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Kucinich moves on impeachment, locals react

kucinich.jpgRep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, last night introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush.

From Article I — “Creating a Secret Propaganda Campaign to Manufacture a False Case for War Against Iraq” — to Article XXXV — “Endangering the Health of 911 First Responders” — the former Democratic presidential candidate laid out a comprehenisve indictment of the President’s actions. And he spent about five hours last night reading them into the Congressional record.

Reactions from Bay Area House members varied.

“I applaud Congressman Kucinich for bringing these articles of impeachment before the House and I support his effort,” said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, the Bay Area delegation’s newest member, went much further, commending Kucinich “for shining a light on the malfeasance of President Bush and his administration.

speier.jpg“I agree that America would not have gone to war, and more than 4,000 service members would still be alive, had the President not lied about Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction,” Speier said. “Congress must continue to hold this administration accountable, now, and after they leave office next January.

“Had I been in Congress two years ago, I would have supported impeachment, but now, just months until the end of his term, it would not be the best use of taxpayer money to hold hearings that would accomplish nothing more than the calendar and the Constitution will take care of in due time,” Speier continued. “In fact, I believe impeaching the president would take longer than Congress has time left in this session. The only sure way to rid ourselves of the incompetence, arrogance and abject dishonesty of the last seven and a half years is to make sure we elect Barack Obama this November.”

But my requests for comment from House Speaker Nancy “Off the Table” Pelosi, D-San Francisco; Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Martinez; Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont; Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo; and Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, went unanswered today.

UPDATE @ 12:4O P.M. WEDNESDAY: Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, issued this statement today supporting impeachement:

“Five years ago, President Bush undertook a deliberate and concerted campaign to send our nation to war against Iraq. This was not a war of necessity, but a war of choice. President Bush manipulated the intelligence in order to convince the Congress, and the American Public, that Iraq represented a clear and present danger to our national security. A threat so grave, we were told, that continued diplomatic efforts would lead to mushroom clouds.

“There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and no terrorist connections between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda. However, there is ample evidence to suggest that President Bush planned to invade Iraq long before Congress gave him the authorization to do so, and that he undertook a campaign to manipulate the intelligence regarding Iraq’s supposed weapons program.

“More than 4,000 brave men and women have paid for President Bush’s mistake with their lives. And tens of thousands of others will forever bear the physical and mental wounds of war. As a coequal branch of government the Congress owes it to each one of them, and their families, to hold those who led us to war under false pretences accountable.”

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Kucinich dropping out?

This just in, moments ago:

Kucinich calls news conference for noon Friday
to discuss status of Presidential campaign

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Thursday, January 24, 2008

CLEVELAND, OH – Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich has called a news conference for noon on Friday, January 25, at the International Laborers’ Union (Local 310) hall at 3520 Euclid Avenue, to announce plans for “transitioning out of the Democratic Presidential primary race.”

No further comments will be forthcoming from Kucinich or his Presidential campaign until tomorrow’s news conference.

Jeez, he’s not even waiting for all these Bay Area votes before he starts packing it in. Anybody think he’ll make an endorsement?

UPDATE @ 2:35 P.M. THURSDAY: The Cleveland Plain Dealer has the scoop:

Kucinich said he will not endorse another Democrat in the primary.

Kucinich is seeking a seventh term in Congress, but his long-shot bid for the White House has drawn four Democratic opponents.

In the interview, during which he was seeking the paper’s endorsement of his re-election bid, Kucinich said he is dropping out of the presidential race for practical reasons.

“When I didn’t get into that debate in Nevada, it really made it difficult,” he said.

But Kucinich said he’s proud of his performance in the earlier debates and believes he’s had a positive influence on the race.

“If anyone has watched the debates, they have been able to see that I’ve been able to do more than hold my own,” he said. “I’ve been able to represent the aspirations of people in this community, and communities like it across the country on health care, peace, for jobs.
There is a point at which you just realize that you, look, you accept it, that it isn’t going to happen and you move on.”

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What they’re saying about Bhutto

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated, and the news releases are flying…

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo, who has known Bhutto for many years and met with her a few months ago during her last visit to Washington before her return to Pakistan:

lantos.jpg“Today, the world has witnessed a tragedy in Pakistan. This was a cowardly attack by extremist elements. Madam Bhutto was a stalwart of moderation, a force for democratic values, and a personal friend. I express my sincere condolences to her family, to her many friends, and to the people of Pakistan for the loss of one of their daughters.

“This atrocious attack should compel the United States to renew our commitment to the people of Pakistan and to the voices of moderation. Although one of those voices has been prematurely silenced today, it is up to all of us to make sure that those who have perpetrated this hideous act are brought to justice, and that those who continue to spew the venomous, hate-filled rhetoric of extremism are vanquished.”

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.:

feinstein.jpg“I met Benazir Bhutto when she was Prime Minister and came to this country, and the women of the Senate organized a breakfast with her. She was a brave woman who had the courage to return to Pakistan in the face of death threats, and she survived a previous attack on her life just two months ago. My heart and thoughts go out to her family and to the people of Pakistan, and I condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms. This indeed is a very difficult and tragic moment. My hope and prayer is that the Pakistani people will pull together, and allow the country to proceed on its road to democracy.”

