August 12, 2003  ·  admin

Yesterday, Rob asked several questions:
1) It is almost certain that you will be working with a Republican-controlled Congress at least initially during your tenure. Given that, do you believe it likely that you will be able to get the Congress to pass bills authorizing programs for national health care, withdrawal from NAFTA and WTO, reversal of the Bush tax cuts (which will probably be permanent by then), and dealing with other hot-button issues that the Republicans have been so steadfastly against. You can’t just declare these things by executive order; and I don’t see how you can get such “radical liberal” programs passed. That makes many of your 10 key issues non-starters.

My nomination will set the stage for a Democratic Congress. In 1932, when president Franklin Roosevelt was nominated, he ran on a platform of broad economic reform, which excited people to come out in vote in their own enlightened self-interest. As a result, FDR led a Democratic sweep, which resulted in a pickup of 90 House seats and 13 Senate seats. This was accomplished because he represented profound change. He represented jobs, he represented rebuilding America, he represented a hope for popular control over predatory corporations. My nomination will reverse the results of the 1994 election when the Democrats were unable to regain the House and lost the Senate principally because the parties’ ties to corporate interests muted the differences between the parties and discouraged the Democratic base. My nomination will excite the Democratic base, will broaden the reach of the party, and will engage third party activists to join us in a mighty effort to reclaim our government.

2) You state that one of your first acts as President will be to unilaterally withdraw the U.S. from NAFTA and the WTO and institute a regime of “fair trade agreements.” Do you believe that our global trade partners will be receptive to such a regime, given that almost by definition those agreements will be fairer to us than to them? Or will we instead see a return to the bad old days of preferential tariffs and trade wars, which the WTO was created to try to prevent? Or even worse, would withdrawal merely accelerate the migration of trade from our country to other countries with more open trade practices? Would we not then be hoist by our own petard?

We are now being hoisted on the petard of NAFTA and the WTO. America’s trade policies have been dictated by powerful multinational corporations whose flag is not red white and blue, but green with a dollar sign. Our nation is approaching a $500 billion trade deficit, which represents a genuine threat, not only to our economy, but to our Democracy. Global corporations have used the United States to help create a multinational trading arrangement which denies both American workers and workers of other nations the protections of basic labor law. NAFTA and the WTO were written specifically to preclude the enforcement of rights to organize, collective bargaining, strike, rights to safe work place, and right to a secure retirement. This enabled corporations to move jobs out of America to places where workers have no protections. NAFTA and the WTO have facilitated a race to the bottom in terms of wages and workers rights generally. The WTO essentially locked in the NAFTA trading regime by making any attempts to modify the basis of trade WTO-illegal.

The question is not whether or not America trades with the world, the questions are what are the rules of the game. And America is claimed by rules which are rigged against us. I have said that I will cancel NAFTA and the WTO in order to return to bilateral trade, conditioned on workers rights, human rights, and environmental quality principles being written into our trade agreements with other nations. The is the only way that we can stop corporations from coercing wage concessions or breaking United States unions. This is the only way that we can re-empower the hopes of people of all nations for a better standard of living and for control of the institutions of their own governments.

This issue reflects not mere differences of opinion within our party but a great divide. On one side of the divide stands global corporations and their political supporters. On the other side stands workers and their supporters. I stand resolutely with America’s workers and with those peoples of the world who are also striving for human dignity. I will continue to challenge all other Democratic candidates on this issue to see whose side they stand on so that the American people can clearly see whose side they’re on. It’s not enough to say you’re going to fix NAFTA and the WTO, the only way to fix it to exercise the withdrawal provisions of both laws and return to bilateral trade, conditioned on workers rights, human rights and environmental quality principles.

Dennis J. Kucinich
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

This entry and my personal blog are licensed under a Creative Commons License.

  • http://aetherial.nu Chris

    Congressman Kucinich, I think you are merely attacking a symptom of the problem and not the root causes of the problem itself. The problem is not that corporations and businesses have too much power, it’s that too few corporations and businesses have too much power. Rather than cut off American business at the knees by withdrawing from free trade agreements, I’d rather that you advocated policies that would bring more citizenry into business as owners and managers by encouraging small business.

    A couple of things that tend to make small businesses less competitive than their larger counterparts:

    1. Taxes – An overly complex tax system naturally favors larger players that have dedicated tax staff. A larger corporation is more apt to find and exploit loopholes than a single employee / owner business. What will you do to reduce the tax burden on small businesses and level the playing field for all businesses?

    2. Tort reform – A huge problem with being a small business is that the American legal system has grown into a system where larger powers with dedicated legal staff are favored over the small players. As people on this blog are familiar with, it’s not uncommon for a larger business to use things like copyrights and submarine patents and the threat of litigation to ward off competition from smaller players. How will you make the system more equitable so that the deciding factor in a lawsuit is merit of the case and not the size of the opponents’ legal teams?

    3. Research and Innovation – What will you do to encourage a robust small business environment by partnering gov’t R&D with the R&D of small innovative businesses? As commander in chief, how will you convince the military to contract with smaller businesses instead of the traditional large defense firms?

    4. Education – An educated worker is a worker less apt to be taken advantage of. How will you increase the education of citizens here and other people abroad?

    I’m sure that there are other issues that can be brought up with respect to promoting the competitiveness of small businesses. I see your current withdrawal proposal to be ineffective and poorly thought out. American business and enterprise is a national strength and something that should be nurtured. There are problems in the current competitive landscape, but the solution to these problems are more businesses with citizens holding a stake in the management and ownership of the enterprise than being expendable wage slaves who have no say in the running of the business. Also by encouraging more businesses, you do pressure larger entities to be more just in their hiring and care of employees as they will be competing for the labor with other competitive businesses.

  • http://ebw-edu.poliblog.com Eric Brunner-Williams

    Nice post. There is a typo in the last line — add “is” after “fix it”.

    It would help me to understand the difference between the existing regime and the previous by a concrete example — how some pre-NAFTA specific trade agreement, say for pulp wood or soft pine (I’m in Maine, the paper colony) or shoes or textiles (again Maine, and also North Carolina), was negociated, what labor equity and environmental protections were possible, even if not exercised, and how that agreement would be negociated under NAFTA, and what labor equity and environmental protections are not possible. Doing the same with the WTO would help me understand that too.

