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Congressional Candidate Norman Solomon on What Makes a Healthy Progressive Ecosystem

By Keane Bhatt, Truthout

042112-5Norman Solomon. (Photo: Steve Rhodes / Flickr)

Norman Solomon, a longtime activist and media scholar, first came under FBI scrutiny at the age of 14 for picketing a segregated apartment complex near his home in Maryland. In the following years, Solomon campaigned against nuclear weapons and warfare, spending a total of 40 days in jail for nonviolent civil disobedience. He is author of a dozen books and numerous op-eds that have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times, among other outlets. Currently, he has been engaged in a competitive campaign to represent Northern California's District 2 in the US House of Representatives.

Keane Bhatt for Truthout: The US appears to be committing itself to yet another intervention. At the end of March, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Saudi King Abdullah, an autocrat who recently signed a $60 billion agreement to buy US bombs, missiles, helicopters and 84 F-15 fighter jets. After conferring with him, Clinton joined the "Friends of Syria" coalition and the US will now equip and pay the rebels in Syria. UN envoy Kofi Annan considered a further militarization of the conflict and the arming of rebels "disastrous." What is behind this continuity in US foreign policy?

READ THE REST.

The Killers All Around Us

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

I've often wondered why so many innocent people who are shot by police end up dead.

Granted that police officers spend a fair amount of time training with their service revolvers, and are thus likely to be better shots with a pistol than your average gun-owner. But even so, in so many cases where some unarmed person is shot by police, the result is death, and it makes you wonder how cops, often in the dark and on the run, manage with their notoriously hard-to-aim pistols to hit a vital organ with such depressing regularity.

Talk Nation Radio: Rocky Anderson on His Campaign for President

Rocky Anderson is the Justice Party candidate for U.S. president.  He explains why he's running and what he thinks we need to do to get our country headed in a more just and peaceful direction.  Rocky's website is VoteRocky.org.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.

Producer: David Swanson.

Engineer: Christiane Brown.

Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive.org or AudioPort or Radio4All or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Embed on your own site with this code:

<object autostart="false" data="http://davidswanson.org/sites/davidswanson.org/files/talknationradio/talknationradio_20120404b.mp3" height="100px" width="400px"></object>

George Galloway is back in UK parliament!

After defeating the second-placed Labour candidate by more than 2-to-1, George Galloway had this to say about his former party:

"They have to stop supporting illegal, bloody, costly foreign wars because one of the reasons why they were so decisively defeated this evening is that the public don't believe that they have atoned for their role in the invasion and occupation of other people's countries and the drowning of those countries in blood." 

  

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17549388        

 

  

  

An End to Authoritarianism and Plutocracy in the United States: It's Up to Us

By Rocky Anderson

Let us consider the fundamental guiding principles for the United States of America -- freedom, equal opportunity, compassion, and security.  

Then let us consider how those principles have been severely undermined, and how we, the American people, can restore them so that once again our government is of, by, and for the people, rather than a tool of oppression cynically utilized for the benefit of a small, powerful, abusive, elite political and financial class, to the detriment of the vast majority of U.S. citizens, as well as billions of people around the world.

Quick Fix to Citizens United: 'Tax Super-PACS'

 
UPDATE: CA Assembly asks U.S. Congress to pass a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United...

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

Citizens United rejected a congressional legislative ban on corporate campaign contributions. It says nothing about the ability to tax such contributions...

'A date which will live in infamy'

Jan. 21, 2010 has become, as we predicted it would be, "a date which will live in infamy."

Norman Solomon, Anti-War Progressive Running For Congress

Norman Solomon
By Matt Sledge, Huffington Post

California's North Coast is nearly synonymous with a New Age-y strand of progressivism. For two decades, Rep. Lynn Woolsey has represented it in Congress by denouncing the wars waged by both major parties' presidents: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya. She proudly identified herself as the first former welfare mother in Congress. Now Woolsey is retiring, and the campaign to succeed her prominently features two self-described progressives vying for votes in a June 5 open primary.

Woolsey is staying out of the endorsement game, so voters in her district have been left to make up their own minds. Elect Norman Solomon, who has rallied against America's adventures abroad since Vietnam, or pick Jared Huffman, who has five years' experience in the California Assembly.

"Congress is in danger of losing a lot of its lifeblood, its moral center. We can't afford to lose Lynn Woolsey, Dennis Kucinich, other voices for good alternatives to war," Solomon told HuffPost. "We've got to replenish the strength of antiwar and social justice representation in Congress. Our district and my campaign are crucial to that process."

