Election 2008

Cynthia McKinney On Her Run For President

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Presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney says the Green Party is often "put into a box." The Green Party is not just committed to a healthy environment, she says, but bases its policy on four pillars: ecological wisdom, peace, social justice and grass-roots democracy.

To that end, the former U.S. representative from Georgia says, the Green Party has not supported the war and consistently supports anti-war candidates. McKinney also points to the 2004 elections, during which the Green and Libertarian parties actively investigated voter complaints in Ohio.

To address the current economic crisis, McKinney offers a 14-point plan regarding the bailout. Among other things, the plan appoints former Comptroller General David Walker as auditor, overseeing the use of bailout funds.

McKinney would also like to see a national banking system created to provide credit to small business. She describes the Federal Reserve as "not federal." "Every dollar that is printed should not represent a debt to private bankers," she explains. "It should represent an investment potential in the common good, in the common needs of our country."

Not only would McKinney bring the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, she would also recall them from all bases abroad, "because America has far more to offer the world than our bombs and missiles and our military technology," she says.

"I think we have an opportunity to let diplomacy work," McKinney says. Part of her platform, she adds, advocates the passing of legislation introduced by Dennis Kucinich that would establish a Department of Peace.

Below is a transcript of the interview.

SCOTT SIMON: Cynthia McKinney, former representative from Georgia, joins us now from El Segundo, Calif. Ms. McKinney, thanks so much for being with us.

CYNTHIA MCKINNEY: Thank you for inviting me.

Let me begin by asking, what would you do about the economy?

With respect to the over $700 billion that was made available for the purposes of invigorating our economy, I put out a 14-point plan that addresses this issue. One of the items on that plan consists of appointing former Comptroller General David Walker as the person to whom the responsibility of auditing those $700 billion would fall. Additionally, we would like to see a national banking system instituted for the purpose of providing credit to small businesses. In addition, we also need to understand that the Federal Reserve is not federal, and therefore it ought to be every dollar that is printed should not represent a debt to private bankers. It should represent an investment potential in the common good, in the common needs of our country.

Ms. McKinney, what would you do with more than a hundred thousand U.S. troops in Iraq?

I would bring them home immediately. And not only the 100,000 in Iraq. The contingent that is in Afghanistan would come home. And in fact, all of our young men and women who are stationed in the more than 100 bases overseas would come home.

Why bring them home from every base overseas?

Because the United States has far more to offer the world than our bombs and missiles and our military technology. In fact, one of the pieces of legislation that I introduced while I was in the Congress was the Arms Trade Code of Conduct, which sought to curtail conventional weapons transfers to countries around the world that had governments that did not respect human rights and that were not democratically elected.

Of course, that's a very tough standard to exact, but I think it's the appropriate one because a generation later, after these weapons and this technology has been transferred, then our own young men and women face our own weapons. It's clear that the United States has more to give the world than military bases. In fact, if you look at the security expenditures of this country, it's clear that 90 percent of our budget is with a military face to the world. And I think that we have the opportunity to let diplomacy work.

In fact, part of the platform of the Power to the People Campaign, which is my campaign for president, advocates the passage of legislation that was introduced by Dennis Kucinich, entitled the Department of Peace. And I believe that it is possible for us to have a Department of Peace through the offices of the Department of State right now.

Ms. McKinney, I watched your acceptance speech in Chicago. There was a lot in there about women in politics and the Seneca Convention, a lot of statements that you and your running mate, Rosa Clemente, were the only candidates who had family lineage that trace back to slavery. There was stuff about a single-payer state health-care system. I did not hear a lot from either of you about what I think of as Green issues.

Well, you know, the Green Party has been very conveniently put into a box. And it's convenient for the other political parties to say, oh, well, you know, they're just that environment party. Yes, the Green Party is committed to a healthy environment. But the Green Party is not solely committed to just that. In fact, the policy prescriptions that the Green Party advocates are based on four pillars. Those pillars include not only ecological wisdom but also peace, social justice and grass-roots democracy.

And you could see the Green Party actually living out those pillars when they consistently did not support the war, consistently supported those who had an anti-war record. They lived up to those four pillars when, in 2004, in the face of tremendous disfranchisement in Ohio, while John Kerry conceded in the face of that, it was the Green Party and the Libertarian Party that put people on the ground in Ohio and conducted the necessary investigation so we could understand exactly how people were systematically disfranchised by the artificial creation of long lines, by denying to heavily-populated precincts, where the turnout was going to be high, the requisite number of voting machines.

Cynthia McKinney, Green Party candidate for president of the United States. Thank you so much.

Thank you very much.



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