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April 16, 2024  
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Issue No. 7 - A Time To Vote
C O N T E N T S :

Introduction: A Time to Vote

Voting, Not Voting, and What Really Matters

A Persuasive Progressive: G&G Interviews David Cobb

The Great Presidential Debate...Hasn't Happened Yet

The Strange Rise and Fall of Howard Dean

Open Letter to Progressives: Vote Cobb and Kerry

Making a More Delicious Democracy

What Shall the Perplexed Voter Do?

2000 Cometh Again: Will Kerry Gore Himself?

The Soil: G&G's 2004 Election Guide

The Soil   
(Others Only Give You the Dirt)

A Quick, Uncensored Guide to the
Issues and Candidates in the 2004 Election

Facing America at this crucial time for our planet are enormous issues, large issues, and medium-sized issues. Since it's an election year, it's time to break them down, and see where our candidates stand.

The Enormous, The Large, and The Medium-Sized

Enormous Issues. The enormous issues facing us affect the future survival of our planet and our species...

  • War, Peace, and the Military Budget. Will we continue killing innocent people in wars based on lies? Will we stop the wars we are currently waging? Also, will we increase or reduce the military budget, which now comprises half of the federal U.S. budget (if one counts the debts which wars incur). The military budget is so large that it has become difficult to attend to the daily needs of running a government of a civilized country of 285 million people.
  • Globalization & Global Economics. All American economic policy today is global. Will globalization continue as the expansion of the corporate capitalism that is destroying countries' ecosystems, cultures, and sovereignty? Or will it become a force for spreading the good lessons America has learned about capitalism – stringent environmental, safety, and labor regulations are necessary to restrain the profit-motive from enslaving people and destroying livable communities? Will we implement local economics good for both local and foreign workers and small businesses – or will we implement IMF-style corporate macroeconomics good for corporate profits and speculators?
  • 9-11 Truth. Will the 'official story' ever be proven? And will the true story ever be told? It has become obvious that the 9-11 Commission engaged in coverup. What were they hiding? We have been lied to – as we were during Watergate and Iran-Contra. The true reasons for the "War on Terrorism," the aggressive military invasions, and the aggressive assaults on the Constitution are probably contained in the actual story of what and how 9-11 happened.
  • Environmental Deterioration & Energy. No less an institution than the U.S. Pentagon has come out with a report suggesting that global climate change and environmental collapse should be considered a grave threat. (Of course, the Pentagon sees it only as a threat to U.S. national security.) Will the destruction of our one home, Earth, continue unabated with only greenwashing and window dressing – or will we lead the world and undertake genuine proactive and preventative change?

Large Issues. The large issues facing us affect the future survival of our nation and its democratic culture...

  • Electoral Reform. Will we continue to have to choose between the lesser of two evils when we exercise our solemn responsibility to communicate with our rulers? Or will we implement "1-2-3 Voting" or Proportional Representation to allow voices outside the two corporate parties to be not only heard but involved in governing? Also, will we address the fact that barely half of Americans are voting at all?
  • Education. Will we continue to spend more money building prisons than schools? Will we further de-fund public education via vouchers? Our education system is near crisis in some parts of the country, and because of forced testing and insufficient resources for teachers, even many schools that are otherwise doing fine are unable to adequately prepare the engaged thinkers, creators, scientists, entrepreneurs, artists, and other workers that sustain a vibrant culture, economy, and democracy.
  • Race Issues. Will we finally, as a culture, admit wrong and make reparations to the victims of slavery who unwillingly built the foundation of our global economic supremacy? Reparations could take many forms, including a dramatic investment in inner city transit, infrastructure, parks, schools, neighborhood policing, and job training. Affirmative action, while clearly necessary, barely scratches the surface.
  • Media Consolidation. Will we recognize that having five huge corporations control what Americans hear, read, and watch – if not think – is poisonous to democracy? Unfettered market forces create offensive, empty, dumbed-down, and often pointless programming, as well as news shows that propagandize for the political parties that ensure the media corporations their continued ability to expand.
  • Feminism. Will we finally incorporate the wisdom of both genders in political and economic decision-making? The CEO's of Fortune 500 companies are 1.2% women, and the Senate, the upper house of our federal legislature, is only 13% women. We are a polity run by men. What about mandating that each state's two senators be one man and one woman?
  • Civil Liberties. The Bill of Rights is being shredded by the two parties in the interest of "Homeland Security," a term straight out of Nazi fear-based propaganda. Will we remember that defending America is not chiefly about increasing security, but about defending liberty? Many countries, like China, have security without liberty. As Ben Franklin pointed out, "They that give up liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
  • Healthcare. Will people who get sick get medical care, even if they're poor? Study after study shows that universal healthcare programs – which are in place around the world in virtually every other industrialized country – save money for both businesses and government. Only the healthcare industry loses its enormous profit margins.