Solomon, whose hair is streaked with silver and whose face easily melts into a grin, wields a resume more typical of a soapbox rabble-rouser than a congressional candidate. He's never been an elected official. He took Sean Penn with him to Iraq in 2002 to oppose a then-looming invasion. He directed a documentary adaptation of his book War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. He touts his endorsement by Phil Donohue.

All of that, plus the support of liberal advocacy group Democracy for America, might make him seem liable to the same pitfalls that have befallen losing netroots candidates like Ilya Sheyman in Illinois. But Solomon is quick to argue that his candidacy has more than a virtual presence.

Norman Solomon Commits to Bringing Peace and Justice Movement into Congress

Over the weekend, The Washington Post published a long, inside report that should scare the wits out of every progressive in this country. And it has further energized our campaign for Congress.

The Post revealed that President Obama -- in hopes of making a "grand bargain" on the budget with Republicans last summer -- had offered billions of dollars of cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

And there’s something even scarier in the new Post account: "White House officials said this week that the offer is still on the table."

Still on the table!

It's bad enough when Congressman Paul Ryan and the Republicans try to gut Social Security and Medicare -- they don't need any help from so-called "moderate Democrats."

I want to go to Congress to stop the right-wing agenda. Even if that sometimes means pushing back against the Democratic Party establishment.

Please support my campaign so I can stand up to immoral budget deals -- just as Sen. Bernie Sanders did when he inspired millions with his filibustering speech against President Obama’s deal with the GOP to extend Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy.

Believe me: I was thoroughly honored when a member of Congress (Democrat Mike Honda), after hearing me speak, called me "a young Bernie Sanders."

Please donate if you want me to go to Congress to promote a totally different plan for deficit reduction:

#1 -- Defund the wars, bring our troops home and make major cuts in military spending, which accounts for the majority of federal discretionary spending. Most Americans support big military cuts.

#2 -- Raise taxes on the top 1% and end tax loopholes and subsidies for large corporations. Most Americans want the wealthy to pay their share.

#3 -- Impose controls on Wall Street to curb the gambling that tanked the global economy, including a Financial Transaction Tax that raises revenue while reducing speculation.

If you want to help me fight for this program in Washington, please click here.

In Congress, I will be loud and proud in putting these popular proposals on the table – while standing rock-solid against cuts to our sacred safety-net and healthcare programs.

If we stand and fight for progressive values in Washington, the American public will be with us.

Please help me get to Congress.

Yours truly,

Norman Solomon

Draft Kucinich movement starts in Washington State

By Don Smith, OpEdNews

There's a movement underway to recruit Dennis Kucinich to run for Congress in Washington State.

On March 6, Kucinich lost a primary battle for his redistricted and gerrymandered Ohio congressional district.  (See here , here and here.)  His loss generated national coverage with commentators lamenting the "end of an era."

Last summer and autumn Kucinich made numerous visits to Washington State, giving speeches (e.g., this) and appearing at fundraisers, largely to test the waters about a possible move to Washington State.  However, State Democratic Chair Dwight Pelz reportedly opposed the move, as did Kucinich's likely Democratic opponents for Congress.  See the July article Dennis Kucinich looking for a political home, needs our help?

Now Washington Citizens for Kucinch, created by progressive activist David Spring and operating independently of Kucinich, is asking citizens  to jump on board the Kucinich bandwangon and sign a petition calling for Kucinich to run here.

Believers in the cause of Peace are not sitting idly by and allowing war profiteers to use gerrymandering and black box voting to drive the leader of the U.S. Peace Movement out of Congress. Clearly, greedy Wall Street bankers and reckless multinational corporations stacked the deck against Dennis Kucinich in Ohio. They've long realized Dennis does not work for them. Thankfully, there are three Open Congressional Seats in the State of Washington -- with no Democratic incumbents running in any of them.

There is also a facebook page for the effort.

Kucinich

As Spring says, "I and thousands of other Peace Activists will support Dennis's campaign where ever he decides to run."

Spring points out there are multiple Congressional districts in Washington State that do not have an incumbent Democrat running for re-election, including the 1st (incumbent Jay Inslee is running for governor), the 8th (=new 9th, where the incumbent is Republican Dave Reichert), and the 6th CD (where incumbent Norm Dicks is retiring).  The new 1st CD, which borders Seattle, might be the most convenient for Seattle-based activists, but the district in Olympia, for example, would have a more Democratic-leaning constituency: the new 1st CD extends all the way to the Canadian border.

Homegrown Democratic candidates for Congress would likely oppose a Kucinich run, but his presence would energize thousands of activists and bring lots of national attention to the race and to the state.

