot be expected to promote policy that serves our general long term interest. Our national debt is at a mind boggling $8, 345,233,149,533.29 http://www.brillig.com/... and we face endless war. We have been diverted from pursuing rational energy alternatives and public policy that serve the health and financial well being of average Americans.  

So, have the oligopolists at long last succeeded in killing the goose that laid the golden egg? Their star political ally, George W. Bush, has always been a reckless man, indifferent to the consequences of his actions. A willingness to commit violence and a high level of incompetence share a space in his persona with a mindset that he is above the law. Nearly 70% of Americans now lack confidence in his leadership. Most people surely understand by now that the "decider" is committed to the narrow interests of large corporations such as big oil. But have people yet concluded that industry leaders are not who we want making national policy?

Writing about the excessive power of corporations in his recent WAPO piece

http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

Kevin Phillips said:

Over a quarter-century of Bush presidencies and vice presidencies, the Republican Party has slowly become the vehicle of... three interests -- a fusion of petroleum-defined national security; a crusading, simplistic Christianity; and a reckless credit-feeding financial complex. The three are increasingly allied in commitment to Republican politics.

Bush is just a symptom of this disease. And in spite of the beating that he's taking in the polls, the dangers of Kevin Phillip's three power groups - the oil oligopolies/defense industries, the messianic religious groups and the debt driven reckless financial complex - will continue to threaten our well being and our democracy.

The Evidence:

Read/watch Amy Goodman's interview of Antonio Juhasz on her book "The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time." as  "she explains why GWB took this country to war on Iraq and intends to make war on Iran." http://www.democracynow.org/...

Her book tracks the radical neo-liberal economic program the Bush administration has tried to impose on Iraq, which threatens to leave Iraq's economy and oil reserves largely in the hands of multinational corporations.

Or read between the lines of former Exxon Chairman Lee Raymond's speeches. He repeatedly called for predictable taxes, guaranteed contracts, stable laws and regulations in countries with exploitable energy. And he has said that if Exxon can't be assured of these things it's just not worth the "risk" for them to go where there's oil but no American style legal/economic framework.

In 2003, Lee Raymond said

Where governments do not adopt or enforce a stable framework of laws and regulations, investments become difficult to justify.

http://www.exxonmobil.com/...

Is that code for -"if you expect me to drill in country XYZ you better "civilize" it?

and more of the same here:

http://www.exxonmobil.com/...

Before Enron imploded, Ken Lay wrote a letter to Governor George W. Bush about his pipeline dream for Uzbekistan. (See a copy of that letter at this link.):

http://www.democracynow.org/...

By inference it seems that the people who live in energy rich country's are expendable if they stand in the way of "progress". And what does that imply for the people of this country? Consider, for example, Bush's seeming indifference to the hurt suffered from Enron's implosion or from other recent pension debacles or from the profitable outsourcing of prisons and prison beds preying on both taxpayers and the victims of the failed drug war. Are the people of this country just cash cows instead of equal members of a functioning democracy? Adam Smith, the "father of capitalism" would roll over in his grave if he saw how oligopolies and big business have been permitted to control policy and use the public purse to their advantage.

Is anyone surprised that indigenous people resent their lands being appropriated or their resources stolen? We all hear the right wing propaganda that attacks so called leftist governments. Are these governments "evil" BECAUSE they demand a larger share than the oil companies want them to have of the natural resources for the benefit of their own populations? Is that what's unacceptable to the Lee Raymond's and George Shultz's of this world and to their surrogates George W Bush and Richard P Cheney?

Check out the work being done on Hot Zones by Kevin Sites:

http://hotzone.yahoo.com/

And when Exxon or United Fruit or Bechtel or any oligopoly wants a more favorable contract - less share for the indigenous populations - are American taxpayers and American soldiers expected to pay in dollars and lives to oust an "unfriendly" government to replace it with one that will let the oligopoly get a bigger piece of the pie?

When coupled with 6 or so decades of foreign policy Raymond's words take on a chilling tone. Meanwhile our air is used as a corporate toilet http://scorecard.org/ ; weak American Congresses and Presidents shun an easily achievable doubling of our CAFE standards helping to keep our oil consumption high; health, environmental and geopolitical costs are borne by average people while energy corporations reap substantial profits free of any social costs.

