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On a recent airing of "This Week", George Stephanopoulus told both Mike Gravel and Ron Paul that they have no chance of winning, while insinuating that they're both "kooks" who are running as a lark.
RawStory   -   ABC host tells Paul, Gravel they have no chance to win   -   July 9, 2007
DailyKos   -   the media decides...   -    by RockWood   -   July 9, 2007

A blogger at "The N.Y. Times Blog" ...

... wonders about "those who aren’t drawing many headlines or showing strength in the polls?"   "Those" apparently only include Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, and Mike Gravel.
...
But, "those" are the only candidates who have a dissenting opinion or challenge corporate interests such as the Military-Industrial Complex, Oil and Healthcare Industries.
DailyKos   -   The Price of Applause   -   by parmenides for change   -   July 5, 2007

In this diary, I present a few examples of legislation, which highlight differences between the "top-tier" candidates and the anti-corporatist candidates.   I focus on Kucinich's record, but Ron Paul voted the same way on the legislation, and I believe Mike Gravel would in most cases vote similarly.   I know it's a lengthy diary, but I divided the content into sections, so you can more easily skim it.


Free Trade, China PNTR, WTO
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In 2006, Congress passed the "Oman Free Trade Agreement."   More than 2/3rds of the Democratic Senators voted against it (12 yeas, 25 nays).   Yet, Hillary and Obama were one of the 12 Democratic Senators who voted for it.   Kucinich voted against it.   (In fact, Kucinich votes against every free trade agreement.)
Vote-Smart.org   -   U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement   -   2006

According to Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, it appears that President Bush stripped out an amendment to prevent the use of slave labor.   (That's so unlike our pro-labor President. -- snark)

"Mr. President, I rise to express my deep disappointment over the legislation to implement the U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement.   When sending this legislation to Congress, President Bush inexplicably deleted an amendment that would have barred goods made with slave labor or forced labor from benefiting under the FTA."
Reid opposes Oman Free Trade Agreement   -   June 29, 2006

In 2000, Congress passed the China PNTR ("Permanent Normal Trade Relations", a.k.a "Most-Favored Nation trading status").   Edwards voted for it, whereas Kucinich voted against it.
Vote-Smart.org   -   U.S.-China Relations Act of 2000

China happens to be one of the favorite destinations of those mill-worker jobs.

South Carolina has lost more than 71,000 manufacturing jobs since 2001.   That's a loss of more than one in five manufacturing jobs, with the textile and apparel industries being particularly hard hit from imports manufactured by cheap labor in China.
David Sirota   -   Free Trade could be key for Democrats in ‘08   -   April, 2006

Granting these new privileges to China was a serious setback for defenders of human rights and civil liberties.   Without the annual congressional review of China's record, the U.S. has lost effective trade enforcement tools with which to address the Chinese government's terrible record on labor rights, human rights, free speech and religious freedom.
CitizensTrade.org   -   Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) for China

In 2005, Kucinich co-sponsored a resolution to withdraw from the WTO (World Trade Organization).   Only 9 other Congress people were co-sponsors.   (Because the resolution didn't pass the House, the Senate did not vote on it.)
thomas   -   Cosponsors of resolution H.J.Res.27   "Withdrawing from the WTO"   -   2005
Vote-Smart.org   -   HJ Res 27   Withdrawing Approval from the WTO Agreement   -   2005

The WTO was established in 1995 as the first permanent multilateral trade negotiating forum.   It oversees over 30 trade agreements, currently has over 140 member nations, and is involved in more than 90 percent of world trade.   According to the WTO's organizational statement, its objective is to "help trade flow smoothly, freely, fairly and predictably."   In practice, however, the WTO acts as a global enforcement mechanism for corporate-managed trade at the expense of social, environmental, and development interests.
CitizensTrade.org   -   WTO Overview



Ag Subsidies
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The Conference Report on H.R. 2646, the Farm Bill, adds at least $50 billion to agricultural spending that is already near $80 billion.   The final cost from this legislation is likely to be much higher because it encourages over-planting and production that results in depressed prices, which in turn may increase calls for more subsidies.   The legislation also overwhelmingly benefits large agribusinesses, partly because payment caps intended to reform abuses of agricultural subsidies were eliminated by the conferees, despite overwhelming approval by both the House and Senate.   On May 2, 2002, the House passed the Conference Report to accompany the Farm Bill by a vote of 280 yeas to 141 nays. NO is the pro-taxpayer vote. (Roll No. 123) * To highlight the importance of this vote, it was scored twice.
2002 Passage of Farm Bill Conference Report   House    Senate
2002 TaxPayer.net scorecard   House    Senate

The farm bill is about much more than just farming – it’s also about political influence and lots of money.  The 2002 farm bill will have cost more than $75 billion when it expires this fall.  According to USDA data, two-thirds of that money goes to just ten percent of subsidy recipients.   And of the hundreds of Congressional districts across the country, just 20 take in more than half of all the money.

