By David Swanson
My friend Steve Cobble gave Kucinich a great introduction, receiving applause for each point he made about Kucinich's platform and past performance, arguing that Kucinich was right four years ago that opposition to the war and support for fair trade were key to winning, and that's how Democrats won in 2006.
Kucinich opened with the need to cut off the money. He proposed simply not offering any more bills to fund the war. Kucinich won huge applause as he shouted about the troops coming home, the bases being closed, the oil being left to the Iraqi people...
We must challenge the very idea of war in order to reconnect with the nations of the world, Kucinich said. "I believe that the path to peace runs right through Jerusalem," Kucinich said, promising an even-handed approach. He got loud applause for being the first to raise the topic.
Kucinich proposed a cabinet-level department of peace. Again: applause. Through out, people are shouting things like "Thank you" that sound like they come out of frustration with other speeches. Kucinich didn't mention "God" as Clinton had, but mentioned loving your enemies and basing your policies on that principle, which won long applause.
Kucinich said we are threatened by the twin and linked threats of global warring and global warming. Sustainability will bring about peace, Kucinich predicted. Government, he said, "has to play a role in recognizing that the economy is part of the environment and not the other way around."
Kyoto, he said, is just a first step.
Another path to peace is our trade laws, he said. One of my first acts in office will be to cancel NAFTA and the WTO and base our trade on environmental principles. Kucinich won big applause again for a topic that is important to this crowd that has not been raised by the other candidates who have spoken here.
Kucinich had to shout out his proposal for a WGA (Works Green Administration) to be heard through the ongoing applause for his environmental proposals and their connection to peace.
Then Kucinich turned to health care. He stands for HR 676, single-payer, not-for-profit health care. Again: enormous applause, this time on an issue that every candidate has tried to address. Kucinich said he would challenge the private insurance companies (in fact, eliminate them). The other candidates, including Clinton who was just here, said they would work with the insurance companies to achieve a "consensus".
"I reject the idea that a certain amount of unemployment is good for our economy," Kucinich said. "We need a multi-billion dollar investment in our economy every year to create jobs."
Kucinich said that every worker must have the right to organize. Workers rights are human rights. He had to shout over the applause. He's on fire now.
We need to break up the monoplies in agriculture, in oil, ... It is time for us to stand with the farmers of America, breaking up the monopolies. Kucinich is the first candidate we've heard speak of farmers.
Kucinich then turned to another topic that the other candidates have avoided: immigrant rights. He pointed out that he'd entered with Neil Diamond's "Coming to America." Kucinich said he wanted America to again be welcoming of people. The immigrant workers are here because NAFTA collapsed wages in Mexico and people were desperate, and when they came north we subjected them to a system like slave labor. We need to stop blaming the victims, Kucinich said. They need a path to citizenship.
In my first week in office, I will send the Justice Dept to federal court and seek to overturn the PATRIOT Act. Throw out Military Commissions Act. No more illegal spying. LGBT rights. Abortions less necessary through health care.
Impeaching Cheney is a defense of the Constitution. We take a sacred oath to protect the Constitution. The vice presidency and the presidency have to have to have the highest standards. I ask every member of congress to join me in holding the vice president finally accountable. [BIGGEST APPLAUSE YET.]