Medium-sized Issues. The medium-sized issues facing us significantly affect the fabric of our social culture...

  • Abortion. Will American women, who, when I last checked, do like babies, continue to have the ability to make choices about their own body? If we are truly concerned about the safety and well-being of the tiniest and most defenseless among us, let us properly fund healthcare, child care, and education programs.
  • Gun Control. Can we make commonsense regulations governing the acquisition and use of deadly weapons in American cities – while still respecting the important liberties guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment?
  • Gay Marriage. Will we expand governmental recognition of love and stability to all couples, regardless of sexual orientation?

Note: The medium-sized issues, while undoubtedly important, are used primarily to divide people and sustain the illusion of sharp differences between the two corporate parties. Gay Marriage has gained unexpected 'traction' – emotional currency – in 2004, and is thus being used extensively to keep people emotional, or even hateful, so as to keep them within the two-party framework.

There are quite a few other issues, including fair taxation, Social Security, welfare, drug policy, immigration, and food, that would and probably should be listed in the above framework. There are also many issues, like who did what in Vietnam and who abused what substances decades ago, that ought properly to be seen as non-issues and mere distractions.

The Candidates – Kerry, Bush, Cobb, Nader, Badnarik

So, in random order, let's see where the candidates stand. What follow is of course a selected, condensed listing of the candidates' many statements on the issues outlined above.

John Kerry
As the Democratic Party candidate, Kerry is part of an organization that represents the large corporations of this country, but that also represents its unions and mainstream liberal groups. Thus his actions will mostly please the former, while his words will mostly please the latter.

On the Enormous Issues:

War, Peace, and the military budget.
Says: Iraq is the 'wrong war,' but I'll win it. Let's increase the military budget to add two whole new divisions (approx. 30,000 soldiers) to the U.S. military. Insists the president always has the authority to declare wars unilaterally.
Between the Lines: Sounds a lot like Bush for good reason. He, like Bush, is concealing his intention to institute a military draft and to continue aggressive wars around the planet. Will he invade Iran? It seems that little other than bare hope suggests he'll be more open and reasonable than Bush. The Constitution, by the way, gives the power to declare war to Congress alone.
Says: He'll "include internationally recognized enforceable labor rights and environmental standards in new Free Trade agreements."
Between the Lines: He views NAFTA, WTO, IMF as perfectly fine. With vote after vote Kerry has supported them, and the unfettered exploitative capitalist globalization they establish. Large supranational corporations are of course funding his campaign.
9-11 Truth.
Says: Nothing. Never expresses slightest doubt about the story of the day of 9-11. Has occasionally pointed out that Saddam Hussein didn't do 9-11.
Between the Lines: If Osama bin Laden didn't do 9-11 either, then Kerry's surely part of the coverup. Perhaps he's too scared to mention his doubts, or perhaps it's a skull-and-bones thing.
Environmental Deterioration & Energy.
Says: "Energy Independence." "America will be safer and freer when the resources that fuel our economy are in our own hands, when we develop new energy sources right here in America." He will "defend the environment and end the Bush rollbacks."
Between the Lines: Kerry will likely do greenwashing and take minor protective measures, as the Clinton administration did. He'll drill more of our own country for oil, while giving lip service to renewables. Opposes standards on genetically modified food and organisms, opposes raising fuel efficiency in cars, supports huge corporate agriculture, supports mountaintop mining.

