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Monday, June 26, 2006

Save the Planet, End the War

Last week, Senators Kerry and Feingold gave us a plan for ending the war in Iraq. Today, John Kerry reaffirms his position on the environment, and shares his plan for helping to save the planet from the current climate crisis.

Read the speech, posted here in it's entirety, or even better, listen to it. Then read, below the speech text, what leading environmentalists have to say.

Go see Vice President Gore's movie and read his book, "An Inconvenient Truth". Then call or write your Senators and Representatives and urge them to do the same. This should not be a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. It's humanity's issue.

We can do this together.


Listen here

Our Energy Challenge
Senator John Kerry

Here in Faneuil Hall, America’s first great gathering ground of free speech and dissent, we came together two months ago and nearly two and a half centuries after the voices of patriots were first heard within these walls.

We came together to affirm that the patriotism of 2006, no less than the patriotism of 1776, demands that we speak truth to power – that for love of country, we must end a war in Iraq that kills too many of our sons and daughters, betraying both our national interests and our ideals.

Last week, in the Senate, we stood against appeals to politics and pride and demanded a date to bring our troops home. We did that because that’s the way you get Iraqis to stand up for Iraq and fight a more effective war on terror.

We defied the White House tactics of fear and smear. Presidents and Republican politicians may be concerned about losing votes or losing face or losing legacies. We told the truth because we are more concerned about young Americans and Iraqi civilians losing their lives. And I guarantee you, our success would bring less loss of life, less expenditure of dollars, and it would make America safer.

I say “we” because even though our resolution only won 13 votes this time, I know every minute of the debate you were there with us -- there with Russ Feingold, there with Ted Kennedy and there with us as we voted our beliefs and yours – that a policy based on deception and filled with blunders is no excuse for its own perpetuation.

But while we lost that roll call, I guarantee we will win the judgment of history because Washington is wrong and Americans are right, and we must set a new course in Iraq.

Yet our challenge is not just to end this war, it is to prevent the next one. The arrogance of ideology and the willful ignorance of the intelligence led us into a war of choice in Iraq. Now we must act so that at some future date America will never have to fight for its economic security because we are permanently held hostage to foreign oil.

We must make the hard choices – about alternative energy and clean coal, conservation and fuel efficiency – that will free our future from the dominance of big oil and yesterday’s fossil fuels, a dominance that in the era of global warming threatens the future itself.

So I come here again to Faneuil Hall, which is also the cradle of American independence, to set out a strategy for energy independence. To propose specific steps for an energy revolution as far-reaching as the industrial revolution. And to oppose the procrastination, the Washington evasion and the Cheney-run secret task forces by and for big oil.

How insulting and ridiculous it is to be told that the solution to our problems is to drill in and destroy the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that would yield a few months of oil when we are already importing 60 percent of our oil and climbing? God only gave us 3% of the world's oil reserves. There is simply no way to drill our way out of our problem. We have to invent our way out.

To do that, we also have to invent our way out of the politics of greed and empty posturing that has worsened our dependence and denied the undeniable and potentially disastrous effects of global warming.

Not long ago, in the face of record gas prices, a volatile Middle East, and hostile rhetoric from a fundamentalist regime in Iran, a President of the United States asked “Why have we not been able to get together as a nation to resolve our serious energy problem?”

His name was Jimmy Carter – and that steamy summer of 1979 seems as familiar today as the question he raised then. Almost twenty seven years later we face another summer of record gas prices, raging violence across a volatile Middle East, renewed rhetoric of hate from a fundamentalist regime in Tehran.

Our national neglect has made the quarter of a century since then what Winston Churchill called “years the locust has eaten.” Today we endure another summer of record gas prices; we witness the violence raging across a volatile Middle East; and we hear the rhetoric of hate from a hostile government in Tehran.

George W. Bush now says that “America is addicted to oil.” His preferred policy has been to feed the addiction; his attitude on greenhouse gases is to let them increase; his energy alternatives are token; again and again his approach to crisis is to denigrate the environment. Mr. President, the people know the truth: America is not addicted to oil because it wants to be. Washington is addicted to oil because that’s the way powerful interests want it to be.

And it has been this way ever since President Nixon announced a national goal that by 1980, “the United States will not be dependent on any other country for the energy we need.” President Ford extended the deadline: energy independence by 1985. Come 1985 President Reagan was promising to “ensure that our people and our economy are never again held hostage by the whim of any country or cartel."

The bottom line – whenever we face an energy crisis, talk of energy independence becomes the common currency of the American political dialogue. We have Apollo projects and Manhattan Projects for alternative fuels; summits and conferences and energy expos. And then, as the price of oil falls or supplies increase or a war is put behind us, the sense of urgency evaporates.

Too often our leaders in both parties have done what’s easy, turned their backs on hard realities and great possibilities. Renewables, efficiency breakthroughs, clean technologies have been marginalized in the face of self-interested forces.

In these lost years, we could have created millions of new jobs, opened up vast new markets, improved the health of our citizens, slowed global warming, saved the taxpayers money, earned the respect of the world, and significantly strengthened our long term security.

Instead America’s energy strategy has been rhetorical, not real.

For evidence, look no further than the fake energy bill Congress enacted over bipartisan objections – a monstrosity with no guiding national goal, no tough decisions, no change in priorities – just a logrolling, back-scratching collection of subsidies for any industry with the clout to get a seat at the table and a share of the pork. A few good ideas, a lot of bad ideas and ugly ideas—Washington smiled equally upon all of them.

I don’t know how to say it more plainly: Washington’s energy policy is as real as their claims of Mission Accomplished in Iraq. But it is also the latest chapter in the long story in both parties politics at its worst – ducking the difficult choices, giving into the big contributors, substituting words for deeds, postponing the reckoning until the day after tomorrow. If you offend no one, you change nothing. The world is changing and now the reckoning is real.

Last Thursday, Brian Williams opened the nightly news with a stark statement: “Top climate scientists are saying with a high level of confidence that the earth is the hottest it has been in 400 years.” NBC’s science correspondent reported that global warming may lead to “rising sea levels, heavy rains in some areas, drought in others, and an increase in severe weather, including hurricanes.” Was there room to argue? Well, as the NBC story concluded “you can [always] make a debate if you can find one scientist who says the earth is flat and have him debate it against everybody else.”

Well, Washington is full of “flat-earth” politicians. No matter how the evidence has mounted over two decades -- the melting of the arctic ice cap, rising sea levels, extreme weather – the flat earth caucus can’t even see what is on the horizon. In the Congress they’ve even trotted out the author of Jurassic Park as an expert witness to argue that climate change is fiction. This is Stone Age science.

Here’s the bottom line: within the next decade, if we don’t deal with global warming, our children and grandchildren will have to deal with global catastrophe. It is time to stop debating fiction writers, oil executives and flat-earth politicians, and actually take on the other mortal threat to America after terrorism, which, because of our oil dependence, is a decisive front in the war on terrorism.

We can’t respond to climate change, and we can’t wage and win a real war on terror if we don’t at last take bold, real steps towards energy independence. For too long, we have allowed fundamental problems in the Middle East to fester by signaling corrupt Arab regimes that we don't care what they do so long as they keep the oil flowing.