Indeed, Kucinich will be coming soon to Washington State.  Robby Stern of the Washington State Labor Council reports:

We are very pleased that Rep. Dennis Kucinich will be speaking at the Social Security forum at Highline Community College on April 12th from 6:30 -- 8:30 p.m.
Entitled "The Threat to Social Security -- An Issue for All Generations" the forum will be held in the Student Union Building (Building eight) on the Highline C.C. campus. Additional outstanding speakers include Pramila Jayapal, Executive Director, One America, Marilyn Watkins, Policy Director, Economic Opportunity Institute, and Magdaleno Rose-Avila, Executive Director, The Latino Equality Initiative and a member of PSARA's Executive Board.

Perhaps Kucinich is again testing the waters.

Kucinich has until May 18 to file to run for Congress in Washington State.

 

http://waliberals.org

Elections: What Are They Good For?

By David Swanson, Remarks at Left Forum

I think two opposing trends have been at work in U.S. history. One is that of allowing more people to vote. This is an ongoing struggle, of course, but in some significant sense we've allowed poor people and women and non-white people and young people to vote. The other trend, which has really developed more recently, is that we've made voting less and less meaningful. Of course it was never as meaningful as many people imagine. But we've legalized bribery, we've banished third parties and independents, we've gerrymandered most Congressional districts into meaningless general elections and left one party or the other to exercise great influence over any primary. Rarely does any incumbent lose, and rarely does a candidate without the most money win. Extremely rare is a winning candidate who lacks some major financial backing. Rarer still is a candidate who even promises to pursue majority positions on most major issues, or who convincingly commits to following the will of the public over the will of the party. Most Congress members are pawns in a government with two partisan voices, not the voices of 535 individual representatives and senators. Rare, as well, is any possibility in a close primary or general election of verifying the accuracy of a vote count.

Afghanistan: The Wheels Are Coming Off

 

By John Grant

 

When does a determination to look on the bright side turn into a state of denial? That is, when do leaders of a secrecy-obsessed US government admit the decision-making surrounding the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan was misguided from the beginning and the endgame is a mess because of it?

While the leadership of America is mud-wrestling with itself in the election "silly season," the nation is watching the wheels come off its military occupation of Afghanistan. It feels like that special effects TV ad for a new SUV in which, as the SUV speeds forward, thousands of its parts magically come flinging loose until we see nothing but the truck chassis speeding ahead.

The Peace Movement Needs Kucinich, With or Without Congress

If Congressman Dennis Kucinich becomes simply Dennis Kucinich sans the "Congressman" his value to the peace movement need not diminish. 

I admit it's been nice having someone in Congress who would say and do what he would.  There have been and remain other relatively strong voices for peace, but none as strong as Kucinich's.  His resolutions have forced the debates.  His bills have changed the conversation.  His questioning of witnesses has afflicted the comfortable while seeking to comfort the afflicted.  Perhaps Congressman Norman Solomon will pick up the baton.  Time will tell.

Putin Wins

  Putin Wins

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Pre-election polls predicted around a 60% majority. Final results show Putin won 63.6% of the vote. He got a clear third term mandate. In 2004, he won 71%.

 

Five candidates contended:

 

Last Chance to Help Dennis Kucinich

We need his voice in Congress

Dear Friends,

This is your last chance to help Dennis Kucinich win his tough primary fight.

The election is Tuesday.

If you want to help one of our truly great progressive members of Congress, you need to act now.

Click here to donate to the Kucinich campaign. Any amount helps!

I know you remember when Dennis stood up as that first brave and prophetic voice against the Bush/Cheney invasion of Iraq.

I know you remember when he brought articles of impeachment to the House floor, a lonely progressive, trying to defend the Constitution against the illegal and immoral acts of the Bush/Cheney crowd.

I know you remember when he was the last member of Congress publicly defending single-payer health care for all.

I know you remember when he was one of the few who voted "no" on the original Patriot Act. Remember why? He read it.

And I know you understand that Dennis is still fighting these battles today, one of the few still standing up to prevent the deja vu of an attack on Iran, under the same false pretenses as the attack on Iraq a decade ago.

No one else has a record of leading the progressive struggles we care about like Dennis Kucinich. Shouldn't we be doing everything we can to keep him in Congress?

Think of how much we will miss him next year, if Dennis is not there to hold the warmongers accountable, to raise his passionate and intelligent voice for peace, to keep pressing for Medicare for All.

Click here to make a last-minute donation to Dennis. We need him back in Washington!

Then pass this email on to all your lists, call your friends in northwest Ohio, to make sure they vote for Dennis on Tuesday.

Dennis Kucinich helped PDA get off the ground back in the summer of 2004. With your help, we can keep working together for a better nation.

