Tag: Kucinich

Gaming competing ‘FireDogLake Voting Blocs’ scenarios – getting Unity out of Diversity

I participated in a thread called Another call to publicly disown the “firedogs” My answer was so long, and because it threw light on what, I hope, will be a systematized and rational way of dealing with honest differences of opinions, that I’ve decided to post it as a separate diary on FDL, OpenLeft, and DocuDharma.

Somebody had suggested an “FDL Party”, but I said that an “FDL Voting Bloc” would be smarter.  Turns out, that was too simple a statement, as was made clear by PaulaT’s post:

Back when they had the Mass special election to fill Kennedy’s seat, there were threads on here with comments in the hundreds about what should be done. Some were in the camp of vote for Coakley because she’s progressive, though those were the minority. Some were saying to vote for Coakley because even an establishment Dem was better than a Republican. Others were saying to vote for Brown to send a message about how bad the Senate bill was before the House also passed it and they ended up with a crappy bill (not that it stopped them, after all, but at least there was some hope it might). After all the discussion and some really good arguments from all involved (plus some really bad ones from some), there was no consensus on what should be done. I don’t think there would be on future races. There would be those in the any Dem is better camp and those in the anything but an incumbent who has betrayed us to teach a lesson camp, and probably a few other camps as well depending on the particulars of the race. There are those who would like to see Kucinich gone and those who are mad about health care but say he’s been good on other things or they think the pressure was so great that they are inclined to forgive him or he’s the most progressive one we’ve got even if he’s spineless, or whatever, but want to keep him. When we had Romanoff on here the other day, every other question was about why anyone should trust him even though we know from very recent experience we can’t trust Bennett, who he’s running against. You’d think people would be okay with jumping in on that lesser of evils, but some would still rather go third party or maybe not vote at all, but something other than just trust him from what they were asking.

So how do you get this particular community to vote as a bloc?

My reply follows

How to End Kucinich’s Career

Dealing w/Kucinich: Blogging to the choir VS. Firing Him in an Organized Way VS. Firing Him in an Unorganized Way

There are many pieces of democratic infrastructure that exist, or should exist, to help deal with Kucinich’s dive on healthcare. I will take it as axiomatic that Kucinich should now be targetted for removal from office, and won’t even argue the point. Actually, I don’t have time and energy to develop much of any argument. My goal is more modest – to just sketch out 3 possible responses, and to get people to start thinking about them. The options I point to don’t essentially depend on the Kucinich dive, or even Kucinich, at all. However, such framing is timely and quite useful.

Kucinich on Democracy Now! explaining his switch

Why did Kucinich decide to vote for this bill?  Why is he whipping for it?  I’m trying to figure this out myself.


(Watch the whole interview there, or read it, or listen to it.)

AMY GOODMAN: Congress member Dennis Kucinich joins us now in Washington, DC.

Well, Congress member Kucinich, you did not get what you were asking for, yet you are now supporting this bill. Explain what happened and why you think this bill merits your support.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, first of all, I appreciate that you covered that part where I said that I don’t retract anything that I said before. I had taken the effort to put a public option into the bill and also to create an opportunity for states to have their right protected to pursue single payer. I took it all the way down to the line with the President, the Speaker of the House, Democratic leaders. And it became clear to me that, despite my best efforts, I wasn’t going to be able to get it in the bill and that I was going to inevitably be looking at a bill that-where I was a decisive vote and that I was basically, by virtue of circumstances, being put in a position where I could either kill the bill or let it go forward and-in the hopes that we could build something from the ruins of this bill.

I think that-you know, I mean, I can just tell you, it was a very tough decision. But I believe that now we need to look to support the efforts at the state level for single payer, to really jump over this debate and not have all those who want to see transformative change in healthcare be blamed for this bill going down. I think that really it’s a dangerous moment. You know, the Clinton healthcare reforms, which I thought were very weak, it’s been sixteen years since we’ve had a discussion about healthcare reform because of the experience of the political maelstrom that hit Washington. And I saw-I came to the conclusion, Amy, that it was going to-it would be impossible to start a serious healthcare discussion in Washington if this bill goes down, despite the fact that I don’t like it at all. And every criticism I made still stands.