So, energy independence is more than an important economic priority; it is an indispensable element of our national security. Our reliance on oil not only props up decaying and dictatorial regimes, but those that tolerate and sustain terrorist groups. Any long-term strategy for winning the war on terror must be matched with a determined effort to reduce our dependence on petroleum. It demands an international response, linked to the rapid emergence of new energy technologies, in order to ensure that emerging economies don't become the new enablers of Middle East autocrats. Make no mistake, our long term mission in the war on terror depends on long term energy independence.

We must end the empire of oil.

For some, it may be hard to conceive of a world where fossil fuels, and especially petroleum, are not the dominant sources of fuel.

In fact, we’ve been here before. One hundred and fifty years ago in Massachusetts, in New Bedford and Nantucket, no one could conceive of a future that didn’t depend on whale oil. But until recently, America’s history has been to drive technology, transform marketplaces, and invent a future never imagined before. In America, making the impossible possible has been a credo and a way of life. In the 1930s only 10 percent of rural America had electricity. Utilities refused to wire rural counties because homes were too far apart. To bring electricity to all Americans, Congress provided more than $5 billion to finance rural electrification. By the 1950s, there was hardly a corner of America that was still dark. Across our history we’ve successfully moved from wood to coal, coal to oil, oil to a mix of oil, gas, coal, nuclear and hydroelectric. Now it’s time to move to solar, wind, biomass, fuel cells, clean coal, and other wonders of American ingenuity, and I believe Washington must lead the marketplace in the right direction.

Today there is as compelling a national interest to address the security and environmental threats of fossil fuels as there is to defeat radical, extreme Islamists and global terror. Our soldiers shouldn’t be the only ones to sacrifice in this war. We must all be soldiers, and we must all welcome some sacrifice in that service.

As individuals, the change can be as simple as replacing traditional light bulbs with efficient fluorescents. In our communities we should require that new buildings include lights that turn off when people leave the room. We should follow the lead of Tokyo and their energy efficient escalators that shut off when they aren’t being used. There are literally thousands of things to be done, too few of which we are being asked to do.

Each of us can do something. And together all of us can insist on leaders who secure our energy independence, not ones who barter it away. We wouldn’t elect a candidate who said terrorism wasn’t a threat. We wouldn’t tolerate a candidate for national office who didn’t say he was committed to capturing or killing Osama Bin Laden. But for too long we’ve tolerated those who treat the threat of energy insecurity and the truth of global climate change as an inconvenient myth. Well, from now on, every American who walks into a polling place can and should vote to kick out anyone who stands in the way of energy independence.

But it is also time to put Washington to the test. Time to tell powerful interests that the old era has ended and so have their easy arrangements. Then instead of empty slogans and long laundry lists of bite-sized ideas that tinker at the edges of outdated policy, we can embark on revolutions that will put our energy future in our own hands and put global climate change at the top of the national agenda where it belongs.

Today I want to focus on the three big steps that are imperative to addressing global warming and transitioning to dependence on homegrown sources of energy. First, I believe we need to establish an oil goal and implement an aggressive set of policies to reach it. Second, I believe we must immediately expand the availability, production, and distribution of renewable fuels to run our cars. And third, we need to get serious about climate change and take measures to freeze and reverse our greenhouse gas emissions.

To start: We must establish mandates for reducing U.S. oil consumption by 2.5 million barrels of oil per day by 2015 – an amount equivalent to the oil we currently import from the Persian Gulf.

Yes, I said mandate -- and I said it because we have lost too much time for voluntary measures to be put to the test. And we can’t just set a mandate – we have to provide incentives to businesses and industry to make the mandate achievable.

We must significantly ramp up our production of Flex Fuel Vehicles. They run on alternative fuels, like E85, a blend of 85 percent ethyl alcohol -- a home-grown, domestic, completely renewable source of fuel that burns cleaner than gasoline.

Other countries already know something we don’t. Actually they’ve been doing something we won’t – something influential interests don’t want us to do. Thirty years ago when Brazil faced an energy crisis they got serious about alternative fuels. Relying on new stocks of homegrown fuels in addition to its own oil production, this year Brazil will achieve energy independence. If Brazil can do it, why can’t we? If a developing country can go from 90 percent dependence on foreign oil to zero percent dependence in three decades, then we -- the most powerful, creative, industrial country on Earth – we can change the destructive course we’re on.

Today, in this country, only six million vehicles – just 10 percent of all those on the road – can be fueled by E85, and less than one percent of the service stations have even a single E85 pump. To change that we must require – not just recommend – that an increasing percentage of new cars can run on E85 and that by 2020 all new cars will have the capacity to run on E85. 20/20: that’s not just a vision, that’s a real program to jumpstart energy independence.

But building these cars doesn’t get you very far if there is nowhere for Americans to them fill up. What a Washington solution it would be if we built flex fuel cars but you couldn’t buy the fuel– talk about a bridge to nowhere. We need to immediately expand our investment in E85 infrastructure. Mandate that 10 percent of all major oil company filling stations offer at least one ethanol pump by 2010. And to deploy this technology quickly, provide financial incentives to both independent and retail chains to install the new pumps. Just think -- we can put ethanol pumps in every single gas station in America for what we spend in Iraq in just one week. I don’t think there’s a Member of Congress who will want to tell their constituents they didn’t think breaking our dependence on oil was worth as much as one week in
Iraq.

When the energy spending bill comes before the Senate, I will offer an amendment to get over 1800 E85 pumps across the country in the next year alone, and with your help we’ll make the Congress vote yes or no – choose the status quo or choose America’s energy future.

To ensure we have enough ethanol to meet our demands, we must also invest in the kind of ethanol produced from plant wastes and energy crops like switchgrass. And we must set a goal of having 30 percent of our fuels come from biofuels by 2020. Believe me, if we’re spending 2 billion in Iraq in one week, we can commit $2 billion in funding for cellulosic biofuels over the next ten years!

Energy efficiency can be a powerful weapon in the arsenal of our democracy and is as indispensable as armor and munitions. We have to combat the threat to soldiers that comes not just from gun barrels but from oil barrels. We should all be incensed that we are in effect financing both sides in the war on terror every time we fill up
our tanks. We can’t keep asking American troops to risk the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq if those of us on the homefront aren’t ready to make even the smallest sacrifice to help them.

I remember sitting with a top CEO from the auto industry in the spring of 2003. He’d come to see me to talk about automobile efficiency standards. I asked him why the American auto industry seemed unwilling to build more fuel efficient cars. He told me that the American consumer wouldn’t buy a more fuel efficient car. He asked me, “Why in the world would we change everything to build more fuel efficient vehicles when no one wants them?” Three years later as the demand for hybrids and high mileage vehicles soars, the Japanese are there in the market and our own companies are struggling to catch up and even survive.

With leadership in Washington through a combination of incentives, grants and standards, we can and must at last revolutionize the way we drive.

We must no longer be afraid of the third rail of energy policy – fuel economy standards. Fuel efficiency standards have been essentially unchanged since 1980. Think about that. Jimmy Carter was President, my daughters were playing Atari and wearing leg-warmers, apartheid was a way of life in South Africa, and America was tuning in to find out who shot J.R. Since then, because Washington stood still, captive to powerful interests, the average efficiency of vehicles has actually declined. The United States can’t have a serious policy for oil security until we leave the 1980’s behind – entering the 21st century by demanding a major increase in
the fuel economy of our cars.

Massachusetts and California have led the way cutting CO2 emissions from cars, leading the way for more efficient cars in these states. But state action alone cannot meet this national challenge. Washington must do its job, too. We need to establish a federal standard for controlling carbon dioxide emissions from cars and trucks. If the entire country did what Massachusetts and California are already doing, we could raise fuel efficiency by 40 percent.