Thanks for all you do,


Tim Carpenter & Steve Cobble of PDA

Last chance--donate to Dennis now. The election in Ohio is Tuesday!

Paid for by Progressive Democrats of America (http://www.pdamerica.org)
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee

Electoral Politics in America

  Electoral Politics in America 

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

He said, she said, who's ahead, who's behind discourse dominates political reporting. As a result, issues go unaddressed. People are left uninformed in the dark. Media scoundrels focus on popularity, not competence, and what readers and viewers most need to know.

 

Israel Lobby Beats the Drums For War

 

By John Grant

 

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (or AIPAC) is having its three-day annual meeting in Washington DC beginning Sunday March 4th. AIPAC is arriving in an atmosphere of beating war drums and rattling sabers against Iran.

Israel preemptively starting a war with Iran would be bad enough, but the assumption that the United States will be part of that war should be very disturbing to Americans -- who are just getting over one misguided, costly war in Iraq and are still involved in another in Afghanistan.

End of Yearning

 

By Gary Lindorff

 

Yearning for this or that impossible thing,

I started to become indifferent,

Which was for the best. . . 

But,

Stubborn as I was proud,

I still wanted them to stop

What they were doing in my name.

I wanted them to listen to my stewing.

All I got was bad dreams.

So I gave my conscience an ultimatum:

...

 

Vote for Norman Solomon

By Jeff Cohen

. . .even if you don’t live in his California North Coast district. TELL FRIENDS they can vote, too. (It’s legal, NOT Chicago ballot stuffing!)

Norman came in 3rd out of 200 liberal/progressive Congressional candidates nationwide in the first round of the online ‘Grassroots All-Star’ straw poll.

If you VOTE FOR NORMAN (it takes 3 seconds) in the final round of voting among the 10 finalists, you help him get access to grassroots $$ and volunteers.  Vote here: http://grassrootsallstars.com/norman-solomon

Norman has built one of the biggest grassroots campaigns ever.  If sent to D.C. in November, Norman will function as "America's Congress member" -- an advocate for all of us committed to peace and justice.

BARBARA EHRENREICH said this:   I strongly endorse Norman Solomon for Congress. I’ve followed his activism and advocacy for years – voters can trust that he is a historical progressive, not a rhetorical one. Norman is a fighter for women’s rights who understands class in America and how our country’s “social safety net” now resembles a greased chute. He would never take money from Walmart or any corporation. To turn our country around, we need independent progressive Democrats like Norman Solomon in Congress, not business-as-usual Democrats.

Donate directly to Solomon for Congress. Norman’s website.

Jill Stein Answers the "Are You Afraid of Romney?" Question in the New York Times

From the NY Times:

Q. What do you think of Mitt Romney?

A. He responds to his electorate. When he’s running in Salt Lake, he’s anti-abortion. When he’s running in Massachusetts, he’s pro-abortion. He responds to his electorate, broadly, except that he remains basically pro-business in a very narrow sense of the word — that is a pro-one-percent big, corporate multinational business. You know what, that’s not so different from the way Larry Summers and Tim Geithner are running the country under Barack Obama. When our governorship changed from Mitt Romney and it went directly to Deval Patrick, who is another poster child for progressive Democrats, no difference. Nothing detectable. Nothing changed in Massachusetts whatsoever.

Progressives Nationally Boost Kucinich Campaign

Progressive activist leaders around the country are throwing their support behind Congressman Dennis Kucinich's bid for reelection in a race in which redistricting has pitted two Democratic incumbents, Kucinich and Marcy Kaptur, against each other.

A statement released Tuesday by Progressive Democrats of America was signed by Daniel Ellsberg, Mimi Kennedy, Medea Benjamin, Norman Solomon, Tim Carpenter, Andrea Miller, Tom Hayden, Jodie Evans, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Ray McGovern, David Swanson, Carolyn Eisenberg, Steve Cobble, Jeff Cohen, Sandy Davies, Mike Ferner, and David Shreve. It read in part:

Rocky Anderson's Plan for the USA

The Strategic Plan for the United States of America

By Rocky Anderson

Introduction:  All Presidential candidates must be able to articulate a clear vision for our country.  The vision is a statement (or a collection of statements) that describe the country we want to have and that, with the right leadership, the country we can have.  I believe that, over the past generation or so, our leaders have made many very important strategic decisions that have resulted in much harm to our country and, in some cases, to our world.  My Vision for the United States of America – still the greatest country the world has ever known – encompasses what I believe are fundamental principles and priorities, including the rights and freedoms of our citizens; how we should treat one another (not just fellow U.S. citizens, but citizens of our world); the proper role of our government and of our leaders; the basic values we as a nation, and as individuals within our nation, should have; the need to better educate and guide our youth, and to care for our youth and other people of our country who cannot care for themselves; the benefits of working hard, earning our place in this world, saving for the future, and protecting our resources for future generations; maintaining a strong defense and using it only to preserve peace; and improving the lives of all of our people, not just a chosen few.  I have articulated my Vision for our country in more detail below.