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.:

obama.jpg“I am shocked and saddened by the death of Benazir Bhutto in this terrorist atrocity. She was a respected and resilient advocate for the democratic aspirations of the Pakistani people. We join with them in mourning her loss, and stand with them in their quest for democracy and against the terrorists who threaten the common security of the world.”

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney:

romney.jpg“We are still learning the details of today’s tragic events in Pakistan, but this is a stark reminder that America must not only stay on high alert, but remain actively engaged across the globe. Pakistan has long been a key part in the war against extremism and radical jihadists. For those who think Iraq is the sole front in the War on Terror, one must look no further than what has happened today. America must show its commitment to stand with all moderate forces across the Islamic world and together face the defining challenge of our generation – the struggle against violent, radical jihadists.

“At this difficult time, our thoughts and prayers go to the family of Benazir Bhutto, and to all the people of Pakistan who are fighting against extremist forces that would commit such heinous acts as the whole world has witnessed today.”

Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio:

kucinich.jpg“This is a very dangerous moment for the world. Prime Minister Bhutto represented the forces of reform and the hope for an end to repression in a troubled region, and her death is a major loss to those efforts.

“This terrible tragedy also underscores the need for the United States to adopt a new foreign policy toward the entire region because our current policy is all wrong. Our interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan has opened wide the doors of repression and violence. At this very moment, we should be working with leaders of the region to convene a meeting at the highest levels to begin a new effort towards stabilization and peace.

“The United States must take a new direction in Pakistan and throughout the region. I met her several times, both in Washington and New York. She was deeply and genuinely dedicated to Pakistan. This is a tragic loss.”

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Kucinich cancels SF, Oakland events

Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich today cancelled campaign events scheduled for Friday in San Francisco and Saturday in Oakland and other California cities; he’ll be spending time with family and friends through Christmas, in the wake of his younger brother’s death yesterday.

“Dennis was extremely close to his brother, and this is a very sad time for him, his other brothers and sisters, and the entire family,” said a campaign spokesman. “The outpouring of support, expressions of sympathy, and prayers from people all across the country has been inspiring. We know that our friends in California, New Hampshire, Iowa, and everywhere across the country will understand why Dennis and Elizabeth can’t be with them at this time.”

Funeral services for Perry Kucinich will be held Saturday in Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood; Dennis Kucinich said he plans to assemble his late brother’s artistic works for a memorial showing and tribute sometime in the spring.

UPDATE @ 9 P.M. THURSDAY: Apparently the show must go on; the whistle-stop tour — starting at about 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning at Oakland’s Jack London Square Amtrak station (the train leaves at 8:50 a.m.) and ending Sunday evening in Oceanside — will continue without the Kuciniches, with key campaign aide Amy Vossbrinck standing in to rally the troops. And the Friday-night event in San Francisco remains in effect too, also Kucinichless; the campaign tells me it’ll confirm other speakers sometime tomorrow.

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Kucinich’s brother died

Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich‘s younger brother died yesterday morning in Cleveland. Here’s the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s story about it. And here’s the campaign’s statement:

Perry J. Kucinich, younger brother of Ohio Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich, died early this morning in his apartment in Cleveland, Ohio. He was 51. The cause of death will be determined by the coroner’s office.

Perry Kucinich was a talented artist who produced a prodigious volume of work. Some of his works have been on display recently at a local art gallery. He and his brother Dennis were planning another showing of his works in the spring.

“He was an admirer of the works of Klee and Picasso, and the style and structure of his artwork derived from their influences,” said Dennis Kucinich. “He was a genius. He had extraordinary insights. Although he struggled with mental illness, with the help of his family and friends, he was able to lead a productive life.”

“The Kucinich family is very close knit,” said family spokesman Andy Juniewicz. “This is a devastating loss to each and every member of the Kucinich family. Dennis was very close to his brother Perry. He watched after him, and he loved him dearly. The two spoke nearly every day. He was more like Dennis’s son than his brother.”

Perry Kucinich was born Dec. 11, 1956, the fifth child of Frank and Virginia Kucinich. The family’s travails were chronicled in a recently released book, “The Courage to Survive,” written by Congressman Kucinich.

Funeral services are pending. In addition to his brother Dennis, Perry is survived by brothers Frank, Gary, and Larry, and by sisters Theresa and Beth Ann. They all live in Northeast Ohio.

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Kucinich to launch whistlestop tour in Bay Area

kucinich.jpgDemocratic presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, will be in the Bay Area late next week to launch a whistlestop railroad tour taking him from Oakland to San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles and Oceanside.

First, he’ll hold a kickoff rally from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21 in the First Unitarian Universalist Church, at 1187 Franklin St. in San Francisco, for a free evening of commentary by noted progressive activists, authors, scholars and artists including John Nichols of The Nation; author Michael Parenti; human-rights activist Medea Benjamin; antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan; and musical guests Zoe Keating and Paul Kamm & Eleanore MacDonald.

Then, the public can join Kucinich and other activists as they board an Amtrak train departing Oakland’s Jack London Square station at 8:50am Saturday, Dec. 22.