    I know that there are case studies at labor sites, but unless I go looking, I don’t actually know how to evaluate pro- and anti-NAFTA statements, a decade after the issue was debated in Congress.

    There are just under 500 “Tribes” in the United States, and just over 500 “First Nations” in Canada, and significant variations in the historic, and contemporary terms of these treaties, and in the non-treaty status of Indians and Metis under both the American and Canadian legal regimes. I mention this to point out that living with complex, even contradictory and overlapping jurisdictions is not impossible, in fact it has some real attractions over false simplicity.

    There is a second issue. As a subset of “Canadians”, Abenaki from Quebec, who incidently are “Treaty Indians” under Canadian Aboriginal Law, can freely move, as Quebeqois have throughout the 19th and first-half of the 20th century, to jobs and relatives in New England, and Abenakis from Northern New England, who incidently are not “Indians” under American Federal Indian Law, can freely move, as Abenakis have prior to the middle of the 20th century, to jobs and relatives in Quebec and the Maritimes. This pattern is repeated from Maine/Nova Scotia to Washington/British Columbia, and along the US-Mexico frontier — for some time a Papago community actually lived under a bridge over the Rio Grande, unrecognized as Indians by either the Mexican or American authorities.

    I want NAFTA ended, but I don’t want the barriers to the free movements of Indians across the artificial boundaries of the three North American super-states to worsen as a consequence of ending the NAFTA era. I see I’m wearing my “triballaw list maintainer” hat this morning.

  • Matthew Smillie

    I’d have to say that the idea of the USA unilaterally withdrawing from these trade agreements is a bit alarming. It places some large trading partners over a particularly uncomfortable barrel, as they’re forced to renegotiate concessions already won; for instance in the bilateral Canada-US FTA which preceded evolved into NAFTA.

    I also question whether the USA’s trade deficit is particularly related to these agreements, and not more the effect of a rather ideological internal approach to “deregulation,” or even more likely, simply a resultant condition of being the world’s single largest marketplace. I would point out as well that the components of the treaties you seem to most object to are largely in place due to the insistance of the United States. To claim that these rules are “rigged against you” rings somewhat false in my ears; I would think that the regular repetition of the Canada-US softwood dispute would indicate this.

    I also question whether these agreements are in any way related to America’s trade deficit. As the world’s largest economy, it’s also necessarily the world’s marketplace. Furthermore, it’s the actions of American business and a near-religious fervour for “deregulation” which have, to a large extent, caused the current imbalance.

    Let me draw a final analogy: the House (as I’m sure the Congressman is aware) recently passed legislation that allows the importation of lower-cost prescription drugs. While this is a reasonable solution to a pressing problem for many Americans, it should be remembered that there would not have been a problem if America regulated the price of medication; like every other major country. Both the medication issue and the problem of trade imbalance are largely self-created, and can’t be properly addressed by abrogating responsibility for them.

    For a brief preview of how bilateral negotiations might work, witness the current softwood dispute between Canada and the US. A draft agreement drawn up recently was rejected, not by any US political or labour body, but by the US corporate interests involved. Abandoning international treaties would simply give American corporate interests more power to dictate terms more favorable to them. While the WTO may need revisiting, the world, not simply America, would be better served if its corporate house was put in order first.

  • http://eyeris.topcities.com Sean

    I disagree that opting out of NAFTA and the WTO treaty is analogous to the Bush administration’s opting out of weapons proliferation treaties or the Kyoto Accords.

    If the WTO treaty were about weapons proliferation, it wouldn’t look like the ABM treaty. Rather, it would start with a statement about making the world a safer place, and then detail an agreement where the defense industry would receive incentives to *increase* production of ABM defense systems.

    The problem with NAFTA and the WTO treaty is not that they are flawed; it’s that they are fundamental wrong. They have to be entirely scraped, and then renegotiated with the underlying presumption that workers’ rights and environmental sustainability are far more important than profitability.

  • http://ebw-edu.poliblog.com Eric Brunner-Williams

    According to The Note you’ve no events today until the Oklahoma Democratic Party’ candidate forum tonight at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater so I’ll ask the IPR question I asked the former Governor of Vermont on July 16th.

    What rights does the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation have to “pequot.com”?

    At the Berlin meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), there were three groups proposing to draft the intellectual property rights regime that the then-forming ICANN would opperate under. One of these three expressed a view on the subject – private law theories of marks, even property, would not exhaust the repitoire of possible theories of rights to names. Indigenous polities – “states”, retained a claim as sovereigns to their own names.

    At the time of the Berlin meeting of ICANN, pequot.com was the property of three or four cute yuppies working the e-financial side of the dot-com boom. They, or their successors-in-interest, still are today.

    In bricks-and-morter space, the jurisdictional claims of the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Court have over a claim by the Estate of Tasunke Witko to the name ?Crazy Horse? has been answered – Ferolito, Vultaggio & Sons and Heileman Brewing do not market “The Original Crazy Horse Malt Liquor” on the Rosebud, so the Estate’s claim to an Oglala Lakota name, cannot be tried in an Oglala Lakota courtroom.

    A few years ago a German avant guard music group sampled recorded sound and marketed a recorded sound product, without the prior knowledge of, or the permission of, or a revenue sharing contract with, the authors of the audio recording they sampled. The authors of the original audio recording were Indians, and their work was not protected by an assignment of right from the authors to some distinct corporation or collection of individuals.

    It is clear that the private law of ICANN, a California 501(c)(3), holds no jurisdictional promise to Indigenous polities. It is a dead end, not a means to access the International Law system for Tribal governments that must otherwise obtain access through National governments, if they are permitted access at all. Similarly, access to WIPO by parties other than UN member states, makes the protection of traditional music vastly more difficult than corporations enjoy under US and International copyright law.

    Finally, and this is where the bones lie, there is patent law. In the genes of Indians, Indian cultivars, and indigenous medicinal plants, there is the indigenous intellectual property. This collective property right is defined in both WIPO, and Biodiversity Treaty frameworks, but is inaccessible to Tribal governments, with the exception of a reburial right to the bones of our direct ancestors.

    How will you improve the protections available to Native American Intellectual Property?