 My Vision [the nation we want to have] for the United States of America is:

A nation which, first and foremost, respects all people, within and outside our borders, irrespective of ethnicity, race, religious affiliation (or not), sexual orientation, and economic status, and which embraces diversity and accepts and celebrates (not simply tolerates) our differences.

A nation that values and promotes the freedom of its people and the freedom of people everywhere.

A nation that understands that the rights of the individual must be protected, so that each individual is able to pursue his/her own life and goals without arbitrary or coercive hindrance from others.

A nation that understands the sanctity of human life and which recognizes that, as long as an individual is alive, that individual has the opportunity to contribute to our world and to live with dignity and self-respect.

A nation which understands we are all in this life together and, therefore, accepts differences of opinion and teaches acceptance and compromise.

A nation that encourages and allows each of us to capitalize on our strengths and overcome our weaknesses.

A nation that cultivates in its citizenry a drive and desire not only to care for oneself, but also to proactively care for those in need – in our communities, in our nation, and in our world.

A nation that recognizes that its greatest hope for the future is its youth and which, therefore, places extraordinary value on education for and cultivation of its young people.

A nation that values education, hard work, entrepreneurialism, dedication, and passion, and which strives to ensure that, if we are educated and work hard, we will create a sustainable and robust economy, and each of us will have the opportunity to build  meaningful economic security, achieve our dreams, and live meaningful, fulfilled lives.

A nation that understands that a healthy citizenry is a much happier and productive citizenry and that government plays an important role in promoting health and fitness.

A nation that understands we are stewards of our world, that sustainable policies and practices are required to preserve resources for future generations, and that we have an obligation to leave our world better than we found it.

A nation that maintains a strong military capability balanced with robust diplomatic and intelligence capabilities, and is firm but fair in its dealings with transgressors against our safety and the safety of our world, but which never uses its superior capabilities to oppress other nations, groups, or individuals or to engage in a war of aggression.

A nation that values peace within and outside our borders, and which will not allow economic interests to overshadow our nation’s and our world’s right to and need for peace.

A nation that understands and appreciates the fundamental values and principles contained in our Constitution (including the Bill of Rights and other amendments), and which seeks to adhere to those values and principles for the benefit and betterment of all of our citizens.

A nation that understands the value of the three co-equal branches of government and our constitutional system of checks and balances, and which will not tolerate the erosion or usurpation of the powers and prerogatives of any one branch or branches of government.

A nation that values the rule of law for all of its citizens, regardless of status and wealth, and which abides by its agreements with and obligations to other nations.

A nation whose leaders understand that their jobs are to work relentlessly and exclusively to improve the condition of our people, and not to succumb to the demands and influence of special interests; and that in our leaders we have placed our trust, and it is their highest calling in life to fulfill that trust and to never breach it.

A nation where the role of government is neither to be paternal or intrusive in the lives of its citizens nor to ignore (i) the needs of those among us who are unable to care for themselves, or (ii) the challenging characteristics of human nature (e.g., greed and selfishness); rather, where the role is to assist its citizens in achieving their potential.

Our Mission [which is how to achieve our Vision, i.e., to obtain the nation we want] is to:

  • support and adhere to the fundamental values and principles contained in the Constitution;
  • promote a capitalistic economy, limited by reasonable regulatory constraints;
  • live within our means (except as war, catastrophe, or impending economic collapse may require);
  • operate an efficient, effective, and transparent government;
  • operate a government that meets the needs of its people, including their health, education, environment, and well being; and
  • restrict the influence of money, particularly from the corporate sector and other sources of concentrated wealth, on legislation and government policies.

Our Core Values [which are the principles we adhere to in carrying out our Mission] are to:

  • Treat all people, including those of future generations, with respect;
  • Always act with integrity, i.e., always take the high moral road and do the right thing;
  • Communicate fully and transparently (except when absolutely necessary to maintain secrecy to protect our national interest);
  • Listen first, understand other perspectives, then respond;
  • Be a consensus builder, domestically and internationally;
  • Make decisions based on facts;
  • Respect the fundamental values and principles contained in the Constitution; and
  • Respect and uphold the rule of law.

If this is an America you wish to be realized, please share, and get involved with the campaign today!

