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One Election One Issue * Dean Hang-Up * MeetUp


19 August 2003

Indeed the wars we've been fighting are creating more "terrorists,"
and making Americans less secure both at home and abroad.
Enver Masud

1) The 2004 Election: One Issue, One Candidate
2) Dennis Kucinich Lights Up Democracy Now!
3) Howard Dean's Constitutional Hang-Up
4) Country getting hit by avalanche of mind-boggling events
5) News for Meeting, Laughing, Singing, & Winning Elections!

Editor's Notes:


The first item by Enver Masud is about the one issue that would benefit America and make peace work for all. Item 2 is another special "Democracy Now!" Amy Goodman interview with Dennis Kucinich. The timing impeccable; lights get turned-back on for WBAI and NYC and there's Amy with Dennis, the former Mayor of Cleveland and leading advocate for responsible public power. Following this article is a link to an essay by Dennis Kucinich on his historic battles to defend the public against energy corporations. Item 3 examines Howard Dean critically? I realize I do have a personal issues or reasons I cannot trust Howard Dean, beyond the points in this article. Governor Dean approved the VT Attorney General's report NOT to conduct independent investigations of the shooting death of my friend, Robert Woodward. Woody was shot by two policemen within a minute of their entering a Church where he sought political sanctuary. I have other questions regarding Dr. Dean that makes me question if he is trustworthy, like on his support for Yucca Mountain and nuclear radiation transport during a time of acts of terror. Why increase potentially dangerous targets? And what is this doctor's prognosis for making healthcare work? His choice counters thousands of medical doctors that want to take profit out of the healthcare system, and for universal coverage. Another question on my issues with Howard Dean is on his support of the death penalty while we live under a broken law enforcement justice system. That's why they call it "JUST US," but trust is created by walking the talk as Dennis so gently pointed out in his interview with Demcoracy Now! but I am biased, I live downwind from the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. What do I know?

Item 5 is ideas on getting involved with the campaign, MeetUp, and information to join Ani DiFranco and Willie Nelson at joint benefit concert performances; plus, a link to a story on George Soros' $10 million to beat Bush; and make sure you check out the story on Kucinich in Minnesota, invoking the legacy of Paul Wellstone.

For Friday's schedule of Dennis Kucinich in Keene NH, plus, new link to Rolling Thunder Democracy Tour "Rocks the Granite State, film and discussion forums, and other updated information, see: Campaigns, Actions, and Events



1) The 2004 Election: One Issue, One Candidate

The 2004 Election: One Issue, One Candidate
by Enver Masud

[Excerpted]

For the vast majority of Americans, there's only one issue in the 2004 election that has the potential for making their life significantly better than it is now: reducing defense spending.

We now have the highest defense budget in our history, it is breaking the national budget, and diverting resources from things Americans want: peace, security, jobs, lower taxes, health care, education, fixing social security, infrastructure development, social services, a better environment, etc. High defense spending is also responsible, indirectly, for increasing government intrusion into our lives. Our democracy itself is at risk..

..While spending on unnecesary weapons, and weapons that we know won't work -- such as missile defense systems -- crowd out $2 trillion, badly needed, capital improvements in the civilian economy, a study by the Defense Department's inspector general found that the Pentagon couldn't properly account for more than a trillion dollars it had spent.

Furthermore, missile defense systems, nuclear weapons, cruise missiles, and traditional armies are hardly the way to fight "terrorism" which many experts say is inspired by our foreign policies. Indeed the wars we've been fighting are creating more "terrorists," and making Americans less secure both at home and abroad.

To justify our massive spending on "defense" our government has to instill fear in Americans, find enemies on whom to focus our military might, and break international laws to attack other countries, thereby, throwing into chaos the entire system of international law without which no country can prosper in this interconnected world.

Now we're spending one billion dollars per week to sustain our occupation of Iraq. We have added 10,000 Iraqi civilians killed and
20,000 wounded to the hundreds of thousands already killed, maimed, or born with birth defects as a result of the first Gulf War, and the subsequent sanctions. This is not winning us many friends in the region, and President Bush has promised us a "war on terror" for years to come.

