Wednesday, April 28, 2004

(Photo: REUTERS/Jim Bourg)
John Kerry waves from the window of his campaign bus to a crowd of supporters gathered at a highway exit ramp as he arrives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, April 28, 2004.

John Kerry, accusing the Bush administration of failing to protect chemical plants, says he would require them to assess their risks of catastrophic attack and use less dangerous chemicals when possible.

Kerry's plan, which he was expected to outline in a speech Thursday in Philadelphia, closely mirrors legislation he co-sponsored in early 2003 with Sen. Jon Corzine, D-N.J., and other Democrats. It stalled in the Senate over opposition from Republicans, who said it sought to inappropriately micromanage the nation's $450 billion chemical industry.


Sunday, April 25, 2004

Kerry: US must change course in Iraq

DES MOINES, IA - Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said the United States must change course in Iraq in order to "be stronger abroad."

"I believe that to be stronger abroad, we must in fact change our course in Iraq," said Kerry, who panned President George W. Bush's "unilateral" foreign policy.

"Even if we maintain the most powerful military on the world, we need some friends and allies on this earth," Kerry told supporters at a rally in this rural state.

"I will restore America's influence and respect," the Massachusetts senator said as he promised to reach out to the world community if he beats Bush, a Republican, in the November 2 presidential election.

"We can make America safer, we can make the world safer," Kerry said. "We need a president who understands how to do that."

"But you cannot do it by stating a unilateral position all of the time," said Kerry, who was making his first trip to Iowa since winning the state's Democratic caucuses January 19.

Kerry, a decorated Vietnam war veteran who was injured in battle, said "the troops who are in Iraq deserve the commander in chief who understands that this is not about pride."

Kerry touched on a controversy over an Internet site's publication of photographs of US soldiers' coffins draped in US flags.

Since 1991, the Pentagon has barred media from taking pictures of US soldiers' remains being transported.

The soldiers' pictures, Kerry said, should not be hidden and are useful "to understand their sacrifice they are making and to honour it.

"If they are good enough to go and fight, they are good enough to be received home with honours in America."

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

I said this myself, earlier tonight to a friend after watching the ABC Evening News...

Kerry's war record may backfire on critics

Those slamming Vietnam hitch may be shooting themselves in the foot

The dustup over Kerry's military records could be just the opportuntity he needs to kickstart his general election campaign.

During the Democratic primary, nothing impressed voters as much as stories of Kerry's war heroism.

For nonprimary voters still getting to know Kerry, few things could burnish his image as much as a conversation about how a young man from Yale chose to fight in Vietnam and ended up winning three Purple Hearts, one Silver Star and a Bronze Medal.

A discussion about Kerry's military service would also persuade many voters to take Kerry's military policy more seriously. Indeed, in pointing out that he personally understands what it means to fight and defend the country -- and even to kill -- Kerry could ease any doubt that he would be soft on terrorism or enemies.

During the primaries, Kerry and his veterans' brigade opened the possibility of a veterans' voting bloc for the first time in more than 40 years.

Further discussion of his record, contrasted with the National Guard records of President George Bush and the military deferments of Vice President Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and others, might make the emergence of such a voting bloc that much more likely and give Kerry just the political gift he's looking for.

From... The Inside Edge with Carlos Watson

John Kerry's Official Naval

Military Service Awards [pdf: 1.3MB]
This file contains documents on the awarding of John Kerry's military service awards: 3 Purple Hearts, 1 Bronze Star, and 1 Silver Star.

John Kerry's After-Action Combat Reports

Kerry Purple Heart "Spot" Reports [pdf: 210kb]
This file contains after-action ("spot") reports from two of the combat actions in which John Kerry was wounded.

Kerry Highly Praised in Military Records

"With conservative critics questioning his service, the Democratic presidential candidate posted more than 120 pages of military records on his campaign Web site. Several describe him as a gutsy commander and detail some of the actions that won him three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star."

"Kerry's most harrowing experience came during the nearly five months when he commanded a swiftboat along Vietnam's Mekong Delta. The future Massachusetts senator was commended for gallantry, heroism and valor during the tour, which was cut short when Kerry was wounded three times and sent back to the United States."


And meanwhile the Democratic Committee & Republican Committee spokespersons spar over the records:

"Simply put, Kerry has a proud record of sacrifice and service whereas Bush has a record of cashed-in connections and evasion," McAuliffe said in a statement Wednesday.