Now, thanks to the Environmental Working Group taxpayers and law-makers can get  a good look behind the farm subsidy curtain with just the click of a mouse.  EWG’s database shows that family farmers are getting peanuts from today’s subsidy system, while corporate agriculture is living high on the hog.
www.TaxPayer.net  -  June 12, 2007

With respect to the 2002 farm bill, both Hillary and Edwards voted for it, whereas Kucinich voted against it.   Vote-Smart.org   -   HR 2646 Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002

Another example of ag subsidies is the support of ethanol.

The energy bill that the Senate passed on Tuesday [June 28, 2005] pours more than $2 billion in loan guarantees, demonstration projects, and downright handouts to ethanol interests.   All this is just good old-fashioned pork dressed up as energy policy.

But while Congress is busy giving big agribusiness the keys to the Treasury, scientists are increasingly finding that corn ethanol is no solution to America’s energy woes.
www.TaxPayer.net   -   Drunk on Ethanol   -   July 1, 2005

With respect to the 2005 energy bill, both Hillary and Obama voted for it, whereas Kucinich voted against it.   www.Vote-Smart.org   -   HR 6 Energy Policy Act of 2005

Here's the liberal economist Paul Krugman from the NY Times:

In fact, corn is such a poor source of ethanol that researchers at the University of Minnesota estimate that converting the entire U.S. corn crop -- the sum of all our ears -- into ethanol would replace only 12 percent of our gasoline consumption.
...
But even after the Bushies are gone, bad energy policy ideas will have powerful constituencies, while good ideas won't.

Subsidizing ethanol benefits two well-organized groups: corn growers and ethanol producers (especially the corporate giant Archer Daniels Midland).   As a result, it's bad policy with bipartisan support.   For example, earlier this month legislation calling for a huge increase in ethanol use was introduced by five senators, of whom four, including presidential aspirants Barack Obama and Joseph Biden, were Democrats.   In a recent town meeting in Iowa, Hillary Clinton managed to mention ethanol twice, according to The Politico.
Paul Krugman: The Sum of All Ears   -   January 29, 2007

The ag subsidies hurt small farmers in the United States.

Since most commodities in the US are export-oriented, independent farmers are forced to sell to corporations that eventually "dump" the surplus in foreign markets at a price below production costs.   If the world market price for a commodity is artificially low, it reduces the earnings of US small farmers.   Since 1984, the real price of food has stayed constant, while the price farmers receive has dropped by 38%.   Since NAFTA, farm incomes have fallen on average, and 7.2% of US farms get 72.1% of the market value of products sold.   While US farmers receive an average of $21,000 annually in agricultural subsidies, small farmers get much less, if any.   Large operations, however, can receive more than $500,000 annually.
Corporations vs. Farmers  -  2005



Ag Subsidies, Free Trade, WTO, 3rd World Poverty, Illegal Immigration
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------
           
In addition to harming US small farmers, the subsidies also harm the 3rd world, especially since so many of the world's poor make their living from farming.

Approximately half the labor force in 120 developing countries depend on agriculture to earn enough to support their families.   Besides the hard physical labor these individuals endure on a daily basis, they face a global system in which producers in wealthy countries are able to sell goods at artificially low prices, thanks to subsidies provided by their governments.
Global Trade: Free or Fair?   -   2005

Rather, US growers receive subsidies which allow rice to be sold at 22% below the cost of production and corn at 33% below production cost.  As a result, almost half of Mexico's small farmers have lost the ability to make a living through agriculture.   The purchasing power of the poorest groups has declined since 1994, causing the number of Mexicans living in poverty to rise from 58% to 79%. (Citizens Trade Campaign)
Corporations vs. Farmers  -  2005

This has encouraged illegal immigration.

A report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, estimated that 1.3 million farm jobs have disappeared since 1993.   According to Mexican campesino organizations, 600 poverty stricken peasants are forced to abandon their lands and communities every day.   These farmers have no other alternative that to cross the border where more than 2,000 migrants have perished in since NAFTA took effect, even though those who make it across enter a job market where too many workers worsen salaries as well as working conditions.
Corporations vs. Farmers  -  2005

But just ending the subsidies would not be enough.

Even if US agricultural subsidies were reduced or eliminated entirely, farmers in Central America would not be able to compete with the much greater technological and infrastructure advantages of the US and Canada.
Corporations vs. Farmers  -  2005

Developing countries need to be able to impose tariffs, quotas, or other protections, but they can't do that while still bound by the strictures of "free tade" and the WTO (world trade organization).

