The Gravel Surge Starts Now

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Dennis Kucinich is out of the presidential race:

Kucinich will make the announcement Friday at a news conference in Cleveland. In an exclusive interview with Plain Dealer editors and reporters, Kucinich said he will explain his "transitioning" tomorrow. "I want to continue to serve in Congress," he said.

Like Ron Paul, Kucinich has drawn blood-in-the-water-sniffing candidates for his House seat. Unlike Paul, Kucinich's challengers are well-organized and don't have to compete with tens of millions of dollars in fundraising. (There's more than one challenger, though, and they could split the vote, so Kucinich isn't yet seen as endangered.)

I don't think Kucinich made any impact in this race, apart from moving a few liberal votes to Obama in Iowa, but he's struck me in my dealings as a decent guy with a politician-sized ego. Brian Doherty sang his praises in November.


NEXT: The Accidental Congressman

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  1. Hugo Chavez in an alien suit…

  2. Aside from Gravel and Paul, he’s the only candidate who doesn’t love $600 Billion Pentagon budgets and American Imperialism…sad.

  3. let us know when America conquers Canada, like any true imperialist would.

  4. should he endorse paul, given their ideological gulf? paul has said he wouldn’t endorse kucinich, despite their mutual personal regard.

  5. America does not conquer countries militarily unless they need to, they would rather do so economically…but having 750+ military bases outside its borders is good enough proof for me.

  6. i can see how “kucinich has said he won’t endorse any other Democrat [emphasis added] in the race..” might suggest that…

  7. America does not conquer countries militarily unless they need to, they would rather do so economically.

    Conquer a country economically? What, by sending them exploding trade compacts?

  8. We give them our fiat currency and then point and laugh when it devalues!

  9. let us know when America conquers Canada, like any true imperialist would.

    Are you familiar with the standard definition of imperialists? Do you realize all those European imperialist countries were crammed in together and didn’t tend to conquer each other much, just far-flung countries on other continents?

    Also, that bit about economic conquerage is pretty inane (although maybe not as inane as the term ‘conquerage’?).

  10. I meant James’ bit about economic conquerage, btw.

  11. “Incoming jobs!”
    *BOOM*

  12. Also, that bit about economic conquerage is pretty inane (although maybe not as inane as the term ‘conquerage’?).

    Economic Imperialism?

  13. For reference please see the books “Confessions of an Economic Hitman”, and “Secret History of the American Empire”, both by John Perkins…it will give you some clue as to what I am talking about.

  14. On John Perkins:
    “This man is a frothing conspiracy theorist, a vainglorious peddler of nonsense, and yet his book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, is a runaway bestseller.”
    — The Washington Post

    Nice source, James. Nice source.
    Next.

  15. Well, since the Washington Post is gospel to you, I would also recommend ‘The Bush Agenda: Invading the World One Economy at a Time’ by Antonia Juhasz. I am assuming that you are calling Perkins a liar since he worked for these companies…but you do that baselessly.

  16. When you are done with that try..”Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq” by Stephen Kinzer

  17. Hey James, “Democracy Now” is on. Go stroke it.

  18. Do you realize all those European imperialist countries were crammed in together and didn’t tend to conquer each other much, just far-flung countries on other continents?

    Its not like they didn’t try to conquer each other off and on for hundreds of years, you know. Leaving aside all the medieval toing and froing, we have Napoleon, we have miscellaneous Germans and Italians “unifying” their previously independent neighbors into nation-states, and, of course, more recently we have the short-lived Third Reich and the longer-lived Warsaw Pact.

    Just setting the record straight.

  19. Jamie, you are just kind of a prick…well within the libertarian mainstream who neurotically suspects the gov’t of every kind of misfeasance and malfeasance but believes every word from the lips of businessmen and large corporations when facts are on your side or not, it is doubtful if you ever check them out as they might harm your ideological purity, but if you decide to learn something we’ll talk.

  20. Jamie, you are just kind of a prick

    I’m more of an engorged tube steak with cream filling, but yeah, you’re on the right path.
    And when you can begin to see some different colors looking through that red fucking filter in front of your fat head, maybe YOU’LL learn something.
    Conspiratorial shitstain.

  21. [shacking head] Children, children. If you can’t play nice there will be no dessert!

  22. “Jamie Kelly | January 24, 2008, 5:11pm | #

    On John Perkins:
    “This man is a frothing conspiracy theorist, a vainglorious peddler of nonsense, and yet his book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, is a runaway bestseller.”
    — The Washington Post

    Nice source, James. Nice source.
    Next.”

    That quote could quite accurately be describing Ron Paul, now couldn’t it? 😛

  23. (well, except for the specifics of his success)

  24. R C — For starters, you certainly should leave aside “all the medieval toing and froing,” as medieval (and before) empires stand under a different definition than post-medieval “imperialist” nations. By all means let “the record” (you mean, like, factual history?) show that imperialist European countries did engage in direct aggression toward each other at times, but the point is that the main form of imperialist aggression is conducted indirectly and at a location far away from the imperialist’s home country. You obviously know enough history that I should not need to cite from the extensive list of potential examples. Thus it is not a valid test of the U.S.’s status as an imperialist country to check whether we have tried to conquer Canada (again).

