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Dear Dennis, You re hereby uninvited to the debate

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, the perennial Democratic presidential candidate who just as perennially loses, is fast becoming a perennial debate absentee too.

The former Cleveland mayor, who has been spending the better part of a year now campaigning everywhere but his home district, was left out of the Des Moines Register's debate last month because he did not have a separate campaign office in the state and didn't meet polling minimums. Then last weekend he was left out of the ABC-TV Democratic debate in New Hampshire, much as Reps. Duncan Hunter and Ron Paul were excluded from the Fox News Channel Republican debate the next evening. So Paul went before his own nationwide audience on NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and wowed that host.

Kucinich thought he'd made the cut for this coming week's MSNBC Democratic ....

debate in Las Vegas before the Jan. 19 caucus. He got the invitation and everything. But a day or so later he was un-invited to attend, a  kind of Don't Bother to RSVP.

According to a campaign news release, Kucinich, the only Democratic candidate who voted against the Iraq war, was informed that the original announced criteria to participate in the desert debate had been suddenly changed and now he didn't qualify anymore.

The original participation criteria required a candidate to be in at least fourth place in a national poll. But NBC changed it to include only the top three candidates, and you'll never guess who they are: Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama. Nevermind Democratic Party solidarity, those three agreed to show up, and Kucinich is out in the cold or however less warm it gets in Las Vegas this time of year.

But wait a minute. Since New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson dropped out of the race this week and former Sen. Mike Gravel hasn't really been doing anything related to campaigning, let's see, that leaves only four Democratic candidates left, which even according to new math, would have Kucinich in fourth place, right?

So Kucinich, the far left candidate, ended up sounding a whole lot like Ron Paul, the libertarian turned Republican. "When 'big media' exert their unbridled control over what Americans can see, hear and read," a campaign statement said, "then the constitutional power and right of the citizens to vote is being vetoed by multibillion corporations that want the votes to go their way."

In other news about election losers, Kucinich has called for an official statewide recount in New Hampshire. He'll have to pay the cost, but Kucinich is proceeding. Kucinich got less than 2% of the vote, Richardson 5%, Edwards 17%, Obama 36% and Clinton 39%. So that would mean an awful lot of miscounted ballots to change the results.

Anything to avoid returning to Cleveland in mid-January.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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horrible commentary here: "So that would mean an awful lot of miscounted ballots to change the results. Anything to avoid returning to Cleveland in mid-January."

it doesnt take much digging into the story to find the intention of the recount is not to change kucinich's results but to address concerns about the differences (specifically for Clinton and Obama) between the results seen in precincts using electronic voting and precincts using paper ballots.

(Right, Rep. Kucinich has no stake in something else that garners him more publicity.)

It is a sad day for America when the media and corporations have the only say in who gets the chance to get elected. Our government will only represent them and not the American people.
Go Dennis and go Dr. Ron Paul, defenders of freedom against tyranny.

(Which, of course, is why this evil media has this open blog and reader forum to help cover up anything having to do with either man. Thanks for reading--and leaving a comment. Anybody else feel oppressed by the chance to speak out here?)

Where's the party solidarity? Where's the decorum of the Democratic Party's past? Are Clinton, Obama, and Edwards so afraid of Kucinich's politics that they would condone his exclusion? On the Republican side, they seem to have an unending plethora of candidates (even some who don't even WANT to run) while on the Democratic side, they keep triming the podiums like some childish 'musical chairs' game. I guess I'll just have to start my own TV station. I'm glad I don't watch TV and just read the LA Times. :)

Andrew Malcolm is a CFR stooge, Elitist sellout.

I'm sick of the media trying to pick our candidates by pushing candidates out of the spotlight. I'm surprised they let Edwards in because they sure haven't given him much coverage. When are the American people going to push back on this? All four of the candidates should be in the debate. Period.