On the Large Issues:

Electoral Reform.
Says: Absolutely nothing.
Between the Lines: Dean actually called for 1-2-3 Voting (aka IRV), but Kerry is fully tied into the DLC and its contentment with the two party duopoly. He'll work to ensure that we have the same two choices, election after election, for years to come.
Says: No Child Left Behind – but "I'll improve it." Supports forced testing, like Bush. Opposes vouchers. "Education is at the core of America's basic promise." Also: "Every child should be held to high standards, and every school should have the resources and the responsibility to meet those standards. Every classroom should have a great teacher."
Between the Lines: Has to please the teachers' unions with his rhetoric, but offers little more than words. He does oppose ending public education altogether, something Bush seems to favor. But by increasing the military budget, Kerry, like Bush, will find it impossible to actually improve schools.
Race Issues.
Says: "I'll enforce our nation's civil rights laws, support affirmative action to reduce discrimination and expand opportunity, and strongly enforce equal justice for all victims of hate violence."
Between the Lines: Affirmative action, yes. Opposes reparations and any real confrontation with endemic racism.
Media Consolidation.
Says: Nothing.
Between the Lines: He's enjoying the benefits of propagandistic coverage almost as much as Bush is. He gets to be, for example, the 'good cop' in the New York Times' 'good cop-bad cop' coverage of the election.
Says: "In America, women should be able to go as far as their talents will take them." Supports equal pay, Title IX, childcare.
Between the Lines: Cloaks his lukewarm enthusiasm for this issue with the (related) issue of abortion.
Civil Liberties.
Says: "We must always remember that terrorists do not just target our lives - they target our way of life. John Kerry and John Edwards believe in an America that is safe and free, and they will protect our personal liberties as well as our personal security."
Between the Lines: Note how this comes as an afterthought. His talk of killing and "Homeland Security" is nearly identical to Bush's. He supports the Patriot Act, the increased monitoring of American citizens, and the end of Constitutional government that is being brought about by secret trials.
Says: "My plan will lower family premiums by up to $1,000 a year, cut waste from the system, lower the cost of prescription drugs to provide real relief to seniors, and use targeted tax cuts to extend affordable, high-quality coverage to 95% of Americans, including every child."
Between the Lines: Cloaks his opposition to universal healthcare with the same lines Clinton offered. Corporate HMO's are going to start covering 95% of us? Doubtful.

On the Medium-sized Issues:

Says: Quite a lot. Generally pro-choice.
Between the Lines: This is a big wedge issue that favors Kerry. Of course, we shouldn't forget that Clinton signed a ban on US funds for overseas agencies that offer abortion and Gore favored outlawing late-term abortions in the US.
Gun Control.
Says: Various things.
Between the Lines: This is one issue where the 'flip-flopper' label actually seems to apply. The people his rhetoric appeals to are nearly unanimous in their support for gun control, but as with many issues, Kerry seems comfortable speaking about war and killing like a Republican.
Gay Marriage.
Says: We'll give you some rights and civil unions. Happy?
Between the Lines: This is a wedge issue that cuts for Republicans this time. Kerry is dodging it. It may still be 10 or 20 years if we remain stuck with the two corporate parties, but this issue will surely cut for liberals before too long.

George Bush
As the Republican Party candidate, Bush is part of an organization that represents the large corporations of this country, but that also represents its large religious Christian groups and its libertarian and small-government adherents. Thus his actions will mostly please the former, while his words will mostly please the latter.