    James — I will have to concede that I cannot read those books this afternoon, and as such I must admit I have to leave you unanswered. Perhaps it was bad form on my part to use a word as strong as “inane” without being educated enough to back it up? (Maybe that makes me a little inane?)

  25. 750+ military bases outside of our borders…

  26. 750+ military bases outside of our borders…

    And I want most of them closed.
    Your point about “economic imperialism” is relevent here how?

  27. I would agree btw that the U.S. does plenty of “military” imperialism, including indirect or quasi-military stuff a la Latin America.

  28. ***let us know when America conquers Canada, like any true imperialist would.***

    Not that we haven’t tried:
    http://www.kansaspress.ku.edu/barnia.html

  29. James, some of the biggest opponents of imperialism have themselves been capitalists.

    Ever hear of the Anti-Imperialist League? It was the first organization founded to protest American Imperialism, and it was funded by Andrew Carnaige and other wealthy industrialists.

  30. 750+ military bases outside of our borders…

    Could you define “base” and provide a link, please? I’m sorta curious as to how that number was arrived at, as its kinda really big. Maybe they don’t but I cannot help but suspect 10 guys in a weather hut at Thule might count as part of our imperial outreach program.

  31. James, you do also realize that countries like Germany and South Korea are sovreign democracies and their Parliaments could vote to tell us to leave anytime they want right? I think the basis should be closed, but the Germans and South Koreans seem to like the idea of having American military bases.

  32. I think there may be something basically problematic about saying that “the Germans” want this and “the South Koreans” don’t want that.

  33. Would all the notes that foreign countries have on american holdings that will soon be worth bubkis count as economic imperialism?

  34. Check out this article entitled “America’s Empire of Bases” by Chalmers Johnson.

    http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0115-08.htm

  35. Seattle is weeping. Leaving behind thousands of Volvo’s and Subaru’s with Kucinich ’08 bumper stickers.

  36. takix out of the gate w/ the win.

  37. As far as economic imperialism goes it is as easy to see as the phony ‘free trade’ agreements signed by the United States and other nations, which as one might expect are not simply free trade but an orgy of protections for U.S. firms and special interests which is why they are thousands of pages long instead of one or two pages…these treaties are based on the relative strength of the nations involved not simply a leveling of the playing field.

  38. Check out this article entitled “America’s Empire of Bases” by Chalmers Johnson.

    Not exactly the level of detail I was looking for. It’s all well and good to say 750+ bases, but when we don’t know what that means its silly. Is a military weather station a base?

    I read part of Johnson’s Blowback book, but eventually had to give it up as a senselessly biased. Anyone who pretends that the US did not seriously cut back on its military after the Cold War is not arguing in good faith. You could say it should have been more, but to act like it didn’t happen is just a lie.

  39. let us know when America conquers Canada…

    54?40′ or Fight! …damn maple sucking puck slappers.

    …the phony ‘free trade’ agreements signed by the United States and other nations, which as one might expect are not simply free trade but an orgy of protections for U.S. firms and special interests which is why they are thousands of pages long instead of one or two pages…

    I agree with that much. Let me ask you this, though – would you agree to a unilateral free trade agreement with a country that had tariffs against American goods?

  40. Hmm. Maybe if I’d tried harder, I could have fit in a couple more “agree”s.

  41. Cesar – James, you do also realize that countries like Germany and South Korea are sovreign democracies and their Parliaments could vote to tell us to leave anytime they want right? I think the basis should be closed, but the Germans and South Koreans seem to like the idea of having American military bases.

    First, I do agree with you they should be shut down. I’m not sure though, what your point is in regards to the US not being asked to leave. I’d say that South Korea especially would have a huge incentive in our remaining in the region, we’re a rather significant “presence” there that makes them a lot less attractive a target to North Korea (if they weren’t in fact starving to death). In general as well, our presence is potentially and practically a revenue source for the host countries, I’m sure many of them benefit very much from our presence whether or not they all want us there.

    However, I’m not sure if their wanting us to stay is something to base our policy on, it seems to me more rational to assume that we are in those countries for our own reasons with the consent of the government, and if we were asked to leave we would. That does not mean that we should stay until we are asked to leave, we merely have the option to do so.

  42. All semantic arguements for whether or not America constitues an Economic Imperialism aside, I’m curious to see who Kucinich dropping out benefits the most in the primaries, if he doesn’t endorse anyone.

  43. “Anyone who pretends that the US did not seriously cut back on its military after the Cold War is not arguing in good faith”

    I don’t know about that…the fact is that the United States spends almost as much on the military as the rest of the world combined. We are also the #1 weapons dealer in the world, including to dictatorships. These facts aren’t really questioned.
    Just read the PNAC website and you will see the Neocon version of the world, it is all about military dominance.

