Talk abounds. Hillary Clinton, her campaign, and the comments made by Geraldine Ferraro are being discussed on every avenue. The former First Lady states we need to return to what is more real and relevant. I concur. Hence, I invite us to again consider Universal Health Care Plans or the prospect of what is not and will not be if we adopt the “Choice” proposal Hillary Clinton presents.
Rarely do I pen a missive with little research or one that relates more to the personal than the profound. However, today I wish to take a moment to muse of what is for me, a reality. Dear reader you may have read the intimate details of my life, or more accurately my history with medical insurance, or the lack thereof. In Health Care in America; Uninsured, Underinsured, Universal Woes I disclosed what has been true for me, as an adult for all but a year. Although I was, am, and intend to be a well-educated, professional person, employed, and by all appearances extremely healthy, I have lived life on the edge.
I am among millions of persons in the United States of America that is forced to think, “What if . . .?” When the unexpected occurs, I must face more than my fears of injury and illness. I need to gather the strength to heal a financial folly caused by the circumstances prevalent in a country that claims to care for its citizens, and yet, does not. I could go on and provide details offered in my earlier essay; however, there is no time today.
I need to scurry. As corporations make many necessary cuts, I again find myself among the millions affected. Most of my life, I was with those uninsured and I may return to that group. Threatened by the loss of health care coverage, I must quickly travel to the doctor’s office, if only to ensure my peace of mind. The diagnosis I seek is validation. I hope to verify that for now, I am healthy. Thus, I apologize for being away most of today.
I offer what I think an interesting discussion stimulated by Keith Olbermann’s tirade. Bombarded with a barrage of barbs in reference to Geraldine Ferraro and her racial, sexist, silly references, Presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton declared . . .
“It is regrettable that any of our supporters on both sides, because we’ve both had that experience, say things that kind of veer off into the personal.
“We ought to keep this on the issues,” Mrs. Clinton said. “There are differences between us. There are differences between our approaches on health care, on energy, on our experience, on our results that we’ve produced for people. That’s what this campaign should be about.”
Please Senator Clinton, let us have the conversation you think most important. May we chat about your approach to health care. Later, perhaps, after my doctor’s appointment we can focus on the folly of energy and “experience.”
Hillary Clinton, while what I am about to say may not seem to pertain to health care, it does. You continue to harp on claims that you are more qualified than Barack Obama. You state that he has yet to cross over the threshold of Commander-In-Chief. Silly and absurd as this assessment may be, it brings to mind your plan for “Universal” Health Care. Separate from the speeches you or Barack Obama offer, I find ample reason to question your supposed “correct” solution for Americans such as I that are uninsured, underinsured, or are about to lose the insurance they have.
Senator Clinton, you have yet to authentically address the concerns that affect the common citizen. To force me to purchase what I have never been paid enough to afford, and will once again forfeit, matters, at least to me. Be I a Black person, insulted by the remarks your close friend and a former member of your vast financial committee made or a white woman who is supposed to understand gender bias, either way, I cannot support your stance on Health Care.
Keith Olbermann may question whether you, Hillary Clinton, are affected by your advisors, and hence, have recently been led astray. I do not. My experience is that from the first Hillary Clinton, as a Senator, and as a First Lady, you have never provided the answers to what is a paradox for the American public.
Throughout this campaign, you have obfuscated, just as you did more than a decade ago in the White House. In meetings, closed to the community, you created a culture of conflict. It appears that is your history, your experience.
I invite you Senator Clinton to contemplate the words of Jamie Court voice long before the recent brush up. Mister Court spoke of your signature Health Care Plan, the price, and the coverage. He attended to issue, as I wish you had or would.
What do Mitt Romney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Hillary Clinton all have in common? They all support the government forcing the middle class to buy a private health insurance policy — but none want to limit how much insurers can charge or spend.
And that’s the problem. Mandatory private health insurance proposals are all stick and no carrot.
The average health insurance premium for a family of four is just over 12 grand per year. What middle-class family making, say, 60,000 bucks per year can afford that bill?
What we need is the carrot of affordable health care. That means government standardizing charges by insurers, doctors, hospitals, and drug companies. No more $6 Tylenol in the hospital.
The reason health insurance is so unaffordable today is that no one is watching the costs. With standardization, insurance would be cheaper and people would want to buy it — not have to because the government is threatening them with a tax penalty.
Oh wait, I can hear the plaintive cry of the free market. You can’t tell a doctor, insurer, hospital, or drug company what’s reasonable to charge. That’s socialism. Well, how reasonable then is it to tell every American you have to buy a product whose cost is obscene if you want to be a U.S. citizen? Isn’t that corporate socialism?
Mandatory health insurance is a government bailout of a free market that’s failed its customers. Fewer people and employers are buying private health insurance because it costs so much more and delivers so little.
So rather than let customers demand a new and better product, politicians are forcing us to buy it. Whatever happened to creative destruction?
There’s a business plan of course. Mitt, Arnold and Hillary each received six or seven-figure campaign contributions from the insurance industry. The plan is insurers send the bill and we have to pay it.
Jamie Court is president of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights.
Yikes, I am late, just as the conversation you Senator Clinton promised us is , Please let all of America speak of the issue that is most real to millions such as me. Health Care proposals presented by the Presidential hopefuls do nothing to alleviate the pain of the uninsured, underinsured, or soon to be without coverage.
Senator Clinton, at least with Barack Obama’s Health Care Plan there are no false assertions or assurances that all will be covered. I prefer the truth. When a person is honest, the consequences are great. I experience Barack Obama has integrity, although admittedly his Health Insurance plan does not provide for the people. Veracity alone is a quality that gives me reason to hope. If a change is proposed, I can have some faith the submission will be sincere.
First Lady Clinton, if you have found your voice, please use it to speak to real people about issues that are relevant to their daily lives. Do not tell us you are ready to command [the troops] when persons such as I need Health Care. We, the people crave a plan that is genuinely Universal, not one that maintains profits for the Pharmaceuticals and Insurers who contribute to your campaign.
