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12 Annual Frank Kelly Lecture on Humanity's Future
updated: Feb 10, 2013, 8:58 PM

By Robert Bernstein

Former Congress member Dennis Kucinich gave a talk to an overflow crowd at the Lobero Theater on Friday, February 8. His talk was the 12th Annual Frank K. Kelly Lecture on Humanity's Future, sponsored by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

Here are my photos from the event.

Kucinich started with the imagery from the opening of the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey". One cave man uses a femur bone to kill a competing leader. The bone is tossed in the air and it morphs into the 2001 space station. To show how much has changed in our technology. And yet little has changed in our attitude about violence and power, Kucinich points out.

In the real 2001 we had the horror of 9/11 and the loss of nearly 3000 innocent lives. That terrible loss made it difficult for many Americans to question the validity of their government's response.

To this day, there has been little in the way of accounting for that response. From the state of emergency and the oddly-named Patriot Act that exists to this day in our own country. To the torture and state-sanctioned murder that was called war.

Next month it will be ten years since the start of our war in Iraq. Trillions spent. Over a million Iraqis killed. Thousands of troops killed and far more suffering PTSD, wounds and suicides. Shock and awe indeed. A 9/11 a day visited on Iraq for the first year. A country that never attacked the US.

We borrowed money from China to finance the war while they invested in their infrastructure.

Kucinich offered two steps to move forward. First: A Truth and Reconciliation Commission. As happened in South Africa when the Apartheid government finally fell. The primary goal being truth. We do not know the truth about so much that has happened in our recent history.

Bush, Cheney and all of the other top officials need to be brought to testify about what really happened. Truth must be the primary goal.

Kucinich offered a second major initiative: Creating a Department of Peace in the government. We spend hundreds of billions a year on violence. We must spend at least a small fraction of this directly toward understanding and promoting the conditions that lead to real peace.

In July 2011 he offered a bill HR808 to do just that. Kucinich explained that it is our job as citizens to move this forward and demand that it be made a reality.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 373030P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-11 12:12 AM

He could not get reelected because he is too left for most leftist, but a profitable speaking tour is a nice booby prize for him.


 COMMENT 373047 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-11 06:47 AM

I saw him speak at SBCC during the 2008 race and he made a lot of sense to me.


 COMMENT 373062 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-11 07:51 AM

Or, 030, you could stop distorting the truth. Which is that he was gerrymandered out of his district when it was merged with another district whose Representative was a lock for re-election (Marcy Kaptur). Being far left had nothing to do with it. :)

Wish I could have gone.


 COMMENT 373072 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-11 08:09 AM

I guess wanting to institute a Department of Peace is considered "left", although I would just call it intelligent, rational, humane, ...


 COMMENT 373074 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-11 08:10 AM

Wait a minute, a lefty filled the house in lalaland? I dont believe it


 COMMENT 373080 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-11 08:20 AM

Just as in baseball, the game of politics favors the 'lefty', at least among those with a broad and long view.


 COMMENT 373095 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-11 08:43 AM

sad to read some of these comments. Peace is what the whole world needs to investigate, to think about, to practice. And what about all these arms, munitions -- and why are they called arms in the first place? we sure could use a new language!


 COMMENT 373103 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-11 08:54 AM

Whos watching the Keebler Cookie Factory while he is on his speaking tour?


 COMMENT 373165 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-11 09:51 AM

Kucinich is pro-life, believes that human life begins at conception and considers abortion murder. You cannot be pro-abortion "rights" and hold Kucinich in esteem.


 COMMENT 373211 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-11 10:46 AM

I would have gone if he brought is wife!


 COMMENT 373277 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-11 12:54 PM

FYI, that claim of one million deaths in Iraq is exaggerated by a factor of 10.


 COMMENT 373411P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-11 05:28 PM

@277, One of the oldest, least politically-influenced, and most respected scientific medical journals in the world, published two PEER-REVIEWED studies, the first published towards the end of our first 12 months occupation, and the second, in October 2006.

In the first study, their estimate of Iraqi deaths attributable to our invasion, was 98,000 IN JUST ONE YEAR. Further, the authors described this as a conservative estimate, because it excluded the extreme statistical outlier data from Falluja.

Their tally of "excess" Iraqi deaths was nearly 655,000 such deaths, in the second Lancet study published in October 2006.


 COMMENT 373440 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-11 06:11 PM

Thank goodness it's only a paltry 160,000 people. Why, that's chump change!


 COMMENT 373551P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 01:26 AM

@ 277 They certainly had no such time pressure on them in 2006, which of course, with 655,000 Iraqi deaths, you conveniently failed to even mention. Figures.


 COMMENT 373654 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 09:59 AM

Real peace will happen when we stop talking about war and peace. It will happen when we set our sights on a positive goal to build together and then build it.

Right now, the obvious positive goal to build? Sustainable energy and transportation projects on a vast scale. Putting the tens of millions of un- and under-employed to work building this transformation.

An investment in the future that will pay back endless social, environmental and peace dividends.


 COMMENT 373692P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 11:14 AM

Why is the obvious positive goal right now to build big transportion projects? Especially if these projects are built with debt as they are.

The best peace project is controlling population growth. And with our own population growth would be a good place to start.


 COMMENT 373703 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 11:38 AM

Because repairing and expanding our crumbling, fragile infrastructure is very important if we want to have a functioning economy? This country is falling apart because no one wants to actually repair or rebuild things.


 COMMENT 373705 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 11:40 AM

High speed rail and public transit has a multiplier effect environmentally, socially and economically. It creates land use along transit corridors, instead of sprawl.

This leaves more undeveloped land. It also allows people and goods to get where they are going faster and with less resources than with sprawl.

Reducing population indeed is a long term ideal. But it takes decades. The tipping point for climate change can't wait for that.

And even a reduced population will benefit from efficient transportation and land use. The important lesson: There is a difference between a debt and an INVESTMENT.


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