And if we haven't learned our lesson with big oil, we're about to be flummoxed by big nuclear, a wet dream for oligopolists like George Shultz of Bechtel. In the recently passed energy bill, Congress reauthorized the Price-Anderson Act, extending the industry's liability cap to cover new nuclear power plants built in the next 20 years.
http://www.citizen.org/... Without taxpayer bailouts of catastrophic events for new nuclear facilities they could not get Wall Street'S multi-billion dollar funding. The financial risks are considered too great. What similar catastrophic-event financial risks do solar and wind pose?

The oligopolists want government subsidies, favorable tax policies and a captive, dependent customer base.

They want to socialize their costs/risks while privatizing their "profits".

That's why I think we should fight, instead, for solar and wind energy (and other renewables) which are in unlimited free supply and hopefully can be economically harnessed by new technologies for safe use on our planet. Nuclear energy has the incalculable cost of storing radioactive waste fuel for a very very long time, plus huge infrastructure costs plus risks of accidents and dangerous radioactive contamination.

 A VIABLE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT MUST BE A POPULIST WHO WILL STAND UP TO BIG BUSINESS AND SAY ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.  IT'S TIME TO SERVE THE PUBLIC INTEREST AND SET AN EVEN PLAYING FIELD FOR WORKERS AND BUSINESS.

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineer, Jim Augustyn, who once designed nuclear power plants has worked these last 27 years on solar energy, an avocation that he believes - if we are wise enough to shun nuclear - can be a major clean, affordable energy source for the future.

He tells why in his Solar Cat Book:

http://www.solarcat.com/

http://www.solarcat.com/...

A hopeful and charming speech Jim gave at the 2004 National Solar Energy Conference

can be listened to here:

http://www.solarcat.com/...

The American Wind Energy web site can be accessed here:

http://www.awea.org/

2.The second part of the three-headed monster that brought us George W. Bush are the messianic religious leaders who distract their frightened "flock" with red herrings about pseudo moral issues - like the "evils" of gay marriage, enriching themselves while the flock votes on mass against their own self-interest. I'm looking forward to reading Sam Harris's book "The End of Faith" http://www.samharris.org/

A STRONG DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE FOR 2008 WOULD BE ABLE TO CALM THE WINGNUTS' IRRATIONAL FEARS AND ENGAGE THEM ON WHAT THE REAL RISKS TO THEIR WELLBEING ARE.

3. The financial complex finances the whole mess. Adam Smith would roll over in his grave if he knew about the excesses and financial abuse.

A STRONG DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE UNDERSTANDS HOW THE DEREGULATED FINANCIAL SECTOR HAS RUTHLESSLY PREYED ON THE MOST VULNERABLE WITH THE AID AND ABETTANCE OF WEAK PRESIDENTS AND CONGRESSES. A STRONG CANDIDATE WOULD STAND UP FOR REFORM.

5 1/2 wretched years have gone by while we have ruminated over the neocon psychopathy, murder, mayhem, torture, renditions, and general trashing of everything good we ever had or hoped to have while the neocon cheerleaders, Rove, Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Cheney, Bush et al kept the dwindling faithful mesmerized into believing that they're living in the bosom of a "god-fearing holy warrior" defending the "civilized" world from the savages who would destroy them.

The cracks in the facade of invincibility have now turned into a crazy quilt pattern. Katrina shattered the aura of invincibility.

It doesn't really matter after all whether it was their reckless incompetence or their pathological indifference to who gets hurt when big money drives the agenda - what matters is that BushCo has not solved the most basic public problems, including security, financial stability, job opportunities, clean air&water, education, healthcare and so on. And that has become clear to a growing majority.

Almost 70% of Americans no longer trust Bush to do what's right.

And under Bush's corporate free for all with no-bid contracts and reckless wars, it's become clear that without strong government leadership, what's good for General Motors is not necessarily what's good for America or even good for the long term interest of General Motors, their customers, their workers and their stockholders.

But as Markos and Jerome say in "Crashing the Gate",  attacking BushCo's incompetence is not the key because at this point BushCo's done and some other big business candidate will be promoted as Mr. Competence.  

OUR DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT MUST MAKE IT CLEAR THAT IN ORDER FOR THIS DEMOCRACY TO SURVIVE, OLIGOPOLIES WILL NO LONGER DRIVE POLICY. THAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATIC PARTY AND THE BUSINESS REPUBLICAN PARTY. COMPETENT DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP WOULD CREATE AN EVEN PLAYING FIELD FOR WORKERS AND BUSINESS WITH FAIRMINDED REGULATION SO EVERYONE CAN SUCCEED.

