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Rep. Dennis Kucinich on His Battle With the Banks

Posted on Dec 15, 2008
Dennis Kucinich
AP photo / Kevin Wolf

By Dennis Kucinich

(Page 3)

On Dec. 15, I made a last-minute appeal to Cleveland Trust. It was 8 o’clock in the morning. I met with Brock Weir, the chairman of Cleveland Trust, Council President Forbes and our host, a local businessman. I had the intention of protecting Muny Light and avoiding a default.

“There’s just one thing you’ve got to do,” said the Council president, who strongly favored the sale.

Weir, the bank CEO with the stern visage: “If you sell Muny Light, we’ll roll over the notes. I can get you $50 million in new financing. We’d get other banks to participate.” It was a bribe.

My thoughts went to the street just outside the boardroom. Some 20 years earlier, a few blocks from where this meeting was taking place, I slept with my brothers and sister and parents in a car, homeless. I remembered an apartment where my parents sat underneath the pale yellow light of a kitchen wall lamp, counting their pennies on an old porcelain-topped table. The pennies dropped, click, click, click. Pennies to pay the utility bills.


Square, Site wide
It matters how much people pay for electricity. It matters if the public owns its own system and has political and financial control over rates. I could hear the pennies dropping, click, click, click, as Mr. Weir insisted on the sale of Muny Light. I remembered my family and the struggles of people like them. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t sell. Not for $50 million, not for anything.

“I’m not going to sell, even if it means my career,” I said, as Council President Forbes looked on in surprise.

“Why do you want to end your career? Sell the system. Get rid of it!” he said.

“Is there some other way we can work this out?” I asked Brock Weir.

He shook his head “No.”

Throughout that day, every media outlet in Cleveland echoed the sentiment of Cleveland Trust’s chairman,  including the morning newspaper headline, with such depth of coverage and intensity that it seemed the city itself would crumble unless I agreed to the sale, which also included a provision dropping the $330 million antitrust damage suit. 

The objective condition of the city’s finances received no honest review. The sale of Muny Light was depicted as the only way the city could avoid fiscal disaster. The majority leader of the City Council held a news conference live on the 6 o’clock news. He declared that if I sold Muny Light, “the chairman of the Cleveland Trust bank has informed the council that his bank will purchase $50 million worth of city bonds. So, in effect, we have a plan sitting on the mayor’s desk that will absolutely end the city’s financial problems, if he will put his signature on it.”

The $50 million bribe had been brought out into the open in a manner that now suggested it was a legitimate offer, a fake solution to a fake crisis. I refused to sell.

As Cleveland television stations covered the event live, with a countdown clock that looked like a twisted version of New Year’s Eve, midnight struck. Television networks of several countries recorded the grim event: The city of Cleveland became the first American city to go into default since the Great Depression. The default was over just $14.5 million dollars in credit.

When I called for a congressional investigation a few days later, Cleveland Trust denied it wanted Muny Light, CEI denied it wanted Muny Light, the council president denied the chairman of Cleveland Trust wanted Muny Light, and the majority leader said he was mistaken when he said live on the 6 o’clock news that the bank chairman offered $50 million in credit for Muny Light. Muny Light was no longer the issue. It was the mayor and his obstinacy that caused the crisis. So went the waltz into a netherworld devoid of truth, justice, reality or morality.

Though the people of Cleveland supported keeping Muny Light by a margin of 2 to 1 in a referendum a few months later, and passed an income tax increase by the same margin in order for the city to pay off the defaulted bond anticipation notes, the state of Ohio intervened and put the city into fiscal receivership. I lost the mayor’s race in 1979. The banks renegotiated the defaulted notes, at a profit. The city lost its antitrust suit against CEI in 1981, in a hung jury. An appeal failed.

I was out of major public office for almost 15 years until, in 1993, Cleveland announced an expansion of Muny Light (now called Cleveland Public Power). At that time, the City Council and others decided that I had made the right decision in refusing to sell Muny Light. The city and its residents had saved hundreds of millions of dollars through Muny Light’s reduced electric rates and the savings the taxpayers enjoyed from Muny’s lower-cost power for street lighting and city buildings.

I attempted another political comeback and this time succeeded, getting elected to the state Senate with the motto: “Because he was right.” My campaign literature showed a radiant light bulb behind my name. Two years later, I was elected to Congress, with the slogan “Light up Congress.” Today I am the chairman of the House Government Oversight Domestic Policy Subcommittee, which has broad jurisdiction over most government departments and agencies, including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and electric utility matters generally.

The Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. is now a subsidiary of First Energy Co., which was fined by the NRC for various safety violations and, a few years ago, was found to have primary responsibility for the 2003 blackout that left 50 million people throughout the northeastern United States without electricity.

Cleveland Trust no longer exists. No other bank involved in the default survives, except for National City, which next week faces extinction through shareholder approval of a takeover by PNC bank. I have spent much time trying to save National City. 

One newspaper, the Cleveland Press, which advocated that CEI be Cleveland’s sole electricity provider, ceased publication. The other strong proponent of the sale of Muny Light, the Plain Dealer, struggles to survive.

The city’s electric system endures and this past year celebrated its 100th anniversary.

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By Losttrust, September 15, 2010 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dennis Kucinich

I think he do nothing for help people in Cleveland

I was in he office for try get some information
and make repor againt the ripoff bank of Cleveland .The people work in he office refused give me any information   or give me a phone number where i could file complaint. many people lose they home because nobody give the right information when people need and let ripoff banks   lie and cheat and take people home is time for Cleveland   say no

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By cann4ing, February 28, 2009 at 8:26 am Link to this comment

Terris, I supported Dennis Kucinich, still do, but he withdrew, Obama became the Dem nominee and now is our President, so you move on.  That doesn’t mean that we abandon what Kucinich stood for or blindly follow Obama on issues where we should be tugging him to the left, such as supporting HR 676 (Conyers-Kucinich) single-payer health care instead of the sham “universal coverage” that would leave in play the unnecessary parasites, for-profit carriers & HMOs, who account which account for 31% of spiraling health care costs as opposed to administrative costs of 1% to 2% in single-payer countries.