Building the cars of the future – fuel-efficient, advanced-technology vehicles – will require automakers and their suppliers to retool their factories. I believe the federal government has a responsibility to help them remain competitive. Tax credits will help support the necessary investments, make the new technologies cost effective, and create jobs for the workers who will build the cars of the future and help consumers buy them. We should commit $3 billion to this effort in tax credits over the next five years – tax credits that will not only help reduce oil dependence but which will pay for themselves through tax revenue generated by the growth and
productivity that follow.

But like all the funding in my proposal, let’s not leave it subject to the whims of Congress and an army of appropriators. We need to create a new security and conservation trust fund to guarantee the resources to move the nation towards energy independence. This isn’t a matter of capacity, it’s a matter of willpower. We have the money, the question is whether we have the right priorities. Just by rolling back the tax breaks for big oil which even President Bush opposes, and by renegotiating oil leases, we can invest in a fund for energy security.

Instead of a tax code that works for the K Street lobbyists, let’s provide an aggressive set of tax incentives and grants to ensure that by 2020, 20 percent of all passenger cars and trucks on the road will be fuel efficient, low emissions hybrid vehicles. Sure, hybrid vehicles are more expensive today. But they don’t have to be if we put a little presidential muscle behind them. The doors of college were only open to the rich and powerful until President Lincoln pioneered a system of Land Grant Colleges that gave us UMass and URI and the University of Connecticut. After World War II, highways and roads were underfunded by local governments and some were unusable until President Eisenhower pushed through a national highway system.

You want hybrid vehicles out on those highways? Make it affordable for Americans to buy American hybrids – because that’s a hell of a lot better than subsidizing Saudi sheiks who look the other way while madrassas teach kids hatred and violence.

Here‘s another bottom-line: Good energy policy is also fundamental to coping with global climate change.

In 1992, I was part of the Senate delegation to the Rio Earth Summit. I was continuing an interest sparked when I lead efforts in the eighties to deal with acid rain -- efforts that culminated in our creating a Cap and Trade system for emissions and making it part of the Clean Air Act in 1990. I believe that George Herbert
Walker Bush – Bush "41" -- can be proud that he was a President Bush who signed into law bills to help us reduce pollution.



The story since then is not just a disappointment -- it is a flagrant, dangerous, arrogant disavowal of science at the behest of the powerful. It is a damning story of public irresponsibility and private profiteering. Those who have encouraged,
facilitated and acquiesced in it will go down in history as modern day robber barons who sold out future generations for their own selfish gain. We need to use this November to throw the robber barons and their cronies out of the Congress and put the peoples’ interests back in.

Each year since 1992, the science has become more certain. What was theory in some areas is now proven fact. Scientific models have become more sophisticated and more accurate. Across the world scientists and national leaders – except ours -- have spoken out and acted decisively. Only the United States stands out as a flat earth
holdout for inaction. When confronted by scientific facts, leaders must not change the facts to suit their politics; whether the issue is global warming, stem cell research, or Iraq, leaders must tell people the truth.

In the last month Al Gore’s "Inconvenient Truth" has brought the science to millions of Americans in a dramatic and persuasive way. Al was an early leader and a visionary on climate change – and if he had not just been elected but been inaugurated as President, America today would be the world’s leading advocate, not the world’s leading opponent of climate change.

The question now – even more than it has been for the last years – is not whether climate change is happening but what are we going to do about it? No, I don't mean how does the political system moan and groan and adopt makeshift responses. I mean what are we really going to do? How do we turn this danger into opportunity? How do we meet a challenge of epic proportions with an epic American response?

Well we have to start by ending the bizarre disconnect of American politics. Real crises stare us in the face, screaming for solution. But non-existent, contrived ones replace the real ones on the agenda of a Congress that wants to change the political climate instead of dealing with climate change. They remain bent on dividing the country with flag burning and gay bashing amendments to the Constitution when we should be strengthening the country with a determined attack on global climate change.

Compare that kind of craven politics, to last week’s announcement by the nation’s leading climate scientists -- a shocking new report that revealed that the earth's temperature is at a 2,000 year high. The scientists said – let me just read it to you – that the “recent warmth is unprecedented for at least the last 400 years and potentially the last several millennia” and they also stated that "human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming.”

Unless we deal with global warming boldly and quickly our world will undergo a string of terrible events in both the Atlantic and the Pacific far worse than Hurricane Katrina.

Never before have so many people lived so close to the coasts: More than a hundred million people worldwide live within three feet of sea level. Some of the world’s greatest cities like – New York, Shanghai, Bangkok, and Tokyo – are at risk.

So we need a plan that actually does what the science tells us we have to do to. That’s why I will be introducing in the Senate the most far-reaching proposal in our history. Nothing else will protect our security and our world. And I believe that anyone who knows the urgency of this global challenge, would be fighting to make this our national policy. And that is what I’m going to do.

It will stop and reverse U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. I propose establishing an aggressive economy wide cap and trade program to reverse emissions growth starting in 2010. After that, we will progress to more rapid
reductions and end at 65 percent below 2000 emissions by the year 2050.

At the same time, we cannot be reckless about the economic impacts. We must ensure American businesses remain competitive with the rest of the world. To achieve that goal, my plan will provide the tools to help the economy transition to new clean energy technologies, protect workers and affected communities, and protect companies and consumers from energy cost shocks. We will provide tax incentives for good behavior and increased funding for research, development and deployment of clean energy technologies. And I believe we should double the federal government funding for research and development to support private sector energy research, demonstration, and deployment.

The U.S. is the world’s single largest emitter of greenhouse gases, but the U.S. alone cannot solve the challenge of climate change. It is going to take action from other countries - - both developed and developing. We must re-engage in discussions with the international community and work together to plan a path forward. It’s a global problem and it’s going to require a global solution.

We have big challenges to solve – and a whole host of people in Washington who don’t know how to tackle them, and a whole cast of political consultants who will counsel their candidates not even to try.

That’s where you come in. You need to push the curve. You need to shake things up.

A Saudi Arabian oil minister and a founder of OPEC once said, "That the Stone Age came to an end not for a lack of stones, and the oil age will end, but not for a lack of oil." We are not about to run out of oil, but the consequences of endless dependence on oil are too great, too profound, and too dangerous for our nation. Rather than have our energy policy be the last big mistake of the 20th century, we can and must create a policy that is the first great breakthrough of the 21st century.

So for the second time in our history let’s declare and win our independence. This time not from foreign rule but from foreign oil. If we are as Lincoln said the “last best hope of Earth,” let’s stop being the denier of global warming that endangers the
Earth. Let’s give our people back the truth, and let’s give the world back its future.



Environmental Leaders Praise Kerry Plan on Climate Change, Energy Independence

In fighting for energy security, Senator Kerry refuses to accept the false choice between promoting our economy and protecting our environment - - something Washington could use a little more of. We need leaders like John Kerry who are willing to put themselves on the line with bold new ideas to tackle global warming and invest in America’s ingenuity to truly help our nation kick the oil habit.

--Deb Callahan, environmental activist and former Executive Director for the League of Conservation Voters

There can be few greater challenges in the twenty-first century than addressing the threat of climate change. Left unmitigated, the impacts are expected to be devastating. Urgent action is needed. And Senator Kerry’s comprehensive proposal is the right response.

