{ An Autopsy of Democracy }

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Reinstatement of the draft? . . .


Who are the "customers"?? "Human capital"?? "Business processes"? "Manpower Delivery Systems"??


The SSS will be a true partner in the national preparedness community that anticipates and
responds to the changing needs of its customers.


Talented people are essential to achieving expected results. The alignment of human
capital with the Agency’s mission and goals is crucial to the achievement of expected
performance results. This alignment is accomplished by having the right people, with the
right skills, in the right jobs, at the right time. The Agency’s resources and priorities remain
focused on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of its business processes and
maintaining an environment of accountability and meaningful results.


The SSS Strategic Goals identified in the Agency’s Strategic Plan for FY 2001- 2006 are:






Evaluate registration programs and public awareness initiatives by conducting research and focus group sessions with young men and their influencers.

Monitor Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Form I-485 and Form OF-230 electronic data transmissions to Selective Service which result in the automatic registrations of male immigrants.

Support states in their efforts to pass legislation requiring young men to register with Selective Service as a precondition to obtaining a state motor vehicle driver’s permit/license, or state identification card.

Maintain effective and on-going tape/electronic match programs with the Department of Education, the DoD, the Department of Labor, the Office of Personnel Management, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the U.S. Postal Service, and each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles/Public Services.

Maintain effective and on-going Registrar programs to include high schools (see Strategic Objective 2.2), Workforce Investment Act, Farm Workers Opportunity Program, and other programs which reach potential registrants.

FY 2004 Annual Performance Goal

Attain and appoint Registrars in 85% of the Nation’s high schools.


FY- 98: 65% of the Nation’s high schools had Registrars.

Strategic Goal 3: Enhance external and internal customer service
(Projected allocation for FY 2004 – $10,624,000)





Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Bribery, corruption, campaign contributions, big business mergers, and other fun and timely topics.

Charles Lewis of The Center For Public Integrity has gotten some publicity for his book "The Buying of the President 2004." Sounds depressingly like politics as usual. Although I looked at the book in Borders the other day, mainly because I was curious about Kucinich and what "special interests" he's beholden to (his name was barely mentioned in NPR's interview with Lewis or when he was on The Daily Show); turns out Kucinich has gotten a grand total of a few million dollars throughout his entire political career from "special interests"--and all of it was from various and sundry unions. Call me a commy if you like, but I'm O.K. with that. I'm almost pissed off at Lewis for not bothering to point out Kucinich's record, because he clearly has by far the most integrity in this area of all the candidates running.

But. Let's turn to the Grand High Dragon of fund-raising, that lovable rogue "Dub'ya." Don't you love how average working-class people can throw their support behing a guy who holds $1000-per-plate fund-raiser luncheons? Oh, yes: he's looking out for the little guy.

It's like no matter how cynical a person is about politics and the government, all a politician has to do is say "Cut Taxes!" and people are suddenly hypnotized and lose all of their critical faculties; all cynicism washed away in a fluffy new gullibility. "Bush loves us--he wants us to keep our money, damn it. Not like those Democrats, who just want to steal from us." (Never mind the fact that most people don't even have stock options or dividends or extraordinarily wealthy relatives with million-dollar estates.) The fact that W. can say with a straight face that he wants us to keep our money, AND NO ONE BURSTS OUT LAUGHING OR RETCHING, makes me want to live on the moon or in the woods somewhere. Never mind the $400+ Billion with a B dollars every year of OUR money gets thrown away on the Pentagon. Oh, yeah, he wants us to keep our money--except for that mere $1 billion dollars a day, most of which likely ends up in the pockets of such benefactors as Halliburton, Bechtel, Raytheon, The Carlyle Group, . . . .

And then there's that $200 Billion or so spent on the Iraq War--money spent on bombs and destruction. We might just as well have thrown all that money into a big pile in the middle of a desert and lit it on fire (and then thrown about 10,000 Iraqis into the fire, of course--hey, it's easier than using Napalm).


Coming under increasing fire for his failure to clarify his National Guard
record, fix the economy, bring down the cost of health care, and secure
post-war Iraq, President Bush has resorted to attacking his political
opponents as "beholden to special interests and out of touch with regular
Americans." But a look at the more than $320 million that Bush has raised
since 2000 shows that he is the man with the most special interest
connections in American history - and that he has rewarded those special
interests in kind.