Senator Clinton, when you are ready to devote your “energy” and “experience” to the “issues” that effect average people such as me, each and every day, then, maybe we can have that conversation you proposed when you first declared your candidacy. For now, you repeatedly state you are “in,” and all I see is that you, or perchance, your plan to insure Americans is outrageous, out of touch with those who have no health care options, and out of the luck Geraldine Ferraro believes Barack Obama has.
I believe we create our own destiny. It is not the color of Barack Obama’s skin that is his good fortune, Senator Clinton. It is his ability to reflect, relate, and be real rather than simply say “get real,” as though that were the cure for what ails America. Senator Obama’s Health care Plan is seriously flawed; however, Presidential hopeful Obama does not give us the false impression that if he is elected, we all will be covered.
First Lady Clinton, a time ago you stated for you, this is personal. Please know, for me, it is as well. I need to know honestly that the President of my country is concerned for the commonweal and will represent me. My health, and whether I am able to receive medical care, is a very personal issue. Rather than rant or rage against a person’s race, let us speak of Single Payer, Not For Profit Universal Health Care.
Sources; A Choice Health Care Plan that does not heal . . .
Shame seems to be the issue of the day. The North America Free Trade Agreement is also among the topics discussed. Health Care plans are reviewed. As the Presidential campaigns progress, let us reflect, and recall why these matters move the media and the people.
It was a cold day in January. The year 2007, after much debate and ample discussions, Hillary Rodham Clinton concluded the time was now. The climate was ideal. The former First Lady sat poised on a couch. The colors in the room were warm. A lamp placed behind the sofa was lit. Sunlight streamed into the room. Photographs of the family were visible on a table nearby. Finally, the stage was set. The New York Senator looked into the eyes of her visitors. Gently she smiled. Hillary Rodham Clinton opened her home and her heart to an American audience desirous of change. The woman many had hoped would be the first woman President of the United States affirmed “I’m in.”
Hillary Clinton invited us all to join her in a conversation. She mused, she had a feeling; it was going to be very interesting. Indeed, it is. Weeks ago, the candidate realized a deep dip in the contributions. This drop in donations caused much clamor. On February 21, 2008, during the Democratic Debate, First Lady Clinton offered her admiration to the man who appeared to be more prominent in the eyes of the people, Barack Obama. Then, a mere forty-eight hours later Hillary Clinton attacked her adversary.
The Senator from New York claimed, while in the crowd at an event in Cincinnati, Ohio, just days prior to that State’s primary, she was handed two mailers. A brilliant woman, organized, and aware, ready to take on the responsibilities of the Oval Office the day she crosses the threshold, did not realize that ten days earlier, the Ohio Daily Blog published an essay which spoke of the brochures. Jeff received his copies. Yet, Hillary had not yet sampled hers.
The experienced, professional politician fumed as she spoke, of the accounts. As a mother scolding her child potential President Hillary Clinton shrieked, “Shame on you Barack Obama!” The genteel First Lady pointed her finger and challenged her rival Senator Obama to “meet me in Ohio, and let’s have a debate about your tactics and your behavior in this campaign.”
As Americans listen to the words of the woman we once thought would receive her just coronation into the White House, we are reminded, this political campaign has never truly been about issues. Personality, popularity, electability, and the ability to connect to wealthy contributors have long been the focus among the candidates and by extension the electorate. Voters are subject to the voice of those who speak of what is important to them personally. We might recall the times a candidate or two expressed what is true. For them, this campaign is personal, full of personal attacks.
A day later, the Clinton Camp announced they would engage in a calculated campaign of smear. Conduct unbecoming a possible Commander-In-Chief, when named Barack Obama is quite befitting of a potential President Clinton.
In the robo-call voiced by Clinton, she said she wants to set the record straight. “Sen. Obama has sent out attack mailers that distort my record on NAFTA, but I believe Ohio deserves the truth,” Clinton says, “NAFTA has hurt Ohio families and I have a plan to fix it. My opponent does not. I’ll appoint a Trade Prosecutor to enforce our trade agreements, and crackdown on China’s unfair trade practices. I’ll eliminate tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas, and invest in creating good jobs right here in Ohio.”
The Clinton attack mailer cites press reports of Obama praising NAFTA and other trade deals. “Don’t be fooled by Barack Obama.” [or Hillary Clinton?]
Might we take a moment to reflect. Let us begin with the records. The text of Barack Obama comments may enlighten us on the issue of tactics and behavior, the topics Hillary Clinton would like to discuss in an Ohio debate. The background also offers insights.
(Alan Keyes wanted to withdraw completely from trade agreements.) “Keyes, the Republican nominee, said the United States should move away from negotiating multinational trade agreements, arguing the country can cut better deals by bargaining one-on-one and imposing tariffs on countries that undercut American farmers with cheap products. ‘Why is it in American economics that you say ‘tariffs’ and everybody thinks you cursed,’ Keyes said. ‘We need to make sure we get a fair deal.’ He also called for complete elimination of the inheritance taxes, as well as the income tax.
“But Democrat Obama said Keyes’ ideas could lead to trade wars that would harm farmers, who are always looking for new markets willing to buy American crops. He said the United State should continue to work with the World Trade Organization and pursue deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, but the country must be more aggressive about protecting American interests. ‘We don’t want to set off trade wars. What we want to make sure of is that our farmers are treated fairly,’ Obama said. ‘The problem in a lot of our trade agreements is that the administration tends to negotiate on behalf of multinational companies instead of workers and communities.'” (AP, 9/8/04)
Hillary Clinton took a stand on the North American Free Trade Agreement and has for years. The Former First Lady spoke in support of her husband’s Bill’s legendary policy.
Clinton promoted her husband’s trade agenda for years, and friends say that she’s a free-trader at heart. “The simple fact is, nations with free-market systems do better,” she said in a 1997 speech to the Corporate Council on Africa. “Look around the globe: Those nations, which have lowered trade barriers, are prospering more than those that have not.”
Praise for Nafta
At the 1998 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, she praised corporations for mounting “a very effective business effort in the U.S. on behalf of Nafta.” She added: “It is certainly clear that we have not by any means finished the job that has begun.”