Kucinich v Kaptur

The Election We Should Be Following

For progressives and populists around the country who take an interest in Congressional races there are always a few good challengers we might hope to send to Washington.  Incumbents, we assume, can take care of themselves. 

But in Northern Ohio, redistricting has thrown two incumbents into one district.  It's a heavily Democratic district created purposely to guarantee a number of other districts to Republicans.  The incumbents are both Democrats, both white, both 65, and many imagine that they do similar work in Washington.  In fact, they could not be more different.  One of them does tremendous good for our national politics, working to move our government in a better direction from inside it, just as the rest of us do from the outside.  We cannot afford to lose him.  We would be obliged to work for his reelection even if his opponent were far above average.  The record suggests something else.

A useful example to highlight the contrast between Congressman Dennis Kucinich and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur is found in the funding of wars.  Between 2001 and 2009, Congresswoman Kaptur voted for $545 billion in war funding, voting Yes over and over again for Bush's wars.  Congressman Dennis Kucinich voted for a total of $17 billion. (See the chart below.) 

In the lead up to the invasion of Iraq, Kucinich's was the clearest voice against it.  He circulated evidence of war lies to his colleagues.  He organized many of them to vote No with him.  Kaptur, too, voted No on the authorization.

But once the war had started, many Congress members, including Kaptur, turned around and voted to fund its continuation and escalation, year after year, even as the public turned more and more strongly against the war.  While Kucinich was working to impeach Bush and Cheney, Kaptur was voting to fund their wars.  While Kucinich was advancing resolutions to shift the debate toward ending wars and preventing new ones, Kaptur was claiming wars made us safer and reciting "support the troops" rhetoric, as though what veterans need most is the creation of more injured veterans. 

This distinction matters more than ever as the prospect of a war on Iran looms larger.  Kaptur wants NASA and the Pentagon to work together more closely, while Kucinich opposes the militarization of space.  Kaptur seems to believe the military industrial complex is a beneficial jobs program, whereas Kucinich seems to believe it is what Eisenhower said it would be.

Congresswoman Kaptur has been spending a lot of money on television ads in hopes of defeating Kucinich in the upcoming primary.  Where does her money come from?  Well, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets.org), in the current election cycle, she gets 77% of her money from PACs, and 5% from small individual contributors.  Kucinich, in contrast, gets 5% from PACs, and 68% from small individual contributors.  Kucinich does not get money from war contractors.  Kaptur is a different story.  Thus far, in the current election cycle, her fourth biggest "contributor" is a little operation known as General Dynamics.  Her third biggest is Teledyne Technologies.  Tied for seventh place are American Systems Corp and Northrop Grumman.  Tied at 16th are Boeing and Lockheed Martin.  Most of these corporations have been among Kaptur's regular funders in past campaigns as well.  They are also among the leading violators of U.S. laws. 

According to the Federal Contractor Misconduct Database (ContractorMisconduct.org), these are the worst four offenders from any industry:

Contractor                           Federal Contract $       Instances of Misconduct        Misconduct $
                                                     (FY2010)                          (Since 1995)                        (Since 1995)

1. Lockheed Martin                      $34367.4m                           57                                       $590.1m

2. Boeing Company                     $19366.6m                            43                                       $1600.5m

3. Northrop Grumman                   $15522.7m                          35                                       $850.7m

4. General Dynamics                  $14908.8m                             13                                        $78.5m

Among the types of misconduct engaged in by these four leaders, as detailed at the above database, are the following: contract fraud, kickbacks, defective pricing, unlicensed exports, emissions violations, groundwater cleanup violations, inflated costs, providing of bribes and sexual favors, nuclear safety violations, nuclear waste storage violations, federal election law violations, radiation exposure, illegal transfer of information to China, violations of the National Labor Relations Act, embezzlement, racial discrimination and retaliation, age discrimination and retaliation, unauthorized weapons sales to foreign nations, retaliation against whistleblowers.  And that's just Lockheed.  In fact, that's just a small sampling of just Lockheed.  Why take money from these companies?

According to the National Priorities Project (CostOfWar.com) Kaptur's Ninth District of Ohio (prior to redistricting) has shelled out over $3.1 billion for wars since 2001.  That expense has been with Kaptur's full cooperation.  And that is an expense measured purely in dollars taken from tax payers to pay for wars.  It does not include further costs for veterans' care, for interest on war debt, for increased fuel prices, or for lost opportunities.  Nor does it include the cost already extracted of several times the $3.1 billion for a base annual military budget that has roughly doubled this decade and done so on the basis of the wars. 