This is really sad. Dennis is an extremely brave man with a good head on his shoulders. He has been right in the past when people dismissed him, only to come back and recognize he was right, and I suppose that is the kind of treatment anyone can expect who is going against the grain. Seriously, it's time to get him back in. I thought being a Libertarian and trying to get them in the debates was hard. This is incredibly crazy.

The sad Independent

What gives??

If you look at the New Hampshire Secretary of State's website you'll notice the total vote results for all the candidates. Even the vice-presidential candidates. How did a no name like Raymond Stebbins (a no-name vice presidential candidate) get more votes then John Edwards?

Raymond Stebbins received 50,485 votes and this guy is just running for vice president.

John Edwards received 48,818 votes for the presidential run.

Likewise, Vice Presidential candidate William Bryk recieved 22,965 votes, while Presidential candidate Bill Richardson received 22,965.

Democratic Presidential Results:

Democratic Vice Presidential Results:

And finally you can even compare this to the Republicans.

Vice President candidate John "Jack" Barnes Jr. received 40,207 votes. Compare this to Mike Huckabee at 26,859, Rudy Giuliani at 20,439, Ron Paul at 18,308, and Duncan Hunter at 1,217.

Republican Presidential Results:

Republican Vice Presidential Results:

Again what gives??

So Malcolm, question for you: if you are such a hot shot with the editorial board, why does this article barely make the LAT blog? Shouldn't this be front page news? I don't see this anywhere in print. Seems to me the LA TImes is playing along with what the TV networks decide is important - which excludes their censorship of democracy.

There seems to be three diverging realities in America: the TV version of truthiness, the newspaper editorialized version of thruthiness, and the internet. Is it any wonder that the print form is dying when we have to go to the internet to get the important stories like this one. Newspaper editors are strangling themselves out of a job.

Congratulations on your ability to go along and still seem smug about it. You must be very old to have so much training as a hypocrite.

(Well, Gar, you need to read a little closer. I was on the editorial board. Now, I'm freed to be a political blogger and write online about all the interesting things going on in our political world and have a dialogue with people like you who come here to read unpredictable items and then respond, hopefully civilly, and have a dialogue as this grand drama unfolds. If newspapers are dying, as you say, then this is a really good place to be. Growing thousands of people are coming here every day for just that reason. And I'm delighted you're one of them. Thanks for reading and taking the time to leave a comment.)

Has the Corporatocracy finally succeeded in dumbing us down so much, that we can no longer decide for ourselves who should represent us with OUR taxpayer dollars? Hmmm...if I were president, I would want our taxes to pay for improving society for all. Things like tax-funded health care for all (like Dick Cheney has; see I'd want free, quality education, from pre-school to college. I'd want our taxes to be spent on developing new sustainable energy resources - solar, wind, etc., rather than subsidizing oil polluting corporations. Create green energy jobs and technologies. Bring jobs back home. Rebuild our infrastructure. Raise minimum wages. By cutting the military budget drastically, we have plenty of money to go around. For us, not the private contractors (corporations). Dennis Kucinich is the only candidate to make this happen. He's the biggest threat to corporate control of our society. Which is why the media has censored him. Yes, he's still a Democratic candidate. Take back our elections. Do you really want our taxes to benefit the large corporations, or We the People? Vote your heart, or your heart never wins.

Please note that, in a self-styled liberal mainsteam corporate media outlet, a so-called journalist makes certain assumptions, and then works hard to sell them:

I. Dennis Kucinich is a "far-left" politician.
(In CLEVELAND??? I doubt it. And certainly not by any real standards: Only by our own all-right-wing political spectrum's biased view. In Europe, Kucinich would be a centrist.)

II. Americans do not have the right to hear Centrist or Leftist political opinion. Extreme right-wing opinions are hunky-dory. They even have their own network.

III. If you can't raise money, you can't be in the debates. Of course, if you can't be in the debates, then you won't be able to raise money. So money decides the election, and that's OK.