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By terris linenbach, February 27, 2009 at 11:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I still wear my Kucinich for President T-Shirt and next to nobody even knows who he is. You may have supported Kucinich with lip service, but did you even bother to buy a T-shirt?

Obama raised nearly $1 billion to buy the presidency. The sad fact is that anyone who raises that kind of money can be president, no matter how stupid (Palin) they are.

Back to the story at hand, everyone who’s still on this thread knows that there’s an uber class of billionaire mostly white mostly men who own mostly everything, including the “law.”

At least Obama isn’t completely white. It stops him from being completely accepted by the club.

Whether Obama acts like the outsider that he is, who knows. Certainly he’s having a good time being himself so I hardly expect him to stand up to the people who can kill him without being prosecuted.

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By Shenneferh, December 23, 2008 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

Beyond the obviously wonderful integrity of Mr. Kucinich, which I’m grateful to see, is the matter of his prescience in this matter. Long-sightedness is something in which the corporate culture of Milton Friedmann’s Rockefeller-boughten “bottom line” has not been well-educated.

About ten years ago, when I could still afford to be an active Rotarian, I attended a meeting where the President of Central Hudson was the guest speaker.

He discussed the fact that all of the generating plants in New York State were now owned by a Texas [go figure] power company, and that Central Hudson merely maintained the lines and infrastructure. He also said the infrastructure in question was already outmoded and within about ten years [looks at watch] would no longer be adequate to the needs of the population.

During the Q&A;afterwards, I asked him what he foresaw as being the best/ most efficient means of delivering electricity to the population, and he said that individual communities should create their own power generating facilities via sustainable resources [wind, solar, dump/methane recapture], and sell energy back to the grid.

The young Jason West was sitting next to me at that luncheon and later, when he became mayor, put solar panels on the village hall [and reed beds at the waste treatment plant]. New Paltz is much better off for these small changes.

I’ve taken the philosophy of decentralization a few steps further over the past decade, foreseeing the current Depression as well as the immanent collapse of our ungainly food distribution web. All of our systems are predicated on cheap fuel and corporate top-down architecture. This is extremely dangerous.

Not only should we do everything we can to eliminate corporate control of our energy supply, but also our food, shelter, transportation, and healthcare. The way to go about doing so is to systematically remove ourselves from the top-down pyramidal outdated distribution systems we have suffered under, and create new, more “web-centric” distribution systems, predicated on communities. [google “The Pyramid and the Net”, Jennifer Hathaway].

Wealth is grown, it can’t be endlessly fed via predation. Corporations are predatory. Communities are wealth-building. We must become community-oriented.

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By PaulMagillSmith, December 19, 2008 at 1:51 am Link to this comment

Obama’s vote in favor of FISA. That’s a red flag for sure. Unless I’m very foolish, or very misinformed (subjectively I think/hope I’m neither), all this crap about trying to be bi-partisan, and appointing stooges of the Bilderbergs, Tri-Lateral, CFR, FED people, Bushites & failed Clintonistas is just a bunch of the ‘same ole same ole’ crap. We can’t stand a repetition of the spineless BS we have seen from the Democratic majoriy WE put in office. Grow some, Obama, put some REAL progressives in your cabinet, and Americans are behind you 100%. You can forget about a second term, and tribulations through your first, unless you stand up to the evil of your predecessors. We don’t want mush, we want strength.

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By KDelphi, December 18, 2008 at 6:40 pm Link to this comment

We need a US Dept of Peace.

I dont know why no one will push for it….

Well, yeah I do.

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By Nannie, December 18, 2008 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment

End the wars

Your NOT going to get it with Big Corp Obama.

Bring the troops home

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By Nannie, December 18, 2008 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment

Nader said.“Obama doesn’t represent real change,  This guy is the biggest con artist in our generation by far.”

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By Nightgaunt, December 18, 2008 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If only Obama was like Kucinich. He isn’t but he might be able to be persuaded to be. Maybe like FDR was when he found he couldn’t just benefit the rich in the Great Depression with a civil war and world war looming. We haven’t won just yet. Maybe in four years we can have a better assessment.

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By Nannie, December 17, 2008 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment


THINK ABOUT IT….Payback’s a bit*h

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By Nannie, December 17, 2008 at 5:56 pm Link to this comment

A 0.1 percent tax on security derivative transactions in one year—it’s going to be $500 trillion of transactions in one year—is $500 billion. So that alone would make a sense of equity. And you wouldn’t put it on the backs of the taxpayer.

THINK ABOUT IT….Payback a bit*h

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By KDelphi, December 17, 2008 at 5:36 pm Link to this comment

Hey Nannie! And, how right you are!

Before people scream about Marx, pleasse check the link. It is a little long—its audio,—so I will tell you—it essentially calls for the same thing…

Let THEM pay for their bailout!!

Let the bankers pay for theirs, let the auto workers run the auto plants…

Nader has called for it (also, nationalizing the banks, if we are going to buy them—if I am not mistaken?), Kucininch, Sanders, Kaptur all you “favorite players”, progressives…albiet, in somewhat different formns.

But, all in all, the burden is taken off of the working and middle classes..

so whats the deal? Why do you want to pay for this stuff??

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By Nannie, December 17, 2008 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

Rolling the Dice on Derivatives

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By Nannie, December 17, 2008 at 4:56 pm Link to this comment

Ralph Nader PBS Interview:

If you make the speculators pay for their own bailout, then there’s a relief throughout America that there’s some fairness coming out of Washington.
A 0.1 percent tax on security derivative transactions in one year—it’s going to be $500 trillion of transactions in one year—is $500 billion. So that alone would make a sense of equity. And you wouldn’t put it on the backs of the taxpayer.
England has that kind of tax, by the way, for years. FDR had it. We helped finance the Civil War with it. But after World War II, it was scrapped.
So people go into a store in all your areas where your show shows, and they buy necessities of life, and they pay 6 percent or 7 percent sales tax. Tomorrow, someone in Wall Street can buy a billion dollars of Exxon derivatives, pay no sales tax. That’s where the fairness has to go.

