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Kucinich: "...a Government of the Lobbyists, by the Lobbyists, for the Special Interest Groups..."

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Rep. Dennis Kucinich appeared on CSpan recently. I found myself asking why Kucinich is in such a philosophical minority in Washington when everything he says addresses the serious economic and physical realities grinding down the American citizenry. Kucinich speaks with passion, clarity and empathy.

Kucinich admits that Obama received an “unmitigated mess” from George Bush. But he contends Washington is now too paralyzed to restore justice. He warns that we can’t afford to get gridlocked by partisanship. “The country is collapsing!” he declares. Kucinich maintains that health care is one of a three-pronged crisis. Our broken political system is not providing jobs, universal health care or saving homes for its citizens.

Our administration and Congress are not holding insurance companies accountable for the price gouging happening and even profoundly escalating right now. Kucinich believes the proposed health care bill has a CENTRAL FLAW. It is LOCKING IN PRIVATIZATION. There is no process for control of premiums. Kucinich’s rhetoric does not hold back. He calls this government a “cash cow” for corporations. It is providing corporations such as insurance companies with a “license to steal.” At one point he warns of us becoming “slaves on a health insurance plantation.”

Kucinich says the accusations of socialism attributed to Obama’s plan are laughable. He proclaims that we are a government “of the lobbyists, by the lobbyists, and for the special interest groups.” Special interest groups being the banks, Wall Street, insurance companies, megacorporations outsourcing more and more of our jobs, etc. Our government is enabling the “money machine” to keep on mowing us down as it diminishes our democracy, redistributes all the wealth upward. Kucinich says we can either stop it or we can turn our backs on it.

Again and again he emphasizes how the political system, broken though fixable, needs to provide health care for all, get Americans back to work, and save people’s homes. One caller spoke of how minority groups are suffering especially. They are “disproportionately burdened” on all three fronts -- being slammed back down the ladder of success -- he affirms.

He cites painful statistics. 47 million people have no health insurance. 16-17% of the GNP goes for health care. 2X more per capita than any other country. 1 out of every 3 dollars goes directly to insurance companies. $2.4 trillion a year goes to health care he maintains ... so of that, $800 billion goes to insurance activities for corporate profits, executive salaries, stock options, advertising, marketing, costs of paperwork. The yearly release of $800 billion would go a long way to providing all with comprehensive health care, including vision, mental health, pharmaceuticals, long term care, etc.

Kucinich sees hope for America's transition to a single payer, universal health care program in current state wide initiatives. He believes that the national government process is too flawed right now, but he envisions some state passing single payer reform that will begin the transition, like when a province in Canada instituted single payer and it spread through the entire country.

To Kucinich universal health care is a basic, human, civil and defining American right.

“I am not a rubber stamp for my party!” Kucinich declares when challenged about obstructing the President’s corporate-enabling health care agenda.

We are fortunate he is not.

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Submitted by lambert on

Here:

Nagourney challenged Bush this day. But please note: Though Kerry’s proposals were different from Obama’s, the counter-narrative was the same: Kerry was promoting government-run health care, which would lead to rationing. This is a time-honored narrative, one which resonates strongly with millions of voters. For the record, it doesn’t resonate strongly with us; but it does with others.

Why does that narrative work? What do voters think when they hear it? Why do they lack our own sound ideas? Down through the decades, how good a job has our side done at exploring these basic questions? And how good a job has our side done at constructing alternative narratives? In that passage, you see Kerry advancing our side’s standard narrative: 45 million lack health coverage. (Obama scaled that number back last year, due to immigration awkwardness.)

Our side tends to lead with that narrative. How well do you think that narrative works? If we’re actually trying to pass health reform, is that the best way to communicate, to persuade, to spread our sound ideas?

We’re just asking.

“Government-run health care!” The sound of those words scares people away. Do you think our side has asked people why? Do you think our side has busted its keister trying to articulate sounder ideas?

We’re just asking.

From your summary, LL, I'm seeing at least these talking points:

1. 47 million people have no health insurance. (See above; that one doesn't work.)

2. The bill locks in privatization. (What's wrong with being "private"? Sounds like "free enterprise"!)

3. The bill makes Americans into corporate slaves.

Of these three, I'd say #3 is the one that would resonate. I wonder why the Dems aren't using it?

(I don't wonder why Kucinich isn't using it, or making it the lynchpin, since although he's principled and smart... Well, if Kunich and Weiner were one person, instead of two...)

Submitted by libbyliberal on

I wonder why WE aren't howling about "fascism" the way the partiers are about socialism. The danger of fascism looms, well, soft facism as Cindy Sheehan claims is here.

I appreciate what you are saying. Though Kucinich has the passion, whereas Kerry did not. I like Kucinich because he is also pretty plain spoken.

But I don't think, connotative rhetoric notwithstanding and "free market" has gotten so much mileage out of its name as well as "collateral damage" has out of its, but I think it is histrionic cronyism and fear mongering. The "sky is falling" ... when things are said with such hysteria. When it is said by a compelling authoritarian.

As for our side. Who is on our side, lambert? I just watched tonight's podcast of Rachel Maddow and she totally ignores the single payers. Is GE giving her kool-aid to ignore us? To promote Obamacare as if it were actually great history being made and those lousy Republicans are obstructionists of something that is not a trojan horse?

The Republicans really do KEEP IT SIMPLE. The drumbeat over and over and over again.

And don't forget, they got the mainstream media echo chamber on their side. And the corporates have all those purty commercials.

I wonder why 45,000 American citizens dying prematurely each year doesn't move people. I think it is a strong talking point for non-zombies.