Clinton “is committed to free trade and to the growing role of the international economy,” said Steven Rattner, a Clinton fundraiser and co-founder of Quadrangle Group LLC, a New York buyout firm. “She would absolutely do the right thing as president.”
However, as Hillary Clinton herself reminds us, speeches are not solutions. While at a General Motors plant, the Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton proposes, “That’s the difference between me and my opponent, I offer solutions. It’s one thing to get people excited. I want to empower you to live your dreams so we can all go forward together.”
“Now, over the years, you’ve heard plenty of promises from plenty of people in plenty of speeches. And some of those speeches were probably pretty good. But speeches don’t put food on the table. Speeches don’t fill up your tank, or fill your prescription or do anything about that stack of bills that keeps you up at night.” Only jobs and a stable income can keep Americans safe and secure; hence, the need for American policymakers to assess the North American Free Trade Agreement. As Senator, Clinton could finally take actions that would rescind a policy that haunts her husband and his heritage. Thus, she did or did not. Please ponder the documentation.
Voted against CAFTA despite Bill Clinton’s pushing NAFTA. (Oct 2005)
Voted YES on free trade agreement with Oman. (Jun 2006)
Voted NO on implementing CAFTA for Central America free-trade. (Jul 2005)
Voted YES on establishing free trade between US & Singapore. (Jul 2003)
Voted YES on establishing free trade between the US and Chile. (Jul 2003)
Voted NO on extending free trade to Andean nations. (May 2002)
Voted YES on granting normal trade relations status to Vietnam. (Oct 2001)
Voted YES on removing common goods from national security export rules. (Sep 2001)
Rated 17% by CATO, indicating a pro-fair trade voting record. (Dec 2002)
What is a voter to think? Hillary Clinton Biographer Carl Bernstein avows, Hillary Clinton’s economics, the ones she preached to her husband in the White House are much closer to John Edwards then you would think. She argued with Bill Clinton when she was First Lady, her husband, she said ‘Bill, you are doing Republican economics when you are doing NAFTA.’ She was against NAFTA. Yet, as the author expresses in his own assessment of the candidate . . .
A new biography’s unflattering portrayal of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton as someone who “camouflages” her real self for political gain is starting to attract attention – and not for the salacious stories, most books recount about the Clintons.
“A Woman in Charge,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Carl Bernstein, gives scant attention to the tense days the former First Lady spent in the White House when Bill Clinton was sneaking around with his intern, Monica Lewinsky. Instead, the former Washington Post reporter, who helped blow the lid off Watergate, attempts to portray Hillary Clinton as someone who is willing to rewrite her own history to advance the political career she put on hold when she moved to Arkansas with her college sweetheart who would later become president.
“This is a woman who led a camouflaged life and continues to,” Bernstein told TODAY host Matt Lauer on Friday in an exclusive interview. “This book takes away that camouflage.”
The Bernstein book, which the writer refers to as the first “real biography” of Hillary Clinton, is a recent edition. There is ample, additional information; Hillary Clinton was for, no against, the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA]. Hence, again, we can only do as Hillary advises; look at the votes for verification. As we observe, duplicity and a commitment to convenience, seem apparent.
This inconsistent configuration is no less obvious in the banter and behavior of Barack Obama. The expressions of Barack Obama and the conduct of Hillary Clinton are, as the First Lady imagined them to be many months ago, interesting.
Words are not separate from work, whether we speak of one candidate or the other. Even constituents can be considered complex beings. We have wants, needs, among these are Universal Health Care. Barack Obama understood this on that cold frigid day in Springfield, Illinois. In February, on the 10th day of the month, in the year 2007, Illinois Senator Barack Obama stood in front of the Old State Capitol building. A throng of supporters frozen; yet full of fervor positioned themselves where they could best see the man they admired.
Dignified as he spoke Presidential hopeful Obama reminded Americans that more than a century ago, on these same steps, Abraham Lincoln called on a divided house to stand together. Barack Obama stated that in Springfield, Illinois he learned that “common hopes and common dreams still” live. Then, the man who speaks and writes of the audacity of hope offered . . .
Let’s be the generation that finally tackles our health care crisis. We can control costs by focusing on prevention, by providing better treatment to the chronically ill, and using technology to cut the bureaucracy. Let’s be the generation that says right here, right now, that we will have universal health care in America by the end of the next president’s first term.
Yes, we can . . . be the generation that declares we will provide medical coverage for one and for all. Yet, Barack Obama is, as of yet unwilling to propose that we, the people be insured equally. Senator Obama, has not worked towards Universal Health Care. Indeed, he argues against it, and presents a proviso, the plan may changed if need be.
Like former senator John Edwards (N.C.), who outlined his health-care goals in February, Obama would pay for his plan, which could cost more than $50 billion, by increasing taxes for people earning more than $250,000 and reversing tax cuts that President Bush approved. Obama would require almost all employers to offer insurance to workers or face a tax penalty, an idea that many businesses abhor and that is also in Edwards’s proposal. This employer mandate drove much of the opposition to the Clinton plan in 1994.
Like Clinton, who in a speech last week laid out some of her health-care ideas, Obama is focused as much on reducing the costs for those who are insured as on expanding coverage to the estimated 45 million Americans who are not. He called for the federal government to pay part of the costs for patients with chronic illnesses, so that employers would not have to do so, but also emphasized the importance of preventive care. It is important to “listen to our wives when they tell us to stop smoking,” he said, referring to his own unhealthy habit.
Like many Democratic politicians, he blamed drug and health insurance companies for stopping the passage of more expansive health-care proposals.
The lack of new ideas in Obama’s health plan in part reflects his approach. He has emphasized his freshness as a rationale for his candidacy, but that freshness has been much more about his tone and his rhetoric about hope and bipartisanship than his policy proposals . . .
One concept that Obama’s plan does not include is a popular idea from both Democrats and Republicans who work on health-care issues: an “individual mandate” that would require every American to buy health insurance. . . .
The Clinton and Edwards campaigns quickly criticized Obama for not offering a plan that would require insurance for all. ” . . .