Republican National Committee spokeswoman Christine Iverson said, "Like so many of Terry McAuliffe's comments, this one is not worthy of the dignity of a response."


We have all witnessed the atrocities on the environment by the Bush administration. The list is astounding!

Here's a few from the list (click on the link to read the full list and details):

George Bush Rolled Back The Clean Air Act Causing Premature Deaths and Illness.

George Bush's Mercury Plan Endangers The Health Of Mothers And Children.

George Bush Allowed Dangerous Toxins To Remain In Our Communities.

George Bush Passed The Burden Of Cleaning Toxic Sites From Polluters To Taxpayers.

George Bush Slashed Funding For The States To Reduce Sources Of Pollution And Clean These Lakes And Streams.

George Bush Broke His 2000 Election Campaign Promise To "Restore And Renew" America's National Parks.


"Sometimes it’s not enough to preserve the environment. Sometimes you have to repair it." - John Kerry, Earth Day Address April 2003

"America is only as healthy as the water our children drink, the air they breathe, the yards and parks in which they play and laugh, and the communities in which they live.

The question is whether armed with that knowledge, our generation will leave our children and grandchildren an earth that is cleaner, not more degraded; more beautiful, not more polluted; healthier and safer for children than the world we inherited from our parents and grandparents."
- John Kerry

John Kerry's Plan for Cleaner Oceans

Comprehensive Plan for Cleaner Water

Today, millions of Americans enjoy our oceans and it is imperative that we protect them for future generations to enjoy. In addition, our oceans are critical to our economy. Residents of Florida well understand that ocean resources are crucial to jobs in the state’s fishing industries and provide significant recreational and tourism opportunities.
Unfortunately, our oceans are at risk. George W. Bush has ignored these serious threats, and has demonstrated the same callous disregard for oceans that he has for America’s other environmental treasures. John Kerry has a plan to strengthen coastal communities and economies, improve public health, and achieve healthy oceans. Kerry will:

- Implement Tough New Protections For Our Beaches

- Aggressively Target Toxics That Are Being Released Into Our Waters, Contaminating Our Fisheries And Endangering Our Health

- Create Federal-State Partnership To Address Pollution Threats

- Provide Communities With The Tools To Protect Important Coastal Ecosystems And Implement Smart Coastal Development


Tuesday, April 13, 2004

A Strategy for Iraq - By John F. Kerry

To be successful in Iraq, and in any war for that matter, our use of force must be tied to a political objective more complete than the ouster of a regime. To date, that has not happened in Iraq. It is time it did.

In the past week the situation in Iraq has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. While we may have differed on how we went to war, Americans of all political persuasions are united in our determination to succeed. The extremists attacking our forces should know they will not succeed in dividing America, or in sapping American resolve, or in forcing the premature withdrawal of U.S. troops. Our country is committed to help the Iraqis build a stable, peaceful and pluralistic society. No matter who is elected president in November, we will persevere in that mission.

But to maximize our chances for success, and to minimize the risk of failure, we must make full use of the assets we have. If our military commanders request more troops, we should deploy them. Progress is not possible in Iraq if people lack the security to go about the business of daily life. Yet the military alone cannot win the peace in Iraq. We need a political strategy that will work.

Over the past year the Bush administration has advanced several plans for a transition to democratic rule in Iraq. Each of those plans, after proving to be unworkable, was abandoned. The administration has set a date (June 30) for returning authority to an Iraqi entity to run the country, but there is no agreement with the Iraqis on how it will be constituted to make it representative enough to have popular legitimacy. Because of the way the White House has run the war, we are left with the United States bearing most of the costs and risks associated with every aspect of the Iraqi transition. We have lost lives, time, momentum and credibility. And we are seeing increasing numbers of Iraqis lashing out at the United States to express their frustration over what the Bush administration has and hasn't done.


Kerry Cites 'Misjudgment' by Bush on Iraq - Democrat Says U.S. Is Paying the Price for Policy Mistakes by Administration

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) sharpened his criticism of President Bush's handling of Iraq, saying Monday that the president failed to maximize international participation and minimize the risk to U.S. military personnel and that the nation is "bearing the enormous burden of that misjudgment."


Sunday, April 11, 2004

Separation of Church and State...

"I fully intend to practice my religion separately from what I do with respect to my public life and that's the way it ought to be in America," Kerry told reporters in Ohio last week. "There is a separation of church and state in America and we have prided ourselves about that all ... of our history."