IV. Corporate media outlets should decide who gets to run, or to speak on the issues. (SEVEN far-right-wing Republican debaters is OK, FOUR right-of-center Democrats is one too many?)

V. Little brother Malcolm is obviously clueless as to the implications of all this for the future of American democracy. He's even snide about it. Way to keep your job, Mal! What does your coffee-cup say, "World's Greatest Corporate Lapdog"?

(So in Europe Kucinich would be a centrist? And this has relevance to what? Obviously, you're a newcomer to this blog, so welcome. But we've been writing about everybody getting into the debates for weeks now. Thanks for reading.)

Dear Clueless,

This has "relevance" (oldism) to your deliberate slander of Kucinich as "far-left." My point, which you missed, is that there is no "Left" in this country, and people like you try to keep it that way by marginalizing anyone who comes too close to a real-world Center. But that's your job, isn't it?

Labeling is certainly easier than discussing the issues, which is all Kucinich is trying to do. Gawd fahbid somebody should try to use a democratic election for a real forum, instead of a careerist scrabble for corporate support. God forbid we should ever have politicians who represent us and not your corporate masters. God forbid that so-called journalists should report ALL the news without bias, in a world that is not 100% American or Americanized, where other shades of opinion, and other ideas and ways of living flourish.

In the rest of the world, they have not only Fascist/ Nativist/ Nationalist/ Militarist/ Imperialist/ Corporatist Parties, but Communist, Socialist, Labour, Liberal, Christian Democrat, Democratic Socialist, etc, etc, etc. Here, we're stuck with two of a kind, both of which would be on the Right anywhere else. And the biggest Party, None of the Above, gets the support of up to 60% of the electorate in almost every election: The ones who refuse to vote for the say-nothing do-nothing candidates anointed by the corporate media. Maybe if those of you who have a choke-hold on our media would ALLOW other shades of opinion, that 60% might start voting again. But your paycheck ain't made out that way, is it?

Clue: We don't care about journo's' opinions. We don't want to hear them, Left, Right or Center. We want to hear facts, uncolored by your owners' agenda, and your pathetic attempts to keep up with it. We want to hear every side of an issue, all the opinions, not just yours. If anyone is going to be denied a voice, it should not be the Kucinich's of the world, but the snide, boot-licking little toadies who have hijacked our media.

There are only 4 candidates in the race, we should be able to hear what every single one of them have to say, especially the one that's been saying everything we want to hear!

thank you LA Times for reporting on Kucinich, too bad you're so late.
you only have a few weeks to make it up to us and to Dennis Kucinich.

we need him in the debates.

Andrew, your slam at Kucinich is unprofessional, and your dislike for Kucinich is patent. Can't you just report the story without snidely trashing him as a "perennial" loser? He's run for President twice. Biden has run God knows how many times. Would you have slammed him the same way? I think not. This could have been an important piece about how the corporate-owned television media has taken over the airwaves, with unfettered power to decide arbitrarily and early in the process who the voters will be allowed to hear, instead of allowing them to hear all points of view from all of the candidates. Instead, you've given only lip service to this very dangerous state of affairs. So why bother writing the piece?

(It's a fact. He loses all the time and may well lose in a primary at home this year because he's always off running for president. That's his choice. Yes, in fact, we have noted Biden and other's past defeats. Also his plagiarism. And we wrote about Kucinich campaigning for four days in the crucial state of Hawaii. We write about many things. Including how all the candidates should be in the debates, including the longshots like Kucinich and Paul. Thanks for reading one of the items anyway.)

Hey Andrew, how many thousands are growing because of your Ron Paul coverage?

You've got the talent to be Thomas Paine about Washington... since your independent working for an independent paper... get on that.

Then, when Dr. Paul is President, you can get the cool interview from the Lincoln bedroom.