Specifically, while the president attacks Senator John Kerry (D-MA) for
accepting money from lobbyists, a new study shows "the president accepted
more in direct contributions from lobbyists in one year than Kerry did in
the past 15 years." All told, Bush collected at least $6.5 million in
"bundled" contributions from lobbyists last year alone.

But that has not stopped Bush from his ad hominem attacks on opponents for
"special interest" connections. Yesterday, for instance, Bush attacked the
US Senate for being beholden to "special interests" for holding up an
insurance industry-backed bill to restrict medical patients from seeking
legal redress in the event of malpractice. Yet, it was Bush who accepted
more than $3 million from the insurance industry before he wrote the bill.

On the campaign trail last year, Bush said, "We can't let the special
interests of Washington prevent us from doing what is necessary to protect
the biggest interest we have, which is the American people." Yet it was Bush
who did the bidding of his friends in the meat processing/meat packing
industries by refusing to protect the American people from Mad Cow disease.
Specifically, Bush refused to enact stringent meat inspection regulations
and delayed country-of-origin labeling laws at the urging of the
agribusiness industry which has given him $5.5 million. To make extra sure
that the agribusiness special interests were protected, Bush also packed the
U.S. Department of Agriculture with agribusiness executives.

Even on issues of war and peace, Bush has put special interests before
almost anything else. As the Center for Public Integrity reported, the more
than 70 companies and individuals that Bush awarded up to $8 billion in
Iraq/Afghanistan contracts have "donated more money to the presidential
campaigns of George W. Bush - a little over $500,000 - than to any other
politician over the last dozen years."

Visit Misleader.org for more about Bush Administration distortion. -->
< http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1331046&l=18426 >






Friday, February 13, 2004

"A Prayer For America" by Dennis Kucinich

A good reminder of why Dennis Kucinich should have been taken seriously from the start; perhaps the most succinct and powerful expression of his vision, the first speech that started the momentum of his campaign . . .

"A Prayer for America

(to be sung as an overture for America) "My country 'tis of thee. Sweet land of liberty of thee I sing. . . .
From every mountain side, let freedom ring. . . . Long may our land be bright. With freedom's holy light. . . ."
" Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave. O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?"
"America, America, God shed grace on thee. And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea. . . . "

I offer these brief remarks today as a prayer for our country, with love of democracy, as a celebration of our country. With love for our country.With hope for our country. With a belief that the light of freedom cannot be extinguished as long as it is inside of us. With a belief that freedom rings resoundingly in a democracy each time we speak freely. With the understanding that freedom stirs the human heart and fear stills it. With the belief that a free people cannot walk in fear and faith at the same time.

With the understanding that there is a deeper truth expressed in the unity of the United States. That implicate in the union of our country is the union of all people. That all people are essentially one. That the world is interconnected not only on the material level of economics, trade, communication, and transportation, but innerconnected through human consciousness, through the human heart, through the heart of the world, through the simply expressed impulse and yearning to be and to breathe free. I offer this prayer for America.

Let us pray that our nation will remember that the unfolding of the promise of democracy in our nation paralleled the striving for civil rights. That is why we must challenge the rationale of the Patriot Act. We must ask why should America put aside guarantees of constitutional justice?

How can we justify in effect canceling the First Amendment and the right of free speech, the right to peaceably assemble?
How can we justify in effect canceling the Fourth Amendment, probable cause, the prohibitions against unreasonable search and seizure?
How can we justify in effect canceling the Fifth Amendment, nullifying due process, and allowing for indefinite incarceration without a trial?
How can we justify in effect canceling the Sixth Amendment, the right to prompt and public trial?
How can we justify in effect canceling the Eighth Amendment which protects against cruel and unusual punishment?

We cannot justify widespread wiretaps and internet surveillance without judicial supervision, let alone with it. We cannot justify secret searches without a warrant. We cannot justify giving the Attorney General the ability to designate domestic terror groups. We cannot justify giving the FBI total access to any type of data which may exist in any system anywhere such as medical records and financial records.

We cannot justify giving the CIA the ability to target people in this country for intelligence surveillance. We cannot justify a government which takes from the people our right to privacy and then assumes for its own operations a right to total secrecy. The Attorney General recently covered up a statue of Lady Justice showing her bosom as if to underscore there is no danger of justice exposing herself at this time, before this administration.