--John Devillars, Founder and Partner of BlueWave Strategies, former New England administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Senator Kerry is proposing a response to global warming commensurate with the challenge. He is listening to the science, which tells us that we must start cutting heat-trapping pollution now and reduce it to a fraction of current levels by mid-century.

--David Hawkins, director of Natural Resources Defense Council's climate center

We must take action now to chart a sustainable, secure, and affordable energy future. Our first step must be to invest in alternative sources of energy that curb oil consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In the near term, an investment
in biofuels as Senator Kerry has proposed can provide a practical and potent way to promote a sustainable environment.

--Roger Ballentine, Founder and President of Green Strategies Inc., former Chairman of the White House Climate Change Task Force under the Clinton Administration.

Global climate change is a threat of historic proportions. To address it, America urgently needs strong leadership in loosening our fossil fuel stranglehold. Senator
Kerry's proposals for capping greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and setting ambitious nationwide renewable energy goals are important steps in the right direction.

--Phil Warburg, President of Conservation Law Foundation.

“Senator Kerry clearly recognizes that oil dependence and climate change are the two big energy challenges faced by the United States and the world. The solutions he is proposing for addressing both challenges are sensible and timely.”

--John Holdren, President and Director, The Woods Hole Research Center



Sunday, June 25, 2006

Stay and Pay

I'm confused by the Republican "stay and pay" position on Iraq.

The Democrats have proposed a plan for ending the Iraq war.


Iraq Prime Minister Al-Maliki has proposed a plan for ending the Iraq war.


General Casey has proposed a plan for ending the Iraq war.


The majority of American people want to end the Iraq war.


The majority of Iraqi people want to end the Iraq war.


Why, then, do the Republicans in Congress and the Bush administration insist on "staying the course"?

The 'course' was wrong from the start. "Wrong war, wrong place, wrong time." Remember Senator Kerry telling us that throughout the 2004 campaign?
But instead of focusing on the real threat, the administration shifted their focus to one that existed only in the imagination of Bush and his small minded and short sighted cronies.

Iraq=
No WMD
No imminent threat
No connection to 9/11

Bush=
No military strategy
No political strategy
No clue

What's more, Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney and the rest took their eye off the real threat of bin Laden and the terrorists in Afghanistan who attacked us on that awful day when everything changed.

So, almost five years after 9/11, More than three years after the start of the Iraq war, what have we accomplished?

This?

And who has gained the most from Bush's misdirected response? bin Laden is no doubt pretty pleased.

The Iraq war has made us less safe and less respected throughout the world. It has cost us more than 2,500 American lives and $320 billion dollars.

We need to start talking, all of us, Democrats and Republicans alike, about the best way to end it.

For all the evidence that the war in Iraq was a mistake, why do the Republicans in Congress and the Bush administration still insist this war in Iraq is a good idea?

No answers, just a question. Let me know if you come up with anything.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

"The most important work"

Kerry points to "The most important work"
By Patrick Brodrick/ Staff Writer
Thursday, June 22, 2006


CLINTON - It has housed disadvantaged and troubled youth since the Victorian era, but on Monday the Robert F. Kennedy Action Corps in Lancaster hosted both local and federal politicians, including former presidential-candidate U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

(snip)


During his speech, Kerry drew attention to the fact that all too often funding for centers like the Robert F. Kennedy Action Corps is being left out of spending bills.

"Budgets for these programs are being slashed," Kerry told the crowd. "I’ve seen it all over this country, community by community and state by state, families are struggling. Too many children in this country are struggling to get the help they need. Values are taught to young people in three ways; through their parents, through their teachers and organized religion - I know some people don’t like to hear that but it’s the truth. And in the richest country in the world, too many children are without all three."

Kerry said that is why institutions like the Action Corps are so crucial to the country’s youth.

"I want to thank all the people that work at this center and all the institutions just like this one," Kerry said. "Without question this is the most important work being done in America."


Kerry gets it.

Now compare that with the so-called "values-based" republicans with their plan to cut taxes for the wealthy and balloon the deficit to saddle future generations with immense debt, so that government support for children's programs like this becomes impossible; while they spend Congress' time (and my tax dollars) arguing about "urgent" issues such as "protecting" marriage from, well, people who want to get married; while they spend their time in Congress debating how and how much to slash from children's programs, so that they can continue to fund war and the war provisioners. Those seem to be the republican "values," and if so I don't want any part of them. I don't see how any Christian can.

I'll take the values of Kerry and others like him. Real Christian values, that prioritize love and caring over condemnation.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Dems 2, Repubs 0

Developing an exit stragegy for Iraq is not a game, although the Republicans spent yesterday in the Senate chanting their mindless "Dems are divided" and "cut and run" nonsense nonstop. And the mainstream media, as is their habit, is only too happy to cheer them on.
This Republican political posturing does nothing to advance what most Americans are hoping to hear from their elected representatives. It does not help achieve success, it does not support the troops, and it does not make us more secure.
The Cheerleader in Chief is no doubt proud.
And it doesn't change the facts. Not only do the Republicans in the Senate and the Bush administration not have a plan, they don't have a clue.
Senate Democrats have two plans, both with the end result of a successful redeployment from Iraq. It's not division, it's debate. At the very least, it's a start. The Kerry/Feingold amendment is no doubt the stronger of the two. If you listened to the debate last evening, you know that.
But the fact that there are two Democratic plans is not a negative. It's an attempt at progress, at success.
The Republicans and the Bush administration have nothing.

Here's one from me, Repubs. "Get a Plan".

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

John Kerry exposes the Bush Plan as "Lie and Die"

Senator John Kerry was on fire on Imus this morning! The tired Republican 'cut and run' meme has been smacked down by the good Senator from Massachusetts, and he's proposed a counter:

The Bush strategy - "Lie and Die"

The Kerry/Feingold amendment for redeployment of our troops will be presented on the floor of the Senate tomorrow, so sign the letter at Kerry's site, and get on the horn and call your Senators! It's time for Iraqis to stand up for Iraq.

IMUS: What's this amendment now you've got -- you've got to introduce to me?

KERRY: It's an amendment to set a date a year from now which we believe is more than enough time within which to do what has to be done to get our troops home and to get the Iraqis standing up on their own.

IMUS:
Doesn't that just -- I mean, the obvious question would -- I've been asked a million times -- didn't that give them a heads up when it's going to be?

KERRY: No. On the contrary. What it does is provide the only opportunity for success. "Stay the course" is not a plan. And what this administration wants is to have a fake debate, as usual. They're -- you hear the drum beat on every television show from every commentator, "cut and run, cut and run, cut and run, cut and run." That's their phrase. They found their three words. They love to do that. And they're going to try to make the elections in November a choice between "cut and run" and "stay the course". That's not the choice. My plan is not "cut and run." Their plan is "lie and die." And that's what they are doing. They lie to America, what's happening on the ground. They lie about why we're there. They lie about what's happening. And our plan is very simple. It's redeploy to win the war on terror. Change to succeed. You have a better chance of success if the Iraqis are given notice that they've got to begin to take over and stand up for themselves. It's very simple. Iraqis have to fight for Iraq.


Senator Kerry, You're just rockin'.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Heroes of the Middle Class

Which United States Senators vote in your best interest?
The Drum Major Institute for Public Policy has reported the results of Congress at midterm. And what does the report card say about Senators who voted for the middle class of America in 2005?
On the issues that matter most to the majority of us, Senate Democrats garnered 4 'A's, 3 'C's and a 'D', while Senate Republicans managed a completely consistent failing grade. 'F's across the board.