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

For a White House That Claims to Be Cooperating With the 9/11 Commission, Why Another Stonewall?

April 7, 2004
To: National Desk
Contact: Phil Singer of John Kerry for President


The White House opened a new chapter in its ongoing effort to obstruct the work of the 9/11 Commission with its refusal to comply with the panel's latest request that it release a speech national security adviser Condoleezza Rice was to give on the day of the 9/11 attacks that named missile defense as the Administration's top security priority -- not terrorism.

Last week, the Washington Post reported that the speech was meant to establish missile defense as the foundation of the White House security strategy and failed to mention Osama bin Laden or terrorist groups.

The White House could still back down and provide the full speech to the panel. Responding to strong political pressure from both Republicans and Democrats, the White House reversed course and agreed to let Dr. Rice to testify in public, under oath after previously insisting she only speak to the panel privately.

Watch National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice testify before the Sept. 11 Commission on C-Span at 9:00 am est.
Kerry suggests Iraq deadline may be 'arbitrary'

Bush reaffirms commitment to June 30 power handover
By Sean Loughlin
CNN Washington Bureau
Wednesday, April 7, 2004 Posted: 9:25 AM EDT (1325 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, is questioning the deadline for the transfer of power in Iraq, suggesting Tuesday that June 30 is an "arbitrary date" that may have more to do with politics at home than stability in that country.

"I have always said consistently that it is a mistake to set an arbitrary date, and I hope that date has nothing to do with the election here in the United States," Kerry told reporters in Ohio, where he talked about his plan to revitalize the economy.

The full article...

Monday, April 05, 2004


Bush science adviser denies policy agenda - Marburger calls litmus test notion 'preposterous'

By Siobhan McDonough - The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - President Bush's top science adviser rebutted an advocacy group's accusations that the administration's policy on global warming, air quality, forest management and other matters of science are driven by a conservative agenda.

John H. Marburger III, saying his own record as a Democrat in a Republican administration prove the critics wrong, declared in a statement Friday: "In this administration, science strongly informs policy."

Marburger, director of the White House office of science and technology policy, criticized a Feb. 18 document by the Union of Concerned Scientists that claims the administration misrepresented facts to benefit a conservative political agenda.

"The accusations in the document are inaccurate," he said, adding that there were methodological flaws that undermine the group's own conclusions.

Marburger rejected the accusation of a litmus test that must be met before someone can serve on an advisory panel, calling it "preposterous."

"After all, President Bush sought me out to be his science adviser -- the highest ranking S&T official in the federal government -- and I am a lifelong Democrat."

He denied the group's accusation that the administration refuses to accept the reality of global warming. He noted that Bush said in a June 11, 2001 Rose Garden speech that the "(c)oncentration of greenhouse gases, especially CO2, have increased substantially since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution."

"And the National Academy of Sciences indicate that the increase is due in large part to human activity ... While scientific uncertainties remain, we can now begin to address the factors that contribute to climate change."

Marburger also rebutted the group's claim that the administration doesn't invite the Environmental Protection Agency into the discussion on climate change issues.

"The EPA, in fact, is a key participant in the development and implementation of climate change policy in the Bush administration."

Marburger also fired back at the group's claims that the administration is attempting to weaken the Endangered Species Act. He said the problems the group referred to pre-date the Bush administration.

Well, well, well Mr. Marburger, spoken like a true Republican..."the problems the group referred to pre-date the Bush administration"!
The Lion Roars: Ted Kennedy's speech today at the Brookings Institution -

Deceit is a poison in its veins.

In our open society, it is essential to distinguish vigorous debate over honest differences of opinion from the repeated use of false and misleading arguments to persuade the American people. Integrity is the lifeblood of democracy. Deceit is a poison in its veins.

The most important principle in any representative democracy is for the people to trust their government. If our leaders violate that trust, then all our words of hope and opportunity and progress and justice ring false in the ears of our people and the wider world, and our goals will never be achieved.


During the 2000 campaign, America met a Republican candidate for President who promised to conduct our foreign affairs as a "humble nation," not an "arrogant nation." He was conservative, but he promised to be a "compassionate conservative." He promised to overcome the "soft bigotry of low expectations" in our schools. He promised to meet the urgent need of senior citizens for prescription drug coverage under Medicare. He promised to change the tone in Washington.