Obama’s advisers argued that such a mandate is less important than adding subsidies and other ways to make health care more affordable. . . .
“The key is not the mandate,” said David Cutler, an economics professor at Harvard, who advised Obama on the plan. “It’s the affordability and the accessibility.”
It seems Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, neither of whom offer a Single Payer, Not For Profit, Universal Health Care can tout as they do with credibility. Each vocalizes, “I will be the people’s President.” Yet, as the nation peruses the plans it remains evident, that if either of these aspirants [or the Republican rival] enters the Oval Office in 2009, all men will remain unequal. Those who lost jobs to Free Trade agreements will likely remain unemployed or become underemployed. Circumstances for the constituents will continue to be dire. Millions of citizens will be unable to afford or access medical care at any cost, to say nothing of the twelve or more million migrants who go without health care. Mailers be damned. Shame on Barack Obama? Shame on Hillary Clinton? It is a shame that the people were never given a voice or entrée into the election.
Dennis Kucinich, potential President of the people, a live-time Union member, the one person to actively propose an end to the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA], the war in Iraq [remember that refrain?], and Single Payer, Not For Profit, Universal Health Care, I miss you.
Americans acknowledge “The sky is falling.” We, the people must unite and take our country back. Democrats must choose the most desirable candidate. The best candidate is defined as the one who can win the White House. The Top Three are fine; perhaps, not as good as, they could be, but they will do the job. Dennis Kucinich, for many is ideal. His proposals are well thought out and he fully addresses the issues that affect the common folk. However, Americans hear at every turn, Dennis Kucinich does not have a chance.
Presidential aspirant Kucinich was excluded from the American Association for Retired Persons [AARP] debate in the Hawkeye State. In Granite country, ABC News declared Dennis Kucinich would be barred from the dialogue. Silver State voters were not able to see the profound Presidential hopeful on stage. He was relegated to the streets allowed to speak only to the neon lights. The Palmetto State decreed, “Dennis, this is not your kingdom.” Indeed, you are locked out in this land of liberty. Now, Texas tells its tall tale. Dennis Kucinich will not be the hero in the Lone Star State.
The consensus amongst those whose capital counts votes is, it is important to win the White House. Dennis Kucinich and his supporters only slow the process. Actually, they threaten the comfort that is the status quo. While many Progressives hesitantly accept this may be true,; nonetheless, these Democrats who seek change state, we must do as we have done before. We need to unite behind a single candidate, two, or three. Choose from those who have a chance to “beat” the brutal Republicans, and then, once the field is narrowed, all Democrats must vote for the nominee.
After all, there is war in the Middle East. Iraq and Afghanistan have been torn asunder. Iran may be next. Israel is unstable. North Korea is a concern. We must not forget Lebanon, and our own shores. No one is safe or secure.
Here at home, the Health Care system is in shambles. Jobs have gone aboard. The stock market is down. Morale is low. The economy is in the tank. Fuel costs are high, as is rage among the American populace. It is time for a change. Democrats need to take the country back if we are to survive. If the Republicans “win” the White House, the average American will be locked out. The people cannot be treated as Dennis Kucinich has been.
Kucinich supporters must face the facts. Come in from the cold. Forget their commitment to principles that honor all people equally. Those devoted to the common cause must be sensible. If the Democrats are to triumph, every Progressive must accept that America may be at war in Iraq through at least 2013. If those on the Left wish to be victorious we must follow the Clinton, Obama, or even Edwards lead. If that means more troops are sent to Afghanistan, so be it. We Liberals have to submit to the notion that a Single Payer, Not For Profit Heath Care plan will not be in our future. If Insurers and Pharmaceuticals still decide for us, oh well. At least a Democrat will be in the Oval Office,
Remember the math, 1+1=2. Facts are facts. Philosophical arguments are useless; they are merely a waste of time. If you vote for potential President Dennis Kucinich, you just throw away your ballot, and forfeit our chance to win. Hence, Progressives, Liberal, Democrats unite.
Each day, as Elections approach, Democratic Americans join arms. In Iowa, citizens held hands as they caucused. In New Hampshire, constituents came together to cast their ballots. Nevada and Michigan residents had their turn. Voters determined who might represent them. In South Carolina Republicans rekindled their zeal for democracy. Days from now, Democrats will do the same in that southern region.
Throughout the territory, Americans take advantage of every opportunity to be informed. Inhabitants in the first primary States became personally acquainted with the aspirants. In every locale people sit around television sets and watch the Presidential hopefuls debate. The populace truly makes an informed decision, or so we are lead to believe. Yet, in a nation where corporate moguls with mountains of money own the airwaves, and the companies that supply our medical, mechanical, and mundane needs dictate what is advisable, the people do not have the freedoms they could have.
Americans know this. Common folks understand all too well, we do not have access to information. Americans remember the false intelligence that led us into the Iraq War. Each of us recalls the atrocities hidden from view. The body bags flown into Dover Air Force Base in the dead of night were sadly not a dream. The Human Rights violations witnessed belatedly through photographs too long suppressed, from Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay prison were a glimpse into stark reality of what is.
The people speak out; yet, they remain silenced, and powerless. In part, as Americans we have learned to accept that we alone can do little. We are convinced not to vote for our convictions, but to cast a ballot for the presumed electable, corporate determined, candidate.
There is reason to believe that there is strength in numbers, and there is. However, if we consider the large numbers of us who do not follow the wisdom within, our perspective changes. When one-by-one we relent, and become part of the mass movement, then we as a whole settle for less than what might have been. When the Party nominee is the person, who from the first, we fully endorse, whose proposed policies we truly support, then there is no problem. We can follow the lead of our allegiance.
However, when the person who best represents our authentic principles, from the beginning has been locked out, and declared “not viable,” when that individual is unknown to most Americans, and is not placed on many a ballot, we must decide whether we will submit, and settle for what is available to us.
Many ask Kucinich supporters not to vote for principles, for a person emblematic of all that they value. Those who wish to see Dennis Kucinich in the Oval Office on January 20, 2009, are told to endorse a chosen candidate, one the Party leaders, and the media deem electable.