    N.B. I assumed that Dr. Dean had not forgotten the efforts by Chief April Rushlow to prevent distruction of a major Abenaki cemetary by a developer, which were ultimately frustrated because NAGPRA protection is only available to Federally Recognized Indian Tribes (FRIT), and Abenakis are not legally “Indians”. NAGPRA is (ironically) the only form of collective ownership of indigenous IP that I’m aware of for FRIT intellectual property custodians.

    Eric Brunner-Williams

  • Morgan

    Many different people here have stated that withdrawing from NAFTA and the WTO will not fix our trade problems. On this I agree, it will take much more work. NAFTA and the WTO are both setup to promote corporate interests. The ease of transportation and free trade has greased the wheels in a systematic shift in the production of goods in the world. The shift has been brought about by large multinational corporations having so many choices of cheap labor pools that no single country can effectively enact fair working conditions or the corporations will just move to another poor country. I wanted to go into this more but I have to run…

  • Shawn Redden

    I think it’s important to remember that trade did exist prior to so-called “free trade” (i.e., investor rights) agreements.

    And it’s not as though other nations won’t be jumping for joy, standing in line to negotiate ‘fair trade’ agreements with the US upon cancellation of the agreements that are, at present, being vocally protested by 300,000 people in the streets of France.

    And before that, Seattle.
    And Rio.
    And Genoa.
    And Caracas.
    And Washington DC.
    And Doha.
    And Prague.

    Cancelling these agreements is vital to re-joining the world community.

    It’s not as though, by cancelling NAFTA, we can’t trade with Canada. Cancelling NAFTA simply means we don’t trade with Canada in ways that benefit only the corporations who wrote the bill at the expense of the people who live here, or in Canada, or in Mexico.

    For a seminal article on how NAFTA (and free trade) destroys lives, check out William Grieder’s seminal article from the Nation a few years back called, “The Right and US Trade Law: Invalidating the 20th Century,” found at:

    http://www.thenation.com/docprint.mhtml?i=20011015&s=greider

  • http://margarethill.typepad.com Margaret Hill

    Thanks, Shawn, for pointing out that article in The Nation.

    In order to more fully understand the implications of laws, treaties, and agreements, I, too, find that it helps if I learn about some concrete examples of how real lives are, have been, or could be affected by them. So, with that in mind, here’s another source of info on NAFTA (specifically it’s “Chapter 11″ section)–the full transcript of a TV report by Bill Moyers called:

    Trading Democracy
    http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcript_tdfull.html />

  • http://www.spacecityrock.com/break.html Jeremy Hart

    I’m with Shawn — from the sound of some of the comments made by people on the deregulation side of the issue, you’d think that before NAFTA we all just traded shells to our neighbors for firewood. It’s bunk. Trade flourished long before NAFTA and the other trade agreements that bind the U.S. and its neighbors, and it’ll do just fine when we get rid of those agreements. We do need some kind of trade agreement in place, obviously, but it needs to be one that’s set on a level playing field (which is exactly what Rep. Kucinich has proposed, I believe). “Free trade” doesn’t mean much when some of the countries we’re trading with allow child labor, ignore any and all environmental regulations, and pay their workers the equivalent of pennies a day. How could the U.S. possibly compete against that? There are three options: 1). we relax U.S. laws to bring down overhead here in the States (something I certainly don’t want to see); 2). we sit back and watch as every business with money to invest heads to where it’s cheapest; or 3). we throw out the current treaties and create new ones that bring everybody else up to the same level, not down.

  • Matthew Smillie

    I’ll put the argument against cancelling NAFTA and the WTO a little more simply: if you cancel these treaties before sorting out the current mess that is corporate America, they will be replaced by something worse.

    Once again, you need only look towards recent US trade negotiations to see things might work without the forums for arbitration (however biased, however misconstituted) that WTO and NAFTA provide. They aren’t just influenced by corporate interests, but dominated by them, their results entirely controlled by them. Until that approach to trade is corrected, the last thing we should be doing is trying for a “fresh start.”

    Of course trade would continue in the absence of these agreements, I don’t recall anyone suggesting otherwise. The argument is that the system that gave rise to these treaties has gotten worse, not better. There is no magic cure for it by tearing up some pieces of paper, we’ll merely get more paper that we like a lot less.

    As for America being able to compete with countries that “allow child labor”… you’ve got to be kidding me. America is the single largest beneficiary of such policies. They’re working for, and being paid pennies a day, by American corporations and their proxies (aka subcontractors), not the governments. Exploitation of cheap labour is the business model of entire industries (notably fashion), and tearing up the WTO will not correct this, and stands a significant chance of making it worse.

  • Dan Casanova

    I don’t think that the Congressman has suggested that we withdraw from trade with other countries and isolate ourselves from the world.

    New trade agreements would be adapted that are “conditioned on workers rights, human rights, and environmental quality principles.” This would make it less beneficial for corporations to move their production elsewhere. As a result, we might actually make goods to sell to other countries.

    Congressman Kucinich’s campaign is largely based on worker/human rights: gay rights, universal healthcare, education for all, anti-Patriot Act, etc. Cancelling NAFTA/WTO is essential to ensuring worker/human rights.

    Completely off topic, I have a question. As Mayor of Cleveland you saw the damage that urban sprawl can have on a city. What is your position on urban sprawl and do you have any plan for dealing with it?

  • Shawn Redden

    Matthew,

    While I agree with most of what you say, your position doesn’t recognize the enormous change that a US shift in policy would play on the world stage.

    What nations (i.e., which delegates to trade treaty conferences) would oppose a US foreign policy based upon enforcing the UN Charter and the Declaration of Human Rights?

    The corporations may be the root cause of the problem — I certainly agree with that — but a global public (like what we see emerging now) that refuses to allow them to play by unfair rules would gain a voice of support rather than of denigration of Kucinich was elected.

    The gains — just in terms of America’s image abroad — across the globe would be staggering.

  • Shawn Redden

    Where are the black helicopters, Doug.

  • Dee Lichtenberger

    I’m just sitting here blinking away. I wonder does Doug have any idea what it takes to put a bill through Congress, and just what sort of thought goes into writing one up.