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By KDelphi, December 17, 2008 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment

Golden T—Have you heard this one on nationalizing the banks in the UK? Just thought you might be interested.

terris—this is not ancient history (unless we “move on” the way the MSM would like us to!)—we could still get some of it back, if we had a party that had the balls to do it. I have absolutely no idea what would be wrong with confiscating the property of people that have made a mess of millions of others’ lives, and, then, ask US (as in WE) for a bailout. WHY are people not calling for prison time, and seizure of assets? Are we just going to let them do it again? Sure we will! Because, you believe, to hae “democracy”, you must have “free market”.

We have neither now.

SteveW—How in the world is he going to do all this, that you list , below? He has not said he would, and, since then, things have gotten worse financially,..(pssst…the “bailout” didnt “work”) We wil need revenue/money to implement these type of programs,and, PE Obama is talking about, and being commended for, another tax cut, as well as waiting to overturn the tax cuts for the rich.

“If Obama doesn’t embrace HR-676, end Free Trade Agreements and get ALL of our Troops out of Iraq, then most people will NOT be happy with him 4 years from now! He also must create over 10 Million Jobs and bring manufacturing back to the U.S., where it belongs. And extend the use of Alternative Energy of all types, especially Hydrogen & Electric Powered vehicles and Fusion Power combined with MagLev Trains for Transportation.”

I would be absolutely thrilled if all of this happened—but how? We will need revenue, or money, as some people seem to think that revenue is a dirty word. That is how government runs—on taxes and revenue. As far as I can see, the uS is as broke as it has ever been..cuts in taxes, as well, as cuts in employment, worker compensation, etc. is the opposite of what is needed in a down turn.

We keep trying these “stimulus” packages. They dont seem to have worked , so far. They need to be targeted to have more lasting inpact then people buying things. Some of what you suggested would be excellent. We have to pay for it.

Anyone who tells you differently is just politicking.

If PE Obama passes a Baucus or Daschle type plan, industry (like the auto) will just abandon their insurance programs etc-(which they are trying to do anyway), and say, well, let them buy into the govt plan, with the reduced wages we’ve given them.

What happened to “access to the same plan as Congress”? I guess that that meant, if you could pay for it on the private market…

We cannot fix this broken free market with more free market solutions. Even people who have been touting laissez fare type free market since Adam Smith and Bretton Woods are saying that we need reform (alot less than what I would like, but,they still do say it!)

The MSM barely noted the “oracle’s” meltdown!

Dubya saying he had to “break market principles to save the free market” is a tacit admission that there is no “free market”—at least , not one that works for the majority. We are not wedded to this system. Or, we do not have to be.—if it is not working, stop feeding the beast!

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By Terris Linenbach, December 17, 2008 at 10:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

cann4ing, I was not faulting Dennis, merely pointing out that he fought the banks long ago, and therefore, so what? Americans are morons. Dennis should be a Senator but that’s probably never going to happen. Americans generally vote for people based on their D/R label and their height, not what they say or do. They’re never going to warm up to a short straight talker no matter how brave he is.

Also, I meant to type there are *no* rules on executive compensation including bonuses. Bush put a loophole into the agreement at the last minute - see

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By GoldenT, December 17, 2008 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

Consider this story a microcosm of much larger swindles run through the [currently bankrupt] securities-based financial system, promoted by Wall Street and, most emphatically, the City of London.

Mr. Kucinich, it would be grand if your wife organized a campaign for a written constitution in the U.K. whose content granted to the People sole dominion for creation of a national credit system, much as is true with the U.S. Constitution, and which practical matter is reflected by legislation you co-sponsor with your Republican colleague, Mr. LaTourette—the Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure Act (HR 3400). This legislation is critical for gaining the upper hand in the battle against financiers who are wrecking this nation’s promise. We both know, too, that as long as Ms. Pelosi remains in a leadership position, this legislation will go nowhere.

We need a return of the Bank of the United States and HR 3400, like FDR’s RFC, is a way to practically reach this end.

And what better way to fight the certain battle sure to intensify as this legislation gains traction, than take it to the turf where its greatest intellectual opposition exists—Great Britain? Clearly, we have our Henry Clay in Congress (that’s you, sir). The derivatives-ladened mother ship is a rotting hull of her former self. What better way to sink it than through connections, here to there, run through your wife?

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By PaulMagillSmith, December 17, 2008 at 10:24 am Link to this comment

I just heard a commentator on CNBC state, “You don’t fight the FED”. I see this as delusional. What she should have said instead is, “You don’t get in bed with the FED”. Devious crooks, liars, and thieves since before they manipulated its inception in 1913 even.

I agree with you Cyrena. The only good thing Ron Paul said was we need to dismantle the (non)FED, and the CIA. The rest of his philosophy is about let the markets regulate themselves, and we’ve already seen what a failure THAT is. That works about as well as letting a 6 year old have free access in a candy store, and even the rightie’s guru, Alan Greenspan, agrees his whole career was based on an erroneous assumption causing drastic detremental consequences because of unmitigated greed, a human fallibility people with experince & good sense should easily be aware of.

Ron Paul, definitely not, Dennis Kucinich…absolutely!

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By Spinoza750, December 17, 2008 at 10:05 am Link to this comment

This article demonstrates why only violent revolution will be able to get rid of capitalism.

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By cann4ing, December 16, 2008 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment

By terris linenbach, December 16 at 11:12 am #
(Unregistered commenter)

I love Dennis. But this is ancient history. I was hoping to read about how Dennis is fighting the banks today. There is no oversight on how $700 billion is spent.


DK opposed the $700 billion bailout, voted against it twice.  He can hardly be faulted for the stupidity of his fellow Dems.

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By terris linenbach, December 16, 2008 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I love Dennis. But this is ancient history. I was hoping to read about how Dennis is fighting the banks today. There is no oversight on how $700 billion is spent. There are restrictions on executive bonues. We need Rambo. Maybe Dennis could chain himself to something.