To succeed in 2008, we must carefully critique presidential candidates. It's not good enough to choose people who mean well but cannot think critically. (A sad example of that was how presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich allowed himself to be snookered by John Edwards at the Iowa caucuses. Kucinich agreed that if neither he nor Edwards had enough votes to win a caucus, they would combine their votes and the total would go to whoever started with more voters. Edwards knew apparently that he had more supporters than Kucinich and via this ploy, he added Kucinich's voters to his, doing better than he would have otherwise. Kucinich's largely anti-war supporters felt betrayed not least because Edwards had voted for the Iraq War Resolution. Kucinich did not deny what had taken place when challenged in a town hall meeting carried on CSPAN.)

Poor critical thinking and poor judgement in a presidential candidate is unacceptable. We need smart, tough, clear thinking people who also have a moral compass. A really strong and effective candidate will understand that the only chance we have to control the excesses of these powerful corporations and moneyed interests is to establish an even playing field for workers and business through responsible and fair regulation. Corporations want first and foremost a predictable and equitable business/tax environment. If, for example, we want clean air, Bush's "voluntary" system cannot work - the laggards benefit, while the good guys lose. The regulations must be standardized across the board, be achievable, affordable - if necessary with tax subsidies, and enforceable. The technology exists to effectively retrofit petrochemical plants to control emmisions and clean our air http://ghasp.org/ . The public is unfairly paying perhaps 10's of billions of dollars in health care and environmental costs because business pollutes our air instead of controlling their toxic emmissions, reaping profits sheltered from what should be a real business cost. We need a presidential candidate who not only understands that but has the strength of character to deal with the competing interests to craft a fair-minded solution.

Leadership candidates must clearly understand and articulate policy issues - clearly define a set of mutually supporting policy goals that are progressive and be able to make their case to the country at large -including big business - and most importantly have the critical thinking to know how to get from point A to point B - how to achieve those goals in a way that conforms to the principles of our democracy. These are very rare intellectual/emotional/character qualities - understanding which policy choices enhance our democracy instead of undermining it, knowing how to achieve those choices and having the backbone and character to stand up for them.

And really it is up to us to pay close attention to which candidates have these strengths and to scrutinize their policy positions and make sure our input is heard and listened to as well. And in terms of dealing with the chiefs of business, we need a candidate who will not be intimidated but can fashion policy that serves the country and is tolerable to big business. Exxon and her siblings will not just melt away. People who run a company like Exxon want most of all to have a predictable business and tax environment and if it becomes clear to them that they have to function within certain guidelines like everyone else, they will settle for an even playing field and predictability. To achieve an even playing field of regulation, it must be fair, applicable to all, transparent, realistic and enforced.

(I would love to see the emergence of an energy environment where consumers have more control over their energy sources - owning some of their own solar/wind devices or participating in solar/wind cooperatives.)

To make my point on the qualifications of candidates, here's a poll.

Which of the following potential candidates has the intelligence and strength of character to convince an overwhelming majority of Americans in both BLUE AND RED states that he/she will address/solve the problems of average Americans? Who has the compassion to understand how policy affects the most vulnerable among us and those in other countries where our multinational companies do business? So many of us are heartsick at what has been done in our name and with our tax dollars.

Here's a short list of the problems and goals:

Katrina, federal government failure to implement COAST 2050 PLAN http://www.earthscape.org/...

a commitment to avoid wrong and unnecessary wars

a plan to reduce deficits and ballooning debt

how to cope with trade imbalance

credit card debt and low savings rate

uneven playing field of corporate driven globalization

unfair working conditions

monopoly/oligopoly in major industry

job loss

immigration

first responders' preparedness

port security

global warming

alternative energy technology

using international law enforcement to cope with terrorist acts

avoiding military backing of oppressive regimes for corporate gain

constitutional rights & privacy

healing the divide in this country

reframing issues constructively

rejoining the international community

working with the international community to solve problems from bird flu to Darfur

understanding the complex interaction of policy issues

reducing nuclear threat including control of loose nukes left over in Russia from the cold war

working through international institutions to stabilize the Middle East

weaning this country off foreign oil

ending political/corporate cronyism

universal health care

retraining educating workers displaced by globalization

fair-minded regulation

even playing field for business and workers

fair taxation

guaranteed education through college/trade school for those unable to afford it

maintaining separation of church and state

Here are the candidates. Who, among them, has what it takes to convince an overwhelming majority of Americans in November 2008 that he/she is their best bet to solve these problems? We need a candidate who can win in a landslide so exit polling overcomes the standard dirty tricks/electronic snafus.