"Facts" are what the corporate media make of them. The Domino Theory was one such "fact," duly reported as such by our lickspittle media. Only, it wasn't a fact. It was a theory, and a flawed one at that. But it was good enough to get us into a disastrous nine-year war in Vietnam, the consequences of which we are still suffering. Oh, yeah, that "fact" and the other one that got by the media, that phony casus belli in the Gulf of Tonkin.

That "Remember the Maine" incident was just one more in a chain of lies that our corporate media have helped their partners in corporate government put out there to influence those few who vote any more, for a hundred or more years, now. It was that early corporate media mogul William Randolph Hearst who capitalized on, if not discovered the "fact" that war is good business. It still sells newspapers. And "facts" are, as Hearst rightly observed, whatever media owners and their bully-boys say they are.

So there the corporate media were again in 2001, noses bloody from drinking in the Pentagon's trough, lapping up every "fact" the Bushies cynically fed them, to be regurgitated in every newspaper and on every TV news program without an instant's analysis. Hey, there was a war on. Or would be, soon as our corporate media could help cook one up. A dog's breakfast of "facts."

Barf on your opinions. You're not good enough to lick Kucinich's boots. Go back to your cozy corporate kennel until your masters need you again. Rest well, there may be another honest American trying to change things for the better out of conscience alone, and he'll have to be savaged by your pack. Conventional Wisdom will always need you to defend it. Because it ain't a fact. But you're not selling facts, not real ones, anyway, are you? Certainly not if they challenge the status quo, as Kucinich has since the beginning of this war you helped sell. And that's a fact.

andrew--you almost had me convinced that the LA times was different, and then i saw the news article today about republican candidate fundraising (belt-tightening times for GOP campaigns by janet hook) and no mention of ron article on FUNDRAISING. incredible. i'm afraid dennis kucinich is right. the MNM is manipulating the news by "multibillion corporations that want the votes to go their way." (present company excepted)

(Well, we obviously have no control over the news columns, nor do we seek it. We're running a political blog here that covers what we think is impt and interesting and you'll find numerous items about those subjects, including Rudy Giuliani's troubles and Ron Paul's successes. And then we have an ongoing dialogue with readers like this. Thanks for reading and hope you return often.)

I read in the "Progressive Populist" In the Dec.15 -07 that Hillary & some other Democrats, were trying to get a free trade agreemment with Peru to expand NAFTA which most democrats hate. This papers Ph# is 712-732-4991 if anyone wished to call. They're from Storm Lake Iowa. To me Kucinich is the only true Democrat as he wants the will of most Americans. Ron Paul is the only true Republican as he wants the will of the people. I hope that these 2 will get together & fight the news media that keeps them out & somehow be able to get on the news. I'm doing all I can for Kucinich & will only vot for him & only him no matter who this fake democrat party puts in. I'll just write his name on my ballot . grammaellen

Reading through these comments it is heartening to realise that there are actual Americans that care about democracy, freedom of speech and above all else the welfare of other human beings. Although i live in Ireland, I watch and read a lot of American media, and generally find them all to be an absolute diisgrace. What is considered news on American media wouldnt make the cartoon pages on the newspapers over here, except of course the debaser Murdock tabloid media which although popular are generally considered a sick joke. The only difficult interview George Bush has faced was from an Irish journalist named Carole Coleman and that would be considered tame in comparison to the grillings Irish politicians recieve. I get incredibly angry that the only people who hold politicians to account are satirists such as Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert ( correspondents dinner was amazing) and Bill Maher on his brilliant Realtime programme on HBO. While speaking to Americans who come to Ireland I am shocked at the ignorance and arrogance, but then when I read your media I find that it should be no surprise considering the lies and disinformation they portray as news. I would love the American media to actually tell me the difference foreign policywise of Obama and Clinton on the Demoratic side and what the foreign policies of John McCain, Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani are on the Republican side. To me they all think they have the right to interfere in the internal life of other countries by telling the rest of the world what governments they should elect, what policies they should implement and reserving the right of America to Nuke any place they want to if they don't like whats happening. Everyone of the candidates lectures the world on democracy and human rights while ignoring the the voter fraud and attack on civil rights in their own country. What does " we are the greatest country on Earth" mean anyway. Every country has its good and bad in equal measure in almost every section of society but I am certain that the media in America is definately the worst of any country with a " free media". Can anybody name me one war America has been involved in, an awful lot of them by the way, that the mainstream media hasnt supported. I can't think of one, I wonder why. Chris Mac