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By Ham-Archy, December 16, 2008 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment

We should be reaching a point in our evolution that we can embrace a broad range of systems. The idea that there could be one system that can make ‘everything work’ is beginning to wear awfully thin.

Consider that a system is an idea, the product of thought. And that thought is a product of knowledge. And that knowledge is finite. At the same time, ignorance is infinite. In other words, there is no end to what can be known. A system cannot act. A system has no effect unless used to guide human actions. Political, social and commercial events are the result of human motivation. In this epoch we need many systems.

One of the most ambiguous systems I have studied is Technocracy. It was a revelation that there is truly an energy economy that can’t be ignored. However, it is still true that there is a political economy that can’t be ignored. One cannot replace the other. But the technocrats thought they had the one answer to all problems. There is no caveat more ominous than the preamble “It is the only…”

We have to realize the complexity and dynamic nature of our world. We need to integrate systems to get the best results. But systems need to be applied with attention to and awareness of classification. As an example, a thermodynamics system cannot be applied successfully in politics. And politics will never solve kinetics problems.

Some freedoms that we have, and take for granted are the products of technology. They place our range of activities far beyond what nature gave us as animals. We have appropriated freedoms with this tool. But we can only do so as far as the laws of physics allow. We could loose some of these freedoms because of abuse, and no politics you can imagine will change that.

Some freedoms that we have are the result of economics. Economics systems have given us access to prosperity that is far beyond what we could achieve with our individual efforts. We have appropriated freedoms in this sense as well. But we can only do so until we have depleted the resources that we consume in the process. We will loose these freedoms too, and again, no politics you can imagine will save them.

Some freedoms that we have are the result of politics. Social systems have established rights and justice that cannot be taken for granted. These freedoms entail a continuous struggle to uphold. We will only have these freedoms as long as we are willing to fight for them and no amount of money or technology will wage this battle for us. Without the will to take action, nothing will happen. And social systems can also be abused. In fact, no system ever conceived is more subject to abuse, distortion, and deceit. As a result, social systems have been used in lieu of the systems that should have been used to obtain real solutions.

The emergence of certain issues that effect many people tend to motivate most of them only to the extent of vocalizing the issue. This majority of people are usually content to be placated with promises of action and counterfeit results. That is, the work of politics. But then, things just get worse. The problems continue and yet many people still believe, even though politics has failed them, that there must be some political solution. Today’s most critical issues fall into this group. People continue to blame politics when politics is not the problem, and holds no solution.

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By Monish Chatterjee, December 16, 2008 at 11:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In late 2003, months after the Bushco crime syndicate invaded a sovereign country like a rabid gang of rapists, I received an invitation from a young activist in eastern Michigan to participate in a Peace Forum that he was organizing at Eastern Michigan University.  I was to talk about Rabindranath Tagore, the Indian poet-philosopher, who ushered new concepts of Universal Humanity into social and political discourse.

At this forum, which included Reverand Bevel- one-time associate of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., I came to know a little more about Jeffrey Orr, my host, and his earnest campaign on behalf of Congressman Dennis Kucinich (DK), who was running to replace the depraved killer that had planted himself in the WH leading to the ruination of the world.
I was already a Kucinich admirer, and with time, my admiration has only multiplied manifold.  Here was a person of integrity, courage, vision, and, most importantly, deep-rooted humanity- the only true hallmark of a civilized and enlightened being, in my book.  Kucinich has always professed what is clearly an outrageous heresy in this country of guns, violence and bully-tactics- HE WOULD ESTABLISH A DEPARTMENT OF PEACE IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

The above heresy alone, more than any other, will of course preclude any viable run by DK for an office of power, power that can be viciously destructive, as exemplified by Bushco, or more benevolent, as best exemplified by FDR, and, to some extent, by Lincoln.

In the current American duopoly, with the stench of corruption, debasement, immorality, and malevolence rising to high heavens- it is a crying shame that noble and capable human beings such as DK do not have their rightful place of honor in the affairs of state (thereby making the affairs of state the pathetic joke and venal disgrace that they have become). 

Yet, as any truly enlightened person of intellect (a kind shunned and laughed at by the crude, cackling jackals of ignorance- the Limbaughs and O’Reilly types) would I am sure attest- the future of human civilization depends critically upon the efforts of wise, caring and empathetic human beings.  Barack Obama has some of these traits; however, he has also figured out, unlike DK, the tactics of political pandering in order to get into the halls of power.

I do not condone such practices, of course, since pandering for convenience is often actually lethal to living human beings.  Thus, voting for some kind of phony “war appropriation,” for example, if only for political convenience, leads immediately to the deaths of hundreds of human beings- and the abject immorality of this can never be washed away by platitudes to statecraft.

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By Ham-Archy, December 16, 2008 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

OK, Here it is again:

Now, the thing to understand about the elite’s financial status, which, as most understand, is their power base, is this. Phenomenaly large amounts of wealth cannot be simply deposited in some savings account. There are many reasons for this which I shouldn’t go into here.
What this means is that such wealth has to be contained in investments. This would be things like stock holdings, property, precious metals etc.
The above link contains a small collection of the elite interests that could be refered to as pertinent to this discussion. Not only are these corporations facing torts, but their investments are now in serious deterioration.
Consequently they are weekend. Very much so.
To understand how this situation is an opportunity for radical change one will have to review the cases reported by Fair Finance Watch.

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By cann4ing, December 16, 2008 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

Right you are, Cyrena.  The bank executives and their allies described by Kucinich in this article and those involved in the manufactured California energy crisis fit the title for Jim Hightower’s book, “Thieves in High Places”

While the Robert Greenwald documentary, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, depicted the symbiotic relationship between Ken Lay and the two Bush presidents, exposing the administration’s complicity in the bilking of the California energy market, erstwhile raising an intriguing question about a May 17, 2001 meeting between Ken Lay, Michael Milken and Arnold Schwarzenegger at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, Hightower notes that “more than two thirds of Congress were recipients of Enron money.”  According to Kevin Phillips, Enron, which allegedly colluded with Citigroup to defraud investors, used its influence with Senator Phil Gramm, whose wife Wendy Gramm chaired the Commodity Futures Regulatory Commission, to gut “potentially inhibiting regulation of its own futures trading.”  Upon retiring from the CFRC, Mrs. Gramm “joined the Enron board of directors.” 