Let us pray that our nation's leaders will not be overcome with fear. Because today there is great fear in our great Capitol. And this must be understood before we can ask about the shortcomings of Congress in the current environment. The great fear began when we had to evacuate the Capitol on September 11. It continued when we had to leave the Capitol again when a bomb scare occurred as members were pressing the CIA during a secret
briefing. It continued when we abandoned Washington when anthrax, possibly from a government lab, arrived in the mail. It continued when the Attorney General declared a nationwide terror alert and then the Administration
brought the destructive Patriot Bill to the floor of the House. It continued in the release of the Bin Laden tapes at the same time the President was announcing the withdrawal from the ABM treaty. It remains present in the
cordoning off of the Capitol. It is present in the camouflaged armed national guardsmen who greet members of Congress each day we enter the Capitol campus. It is present in the labyrinth of concrete barriers through which we must pass each time we go to vote. The trappings of a state of siege trap us in a state of fear, ill equipped to deal with the Patriot Games, the Mind Games, the War Games of an unelected President and his unelected Vice President.

Let us pray that our country will stop this war. "To promote the common defense" is one of the formational principles of America. Our Congress gave the President the ability to respond to the tragedy of September the Eleventh. We licensed a response to those who helped bring the terror of September the Eleventh. But we the people and our elected representatives must reserve the right to measure the response, to proportion the response, to challenge the response, and to correct the response.

Because we did not authorize the invasion of Iraq.
We did not authorize the invasion of Iran.
We did not authorize the invasion of North Korea.
We did not authorize the bombing of civilians in Afghanistan.
We did not authorize permanent detainees in Guantanamo Bay.
We did not authorize the withdrawal from the Geneva Convention.
We did not authorize military tribunals suspending due process and habeas corpus.
We did not authorize assassination squads.
We did not authorize the resurrection of COINTELPRO.
We did not authorize the repeal of the Bill of Rights.
We did not authorize the revocation of the Constitution.
We did not authorize national identity cards.
We did not authorize the eye of Big Brother to peer from cameras throughout our cities.
We did not authorize an eye for an eye.
Nor did we ask that the blood of innocent people, who perished on September 11, be avenged with the blood of innocent villagers in Afghanistan.
We did not authorize the administration to wage war anytime, anywhere, anyhow it pleases.
We did not authorize war without end.
We did not authorize a permanent war economy.

Yet we are upon the threshold of a permanent war economy. The President has requested a $45.6 billion increase in military spending. All defense-related programs will cost close to $400 billion. Consider that the Department of
Defense has never passed an independent audit. Consider that the Inspector General has notified Congress that the Pentagon cannot properly account for $1.2 trillion in transactions. Consider that in recent years the Dept. of
Defense could not match $22 billion worth of expenditures to the items it purchased, wrote off, as lost, billions of dollars worth of in-transit inventory and stored nearly $30 billion worth of spare parts it did not need.

Yet the defense budget grows with more money for weapons systems to fight a cold war which ended, weapon systems in search of new enemies to create new wars. This has nothing to do with fighting terror. This has everything to do with fueling a military industrial machine with the treasure of our nation, risking the future of our nation, risking democracy itself with the militarization of thought which follows the militarization of the budget.

Let us pray for our children. Our children deserve a world without end. Not a war without end. Our children deserve a world free of the terror of hunger, free of the terror of poor health care, free of the terror of homelessness, free of the terror of ignorance, free of the terror of hopelessness, free of the terror of policies which are committed to a world view which is not appropriate for the survival of a free people, not appropriate for the survival of democratic values, not appropriate for the survival of our nation, and not appropriate for the survival of the world.

Let us pray that we have the courage and the will as a people and as a nation to shore ourselves up, to reclaim from the ruins of September the Eleventh our democratic traditions. Let us declare our love for democracy. Let us declare our intent for peace. Let us work to make nonviolence an organizing principle in our own society. Let us recommit ourselves to the slow and painstaking work of statecraft, which sees peace, not war as being inevitable. Let us work for a world where someday war becomes archaic.

That is the vision which the proposal to create a Department of Peace envisions. Forty-three members of congress are now cosponsoring the legislation. Let us work for a world where nuclear disarmament is an imperative. That is why we must begin by insisting on the commitments of the ABM treaty. That is why we must be steadfast for nonproliferation.

Let us work for a world where America can lead the way in banning weapons of mass destruction not only from our land and sea and sky but from outer space itself. That is the vision of HR 3616: A universe free of fear. Where we can look up at God's creation in the stars and imagine infinite wisdom, infinite peace, infinite possibilities, not infinite war, because we are taught that the kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven.