    I found I had a lot better notion of how writing and introducing legislation works once I started watching the floor events on C-span and C-span 2. It would be complete insanity to believe any legislator writes a bill with the expectation of it passing both houses without being altered in any way. Sorry but that’s just not how it’s done. You write a bill strategically, so that proposed amendments don’t remove too much of what it is you actually want to make it through the process.

    I’m not going to elaborate any further because I’m sure someone is going to tell me I ‘m full of it, but yeesh! Doug, do you honestly believe any bill is written without the writer knowing it’s going to be changed before it goes anywhere??

  • Pat Sullivan

    Mr. Kucinich, I heard you speak when you were in my city and felt stirred to the soles of my feet by your words. What you say here also makes sense to me in its intent; however, I wonder about the wisdom of withdrawing from the WTO and NAFTA. I agree that we need to change our way of operating in the area of world trade, no question, but I’m wondering if there might not be ways in which we can not only achieve that objective for ourselves (and by effect those with whom we trade) but also for the other nations of the world by remaining in those treaty organizations and working to reform them? Is not reform more successful if accomplished from within rather than by being imposed from without?

    Another subject that this topic inevitably brings to mind is the matter of our corporations closing U.S. factories and moving to countries in which workers’ wages are inhumanely low in order to maximize their profits and continue to pay their CEOs those immorally exhorbitant wages. I believe you touched upon this somewhat but I would like to know if you have worked out a blueprint yet for how this might be accomplished and, if so, what you might propose to correct this unjust situation?

    Thank you, and especially for being the first “real” Democrat I’ve heard in years!

  • http://www.screaming-penguin.com Robert Cooper

    My nomination will reverse the results of the 1994 election when the Democrats were unable to regain the House and lost the Senate principally because the parties� ties to corporate interests muted the differences between the parties and discouraged the Democratic base. My nomination will excite the Democratic base, will broaden the reach of the party, and will engage third party activists to join us in a mighty effort to reclaim our government.

    Oh come now, I think everyone know with all the recent redistricting, especially across the source, the Democratic Party will be doing well to break even this next election in Congress. While I admire your enthusiasm, this statement doesn’t seem to hold to any sense of realism at all.

  • Rob

    Obviously I’m flattered that my questions were picked as the focus of Mr. Kucinich’s post for today. Already this guest-hosting has proven more worthwhile than the previous one.

    I am not sanguine about the answers. I don’t think it likely that there will be a landslide swing of Congressional seats back to the Democratic side. All the data I’ve seen indicates that the public are either apathetic or genuinely split on which party they will support (among those supporting the two major parties). There is no galvanizing issue, no Great Depression as in 1932, no Watergate backlash as in 1976, no perception of moral crisis as in 1994. Of course a lot can change in 15 months, but as it stands I don’t see it.

    Withdrawal from NAFTA and the WTO will not fix the trade deficit. The trade deficit exists because the cost of our imports exceeds the revenue from our exports. The only ways to redress that are to increase the revenue from our exports (either by raising prices through tariffs or finding new markets) or reduce the costs of our imports (by either lowering their prices through negotiation or importing less), or by using a combination of both. We can’t find new markets or lower the cost of imports from other nations if we simultaneously wall them off from our market with protectionist tariffs; a foreign nation would have to be stupid to sign such an agreement.

    The WTO exists to provide a forum for trade discussions much like the UN does in the political realm. It is not beholden to large corporations except to the extent that its member nations are similarly beholden, because it is an organization of governments and not business lobbies or trade associations. (I will grant however that the United States government is overly influenced by large corporations, and since the United States is a powerful member of the WTO that influence stretches to the WTO. My point is that the WTO is not the proper target.) I found the page 10 common misunderstandings about the WTO most enlightening. The WTO did not enable corporations to move out of the U.S.; that was already happening in 1995 when the WTO was created, in fact the manufacturing industry had already been decimated by such practices.

    I am not insensitive to the need for improved labor conditions in our trading partners. But which do you think will be more effective: unilateral demands made by ourselves alone, or demands made by the entire membership of the WTO which encompasses most of the world’s nations?

    Trying to stand like King Canute and hold back the tide of globalization with protectionist tariffs will in my opinion only lead to economic disaster. We must instead embrace globalization and find ways to incorporate it into our economic plans. Globalization is here. We must deal with it.

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    I find it interesting that Kucinich agrees with Patrick Buchanan on trade and also on Israel. There’s something to be said for how the extremes of the political spectrum resemble each other.

    But perhaps Kucinich’s trade posture sounds more sensible in the original German.

  • josh

    look, there are two kinds of globalization movements. one is corporate pushed and one is people pushed. this is the great conflict of this generation. “which side are you on” plays in the background. to assume those against corporate globalization are against globalizationof any kind is silly. as an above poster states, those who organize on the peoples side do so largely via the internet.

    all of the above posters that disagree with the things that the wto does and stands for and yet think jumping out of the wto is, “too radical,” i say only this: jumping out of the kyoto treaty is too radical. giving the finger to the geneva convention on the world stage as we did in iraq and continue to do in guantanamo is too radical. reducing the nuclear test ban treaty to so much as nothing is too radical.

    reversing nafta and wto and starting from scratch globalizing trade with environmental and worker’s rights provisions is sensable and we can and should do it.

    i know which side i am on.

  • Kevin Makice

    “It�s not enough to say you�re going to fix NAFTA and the WTO, the only way to fix it to exercise the withdrawal provisions of both laws and return to bilateral trade, conditioned on workers rights, human rights and environmental quality principles.”

    The target of the criticism is primarily the practice of abusing backwater economic rules governing employment in other countries, is it not? Trade in itself doesn’t cause domestic plant closings; the drive toward ripe and inexpensive workers to increase profit margins does. If that is the catalyst for your stance on NAFTA, Congressman, I think that is a noble and sensible area to address.

    However, I tend to agree with a couple of the posts I have seen here that caution against creating a void that might lead to more exploitation. I think we have reached a point in corporate evolution where national rules are easy to circumvent. I think it is interesting that the term used is unilateral withdrawal since it is unilateral action overseas with the military that is a primary factor many do not agree with the overseas war games.

    As is the case with the United Nations in a different arena, the current structure of these organizations is flawed … but it is a structure. I can understand using the threat of opting out as a threat to help move along reform, but I can’t understand turning in membership instead of working for change from within.