According to a report titled "The U.S. Employment Effects of Military And Domestic Spending Priorities: An Updated Analysis," (PDF) by Robert Pollin and Heidi Garrett-Peltier of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, (October 2009), spending the same dollars on the military (without specifying war spending which would likely make the contrast even greater) produces many fewer jobs than if spent in other industries.  If Ohio's Ninth District's $3.1 billion had been spent on tax cuts for working people, instead of on the military, the people of the Ninth District could have seen a net gain of 9,920 jobs.  That's considering the full impact of jobs lost, directly created, and indirectly created.  Military spending, purely in terms of job creation, is worse than nothing.  Tax cuts -- not for Mitt Romney but for the rest of us -- does more good.

But the same study also shows a better path.  If the $3.1 billion had been taken away from the military and spent instead on clean energy, we would have seen a net gain of 17,050 jobs.  If instead the investment had gone to healthcare, the net gain would have been 24,000 jobs.  And if the choice had been to fund education, the gain in jobs would have been 54,250.  Could Ohio's Ninth District use 54,250 jobs?  Not many people would choose to chase those jobs away in order to support wars based on lies, wars that endanger us, wars that devastate the natural environment, wars that erode our civil liberties, wars that carry a heavy human cost -- not just an economic one.  Not many people, but one of them is Marcy Kaptur.

If you visit Kaptur's campaign website at MarcyKaptur.com, only one specific issue is immediately visible, front and center: celebration of a World War II memorial.  At Kucinich.us there is also only a single issue immediately visible: a petition urging the Congressman's colleagues to stop funding the war in Afghanistan.  In the "Agenda" section of Kaptur's site there is no acknowledgement that war or peace is an issue to be considered at all.  In the "Issues" section of Kucinich's site, there is a section on war and peace that addresses a number of specific wars.

There is also, on the Kucinich site, a lot more detail than on Kaptur's about numerous other issues.  The example of wars and war funding is fairly typical.  In rough terms, Kucinich tends to back peace, justice, and the will of the public, while Kaptur tends to back the very same things when and if the leadership of the Democratic Party happens to do so.  Back on February 25, 2010, she voted to extend the PATRIOT Act without reforms of its abusive procedures.  Kucinich voted No.  Back on October 23, 2007, Kucinich had also voted No on the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, while Kaptur voted Yes.  On December 8, 2010, she voted against the DREAM Act, while Kucinich and a majority of the House and of the Democrats voted for it.  Any elected official will let us down sometimes, but Kaptur is just no Kucinich. 

Many organizations agree. VoteSmart.org lists the rankings of various groups.  Planned Parenthood gives Kucinich a score of 100%, Kaptur 71%.  The ACLU scores Kucinich 94%, Kaptur 75%.  Also favoring Kucinich in their rankings are the Arab American Institute, the Human Rights Campaign, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the League of Conservation Voters, Peace Action, the AFL-CIO, the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, etc.  I'm not being selective here.  There don't seem to be any progressive analysts scoring Kaptur over Kucinich on anything.  Progressives like Alan Grayson and Barney Frank are urging us to support Kucinich over Kaptur.

How independent and principled a member of Congress is has a direct, and sometimes devastating, impact on their district and the nation and the world.  Kaptur believes a nuclear power plant at the edge of Lake Erie with a bad history of safety violations should be allowed to continue to operate, while Kucinich has asked for it to be repaired or decommissioned.  Only one of these two representatives is putting the safety of the public first. 

I believe people who care about the future of the United States, from Ohio's new Ninth District or anywhere else, should be following and supporting Kucinich's campaign.  If he loses, we lose.  We may not always agree with him.  He may not always be able to win over a majority of his colleagues.  He may sometimes let us down.  But were he not there, votes that helped end the Iraq war would have never been held.  Debates that have helped curtail further war making would simply not have happened.  Articles of impeachment for Bush and Cheney would never have been introduced.  Countless witnesses before House committees would have gotten off without ever facing the important questions.  Many people pushing for single-payer healthcare in their states would have never heard of it.  Our televisions would be better able than they are now to pretend that majority positions on major issues do not exist, because there would not be that one man in the government willing to raise the issue and publicly lobby his colleagues to join him.

We're such defeatists these days, that we either condemn Kucinich's compromises, forgetting that Kaptur outdoes him in that regard 100-fold, or we imagine that because he's so much better he must be doomed to lose.  On the contrary, Kucinich has a long history of winning congressional elections, both primaries and general.  While the redesigned district includes a larger population from Kaptur's former district than from Kucinich's, it includes more Democrats from Kucinich's than from Kaptur's.  Kucinich inspires his supporters, and in primaries it is the relative turnout of tiny percentages of people that decides. 