Let us pray that we have the courage to replace the images of death which haunt us, the layers of images of September the Eleventh, faded into images of patriotism, spliced into images of military mobilization, jump cut into
images of our secular celebrations of the World Series, New Year's Eve, the Superbowl, the Olympics, the strobic flashes which touch our deepest fears, let us replace those images with the work of human relations, reaching out to people, helping our own citizens here at home, lifting the plight of the poor everywhere. That is the America which has the ability to rally the support of the world. That is the America which stands not in pursuit of an axis of evil, but which is itself at the axis of hope and faith and peace and freedom.

America, America. God shed grace on thee. Crown thy good, America. Not with weapons of mass destruction. Not with invocations of an axis of evil. Not through breaking international treaties. Not through establishing America as king of a unipolar world. Crown thy good America.

America, America. Let us pray for our country. Let us love our country. Let us defend our country not only from the threats without but from the threats within. Crown thy good, America. Crown thy good with brotherhood, and sisterhood. And crown thy good with compassion and restraint and forbearance and a commitment to peace, to democracy, to economic justice here at home and throughout the world. Crown thy good, America. Crown thy good America. Crown thy good.

Thank you."






Just a reminder of who the anti-war candidate is . . .

I know everyone hates internal bickering within the Democratic Party. But the fact remains that the best man is not going to win . . .

Finally, Howard Dean has recently decided to start acknowledging that Dennis Kucinich has always opposed the war (thanks, but a little late, Howard). Perhaps soon the media might decide to do the same--for the same reason that Dean is now willing to do so: namely, there's no longer any risk. There's nothing to lose, once it's clear that the self-fulfilling prophecy has fulfilled itself, and Dennis has not won the nomination.

And even Dean, if you've listened closely, is not really all that anti-war. (He is most certainly NOT the peace candidate.)

And in fact most of the other candidates (in fact, all of the "front-runners") have helped to echo the war drums by echoing the administrations WMD claims. (To be fair, really the most we can fault them with is believing the President of the United States; still, their credulity should give us pause . . .)

Anyway, for the record, Dennis has been saying all along that there has been no solid evidence that Iraq has had WMD's since 1998; and he, unlike Kerry and Edwards, voted against the war and has always strongly opposed it:

"Kucinich: 5 Dem Candidates Promoted WMD Claims -- 1/25/04

Please forward this to every Democrat you know.

Democratic Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich today said that based on the public record five of his fellow candidates promoted the idea that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

"The implications of this are enormous," Kucinich said. "They were either misled or looked the other way while President Bush was using the alleged presence of weapons of mass destruction as a reason to go to war against Iraq. Either way, these candidates have seriously undermined their ability to win in the general election when President Bush is obviously running for reelection based on his Iraq policies.

"Yesterday the leader of the U.S. search for Iraq's alleged stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons said he didn't think there were any. Secretary of State Colin Powell now claims we went to war to find out whether such weapons existed.

"Senators Kerry, Lieberman and Edwards, Dr. Dean, and General Clark, all claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and, therefore, contributed to the political climate which falsely justified a war.

"In September of 2002, before five of my fellow candidates joined the President in claiming that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, I repeatedly and insistently made the point that no proof of that claim existed and as such that there was no basis to go to war. Six months later, even Dr. Dean was still claiming that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. "

The Institute for Public Accuracy has compiled the following quotes, [listed in chronological order]:

[August 4, 2002] Sen. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: "Every day Saddam remains in power with chemical weapons, biological weapons, and the development of nuclear weapons is a day of danger for the United States. " [See: <http://www.counterpunch.org/wmd05292003.html>, <http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,59538,00.html

[Sept. 12, 2002] Rep. DENNIS KUCINICH: "Since 1998 no credible intelligence has been brought forward which suggests that Iraq is manufacturing weapons of mass destruction. . . " [See: <http://www.house.gov/kucinich/press/pr-020912-avoidwar.htm>, <http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/oh10_kucinich/030604WMDinqres.html

[Oct. 9, 2002] Sen. JOHN KERRY: "Why is Saddam Hussein attempting to develop nuclear weapons when most nations don't even try? & According to intelligence, Iraq has chemical and biological weapons . . . Iraq is developing unmanned aerial vehicles capable of delivering chemical and biological warfare agents. . . " [See: <http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0826-03.htm> <http://www.johnkerry.com/pressroom/speeches/spc_2002_1009.html >]