Liberal Progressives receive requests, “Ignore the fact that Big Three are each tied to profiteers.” We can only expect so much. If we are to be good Democrats, we must make sure that Republicans do not take office. That is of utmost importance. It matters not that the Party’s, neither of them, act in the interest of the average Joe or Joanne.
Sure, they say . . . “A national Single Payer, Not for Profit Health care would be nice. An immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq would be welcome. No war with Iran, ah, but to hope. The promise of a repeal of the Patriot Act and the restoration of civil liberties . . .Well, we can only imagine. To think the United States might cancel the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA] and the rebuild the auto, steel, aerospace, shipping, and manufacturing industries . . . dare we dream. Could we possibly initiate carbon-free and nuclear-free energy policies. One can only wonder.”
Those who believe that what we conceive, we can achieve know that with Dennis Kucinich, in the White House all this would be possible.
Yet, supporters, such as I, feel as a lone Chicken Little the smallest voice among the dissenters. I cry in fear as do my fellow Democrats, “The sky is falling. The sky is falling.” Progressives say they have heard that before and while they believe it to be true, an umbrella will protect them. I think not.
For me, a small cloth collapsible canopy made of thin fabric will not shield me from harm. I have tried to safeguard my brethren and myself for years. Many of my ballots were parachutes intended to slow the fall. However, none truly did a adequate job. The wind and watershed of the wealthy who control the economy and the agenda always had their way.
My lovable eighty-nine year young cousin mused aloud of his near century of votes. He reflected, throughout his adult life only once has he voted for a Presidential candidate who spoke to his ethics, beliefs, and humane principles. In his days as a voter, he did as people have done. He cast a ballot against the Presidential candidate he thought worse for the nation, for the world. In each of the decades that my relative was able to vote, he did not feel the person he cast a ballot for in the general election was the quality candidate America needed. The nominees were corrupt, or tied to powers-that-be. The interests of the people were ignored, and consistently, while change was promised, the average American did not benefit.
I offer the reflections of another frustrated citizen who cares, who observes his choice for President and our dreams are being crushed. Michael Collins, I thank you.
Dennis Kucinich may not win the Democratic nomination for president, but he’s leaving a pro-democracy legacy across the country. To begin with, this candidate actually discusses critical issues demonstrating his respect for voters. With regard to the voters’ right to know, he just asked for the first recount in memory for a presidential primary simply because it makes perfect sense. The New Hampshire results need a serious second look.
Kucinich struck another blow for democracy by challenging the restrictive loyalty oath required by the Texas Democratic Party to get on the primary ballot. He actually reads the contracts he signs. When presented with the loyalty oath required to run as a Democrat in the Texas primary, Kucinich prudently edited the document to reflect the requirements of free citizens living in a democracy: . . .
The concern expressed by Kucinich was simple. If the eventual Democratic nominee supports the Iraq War, signing this oath would require Kucinich to support that nominee and therefore the war. To make matters worse, supporting the war would negate his duty as a Member of Congress to protect and uphold the Constitution. Like a few others, Kucinich knows that this is an unconstitutional war since it was never declared by Congress (See Article I, Section 8, “To declare war”). What other choice did he have but to reject the loyalty oath? What justification did the other candidates have to accept the oath? . . .
Democracy’s Champion among the Candidates ??
Dennis Kucinich is the one consistent advocate for expanded democracy and measures to fight election fraud among all of the presidential contenders. Kucinich has a strong record as an advocate for working men and women by promoting civil rights, voting rights, and human rights at home and abroad. He’s never shied away from taking both principled and practical positions on elections. These are, after all, the essential element to achieve his goals.
His call for a recount in New Hampshire was without rancor or negative speculation. He simply recognized the problem, invoked the right to recount, and paid the bill. . .
From his first days on the national stage, Kucinich has stood for the people and against the interests of greed and exploitation. In return for his efforts, he’s been ridiculed and marginalized.
Imagine, a man who fights for the people, the Constitution, the rights of all Americans, and for this reason is intentionally removed from view. Then, envision that same quality person seated in the White House, having been elected by an educated electorate. Oh, I do dream of the time when a President of the United States represents the common folk. I also understand, that if I, join with all other Democratic Americans and vote for the candidate that is thought to be the lesser of the “evils,” then I will have helped my fellow countrymen to get what we have had for all the years that my eighty-nine year young cousin recalls.
I will not contribute to change if I concede Dennis Kucinich cannot be my candidate of choice. I will have simply surrendered to the status quo.
Mahatma Gandhi teaches, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Perchance, if we wish to expect a different outcome from elections we must not do as voters have done for at least a century. . Open-minded Progressives may wish to consider, facts, as we know them only prove what we already believe. Mathematicians may discover that just as the sum of angles of a triangle in a three dimensional plane do not total 180 degrees, if we do as we have never thought to do, we may realize 1+1 does not always equal 2. Perhaps, if we change, so too will the State of the Union. Indeed, America may actually become a nation where all men, women, and children are created equal.
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
For years, four years plus, the well-researched, well-versed, thoughtful, and full of thought Dennis Kucinich has been shunned by Mainstream Media. Often, this truly compassionate Congressman, and Presidential hopeful, has been absent in political discussions. Periodicals do not site his stance. Radio and television programs do not devote time to this man or his message.
The opinions and plans Dennis Kucinich presents are frequently ignored, or just not included. Space is saved for those the influential Democrats deem savvy. It is difficult to grasp the knowledge of one that is intentionally not invited to debates, or is purposely kept at a distance when he is made available. Thus, the prospect to look at or a listen to an authentic altruist aspirant Dennis Kucinich is unusual.
In 2008, election coverage focuses on the few, the front-runners. Clinton, Obama, and Edwards court the financers, and in turn, the fundamentally wealthy woo the power elite. The press is persuaded to follow the leaders.
Forced absence for this Presidential aspirant is not new. Dennis Kucinich was barred from Democratic forums during his 2004 campaign. The history of exclusion is expansive. “Electability” is often the excuse.
