February 03, 2008

Sticking with Kucinich

Congressman Dennis Kucinich dropped out of the Democratic race for President last month. But that doesn't mean that his campaign is dead. I'm sticking with him going into the caucus here in Washington on February 9, and the primary February 19, and there are plenty of others who will also be voting for him in primaries and caucuses. In fact, supporting him is more important than ever. In my town, lawn signs for Kucinich outnumber all other candidates. Ron Paul has some and I have seen one Obama sign.

Conventional Wisdom, this week, is that the Democratic Race for President is down to Obama and Clinton and we had better choose one or the other because it will be all over soon. With many of us voting in primaries or caucuses this week, we are told that the only way to have a say in the matter is to jump on one of their bandwagons. I disagree. I think it is more important to influence the policies that the winning candidate and the party will campaign on and enact if they are elected.

In those terms, I don't see much difference in substance between the two of them. Sure Obama radiates charisma and talks of change but he seems awfully vague when it comes to specifics. Likewise Clinton has shown herself to be malleable when it comes to policy positions, drifting left and right depending on where the political advantage lies at any moment. They both fall short when they criticize aspects of the war but repeatedly vote to fund it; and in their support for NAFTA and the WTO. The funny thing is that they run counter to public opinion on both of these issues. Perhaps this is a case of the political donor class having more clout than the rest of us. Kucinich, on the other hand, represents my views very well. He favors a quick and total withdrawal from Iraq and an end to free trade agreements that send jobs overseas to countries that allow exploitation of workers and degradation of the environment for the profit of megacorporations.

I know, its a lost cause, it has always been a lost cause, but I'm not just interested in backing a winner. I want to send a message to the politicians. I may be deluded but I think that a lot of people agree with me. This country is in bad shape. We all know that. The Bush regime has screwed things up so badly that the country is desperate for an alternative. That is why the motto of the month is "Change".

Danny Westneat, writing in the Seattle Times put it succinctly, "More than any I can remember, this year's presidential race seems less about issues or actual governing than it is a mass cry for help."

So lets look at the situation. In Washington, all the Democratic delegates are chosen through caucuses. There is also a primary, but it doesn't actual determine anything, except maybe the mood of the voters. In the precinct caucuses, people divide into groups for each candidate. If there are enough Kucinich supporters there they can elect one or more delegates. Then everybody gets a chance to persuade each other to switch sides in order to achieve the best outcome possible. Any Kucinich delegates will carry a strong message of support for the issues that he has been talking about to the County Conventions, where the same process will repeat to send delegates to the State and then the National Conventions. If the race is really decided at the Convention, then Kucinich delegates may be able to use their leverage to promote their issues. In any case, support for Kucinich at all levels will be seen as support for a strong, populist, progressive stance.

The same reasoning holds for the primary. A vote for Kucinich is a vote for his positions. I fear for a Democratic party that skirts the issues the way that it has been doing. They run the risk of angering voters who put them in power in 2006 with a mandate to end the war and repudiate the Bush administration's policies. In that they have been inexplicable timid. Who could blame the voters for either turning to a so called straight shooter like McCain, or just staying home in disgust. With the country up in arms against Bush, this election is the Democrats to win, or lose.

Impeachment Resolution

Whereas President George W Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have violated their oath of office to protect the Constitution, violating the rights and liberties of the American people and;

Whereas they have violated Federal laws against warrantless wiretapping and torture and;

Whereas they have violated International laws against waging wars of aggression, targeting civilians and mistreatment of prisoners and;

Whereas they have shown their contempt for Congress and the democratic process by refusing to cooperate with Congressional Investigations and;

Whereas a Congressional failure to respond to these abuses sets a precedent that future Presidents will rely on to take similar actions to the detriment of our liberty, security and democracy;

Therefore be it resolved that Congress ought to Impeach President Bush and Cheney and;

That in order to facilitate that process we urge the House Judiciary Committee to begin Impeachment Hearings immediately and;

That we urge our Congressional Representatives to use their influence to get impeachment hearing started and;

That we support HJM 4027 and SJM 8016 in the Washington Legislature, which ask Congress to begin the impeachment process and urge its quick passage.

Submitted by Dan Goldstein 2/9/08

End the Occupation of Iraq Resolution

Whereas President George W Bush led us into war in Iraq under false pretenses, asserting an imminent danger from Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction and links to terrorism, which did not, in fact exist;

Whereas terrorists such as Al Qaeda hope to inflame passions against the United States and are benefiting through increased recruitment and support as a direct result of the destruction and suffering caused by the war, thus increasing the threat of terrorism;

Whereas hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed and injured and millions displaced;

Whereas close to 4,000 US troops have been killed and additional thousands injured;

Whereas the occupation is not moving Iraq towards democracy and stability but into a cycle of violence and counter violence in which American troops are opposed by a large majority of Iraqis;

Whereas the hundreds of billions of dollars that are being spent on the war increases the US budget deficit, harms the economy and diverts funds from beneficial purposes and

Whereas the United States lacks the moral authority and the trust of the people of Iraq necessary to participate in the process of restoring normality to Iraq;

Therefore be it resolved that we urge the United States government to immediately implement a plan to:

•End the Occupation of Iraq;
•Withdraw all American troops and contractors from Iraq;
•Support international efforts for national reconciliation in Iraq;
•Provide US funding for reconciliation and reconstruction efforts by the Iraqis and international agencies.

Be it further resolved that until the administration initiates such a plan, we urge Congress to refuse to provide any more funding for the war.

Submitted by Dan Goldstein 2/9/08

Global Warming Resolution

Global Warming

Whereas Global Warming is causing the melting of polar ice caps, rising sea levels, degradation of agricultural areas, and increased number and severity of storms, among other negative effects, all of which have a potentially devastating impact on our health, safety and wellbeing and;

Whereas the emission of greenhouse gases contribute to global warming and;

Whereas the use of fossil fuels is the major contributor to the production of greenhouse gases and;

Whereas the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has not been ratified by the United States and;

Whereas individuals, companies and governments at all levels can take meaningful action to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gases;

Therefore be it resolved that The United States should ratify the Kyoto Treaty on Global Warming and take immediate action to meet the goals set forth in that treaty and;

Individuals, companies and all levels of our government should implement policies to move towards a sustainable energy policy, relying on renewable energy sources and a reduction in resource use.

Submitted by Dan Goldstein 2/9/08