[Oct. 10, 2002] Sen. JOHN EDWARDS: "We know that he [Hussein] has chemical and biological weapons. " [See: <http://www.senate.gov/~edwards/statements/20021010_iraq.html

[Jan. 18, 2003] Gen. WESLEY CLARK: "He [Hussein] does have weapons of mass destruction. " When asked, "And you could say that categorically?" Clark responded: "Absolutely. " (on CNN, Jan. 18, 2003). On finding the alleged weapons Clark said: "I think they will be found. There's so much intelligence on this. " (on CNN, April 2, 2003) [See: <http://www.fair.org/press-releases/clark-antiwar.html>, <http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0301/18/smn.05.html>, <http://www-cgi.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0304/02/lt.08.html

[Jan. 31, 2003] Rev. AL SHARPTON: "I think that the present administration is bent on war. There has been no, in my judgment, evidence presented there has been any weapons of mass destruction. " (on NPR, Jan. 31, 2003)

[March 17, 2003] Dr. HOWARD DEAN: "[He and others] have never been in doubt about the evil of Saddam Hussein or the necessity of removing his weapons of mass destruction. " [See: <http://www.wtv-zone.com/Morgaine_OFaery/HDean4pres/deantrpswar.html

Kucinich, who led the effort in the House of Representatives in challenging the Bush Administration's march toward war attempted repeatedly to warn America that there was no basis to go to war:

On Sep. 3, 2002, on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, Dennis Kucinich said, "I don't think there's any justification to go to war with Iraq. There's no evidence that they have weapons of mass destruction. There's no. . . there's nothing that says that they have the ability to deliver such weapons, if they did have them. There's been no stated intention on their part to harm the United States. "

On Sep. 4, 2002, on Buchanan and Press, Buchanan asked "Congressman Kucinich, does not the President have a clear, factual point here? Saddam Hussein is developing these weapons of mass destruction, he agreed to get rid of them, he has not gotten rid of them. Kucinich replied: "Well, frankly we haven't seen evidence or proof of that, and furthermore we haven't seen evidence or proof that he has the ability to deliver such weapons if he has them, and finally, whether or not he has the intent. I think that what we need to be doing is to review this passion for war, that drumbeat for war, that's coming out of the White House, and to slow down and to let calmer heads prevail and to pursue diplomacy…. "

On Sep. 7, 2002, Dennis Kucinich gave a speech in Baraboo, Wisconsin, called "Architects of New Worlds," in which he said "There's no evidence Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, or the ability to deliver such weapons if it had them or the intention to do so. There is no reason for war against Iraq. Stop the drumbeat. Stop the war talk. Pull back from the abyss of unilateral action and preemptive strikes. " See: http://www.house.gov/kucinich/press/sp-020907-newworlds.htm

Please forward this to every Democrat you know.


Keep an eye on the media!

Contribute online: https://www.kucinich.us/contribute.php


Dennis yesterday announced plans to create as President a full public
inquiry into why the Bush Administration made the claims it did about
weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He asked the other Democratic
candidates to make the same commitment. Some of them may be reluctant
to do so, judging by the following transcript excerpts from today's
Democracy Now! Program:

JEREMY SCAHILL: Governor Dean, why did you say in March 2003 that
Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction? Governor Dean? Why did you say --
HOWARD DEAN: I thought he did.
JEREMY SCAHILL: What intelligence did you base that on?
HOWARD DEAN: Talks with people who were knowledgeable, including a series
of folks that work in the Clinton administration.
JEREMY SCAHILL: Were you wrong?
HOWARD DEAN: Maybe. I don't know. Probably not the best time to talk about it.