Dennis is short in stature; yet, the future President of the United States is elevated in principles. His faith in people and peace sustains him.
Dennis Kucinich trusts in every man, woman, and child. He is as the common folk are. Congressman Kucinich was poor and hungry. [Please view Dennis Kucinich on Leno 9-24-07 video. See below.] Kucinich struggled to succeed in a world that caters to the rich. This future President realized his mission at an early age. He understood as the nation’s youngest Mayor of a major city, the importance of people power.
Intimidation has not deterred Dennis Kucinich. He is accustomed to the climb from obscurity. Dennis perseveres as he shares his message of Strength through peace. Sadly, most Americans miss the words and wisdom of a man similar to them. However, with thanks to Public Broadcasting Services, News Hour we have a rare opportunity to meet Dennis Kucinich for more than the moment he is awarded in a televised debate. I am pleased to present Dennis Kucinich in all his glory.
Judy Woodruff: Finally, in our ongoing series of conversations with Democratic and Republican presidential nomination candidates who are competing in the primary contests, tonight, Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich, who is serving his sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is the former mayor of Cleveland, and he ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 2004. I spoke with Dennis Kucinich earlier today.
Congressman Kucinich, thank you very much for talking with us.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D), Ohio: Thank you very much. Good to be here, Judy.
Judy Woodruff: You were the only 2008 presidential candidate who, five years ago this week, voted against giving the president the authorization to go to war in Iraq. Now, Barack Obama was also against the war at that time. Right now, it’s also Bill Richardson and Mike Gravel who want to get U.S. troops out of there right away, just like you do.
So how do you distinguish your position today from the other candidates?
Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Well, it’s very easy, Judy. I not only voted against it, but I did an analysis five years ago that totally debunked the Bush case for war.
As a matter of fact, the analysis that I did was 100 percent spot-on in asserting that there was no proof that Iraq had the intention or capability of attacking the United States, that they had anything to do with 9/11 or al-Qaida’s role in 9/11, and certainly there was no proof that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
My analysis was chapter and verse. And furthermore, it isn’t — you know, to me it’s not sufficient to say that you said something against the war, but when you get to the Senate — as Senator Obama did — and voted 100 percent of the time, up until recently, to fund the war, there’s a contradiction there.
Judy Woodruff: But what about today? How is your position different?
Rep. Dennis Kucinich: But today what’s different is this, that not only did I reflect the capacity for judgment and wisdom at the moment of crisis when it really counts, but also today I have a plan that would bring our troops home and stabilize Iraq at the same time, and also leave Iraq in control of their oil.
It’s embodied in H.R. 1234. It’s a plan to end the Iraq war. I submitted versions of that plan immediately after the invasion, but today there are many people who talk about ending the war, but I have the plan to do it and a way to stabilize Iraq at the same time.
There’s no one else who really has presented that awareness or who is saying, look, the privatization of Iraq’s oil or the partition of Iraq is a path to continued war.
Judy Woodruff: What do you think Iraq will look like after U.S. troops are out of there?
Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Well, you have to keep in mind that my plan calls for a parallel process. We end the occupation, close the bases, bring the troops home in parallel with an international security and peacekeeping force that moves in as our troops leave. I mean, that’s the way you bring an end to the U.S. involvement in Iraq.
Otherwise, you have the plans of Senators Clinton, Obama, and Edwards, all of which will leave a U.S. presence in the region. And, frankly, we have to get out of there. We have to bring our troops home.
So, you know, I’ve been consistent on this. And I’m the only one running for president who’s been right from the start on this issue and has demonstrated a quality of judgment that people have a right to expect in a president of the United States about matters of international security.
Judy Woodruff: You have described yourself, I think, as a committed pacifist. Help us understand what that means. I mean, for example, after 9/11, the terrorist attack on the United States, if you had been president, what would you have done?
Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Well, I think that we had a right to strike at the training camps. As a matter of fact, I voted for the resolution that gave the president the ability to do that.
But, you know, the response has to be measured. What we’ve done in this search for top people in al-Qaida, we’ve destroyed a lot of villages along the border of Pakistan. You know, these missile strikes in places like Damadola killed a lot of innocent villagers under the pretext that somehow we were getting top-ranking people in al-Qaida.
You know, we have done this all wrong. This administration has been wrong with every aspect of their international policy, beginning with the response to 9/11, continuing with the war against Iraq, and up to this moment planning for an attack on Iran. This administration’s policy of peace through strength, the neoconservative policy, which endorsed preemption, unilateralism, first strike, I reject totally.
I’m talking about strength through peace. No unilateralism, no preemption, no first strike, adherence to international law, and working with diplomacy, direct engagement, leader talking to leader in order to create security for our nation and for the world. I mean, that’s the approach that a Kucinich presidency would bring.
Kucinich’s Department of Peace
Judy Woodruff: You’re the only candidate, I think, who’s talking about a Department of Peace. How would that work? And what would it mean for the Defense Department?
Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Well, first of all, the idea of a Department of Peace has both domestic and international criteria.
On a domestic level, everyone watching this understands that American families are beset by a lot of problems that result in domestic violence, spousal abuse, and child abuse. I’m talking about creating programs that would help families get out of that really deep rut that creates a lot of emotional problems and strife inside families.
But also, when you look at the issues of gang violence, violence in the schools, racial violence, violence against gays, the Department of Peace would also supply help to deal with that.
On an international level, we’d look at those areas that help conflict percolate and get involved before they develop into something that requires troops. It’s really a very wise approach that uses the principles of Gandhi, of Christ, of Dr. King, and others to try to lift us out of this idea that war is inevitable. War is not inevitable. Violence is learned, and non-violence can be learned, as well.
‘Tis true. Brutality is not inborn; it is bred into us. What we witness in the world abroad is a reflection of what we see on the streets of America.. the war is on our shore. In homes and neighborhoods conflict abounds. People are combative. Thus, perhaps we must speak to defense. There is much that offends. Presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich considers the need to protect America and those that reside in the United States of America.
Judy Woodruff: So you’d still have the Defense Department? This would be in addition?
Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Of course you’d have the Defense Department.