Enron, of course, provides the classic case for how different standards for making and losing money apply to corporate executives and ordinary employees.  As Robert Bryce notes, “in the summer and fall of 2001, [Enron] locked its pension so that no one could sell Enron stock that was a company employee.”  At the same time, corporate insiders were unloading theirs.  “Ken Lay sold $184 million worth of Enron stock.  Jeff Skilling sold $70 million… And many of these sales were happening at the same time that Ken Lay was telling his own employees, ‘Oh, Enron is a great bargain.  Buy the stock…’”

Given this history, it is shocking how easy it was for the Bush administration to fool Congress, slipping in a single sentence to the $700 billion bailout that created a loophole that would permit Wall Street execs to pocket public monies.

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By cann4ing, December 16, 2008 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

By AsburySteve1952, December 15 at 9:41 pm #

Just as his bid to save Muny Electric worked in the 1970’s, if his plight for Single Payer Universal Health Care with HR-676 would pass in Congress and be implemented, it would also save massive amounts of money for both the People of the USA and Corporations.


If you mean by “corporations” companies like GM which furnish employer-based health “coverage,” I wholeheartedly agree.  From the perspective of global competitiveness, U.S. products carry the added cost of a corrupt and inefficient health care system.

The incoming Obama administration does not directly offer real reform in this area.  “Universal coverage” amounts to a subsidy scheme for the health care insurance industry.  HR 676 (single-payer) (Conyers/Kucinich) offers the only meaningful “reform” because it would eliminate the parasitic middle men (for-profit carriers and HMOs) which account for 31% of the spiraling health care costs in the US as compared to 1% to 2% in single-payer countries.  (Of course, price controls over pharmaceuticals where Americans pay four times what Canadians pay for the same medication are also warranted).

The Truman administration sought a single payer system way back in 1947.  If failed not only because it was opposed by the AMA but because Democrats from the Jim Crow South thought single-payer would portend to desegregated hospitals.  Today the AMA is an outspoken advocate for single-payer, and white racists carry no weight inside the Democratic Party. 

HR 676 should be supported by every progressive organization in the U.S.  As Obama himself concedes, change comes from the bottom up, so the mere fact that Obama has yet to sign on to single-payer does not mean that he would veto a single-payer bill if we could persuade Congress to pass it.

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By Purple Girl, December 16, 2008 at 8:45 am Link to this comment

sounds like Strongarming, extortion, embezzlement and Confidence games.
I’m no legal scholar but I gotta figure for every law they re wrote to make their criminal activities Legal, there is an older one on the books which overrides it.What laws were inacted to combat organized crime in the 20’s & 30’s? What about RICO?
They Re wrote Regulatory laws, but did they re wite criminal laws in conjunction?
Truely what is the difference between a Loan Shark and a Credit Card who bait & switch you into further debt…Aren’t some lenders Interest rate similar to the mafia’s? 
I had one credit card ‘adjust ’ my rate in Aug,one month prior to meltdown- saw it coming? decided to begin soaking the customer before hitting them as taxpayers too. Yo uhave no idea how infuriating it is to go into a AIG office to pay my bill- considering they just borrowed 150 billion from US, We should be ‘even’, or at least I should be getting a payment from them every month in return- with Interest compounded Daily. In fact why not send me a statement telling me how much they have paid down on the total- a reverse loan.Same goes for Citibank. Paper for paper that’s all it is. While you reach in your front pocket to pay them, they are eaching in the back pocket to take the rest.At the Very least Their Pick pockets, on a global scale.

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By cyrena, December 16, 2008 at 5:56 am Link to this comment

By cann4ing, December 15 at 3:29 pm #

Privatization of Muni Light would have done to Cleveland what eventually was done to CA when, thanks to deregulation of the energy industry by former Republican Governor Pete Wilson and the theft of the 2000 election by Bush/Cheney, Enron & a horde of Texas based “energy traders” scammed the CA market, causing drastic increases in the thoroughly scammed market. producing $9 billion of a $12 billion deficit and opening the door to the Recall and ascension of Arnold Schwarzenegger.



You took the thought right out of my mind, with the comparison to the same circumstances Dennis writes about, and what happened to us here in California, including the recall of Gray Davis, thanks to Halliburton/Enron, which says it all.

Dirty Bastards!!!


I respect your distinguishing Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul as different type politicians, but recorded history simply does not support giving them equal respect for taking the road less traveled. Ron Paul’s road less traveled is actually a very low and backward moving road, as most of his work has been devoted to rolling back or otherwise undermining the advances we’ve made as a society in terms of civil rights and social justice.

Dennis Kucinich stands for that above and beyond everything. Ron Paul absolutely does NOT! It’s been a common mistake (in my humble opinion at least) to compare these two men and politicians, because their only commonality is in that they’ve both been shunned by the mainstream, but NOT for the same reasons.

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By Kevin Schmidt, December 15, 2008 at 11:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kucinich should get Nancy “Impeachment is off the table” Pelosi’s seat.

He is one of a very small handful of congresspeople who actually take to heart their oath to uphold the Constitution.

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By martin weiss, December 15, 2008 at 11:23 pm Link to this comment

everybody’s right—this movie is really great and sums up what the problems and solutions are.

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By AsburySteve1952, December 15, 2008 at 10:41 pm Link to this comment

I feel honored to have campaigned twice for Rep. Dennis Kucinich when he ran for President in 2004 & 2008! I met him twice in person, and I believe him to be the most honest politician with the highest ethics and integrity whom I’ve ever met in my life!

This is a great story about how he began his infamous career in which he fought and beat the odds to the benefit of his fellow citizens in Cleveland.

I only wish that our Country wasn’t so corrupt as to allow for someone like Dennis to be blocked from debates and receiving Media Attention in a Presidential Election, just to ensure that Corporations retain their deadly grip on our people in this country.