AMY GOODDMAN: Senator Kerry -- quick question. You said that Saddam Hussein was
developing nuclear weapons when other nations wouldn't try. What intelligence
was that based on?
JOHN KERRY: I don't know what report -- I don't know what you are talking about.
AMY GOODDMAN: You said Saddam Hussein was developing nuclear weapons.
JOHN KERRY: When did I say that? I don't recall. I don't know.
AMY GOODDMAN: You said he was developing chemical and biological weapons.
JOHN KERRY: I never said he was developing nuclear. I believe I said --
AMY GOODDMAN: You said, why is Saddam Hussein attempting to develop nuclear weapons.
JOHN KERRY: Attempting to, because he did. He did attempt to.
AMY GOODDMAN: According to intelligence, Iraq has chemical and biological weapons.
JOHN KERRY: Say it again?
AMY GOODDMAN: You said according to intelligence, Iraq has biological and
chemical weapons.
JOHN KERRY: That's what we were told. Right.
AMY GOODDMAN: Is that intelligence wrong? Do you think Bush -- you made a
wrong statement, then? Because Kucinich at the time was saying no credible sources
were there, but you are saying --
JOHN KERRY: I'm sorry, we're going to have to do --
JEREMY SCAHILL: Amy was then told by Kerry's people to stop asking questions and
the press could ask them later. But when she asked if there would be an avail after
the event, press lingo for press availability, Kerry's staffers conceded that there
would be none. We persisted in our questioning of Kerry on this issue.
JEREMY SCAHILL: Senator Kerry, why did you say that Saddam Hussein had weapons of
mass destruction?
STAFFER: We have to get the Apollo crew in here.
JEREMY SCAHILL: Answer the question, senator Kerry. Why did you accuse Saddam of having
weapons of mass destruction?"





Thursday, February 12, 2004

Once again, Kucinich mass-ignored in the mass media

Did anyone know that Kucinich won 3rd in Washington and Maine? (If you didn't, don't feel bad--probably almost NO ONE does . . .)

O.K., the herd mentality (call it unity or solidarity, I suppose) triumphs again, as John Kerry's ascendancy to the presidential nomination seems all but inevitable. Gephardt's gone, Lieberman's gone (good riddance), and now Clark's gone (too soon, I'd say). If we're honest, it's between Kerry and Edwards. And I have to say that--saddened as I am about Kucinich's low voter turnout--I'm a bit heartened by Edwards's surge that started in Iowa; because to me it seemed he was being ignored by the media almost as severely as was Kucinich, yet he overcame that. And, in fact, I really like Edwards. (I'd like to hear some concrete, practical plans rather than just all the rhetoric, but at least I agree with the rhetoric.)

And, if we're honest, I think we all must admit (I don't mean "all" as in "all of us Kucinich supporters," I mean "all" as in "everyone") that Kucinich has been consistently, consciously and deliberately ignored and dismissed.

There's no longer any reasonable explanation for it. It's not as though these people reporting on the race are ignorant somehow; they know what's going on--that's their job, to report on the campaigns, and they know very well that Kucinich is running--and they choose not to cover Kucinich's campaign.

You might say, "Well, obviously there was no reason to cover it since he's doing so poorly, clearly they were right to say that he never had a chance in the first place, and so they did exactly what they should have done." Which, of course, simply begs the question. There's circular reasoning here. And anyone who thinks media coverage of elections and campaigns does not guide public knowledge and opinion is simply blind. (Look at what happened to Howard Dean--practically overnight.)

In my mind, there is no doubt whatsoever that if Dennis had gotten the same coverage as Dean got, they would be in exactly the same boat in terms of popularity and success in the primaries. (Anyone who's paid any attention at all to the media coverage, just do this simple thought experiment. Can there really be any doubt?)

In case some think this is just "poor sportsmanship" or something of the sort--blaming the media for an inevitably doomed campaign--here are some numbers to back up my conviction:

Media For Democracy analysis of network coverage in January shows that anointed contestants John Kerry, Howard Dean, Wesley Clark and John Edwards received 93.8 percent of Democratic candidate coverage by CBS, NBC and ABC's nightly newscasts. Candidates Al Sharpton, Joe Lieberman and Dennis Kucinich, on the other hand, garnered a cumulative 6.2 percent of coverage in January.

The international media watchdog group Media Tenor, after performing an exhaustive review, determined that the nightly half-hour national news broadcasts from ABC, CBS and NBC devoted exactly 0.94% of their coverage to the Kucinich campaign.

And the point is not Dennis would win if given enough publicity. It's very likely that he would not. (Although, you have to ask: when you've got a candidate who opposed the war as strongly and vocally as Dennis, opposed the Patriot Act, who has a plan for getting out of Iraq, who promises universal health care, free college and pre-kindergarten education for all, and who puts the working class above the corporate class and takes no special interest funds . . . when this guy can't win, something is VERY, VERY screwed up in this country and with this party.) Not all Democrats opposed the war, and that's not the most important issue for many of them. My biggest gripe is that Kucinich is never mentioned for his opposition to the war--or for anything else, for that matter, but AT LEAST they should give him that much credit: CALL HIM THE ANTI-WAR CANDIDATE, which he is; it doesn't mean he'll win, but just be HONEST about the candidates and the issues.