Originally posted to eve on Sun May 21, 2006 at 07:28 AM PDT.

Poll

who is the populist progressive who can win in a landslide

1%1 votes
0%0 votes
39%35 votes
0%0 votes
2%2 votes
19%17 votes
29%26 votes
0%0 votes
1%1 votes
0%0 votes
3%3 votes
3%3 votes

| 88 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Correction: no 'c' in Shultz (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eve

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    #1 Correct spelling:  George P. Shultz - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    George Shultz left office on January 20, 1989 but continues to be a strategist for the Republican ...  

    #2. "Shultz is a second-generation operative "...La Rouche resource below has some interesting factual information mixed in with the usual weirdness that slips in:
    http://www.larouchepub.com/...

    "George Pratt Shultz. Shultz is a second-generation operative for the international synarchist banking network; he operates largely behind the scenes, but decisively toward carrying out the global fascist agenda of those international bankers."

    •  Thanks for the correction (0+ / 0-)

      FYI
      I was at a Democratic committe meeting the other day in Houston and a Larouche supporter was touting nuclear energy as the future. (I don't know if that's part of Larouche's platform.)

  •  Thank you for good focus (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mickT, Annalize5

    If people fall into the "Dump Bush" trap, George Shultz will just give us an "improved" candidate with, perhaps, even MORE stealth.

    I'd love to see debates not between candidates but between the "Kingmakers".....

    •  yes, for me it just proves (0+ / 0-)

      how unfit the corporate chieftans are to dictate what national policy should be. How could they have risked decades of unwitting acquiescence by average people to their corporate agenda by picking Bush/Cheney? BushCo.'s radical fiscal policy, violence, incompetence and indifference to who they hurt has (I hope) woken people up and pulled back a curtain on who this policy is intended to serve - not average people. IMHO business would have been far better served by someone like Clinton. Things were tolerable for average people under Clinton and he served business interests very very well.
      I wasn't happy with his $3billion military aid to Columbia or thinking that you solve the problem of drugs by spraying fields with toxic chemicals.
      I wasn't happy with Clinton's "three strikes and your out" or "don't ask don't tell".
      It takes a lot of character to stand up for what's right in the face of tremendous pressure from special interests.  

  •  I don't see one... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eve, MHB, Cory Bantic, AllanTBG

    Your dairy is right on.

    I woke up this morning thinking about just this issue.
    It is my belief that this country has been burned so badly by what you describe that I have little hope for any person who has been a part of it in any way to be fit for the Presidency.

    The sins of omission committed by those who should have been in the loop to stop the madness before it got this bad are imho unforgivable.

    The idea that this all happened overnight (on this Bush's watch) is none but an illusion.

    The corporations control the elections. Lobbyists, Diebold..etc..etc.

    Where do we go from here? I don't know.

    •  yes, everyone has been compromised (0+ / 0-)

      by the system.
      There were plenty of people in positions of power - in Congress, in the MSM, etc - who were too frightened to go against the tide at first. Cindy Sheehan, Patrick Fitzgerald and others gave people courage, I think.
      And even people who get it within the Democratic party but are committed to their own narrow interests are not helping the situation.
      Markos and Jerome in their book "Crashng the Gate" point out, for example, how the special interests within the Democratic Party will cut off their nose to spite their face. e.g. NARAL and pro-choice groups supported Republican Chaffey of Rhode Island over a pro-life Democrat. The importance to their cause of getting a Democratic majority in the Senate went right over their heads. (Then Chaffey voted with his party on pro-life judicial candidate Janice Rogers.) We need better strategic thinking from people who want change.

  •  Dead-on. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eve, Annalize5, AllanTBG

    Bush is a tool of all the interests that have been trying to undermine republican democracy in this country for some time now.

    Plus, he's just a tool.

  •  Gentlepersons, Unless These Things Are Stopped, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mickT, Annalize5

    they will take over the earth.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun May 21, 2006 at 08:29:35 AM PDT

  •  Clark! No question. (0+ / 0-)

    Everyone else comes with too much baggage...not the least of which is, they are professional politicians.