Just as his bid to save Muny Electric worked in the 1970’s, if his plight for Single Payer Universal Health Care with HR-676 would pass in Congress and be implemented, it would also save massive amounts of money for both the People of the USA and Corporations, both of whom need it BADLY right now! And I cannot understand HOW the Insurance Companies got to be so powerful and corrupt as be able to put their profits above the survival of our people and other industries and corporations in America! But they’re doing it right now!

In addition, to establish Dennis’s idea of creating a U.S. “Department of Peace” would definitely be one of the best things that could possibly happen in the entire history of our Country! And the main reason why it’s not 100% embraced by everyone is because War is profitable to the corrupt people who now run the U.S., those truly being Corporate Leaders and Multi-Billionaires who actually PUT most Politicians INTO Office by financing their Campaigns. Dennis Kucinich doesn’t even ACCEPT Corporate money, and that’s where he’s so different and doesn’t have Strings controlling his Life & Decisions!

Rep. Kucinich should BE President in 2009, but at least Obama won, and we don’t have to deal with another “Bush” Puppet Type in the White House! I just hope that Barrack Obama does things to REALLY change America, including breaking the hold of Corporations on our Government Leadership, and doing things which will REALLY help US, the people, who are the Real voices in America!

If Obama doesn’t embrace HR-676, end Free Trade Agreements and get ALL of our Troops out of Iraq, then most people will NOT be happy with him 4 years from now! He also must create over 10 Million Jobs and bring manufacturing back to the U.S., where it belongs. And extend the use of Alternative Energy of all types, especially Hydrogen & Electric Powered vehicles and Fusion Power combined with MagLev Trains for Transportation.

Thanks Dennis,

Steve W.
Asbury Park, NJ

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By Maani, December 15, 2008 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment


List me as one of those who thinks a Secretary of Peace is long overdue!


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By Moe_b, December 15, 2008 at 5:07 pm Link to this comment

the thread that was purged was on one of Northern CA’s online news sites.  It’s nice to see such discussion here, and not see it vanish moments later.

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By Moe_b, December 15, 2008 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment

Furthermore, continuing on this great discussion, when they were first rushing the $700 billiion bailout through Congress, I posted reference to Zeitgeist: Part III.  Another blogger directed me to and after looking at the titles, I made a comment about the Federal Reserve and within a half hour, for some reason, the whole 160 or so comments were reset.

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By nrobi, December 15, 2008 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment

In the last presidential election, there were really only two candidates for president, that represented true and lasting change, represented the people and should have been heard but were not, due to their stands on the money system, their knowledge of how our government operates and the underpinnings of our democracy.
Those two men were Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, and Rep. Ron Paul.  These two warriors for the people were not given fair and equitable treatment by the Main Stream Media, because their masters, the banks, did not want the platforms of these two men heard.
I would have certainly voted for either one, as they both have the people’s interests at heart and care more the people than the institutions, “banks,” that truly run this country.
Our government is a corrupt and degrading institution
it is without doubt made for and provided by the banks that control the money supply and completely control our lives as wage slaves.  We the people, do not work for anything other than to pay off the interest on loans garnered by the companies that control the wages we earn.
In the video mentioned by Maani, regarding the Federal Reserve System, it shows how this illegal institution controls the lives of all Americans and should we, the people revolt against that system, there are now at the behest of the Northern Command, a brigade of troops to quell any rebellion. Yes, the American armed forces are now being trained to quell rebellion in the US. Can you or anyone conceive of the Armed Forces of the US shooting and killing our own citizens?  Not only is this likely, but these men and women are being trained for this eventuality.
Dennis J. Kucinich, was and is one of the most honorable and outstanding men I have ever had the chance of meeting. His is a representation of the people that does not include those who are bought and
paid for by the corporations and government.
I, will vote for him if he ever gets to the point that he becomes a true third party candidate. He will
make an excellent president and I would have no qualms regarding his presidency.

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By cann4ing, December 15, 2008 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment

Privatization of Muni Light would have done to Cleveland what eventually was done to CA when, thanks to deregulation of the energy industry by former Republican Governor Pete Wilson and the theft of the 2000 election by Bush/Cheney, Enron & a horde of Texas based “energy traders” scammed the CA market, causing drastic increases in the thoroughly scammed market. producing $9 billion of a $12 billion deficit and opening the door to the Recall and ascension of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Yet, when Kucinich was running for president one of the only substantive questions asked of him during the debates was how he could allow the city to go bankrupt.

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By KDelphi, December 15, 2008 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

Maani—I downloaded that, and I will watch it. You keep talking about it…so I will. I may have seen it…I checked out the beginning—-is it an Addendum? I cant watch it while I am otherwise “online”.

What say you, or anyone to the Dept of Peace? Just wondering…I know it sounds like bs—but it wouldnt have to be…

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By Maani, December 15, 2008 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment


“Kiss said the Federal Reserve should be investigated.”  Actually, it has been.  Watch the 20-minute segment from 5 minutes in to 25 minutes in (you can scroll to the 5-minute mark):

Also, some more quotes re the U.S. financial system:

“Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin. The Bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create deposits, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough deposits to buy it back again. However, take it away from them, and all the great fortunes like mine will disappear and they ought to disappear, for this would be a happier and better world to live in. But, if you wish to remain the slaves of Bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create deposits.” Sir Josiah Stamp

“We have in this country one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known. I refer to the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Banks, hereinafter called the FED. They are not government institutions. They are private monopolies which prey upon the people of these United States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign customers…There is not a man within the sound of my voice who does not know that this Nation is run by the International Bankers…The sack of the United States by the Fed is the greatest crime in history. Every effort has been made by the Fed to conceal its powers, but the truth is the Fed has usurped the government. It controls everything here and it controls all our foreign relations. It makes and breaks governments at will.”  Louis McFadden

“The Great Depression resulting from the Stock Market crash) was not accidental. It was a carefully contrived occurrence….The international bankers sought to bring about a condition of despair here so they might emerge as rulers of us all.” Louis McFadden

“Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes the laws.” Mayer Amschel Rothschild

“A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is privately concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men who, even if their action be honest and intended for the public interest, are necessarily concentrated upon the great undertakings in which their own money is involved and who necessarily, by very reason of their own limitations, chill and check and destroy genuine economic freedom.” Woodrow Wilson

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By KDelphi, December 15, 2008 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

The story is now legendary in Ohio. Cleveland was a great city, and, can be again…people who say Rep Kucinich is a “phony”, as I have said, have not met him. He wouldnt lie or cheat the people of Ohio or the uS if his life and career depended on it—-as we can see here…he is, though, a Democrat. (Although he often doesnt vote like one)

Mud—Exactly!” Concentrations of wealth can a do get their way through unchecked financial power. They buy elected officials, spread disinformation with expensive PR campaigns and keep regulators off their backs.”