O.K., to the immediate point: finally some people are finding out about Dennis, and he's "rising above the sidewalk," as he puts it. He took third place in Washington and then third again in Maine (with 16%, which isn't at all bad). Why not cover this? Why not AT LEAST MAKE SOME BLOODY MENTION OF IT? The media is silent.

The Kucinich campaign noted that CNN, the day after the Washington primary in which Kucinich took third and the day before the Maine caucus in which he would also take third, made the false claim that no one except Dean had campaigned in Maine that day. . . .


Presidential race:

In a report on the Maine caucus, you claimed that Howard Dean was the only candidate campaigning in the state. You must have been extremely surpsired, then, when Dennis Kucinich came in third in Maine with 16% of the vote. In fact, Dennis had been campaigning at the caucus site as well as in four other cities in Maine that day. Furthermore, since this was a day after Dennis took third place in Washington (beating Edwards, Clark, and Sharpton), some mention of his campaign might have been appropriate, one would think.

As one who has been watching Kucinich's campaign for quite some time, and observed the media coverage (or rather, lack thereof) of his campaign, I am constantly dismayed at the reprehensible behavior of the media in undermining the democratic process by ignoring (seemingly deliberately, for whatever reason) certain candidates--not just now, when the winner seems all but chosen already, but a year and a half before the election, continuing all the way up until now.

This bizarre phenomenon is certainly not unique to CNN. (I myself have written to NPR about this issue recently as well.) In fact, the international media watchdog group Media Tenor, after performing an exhaustive review, determined that the nightly half-hour national news broadcasts from ABC, CBS and NBC devoted exactly 0.94% of their coverage to the Kucinich campaign.

You may have corrected this last omission (and I hope you have) in recent days. Such corrections are too little too late, however. Please try to do a more honest and thorough job of covering all the candidates and all the issues in the future. You have more responsibility than perhaps you realize; and, unfortunately, the quality of our republic depends in large measure on the quality of the press and the television media that must inform the populus and helps shape their vision of what is true and of what is possible.

Thank you very much,

Dustin Hansen
St. Paul, MN

Tell CNN You Want Fair Coverage For Kucinich

Dennis Kucinich has finished both the Washington and Maine caucuses ahead of candidates John Edwards, Wesley Clark and Al Sharpton. This represents the strongest back-to-back showing of his campaign to date. One would think that such a clear surge would require coverage from the national media. One would be wrong.

On the evening of February 8th, as Dennis Kucinich was running strong in Maine, and a day after defeating Edwards, Clark and Sharpton in Washington, CNN put out a report on the Maine caucuses. In this report, CNN stated that, "Dean, struggling to revive his once-promising campaign, was the only candidate who campaigned in the state Sunday, making stops in six cities."; The facts fully dispute CNN's version of events.

Dennis Kucinich spoke at the Bangor Civic Center caucus site which was filled with television cameras, as well as caucus sites in Lewiston, Auburn, Portland and Westbrook. Clearly, Howard Dean was not the only candidate in Maine on February 8th.

The behavior of CNN is not unique. The international media watchdog group Media Tenor, after performing an exhaustive review, determined that the nightly half-hour national news broadcasts from ABC, CBS and NBC devoted exactly 0.94% of their coverage to the Kucinich campaign.

Dennis Kucinich has begun a strong surge in the race for the Democratic nomination. He is in this race to the end. The time has come for the national media to get wise to this, and at a minimum, to begin reporting basic facts with accuracy and integrity.

Encourage CNN to give Dennis fair coverage. Write CNN at http://www.cnn.com/feedback/ . The most effective letters are original, brief, polite, and stick to the facts.


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Campaign Roadkill: Pay-to-Play Steamrolls the Underdogs

The Federal Communications Commission has let the 1971 "lowest unit rate" statute become riddled with loopholes, to such an extent that today broadcasters routinely exploit our democracy by overcharging candidates to run political ads. This abuse forces out of the race candidates who can't raise special interest money to buy airtime.

The 1971 provision was designed to ensure that broadcast companies do not exploit candidates when they seek to advertise prior to an election. The real beneficiary of the law is supposed to be the public. But Chairman Michael Poweel and his like-minded colleagues at the FCC have let slide enforcement of the statute, allowing local broadcast affiliates to raise the cost of pre-election political ads. In so doing, they have closed the political process to most candidates, barred broadcast media as an avenue for minority viewpoints, and heightened the importance of special interest money in determining election outcomes.

