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Monday, May 30, 2005

Memo to McCain: The war was NOT "over".

Over at LUTD there's a little discussion going on (here and here) of McCain's appearance on CNN's Late Edition yesterday.

It seems among other little nuggets of worthlessness, in a segment where he was sort-a-kinda saying the Swift Liars were dishonorable in their attacks on Kerry, he comes out with this subtly vile bit of sputum:
BLITZER: The whole Vietnam War became such a powerful issue during the last campaign. Swift Boat Veterans for Truth really went after John Kerry during the campaign. Looking back on it now, how fair were they in skewering him? He himself had served in Vietnam, was injured there.

MCCAIN: Well, first of all, he and I had worked together to try to heal those wounds -- normalization of relations; resolution of the POW-MIA issue. And John Kerry is a friend of mine.

I didn't agree with what John Kerry did after the war was over when he came home.

Hello? Senator McCain? How much of your brain is still there and engaged? Or are you really working for Rove now?

Maybe I'm making more of this than I should, but frankly it's a little upsetting to me that no one else seems to see the significance of this, or care.

So, what's the big deal?

Because when John Kerry came home from Vietnam, the war was most definitely NOT over. As something like 30,000 familes found out - and that's just the number of American soliders killed after Kerry left Vietnam.

But what has me spitting mad is that the main point of Kerry's anti-war activity was to end the war. If the war was already over, then Kerry's action is demeaned and marginalized, as if he were just a snot-nosed rich kid who didn't like what happened to him in Vietnam and just wanted to complain about it to whoever would listen. Which is what the smear-vets and the Rove machine would be perfectly happy to have you think.

For someone like me, that McCain misstated the facts is obvious, and I would never be taken in. But what about folks less familiar with that period of our history, less familiar with the truth of John Kerry's actions, maybe slightly inclined to be against him anyway because of all the prior smears? Without fanfare or recognition, statements like that by McCain add another small piece to a mosaic used to create a false, negative image of Kerry. It is even more powerful because it is subtle, and said right after a show (only a show) of positive feeling: "John Kerry is a friend of mine." Sure, Senator McCain.

Now, this isn't just about McCain shivving Kerry while pretending to be making nice. This is a textbook example of creating an image of your subject in someone's mind, without them even realizing that you're doing it. Because the target audience is unaware of the impression being made, no thought is applied to validate that impression against known facts. The impression just sneaks in and takes a place among the other chips in the mosaic which forms the target's overall image of the subject.

But this case ticks me off especially because they are continuing to spread the smears on Kerry even as they "denounce" the smears. McCain's misstating the circumstances of Kerry's antiwar activity puts Kerry's actions in a less heroic light. Of course, people like McCain refuse to see it as heroic anyway; but there are those of us with family members who were spared from Vietnam by the success of the anti-war movement (and recognize the fact), and we beg to differ.

What part of "judicial" don't they understand?

In yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer (which I finally finished reading this morning) I saw once again the reference to the rejected cloture of Bolton characterized as "[running] counter to the spirit of the agreement reached by a 14-member bipartisan group earlier in the week for Democrats to limit the filibuster in voting on judicial nominees." Phila. Inquirer, 5/29/05, C2; emphasis mine.

I've been hearing this over and over in the MSM, and I'm starting to think it's not just sloppy journalism. How stupid would someone have to be, to honestly conflate an appointment for a diplomatic position, with an agreement of understanding related to judicial appointments? [Note I do not call Bolton's nomination a "diplomatic appointment" - it clearly is anything but; it is a signal to the world that Bu$hCorp intends to further eschew actual diplomacy in favor of more bullying.]

We should be writing LTE's to media outlets that make this "mistake", at least to let them know we're paying attention even if they aren't.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Kerry, Boxer Work the Senate to stop Cloture on Bolton

The Post-Gazette acknowledges that this was a hard-fought vote.
Democrats block Bolton vote: Republicans fails to cut off debate on U.N. nominee (Friday, May 27, 2005)

From the Senate gallery, Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and John Kerry, D-Mass., ...as well as others engaged undecided senators in furious conversation to convince them to vote against cloture.