I want to see this as a step. It’s not the step that I wanted to take, but a step so that after it passes, we can continue the discussion about comprehensive healthcare reform, about what needs to be done at the state level, because that’s really where we’re going to have to, I think, have a breakthrough in single payer, about diet, nutrition, comprehensive alternative medicine. There’s many things that we can do. But if the bill goes down and we get blamed for it, I think there’ll be hell to pay, and in the end, it’ll just be used as an excuse as to why Washington couldn’t get to anything in healthcare in the near future.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Congressman, I’d like to ask you, several other members of Congress who have had discussions with President Obama in recent days, as he sought their support, have said that he has essentially told them that this is-his presidency is riding on this, that to defeat the bill would severely hamper the remaining time in his presidency and also the election in November. Did he make that argument to you, as well? And did that have any impact on your decision?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: We talked about that. I mean, I have been thinking for quite awhile about, you know, what this means in terms of the Obama presidency. And frankly, you know, I’ve had differences with this president, on the economy, on environment, on war. And so, you know, I really hadn’t given them many votes at all. But he made-he did make the argument that there was a lot on the line. And frankly, there’s been such an effort to delegitimatize his presidency, right from the beginning, that, you know, in looking at the big picture here, we have to see if there’s a way to get into this administration with an argument that could possibly influence the President to take some new directions. Standing at the sidelines, I think, is not an option right now, because, you know, we have to try to reshape the Obama presidency. And I hope that, in some small way, through my participation in trying to take healthcare in a new direction, that I can help do that.

And, you know, I-look, I can’t give any kind of process a blessing. I don’t like much of anything of what’s happening here, except to say that I think that down the road we need to jump over this debate and go right to a bigger debate about how do we get healthcare that’s significant, how do we supplant the role of private insurers. We’re not going to be able to do it on this pass. I have done everything that I possibly can to try to take a position and stake out ground to say I’m not going to change, but there’s a point at which you say, you know, it’s my way or the highway. And if the highway shows a roadblock and you go over a cliff, I don’t know what good that does, when you take a detour and maybe we can still get to the destination, which, for me, remains single payer. Start at the state level, and do the work there. And if there’s ERISA implications and lawsuits, we’ll have to deal with that, and maybe that can force Congress to finally act on some of those issues.

I’m beginning to understand his decision, I believe.  He thinks that if he plays the “Ralph Nader” role (who was actually on the same episode of DN! at the same time as Kucinich) then it will kill the chances of single payer in the future.  He sees this bill as a detour – a bad one, but not the worst possible thing in the world.

Please watch the whole interview.  Something else to consider is what David Swanson, who worked on Kucinich’s presidential campaign, said:

I don’t think Kucinich flipped because of money, either direct “contributions” or money through the Democratic Party. I think, on the contrary, he hurt himself financially by letting down his supporters across the country. I don’t think he caved into the power of party or presidency directly. I don’t think they threatened to back a challenger or strip his subcommittee chair or block his bills, although all of that might have followed. I think the corporate media has instilled in people the idea that presidents should make laws and that the current president is trying to make a law that can reasonably be called “healthcare reform” or at least “health insurance reform.”

I’m not entirely satisfied.  But I’m beginning to think about this in a more coherent way than yesterday…

I paid a visit to my Congressman’s District Office! [Update!]


Went to my Congressman’s District Office, this past Monday, March 15, 2010.

Asked to speak to whoever it was that one could speak to when the Congressman was not there.  

Out came a young man, his Deputy District Administrator.  I had met this young man about two years previously, but he did not recall me.

“What did you come to talk about?”

“I came to talk to you about the health care reform.  I would like to know why the Congressman has changed his position with respect to the public option.  He promised that he would not sign any health care reform bill that did not contain a public option.  He was a signatory to this letter stating just that.  So, why has he changed his position?”  [I held in my hand a letter of August 17, 2009, with 60 Members of Congress, who had signed on, as an attachment to the letter, stating their position with respect to the public option, i.e., that they would NOT sign any health care reform bill without a public option.  This was a letter to The Hon. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, signed off on be Raul Grijalva, Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee, representing the Congressional Progressive Cause and the Congressional Black Caucus.]

“He can change his position if he wants.”

“You know about Cong. Grayson’s bill H.R. 4789, don’t you?  The Medicare Option for anyone under 65 who wants to join and pay for it?,” I asked.  “What are the Congressman’s feelings on that?”

“He’s against it – there aren’t enough votes for it.”  

“Well, I can tell you that since he introduced it, plenty of Americans have signed up in a matter of a couple of days, they are signing up endlessly – it’s phenomenal.”

“It doesn’t matter,” he says, “the votes are not there and the Congressman is going to sign the bill as it is.”

Continuing the “joust”  . . . .!  

David Swanson on state single payer movements, Kucinich, and ERISA

Check this out, it’s well worth it.  If you don’t want to watch, there’s a transcript at http://therealnews.com/t2/inde…

Very informative, he talks about PA single payer for a while, among other things.

Check out single payer for PA at http://healthcare4allpa.org

I’d rather be with you

The last few months have been very emotional personally.  Waiting to see if I’m going to lose my home, get a day gig, lose the UI, maybe having the music career start back up, and watching my dog get old enough to have to make that final decision, it’s been a roller coaster.