On the Enormous Issues:

War, Peace, and the military budget.
Says: War. To eventually get peace. Claims, with usually some anger or fear-mongering in his voice, that he alone is the one to keep America and her huddled masses safe.
Between the Lines: Bush is close to the weapons and oil companies and favors, perhaps unsurprisingly, continued massive military buildup and more wars. He will build more nuclear weapons, set up missile 'defense' systems, and militarize outer space. His language on war, as with many issues, is surprisingly Orwellian; his speeches seek to engender fear and a dependent father-child relationship with the electorate.
Says: It's good for business. And business is good for people.
Between the Lines: Will push for whatever the large corporations need, via WTO, NAFTA, CAFTA, IMF, to accelerate the corporate takeover of the planet. Supports bringing in the U.S. military if necessary.
9-11 Truth.
Says: "Let us never entertain wild conspiracy theories about Sept. 11."
Between the Lines: Obviously knew something that morning. Otherwise, when Andrew Card, Bush's Chief of Staff whispered to Bush that a second plane had hit the tower, why didn't Card wait for a response from the President? Bush, after being notified, nodded, said nothing, wiped an awkward expression off his face, and then did nothing for eleven minutes.
Environmental Deterioration & Energy
Says: Business has to take priority over environmental protection. "The environment is getting better every year."
Between the Lines: Bush seems congenitally unable to see humanity's (rather than just hunters') need for a natural environment. Since clean food and water have always been there for him, why should he worry? In fact, his Orwellian statements on this topic – from "Clear Skies" to "Healthy Forests" – are surprisingly legion. His loyalty to his oil roots, of course, dictate that energy policy be decided by ChevronTexaco, Exxon, and their competitors.

On the Large Issues:

Electoral Reform.
Says: Nothing on reform. Actively worked to pass laws for electronic voting machines and voter databases.
Between the Lines: Perhaps he wants electronic voting machines because the three companies that make them in this country all have ridiculously close ties to the Republican Party. One CEO, Wally O'Dell of Diebold, actually said in a campaign letter that he was 'determined to deliver Ohio's electoral votes to the President.' The voting databases are to be used primarily to decrease, not increase, the number of people allowed to vote.
Says: No Child Left Behind. Mandatory testing and vouchers will force underperforming schools to shape up. "Let's end the soft bigotry of low expectations."
Between the Lines: Seems to want to end public education. Alternately, to change it to produce only pliable corporate drones. Mandatory testing will dumb down curricula. Vouchers will provide a cash windfall to the wealthy as well as a way to slash public school funding.
Race Issues.
Says: "Let's make the American Dream possible for everyone." Democrats shouldn't have a lock on the votes of African Americans. "What have Democrats done for you?"
Between the Lines: Opposes even the most basic Affirmative Action. Will promote ultra-conservative people of color, since they're often more conservative than the people he could otherwise promote. Speaks in polarizing, manichean terms about good and evil. His words have implied that all people of color are suspicious.
Media Consolidation.
Says: Consolidation is good for business.
Between the Lines: After the corporate media obediently propagandized for the Iraq War – and even had 70% of Americans, at one point, convinced Saddam Hussein did 9-11 – Bush and his FCC man, Michael Powell, allowed the corporate media to snatch up even more of the nation's newspapers and broadcast media – even across types of media.
Says: "W Stands for Women" (Honest. On his website.)
Between the Lines: The "tradition" card doesn't work as well as it once did. But he's now found that women are particularly prone to fears about "security," his one winning issue, and so he's using the fear button extensively to woo women.
Civil Liberties.
Says: Very little. When pressed on the issue, supports liberty with his 'straight talk.'
Between the Lines: Has pushed not just Patriot Act-type assaults on the Constitution, but has also instituted record-levels of government secrecy and instructed Ashcroft to resist FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests.
Says: Using less money, he'll cover more people than the Democrats' plan.
Between the Lines: Houdini-like work with statistics is needed to justify his claim. In fact, it's more likely fewer people would be covered. But first and foremost, the healthcare and pharmaceutical corporations want him to oppose the sensible option, universal healthcare. So he does.