There is also a very important issue concerning the displacement of people employed in domestic agriculture but this issue does not arise in the standard economic models used by multinational institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, or generally accepted by the editorial board at the New York Times.    It took the United States 100 years -- from 1870 to 1970 -- to reduce our employment in agriculture from 53 to 4.6 percent of the labor force, and the transition nonetheless caused considerable social unrest.   To compress such a process into a period of a few years or even a decade, by removing remaining agricultural trade barriers in poor countries, is a recipe for social explosion.   Removing the rich countries' subsidies or barriers will not level the playing field -- since there will still often be large differences in productivity -- and therefore will not save developing countries from the economic and social upheavals that such "free trade" agreements as the WTO have in store for them.

Insofar as cheap food imports are viewed as negatively impacting a developing country's economy, the problem can be easily remedied by an import tariff.   In this situation, developing countries would benefit far more if the ones that want cheap subsidized food have access to it, whereas the ones that are better served by protecting their domestic agricultural sector are allowed to impose tariffs without fear of retaliation from rich nations.
CommonDreams.org   -   False Promises on Trade   -   2003

Kucinich has said that he would try to rescind the trade agreements and membership with the WTO.   Because about half of the world's poor make their living from agriculture, any President that took such steps would provide welcome relief and would be respected/appreciated all over the world.   Also, such steps may help to reduce illegal immigration.


Guest Worker Visas
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The following interview with an employer dramatically illustrates some of the problems with guest worker visas.

Valicoff Farms co-owner Rob Valicoff, who owns about 1,500 acres of fruit trees in the area, started using guest workers last year.   He says he plans to use even more this season because of a lack of loyalty among the locally available workforce.
"Domestic workers are not committed," says Valicoff, sitting in an office overlooking the floor of his packing plant, where rows of rosy Washington apples come out of cold storage through an intricate series of conveyor belts surveyed by hair-netted Latino women.   "They work hard, don't get me wrong, but last year they would get on their cell phones and figure out where the best pay was—and some would leave."   [Notice how workers aren't allowed to participate in the "free market"]

Valicoff claims that he has lost tens of thousands of dollars in the past few years due to lack of consistent labor at crucial harvest times, and that rising wages increased his expenses by 20 percent last year.   He says he watched sensitive crops like cherries and apples wither on trees as workers freely roamed from orchard to orchard in search of higher pay.   [How dare them!!]

But, he says, such labor mobility can basically be solved through the use of guest workers.   "The guest workers...aren't allowed to go anywhere," says Valicoff.   "They have a contract with us and we have one with them.   If they leave, it's our responsibility to inform ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement, formerly INS]. That's why the guest worker program works."
DailyKos   -   Slavery by Another Name   -   by seajane   -   June 28, 2007

The following scores reflect the legislative record on guest worker visas.  (If the number is above 50, this indicates a record of generally voting to reduce these visas.   Below 50, indicates a record of generally voting to increase these visas.)
97   -   Kucinich
51   -   All Members in House (average score)
40   -   All Members in Senate (average score)
31   -   Edwards
12   -   Hillary
10   -   Obama
House   Senate   Edwards

So, the next time you hear one of the "top-tier" candidates talking about how their plans to invest in alternative energy would create millions of jobs for American workers, you should think to yourself "millions of jobs for American guest workers", because that appears to be the vision of job-creation these leaders would like to pursue.


The Federal Reserve, War, and Debt
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------

If the Democrats are the party of "tax and spend," the Republicans are the party of "borrow and spend."
mises.org - Perpetual Debt: From the British Empire to the American Hegemon - 2004

At times people quip: "Somebody needs to take Uncle Sam's credit card away."   So, what is the credit card company that is used by our government (especially when under Republican control)?

It's the Federal Reserve that happily prints money for Republican presidents for their "War on Terror" (or "War on Drugs" or "Cold War" or whatever is the "War De Jour").   It allowed Bush to give us tax cuts, two wars, and increase the national debt by 3 trillion dollars.

Direct tax increases, a more honest way to finance foreign interventionism, would serve to restrain those who so cavalierly take us to war.   The borrowing authority of governments permits wars to be started and prolonged that otherwise would be resisted if the true costs were known to the people from the beginning.
...
Without the Fed's ability to create money out of thin air, our government would be severely handicapped in waging wars that do not serve our interests.
AntiWar.com   -   The Hidden Costs of War   -   2005

Without the Federal Reserve, the President would have to raise taxes in order to fund wars and wouldn't be able to borrow so much money.   Because a tax increase would permit the citizenry to immediately feel the costs, this could actually help to reduce the number and length of wars, as well as their impact on the debt.