    I hail your willingness to take a radical stand when it comes to standardizing international working conditions, but unilaterialism is never progressive.

  • http://www.washugreens.org Mia Eisner-Grynberg

    Dennis,
    I apologize for this comment being off-topic, but it is an issue that affects us all. Both last night in Philadelphia and at the AFL-CIO debate, Gov. Dean rattled off a list of nations that provide universal health care and told us that he was tired of the United States being a “second-class nation” in this regard.
    You, I, and certainly Dr. Dean know full well that his health care package is not one of universal health care. When he speaks of the Canadians, and the Israelis, and the Swedish, he is speaking of YOUR plan, not his.
    It would do you good to point this out the next time he attempts to.

    Keep up the good work,
    Mia

  • Dee Lichtenberger

    “I find it interesting that Kucinich agrees with Patrick Buchanan on trade and also on Israel. There�s something to be said for how the extremes of the political spectrum resemble each other.

    But perhaps Kucinich�s trade posture sounds more sensible in the original German.”

    You know on the debate forums I’ve frequented it’s said that the first person to refer to Nazi-ism forfeits the debate, it being an indication that the poster has run out of rational aruments. There’s a vast difference between Congressman Kucinich’s proposals and that deadly regime, and that anyone would stoop to such a cliched, desperate reference tells me I’ve selected the right candidate to back.

  • http://www.eeeb.com Jim Ebright

    Not only is it trade law that promotes multinational corporate power but it is tax law.

    Take a look at the Japanese car corporations… they have dramatically increased their share of the American market but they hardly pay any taxes here!! They report few earnings in the American market. And cities and towns and states fall over themselves in a frenzy to abate their taxes in the hope they will move some of their ‘unprofitable’ business into the local government’s “tax base”.

    It used to be most Federal revenue came from business taxation. Now it’s personal taxes… businesses get off relatively free. (And even on personal tax rates the rich are taxed less and less and the middle class more and more.)

    I don’t think GE or Rupert Murdock are going to put this into their news broadcasts … but these blogs are great sources of information… they don’t control the Internet…we can all afford our ‘printing presses’ here. Blogs are great!

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    Dee says: There�s a vast difference between Congressman Kucinich�s proposals and [Nazi Germany], and that anyone would stoop to such a cliched, desperate reference tells me I�ve selected the right candidate to back.

    Indeed, I don’t believe Hitler was nearly as strongly opposed to extra-terrestrial mind-control rays as Kucinich, so there is at least one issue where the two part company. Until recently, Kucinich’s pro-life position also would have set them apart, but as the Congressman has dropped that in deference to the feminist movement, alas, that’s no longer the case.

  • Dee Lichtenberger

    “Indeed, I don�t believe Hitler was nearly as strongly opposed to extra-terrestrial mind-control rays as Kucinich, so there is at least one issue where the two part company. Until recently, Kucinich�s pro-life position also would have set them apart, but as the Congressman has dropped that in deference to the feminist movement, alas, that�s no longer the case.”

    Wow two wrong answers in one shot. You’re on a roll. Hitler banned abortion for Aryan women. Since his plan was to kill every human being that wasn’t his notion of the perfect Aryan, you can hardly say he was Pro-choice, nor was he in favor of equality for women, which is the Congressman’s position. Women are equal citizens and must have the right to determine their own fate and future.

    As for the mind-control devices, maybe you should do some more studying.
    http://www.freedomdomain.com/mindelectronic.html
    http://www.vheadline.com/readnews.asp?id=9180

    Try these and remember people thought air travel was crazy as well. Let me just add the Pentagon seems to have mysteriously misplaced a Trillion dollars, we have an administration who seems to thrive on the notion of blowing things up and we have worldwide resistance to their violence. Now combine all that with some major strides in technology and tell me if it’s REALLY that far-fetched even without knowing anything more.

  • http://eyeris.topcities.com Sean

    While I think the possibility of Star Wars and other space-based defense programs actually working is about as likely as Earth being attacked by “extra-terrestrial mind-control rays,” the administration has yet to be convinced of that. HR 3616 would have helped to stop the useless expenditure of billions of dollars.

  • Dee Lichtenberger

    Sorry for the back to back posts. I was hunting down a link about the mind control technology which I seem to have lost just now, but I did find this one which contains some chaff and some wheat, most notably links to statements from a few scientists who have been involved in mind control research.

    The reasearch isn’t a surprise to most people and I’m always surprised at those who take the attitude that our Government wouldn’t do such a thing. Greed+power=corruption and the current administration is pretty clearly illustrating that for us. Given that the experiments have been ongoing for decades and that we now have space technology we didn’t have when all this was begun, it’s not at all inconcievable that some corrupt leaders would combine the two for their own purposes. Also notable is that one article from the following link seems to have disappeared. Unfortunate since it contained lists of experiments and the names of the scientists involved in the research. I’m determined to track down the report I ran across that convinced me the Congressman’s bill was timely and well-supported by facts. When I do I’ll post it.

    http://www.dc.peachnet.edu/~shale/humanities/composition/assignments/experiment/lsd.html

  • Dee

    Found the information, although it isn’t the exact same item I read, it contains the same information. The research is happening and the technology exists to implement it via sattelite or any number of methods that we would never be aware of it. That portion of the bill you want to ridicule is based on what most people already know is happening and will likely be put to a very dangerous use unless we take preventive action. And of course the rest of the bill dealt with clear cut and already planned use of space technology for defense and weapons purposes.

    http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/215/focus/Defending_DARPA+.shtml

  • Anonymous

    “Indeed, I don�t believe Hitler was nearly as strongly opposed to extra-terrestrial mind-control rays as Kucinich”

    so you are arguing FOR space-based weaponry, Richard ? Or are you once again leaping for the opportunity to make what you think is a “clever” or “funny” remark ?