On the Medium-sized Issues:

Says: Pro-life. Period.
Between the Lines: This is a wedge issue that provides him an opportunity to pander to the religious right. Hasn't actually tried to end legal abortions, but does ridiculous things like eliminating foreign aid packages that contain a small subsidy for family planning.
Gun Control.
Says: "Stands with all sportsmen."
Between the Lines: Another wedge issue. Allows Bush to pander to militia, "small-govurnmint" types. Any alleged links to organized crime are unproven.
Gay Marriage.
Says: We need a Constitutional Amendment to protect "marriage."
Between the Lines: Huge wedge issue that the Bush campaign is taking to the bank.

David Cobb
As the Green Party candidate, Cobb represents a collection of small state Green Parties that insist on formulating the national Green Party's policy stances through various democratic means. Thus, while the underlying motivations will be generally consistent, there will occasionally be dissonance between his words one day and actions the next.

On the Enormous Issues:

War, Peace, and the military budget.
Says: End the war now. Bring the troops home. Has a five-point plan to immediately end the war, apologize to Iraqis, and rebuild the country. Leaving now is possible, preferable, and right. Also calls for cutting the military budget by 15%, an amount that could make, for example, university education free to all Americans.
Between the Lines: He doesn't toe the "We can't leave" line that many liberals do.
Says: "The entire planet is being ruled and governed by a very small number of unelected, unaccountable corporate CEOs." Instead, "people on the ground should be making the decisions that affect their lives on a day-to-day basis."
Between the Lines: Wants to democratize the world. Increase global cooperation through institutions such as the UN. Would renegotiate all trade treaties under terms more favorable to workers both here and abroad.
9-11 Truth.
Says: "We need to force our elected officials to tell the truth about whatever it was that happened on 9-11." "The so-called Commission on 9-11 is obviously engaged in coverup. There are far too many questions left unanswered, and I join the literally millions of other Americans who are demanding that a full and unbiased investigation be conducted so that we can find out who knew what and when, and what actually happened."
Between the Lines: A brave position.
Environmental Deterioration & Energy
Says: We need to make immediate changes to stop the global catastrophe that awaits us.
Between the Lines: Would dramatically alter our treatment of the natural environment through the use of 'ecological wisdom.' Green businesses and renewable energy providers would benefit; coal, gas, and polluting industries would see higher taxes.

On the Large Issues:

Electoral Reform.
Says: It's common sense to open up the system to allow people to vote for whom they choose. "1-2-3 Voting" (aka IRV) and publicly funded elections are essential to end "spoiling" and save our democracy.
Between the Lines: Speaks with deep conviction and knowledge.
Says: "Decentralize." Return power to the communities.
Between the Lines: Doesn't have much to say on education.
Race Issues.
Says: "Reparations." We need to address the racist society in which we live. Only then will we as Americans be able to achieve real progress.
Between the Lines: One of very few to call for reparations. Many Americans fear reparations would entail a dramatic series of massive handouts to people who were never slaves. Cobb sees reparations as necessary to address the documented racism that still pervades society.
Media Consolidation.
Says: "We need to break up the media monopolies."
Between the Lines: This is similar to one of the comments that Howard Dean made which (in addition to a 9-11 comment) got him tossed from the Democratic nomination race.
Says: "We have inherited a social system based on male domination of politics and economics. We call for the replacement of the cultural ethics of domination and control with more cooperative ways of interacting"
Between the Lines: His running mate, Patricia LaMarche, is an actual woman. This might not seem like much, but in a field of six white men, the other five candidates also have men as their running mates.
Civil Liberties.
Says: "Calls upon all citizens to demand of their elected representatives the immediate repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act."
Between the Lines: Has stood firm, as the Green Party has oddly turned up on a few of the lists of "Terrorist Organizations" give to airport police.
Says: "We need universal, single-payer healthcare." "Simply extending Medicare to everyone would save money, help businesses of all sizes, and bolster the economy." "That we would save billions per year is one thing, that it's the humane thing to do is the key."