So, who in the Senate stands for YOU, the middle class of America?

Valedictorians are listed below:

Boxer 100%
Kennedy 100%
Kerry 100%
Sarbanes 100%
Corzine 100%
Lautenberg 100%
Clinton 100%
Leahy 100%
Feingold 100%

Details at drummajorinstitute.com

The Mission:

To boldly send your kids where they were too cowardly to go before...

George "AWOL" Bush
CUT AND RAN

"Dick" Cheney
CUT AND RAN

Karl Rove
CUT AND RAN

"Scooter" Libby
CUT AND RAN

Paul Wolfowitz
CUT AND RAN

Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO)
CUT AND RAN

Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL)
CUT AND RAN

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
CUT AND RAN

Rep. Tom "The Exterminator" DeLay (R-TX)
CUT AND RAN

Rep. Charles Gwynne Douglas, III (R-NH)
CUT AND RAN

Rep. Newton Leroy "Newt" Gingrich (R-GA)
CUT AND RAN

Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH)
CUT AND RAN

Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-IL)
CUT AND RAN

Sen. Chester Trent Lott (R-MS)
CUT AND RAN

Rep. Joseph "Joe" Scarborough (R-FL)
CUT AND RAN

Brit Hume
CUT AND RAN

Neal Boortz
CUT AND RAN

Roger Ailes
CUT AND RAN

William "Bill" Bennett
CUT AND RAN

Rev. Jerry Falwell
CUT AND RAN

Sean Hannity
CUT AND RAN

William "Bill" Kristol
CUT AND RAN

William "Bill" O'Reilly
CUT AND RAN

Michael Savage
CUT AND RAN

Ted Nugent
CUT AND RAN

Richard Perle
CUT AND RAN

Andrew "Andy" Card
CUT AND RAN

John Bolton
CUT AND RAN

Eliot Abrams
CUT AND RAN

Spencer Abraham
CUT AND RAN

Gary Bauer
CUT AND RAN

Rush Limbaugh
CUT AND RAN


http://www.nhgazette.com/news/chickenhawks/

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Karl gets his.

The Real Coward
By Chris Satullo
Inquirer Columnist

The only bullets Karl Rove has ever dodged were legal.

Last week, after learning he would avoid indictment for his role in the sliming of an Iraq war critic, Rove had this to say about two men who risked death in service of country, John Murtha and John Kerry:

"Like too many Democrats, it strikes me that they are ready to give the green light to go to war, but when it gets tough and when it gets difficult they fall back on that party's pattern of cutting and running."

In any sentence with the names Kerry, Murtha and Rove, there is only one possible coward. It's not the Pennsylvania congressman nor the Massachusetts senator.

snip

You want to call Murtha and Kerry "cut and run" cowards? Go to the Hill and do it to their face. Don't do it only at Republican fund-raisers.


more of this great editorial here:


And this from Kerry spokesman David Wade the other day:

“The closest Karl Rove ever came to combat was these last months spent worrying his cellmates might rough him up in prison. This porcine political operative can't cut and run from the truth any longer. When it came to Iraq, this Administration chose to cut and run from sound intelligence and good diplomacy, cut and run from the best military advice, cut and run from their responsibility to give our troops body armor, and in November, Americans will cut and run from this Republican Congress.”


And Congressman Murtha had this to say about Rove on Meet the Press today:

"He’s in New Hampshire. He’s making a political speech. He’s sitting in his air-conditioned office on his big, fat backside, saying stay the course. That’s not a plan. … We’ve got to change direction. You can’t sit there in the air-conditioned office and tell troops carrying 70 pounds on their backs, inside these armored vessels hit with IEDs every day, seeing their friends blown up, their buddies blown up — and he says stay the course? Easy to say that from Washington, DC."


What does qualify Karl Rove to attack our decorated vets? Couldn't be this:

"Except for a lapse of several months, Selective Service records show presidential adviser Karl Rove escaped the draft for nearly three years at the height of the Vietnam War using student deferments. " [Walsh, Salt Lake Tribune, 9/18/2004]

Rove's (non-)draft history includes a period where he claimed a student deferment even though he had dropped out of school.


Seems Mr. "Architect" not only cut and ran from Vietnam, he couldn't even complete the education that kept him from going.
Give it up, Karl. The Dems have seen through you and your slimy GOP tricks. You're a cowardly piece of work that isn't fit to share newspaper space with heroes like John Kerry and Jack Murtha. Please go away.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

SUPPORT THE TROOPS!

What does it mean, exactly, to “support the troops”? Does a yellow magnet on your car qualify you as a troop supporter?
When you're a United States Senator, does it take a little more than that?

Contrast legislation that serves the needs of active duty military and veterans proposed by Senator Kerry in the current session of Congress:

S.AMDT.3143 to S.CON.RES.83 To prevent the imposition of excessive TRICARE fees and co-pays on military retirees.
S.AMDT.2616 to S.2020 To accelerate marriage penalty relief for the earned income tax credit, to extend the election to include combat pay in earned income, and to make modifications of effective dates of leasing provisions of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004.
S.AMDT.1502 to S.1042 To make permanent the extension of the period of temporary continuation of basic allowance for housing for dependents of members of the Armed Forces who die on active duty.
S.AMDT.1029 to H.R.2361 Making emergency supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2005, for the Veterans Health Administration.
S.AMDT.334 to H.R.1268 To increase the military death gratuity to $100,000, effective with respect to any deaths of members of the Armed Forces on active duty after October 7, 2001.
S.AMDT.333 to H.R.1268 To extend the period of temporary continuation of basic allowance for housing for dependents of members of the Armed Forces who die on active duty.
S.2970 : A bill to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide free credit monitoring and credit reports for veterans and others affected by the theft of veterans' personal data, to ensure that such persons are appropriately notified of such thefts, and for other purposes.
S.2449 : A bill to amend title 10, United States Code, to reduce the age for receipt of military retired pay for nonregular service from 60 years of age to 55 years of age.
S.2163 : A bill to amend titles 10 and 38 of the United States Code, to increase and index educational benefits for veterans under the Montgomery GI bill to ensure adequate and equitable benefits for active duty members and members of the selected Reserve, and to include certain servicemembers previously excluded from such benefits.
S.460 : A bill to expand and enhance benefits for members of the Armed Forces and their families, and for other purposes.
S.240 : A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow small business employers a credit against income tax with respect to employees who participate in the military reserve components and are called to active duty and with respect to replacement employees and to allow a comparable credit for activated military reservists who are self-employed, and for other purposes.

with, say, John McCain’s, which I have listed below.


Maybe I should buy Senator McCain a ribbon.
Source http://thomas.loc.gov/

THE SUN GOES DARK

What sucks about editorials is not that any idiot can write them, it's that no matter how fraught with inconsistencies, misinformation and outright lies, 'news'papers like the Lowell Sun will print them. Well, let's take this one apart, shall we? I will direct my replies to the writer of this drivel.

Complete the mission
The Lowell Sun
http://www.lowellsun.com/editorials/ci_3949617


U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass, is the Democratic Party's most ardent Iraq war critic. That's fine. Kerry has every right to express his opinions, even though a majority of them are usually formed not on meticulous study but on the current direction of America's political winds.
Today, the winds are blowing to Kerry's back -- at least among party liberals.