Corporate slaves. My Dad used to sing the 16 tons song to me, and that haunting, "I owe my soul to the company store" was chilling.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

Good going.

I still can't get over that he and his speaking of truth removes him from the Dem cronyism and pits him so directly against Obama's will. It really angers and frustrates me. Hypocrisy is part of the party group think. These certainly are the times that try our souls.

I want to call Kucinich's voicemail tonight and add my voice. I wanted to call the reps that give me heart and I realize... wow... there are less then I can count on two (maybe at this point .. one) hands. Nevertheless, all the more reason to encourage their voices.

jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

If the media has become determined to ignore you, you should take steps to make yourself impossible to ignore. If I were in his position, I would start dropping bombshells and naming names.

45,000 Americans die each year because of health insurance companies. That's murder. Health insurance companies are murders. Say so!

And who are these health insurance companies? The biggest criminals in them seem to be their CEOs. Start calling them out. For example, Ronald A. Williams is the CEO of Aetna.

So start saying, in range of microphones, "Ronald Williams is a murderer. Ronald Williams is a mass murderer."

Say something so outrageous it borders on slander. Slap the villains around verbally, and rouse them to a response. It brings attention to you and your cause.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

Though I think Kucinich on CNN was pretty blunt and dropping some strong quotables...

I agree about low life CEOs... Helmsley at UnitedHealth getting $57,000 a day pay.. but destined to increase or maybe has already.. how obscene is the only word.

I just came from a favored drugstore in which automatic check out machines are being installed. Wow... with jobs circling the bowls... money money money and fewer jobs.. outsources to foreign people to be exploited over there... or to machines here. Creepy.

The young clerk who taught me the steps defended the store. Well, they still need us she insisted. Oh year?

Submitted by gmanedit on

"US Manufacturing is alive and well. The real issue is manufacturing employment, which is dropping like a stone. And the reason for the drop is an increase in productivity," much more than outsourcing. Lots of graphs (http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2010...).

I'm inclined to agree. Around 1950, Norbert Wiener said:

Let us remember that the automatic machine, whatever we think of any feelings it may have or may not have, is the precise economic equivalent of slave labor. Any labor which competes with slave labor must accept the economic conditions of slave labor. It is perfectly clear that this will produce an unemployment situation, in comparison with which the present recession and even the depression of the thirties will seem a pleasant joke.

Now it's services, too.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

Hi lib,

Sometimes I think that Dennis is the only Congresscritter we can trust. I really felt his appearance on Keith's show the other night. Just the loneliness of it, and the difficulty of staing the obvious again and again to somebody like Larry O'brien. His courage and integrity were moving.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

I was stunned by Dennis' lone wolf stand, too, on Keith's show. I thought of that IF poem. If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you.... etc. With O'Brien pushing him for that yes or no obstructionist on the record assertion Yeah, let's cut short the conversation... we just want to know the GAMESMANSHIP of the political show, forget the boring morality. Why are the truth to power people so few in numbers? What thick kool-aid is Obama dispensing? I can't get over Rachel Maddow, whom I promoted from day one to get on the national scene. Oy vey.

Nancy Pelosi... can she possibly unclench that lockjaw smile and get real? Of course, talking to Charlie Rose, how real can you get these days when he seems to be lost to an elitist sensibility.

I was so grateful to read and see Angell on Moyers. Did you get to see my blog on her? I am hoping her arguments get through. Hope she is made higher profile by that cringe... obtuse main stream media.

Take care, my friend. Thanks for the visit

Submitted by hipparchia on

If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs ...

then you don't understand the situation! [modification provided by hipparchia's dad]

three wickets's picture
Submitted by three wickets on

What I like about Dennis is that he talks about these issues in the context of long term fiscal responsibility and survival. Because he knows if we don't get healthcare inflation under control, revive job growth, stop the bleeding in housing, our society as we know it is going to spiral down the drain...and the pain will become surreal.

three wickets's picture
Submitted by three wickets on

Speaking of Nancy above, I find it interesting that San Fransisco is progressive central, because it's one of the most piously elite places I've ever lived in. No offense to anyone. I don't know what modern "progressives" stand for that is so worthy of being distinguished from traditional liberals. Are progs better to women or gays, are they better on class and the non partisan poor, better on race and ethnicity... What exactly. Not trying to be coy.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

They aren't any better than liberals, they are just frightened little dormice who were scared away from using the term liberal by the Big Bad Media.

As a matter of fact, I would say they aren't even comparable to liberals, because their policy advocation comes with a big steaming pile of condescension for anyone from the lower classes, as evidenced by some pretty atrocious behavior during the primaries.

Don't forget, San Fran is where Obama made his infamous "bitter people who cling to religion and guns" line.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

Hubris of the pragmatic progressives... fighting to rationalize away the horror of the vacuum where the conscience of a statesman in Obama should be. He is pure gamesman... always has been. But now they are addicted to the game. The "win" .. empty as it will be... is a win that the short-termers are lusting over.... and can't wrap their minds around what has been jettisoned all along the way to the heart of neocon-corporate-celeb-political elite-ville. The constitution... all minorities.. they are being very thorough in their betrayals... and yes... all non-wealthy Americans. But the con is on for enough naive ones with help of media not to see the truth and go after us messengers led by Kucinich.

Just another economic and spiritual raping of the American citizenry.... but Obama and the press want everyone in America to simply eat shit and smile over this.

I never thought I'd have more in common with the tea partiers than the pragmatic progressives, but I do.

Denial is a b*tch.

And Kucinich is a messenger... illuminating the vacuum and the heart of darkness of the Dem legacy party now.

So putting Reagan on the $5? How cruel a turn is that.