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Senator Kerry: You Want My Vote? Support My Positions!

So what are Chavez's real crimes? He's undertaken a land reform in Venezuela, giving idle lands to poor peasants; many of these lands were previously under the jurisdiction of large plantation owners. Also, he's taken on big oil interests by passing laws that doubled the royalty taxes paid by oil operators and he's asserted control over the state owned state oil company, which was previously controlled by foreign oil interests. It's telling that one of the few places you can find the full text of Kerry's speech is on Petroleum World website ( http://www.petroleumworld.com/Edit4Mar24.htm).
Published on Friday, March 26, 2004 by CommonDreams.org

Senator Kerry: You Want My Vote? Support My Positions!

by Ann Samuelson

I'm tired of hearing the Democrats rail against Ralph Nader. As a 2000 Nader voter, I'm tired of having the Democrats condemn me, blackmail me, imply that I've been duped, and suggest I have no alternative but to shut up and vote for them. As recently as Thursday night at a Democratic funding raising dinner President Jimmy Carter said, in a statement directed at Ralph Nader, "Don't risk costing the Democrats the White House this year as you did four years ago." This type of scapegoat does not make me feel all warm and fuzzy about voting for John Kerry and the Democrats.

Carter also said "I hope everyone here tonight will do your best to make sure Ralph Nader gets zero votes this year."

There is a very simple way to insure that Ralph Nader gets zero votes this year: support his positions. If Senator Kerry supported even a few of Nader's positions I would vote for him. Usually I vote for the person whose positions and votes reflect my own views. Unfortunately for Democrats, John Kerry can't run on his voting record. Kerry rolled over for the Republicans and voted with the current Administrative on much of the legislation the left opposed: the Patriot Act, the "No Child Left Behind" Act, NAFTA, and the act giving Bush authority to attack Iraq, among others.

I might even forgive these votes if he held progressive views today. But, alas, he does not. Take his stand on the war in Iraq. He's not willing to commit to bringing the troops home. Instead, he gives vague statements about getting the UN involved and rapidly passing power over to the Iraqis.

As with many prior Democratic presidential candidates, I fully expect to see Kerry move to the right as we get closer to the election. We can see this kind of movement in a speech Kerry made on March 19th when he condemned Hugo Chavez, the democratically elected President of Venezuela. Candidate Kerry characterized Chavez's policies as "detrimental to our interests" and suggested he was undermining Venezuela's democracy as well as supporting Columbian rebels. Kerry singled out Chavez's friendship with Fidel Castro for special condemnation and accused him of impeding a recall referendum. Prior to this, news reports suggested Chavez was trying to court a friendship with Kerry.

So what are Chavez's real crimes? He's undertaken a land reform in Venezuela, giving idle lands to poor peasants; many of these lands were previously under the jurisdiction of large plantation owners. Also, he's taken on big oil interests by passing laws that doubled the royalty taxes paid by oil operators and he's asserted control over the state owned state oil company, which was previously controlled by foreign oil interests. It's telling that one of the few places you can find the full text of Kerry's speech is on Petroleum World website ( http://www.petroleumworld.com/Edit4Mar24.htm).

I would doubt the majority of Americans know who Hugh Chavez is or care about America's relationship with him. If this speech is not earning Kerry points with the voters, why is he making it? It's a wink and a nod at the wealthy and the corporations who have business interests in Venezuela. Through this speech he's implying that while he might take left stances in public, he's really siding with big corporate interests just like Bush. So it's up to you, Senator Kerry. What's it to be? Do you want my vote or do you want to continue courting corporations and the wealthy? Either way the Democratic Party ought to stop blaming Nader for their own failures.

~ ~ ~

Ann Samuelson ( ann_samuelson@yahoo.com) is Chair of the Green Party of Pima County, in Tucson, Arizona. Currently she is an undecided voter.

homepage: homepage: http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0326-13.htm
address: address: Common Dreams NewsCenter

try to get Kerry to earn some votes 27.Mar.2004 08:54

SE Progressive

I read much of Kerry's website yesterday and found it incredibly vapid. It is very difficult to find anything in the foreign policy section that differs from Bush's positions. The statement on Chavez and Venezuela on his webpage is sickening.

I sent the Kerry campaign an e-mail saying that unless their candidate supports some positions I can stomach, I cannot vote for him no matter how firmly I hold my nose. I suggested to my friends and family to do the same.