Your statement regarding Senator Kerry's opinions is merely your opinion, but you have every right, as you say, to it. My assertion is that how Senator Kerry's opinions are formed is pretty much known only to Senator Kerry and those closest to him. I'm guessing that's not you. I can surmise that because, unlike President Bush, the Senator reads, he has most likely studied this quite a bit. He also cites a lot of sources. That usually points to study rather than wind position, but I really can't confirm. So, I'll just say that those of us who don't actually advise the Senator can only choose to agree with his opinions or not. I happen to agree with the Senator.


Kerry admits he made a mistake in voting to give President Bush the authorization to go to war in Iraq in 2001. That's fine. If he says it enough, it could turn it into a 2008 U.S. Presidential campaign slogan: "Correct the mistake of 2004, John Kerry's now anti-war."
John Kerry is anti IRAQ war. Always has been. He has said it over and over again, beginning in 2002 (The IWR, which Bush failed to comply with anyway, was voted on in October 2002, not 2001), and continuing today. Remember "wrong war, wrong place, wrong time"? Kerry's position on Iraq is consistent. We should not have gone there.


Remember when Kerry said during the last presidential election that he voted for the war before he voted against it."
Is that a direct quote? You know, you can't just turn words into fact by saying "Remember when". No, I don't "remember when". No one "remembers when", because he never said it. Are you referring to the 87B supplemental? As you are fully aware, there were two appropriations bills. Kerry voted for the one that would fund the troops by reducing tax cuts for the extremely wealthy. He voted against the one that would leave a burden on our children to pay for Bush's unjust and immoral war. That was a protest vote, obviously, as the supplemental passed 87-12.

If you're referring to the IWR, Kerry voted for the resolution. As he says, knowing what he knows now, he would not have, and neither, most assuredly, would many others. In fact, it is highly unlikely there would have been a resolution had the Senate been given the information that should have been provided them. Should he and others have known better than to trust Bush? Perhaps. But Senator Kerry's decision was based on assurances from Colin Powell, who he believed to be a credible source (Cobra II, pg. 130). In retrospect, that was a mistake as well, to which Senator Kerry has admitted repeatedly.

"The president promised he would go to war as a matter of last resort. He didn't. The president promised he would build a coalition and work through the United Nations. He didn't. We're paying the price for the reckless way in which this president approached this. It's a failure of diplomacy, and today it's a failure of leadership." John Kerry 9/14/2003


OK, let's not dwell on the past and Kerry's changing convictions. Too much is at stake in Iraq.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate soundly rejected Kerry's call to withdraw combat troops by Dec. 31. The proposal would have allowed "only (U.S.) forces that are critical to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces" to remain in Iraq in 2007.
Six Democrats joined Kerry in backing the proposal.
Now you have John Kerry confused with Mitch McConnell. Senator Kerry's the tall one from Massachusetts. McConnell is the sniveling, weasly Republican coward. Kerry did not propose an amendment this week. That was a Republican introduced bill, but you knew that, didn't you?


While the U.S. post-invasion mission in Iraq has had its failures, it is not because of America's fighting men and women. They've done their best -- and sacrificed greatly to give Iraqis the freedom they deserve. The soldiers' successes, vastly underreported by
U.S. and global media, are truly historic.
Yes. The troops have done their best. But the Iraq war can not be resolved militarily, it must be resolved politically. That is not the work of the troops. As for "historic", please cite something to back that up. As for Iraqis having freedom, many barely have electricity any more. They do have a growing death toll, though.


The Bush administration's policies, meanwhile, have been resolute yet difficult to comprehend at times. The biggest flaws were not getting enough coalition troops on the ground once Baghdad fell and the decision to decommission Saddam Hussein's captured Iraqi Army.
I would argue that the biggest flaw was to start the war to begin with. There is a publication at the site you reference below that you might want to read.

REVISIONS IN NEED OF REVISING:
WHAT WENT WRONG IN THE IRAQ WAR




War is terrible, and Kerry certainly knows that. However, disengaging from war is just as important as waging one. America must win the end game -- decisively -- or else we risk coming back in a decade or sooner. To withdraw U.S. forces now, without giving the new Iraqi government a chance to build its security forces, would be an unfathomable mistake.
Yes, Kerry knows war is terrible. Unlike most of the Bush administration, he's seen one from the front lines. Exactly how long do you propose we give the Iraqis to train their troops? We were told by the administration that as the Iraqis stood up, we would stand down. As the estimate of Iraqi troops trained is now at approximately 165,000, it seems that we should be able to bring home the same number of our own. That would be all of them.

Bush Says Trained Iraqi Troops Now Outnumber U.S.
FORT HOOD, Texas (Reuters) - President Bush said on Tuesday trained Iraqi security forces now outnumber U.S. troops in Iraq and are playing a greater role in fighting insurgents.

Additionally, if you research carefully, you will see that both Kerry and John Murtha are calling for 'over the hill' presence, so this is not a complete withdrawl, it's a redeployment. See the difference?


No question al-Qaida forces are being destroyed piece by piece. A New York Times article (Sunday, June 11) revealed how the U.S. military has captured or killed more than 100 top insurgent leaders during the past three years. A document obtained in the rubble from the bombing that killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al-Qaida leader in Iraq, portrays the insurgency as being in "bleak" shape. In fact, U.S. and Iraqi forces have killed 102 insurgents in 452 raids since al-Zarqawi's death, while seizing weapons and shutting off financial networks fueling the insurgency.
Do you have statistics on how many Al-Quaida have been recruited since we arrived? I question your assertion that there is 'no question'.


The question now is: If al-Qaida forces are being decimated, who's behind the attacks that are killing military forces and Iraqi civilians? Obviously, Baathists loyal to Saddam Hussein and militias loyal to religious leaders. Soon enough, the interests of a unified government -- made up of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds -- are going to figure out a way to deal with these ruthless entities. And they need our help.
When is 'soon enough'? Iraq needs help politically. That's not a function of our military. That's why Kerry calls for a political solution. As General Casey has suggested, our troop presence is fueling the insurgency. With 2,500 dead, 18,000 injured, countless Iraqi civilian casualties, and a mounting cost of war that grows by $8 billion a month, when is 'soon enough'?


Kerry would be wise to urge other international players to assist America in its exit from Iraq by pledging money and military support to Iraq. The end game is near, but it must be handled properly so that Iraq becomes a sovereign nation.
That would be this part of Senator Kerry's plan:

That it is the sense of the Senate that the President, not later than 30 days after the date of the formation of a new national unity government in Iraq, should convene a summit that includes the leaders of that government, leaders of the governments of each country bordering Iraq, representatives of the Arab League, the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, representatives of the European Union, and leaders of the governments of each permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, for the purpose of reaching a comprehensive political agreement for Iraq that addresses fundamental issues including federalism, oil revenues, the militias, security guarantees, reconstruction, economic assistance, and border security. S. RES. 470


The Iraq situation is truly complex and should not be based on emotional rhetoric.
Yes, it is. You should stop.


A good source for Kerry and others which brings home the difficult choices America faces in withdrawing from Iraq can be found in the Strategic Studies Institute report titled, "Precedents, Variables, and Options in Planning a U.S. Military Disengage Strategy from Iraq." (www.StrategicStudiesInstitute.army.mil).

It might be wishful thinking, but we can hope that the majority of U.S. senators opposing Kerry's withdrawal proposal did so after they read this remarkable and honest report.
It is critical to note this while reading the report cited:

"The information cut off date for this study was August 8, 2005."