Add to that emotional baggage is the final straw for me with democrats, Obama, and last but not least, the GOS,all coming together last week in a craptastic display of hypocrisy, skullduggery, tomfoolery, and plain stupidity.  

I’ve decided I’d rather be with you.

Does your representative show the military industrial complex enough love? (I’m naming names)

Today in America there is a big and under-reported issue.  There are actually people out there, some of them unbelievably in Congress, crazy enough to challenge that great American institution, the military industrial complex.  Who doesn’t love Halliburton?  Or Dick Cheney?  Or the Iraq War?  Or useless projects that do nothing more than enrich and empower an already powerful and rich elite?

I’ll tell you who.  65 good for nothin’ Congresspeople.  They’re the ones who today voted against a symbolic resolution to get our troops out of Afghanistan.

Now, cutting the snark, so many of the other 356 don’t even have the gall to vote against a symbolic resolution to end a war!  I understand that some people honestly support it, but when less than half of the country supports the war in Afghanistan, it’s a bad sign that all of these Congresspeople still do:

Single-Payer Now!

Last week, House Democrats killed two provisions that could have given us the best health care in the world: single-payer. But we've still got a chance in the U.S. Senate.

Tell your senators to support single-payer health care by co-sponsoring S. 703, the American Health Security Act.

Single-payer health care is the only kind that would both control costs and cover all Americans.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had pledged to hold a House vote on single-payer, but she broke her promise, and did not allow the vote.

Even worse, Speaker Pelosi stripped a provision from the health care bill that would have allowed states to try single-payer.

As a final insult, the House approved an anti-choice amendment that will remove abortion coverage from millions of health insurance policies.

That's just not good enough.

Americans deserve a healthcare system that will cover everyone and won't bankrupt anyone.

Let's make our voices heard for real health care reform. Sen. Bernie Sanders has introduced S. 703, a bill that would create single-payer systems in every state to cover all Americans.

Tell your senators to support true health care reform by co-sponsoring S. 703 today.

Americans Sold Out Again! Thanks, Congress! (Update!)

(See Update below:)

So much for progressives who promised they would vote “NO” if there was no robust public option.  Only Kucinich and Massa stood by their words.

This, from Dennis Kucinich, on the passing of the healthcare bill by Congress:

Who Said They’d Vote No on a Healthcare Bill This Bad in July, And Who Lied.  By David Swanson.

These 57 (PDF) said they would not accept a bill this bad. These two kept their word: Kucinich, Massa. The other 55 lied. Kucinich’s statement below the fold.

Kucinich: Why I Voted NO

Washington D.C. (November 7, 2009) – After voting against H.R. 3962 – Affordable Health Care for America Act, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today made the following statement:

“We have been led to believe that we must make our health care choices only within the current structure of a predatory, for-profit insurance system which makes money not providing health care. We cannot fault the insurance companies for being what they are. But we can fault legislation in which the government incentivizes the perpetuation, indeed the strengthening, of the for-profit health insurance industry, the very source of the problem. When health insurance companies deny care or raise premiums, co-pays and deductibles they are simply trying to make a profit. That is our system.

“Clearly, the insurance companies are the problem, not the solution. They are driving up the cost of health care. Because their massive bureaucracy avoids paying bills so effectively, they force hospitals and doctors to hire their own bureaucracy to fight the insurance companies to avoid getting stuck with an unfair share of the bills. The result is that since 1970, the number of physicians has increased by less than 200% while the number of administrators has increased by 3000%. It is no wonder that 31 cents of every health care dollar goes to administrative costs, not toward providing care. Even those with insurance are at risk. The single biggest cause of bankruptcies in the U.S. is health insurance policies that do not cover you when you get sick.

“But instead of working toward the elimination of for-profit insurance, H.R. 3962 would put the government in the role of accelerating the privatization of health care. In H.R. 3962, the government is requiring at least 21 million Americans to buy private health insurance from the very industry that causes costs to be so high, which will result in at least $70 billion in new annual revenue, much of which is coming from taxpayers. This inevitably will lead to even more costs, more subsidies, and higher profits for insurance companies – a bailout under a blue cross.

“By incurring only a new requirement to cover pre-existing conditions, a weakened public option, and a few other important but limited concessions, the health insurance companies are getting quite a deal. The Center for American Progress’ blog, Think Progress, states “since the President signaled that he is backing away from the public option, health insurance stocks have been on the rise.” Similarly, healthcare stocks rallied when Senator Max Baucus introduced a bill without a public option. Bloomberg reports that Curtis Lane, a prominent health industry investor, predicted a few weeks ago that “money will start flowing in again” to health insurance stocks after passage of the legislation. Investors.com last month reported that pharmacy benefit managers share prices are hitting all-time highs, with the only industry worry that the Administration would reverse its decision not to negotiate Medicare Part D drug prices, leaving in place a Bush Administration policy.