Judy Woodruff: You’ve also said that you admire the foreign policies of Jimmy Carter, President Jimmy Carter. Tell us about why. What is it that you admire about him?
Rep. Dennis Kucinich: He’s been the one president who has shown a real capacity to reach out, and deeply, into the Middle East to understand that America must take an even-handed approach.
Look, I’ve been to Israel, and I’ve met with the Israelis, and I’ve met with the Palestinian people, and I’ve met with people throughout the region. My wife and I have been to the region twice in the last year and two months. And there is a deep desire for peace on all sides.
But the United States must take an even-handed approach. We have to do everything we can to help Israel survive. And Israelis perceive this existential threat; we must be attuned to that. At the same time, the Palestinians are crying for justice that they can’t receive with walls and fences and losing their property.
There has to be a United States presence that assures the survival of the Israelis and the rights of the Palestinians. And, frankly, here again, I’m the only one running for president who’s even talking about this.
And this is really — the door to peace in the Middle East going right through Jerusalem. And anyone who would be president of the United States has to have the capacity to talk not only to the Israelis and the Palestinians, but the Syrians, the Iranians, the Iraqis, the Jordanians, and all of the others in the region. And I have that capacity.
Domestic tranquility is built into the Constitution. Yet, it is not evident in our communities. We must ensure that at home all is well. Currently, it is not. Crime is a constant. Jobs are not secure. Health Care is in a state of crisis management. Prices are high. Interests rates, well, they are in flux. With mortgages in default and Middle Class Americans fearful they will have no shelter, there is much to discuss.
Judy Woodruff: Let me turn you to a couple of domestic questions, the current subprime mortgage crisis. What do you think the cause of it is? And what would you do about it? Who would you go after, or whom or what?
Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Well, there’s a number of different areas that needed to be looked at initially. The Fed has not had proper oversight of banks. The Securities and Exchange Commission has not had proper oversight of hedge funds. So you take those two conditions, and you see what’s burst forward now, which is hedge funds in trouble because of their investment in subprime mortgages, and you see millions of Americans losing their homes because there wasn’t a cop on the beat.
So, obviously, what needs to happen is there needs to be a financial mechanism that basically creates a wraparound mortgage that would help protect the people who are in danger of losing their homes, that’s number one. But, number two, we have to get to the underlying issue of predatory lending here.
There are many areas in our cities that have basically been red-lined, cannot get access to credit. And that is a violation of the Community Reinvestment Act, Judy. During the Carter administration, the Community Reinvestment Act was put forth so that inner-city areas would have access to credit.
And what’s happened is that the credit for homes has dried up. Minorities in particular were offered these subprime products, no-document loans. As chairman of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee, I was the first one to put my finger on this and identify it and begin to ask the questions.
But this is a broader issue that deals with: Can Americans have a dream of homeownership? Can the government form a role in protecting that? Can we get these banks to be honest with their credit policies? Do they have a responsibility to provide capital to people who happen to be minorities? What about these adjusted prime rates that are going to start coming in and forcing people’s mortgages up on a monthly level? There’s going to be more people losing their homes.
This is a profound economic crisis and a moral crisis in this country.
Politics is Economics. As long as voters are content financially, there is little need or want for change. As executive earning increase exponentially, blue collars find themselves awash in red ink. This is a calamity caused by an implied inequality. Candidates must address this topic. Most of those we see on the stump cannot relate to the “little’ guy or gal. Kucinich can.
Dealing with income inequality
Judy Woodruff: I’m going to tick off a couple of other issues that I know people are interested in. Income inequality seems to be growing in this country. The other candidates are talking about rolling back the Bush tax cuts, doing away with those. Would you go further than that? Do you think taxes need to be raised on some Americans?
Rep. Dennis Kucinich: To me, income inequality comes from a couple things, first of all, the fact that there are many people who don’t have jobs. That creates inequality. Secondly, the people need a living wage. And in many communities, people are not making the kind of money they should be making for the work they’re doing. So we need to raise the level of wages in our society.
We also need to have more competition in our economy. You have more jobs when you have more competition. We need to break up the monopolies. Teddy Roosevelt understood this more than a hundred years ago. We have too many monopolies governing our economy, and that is creating less competition, and actually it’s shaking out a lot of jobs.
So, in addition to that, one of the ways that you help lift up people’s economic standing is to have health care for all. I’m the only one running for president — it’s pretty shocking, actually, that no other Democrat is ready to take a firm stand to say it’s time to end the for-profit health care system with a universal, not-for-profit system, Medicare for all. And, Judy, I’m the co-author of that bill. And I’ve helped organize about 83 members of Congress in support of that bill.
What occurs in the workplace is felt in our homes. A stressed worker is more likely to need health care. A happy laborer, able to attend to prevent inevitable illness and injury benefits the community as a whole. However, as long as Big Business Insurers and Pharmaceuticals control the Health Care system nothing will change. Privatized medicine dictates patients are profits. People consume services; care is not bestowed upon those in need. Currently, costs are exorbitant and expected to increase. The consumer feels the crunch. Presidential hopeful, Dennis Kucinich understands this.
Judy Woodruff: For most people, single-payer health care system, most people, their image of that is what Great Britain has, what Canada has. Would it be something like what’s in those countries?
Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Yes, it would, and we’d have the quality, as well. You know, the problem is that people are trapped into premiums, co-pays, and deductibles. Everyone watching this knows that there’s no control over these insurance companies, that the insurance companies make money not providing health care. They tell doctors what they can and cannot do.
Under my plan, people have the doctor of their choice, and they’re also able to get the care they need. They don’t have to worry about losing their homes or going bankrupt as, frankly, half the bankruptcies in America are connected directly to people not being able to pay their hospital bills.
So my plan, which is Medicare for all, where you recognize that the money is already there to provide the care that’s needed for people, plus vision care, dental care, mental health care, prescription drugs, and long-term care.
See, what’s happened is the Democratic Party, we’re forgetting who we’re supposed to be. We’re supposed to be the party of the people. We’ve become the party of the insurance companies. We’ve become the party of the oil companies. We’ve become the party of the arms merchants. And somebody has to stand up and say, “Hey, where are the Democrats? Where are the real Democrats?” And I’m a real Democrat running for president.