Given his narrow margin of victory, it is clear that George Bush would not be President today if he had not made those promises of moderation and statesmanship. The Supreme Court would never have decided the election.

What happened to those promises? In the White House, George Bush has been arrogant, not humble in foreign affairs; conservative, not compassionate in domestic policy. As we now know, all the reassuring language of the 2000 election campaign was a Trojan Horse cynically constructed to smuggle the extreme right wing into the White House.

Friday, April 02, 2004


The Bush administration is an environmental disaster in the making. Stay tuned as the Unofficial Kerry Blog begins a new series on Bush and the Environment...

Bush officials accused of mine whitewash
Whistle-blower appearing on '60 Minutes'

NEW YORK - A whistle-blower has accused the Bush administration of trying to protect the company responsible for a 2000 coal slurry spill for political reasons, according to CBS Television’s “60 Minutes.”

Jack Spadaro, former head of the National Mine Health and Safety Academy, said on the show to be aired on Sunday that the Department of Labor whitewashed a report that held mining company Massey Energy Co., a contributor to the Republican Party, responsible for the spill.

The Oct. 11, 2000, spill from the mining company’s containment pond poured 300 million gallons of coal sludge into water supplies in Kentucky and West Virginia.

Inquiry 'considerably shortened'
“The Bush administration came in and the scope of our investigation was considerably shortened,” Spadaro, who helped investigate the spill for the Mine Safety and Health Administration, said on the CBS show.

He called it “interference with a federal investigation of the most serious environmental disaster in the history of the eastern United States.”

CBS said the Richmond, Va., company was a “generous” contributor to the Republican Party.



Bush mercury proposal hit on two fronts
Some Senate Republicans join Democrats and 10 states

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration’s plan for reducing mercury emissions from power plants came under criticism on two fronts Thursday as nearly half of the Senate and 10 states urged the Environmental Protection Agency to propose stronger requirements.

The agency’s administrator, Mike Leavitt, has promised to re-examine a plan that envisions a 70 percent cut in mercury emissions from coal-burning power plants by 2018.

The plan has been attacked because of the time given to utilities to reduce emissions and because the EPA would let some companies buy pollution credits from utilities rather than substantially cutting contaminants.

Mercury, a toxic substance, can cause neurological and developmental problems, especially in children. Once in the environment, it can remain an active toxin for thousands of years.

Seven Republicans join Democrats
The government’s mercury proposals “fall far short of what the law requires and they fail to protect the health of our children and our environment,” the senators said in a letter Thursday to Leavitt. The group of 45 lawmakers included seven Republicans.

The senators urged Leavitt to scrap the regulation and “take prompt and effective action to clean up mercury pollution from power plants.”

Attorneys general from 10 states, mostly in the Northeast, said the EPA proposal does “not meet the minimum requirements” of the federal Clean Air Act and should be withdrawn immediately. They said the Clean Air Act requires each plant to make stringent reductions.

The EPA, in a statement responding to the letters, reaffirmed that Leavitt considers mercury exposure a serious health issue and is determined to complete a final regulation by year’s end that will cut those emissions from power plants by 70 percent.

The statement said Leavitt has asked for additional analysis to ensure that cutting mercury emissions is done “in the most efficient and effective way possible” given the available technology.

Power plants account for 48 tons of mercury a year; these emissions are unregulated.



Mountaintop mining neighbors protest in D.C.
Industry lawyer only proponent at Interior hearing

WASHINGTON - Tales of floods and flattened peaks and of homes swept away or devalued in central Appalachia were laid out Tuesday by opponents to the Bush administration’s plan to ease a buffer-zone regulation protecting streams from coal mining operations.

Testifying at an Interior Department hearing on the proposal, Mary Miller of Sylvester, W.Va., said the value of her home had dropped from $144,000 to below $12,000. Residents in her coalfield town won economic damages last month suing a mining company over coal dust covering their homes, vehicles and other property.

“I’m out here now trying to save my home,” said Miller. “I don’t have much left anyway. I don’t have many years left. But I’m thinking about the water shortage for my children.”

The department in January proposed easing a 1983 rule that set limits on coal mining near streams. Current policy says land within 100 feet of a stream cannot be disturbed by mining unless a company can prove it will not affect the water’s quality and quantity.

The new rule would require coal operators to minimize only “to the extent possible” any damage to streams, fish and wildlife by “using the best technology currently available.”