The media, as well as the Democratic Party, still treat Dennis, and other progressives, horribly—they censor them, ignore their amendments… I wish they would start a Third Party….Kaptur, Sherman, (RIP Tubbs Jones…),BOTH “Lees”—along with Sen. Feingold, Sanders—I’m probably “dreaming”, but, you cant honestly say that most of these people agree with the base of the Demo/GOP Parties..

Kloe—People know that you are correct. They just dont want to admit it. Everyone knows Chicago is mostly dirty—so are many other cities. But, people are trying to pretend that Obama is not a “politician”. Sigh…I like Chicago, But, the people there deserve better politics.

Yankee-Yes! But, he paid a huge price—he was out of politics for almost 15 yrs, and, they tried to kill him. The Dems still treat him like political poison, which shoudl not be surprising, as this is how they treat all progressives.

Libarchist—That may have been true, but, I do not think it has to be true now, for Unions. The Dems could not win without Unions, and, I think that the “war” is a little more out in the open than it was with Vietnam.I could be wrong. I just believe in the “concept” of Unions,I guess, and, wish we had better ones in the US…

Spiritgirl—Yes! Oh, PLEASE—shoes!!

HamArchy—Class action—know of a good attorney that would take it? I had to drive through the northern neighborhoods of my city the other day, to go to a doctor—I thought MY neighborhood was bad!! it is just f*cking EMPTY!

We NEED a Dept of Peace—and Kucincih shoudl run it!

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By martin weiss, December 15, 2008 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment

Kiis said the Federal Reserve should be investigated. The investigation would find the Fed manipulated inflation, deflation and debt to dispossess Americans every generation. But good luck trying to get the NY Times, or any major media to touch this story. Even Nobel Economics Prizewinner Krugman won’t touch this ‘kiss of death’ story. Just out of recent events, back in the memories of our grandparents, where only progressive history buffs would see the pattern—
Kiss’ suggestion that US Treasury run our money supply is the correct answer. Look at what so many ex-presidents have said:
Peril of corporations issuing public money


We were warned by these great men of the perils we now face.
If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and the corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered…. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.
... The modern theory of the perpetuation of debt has drenched the earth with blood, and crushed its inhabitants under burdens ever accumulating. -Thomas Jefferson

History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance. -James Madison
If congress has the right under the Constitution to issue paper money, it was given them to use themselves, not to be delegated to individuals or corporations. -Andrew Jackson

The Government should create, issue, and circulate all the currency and credits needed to satisfy the spending power of the Government and the buying power of consumers. By the adoption of these principles, the taxpayers will be saved immense sums of interest. Money will cease to be master and become the servant of humanity. -Abraham Lincoln

Issue of currency should be lodged with the government and be protected from domination by Wall Street. We are opposed to…provisions [which] would place our currency and credit system in private hands. - Theodore Roosevelt

Despite these warnings, Woodrow Wilson signed the 1913 Federal Reserve Act. A few years later he wrote: I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men. -Woodrow Wilson


Years later, reflecting on the major banks’ control in Washington, President Franklin Roosevelt paid this indirect praise to his distant predecessor President Andrew Jackson, who had “killed” the 2nd Bank of the US (an earlier type of the Federal Reserve System). After Jackson’s administration the bankers’ influence was gradually restored and increased, culminating in the passage of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. Roosevelt knew this history.

The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial
element in the large centers has owned the government ever since
the days of Andrew Jackson… -Franklin D. Roosevelt
(in a letter to Colonel House, dated November 21, 1933)
(maybe Obama just doesn’t want to telegraph his punches, he must know at least as much about this as Kucinich. Maybe there are enough snipers out there already, without threatening the banks.)

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By Spiritgirl, December 15, 2008 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

Every time I hear what he has to say, I love him more!  Mr Kucinich has posted what we the “underlings” should understand as “pay to play” politics!  If nothing else, we the people need to go back to those old civics lessons, and start reasonable protests (no we don’t get to throw shoes yet), such as stop utilizing credit cards, start massive Congressional writing campaigns, stop believing everything “they” say, start demanding accountability and responsibility, maybe we need to start public financing of elections!?!?!  We definitely need to recognize that it is the money and greed that has led to all of the misuses and abuses that we are currently confronting!

We as a nation need to confront that those with power will never concede that power without a demand and a serious fight!  It just won’t happen!!!

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By Ham-Archy, December 15, 2008 at 10:59 am Link to this comment

For those people who have not yet seen CRIMINAL injury, the best tactic in this struggle is to STOP USING CREDIT! STOP!!
Credit is the main weapon in the elite’s campaign of FISCAL WARFARE against the populace. It is the toxic bait that snags the unwary and enslaves. There is no better way to fight the predator. NONE!!
STOP USING CREDIT! NOW! Or be the willing victim. It IS that simple.

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By Ham-Archy, December 15, 2008 at 10:43 am Link to this comment

It IS clear at this point that the actions of many financiers have been CRIMINAL. We can see that as these actions yield injuries, some of the more prominent and intelligent of the victims take legal action.
As these cases pass through the courts they establish a president. This in turn helps subsequent cases involving similar material facts to succeed.
Since politics and various regulations have failed to prevent these actions it should also be VERY CLEAR that such institutions will not provide remedy.
The financial predators are now in a very bad position. The ideal thing for injured parties to do at this point is to take LEGAL ACTION. Since many individuals have been harmed by the policies of a few actors, such as the case with Mortgages, the best tactic for those individuals might be CLASS ACTION.
Wishing, and blaming, and shaming will gain NOTHING.
Now is a PRIME time to take action. Now is the time to bring the oppressor to his knees and use the tools and power of law to deal the DEATH BLOW!