I think it likely that the situation on the ground and our options have changed from last August. Thanks for the link, though. Here's a good one from that same site:

REVISIONS IN NEED OF REVISING:
WHAT WENT WRONG IN THE IRAQ WAR

"...critics also have neglected the larger lesson that there are certain limits to what military power can accomplish. For certain purposes, like the creation of a liberal democratic society that will be a model for others, military power is a blunt instrument, destined by its very nature to give rise to unintended and unwelcome consequences. Rather than "do it better next time," a better lesson is "don't do it at all."

And that's what Senator Kerry was telling us in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. Only you weren't listening.

Bush lied. Thousands died. Senator Kerry's amendment calls for a political solution in Iraq. Bush's plan is stay the course.

I like Kerry's.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

John Kerry posts at The Hill blog

Senator Kerry is really getting out and about in the blogosphere these days.

I was wondering why there were so few comments on the posts at The Hill blog...then I found that only Congressmembers, staff, and recognized policy experts can post comments. It does seem like that would keep the debate a little more civil than if the riff raff were allowed to post!

Re:Troop Withdrawal–It’s time for Iraqis to stand up for Iraq
June 15th, 2006

Want to win the war on terror? Want to deal with Iran’s nuclear threat? Want to stop the Taliban from retaking Afghanistan? Want to stop Al Qaeda’s new beachhead in Somalia? I sure as hell do. I’m tired of a national security game of half measures where the same people who took their boots off Osama bin Laden’s neck at Tora Bora when he was cornered, now think we have to stay bogged down in Iraq forever and leave these growing threats unaddressed.

Our enemies are thrilled we’re bogged down in Iraq. But we have a choice. It’s time to redeploy for victory in the war on terror. It’s time for Iraqis to stand up for Iraq. We know the verdict of our generals: the war cannot be won militarily; the only way forward is a political settlement. We need to listen to Gen. George Casey, the U.S. military commander in Iraq, who argued that our large military presence “extends the amount of time that it will take for Iraqi security forces to become self-reliant.” To make Iraq self-reliant, we need hard and fast deadlines, not an open-ended commitment of U.S. forces. Our troops have done their job in Iraq. It’s time for Iraqis to stand up for Iraq.

Posted by Mass. Dem. Sen. John Kerry

Former POW blasts renewed smear attacks on his "Vietnam brother," John Kerry

Recently, the Dem Daily posted on the New York Times report of John Kerry's continuing fight against the repugnant smear merchants we know as the Swift Liars. One of the smear merchants, Colonel "Bud" Day, responded to the NY Times article in a press release, claiming - falsely, but why should Day begin now to care about truth - that Kerry's "Vietnam service and medals" were "roundly disputed by virtually all of his former commanding officers and shipmates who were part of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign." But as Snopes reported back in 2004, here's the truth about Kerry's shipmates and commanding officers opinions:
Although the men quoted above are often identified as “John Kerry’s shipmates,” only one of them, Steven Gardner, actually served under Lt. Kerry’s command on a Swift boat. The other men who served under Kerry’s command continue to speak positively of him:
...(snip)...
Many of Kerry's Vietnam commanders and fellow officers also continue to speak positively of him:...

Day's press release is rife with similar distortions upon falsehoods upon blatant lies. I would not even bring it up here except as a reeference to report that yet another former POW - a former "Hanoi Hilton" cellmate of some of the Swift Liars, has had enough of these politically motivated smears against a "Vietnam brother" and is going on record with his feelings on the matter. I received the following statement of Commander Phillip Butler, USN (ret.), in my email a couple days ago and was unable to post at the time. Here is the full statement from Commander Butler in response to Day's attacks on John Kerry - emphasis added:

Swift Boat Veterans for Truth Leader’s Renewed Attacks on Kerry “Sicken” Former POW

As a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, I read with great sadness retired Air Force Col. George E. "Bud" Day’s statements in yesterday’s press release from the “Vietnam Veterans Legacy Foundation,” a group that was formerly known as the infamous “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.” They may have changed their name, but they have not changed their tradition of lies and distorted facts.

In the press release, Col. Day resumes the vicious partisan attacks his group honed against Sen. John Kerry in 2004, an attack which our fellow POW, Senator John McCain aptly described as “dishonest and dishonorable.” Day claims that he speaks “for a vast majority of Vietnam veterans who believe he [Kerry] betrayed them 35 years ago” and that “…John Kerry's deliberate betrayal of his countrymen … alone compelled many POWs and most Vietnam veterans, Swift Boaters included, to stand firm against this poser, this strutting would-be hero and turncoat."

I was captured on April 20th of 1965 and released on February 12th of 1973, making me the 8the longest-held POW in Vietnam. During one period, November of 1969 till May of 1972, I was incarcerated in a camp we named “Camp Unity,” part of the “Hanoi Hilton,” with hundreds of my fellow POW’s. During this time I shared a 40 man cell with Ken Cordier and in the adjoining cell were Paul Galanti and Jim Warner, all of whom were active in the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth negative campaign. Contrary to statements by these men, none of us ever heard about John Kerry’s testimony or statements against the Vietnam War while we were in captivity. I remember. I was there.

The great majority of us were mentally, emotionally and physically tortured by our Vietnamese captors. We often suffered from malnutrition, diseases and isolation. Many of our comrades died in captivity under these conditions. No one who was ever held captive as a POW in Vietnam will ever completely put the experience behind them.

But what sustained all of us during those terrible years was our supportive brotherhood because every POW relied on his brothers for survival. This bond transcended any differences in race, rank or politics. Just before our repatriation in 1973 we formed a fraternal group, “The Fourth Allied POW Wing,” also known as “Nam POWs.” It was to be an apolitical and fraternal organization of those who “returned with honor.”

And it wasn’t until 2004 that the fraternal bond was broken and many former POW’s were stunned and sickened to see a small number of our former cellmates enter the political fray with the negative Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against John Kerry. Regretfully, many of us remained silent as a multi-million dollar political smear campaign diminished and denigrated Kerry’s service in Vietnam.

Day, Cordier, Galanti and Warner have claimed to speak for most veterans and POW’s. But they only spoke for a small group of ultra right-wing ideologues. In his renewed attacks on Senator Kerry this week, Day recycles the same personal vitriol and falsehoods about Kerry’s “betrayal” of our fellow veterans that his organization trademarked in 2004.

The real truth is John Kerry is a Vietnam Veteran who fought heroically and was awarded a Silver Star and Purple Heart for his service. But he is also courageous for coming home and telling Americans the truth about the Vietnam War. John Kerry has continues to honorably and selflessly serve his country to this day. And I am proud, as a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, as a former Navy Light Attack carrier pilot, as a retired Navy Commander, as a Vietnam veteran and former POW, to call Senator John Kerry a Vietnam brother whom I honor and respect.

Commander Phillip Butler, USN (ret.) was a prisoner of war in Vietnam from 1965 to 1973. He was awarded two Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts among other combat decorations.

I applaud Commander Butler for taking a stand. I note that in his statement he doesn't come close to listing all of Kerry's medals, which suggests that he is not a close follower of Kerry, or at least is not highly partisan towards him. (Most of Kerry's partisan fans would be sure to list every award, I think). If I am correct, that makes his statement here even more compelling: he was there with those other men, and attests that their reports are false. His description of the brotherhood created by the hardships and horrors of captivity, and the subsequent betrayal of that brotherhood by these liars for political purposes, is a powerful statement. Thank you, Commander Butler.

