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Monday, April 22, 2013

Playboy 1979: Dennis Kucinich on Economic Democracy, Corporate Monopoly & Greed

* Warning, this posting contains pics with nudity (some full nudity) so if that offends, do not continue.  We promise none of the nude photos are of Dennis Kucinich

Sometimes when thinking about the global economy; how utterly corrupt it is and fully controlled by corporations, bank and professional Investors, there is a tendency to think of it as a modern phenomenon..

As if all the problems started a mere decade ago or specifically on a President's watch; a President we may have personal dislikes and biases toward...

"All this mess started with George W. Bush, that incompetent.."

"All this mess started with Clinton, that classless horny bastard.."

"All this mess started with Reagan, that senile old fool.."
~ Miss June 1979 Playmate Louann Fernald

Obviously corruption goes back thousands of years.. greed and power and control over others seem to be part of the human DNA.  Some are content to retain control of their work space, their homes or themselves; others need control over others' spirits..

Still its interesting when its talked about in historical records like interviews.  Something quaint about it, as if to think, 'You thought corporate control over freedom and democracy was bad Then?!  Ha!  If you only knew the future...'

In the June 1979 issue of Playboy, current Democrat Congressman and at the time Mayor of Cleveland, Dennis Kucinich was the main interview.  He was dealing with a lot of corruption and causing friction in Cleveland with his governing style  (to oversimplify a bit, picture a thinner, shorter Democrat version of current NJ governor Chris Christie) and Playboy sought to learn more about him...
We wanted to post some excerpts from the 34 year old interview on areas that are of interest in the present to show that all this time can pass (Jimmy Carter was President then) and in many ways, nothing ever seems to get resolved or even gets better..

The enemies to one having a good quality of life then are the same as today...

From Playboy (in blue font):

Playboy:  You've been waging battles of all kinds since you've become mayor.  What's all the controversy about?

Kucinich:  It's about the fact that democracy in this country is often a myth.  And that the roads that will return this country to a democratic society are blocked by corporate highwaymen.
Playboy:  What do you mean, a myth?  You were elected mayor... Democracy seems alive and well in Cleveland.

Kucinich:  We don't have economic democracy.  And economic democracy is a pre-condition to political democracy.  A tremendous amount of wealth in this country is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands...   Party politics in America today is all but defunct.  

The two party system is merging into the one party under the banner of a corporate state.  If you have great corporations of America running this country- or a city- you don't have political democracy... you have corporate dictatorship.

We stop there a second..

Think about all you Kucinich spoke of.. this is 1979-- Most people were still listening to 8-track tapes in their cars... This is all before Reagan came into office in 1980, and deregulated Wall St allowing corporations to truly grow in economic and political size & scope..
Continuing, Kucinich addresses corporate influence in news reporting...

Playboy:  (Do) you feel you're challenging such a dictatorship in Cleveland?

Kucinich:  Yes; specifically, the right of a bank or a private utility to dictate political decisions to the people of a city or its elected representatives.  

It shows up in things like this:  You have a Cleveland reporter who does investigative work on utilities and he's pulled off of it because of pressure from the utilities, who are worried he's going to be overly critical of them at a time they're trying to acquire the public electric system....

Continuing, Kucinich addresses a war for survival among small businesses.
Playboy:  You're making most of your charges against big business.  What about the smaller businessman?

Kucinich:  Is anyone really on the side of small businessmen?  Hell no!  Their often chased out of their neighborhoods when a city can not afford to provide them with adequate police and fire protection; they're often denied an opportunity to stay in business because they can't get fire insurance of loans because of discrimination in lending...

What a screwed up way to run a country- to continue to ask the poor people and the working people to subsidize the profits of big business while big business continues its monopoly practices, its price fixing, which further deteriorates the position of the poor people and working people...

Yep.. spoken in 1979..  When most people dressed terribly and you could buy a Datsun hatchback for around $4,800
The last part of the interview we present deals with Playboy questioning if Kucinich himself has a greed motive

Playboy:  Most of your blasts against business people and corrupt government officials comes down to one thing: greed.  But why shouldn't your motives be questioned too?  Why doesn't money interest you?

Kucinich:  I am not interested in money.  I think Gandhi had the right ideas on materialism.

Playboy:  How do you escape that drive that seems to fuel the rest of us?

Kucinich:  I've learned to live without money for a while. Or with a little bit of it.  My own happiness isn't conditioned on material things.  I'm interested in ideas, not in acquiring things... But I just don't need the traditional things that make politicians happy.

Playboy:  What are they?

Kucinich:  Money and Money [Laughter]

~ Well said...