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By mud, December 15, 2008 at 10:21 am Link to this comment

Why ask why?

Dennis makes this quite clear. Concentrations of wealth can a do get their way through unchecked financial power. They buy elected officials, spread disinformation with expensive PR campaigns and keep regulators off their backs.

Dennis K. was and still is a target for the paid PR prevaricators. Look how he was treated by the PR/Press in the Pres. debates. Our news media along with our elected officials and Gov. regulators are almost all bought and paid for.

Truth dig does get some info out, somewhat free of PR BS.

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By Jim Yell, December 15, 2008 at 9:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kucinich should have been chosen at the very lest for Vice President, probably too much to hope that he could have been a winning Presidential candidate.

Even at this late date 1/3 of the country still believes in G. W. and Cheney two of the most incompetent and dishonest men to ever occupy our National Office.

I voted for Obama, but I wanted Kucinich.

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By G.Anderson, December 15, 2008 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

Why do we keep doing this to ourselves over and over again year after year scandal after scandle?

Why do we allow our business leaders to rob cheat and steal, impoverish the people and now plunge our entire nation into a finacial crisis?  In the name of free enterprise?

We wouldn’t allow this with any other profession, Doctors, Lawyers, Dentists, Psychiatrists, Accountants.. every other profession is licensed, and regulated for ethical conduct. Because their betrayal of public trust has catastrophic results to society.

The same should be true of Corporate heads, they need licensing, regulation, and they need to uphold high ethical standards..

Otherise, we will continue to suffer… every few years from an Enron, Lincoln Savings and loan, Lehman Brothes, AIG, or GM…..that’s what we get for doing business with crooks..

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By Maani, December 15, 2008 at 8:07 am Link to this comment

If you have not seen “Zeitgeist: Addendum,” you might want to check out at least Part I (starting about five minutes in, it lasts for about 20 minutes), as it discusses the U.S. monetary system in detail - andis both eye-opening and frightening!

Here is the link to the film:


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By kloe, December 15, 2008 at 7:32 am Link to this comment

Dennis Kucinichs’ experience as Mayor of Cleveland and his battle with CEI, the City Council, the Editoral boards of major pubilcations who publish corporate-backed propaganda remind me of a similar battle going on right now here in Illinois with Governor Rod Blagovich.  Everyone from local and state policticans to the editors of Chicago Tribune is calling for his head.  I really don’t know whether he’s guilty or not but what is absolutely disgustingly similar to Kuchinchs’ experience is that the very people (Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Congressmen Jesse Jackson Jr., Cook County Board President, etc., etc, etc.) are all in office because of the disgusting patronage practice where each of the above mentioned rode in on their Father’s coat tails without really having had any experience of their own.  Now, I see them interviewed on T.V. by the Media and they proclaim outrage and moral indignity of the Governer’s behavior.  The reality is that as everyone who lives in Chicago knows full well, each and everyone of them live and breath the Chicago mafia like style politics.  And anyone who thinks that somehow Barack Obama (who cut his political teeth in Chicago politics) had no contact with the Governer during the last few months is just simply deluding themselves.  These politicans and the corporations that prop them up are all the same.  I don’t care how clean and honest and “hopeful” with their message of “change” they appear to be.

An excellent article by Dennis Kucinich which shows the parallels and how somethings just never change.  I recall a documentary about how Governer Gray Davis was pushed out of office because another Energy company (Enron was it?) manipulated the power resources of California to such a degree to sow doubt about the Governer’s ability to lead, thereby affecting a recall and then supplanting the position with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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By Jim C, December 15, 2008 at 7:21 am Link to this comment

Actually , the ” deities ” aren’t so much ” in ruins ” as they are demanding homage and alms . Haven’t you noticed the long lines of political high priests paying tribute of taxpayer flesh and wealth to appease and replentish them ? Which of course makes about as much sense as throwing virgins into a volcano to keep it from errupting or make rain . But hey , we live in the land of the dull witted and the brainwashed who worship at the alter of greed and ( gag ) free enterprise , so lets have your first born , the gods of the aristrocracy demand it .

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By KISS, December 15, 2008 at 7:17 am Link to this comment

Well Rep. Dennis Kucinich things haven’t changed much, although today it is on a more grand stage. The crooked banks and their minions are still seeking to bolster their bad decisions at tax-payer’s expense. I hope you can use the power of your office to investigate the Federal Reserve system and make the Treasury Department the head of our monetary system, as it should rightfully be. When banks are policing banks there can be no good forth coming.
I thank you for the service both past and coming from your dedication.

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By Yankee, December 15, 2008 at 5:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hell of a story, good for you to outlast them. Your experience as Mayor is a micro example of what is happening now.  A shame more in Congress didn’t band with the rest of the progressive caucus and should listen to your personal experience.
The Barnett Shale Gas drilling debacle we have going her in N. Texas is almost as bad as far as the collusion of companies/press to hell with the general public.  We never hear a negative word about how great the gas drilling is, except from community groups and the FTW Weekly.  The Fort Worth Mayor Moncrief couldn’t allow enough drilling in the city and ended up squirelling away the proceeds in investment firm of his buddies while cutting city services.  Of course the Fort Worth Star Telegram has nothing bad in its editorials to say since it is lining up to sell its leases on land it owns, too.

We’re waiting for the explosions when the planned non-odored gas is piped throughout the area in plastic lines in an area where the soil constantly shifts.  We’ll be Boom Town but not because we’re rich.

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By Libarchist, December 15, 2008 at 4:52 am Link to this comment

I wish the banks and the autos received no bailout. The unions always treated anti war liberals like dirt—especially during the Vietnam war.

Why not just forgive all debts, as a means to bring prosperity to America?

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