For more background, here are a few articles from Ron Chusid's recent series re-visiting the truth about John Kerry, Vietnam, and the smear hacks:


Monday, June 12, 2006

Take Back America - The Apollo Alliance

I'm here blogging from the Take Back America Conference in Washington DC. This morning I had the distinct pleasure of joining in a bloggers-only discussion with Robert Redford, and Jerome Ringo, President of the Apollo Alliance. For anyone who has been spending too much time under a rock (or just getting news from the M$M - same thing), the Apollo Alliance is (from their web page):
The mission of the Apollo Alliance is to build a broad-based constituency in support of a sustainable and clean energy economy that will create millions of good jobs for the nation, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and create cleaner and healthier communities. Through policy alternatives, organizing, and on the ground results in states and cities across the nation, we are demonstrating that a social just, environmentally balanced and economically prosperous future is attainable.

While we were waiting for the VIP's, I realized I was sitting next to Taylor Marsh. We had a nice chat about blogging in general, and of course I didn't take notes so I will only remember details of what we talked about when I wake up for no good reason at 2 a.m. some night this week.

TayTay had thrust a voice recorder - the kind college students use for recording classes - into my hands right before I walked into the room, so I got a sort-of quasi recording of Redford's and Ringo's comments and replies. Redford spoke a little too quietly so the audio didn't come out well enough to post, but I could make out enough of it to remind me of what was said as I wrote this post - thanks, Tay!

After a few introductory remarks, the floor was open for questions. The first question was about the role of environmental issues in the 2006 elections. Redford expressed hope that they would play a role and get some attention in 2006, and spoke of how depressing it was that the environment was mostly ignored by the media in the 2004 election.

The response to the next question was more interesting and hopeful. The question was for a comment on Al Gore's movie, "An Inconvenient Truth." Redford commented that the language is moving to the visual media, and it's good to put environmental issues in that language. He then said that the film was especially important in the area of solutions - that we need to focus on solutions. Jerome added that he feels that Gore's film has ended the debate over whether global warming is real. He called it "an end, and a beginning" - an end of the argument over the reality of global warming, and a beginning of a real movement to address solutions.

There were a couple more questions, including one about whether the "category 5 denial" of global warming amounted to "an impeachable offense." (C'mon, we can't even get Bush impeached for outright breaking the law by ignoring FISA, yet the fellow asking that question thinks simple negligence and denial of reality is "impeachable"? Bob and Jerome got a good laugh out of that.) But I think Jerome's statement about "an end, and a beginning" was the most powerful, and I sure hope he's right.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Pulitzer Prize Nominees for Truth

PPNT Mission Statement:
Pulitzer Prize Nominees for Truth is an organization of Pulitzer winners and nominees dedicated to debunking the lies and exaggerations of Thomas Lipscomb and other fake journalists who claim or imply to be Pulitzer Prize Nominees.

OK. None of us are really Pulitzer winners or nominees.

INCLUDING THOMAS LIPSCOMB.

Truthfully, PPNT is not 'us', just me. And I'm not really 'dedicated' to anything regarding Mr. Lipscomb. To tell the truth, I think he's a hack and not worth any more of my time than it took to write this post. There's not even a PPNT, really, although maybe there should be.
Certainly, PPNT's mission is more honorable than that of the now-debunked smear merchants whose name, by mere coincidence, is similar in construct to that of the PPNT. The fact that I started this post with a bunch of bullshit is where we share common ground. That the rest of my post is documented fact is where we couldn't be further apart.

And to our (my) credit, member(s) of PPNT aren't vet-bashers.
Mr. Lipscomb is.

In a recent article trashing Senator John Kerry's service (similar to one smearing General Wesley Clark's), Mr. Lipscomb is attributed with the following:

"Thomas Lipscomb is an independent investigative reporter who was nominated for a Pulitzer for his reporting on Kerry during the 2004 elections."

OK, so he was 'nominated'. So, what does it take to be NOMINATED?

According to pulitzer.org:

Entries for journalism awards may be submitted by any individual from material appearing in a United States newspaper published daily, Sunday, or at least once a week during the calendar year.


And what does it take to be a NOMINEE?

According to pulitzer.org:

The three finalists in each category are the only entries in the competition that are recognized by the Pulitzer office as nominees.


So, we know that almost anyone (thousands of people per year) can be nominated, but less than two dozen are nominees. So, what does a search of the pulitzer.com site reveal? Check for yourself. Go to www.pulitzer.org, and in the search, Enter "Lipscomb".

Wait. No. Let me do that for you.



He was 'nominated'? Anyone who had crap published in any rag can be 'nominated'.

THOMAS LIPSCOMB IS NOT A PULITZER NOMINEE.

And he wants to question the service of decorated veterans?

Give me a break.

Just as Mr Lipscomb denigrates the service of our vets, he attempts to minimize the accomplishments of Pulitzer winners with his disingenuous claims.

Show us your medals, Mr. Lipscomb, you right wing hack poseur. That's a challenge from the full membership of the PPNT.
I won't hold my breath waiting to see that Pulitzer nominee award, any more than I hope to ever lay eyes on Bush's TANG records.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

J'accuse!

Damn, I hate to point to such an nasty hit-piece as R. Emmett Tyrrell's ugly attack against our veterans, but this just has to be said.

Mr. R. Emmett "Bob" Tyrrell hates veterans.

It's a shame, really. But it's true, and it must be said.

Mr. Tyrrell, j'accuse! That's French, by the way. Deal with it.

In defending the so-called and long-ago discredited Swift Boat Veterans for "Truth" (it's difficult to even type that), Mr. Tyrrell thinks that it's not only OK to question a decorated veteran's service, but actually DEFENDS the Swift Boat Liars and their attacks on our service people.

Here's where it gets worse. CNN, the so-called "Most Trusted Name in News", has seen fit to PRINT this jackass's hate-filled commentary.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Shame on CNN for seeing fit to print this dreck. I had to tell them EXACTLY how I feel about the standard bearer of cable TV news sinking to such depths.

You should, too.

Read the piece, think of what it says about every veteran who has ever received a medal for his or her service, and decide for yourself.

Here's my e-mail to CNN.

Something else Mr Tyrrell can 'leave to the professionals', obviously, is any pretense of objective journalism.

The disgusting screed presented on CNN.com "Swiftboating has become a hate term", is little more than right wing hack commentary and far less than what should meet the standards of CNN.

What man, Mr. Tyrrell, would not be justified in defending himself against attacks of the well documented lies of O'Neill and his Republican funded smear merchants? Do you think Senator Kerry is not entitled to vindicate himself? In what distorted version of America is a person not entitled to speak in his own defense?

Why, Mr. Tyrrell, do you hate America?

No veteran should be in the position to have to defend his medals. If they were presented, barring any proof that they were not deserved (AND THERE IS NONE IN SENATOR KERRY'S CASE), they were earned. Period.

Mr Tyrrell has dishonored the service of everyone who has worn the uniform and earned commendations for bravery in combat with his disingenuous and disgraceful hit piece. That said, of course, most of the chickenhawk Bush administration is safe from his attacks.

Mr. R. Emmett Tyrrell is a sad excuse for a writer, an obvious apologist for the Swift Boat Liars and the Bush administration, and a vet-basher. Got a defense for that one?

Why don't we have a look at your service medals, Mr. Tyrrell, and see if they stand up to scrutiny?

How dare CNN print this garbage.

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