By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
By Charles Lam
In a departure from the usual Bush Lite approach to current events, a Democratic member of Congress stood up in public and openly fought the administration's war on Iraq. On Meet the Press, Dennis Kucinich gave it back to Richard Perle, an administration right-wing ideologue who can scarcely contain himself with excitement over going to war and "democratizing" the Middle East.
Nobody is going to want to vote Democratic unless the elections stop being look-alike contests, with little Bushies sprouting up all over, from pretty boy John Edwards to quintessential opportunist John Kerry to master of equivocation Dick Gephardt. Kucinich could turn out to fill the role of a Jesse Jackson, who stood the party on its head in 1988 with a succession of primary victories in the South and Midwest, which finally required the dispatch to New York of Al Gore, who helped Ed Koch end Jackson's campaign by smearing him. And for what? So the Dems could nominate Michael Dukakis.
The press is currently swooning over former Vermont governor Howard Dean, who is running a campaign on what reporters call "ideas," i.e. such things as a national health-care system and a balanced budget. He is not afraid to maintain taxes at their current levels to pay for social services. And he may gain political support by being a strong backer of Israel. He opposes the Iraq war. And he is a Washington outsider. Vermont is a small state, but it is next door to New Hampshire, where people know Dean and where the former governor can expect a reasonable following.
Kucinich is in part an old-fashioned labor candidate, hailing from the pivotal city of Cleveland in the traditionally key state of Ohio. As Cleveland mayor, he ordered the city to take over and run a private electric utility, a move that was later used by the political opposition to defeat him. In Congress, he has been the floor leader in a backbench battle that ties liberal Democrats together with right-wing Republicans against NAFTA and other trade matters. His tactics are to cross party lines at will, forging coalitions with conservative Republicans. Kucinich and Dean could breathe a little life into the Democratic Party, if the powers that be leave them alone, an unlikely prospect given the money pouring into the other mainstream candidates' war chests.CRUDE BEHAVIOR
The German paper reported that the document had been censored mostly at the urging of the U.S., which is a permanent member of the Security Council. The companies are a Who's Who of American industry, including DuPont, Honeywell, Eastman Kodak, Rockwell, Bechtel and Sperry. Some of these companies have been substantial contributors to political campaigns. Honeywell ranks 12th in the list of defense-industry firms making contributions, pouring $364,227 into the 2000 presidential election cycle, two-thirds of it to Republicans. Asked for comment, a company spokesperson said, "Honeywell does not engage in business with Iraq or any other entity that we suspect would divert our products to Iraq." (For a full list of U.S. companies, see www.villagevoice.com.) Citing various government reports, The Progressive revealed in 1998, "From 1985 to 1990, the United States government approved 771 licenses for the export to Iraq of $1.5 billion worth of biological agents and high-tech equipment with military application." Only 39 applications were rejected. A Senate committee inquiring into American export policies toward Iraq heard testimony in 1992 that Commerce Department personnel "changed information on 68 licenses, that references to military end uses were deleted, and the designation 'military truck' was changed. This was done on licenses having a total value of more than $1 billion." In 1994, a group of veterans sued a group of firms, including American Type Culture Collection, for assisting Iraq in producing or obtaining biochemical agents that the vets said caused Gulf War syndrome. A 1994 Pentagon study found there was no link between the syndrome and chemical and biological agents, but the man who headed the study was a director of a company that produced and sold anthrax to Iraq, according to a Newsday investigation at the time. A suit is still pending against 56 companies; more than 5,000 vets are seeking $1 billion in damages.ASHCROFT'S TERROR RACKET