  44. Kucinich always reminded me of a larger-than-life wooden vintriloquist dummy.

  45. Roger,

    You’re right, that’s exactly what he looks like. Tough nuts for him, since that’s one of the things that definitely factors into peoples’ willingness to take a candidate seriously.

  46. Are you suggesting that Kucinich is a member of the Sex Party?

  47. “I’m leaving to spend more time with my incredibly hot wife.”

  48. Let me ask you this, though – would you agree to a unilateral free trade agreement with a country that had tariffs against American goods?

    Let’s see — get rid of our taxes on imported goods, even if they don’t drop their taxes on our exported goods?

    Ya betcha. Why on earth do people think that lowering an American tax should somehow be contingent upon a foreign country lowering one of their taxes? If, say, France raises their income tax should we scramble and raise ours too?

  49. the point is that the main form of imperialist aggression is conducted indirectly and at a location far away from the imperialist’s home country.

    I suspect Wellington would disagree with you there, as would the current denizens of Eastern Europe.

    Seriously, to argue that the Napoleonic Wars and WWII in Europe all by themselves don’t constitute the majority of European aggression in the last 200 years is to ignore some pretty significant body counts.

    Thus it is not a valid test of the U.S.’s status as an imperialist country to check whether we have tried to conquer Canada (again).

    I wouldn’t dispute that. I was merely pointing out that only counting empire-building activities far from your borders as “imperialism” is absurd. Historically speaking, most empire-building is attempted in the neighborhood, so to speak.

  50. There is a difference, though.

    Napoleon actually wanted to make a larger area of Europe part of the French country, while Louis XIV just wanted to set up colonies.

    They are both imperialism, it’s true, but different kinds.

  51. Allow me to say, as someone who lives in Kucinich’s district… he’s got some serious competition…

    And what makes me really sick is that it appears that his strongest competition is Joe Cimperman… who’s an assclown that launched a vendetta against a club I was a regular at… since they wouldn’t pay off the vice squad. Oh, and saying a shooting that took place half a block away was the club’s fault (never mind that IIRC, no one involved was even in the club).

    Clicky on the name for some more information…

    Nephilium

  52. joe:

    “I’m leaving to spend more time with my incredibly hot wife.”

    You make a me cry! I’m that short (or, FUCK, way, WAY, WAY goddamn shorter) and I can’t hardly get a woman at all, much less one as hot as Kucinich’s wife. (He beats Thompson all to hell on the hot wife contest by the way.)

    In fairness to Kucinich, when the “issue quiz” on Presidential candidates got posted here a few months ago, I took it, and though I obviously got Ron Paul as my top choice from one of the big two parties (that long since dropped out Libertarian dude in the hat was first), Kucinich and Gravel were the next up. Admittedly it was like Paul 77% agree and Kucinich 58% agree but still…way better than any of them other goddamn also-rans.

    Maybe I’m the liberal-anarcho-capatilist from whom Kos was trying to get principled non-votes.

    “I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GONNA TAKE THIS ANYMORE!” – Howard Beale

  53. Have you seen the size of his feet?

  54. Perhaps I overemphasized colonialism-as-imperialism, but if you’ll care to examine why we’re discussing this, it goes back to MLK’s remark that we’re not an imperialist nation because we don’t own Canada:

    let us know when America conquers Canada, like any true imperialist would.

    Note the absolute assertion that to meet the definition of “any true imperialist” we would have had to attack Canada.

    I asserted that this is not a valid test, and it’s not, because lots of imperialism is not committed against neighbors, and some imperialist nations never try to attack neighbors (Portugal, for example).

    As for whether near or distant empire building is more “important” or “prevalent” or however we might delineate it, that’s an interesting question and I would maintain that in many ways distant imperialism is more important. Simply in terms of land area or human population conquered and the length of time during which land or people were held in an empire, I believe distant imperialism wins. And I don’t think the body-count situation is all that one-sided; consider for example that much of the indigenous population of the South American continent was worked to death. (And if you count incidental deaths resulting from imperialist-spread disease, estimates are emerging that put the death toll in the Americas in the millions.)

    As for your evaluation of “the majority of European aggression in the last 200 years,” I take issue not only with your choice of using 200 years instead of the last 500+ years of post-medieval-style military imperialist history, but your definition of “aggression”. If you count up the number of societies that suffered aggression at the hands of the Dutch, Spanish, English, Portuguese, Germans, Italians, and French all around the world, it’s obvious you’ll find that many more were conquered abroad than were in that tiny nub of land called the European “continent”. And this is a hair-splittting final semantics point, but you could say that the World Wars were more the result of the processes of imperialism than acts of imperialism themselves.

  55. Good summary of the thing.

  56. Now that Reason has praised Kucinich, it is only a matter of time before a cache a virulently-bigoted newsletters will surface.

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