On the Medium-sized Issues:

Says: Greens support full access to abortion, with funding, for all women in the U.S. and around the world.
Between the Lines: Probably the firmest of all the candidates in his stance.
Gun Control.
Says: Green Party Platform: "Make sure weapons are designed safely with trigger locks; law enforcement so that they�re not falling into the hands of criminals; look at a weapon the way you look at a car – you�ve got to know how to handle it and should be licensed; certain weapons should be banned.
Between the Lines: Advocates a philosophy of peaceful resolution in all disputes.
Gay Marriage.
Says: I support the unequivocal right to marry regardless of orientation.

Michael Badnarik
As the Libertarian Party candidate, Badnarik represents a diverse collection of small-government adherents and true Libertarians. Libertarianism has been around a long time, so what dissonance there will be between what he says and what his actions would be would be limited, most likely, to issues Libertarians are not resolved on, such as the environment and abortion.

On the Enormous Issues:

War, Peace, and the military budget.
Says: Iraq War should end immediately. Bring home the troops not just from Iraq, but from all 130 countries where they are currently stationed. Military budget reduced and used only for defense.
Between the Lines: Boldly calls the lies about the Iraq War as he sees them. Would reduce military presence and entanglements around the world swiftly.
Says: Corporations need less regulation, not more.
Between the Lines: Libertarianism would further empower the corporations that are running the planet by removing all regulations on them.
9-11 Truth.
Says: Nothing.
Between the Lines: Might actually honestly not know. He does say 9-11 was a crime rather than a military attack.
Environmental Deterioration & Energy
Says: Silence. Occasionally mentions the government itself is a bad polluter.
Between the Lines: The environment is always one of Libertarians' difficulties. How can one protect the common good when the very notion of community is denigrated?

On the Large Issues:

Electoral Reform.
Says: Strongly favors IRV and other reforms.
Between the Lines: What 'third' party doesn't see this type of reform as essential for the survival of American democracy?
Says: Little. Favors private education. Vouchers.
Race Issues.
Says: "Let's end racism." Opposes Affirmative Action. Favors ending license requirements for small businesses, so that minorities can start their own businesses.
Between the Lines: Little enthusiasm on this issue.
Media Consolidation.
Says: Deregulate. Get rid of the rules that govern business.
Between the Lines: This is another of the large issues eating at the soul of our democracy, yet Libertarians seem blind to it.
Says: Let's end sexism.
Between the Lines: Has little else to say on this.
Civil Liberties.
Says: "The erosion of our civil liberties since 9/11 does not represent a new phenomenon. It represents an acceleration of long-existing trends. As president, my goal will be to reverse those trends and to restore, respect and enforce the Bill of Rights."
Between the Lines: Speaks convincingly and with passion. Harnesses Americans deep, inherent desire for freedom. Would stand firm.
Says: Deregulate. Private healthcare corporations will deliver excellent healthcare if we just stop requiring them to meet tedious federal safety regulations and lengthy FDA approvals.
Between the Lines: It seems ludicrous to expect that deregulated pharmaceutical corporations will not continue to gouge Americans – and give even worse care – if they are unregulated. Personal financial profit, as powerful a motive as it is, is not a motive that has historically led to real human healing interactions.

On the Medium-sized Issues:

Says: Nothing?
Between the Lines: This wedge issue has been effective in dividing and weakening Libertarians and their movement.
Gun Control.
Says: "If I have a 'hot button' issue, this is definitely it. Don't even THINK about taking my guns! My rights are not negotiable, and I am totally unwilling to compromise when it comes to the Second Amendment."
Between the Lines: Don't stand too close behind him when he's at the ATM.
Gay Marriage.
Says: Absolutely. "Just as anyone can engage in a business relationship, any individuals should be able to enter into a marriage. Government's role in a business partnership is to simply enforce, not dictate, its terms. Government's role in marriage should be the same."