This "war on terror" will not eradicate "terrorism" -- often this "terrorism" is resistance to some misguided policy of ours. Rather than examine our policy, "terrorism" is used to justify greater defense spending, and to divert spending from those things which will improve Americans' lives.

In his 1961, farewell speech to the nation, President Dwight D. Eisenhower -- former Supreme Commander of the allied forces in France, President of Columbia University, commander of the new NATO forces being assembled in 1951 -- said:

"Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties."

President Eisenhower warned:

"This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society."

"In the councils of government, we must guard against
the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought
or unsought, by the military industrial complex.
The potential for the disastrous rise of
misplaced power exists and will persist."

"We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

Only one candidate for president in 2004 has shown the courage to take on the issue of defense spending. He first came to national prominence in 1977 when he was elected mayor of Cleveland at age 31 -- the youngest person ever elected to lead a major American city. As a state senator, and as a U.S. Congressman from Ohio, he has stood for what's right at considerable risk to his own career. He was among a handful of lawmakers who filed suit to stop the Bush administration from going to war with Iraq.

There's only one candidate for president who has the potential to deliver what the vast majority of Americans want: peace, security, jobs, lower taxes, health care, education, fixing social security, infrastructure development, social services, a better environment. That candidate for president of the United States is Mr. Dennis J. Kucinich.

*For the complete article with reference links, see:
http://www.twf.org/News/Y2003/0808-OneIssue.html

# # #

Enver Masud received the Human Rights Foundation Gold Award for his book The War on Islam. He is the founder and CEO of The Wisdom Fund. Website: http://www.twf.org



2) Dennis Kucinich Lights Up Democracy Now!

Transcript

AMY GOODMAN: Here on Democracy Now, the War and Peace Report, I'm Amy Goodman and a very special welcome back to the listeners of WBAI, knocked off the air during the largest blackout in U.S. history. And a very special thank you to the staff of Democracy Now! who managed to make their way in on Friday morning by bike, by car, by foot. I'm not sure if someone took a boat in to broadcast Democracy Now! around the country despite the fact that we had to do it by candlelight and gas generator. Well, power has been restored to tens of millions of people in the northeast after the nation suffered the worst blackout in northeast history. New York City, Cleveland, Detroit, Toronto, Ottawa, among the cities to experience powerlessness. Many energy experts now believe the blackout began in Ohio, where a series of line failures and plant shutdowns spread rapidly across the country. Investigators examining the cause of Thursday's blackout are centering specifically on the company, First Energy, based in Akron, Ohio. The representatives from First Energy say it's too early to determine if its own plant was the problem. The energy firm has had a history of past problems when it formed from a merger of Ohio Edison, Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company and Toledo Edison. In 2001, it acquired General Public Utilities, which owned Pennsylvania Electric, Metropolitan Edison near Redding, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey Central Power and Light. We're going to start off today's program where we look at the problems and the recommendations for solutions with Cleveland Congress member, Dennis Kucinich, also democratic presidential candidate, who has taken on First Energy for years. Welcome to Democracy Now! Congress member Kucinich.

DENNIS KUCINICH: Good morning.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the history of First Energy.

DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, my familiarity comes with one of its predecessor companies, the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, which in the 1970's, according to records on file at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and in hearings before the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, actually conducted a campaign, a tireless campaign, to knock Cleveland's own municipally owned electric system out of business. And they did it through many devious ways of stopping MUNI Light from being able to make repairs on its generator by interfering with the city council. By then, the MUNI Light couldn't buy power from other companies outside the state when they needed to do it. Leaving C.E.I. as being the only customer that MUNI could turn to where they then, in some cases, tripled the cost of power in order to run up the municipal system's debt. And the resistance of this campaign was when MUNI Light needed a transfer of power, C.E.I.'s engineers operated in such a way as to deliberately cause on outage on the MUNI system. I mean, this is a company that has operated a nuclear reactor knowing that it was defective. The reactor has a hole in the head, this is the one at port Clinton, Ohio. They have ignored safety precepts. They've basically had the regulators wink at them. And it's just kind of symptomatic to see them being involved in a massive blackout affecting 50 million people.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, they're saying, of course, it's too early to tell that this is where it took place. There was a lot of emphasis on lights out throughout the northeast, particularly New York. Cleveland suffered in many cases the worst situation because it was not only about electricity it was about water as well because of the pumping system, the electric pumping system that you have.

DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, Cleveland did suffer greatly once this outage occurred because the water pumps are run electrically. And every power expert who has looked at this massive blackout has determined that it occurred because of instabilities in the electric power in the First Energy service district. And First Energy has consistently failed to invest in upgrade of equipment. Their emphasis has been on holding onto their cash so that they maintain the fiscal stability of their company while Wall Street is looking at it. I can understand that on the one hand. On the other hand they have laid off personnel that have been involved in maintenance. They have not adequately repaired their transmission lines for the point of where they could hold up under any kind of changes in power. And so, we have a condition right now where a company that has already been under close scrutiny for mismanagement of a nuclear power plant located on Lake Erie, deficiencies in a power plant that came close to creating a breach in the reactor vessel, and which came close to contaminating our lake, Great Water Supply, fresh water for the whole Great Lakes region. This company is now, you know, once again, under scrutiny, and frankly, it ought to be. And in a larger sense, Amy, this is symptomatic of what happens with deregulation.

AMY GOODMAN: We're talking to Congress member Dennis Kucinich, who is now in Iowa, campaigning early for the Iowa primary, who really, you really made your name as both the mayor of Cleveland and recently as taking on utilities, this is one of your priority issues.

DENNIS KUCINICH: Right. Well, you know, the right of utility franchise is vested in the public. People don't always know that. They don't know that the utilities get their permission to operate by having a system set up at a state level, which gives them a permit to operate, franchise, in exchange for service and for a fair rate. Well, what's happened is, as utility monopolies have grown, they have been overcharging people for power and they haven't always had the best service. And we have a condition now where utility monopolies are gaining great power, no pun intended, politically, and are able to set the rules so they can keep growing, and, in effect, no public ability to be able to set the rules. I mean, the growth of Enron was a prime example, where Enron received help from the administration and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, being able to control wholesale markets and drive up the cost of electricity. I mean, what people pay for electricity is no small matter. And the government has a lot to do with whether the price is gonna be fair or not. And, you know, with this whole deregulation that happened ten years ago, we were told that this is going to decrease U.S. energy dependence through increased domestic production and conservation, while that hasn't-you know, we haven't seen the conservation. We were told that if they restructured the electric utility industry, it's going to spur competition. Exactly the opposite happened. And we were told that as they work to ease licensing for nuclear power plants that this is going to work to the American public's benefit. Well, actually, the easing of licensing for nuclear power plants at this point represents a threat to this country because the nuclear power plants that have been re-licensed, and it's more re-licensing than new licensing, have not necessarily been up to safety standard. So you have this whole energy system that needs to be transformed and it needs to be transformed towards renewable energy and sustainable energy and away from nuclear and away from all these non-renewables, where these energy companies right now are just trying to drain these systems, run them into the ground, not make improvements and as a result, you get the kind of exposure to blackouts which occurred last week.

AMY GOODMAN: As you take on the president of this country in your race for president, one of the things that "Newsday" points out in its coverage of the blackout is that the deregulation of the nation's energy industry in the 1990's added many more uncertainties for both traditional utilities and their customers. In the frenzied deregulation atmosphere of the past five years, private investors supported companies building highly efficient gas fired power plants, while traditional investments in the transmission lines and regulated equipment took a back seat. Also says, although Bush's original energy plan called for $6 billion in conservation-related tax breaks, critics say he's favored the needs of big business over conservation efforts. For instance, they say Bush officials in 2001 push to roll back energy efficiency standards for air conditioners, mandated by the year 2006, which would have reduced power demand by 14,000 megawatts, the equivalent of 50 medium sized power plants. The administration called the restrictions anti-competitive.

DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, you, know, here's a great example. When it comes time to conserve, the only thing they're interested in conserving are the profits of the utility industries. Then they will turn around and create a war in the Middle East for the purposes of serving oil interests. This is an administration which is typical of any administration that just serves corporate interests, and it doesn't matter about the future of America. It doesn't matter about the future of our planet. We need right now to take steps in directions of creating a sustainable energy portfolio of, I'd say, at least 20% by the year 2010. We need to move towards not only conservation, but we need to make sure that we [place] incentives [for] the production of wind, solar, hydrogen and geothermal biomass, all of these types of energies that take us away from non-sustainable sources. One of the things that I've learned, there are 23 Indian reservations where if we just harness the wind power that sweeps across the plains we could provide 330,000 megawatts of power that would be half of the U.S. demand. And that would be with wind power.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Congress member Kucinich, in a minute after the break we're going to go to a debate on the issue of deregulation, but I just wanted to ask you, as you're on the presidential campaign trail, you're in Iowa, right now as you for so long have represented the progressive wing of the democratic party, how it feels to be taking on Howard Dean, who is now seen as the major opposition candidate within the democratic party.

DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, you know, if you're going to talk the talk, you've got to walk the walk. And with all due respect to Dr. Dean, a doctor who turns his back on universal healthcare with 8,000 physicians out there favoring it, could hardly be considered progressive. And someone who has taken a position not to reform NAFTA and/or GATT through canceling it and re-instituting bilateral trade based on workers rights, human rights and the environment, you know, there's a question about being progressive. And there's a question about being progressive when you come into a campaign and you support public financing and you turn around and start to equivocate on it because you're worried about keeping pace with the president's fundraising, and that means you can only get your money from heavy corporate contributors. You know, I think as this campaign develops, it will be very clear that I'm offering a real progressive alternative for the American people. And again, if you're going to talk the talk, walk the walk. We'll see where our respective campaigns continue to walk and run as we move through these next few months of the campaign. And I'm quite confident that as that happens, I'm going to be gaining increased support, and this campaign will be there to provide a real alternative to the American people, not a series of head fakes in the direction of progressivism for the crowds, and then after that after the campaign events are over you go back to this kind of approach to centrism which only blurs the differences between the parties, causes people to become disillusioned, and results in people not turning out on election day.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Congress member, Dennis Kucinich, thank you for being with us. Congress member Kucinich is from Cleveland, which experienced some of, really, the worst affects of the blackout over the last days. Thanks for being with us.

The entire transcript is posted:
http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=03/08/18/1418203#transcript

To purchase an audio or video copy of this entire program,
call 1 (800) 881-2359.

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To read Dennis' essay on his historic battles
to defend the public against energy corporations, see:
http://kucinich.us/powertothepeople.htm




3) Howard Dean's Constitutional Hang-Up

Howard Dean's Constitutional Hang-Up
Dean Would Rather Execute an Innocent Man,
Than Let a Guilty One Walk Free
by Josh Frank

Dissident Voice
August 16, 2003

As Governor of Vermont, Howard Dean openly claimed that the legal system unfairly benefited criminal defendants over prosecutors. He even took measures to cut federal grant money aimed at helping mentally disabled defendants--as well as appointing state judges who were willing to undermine the Bill of Rights. In a 1997 interview with the Vermont News Bureau, Howard Dean admitted his desire to expedite the judicial process by using such justices to "quickly convict guilty criminals." He wanted individuals that would deem "common sense more important than legal technicalities." Constitutional protections (legal technicalities) apparently undermine Dean's yearning for speedy trials.

Perhaps he was looking to make Vermont more like George Bush's Texas, where defense lawyers are renowned for lacking the resources necessary to provide their clients a fair representation..