    "This is not a time for a candidate who will offend no one; it is time for a candidate who takes clear stands and kicks ass."....Molly Ivins

    by pelican on Sun May 21, 2006 at 10:13:10 AM PDT

  •  Seems like (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eve, Sybil Liberty

    you listed all of things that would drive a successful Wes Clark's presidential run. Great job!
    I think if he had won the nomination on 04, he would have wiped the floor with you know who. Also, according to yesterday's Guardian, Gore reiterated  that he has no interest in EVER being a candidate for public office again. He enjoys what he's doing and frankly, he's damn good at it. I would like to see him as Sec. of the Interior in a Clark administration. Feingold for Attorney General. Too much baggage, now, for Prez or VP.

    •  I agree with your conclusion (0+ / 0-)

      that Feingold - or any sitting Senator with a progessive voting record - would find it very tough to overcome the inevitable swiftboating. Although Feingold is one of my favorite Senators.
      And Gore would be a terrific and very dedicated interior secretary, too.
      For the Democratic candidate for president we need someone who won't be pushed around and who can see through the fog and who really cares about the people of this country and doing what's right.

      •  ...and if I may, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eve

        Kevin Phillips has often discussed the downside of 'dynastical presidencies'. We don't need another...ever.

        (Speaking of which, I see that at this point H. is not doing too well in this poll).

        "Keep the Bear Blue!"

        by Sybil Liberty on Sun May 21, 2006 at 03:09:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Blockades to Democratic voices and rule (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eve

    These are all great things you point out, from energy to pharma to using our soldiers and taxes to privatize resources across the globe.

    One main problem is that the MSM toes the line of their corporate masters, and through either commission or ommission, prevent serious discussion of the issues you mention. The pervasiveness of their corporate doctrine has been amplified with the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine and the Telecom Act of 1996, allowing consolidation of all media in the hands of very few oligarchs. (For example, see Rupert Murdoch's holdings at THE MAN WHO RULES THE WORLD and Media Channel's MEDIA OWNERSHIP CHART.) To understand how the MSM uses propganda to promote the corporate line, read Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media or get the DVD Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Mass Media from Zeitgeist Films. The control of the media message is part of the reason the telecoms are pushing so hard  to eliminate net neutrality.

    Another problem is the issue of financing elections. Every candidate (Dem or GOP) is supping at the corporate trough to raise money for the re-election (save Berine Sanders). CASE IN POINT: We all know the financial industry wrote the new Bankruptcy Bill. Senator Biden voted FOR it. Why? Delaware is the home of some of the biggest credit card companies, like MBNA and Capital One. Wiki reports, "Over half of publicly-traded corporations in the United States and 58% of the Fortune 500 companies are incorporated in Delaware.[citation needed]". Find more info at The Secret History of the Credit Card at Frontline.

    Should Biden oppose the Bankruptcy Bill, massive amounts of corporate money would flow to his Dem or GOP challenger, charging Biden with "losing jobs" in Delaware and, of course, Biden's own corporate funding would conversely dry up.

    REAL Campaign Financing is needed to level the playing field and remove or reduce corporate sponsorship of candidates. Some may argue the corporation's free speech may be harmed under the First Amendment, but again, the interpretation of the 14th Amendment to make corporations protected as individuals was a corporate maneuver dating back to the post-Civil War era. (Refer to Abolish Corporate Personhood By Jan Edwards and Molly Morgan at Reclaim Democracy.org). The GOP's feeble attempts to reform lobbying is a classic example of how congress wants corporate money, and many Dems are going right along with them.

    Both Dem and GOP administrations have promoted the World Bank, the IMF, the (relatively unknow) Bank of International Settlements and the G8 & WTO. It is these agencies that have slipped the economic noose around people all over the world, threatening to withold loans unless the government privatizes resources, from oil to natural gas to even WATER!

    Info or the World Bank, IMF & BIS:
      1. Global Banking: The Bank for International Settlements - BIS
      2. Global Banking: The International Monetary Fund - IMF
      3. Global Banking: The World Bank
    You can see these policies in action by reading Naomi Klien's The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.

    So it isn't as simple as finding the "right" candidate for 2008. I think it's a matter of working to elect candidates across the board who realize the corporate grip on our society and how our political dialogue is dictated by corporate interests and will work to change it.

    "A little rebellion now and then is a good thing" -Thomas Jefferson

    by BillORightsMan on Sun May 21, 2006 at 10:53:46 AM PDT

    •  great post (0+ / 0-)

      thanks so much for the reading references, especially  
      Abolish Corporate Personhood which is a big problem/
      Noam Chomsky is one of my favorite writers.

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