Ralph Nader
As an independent/Reform Party candidate, Nader is not part of any organization that would influence or guide his positions. There's little reason to suspect dissonance between what he says and what his actions would be.

On the Enormous Issues:

War, Peace, and the military budget.
Says: "The quagmire of the Iraq war and occupation could have been averted and needs to be ended expeditiously, replacing US forces with a UN peacekeeping force." Calls for the federal budget to move away from the 'military-industrial complex'
Between the Lines:A hair less specific and articulate on this than Cobb or Badnarik.
Says: Fair Trade instead of Free Trade. Fairness will result in a more sustainable economy worldwide, a more peaceful cultural and political climate, and a far healthier global natural environment.
Between the Lines: Speaks extremely articulately and with passion.
9-11 Truth.
Says: Nothing.
Between the Lines: It's hard to believe that with his intellect and his knowledge of the lies the government has told, that he doesn't harbor questions about the discrepancies in the official story about 9-11.
Environmental Deterioration & Energy
Says:"The epidemic of silent environmental violence continues. And as the evidence of global warming mounts, it is evident that we threaten the global environment."
Between the Lines: Forceful. Yet lacks the willingness or the future-focus to build either a party or a movement that is larger than him who will tackle the enormous, growing problems.

On the Large Issues:

Electoral Reform.
Says: "Major electoral reforms are needed to ensure that every vote counts, all voters are represented through electoral reforms like instant run-off voting, none-of-the-above options, and proportional representation, non-major party candidates have a chance to run for office and participate in debates, and that elections are publicly financed."
Between the Lines: Has both history and integrity on this issue.
Says: State and local governments must be responsible for schools, with the federal governmentt coming in to help as often as necessary. Opposes forced testing routines
Race Issues.
Says: Supports Affirmative Action. Opposes reparations.
Between the Lines: Not one of Nader's strong issues.
Media Consolidation.
Says: "We must reclaim our democracy from the accelerating grip of big-money politics and concentrated corporate media." Supports public time on the public's airwaves, including free air time for political candidates and for other public services.
Between the Lines: Would likely take this crucial issue on.
Says: Supports equal pay for women.
Between the Lines: Relatively silent on this.
Civil Liberties.
Says: "Civil liberties and due process of law are eroding due to the 'war on terrorism' and new technology that allows easy invasion of privacy."
Between the Lines: Aware that these issues are particularly affecting Muslims and Americans of Middle Eastern extraction.
Says: Supports a single-payer health care plan that "replaces for-profit, investor-owned health care and removes the private health insurance industry (full Medicare for all)." Also: "The United States spends far more on health care than any other country in the world, but ranks only 37th in the overall quality of health care it provides, according to the World Health Organization."

On the Medium-sized Issues:

Says: "I don�t think government has the proper role in forcing a woman to have a child or forcing a woman not to have a child. And we�ve seen that around the world. This is something that should be privately decided with the family, woman, all the other private factors of it, but we should work toward preventing the necessity of abortion."
Between the Lines: Caused an uproar in 2000 by pointing out that: 1. The Republicans just use this as a wedge issue and aren't really going to overturn Roe v. Wade, and 2. Even if Roe were overturned, abortion would stay legal at the discretion of individual state governments.
Gun Control.
Says: Little. Safety locks. Brady Bill. Reasonable gun control.
Gay Marriage.
Says: Supports full equal rights for gays and lesbians. "While civil unions are a step in the right direction, under current federal and state law they do not afford equal rights. There are 1,049 federal rights that go only with marriage."
Between the Lines:This issue, because of the emotional currency invested in it by the media, will attract some voters to Nader.

Garlic & Grass hopes this is helpful not only in deciding whom to vote for, but also in deciding how to think about voting, debates, and the importance of various political issues.

Tony Brasunas (tony@garlicandgrass.org) is publisher of Garlic & Grass.

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