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    There’s some great stuff on space-based electromagnetic brainwashing in your cites, Dee, and I thank you for it. This was great:

    Cyborg Nazis and the Masers of Pandora

    In 1965, upon discovering the microwave dousing of the American Embassy in Moscow, the DoD’s secretive Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) set up a laboratory at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington D.C. ARPA had already develpoed a prodigeous arsenal of electromagnetic weapons. Dr. Jose Delgado (whose work with radio waves was underwritten by the CIA and Navy) thought these invisible weapons “more dangerous than atomic destruction”. With knowledge of the brain, he said, “we may transform, we may shape, direct Robotize man. I think the great danger of the future is… that we will have robotized human beings who are not aware that they have been robotized”. Touching, but Delgado’s sudden fit of conscience was belated. America’s EM arsenal owes it’s very existence to his brain transponder experiments, which robotized humans.

    But the beaming of the American Embassy was an unexpected turn in the Invisible Cold War. What were the Ruskies up to?

    The Moscow Signal, Paul Brodeur speculates in “The Zapping of America, may be a perennial stern warning to the DoD to curb any geopolitical ambitions that EM weapons might inspire. He also interpretes the Signal as retaliation for “the threat or fact of unwarranted irradiation of their population by powerful electromagnetic devices that now encircle them and look down on them from outer space.”

    It also explained that Lee Harvey Oswald was a CIA robot gone bad. This is very important stuff, and I hope the candidate will comment on it.

  • http://ebw-edu.poliblog.com Eric Brunner-Williiams

    Richard,

    Please see my comments of the 11th, on the thread of the 7th, “the presidential blogathon continues”. I thought this subject was asked and answered.

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    I do seem to recall reading something about the candidate’s position on space-based mind-control devices over and above the one bill you mention, Eric, and I’d therefore like for him to clarify. If nothing else, he can dispense with a vicious rumor.

    James Bond movies have tended to rely quite heavily on space-based weaponry, so I’m reluctant to dispense with this option unilaterally; certainly, SPECTRE and SMERSH will be there. Mind-control is another area that’s quite frightening, and there have certainly been major efforts made toward developing it for hundreds, if not thousands of years by many religious, military, academic, and tribal groups.

    And if microwave energy has the potential for mind-control, as Dee’s sources say it does, what are we going to do about all that Wi-Fi stuff? I say the time has come to get serious about tin foil hats.

  • http://www.spacecityrock.com/break.html Jeremy Hart

    Richard — I’m glad you find Rep. Kucinich entertaining, at least, but you’re being a bit heavy-handed, I think. Heck, believing in space-based mind control devices is far less silly, to my mind, than our great leader invading another country because God told him to do it…and you were with President Bush on that one, weren’t you? Care to defend that one?

  • TimAtkins

    Way to go Dennis! It’s nice to see a canidate finally talking about getting rid of NAFTA and the WTO…

    Something I’ve noticed this year…a lot of the candidates for the Democratic Nomination are using the words “Fair Trade” and “Race to the Bottom.” Sounds like, thankfully, the work Oxfam is doing is making its presense known.

  • Dee Lichtenberger

    Richard, I did say there was wheat and chaff in the links. Certainly I agree that not nearly all the stories of people being manipulated for mind control experimentation are supportable by fact. Even so, there are declassified goverment documents proving such studies have been conducted for decades, and I see no reason to believe those sorts of studies have ceased with the technology booms we are experience these days.

    Even the UN has questioned the likelihood of mind-control technologies being put to use, if not now, in the not so distant future. The Boston article showed a spokesperson saying the technology suggested was “years away”. How many years? Two, three, twenty? No way for us to know, is there? I’d just as soon not take my chances with people like those who constructed the PNAC in positions of power.

  • Rob

    Well, the race to the bottom of this thread has certainly taken place. I’m ready for the next post from Kucinich.

  • http://www.quantumphilosophy.net wah

    “And America is claimed by rules which are rigged against us. I have said that I will cancel NAFTA and the WTO in order to return to bilateral trade, conditioned on workers rights, human rights, and environmental quality principles being written into our trade agreements with other nations.”

    Is there not another way to solve this problem? Doesn’t this add a great deal of ‘overhead’ to every trade deal with every country each has to be negotiated individually? Could that not lead to greater disparities as favors are traded on a one-to-one basis?

    Would it not be possible to put forth a measure that would require companies doing business in the U.S. to improve these situations? Doesn’t this already exist and simply need to be enforced?

    I dunno, it seems that many problems like this already have legislative solutions, but the execution has been lacking. Bar Nike from doing business in the U.S. for a couple months and things will clean up quick. You got to be firm with these ‘people’, as they only understand market forces.

    – offtopic flaming –

    “I do seem to recall reading something about the candidate�s position on space-based mind-control devices over and above the one bill you mention, Eric, and I�d therefore like for him to clarify. “

    Am I going to have to spend a couple weeks pestering you about that rumor of you sodomizing a wagonfull of donkeys I recall reading something about for you to realize that these types of questions are a waste of time? Oh, I also heard you raped your own ass with your head. Care to comment?

    [note: flaming only because the link under 'mind control rays' did not include the words 'mind' 'control' or even 'rays' and instead linked to a bill banning the entire concept of 'Star Wars']

  • Dee

    Hi, wah, and you’re right about the link. The original bill contained text that alluded to use of technology to influence thoughts, mental health and similar affects which would also have been banned. It was later removed and the bill resubmitted with the same outcome I believe (rejected by the House).

    I know I should have covered that before giving my thoughts on the issue of mind control research. My sole excuse is that it was late and I should have waited to respond until I got some sleep. The real fact is the bill was all-inclusive of technology that either exists now or may exist in the not too distant future and an effort to protect us from them.

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    The Kucinich mind-control bill was HR 2977, in the 107th Congress. The bill sought to ban space-based weapons, where “weapon” was defined, in part, as:

    (II) through the use of land-based, sea-based, or space-based systems using radiation, electromagnetic, psychotronic, sonic, laser, or other energies directed at individual persons or targeted populations for the purpose of information war, mood management, or mind control of such persons or populations; or

    See the entire bill, as originally written, here.

  • http://www.washugreens.org Mia

    For a pro-privacy crowd, some of us seem mighty quick to attack defenses against mind control…

    The notion may seem silly, but should there really be any greater right to privacy than the privacy of one’s mind?

    If only a bill could somehow be passed against mind control of advertising without infringing on the First Amendment!