Yes, I concur that it was "wrong" to not have Kucinich included in the televised Democratic Party debates; it was also "wrong" not to have Ron Paul included in the televised Republican Party debates. Politics in America, I believe, has never been "fair," especially in big cities, such as New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. When the LA Times was owned by the Otis family and then the Chandler family, back room politics selected the Republican gubernatorial candidate on at least one occasion. And, the LA Times was pro-Republican. Circulation has gone downhill since the pro-Democratic, Chicago based Tribune Corporation bought it. It will be very interesting to watch and see how the paper changes under private ownership of the Chicago-based Zell family. Unfortunately, many of the old Chandler-hired staff, have left the paper: retired, been fired, or moved away. And what remains, is, I believe, predominately, a pro-Democratic party staff. If, as reported, the Tribune holdings become "employee-owned" then I predict the LA Times will stay a pro-Democaratic paper, and circulation will continue to decline. On the other hand, if it were to become "independent" or pro-Republican, I predict circulation would increase. Why, because Democrats want higher taxes; Republicans want lower taxes, and that means that people have more disposable, spendable income for things such as buying or subscribing to a newspaper. And, what California needs now is a resurgence of entrepreneurship: more small businesses, more jobs, more spendable income. And, we would get this if the media would let all the candidates participate. Furthermore, we need press editors who put truly important news on the front page, instead of some trash about which movie celebrity's sister is pregnant. Just my thoughts!

Write something like this:

Dear Hillary Clinton/Obama Barack/John Edwards

If you do not feel that the corporate media should have the right to hijack political debates, you should refuse to appear at the NBC-sponored debates until they allow Dennis Kucinich to appear a the debate.

[Your Name Here],
Democracy-Loving American citizen

This is not even about Kucinich any longer. This is about the control corporate interest has over the mass media. Why? Because they own it.
Let Kucinich debate and give him as much air time like everyone else.
THEN let the voters decide.
Isn't that what a democracy is about?
Isn't that what soldiers and countless civilians are dying for in "such as the Iraq"

vote REAL change - vote Kucinich!

A view from north of the border.

In my country a Trotskyite candidate running for the leadership of our fourth largest political party, a party that has never received more than 20% of the vote got national airtime during her bid for the leadership of that party

Our entire political spectrum is to the left of yours. Even our most right-wing politicians won't touch the single payer healthcare plan in any fundamental way. We will never return to the "bad old days" of the current American healthcare system.


I have just written letters to the Nevada Democratic Party and MSNBC and left phone message comments for both. let's let them know that we won't stand for being censored! Here is the MSNBC phone number for comments: 212-664-4444

"Dear" Andrew Malcolm,

Are there any unbiased reporters left in Big Media. Why even write an article like this when you are going to get called out for the kind of unprofessional and biased writing that remains a major issue in this campaign?

You continue to draw the ire of every single person who's watching and deserve to be called every single name in the book and a few that aren't in the book.

(This is a blog, not a newspaper. You're free to disagree, obviously and add your thinking to the dialogue. What's so threaterning about that to you? And while you're at it, check one of the newest blog items at the top about your man. Thanks for reading.)

Yes, Kucinich is a far left politician... lol.. i can't even believe somone would be politically bizarre enough to question that. Who is Kucinich politically to the right of? Karl Max? I'd bet $1000 the person who said that was a Lyndon LaRouche nut. I think Kucinich is great BECAUSE he's so far the left of the rest of the repulicrats. In fact, he's the only truly leftist candidate, period.