The LA Times reports these juicy nuggets:
...Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the minority leader, denied that Democrats were seeking to torpedo Bolton's nomination. He said Democrats were prepared to give Bolton an up-or-down vote after the administration provides the information that they have requested.

"We're not here to filibuster," Reid said. "We're here to get information."

"Maybe this will now get the attention of the president, the attention of the chief of staff, and they will take a look at the information we're seeking and realize that there's no reasonable basis upon which to deny us the information," said Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and leader of the Democratic opposition to Bolton.

Frist tried throughout the day to meet Biden's demand for information about records Bolton has requested over the past four years from the National Security Agency, the federal eavesdropping office that monitors overseas communications between Americans and foreigners.

According to a Frist aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the majority leader lobbied the administration to give Biden and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) access to the records sought by Bolton.

Evidently the Bush Administration really doesn't want to let those records out, if they wouldn't even turn them over when their own Senate Majority Leader asked for them.

And for anyone curious as to why Frist voted "nay" on cloture himself, the LA Times enlightens us on that as well:
When it became clear that the motion would fail, Frist voted in favor of continuing the debate, a move that under Senate rules allows him to call the nomination up for a vote in the future.

I was wondering about that. Props to the LA Times staff writers, Mary Curtius and Maura Reynolds, for writing a nice, informative piece.

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Friday, May 27, 2005

A Win for Women

Hat tip to Sandy at LUTD.

As Pamela at LUTD posted on 5/24, Senator John Kerry (ranking member of the Small Business Committee) has been pressuring the Small Business Administration to implement the Women's Contracting Program.

Yesterday, the SBA announced it would finally "take the necessary steps to implement a program to increase federal contracting opportunities for women-owned businesses".

The goal is to ensure that 5% of the dollar value of federal contracts are supplied by women-owned small businesses; Kerry cites estimates by The Center for Women’s Business Research "that as of 2004, there are an estimated 6.7 million privately-held, majority (51 percent or more) women-owned firms. They account for 30 percent of all privately-held firms in the country, generate $1.19 trillion in sales, and employ 9.8 million people nationwide." But, as Kerry states in his letter of 5/24:
The Administration continues to fall well short of the 5 percent government-wide goal for women-owned business participation in federal procurement, costing women-owned businesses approximately $6.5 billion per year. One of the barriers to increasing the number of contracts awarded to women-owned businesses found by the GAO, and cited in the NAS report, was "the absence of a specific program targeted to women-owned businesses." Any further delay in implementing the legislation, which is already will overdue, will continue to prevent this nation's women-owned businesses from receiving their fair share of Federal contracts.

Learn More - Related links:

The requirement for a Women's Contracting Program was originally created in H.R.4577 of the 106th Congress, which became Public Law (P.L.) 106-554 on 12/21/2000. The "Procurement Program For Women-Owned Small Business Concerns" is found at the end of the document, section 811.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Freedom's Fire, Brightly Burning

Well I've been playing with blogging on other sites for awhile now and it's time for me to set up my own.

Why "Freedom's Fire, Brightly Burning"? I guess I just have a thing for really long blog names. Seriously, the purpose of this blog is for me to post about issues of the day and the positive steps brave folk are taking to keep hope alive in America. Phrases like "Keeping America's Promise" and "One America" are already taken, and "keep hope alive", well, just doesn't do it for me as a blog title. So I had to come up with something different. Something that speaks to me (even if it makes no sense to anyone else).

If there is one core value that America stands for, it is freedom.

It occurred to me (as it has to others) that freedom is like a fire; giving warmth and light, yet ever in danger of being extinguished if not tended carefully.

I intend this blog to focus on the work of the tenders, those whose aim is to keep the fire of freedom burning. We'll also have to report the context, the efforts of those who would extinguish the flame. But by their works you will know them - the tenders and the destroyers. And as we share our knowledge we will be empowered to contribute our own acts, our own efforts to keep the fire burning ever more brightly.

Yeah. Freedom's fire, brightly burning. Kind of has a ring to it. I think I like it. I hope you will, too.

Iraq on the Record: The Bush Administration's public statements on Iraq
The Bush Administration's
public statements on Iraq
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