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General News    H1'ed 4/25/11

Dennis Kucinich Interview Part II; Peace, Power and Social Media

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This is the second of three parts of the transcription of an interview with Dennis Kucinich. This is an excerpt from an interview posted as a podcast on April 13 here:
Dennis Kucinich Podcast
The first portion of the interview transcript was on Libya and Obama's impeachability

Department of Peace
Rob: You have in the past called for a Department of Peace to counter the war department; what's the progress on that?  What's the status of that?

Kucinich:  There's a national movement in support of a cabinet level Department of Peace.  Now, it's not just some airy fairy notion of peace as being some abstraction and has nothing to do with the real with the real world.  It has everything to do with the real world.  It's about peace as an active presence in our lives, about peaceful homes and peaceful communities, and about a way of dealing with conflict resolution that doesn't result in violence.  And nonviolent conflict resolution is the path of the future.  It's the path that catches the rhythms of human unity that are really resounding across the world.  

Nation-states that pursue a path of war are simply repeating a dead dogma from a hundred, 200 years ago where empire was the way that you, where empire was how nations projected their power and having incredible armies to the way that they keep their power.  And so I think that we're at a point in human history where war should be archaic, was should be passà , war should not even be thinkable.  That doesn't mean we don't defend ourselves.  But Libya didn't have any capacity to attack the United States and have the intention or capability of doing it.  So there's no argument here about why we intervened in Libya that makes any constitutional sense.  The question is who are we as a nation?  What is our capacity to be able to evolve as a people?  Can we get to a point where war is no longer inevitable but that peace is inevitable and the only way you can do that is to pursue what Franklin Roosevelt called the science of human relations, which, in doing that leads to the construction of structures in our society that help facilitate peace and we've got to do that.  And the state department has lost its way in that, it too ends up being an agent of the Pentagon.

Rob: Last week I interviewed Joseph Nye.  He just wrote a new book, The Future of Power, and he's the author of the book, Soft Power.  And the impression I got from that is that America's hard power, its military is becoming more and more difficult to use effectively because things are so complicated.  And Libya is a perfect example of that.  All the power we have and we really can't do that much there except lob some cruise missiles in there and from what I understand, the money we spend on smart, on soft power, which can be very, very effective, is something like somewhere between [one thousandth] and [one five hundredth] of what we spend on military power.  It's just a tiny, tiny fraction.  It seems like perhaps maybe the way to move the Department of Peace forward is to talk about it in terms of soft power maybe, [ways that are, ways to have positive ways to get people to move towards what we want rather than forcing them to do it.

Kucinich: Well, any kind of linguistic construction, which challenges the conventional thinking that says that America's position in the world, can only be defined militarily.  Any kind of construction that challenges that is good..  There are some fundamentals there that need to be addressed and that is the idea of power.  There needs to be power for everyone or not for anyone.  That power cannot simply be a measurement of many arms that you have.  Power can be your moral position in the world.  Power can be how you see, how government sees its responsibility to make sure everyone has a job, everyone has an education, everyone has healthcare, everyone has retirement security.  Power can be a measurement of economic activity where the wealth is more even, you know, equitably distributed in a society.  Power can be about a nation's role as a nation among nations, working through diplomacy to achieve peace without having to take up arms.  I mean, there are so many different types of power and there's a moral equation in power, but we've lost it.  We've had such a narrow definition of the meaning of power that we're riveted to power as simply a military extension.  And that, that's where we've gone wrong.  I mean that, I feel that sometimes that we're having discussions that you know, could more properly have taken place about a hundred years ago and that doesn't mean that you don't defend yourself.  We have a right to do that.  But America spending more money than the rest of the world combined isn't making us safer.  It's actually making the world a more risky place.

Rob: We're in a, in the middle of a bottom-up revolution.  The web has facilitated it and it's really taking off so that more and more people are having new ways to participate at a grassroots level in the most basic decision making, and I think this is the kind of power that you're referring to.
Kucinich: Yes.

Social Media
Rob:Do you see a way that this could be more systematically applied to our government to the way that things are decided?

Kucinich: Well yes, I mean you know, social media gives people an opportunity to be heard and to be heard in rather short order.  It's important for government to be in touch the government and we now have means of communicating, which can enable the public to have more interactivity with public officials.  I think that the movement of information in our society is so rapid that sometimes it outstrips the human ability to assimilate the information and then use it.  And that then becomes a matter of judgment.  And so the heavily mediated society puts us in a position where we have the ability to get information on anything.  The question then becomes the ability we have to discriminate and weighing the information and being able to analyze in a way that's consistent with the good of everyone.  But we don't always do that.  We don't know if we have that capability, but I think that social media opens the door for more communication; that's good.  It still comes down to the responsibility of leaders to ultimately tmake the call.

Rob: Do you see a ways that it has changed the way you work?

Kucinich: Do, I'm sorry -?

Rob: Has this change, the social media, changed the way you worked with your constituents, with your leadership, with the role you play in Congress?

Kucinich: Oh sure, I mean you know, to go out and to get a message out, you get so many different ways of getting a message out.  That's really important and to listen to what people have to say.  Actually, there's no longer a monopoly on sources of information.  People come up with information from so many different directions.  

Every person who's in search of knowledge has the opportunity to fulfill their fondest dreams for information by having at his or her fingertip more sources than perhaps anyone ever dreamed of having at any other point in human history.  I mean, we really have to have the ability to get information and in my office you know, I find that it's not difficult to be able to keep up with the pace of events.  It just requires a little bit of research if I try to put that into perspective and that's the value of today's media.
... I'm always, I'm always grateful, Rob, for the work that you do because it's so important to give people information about what's happening so that they can make decisions about their own world based on the best information. 

Rob: Thank you.  Well you gave me a lot more time than you promised.  I want to thank you. 

Kucinich: I know how important it is and I appreciate the opportunity to share some time with you and your listeners and let's talk again, okay. 

Rob: All right.  Thank you so much. 

Kucinich: Thank you, Sir.  Bye now. 
This is an excerpt from an interview posted as a podcast here:
Dennis Kucinich Podcast audio  
The transcript has been organized into three articles:
Libya and Obama's Impeachability y
Peace, Power and Social Media
Wikileaks and Manning
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Rob Kall Social Media Pages: Facebook Page       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media.

Check out his platform at

He is the author of The Bottom-up Revolution; Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity

He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites,

more detailed bio:

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, (more...)

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