"So that would mean an awful lot of miscounted ballots to change the results. Anything to avoid returning to Cleveland in mid-January."

What a horrible commentary. To carry the belief that the national issues in dennis' national campaign for president have nothing to do with his constituents is saddening.

The reality is that the war, the military industrial complex, and corporate personhood extremism are over all hurting all districts in the United States of America right now.

If the United States is a 'Western' democracy (which it is) then a comment on where Kucinich falls on the political spectrum of other Western democracies such as those in Europe is not only relevant, but valid and appropriate.

The US does not exist in a bubble. FOX would have everyone believing Senator Clinton is a left-wing nut as well, but she's probably the most conservative of the Democrats running.

A comparison of all the presidential candidates can be found on

Go Dennis! He is the only candidate who makes sense! We need a not-for-profit health care system available to all - just like other civilized industrial countries. And, face up to it Americans, the invasion of Iraq is a CRIME by international law,the Geneva conventions, the Nuremberg standards - only most people who approved it are totally ignorant of the Middle East nor have they ever talked to anyone from the region. That's why we are bogged down there now - sheer ignorance! Dennis is probably the only one who would hold Bush and the neo-cons responsible for the carnage and destruction they've caused an innocent people.

Dennis Kucinich is back in the debate:

Democracy wins a small victory in the battle against corporatism.

Mr. Malcolm,

If you would take the time to read the documents related to the story you are commenting on, you would discover that the poll that Dennis Kucinich came in 4th in was taken before Bill Richardson dropped out of the race. The poll in question is mentioned in the invitation which MSNBC sent Congressman Kucinich to participate in the January 15 debate.

The only thing to commend your blog is that someone who commented on the Kucinich inclusion issue story at TruthDig, the award winning political blog founded and run by a former colleague of yours, Robert Scheer, posted a link to your blog because you were reporting that a Nevada judge had ruled that Congressman Kucinich must be included in the debate.

GE, one of the largest defense contractors and weapons manufacturers and owner of NBC, has a clear conflict of interest in attempting to exclude the Peace candidates from a debate.

Now that is the sort of issue you should be writing about.

You know what else? Mr. Kucinich is also on the ballot in Michigan, although most media outlets are reporting that the choice is between Clinton and "undecided". John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich are seen as hostile to the media conglomerate corporate ownership. Edwards has a real shot on Saturday in Nevada (although this isnt being covered as a real possibility) and I hope to God he wins.

The televised debates are the only place in the modern campaign where voters get the opportunity to know the candidates and their views and see them think on their feet. Yes, the candidates will anticipate questions and prepare answers in advance. This is a great help to those who are having a hard time in choosing their candidates. With our turbulent economy we have to make an action on how we can solve it. We have to choose the candidates that will have the capacity to make a plans and actions on how we can overcome this kind of problem.
In 1932 Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President of the United States as the country was twirling into a severe recession. Is the U.S. better off today than it was back then? FDR’s “New Deal” economic policies radically reformed the way the U.S. Economy works. The government’s role in the economy evolved to a dire extent that America had never seen. In the short-term, Roosevelt's policies provided the country with a needed lift. On the other hand, it can also be argued that his policies have left long-term damage to the country. Paul Rubin gave his opinion on a Wall Street Journal article, suggesting that while our current state of the U.S. economy is not in the same state it was in 1932, both share many of the same aspects: stock market in a whirlwind, credit markets locking down and Sen. Barack Obama, a Democratic presidential candidate running on a platform that will put increased government regulations in place and into problem areas like the economy. Supporters of the free market economy are concerned that Obama’s governmental “hand-on” policies will not provide the long-term direction that the American economy so desperately needs. Those who support the standards of the free-market system will no doubt say we are in for the same economic disaster as it was back in 1932.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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