“During the debate, when the interests of insurance companies would have been effectively challenged, that challenge was turned back. The “robust public option” which would have offered a modicum of competition to a monopolistic industry was whittled down from an initial potential enrollment of 129 million Americans to 6 million. An amendment which would have protected the rights of states to pursue single-payer health care was stripped from the bill at the request of the Administration. Looking ahead, we cringe at the prospect of even greater favors for insurance companies.

“Recent rises in unemployment indicate a widening separation between the finance economy and the real economy. The finance economy considers the health of Wall Street, rising corporate profits, and banks’ hoarding of cash, much of it from taxpayers, as sign of an economic recovery. However in the real economy — in which most Americans live — the recession is not over. Rising unemployment, business failures, bankruptcies and foreclosures are still hammering Main Street.

“This health care bill continues the redistribution of wealth to Wall Street at the expense of America’s manufacturing and service economies which suffer from costs other countries do not have to bear, especially the cost of health care. America continues to stand out among all industrialized nations for its privatized health care system. As a result, we are less competitive in steel, automotive, aerospace and shipping while other countries subsidize their exports in these areas through socializing the cost of health care.

“Notwithstanding the fate of H.R. 3962, America will someday come to recognize the broad social and economic benefits of a not-for-profit, single-payer health care system, which is good for the American people and good for America’s businesses, with of course the notable exceptions being insurance and pharmaceuticals.”

Well, at least we have a list of all the progressives that didn’t stand the test — think they and all the other Dems need to hear from us BIG TIME!!!!!!!

BTW, already the health care insurance industry stocks have gone up!!!!!

Update With the Latest News:  Well, the “shine” has already been rubbed off of the “new penny.”  I don’t think this will surprise many, but — see the rest here.

Health Care or Insurance Care? A Call to Action from Dennis Kucinich

Dennis Kucinich is still in there trying, yelling, pushing, calling all of us to action.  Let’s make sure to answer his call.  Please take the actions he recommends:

Health Care or Insurance Care? It’s Time to Respond!

…below the fold…

Kucinich to Address DNC Tuesday

Heads up on Dennis…

Are you in Denver this week?

Meet Dennis and Elizabeth on Tuesday

Dear Friends,

Yesterday, kicked off what promises to be a great week for Kucinich supporters as we arrived in Denver for the Democratic National Convention. We will be reporting daily from Denver so keep an eye on our website for updates!

Tomorrow, Tuesday, Dennis will address the Democratic National Convention on the pressing issue of the Economy. Be sure to tune in at around 6:00pm ET.

This week too, both the New York Times Magazine (Sunday August 23) and the Washington Post Magazine (Sunday August 31) have special feature articles on your Voice in Congress, Dennis Kucinich.

Dennis will also be on a number of other shows this week including the Bill Maher Show, CNN, The Randi Rhodes Show, Hannity and Colmes. We will give you Dennis’ media appearance notifications on Twitter. (sign up to Twitter for the Kucinich feed here)

If you are in Denver this week, Dennis and I would like to meet you. We will be upstairs at the SkyLark Lounge on Tuesday night from 9pm – 10pm. It’s just going to be a fun and informal gathering.


SkyLark Lounge

140 S. Broadway

Denver, CO 80203



Letter signed by Elizabeth.   (bold emphasis mine)

And check the graphic for the Skylark Lounge at the link!

Kucinich to address the DNC on Tuesday

Are you in Denver this week?

Meet Dennis and Elizabeth on Tuesday

Dear Friends,

Yesterday, kicked off what promises to be a great week for Kucinich supporters as we arrived in Denver for the Democratic National Convention. We will be reporting daily from Denver so keep an eye on our website for updates!

Tomorrow, Tuesday, Dennis will address the Democratic National Convention on the pressing issue of the Economy. Be sure to tune in at around 6:00pm ET.

This week too, both the New York Times Magazine (Sunday August 23) and the Washington Post Magazine (Sunday August 31) have special feature articles on your Voice in Congress, Dennis Kucinich.

Dennis will also be on a number of other shows this week including the Bill Maher Show, CNN, The Randi Rhodes Show, Hannity and Colmes. We will give you Dennis’ media appearance notifications on Twitter. (sign up to Twitter for the Kucinich feed here)

If you are in Denver this week, Dennis and I would like to meet you. We will be upstairs at the SkyLark Lounge on Tuesday night from 9pm – 10pm. It’s just going to be a fun and informal gathering.

RSVP necessary

SkyLark Lounge


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