Industry's view
In a small auditorium at the department’s headquarters, nearly all of the more than two dozen speakers opposed the plan. A lawyer for the National Mining Association was the only one to praise it.

“Our preference is that the rule be deleted entirely,” said Bradford Frisby, the trade group’s associate general counsel. “There are other regulations that protect streams.”

His group has described the current buffer zone rule as confusing and going beyond the intent of Congress when it passed a 1977 law on environmental impacts of coal mining.

Citizens, environmentalists, religious leaders and public health advocates turned out to demand that the department drop its proposal and instead more vigorously enforce current law. Four other hearings on the issue were held Tuesday in Charleston, W.Va.; Greentree, Pa.; Hazard, Ky., and Harriman, Tenn.

The Kerry Campaign broke some fundraising records in the first quarter of 2004! Check out the details here...

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Financial Picture Brightens for Democrats

By SHARON THEIMER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The Democratic Party finds itself in its most confident and comfortable financial position in years, though it still trails Republicans in almost every fund-raising category.

President Bush's fund-raising juggernaut keeps rolling, reaching more than $182 million Thursday and closing in on doubling the $100 million record he set in 2000.

The Democrats' efforts to whittle away at the GOP's spending advantage has been aided by presidential nominee-to-be John Kerry's decision to skip public financing and its spending limits, anti-Bush sentiment over the Iraq war, elimination of the party's debt, the formation of outside Democratic fund-raising groups and Howard Dean's Internet fund-raising explosion.

"Everywhere I go I'll talk to people and they really feel we have a chance," said Tony Coelho, a Democratic strategist and Al Gore's campaign chairman in 2000. "They're going to have $200 million or more. But I think as long as we're around $100 million we'll be competitive, we'll get our message out."

Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe sees considerable progress toward that goal: The party entered April with $25 million in the bank to spend on Kerry's behalf and no debt, its best shape at this point in an election season in years.

But the Republican money advantage remains significant, no matter how it is measured.

Bush spent about $40 million on TV and radio ads in his first month on the air, compared to only about $6 million for Kerry. Kerry has raised at least $67 million.

The Republican National Committee had $54 million on hand Thursday and no debt. The GOP's Senate fund-raising committee had roughly twice as much in the bank as its Democratic rival. The Democratic House committee was closest to its Republican counterpart in cash on hand, $12.3 million compared to $16 million.

The DNC, tackling two problems that dogged the party for years, has eliminated its debt while substantially improving its ability to attract small-dollar donations through the mail, a fund-raising method the GOP long has used more effectively.

McAuliffe is trying to limit the party's operating costs to the amount raised through direct mail, reserving the millions taken in through fund-raisers for the presidential race.

The DNC also is coordinating its fund raising with Kerry. The party has raised at least $5 million for Kerry using its list of e-mail addresses, and Kerry is headlining DNC events in several cities where he is holding fund-raisers for his campaign.

The area of Democratic fund raising that has most stung the Republicans has been conducted by new tax-exempt groups on the outside that have raised millions in large soft-money donations that the Democratic Party can no longer collect.

Those groups, funded by the likes of billionaire George Soros and run by such Democratic heavyweights as former Clinton deputy Harold Ickes, are running ads in battleground states to help close the gap with Bush and give Kerry time to resupply his campaign treasury.

Republicans were worried enough this week that they filed a formal complaint with federal election regulators accusing Kerry of illegally collaborating with the outside groups and seeking an end to the spending.

Kerry, meanwhile, is setting Democratic fund-raising records of his own.

Kerry raised at least $42 million from January through March, with checks still being counted Thursday. That tops the Democratic record of $16 million raised in a quarter set by former candidate Dean, and rivals the all-time presidential quarterly record of more than $50 million Bush set in the first quarter. The Bush campaign has not yet released an exact fund-raising total for the quarter.

Kerry can break records in part because like Bush, he skipped public financing for the primaries, freeing himself from a $45 million spending cap he would have faced until his party's nominating convention in July.

Kerry raised more than $20 million online in March through two fund-raising drives that asked contributors to help him raise $10 million in each of two 10-day periods. Dean sees potential for the party on the Internet as well.

"One of the things I think people still have to come to grips with is this is a two-way organizing effort," Dean said of the Internet. "I think on the Net if you have a really good Internet setup and you blog, people get feedback right away from what they say to you. And we actually get feedback."