Kerry's Venezuela Statement Promises Status Quo 27.Mar.2004 10:25

Oregon Bolivarian Circle cbdeorgon@yahoo.com

The recent statement (March 19) of John Kerry on Venezuela, including unfounded allegations about President Hugo Chavez, indicates outright ignorance or, more likely, collusion with the reactionary, corporate-driven interests of the so-called "civil society" in Venezuela.

It is also very likely that his motivation to issue such a statement is linked to a notion based on failed logic that somehow it will attract votes from among the a group of exiled Cubans who want to take Cuba and Latin America back to 1958.

A group of registered Democrats here in Oregon has written to the Senator and his campaign.

To quote from the letter: "If this policy statement respresents the official view of your campaign, we must, regrettably, conclude that it impossible for us to cast our vote in November for you. This statement about Venezuela carries many remifications. It clearly means to the informed voter that your foreign policy will be substantially identical to the failed policy of the Bush Administration. It also indicates that, most likely, you would be antagonistic toward the democratically elected governments of Brazil and Argentina, which would be in line with the Bush Doctrine, but it would not provide any reason to vote for you in November."

None of this should surprise those of us who know the way our two parties, and their corporate sponsors, operate internationally.

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) receives funding from both the U.S. Congress and the State Department. It is made up of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) - representing the Democratic Party, the International Republican Institute (IRI) - representing the Republican Party, the Center for Internatinal Private Enterprise (CIPE) - a branch of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Free Trade Union Institute (FTUI) - an international branch of the AFL-CIO.

For the purpose of protecting and promoting "U.S. interests" abroad these organizations work in close coordination with each other under the umbrella of the U.S. tax-funded NED. In Venezuela, they have sent over $1,000,000 per year to organizations in Venezuela that use any means necessary, including violence and physical threats, to undermine the democratically elected government.

Venezuela has one of the most advanced, sophisticated, and comprehensive constitutions ever written. It was approved in 1999 by a vast majority of Venezuelan voters. Those involved in drafting the constitution included many of those who are now leaders of the so-called opposition. However, when they participated in the coup d'etat in April 2002, they summarily suspended the constitution and re-instituted the 1960 constitution, and they illegally disbanded the Supreme Court, the National Assembly, and all of the Executive Branch. This was done under the leadership of Pedro Carmona, the head of the Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce, who had literally sworn himself in as President of Venezuela. These are the people being supported by the NED, and, therefore, by the U.S. Democratic Party, the U.S. Republican Party, Corporate America (U.S. Chamber of Commerce) and the AFL-CIO.

If the Democrats and Kerry are the "Real Deal", how can they justify supporting such undemocratic and corrupting elements?

If we vote for Kerry and the Democrats, at this point, based on his own statements, the best we can hope for is the maintenance of the status quo. What message would we be sending to the groups represented by NED if we support Kerry? A vote for Kerry, as long as he maintains this stance, is an endorsement of the NED and an endorsement of the Bush Doctrine.

Some people have tried to argue that Kerry's statement was not written by him - that it was planted by reactionary elements within his campaign. Well, regardless of what one may be believe about this, we can be sure that he is aware of it now. He has the opportunity to use multiple means to correct himself.

The American people are looking for an alternative to Bush. Kerry's statement illustrates nothing that would indicate that he is this alternative.

Oregon can send a message to the Democratic Party by voting for Dennis Kucinich in the May 18th Primary.

Think about it.

To Read Kerry's platform is to not vote for him... 27.Mar.2004 12:16

justella

I was ready to vote for Kerry to get Bush out of the White House until I read his platform. Have you Kerry supporters actually read his positions on Healthcare, Iraq, jobs, etc? His economic plan is even more incomprehensible than Bush's. SOmehow Kerry thinks he will shuffle corporate taxes and credits around until the corporations "create 10 million new jobs(???????)" Maybe after Kerry is elected Microsoft will hire me! How can you vote for this man under these feeble circumstances. Kerry will have to embrace Nader's rational and humanitarian issues or he will lose 5 - 7% of the vote. So THERE!

Nader nominating convention 27.Mar.2004 13:08

George Bender

The next task is to get Nader on the Oregon ballot. To do that we need to get 1,000 registered voters together in one place at the same time. Join us on April 5, 6 p.m., Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th Ave. It's free. If you're not already registered to vote you can register there.

 http://naderoregon.org/