Who is in Congress or the White House is going to be of far less importance than who is in the streets and what kind of people's movement is developed to nonviolently resist injustice and war.  But without a single voice inside Congress willing to speak up in the ways Kucinich has, the people's movement will suffer.  There's no lesser-evilism required here.  Kucinich is actually a good representative.  There's no partisanship required here.  Love a party or hate them all; regardless, we should reward those who have listened to our demands.  Or why would anyone listen again?

##

The table below shows enacted appropriations, adapted from "The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11" by Amy Belasco, Congressional Research Service, March 29, 2011, (PDF).  Votes are on final passage of the conference report unless there was no recorded vote.  In that case, the indicated vote is on initial House passage.

Name of Law

Public Law No.

Date Enacted

DOD Funds ($bln)

Kucinich Voted

Kaptur Voted

FY01 Emerg. Supp. Approp. Act for Recovery from and Response to Terrorist Attacks on the US

P.L. 107-38

9/18/01

13.6

Yes

Yes

FY02 Dept. Of Defense and Emergency Terrorism Response Act

P.L. 107-117

1/10/02

3.4

Yes

Yes

FY02 Emergency Supplemental

P.L. 107-206

8/2/02

13.8

No

Yes

FY03 Consolidated Appropriations

P.L. 108-7

2/20/03

10.0

No

Yes

FY03 Emergency Supplemental

P.L. 108-11

4/16/03

62.6

No

Yes

FY03 DOD Appropriationsa

P.L. 107-248

10/23/02

7.1

No

Yes

FY04 DOD Appropriations Act (rescission of FY03 funds)

P.L. 108-87

9/30/03

-3.5

No

Yes

FY04 Emergency Supplemental

P.L. 108-106

11/6/03

64.9

No

No

FY05 DOD Approps Act, Titles IX & Xb

P.L. 108-287

8/5/04

25.0

No

Yes

FY05 DOD Appropriations Actc

P.L. 108-287

8/5/04

2.1

No

Yes

FY05 Supplemental Appropriations

P.L. 109-13

5/11/05

75.9

No

Yes

FY06 DOD Approps. Act, Title IX

P.L. 109-148

12/30/05

50.0

No

Yes

FY06 DOD Appropriations Actc

P.L. 109-148

12/30/05

0.8

No

Yes

FY06 Emergency Supplemental

P.L. 109-234

6/15/06

66.0

No

Yes

FY07 DOD Appropriations Act

P.L. 109-289

9/29/06

70.5

No

Yes

FY07 Supplemental, Amendment #2 (Did not include Withdrawal Deadlines from Iraq)d

P.L. 110-28

5/25/07

94.5

No

No

FY08 Continuing Resolution

P.L. 110-92

9/29/07

5.2

No

Yes

FY08 DOD Appropriations Act

P.L. 110-116

11/13/07

11.6

No

Yes

FY08 Consolidated Approps. Act

P.L. 110-161

3/11/04

70.0

Not voting

No

FY08 Supplemental, FY09 Bridge Approps. Act (Roll call #431)d, e

P.L. 110-252

6/30/08

157.9

No

No

FY09 Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act

P.L. 110-329

9/30/08

2.5

No

Yes

FY09 Supplemental Approps. Act

P.L. 111-32

6/24/09

80.0

No

No

FY10 Consolidated Appropriations Act

P.L. 111-117

12/16/09

1.4

No

Yes

FY10 DOD Approps. Act, Title IX

P.L. 111-118

12/19/09

127.3

No

Yes

FY10 Supplemental

P.L. 111-212

7/27/10

30.8

No

No

FY11 DOD and Year-Long Continuing Resolutionf

P.L. 112-10

4/15/11

159.1

No

No

TOTAL WAR FUNDING VOTED FOR

 

 

 

$17 billion

$545.3 billion

a.      FY03 Appropriations Act included $7.1 billion in regular FY03 defense appropriations for GWOT thatDOD cannot track; the FY04 DOD Appropriations Act rescinded $3.5 billion in FY03 war monies.

b.      Title IX funds in FY05 do not include a $1.8 billion scoring adjustment that reverses the previousrescission of FY04 funds because this did not change wartime monies.

c.      Reflects funds obligated for Operation Noble Eagle from DOD’s regular appropriations as reported by the Defense Finance Accounting Service.

d.     The House took separate votes on different sections of the bill, which were then combined when sent to the Senate.

e.      The FY08 Supplemental included funds for both FY08 and bridge funds for FY09.

f.       This bill was the final DOD Appropriations Act and the final version of the CR.  It was preceded by seven other CRs.

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