  • Mike Aspen

    So are you for, or against mind control, Richard ?
    I can’t believe that you have posted a link to a proposed bill without injecting your valued opinion on it….you must be either back on the wagon, or too busy proclaiming to be the inventor of “political blogs”.

    p.s. Your ‘I invented Wi-Fi…bow down to me!’ thing is getting old. You have now officially reminded people of how you invented wi-fi and UTP Ethernet more times than Kerry has reminded people he is a Vietnam vet. Take a hint: thanks, but no one cares anymore.

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    I don’t believe I’ve asked anyone to bow down before me, Mike, I simply mentioned some history to establish that I’m not a Vivendi lawyer, as one thoughtful commenter had alleged. I worked with several other people on UTP Ethernet and Wi-Fi, after all, and I don’t go around passing e-mail with an “Ethernet inventor” sig like Bob Metcalfe does.

    But on to your other issue, I don’t personally believe that readers of this blog care whether I personally support or oppose mind control. I’m not the one running for office, after all. It’s an issue that has been raised by those critical of the candidate, and is therefore one that I think he would do well to address.

    It seems to me there may be an inconsistency between the candidate’s pacifism and his opposition to orbital mind-control, as it may very well be the case that mind-control offers a means to quell angry mobs and to stop bloodshed that we really shouldn’t overlook.

    If we had the ability to make Saddam surrender peacefully, wouldn’t it have been better to have used it than to invade his sovereign nation, killing all the widows and orphans with our carpet-bombing and napalm campaigns, just to remove him from power? Clearly, the only means to bring about such an end is mind-control, since you can’t negotiate a tyrant into surrender very damn well.

    So there’s a serious issue here that needs to be addressed, and Congressman Kucinich is the man to address it.

  • http://ebw-edu.poliblog.com Eric Brunner-Williams

    Richard, Dee, Wah, … sorry if I’ve left anyone out.

    Lighten up. Joe Reagle (w3c) got a nice zinger off with “Oompa Loompa” on the flushy Dean photo. The “original in German” zinger was pretty funny too.

    For what its worth, if I worked for DK as a legislative aide when this language was sent out of his office, it would have been after Capitol police had hauled my ass and the largest rolled-up newspaper within my reach at the time off to jail. The bill should specify neurological effect, transient or permanent, rather than something as stupidly difficult to quantify, let alone get past the SMERSH/SPECTRE/CHAOS/… joke lines. Omni-directional discharge of HPM munitions, or directed HMP munition discharge, that have a measurable footprint in urban target areas, have not been proved not to cause atypical neurological effects in fetal, neo-natal, infantile, or adolescent brain tissue.

    We’ve got a lot of mercury in our fish in Maine, and a lot of lead in our houses, so “low dosage” heavy metals and neurological consequences in development is not unknown here. When I looked at the shopping list of exotic weapons, it made sense to me. I just wish “mind control” was replaced by language that would drop in without comment to a bill about mercury in childhood vaccines (ethyl) or fish (methyl) in antinatal adult diets, or lead abatement in pre-1978 housing.

    That, and only that, is why the candidate should have been puppy-whiped with a rolled-up newspaper. He missed what is real in the pursuit of what may be real.

  • Rob

    And here I thought the “Orbital Mind-Control Lasers” were invented by Steve Jackson Games. Illuminati is a very fun game BTW.

  • Mike

    “If we had the ability to make Saddam surrender peacefully, wouldn�t it have been better to have used it than to invade his sovereign nation, killing all the widows and orphans with our carpet-bombing and napalm campaigns, just to remove him from power?”

    Indeed it would. And I’m gonna bet that the war would have gone easier if we had Invisibility Cloaks as well.

    Your sarcasm and idiocy does nothing more than to firmly put in place your reputation as a wiseass and someone looking to pick an argument, instead of someone who adds to a productive discussion. It’s sad to watch, actually, you being an adult and all.

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    Meanwhile, back in the real world, the candidate has been awfully silent today.

  • http://www.gnusto.net Nathaniel Graham

    Whatever it’s original intent, the most significant effect of NAFTA has been to make union organizing nearly impossible. That’s the main reason why the international investment community and corporations are so much in favor of NAFTA, and also why organized labor is so much opposed to it.

    Under today’s so-called “free trade” regime, corporations can operate internationally, but labor unions can’t — so there’s no way for workers to fight back against the internationalization of production. The resulting loss of worker bargaining power has had the predictable effect of reducing labor’s share of corporate income.

    Actually, the percentage of corporate income going into payrolls has been steadily declining for decades, and that trend accelerated dramatically under NAFTA. Since 1973, union membership has dropped from 24% to 14% and the ratio of the pay of corporate CEO’s to the hourly wages of production workers has soared from 93 times that of workers in 1988 to 419 in 1999 (Note that NAFTA was passed in 1993 and the WTO came into existence in 1995).

    Well, if you shrink labor’s slice of the economic pie, then the slice going to shareholders and corporate executives must increase — that seems to be a natural corollary. One might fairly ask if that was not the real point behind NAFTA to begin with.

    What’s taking place in the international economy right now is unprecedented: corporations and investors have gained an overwhelming advantage over labor by playing one national workforce against another, going wherever labor is cheapest and thereby driving wages and living standards down all over the world.

    Rhetorical flourishes aside, the only Presidential candidates (I’m aware of) seriously addressing this issue are Gephardt, Kucinich, and Dean. Gephardt has proposed an international minimum wage; Kucinich wants to abolish NAFTA and the WTO; and Dean has said that he’ll enforce international labor standards abroad.

    Dean’s proposal is probably the weakest in terms of efficacy. “Enforcement of international labor standards abroad” is also pretty vague. Clinton said similar things just after the NAFTA vote in 1993, but take a look at what happened: immediately after the vote, General Electric and Honeywell both fired workers for trying to organize unions in their plants in Northern Mexico.

    The Teamsters union protested to the Clinton administration and the issue went to a U.S. Labor Department panel, which was supposed to decide if there had in fact been a violation of labor rights. Robert Reich’s labor department basically said that the fired Mexican workers still had recourse under Mexican law, and therefore there was no issue for the U.S. Labor Department.
    Mexican labor law? What a joke. Dean gives a nice speech and says all of the right things to warm the hearts of progressives, but his actual proposals don’t inspire a great deal of confidence.