The FCC has taken a pass on its responsibility to regulate the industry. The net effect is broadcast media that have taken control of the democratic process, demanding that candidates raise multi-million dollar war chests in order to be considered contenders. Local broadcast affiliates are the single largest recipient of this campaign money, and the most frequent abusers of the statute.

It's time the FCC started paying attention to the will of the people, instead of serving the bottom-line interests of media companies. Tell Chairman Powell to fulfill his sworn duty to make media more fair, democratic and accountable.

Best regards,

Rebecca, Elizabeth, Danny, Doug and Tim
The Media For Democracy Team

What's At Stake:

The murky relationship of money, media and politics becomes crystal clear when it comes to advertising. If a candidate can't deliver cash to buy political spots from local broadcasters, his or her run for office is dead on arrival.

This is compounded by the network news organizations whose journalists in the last week have decamped in droves from the campaigns of the lesser-runs to hitch a ride with the "contenders."

Media For Democracy analysis of network coverage in January shows that anointed contestants John Kerry, Howard Dean, Wesley Clark and John Edwards received 93.8 percent of Democratic candidate coverage by CBS, NBC and ABC's nightly newscasts. Candidates Al Sharpton, Joe Lieberman and Dennis Kucinich, on the other hand, garnered a cumulative 6.2 percent of coverage in January.

Back-of-the-pack candidates vying for more exposure in the media mix, must turn to local affiliates to get their messages across to voters. But these broadcast outlets are doing little to help. In the 2002 mid term elections, local television stations jacked up the prices of political ads by an average of more than 50 percent, according to a report by the Alliance for Better Campaigns. The biggest culprit of them all was Fox affiliate KTXL in Sacramento, which hiked advertising rates more than 250 percent prior to the 2002 elections.

 "We have no evidence to suggest that local affiliates will behave more honorably in 2004" said Meredith McGehee, president and executive director of the Alliance for Better Campaigns.

McGehee cites these abuses despite a "lowest unit charge" federal statute enacted in 1971 to prevent such pre-election profiteering. Under the statute, broadcasters -- who pay nothing for their licenses to use publicly owned airwaves -- are prohibited from charging candidates more for ad time than they charge their high volume, year-round advertisers. This provision was designed to ensure that candidates are not exploited by market forces for their need to advertise in a compressed period of time prior to an election.

"The statute as currently written and enforced is inadequate," McGehee said. "If there's something the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] can do to enforce it, they have not."

"Candidates who try to take advantage of the lowest-unit-charge provision risk having their ads bumped to a less desirable time slot if another advertiser is willing to pay more," McGehee said.

David Swanson, who until last week was the press secretary for the Dennis Kucinich campaign, said, "paying money at all for television advertising is unfair and wrong. The public owns these airwaves and there ought to be substantial free airtime for political campaigns."

In search of a fatter bottom line, broadcast media outlets are squeezing second tier candidates out of the democratic process. As local affiliates hike ad rates to exploit increased demand come voting day, those who can't pay the multi-million-dollar price tag for political ads are declared "unelectable" and left in the dark.

As we enter the middle stretch of the Democratic race, candidates with dwindling war chests have few options but to bow to a media system that dictates who runs and for how much.

Those missing from this process, of course, are the voters themselves.

By Timothy Karr

By one key measure, Kucinich boasts a larger base of supporters
than almost any other candidate. The chart below displays the
amount of money each candidate has raised from small donors
(those giving $200 or less). This is a critical figure, essentially
an index of the number of loyalists each contender has amassed. Of
the eight candidates for whom data was available, Kucinich came in
second in small contributions -- behind Dr. Howard Dean, but ahead
of all other "top-tier" candidates, such as Sen. John Kerry and Rep.
Richard Gephardt.

Through the third quarter, based on data from the Center for
Responsive Politics, the Kucinich campaign had brought in $2,188,700
from contributors giving $200 or less. This compares to Kerry's
$2,067,116, Gephardt's $1,640,029, Lieberman's $1,060,141, Clark's
$1,042,678, Edwards' $419,756, and Sharpton's $24,614.

In current numbers as of January 26, the Kucinich campaign has brought
in over $3,038,000 from 60,890 contributors of $200 or less, including
$882,653 from 16,356 Californians, $194,631 from 3,971 New Yorkers,
$131,822 from 2,646 Ohioans, and $115,036 from 2,259 small donors in

To see a graph depicting this, click here:





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