2004 Presidential Race

    OK, I’m breaking my no-politics rule for this blog to give my very preliminary thoughts on the ’04 presidential race…

    Thus far of the Democratic Prez candidates I’ve seen, the only one I would feel comfortable voting for is Kucinich. Looking at this record and his views, my only substantial point of disagreement is on abortion (and on that issue, he does favor policies that would reduce the number of abortions… increased access to birth control, better pre&post-natal care, la living wage, etc.) but on everything else is very good, and dare I say better than Nader. In particularly I like his opposition to the death penalty, his support for a Department of Peace, and his Kucinich’s farm policies which includes the US withdrawl from NAFTA and the WTO.

    Here’s a few excerpts from his agricultural agenda:

      . . .

      Local Food Systems

      A Kucinich Administration will shift USDA funding and focus away from the promotion of concentrated intensive and industrial agribusiness. The new focus will benefit family farmers, rural communities, the environment, and consumers, with policies crafted to enable farmers to earn a fair price and to provide safe, nutritious food to all people. A Kucinich Administration will increase funding for regional food processing facilities, marketing assistance, farm to school programs, on-farm renewable energy, and the Farmers Market Nutrition Program. Agricultural research and development institutions will be given funding priority to help family farmers make a transition to profitable and sustainable agriculture.

      Conservation and Environmental Protection

      A Kucinich Administration will strengthen and enforce air and water quality laws to safeguard rural communities from factory farm pollution. The number of animal units per site will be limited to a level that allows for on-site manure management, and local communities will be given control over the citing of industrial livestock operations. Programs that reward family farmers for protecting the environment will be expanded, and funding to help small independent farmers qualify for organic certification will be increased.

      Food Industry Workers and Food Safety

      A Kucinich Administration will implement new safety standards in meatpacking and food processing. Worker health and safety protections will be expanded through increased inspections and fines, with criminal charges for employers who cause injury or death to agricultural industry workers. Backing meatpacking unions will help to bring wages and benefits in line with the risks of the job, and funding for smaller, regional packing plants will create better economic opportunities for family farmers, better conditions for workers, and safer meat for consumers.

      Rural Communities

      A Kucinich Administration will initiate a major new program of investment in rural America, putting thousands to work rebuilding invaluable public assets such as schools, hospitals, libraries, swimming pools and parks. Teachers, doctors, veterinarians, and other important service providers will be offered incentives to work in under-served areas. A variety of support mechanisms and financial incentives will be given to local businesses so that locally owned businesses have a fair chance to compete.

    At this point, if Kucinich is able to secure the Demcratic nomination (a long shot at best since everyone is so infatuated with Dean, despite the fact that he is not progressive and favors continuing the failed war on drugs) my vote is that the Green party endorce Kucinich. If Kucinich does not get the nomination, then I say we should run our own candidate. Maybe Nader, maybe somebody else, but there’s no way the Greens should support a Democrat if they don’t represent our values.

    I know many will say that the prime objective must be to unseat Bush but I disagree. As dangerous as I think Bush has and likely will be, we have to be in this for the long haul. We need societal change not just a change in administration. As much as I dislike Bush’s administration, I would much rather see the Greens elect one member to every local governing body in this land than to see Bush unseated. In the long run, those local electoral successes will have a greater lasting impact IMHO.