..If elected will Dean attempt to make the United State's a country in which citizens have access to neither a fair trial, nor adequate counsel? A country where constitutional rights are viewed as "technicalities," worthy of death?

Time to start asking some serious questions.

# # #

For the complete article, see:
http://www.dissidentvoice.org/Articles7/Frank_Dean-Death-Penalty.htm

-----------------------------------------------------------

Josh Frank is a journalist living in New York City. His work appears frequently in Impact Press and online at Counterpunch. He can be reached at frank_joshua@hotmail.com.



4) Country getting hit by avalanche of mind-boggling events

What will they think of next?
Country getting hit by avalanche of mind-boggling events
Molly Ivins, Creators Syndicate.
Chicago Tribune
August 14, 2003

Molly Ivins is a syndicated columnist based in Austin, Texas

DUBLIN, N.H. -- What a summer for national credulity fitness. My credulity gets a lot of exercise, since I cover Texas politics. Like Alice in Wonderland's White Queen, years of practice have enabled me to believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast. But here we are with a perfect feast of mind-bogglers, everyone's credulity stretching and straining in a giant national workout session.

Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor of California. Well, sure, I can handle that one. Manna from heaven for political humorists of all stripes. I'm afraid the joke will begin to wear thin, however. I know we all like to make fun of California as the epicenter of nuttiness, but in fact that big, beautiful state is in terrible trouble. A $36 billion deficit is not amusing. Teachers are being fired, programs to help the most helpless--the oldest, the youngest, the most frail--are being cut..

For the complete article, see:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/oped/chi-0308140130aug14,1,7439936.story



5) News for Meeting, Laughing, Singing, & Winning Elections!

Dennis is the guest on Thursday night's "Daily Show with Jon Stewart"
on Comedy Central at 11pm (10pm central). Spread the word.

SING & DANCE
Join Ani DiFranco and Willie Nelson at benefit concerts for Kucinich:
Willie in Des Moines on Sept 1; Ani & Willie in Cleveland on Sept 6.
For details on the concerts or to buy your tickets or to learn how
your activism can make these concerts a success:
http://www.kucinich.us/willienelson.htm#tickets

MEETUP
Planning for the Sept 4th Kucinich MeetUp is underway. Sign up at
http://kucinich2004.meetup.com and meet fellow peace and justice
activists in your town on the first Thursday of every month.

Please promote your local MeetUp in community calendar sections of local newspapers, on radio stations and local websites, and contact friendly journalists to get coverage or feature stories on our MeetUp efforts. For tips on promotion and how MeetUp locations are chosen, see http://kucinich2004.meetup.com/notebook/1877

PS. The campaign suggests voting for the agenda item: "Make plans to promote the creation of chapters at colleges as soon as students return." That topic is key for Sept 4.

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Billionaire Commits $10M to Defeat Bush

Billionaire Commits $10M to Defeat Bush
By SHARON THEIMER, Associated Press Writer
Fri Aug 8, 4:39 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Making a major foray into partisan politics, multi-billionaire George Soros is committing $10 million to a new Democratic-leaning group aimed at defeating President Bush next year.

For the complete article, see:
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20030808/ap_on_el_pr/soros_pac



In Minnesota Visit, Kucinich Invokes the Legacy of Wellstone

Despite 90 degree temperatures on a Saturday night, 800 people packed a hall in Saint Paul (MN) to bask in the warmth of Dennis Kucinich's vision for this nation and the world. "In a pre-rally news conference, Kucinich was quick to invoke the name of the late Paul Wellstone," the only Senator who was a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, chaired by Kucinich. "Kucinich says he mentions Wellstone not out of opportunism, but because he's the only one running a true Wellstone-type progressive campaign." Kucinich clarified, "Paul Wellstone would support the 15-percent reduction in Pentagon spending that I've talked about. Paul Wellstone would support the repeal NAFTA and the WTO. Paul Wellstone stood for so many progressive ideas that are congenial to who I am."

For the complete article, see:
http://news.mpr.org/features/2003/08/16_helmsm_kucinich/


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