    The Gephardt proposal is more concrete, but also more difficult to evaluate since nothing like it has ever been tried before (to my knowledge).
    Practical questions arise: Which countries would participate? Who decides? Who set’s the minimum? What would prevent corporations from moving production into non-participating countries? If the international minimum is less than the $5.15 U.S. minimum, then what would prevent capital flight?

    Kucinich has taken the courageous stance of calling for the cancellation of NAFTA and the WTO. That’s the right thing to do. Progressives should stop focusing on his bad hair-cut and start paying attention to the issues that really matter.

  • Dee

    Eric, I’m lightened up today, but thanks for the advice. You make a good point about the need to cover currently known dangers as opposed to possible future dangers. I wasn’t here for the Dean guest blog, I’m sorry to say, though I may go back and read it after Congressman Kucinich is finished here. In all honesty, I’d have never found this place had it not been for the Congressman’s campaign. Now that I have, I’m enjoying it quite a bit, and not just because of the Guest appearance.

    I find most thinking people like a good argument, and that in turn sometimes leads to flames or whatever you wish to call it. Ah well, it’s better to flame and think than be silent and ignorant, in my opinion.

    Richard, I suspect the Candidate’s schedule is keeping him from making his entry any more quickly. He’s had quite a bit of traveling to do, and seeing that this most recent entry was time-stamped at 4:22am, he’s probably very tired. And no I’m not being defensive, just offering an explanation. I took a look at his schedule for this week, and frankly I can’t imagine not being jet-lagged for a month from it.

  • meenal

    Kucinich’s platform is so aligned with that of the Greens; I wonder why he didn’t run under the Green Party.

    http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0724-08.htm
    http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0801-12.htm

  • Julie

    Actually, the sane, forward-thinking idea of US Institute of Peace did not originate from Dennis Kucinich. As Congressman Harkin shared in the Iowa C-Span broadcast, this idea goes back to George Washington. President Washington actually set aside, in his will, some property for the purpose of housing this Institute.

    And Harkin not only believed in the idea, he saved it from extinction from Bush’s cowardly, shameless, greedy hands and made sure it was not out of funding. You see we already have this Institute (Department if you will-but if not just have a heart attack), though it is not appreciated by negatively zealot thinkers who believe in nothing more than shallowness, hatred and money, and likewise are too cowardly to rise to the streets, schools, churches, and anywhere too take back our democracy before its foundations are beyond repair.

    http://www.usip.org/

  • Anonymous

    The silence created by a hard working, caring, person who has tightly scheduled engagements, including just flying to and appearing (4:30)in a discussion to Des Moines is not “awful” Richard. I must say your silence would even be nicer. Miracles do happen, though its doubtful in your case.

  • http://secession.net Regional Pushback

    Well, you can so radically reform Washington DC as to make it unrecognizable,
    or wait for something so nasty to hit it that it is unrecognizable, or just
    learn to ignore it. Those are three options you can pursue. Enough for now.

  • http://tapsearch.com/tapartnews/ Ray Tapajna

    NAFTA and GATT are really not trade agreements. They are tools of Globalism to advance a new dispersion of labor and the agreements have very little to do with the trading of products.
    Free Trade has to go because of this. It is simply not trade.
    The U.S. Government sponsored the moving of factories outside the U.S. starting in 1956. It was supposed to be just a temporary program to help the economies in Mexico and Central America. The program never ended and evolved into what is called Free Trade. At first only a few factories were moved but by 1992, more than 2000 U.S. factories were moved to Mexico. This was prior to the passing of NAFTA. NAFTA just confirmed what was going on for a long time and speeded up the process. After NAFTA was passed, the number of factories moved to Mexico doubled quickly to more than 4,000. After getting NAFTA passed, President Clinton had to rush billions of dollars to Mexico to save the peso. So in the end it was bust and there is nothing in the future that will stop this race to the bottom but getting rid of so called Free Trade as soon as possible.
    Today, Mexico reports a low unemployment rate as the USA does with the USA going through the most massive dislocation of jobs in its history. Evidently, there are jobs in Mexico that Mexican workers will not take. The vast migration of workers to the USA proves this. Meanwhile, workers in the USA seek jobs that will pay the essential bills to survive. A vast working poor class has been created in the U.S. A homeless person wrote in a homeless newspaper that he looked for work on a farm but found that the Latinos had the jobs locked up. So we have severe competition for jobs at the lowest levels too. A silent depression also resides in our lands as exposed during the aftermath of Hurrican Katrina. It also is displayed in the many miles of main streets in our cities that look like third world country streets.
    At the same time, many factories are now moving out of Mexico to places like China for the sake of even cheaper labor. At the same time, China contracts worker for even cheaper labor in other countries. This is not trade or free trade but it is a new kind of wage slave trade based on a new kind of colonialism with nations finding their interests spread throughout the world. Wars and terrorism follows this race to the bottom.
    In the USA, you can stop by a railroad crossing and watch the logo of COSCO flash by on the shipping containers. COSCO is owned in part by the Chinese Liberation Army. In essence, this army rolls throughout the USA this way. The shipping containers are filled with cheap imports. COSCO also ships weapons and missiles worldwide while leaders in America debate the safety of our borders.
    Nothing is making sense and it would be best to just end the process that cause all this and start from beginning using the successful economic models of the 1940s up through to the late 1970s. The question to ask is why did the USA need global competition. We had middle class jobs across the board supporting a wide range of services. We duplicated the success through the Marshall plan that restarted the local value added economies in Europe and Asia. It worked. Why would our leaders want to chop the economies up into pieces destroying the local value added economies. Only local value added economies sustain a balance in geopolitical settings.

    Free Trade now has a long history and it is a history of failures which has led to wars and terrorism. It has deflated wages everywhere it has touched.

    It is time to prepare for the post globalization era. It is a natural process that will correct the turmoil so called Free Trade and Globalization has bred. We need real jobs and not wars.

    For more untold stories behind the stories of Free Trade and Globalism, see Tapart News and Art that Talks at http://tapsearch.com/tapartnews
    http://tapsearch.com/globalization/id5.html
    http://www.experiencedesignernetwork.com/000636.html or search under Tapart News for hundreds of more untold stories about the race to the bottom