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Thursday, August 28, 2003

Great Kucinich Quotes
I didn't get many quotes out of Dennis Kucinich's appearance here in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, but Cyndy of MouseMusings (who was also there) found an excellent article from a Minnesota paper filled with lots of Kucinich gems:

“First, you have to understand what Bush’s presidency is about: accelerating wealth upward. Its about putting the nation’s wealth into fewer and fewer hands,” Kucinich said in a KFAI interview in July, pointing to post-9/11 bailouts that gave airlines billions while their employees got massive layoffs. “The Bush economy is driven by the interests of a few at the expense of the many. That’s what the war and the tax cuts are about.”

Kucinich joined the anti-World Trade Organization (WTO) battle in Seattle. He’ll use Executive Orders to withdraw from the WTO and repeal the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that’s exported millions of American jobs to Mexican sweatshops.

“Labels like liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican don’t mean much when you look at these trade agreements. The real issue is: WHOOSE side are you on? Are you on the side of multinational corporations driving down wages, knocking out benefits, breaking unions and crushing communities when they move jobs out?” Kucinich gains momentum, not allowed in CSPAN 60-second sound-bites. “Or are you on the side of people struggling for workers’ rights, human rights and environmental principles?”

“We’re ALREADY PAYING for universal healthcare. We’re just NOT GETTING IT,” Kucinich goes to the heart of the 2004 campaign’s “banner issue”: healthcare. Current U.S. spending is 14 percent of GNP on healthcare, Kucinich explained, projected to rise to 18 percent within 10 years—even without expanding access. “Insurance keeps going up. What do insurance companies do? They make money by EXCLUDING coverage. Everyone knows this. More deductibles, higher co-pays, less access. This is the trend. The ONLY way to freeze costs is for a single-payer system that cares for everyone. Take the profits out so these companies don’t have their hands on your wallet!”
While other Democrats tinker with cosmetic changes, Kucinich is the only candidate proposing universal, single-payer healthcare, including dental, vision-care, mental health and long-term care. JAMA’s study announced last week that 8,000 doctors agree that Kucinich’s plan is the only solution for both containing costs and alarming health disparities. One doctor disagrees: Howard Dean says “it can’t pass,” and his plan leaves healthcare under corporate control.

“Those saying ‘it won’t pass’ are conceding that this system is so corrupt that we’re all captive to it!” Kucinich retorts. “I’ll challenge the insurance and drug companies to do what’s right for the American people. WE don’t exist for them. THEY exist for us.”

“This Administration, cycling fear, created pretexts for war. They became more powerful as they did that. With lies and manipulations, now, they seek to totally destroy the social agenda of our nation with a military build up: $400 billion budget, 13 percent increase. We’re rapidly coming to the point where we spend more on the Pentagon than all other countries COMBINED spend on their defense! What implication does this have for our democracy?”

As he pauses, I realize no other candidates mention military budgets.

“This continued military build up will be the DEATH-knell for our democracy. They’re SUCKING OUT THE OXYGEN that’s needed for the economy!” he concluded. Kucinich is ranking Democrat on the National Security Committee. Vowing to cut military spending, “I’ll correct this direction. We’ll have a strong defense, but we ALREADY had that before 9/11. My concern is that we understand that education is part of national defense, Healthcare is national defense. Having good jobs and full employment is national defense. Making sure veterans have the full benefits we promised them when they said they’d serve is national defense. This is a moment for fundamental and deep change and my candidacy represents that.”