Beyond the war funding, the Federal Reserve has a general effect of permitting governments to "borrow and spend" which burdens future generations with sizeable debt and the consequent interest payments.  

And the interest payments are substantial on our 9 trillion dollar national debt.   According to this site WarResisters.org, the interest is projected for 2008 to be $376 billion, which is about 15% of the budget.

Another consequence of this excessive money-printing is the "inflation tax", which always seems to be reported at around 2% or 3% (excluding food and energy).   But economist John Williams shows graphs at his site ShadowStats.com that show inflation at around 10%.

This is corporatism, because the Federal Reserve is a for-profit bank, which is granted the privilege of creating money (at no cost to itself) to be lent to the government.   In turn, the government is then obligated to make interest payments to the Bank, which is done by taxing income that represents hard work.

Here's a description of Kucinich's legislation to increase transparency for the Fed, which could lead to reforms or removal of the Fed.

In addition to developing proposals for broader reforms of the U.S. monetary system, AMI (American Monetary Institute) has worked with Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) to prepare draft legislation, the "Monetary Transparency Act," which would require the Fed to make information about its activities available in a way that is understandable for the average newspaper reporter and reader, not just for sophisticated bond traders.
...
Passage of the Monetary Transparency Act would represent a significant step toward a more transparent Federal Reserve.   And only with a more transparent Fed will activists be able to initiate a genuine, well-informed public debate on monetary policy in the United States.
DollarsAndSense.org  -  The Fight for Transparency at the Federal Reserve  -  2006

By the way, Kucinich met his wife Elizabeth while she was working as a volunteer for the AMI (American Monetary Institute), with the goal "to revise global monetary policy to combat poverty."

Many well-respected leaders (e.g. Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, John F Kennedy) have opposed giving private banks the authority to issue our currency.   President Andrew Jackson helped to launch the Democratic Party with his campaign slogan, "Jackson and no Bank" (which is described in fuller detail in this diary:  I killed the Bank).


Military Industrial Complex
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------

In 2002, Congress passed the Iraq War Resolution.   In the Senate, 21 out of 50 Democrats voted against the war.   In the House, 126 out of 207 Democrats (more than 60%) voted against the war.

Yet, all the Senators (who were in Congress in 2002) running for President (Hillary, Edwards, Biden, Dodd) voted for the IWR.   Kucinich voted against it.

Kucinich has led in the effort to defund and stop the war.   In addition, remarkably, he was the only Democratic rep in Congress to vote against a resolution to charge the Iranian President with genocide.

The bill passed 411 to 2.  You may wish to note that the two were Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich.

You may agree with what happened.  I don't.  I see this as the Congress prepping the country for another run up to another war, this time with Iran.  We've all heard about the possibility.  With this vote, I think we see that there's not going to be much dissent if or when we do it.
dailykos.com  -  The War Drums Beat for Iran  -   by rjones2818  -  June 22, 2007

Beyond opposing existing wars and the genesis of new wars, Kucinich wants to reduce our overall militarism, which costs nearly a trillion dollars per year, with troops stationed in more than 130 countries.   He would also create a Department of Peace, alongside the Department of Defense.


Summary
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------
The goal of the corporate media is to convince citizens that the anti-corporatist candidates ...

  1. should not be taken seriously and should not be missed if they're removed from the debates
  1. should not be supported with time, money, or votes, since they purportedly "cannot win"

But contrary to the media's suggestion, we should support only these candidates, because these are the only candidates who will take a strong stand that puts people & principle over profits & party.

A few weeks ago, Bill Moyers had an interesting interview with Victor Gold.

VICTOR GOLD:  I call them the Stepford candidates on both sides in these debates.   Isn't it interesting?   The only two candidates that speak clearly, you see, are the ones they call the kooks.
...
BILL MOYERS: Today what we have are two parties that are really captive of big wealthy interests, don't we?
Bill Moyers talks with Victor Gold   -   June 22, 2007

But we don't have to support and vote for candidates funded by the moneyed interests.   If enough people lend their support to the anti-establishment candidates, then one of them will win.   As Kucinich says, "I will win, if you vote for me."   And even if they don't win, our support helps to promote their good ideas and make the Democratic party, a better party.   And just maybe they'll be able to pave the way, and make it possible one day for a "kook" to win the Presidency.

Even token monetary contributions help to show support, in addition to signs and various activities.   So, forget about the other campaigns and instead, get involved with these campaigns: www.dennis4president.com
www.gravel2008.us

Originally posted to Quequeg on Fri Aug 03, 2007 at 08:22 AM PDT.

Poll

Which candidate, if elected President, would most oppose corporatism?

17%60 votes
3%11 votes
69%234 votes
2%9 votes
2%9 votes
4%14 votes

| 337 votes | Vote | Results

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