Then there is trade. As a lifelong union member Dennis Kucinich understands this reality more than those that walk a picket line for minutes or hours. For Dennis Kucinich labor concerns are not a photographic opportunity; they are a enduring commitment.
Judy Woodruff: You’ve also said you would have the United States pull out of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the World Trade Organization. You’ve been a vocal critic of globalization. How do you see the United States shifting if none of those trade agreements were in place?
Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Well, I mean, actually, before NAFTA, we had trade. Before NAFTA, we weren’t in the rut that we’re in now, which is close to a $850 billion to $900 billion imbalance in our trade.
What I envision is this: Cancel NAFTA and the WTO and have trade that’s based on workers’ rights, human rights, and environmental quality principles. You lift up the wage levels in the United States and in other countries. You assure that workers have the right to organize, the right to collective bargaining, the right to strike, and all the other rights. No child labor, no prison labor, no slave labor, protection of the air and water.
And this is much more desirable than the conditions we have right now. Judy, I’ve been all over this country, and I’ve seen grass growing in parking lots where they used to make steel, where they used to make cars, and washing machines, and bicycles. And now there’s grass growing in the parking lots, padlocks on the plant gates.
I’m saying: NAFTA is directly responsible for the decline of American manufacturing. I want to restore American manufacturing, actually have an American manufacturing policy where the maintenance of steel, automotive, aerospace, and shipping is seen as vital to our national economic security.
Religion is often a taboo topic. Kucinich embraces the opportunity to share his deeply held beliefs. For Kucinich, faith is a guide. Dogma does not deter his vision, it enhances and advances a trust that we can realize strength in every aspect of our lives through peaceful means.
Judy Woodruff: This is a different subject area. Just this week, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of St. Louis said that he would deny communion to any presidential candidate who is Catholic who favors abortion rights, as you do. Does this in any way make you rethink your position on abortion or rethink the Catholic Church?
Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Well, no. And let me just tell you something. Much of my public policy comes from what I’ve learned as growing up Catholic. My economic policies were deeply informed by Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum, by encyclicals of Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio. And so I have a deep respect for the Catholic Church.
On the issue of abortion, I think that we need to do everything we can to make abortion less necessary. And I think you can do that through promoting birth control, through making sure that you have prenatal care, postnatal care, child care, universal health care, a living wage.
I think I’m the one candidate for president who can help heal this nation in this intense divide over abortion by recognizing the concerns that people have, including in the Catholic Church, about abortions, but by creating circumstances where abortions are less likely to occur. So I think it’s time for a president who brings a healing hand to this country on this issue.
Judy Woodruff: Four years ago, you changed your position, is that right, on abortion?
Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Well, you know what? It was long before I ran for president the first time that I came to an understanding of how this issue was tearing America apart and how it’s possible to simultaneously stand for a woman’s right to choose and, at the same time, work to make abortions less likely. I think it’s possible to do both.
We’re called upon, those of us who run for president, to have a kind of wisdom which comes from understanding what people go through, not that I’m smarter than anyone else, but I understand the kind of difficulties that people have, how complicated life can be for people.
So when you come with the intention of not rejecting the teachings of the church, but of trying to create a society where the concerns of the church are given full effect and, at the same time, make sure that women have this right to choose so that they can — and create a society where women can choose what is best not only for themselves, but for the society, as well.
I think a president who takes that approach is someone who can heal this great divide which the issue of abortion has created.
As in any campaign, there are naysayers and rumors. At times the gossip is more gripping than the truth. There are a few that would have us believe that a candidate that lost a re-election campaign is considered an outcast in the city that once called him Mayor. In truth, decades later the Cleveland Mayor Kucinich made. Even in the 1970s Dennis Kucinich understood the error of privatization. His refusal to sell Muny Light and Powers saved the citizens of this community $200 million dollars. That is quite a sum. The people are grateful.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich: I ran the last time, and I was re-elected to Congress. You have to remember something. The people in Cleveland, they know me as someone who will stand up and speak out when no other person will.
I saved the municipal electric system years ago in Cleveland. It saved the people of Cleveland hundreds of millions of dollars, because I took a stand that no one else would. I helped save a steel mill in Cleveland with close to 2,000 jobs because I took a stand after the mill had already been closed. I made sure we saved the mill and saved a hospital. I’m the one who takes a stand.
And on the war, all these other candidates were either quiet or they went the wrong way or, if they spoke up, they voted to fund the war later. People know me as being someone who’s not afraid, and it’s because I come from Cleveland. That’s what I represent: the kind of person who will stand up and speak out when others are quiet and who’s not afraid to take on big challenges.
I mean, frankly, that’s the kind of spirit that the Cleveland Indians have. That’s why they’re in the playoffs. You know, that’s why I’m in this race for president, because I have that kind of Cleveland spirit that’s tough and, at the same time, informed.
Judy Woodruff: Dennis Kucinich, we thank you very much for talking with us. Thank you.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Thank you. Appreciate it.
Judy Woodruff: Appreciate it.
I too appreciate this fine dialogue. I am grateful for the time given to discuss the issues with a candidate that is truly mainstream, a man of the people. My hope is that many will stop for a moment and sit quietly away from the hype. I invite you dear reader to reflect and absorb with an open mind and heart. I appeal for a moment more. If you would, please ponder the interview with Jay Leno. As Mister Leno stated, my expectations were not realized, and I am thankful. For me, this conversation on a program often known for comedy is one that brings tears. Truth is often a source of enlightenment. This interview illustrates illumination comes from the most casual of conversations.
I thank you for your time. I appreciate the look, the listen, the forum, and the opportunity to introduce our future President, Dennis Kucinich.
Let us ponder as Kucinich has, free trade, globalization, income inequity, war, and peace. May we proceed with intent. Let us heal a world torn asunder, and a nation that crumbles from within. Might we appraise and raise the consciousness of all throughout the plant. When we are strong, we embrace peace.
References, Resources, The Reality, Dennis Kucinich . . .