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Kucinich, Other Progressives Stand Ground Against Attacks

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I interviewed congressman Dennis Kucinich and other progressive leaders in health care reform to get his response to recent attacks
and to find out his motivation and what would move him to change his
vote. While Markos "Kos" Moulitsas attacks Kucinich, other progressives see him as a hero and saint.

Dennis Kucinich, an unwavering progressive Democrat, is saying that he will vote against the the Health Reform bill, as it stands in the Senate. That stance has led to him being attacked by fellow Democrats and some "progressive" pundits, particularly Markos Moulitsas, who are backing the existing senate and house health reform bills WITHOUT the public option or cover for state efforts to pursue single payer. Responding to me asking his take on Moulitsas attack on Kucinich, progressive talk radio host Thom Hartmann replied, " Progressives attacking Dennis Kucinich is the circular firing squad on steroids.

Photos by Rob Kall

First, here's some background. Markos Moulitsas, founder and owner of attacked Kucinich on the Keith Olbermann show, hosted by fill-in host Lawrence O'Donnell, saying that the response to Kucinich's position might be to "primary" him. The same day, Moulitsas said on his blog, "Dennis Kucinich has always been a little prick, and that hasn't changed. He's someone who deserves a real primary."

Sam Stein of, detailed the conversation between O'Donnel and Moulitsas, in his article, Markos Moulitsas To Kucinich: You'll Be Primaried If You Kill Reform
"The fact is this is a good first step and he is elected not to run for president, which he seems to do every four years," he said.

"[Kucinich] is not elected to grandstand and to give us this ideal utopian society. He is elected to represent the people of his district and he is not representing the uninsured constituents in his district by pretending to take the high ground here."

Pressed by fill-in host Lawrence O'Donnell as to whether a Kucinich would get a Democratic challenger for his seat if he didn't support health care legislation -- and in the process kill it -- Moulitsas replied, "Yeah, absolutely."

What he is doing is undermining this reform," he added. "He is making common cause with Republicans. And I think that is a perfect excuse and a rational one for a primary challenge."
The primary threat is an empty one. It's too late, at least for the 2010 elections. But what a waste, to go after a progressive when there are so many bluedogs to take on. More on that later.
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At, Alex Koppelman writes, in an article, The liberal case against Dennis Kucinich, about how, on Twitter, Moulitsas said, "No one could point to a single Kucinich legislative accomplishment. And of course they couldn't. He has none." Then, Koppelman goes on to agree with Moulitsas.

The fact is, Kucinich is keeping a promise that 77 "progressive" House Democrats signed onto, insisting on a public option. It looks like, at this point, he's the only one left, the only one who has stood up to Obama, Rahm Emanuel and the small state bluedogs who sold out to the insurance companies (and the CT independent senator whose name is not said.

House progressives who signed off on that promise have, apparently broken it. Not cool. One man has the courage to keep his promise and to stand up for what every Democrat knows to be true. The current bill is a sell-out, a gift, as former Cigna communications Director Wendell Potter has told me and repeated over and over again, to the health insurers.

I asked former Cigna Communications director turned health care reform activist Wendell Potter, his take on Kucinich's stand, pointing out that Kucinich isn't calling for single payer. He wants public option-- a robust public option. Potter replied, "Well so do I. I absolutely agree with him. I don't fault him at all for trying. And I think that's a worthy goal. And I hope he has success here. But he might fall short. I don't know if he's going to succeed or not... I think it's wonderful that he's trying it. I hope he succeeds. But if he doesn't succeed, that doesn't mean that this legislation should fail.

There are over 1500 comments on Sam Stein's article at the time I'm writing this. Looking at the most recent page, 48 out of 50 either defend and support Kucinich or attack his attackers. There's a link to a facebook page supporting Kucinich and some of the members of the page include Tim Carpenter, leader of Progressive Democrats of America (100,000+ supporters) and Medea Benjamin, cofounder of Code Pink.
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I'ts a bit ironic to consider what Moulitsas has said recently. Moulitsas, using his pseudoym of Kos, reported that Ezra Klein cited him, "Insurance companies win," Markos Moulitsas tweeted last night. "Time to kill this monstrosity coming out of the Senate." And on Meet the Press, in mid December 2009, he told David Gregory, "I don't think this is a reform bill. I mean, I think it's very clear, this is not insurance or healthcare reform. What it is, it's allowing more people, 30 million people, to buy into the existing broken system..." and "Well, we're still fighting this thing. This, this is not a done deal..."

Well, Dennis Kucinich is STILL fighting.

Tim Carpenter, responding to my question about whether Kucinich's runs for president were of value, told me that they have helped raise awareness of progressive issues and in some cases, helped move the political center of the party to the left.

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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

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Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the

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The problem is that left commentary has been so el... by Joel Myron on Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 2:23:09 PM
I know, Socialism is a bad word, it implies someho... by Hoss Hoss on Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 3:00:08 PM
Private Health insurance is NOT the solution. It i... by Carte Dumonde on Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 3:21:19 PM
First, where was the Kos during Kucinich's last pr... by Dennis Kaiser on Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 3:24:50 PM
IMO, ifObamacare Bill fails to get passed into law... by Kyle Griffith on Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 3:32:19 PM
Your analysis is that the Left is so impotent that... by Blaine Kinsey on Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 4:37:59 PM
There are only a handful of elected officials with... by Kyle Griffith on Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 1:41:44 AM
Your theory is not only illogical, but your own co... by Blaine Kinsey on Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 11:21:33 AM
re: this will make the President and the mainstrea... by Old Uncle Dave on Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 12:39:51 PM
Why think in terms of Dems and Repugs? It's pointl... by BaronVonRothschild on Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 4:40:30 PM
It's nice to see that charlatan Zuniga exposed as ... by Ed Encho on Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 5:03:05 PM
but the direct center of the narcissistic, neo-lib... by Peter Warner on Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 6:03:10 PM
Kucinich is one of the few Democratsin Congress th... by Jeffrey Rock on Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 6:22:49 PM
If you google Moulitsas CIA you will get many entr... by Paul Karsh on Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 7:08:36 PM
see for how they are achievin... by rose white on Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 8:45:55 PM
It all comes downnot to what is best for the peopl... by Robert Arend on Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 11:34:07 PM
Here is what KOS lieutenant Armando said about tho... by Michael Collins on Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 11:46:59 PM
This is one of the worst of the KOS capos, it was ... by Ed Encho on Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 7:25:43 AM
If Moulitsas wants to roll in the gutter with Cong... by Marika on Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 2:23:59 AM
WHAT HAPPENED THE SAME WEEK AS THIS?? Dennis Kuci... by Steve Windisch (jibbguy) on Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 10:44:09 AM
I'm stickin' with Dennis. It's only taken us two h... by Nick van Nes on Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 11:24:08 AM
Good men, who point out that decent folks are bein... by Edward Ulysses Cate on Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 11:31:32 AM
where the discussion needs to begin, right here, w... by Hoss Hoss on Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 12:39:02 PM
IS plain and simple a CIA disinfo agent. Period. E... by julia cresswell on Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 2:58:53 PM
Let's make it happen!... by Miriam Callaghan on Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 3:01:55 PM
Kos says Kucinich is "utopian" by championing Sing... by John Jonik on Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 7:35:25 PM
This Kos outburst ought bring more attention to th... by John Jonik on Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 7:38:16 PM