Stopping the Big Giveaway - by John KerryRead more »
Editor’s Note: The following is a guest blog for SavetheInternet.com by Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.):
On Wednesday in the Senate Commerce Committee I warned that those of us who believe in net neutrality will block legislation that doesn’t get the job done.
It looks like that’s the fight we’re going to have.
The Commerce Committee voted on net neutrality and it failed on an 11-11 tie. This vote was a gift to cable and telephone companies, and a slap in the face of every Internet user and consumer.
It will not stand.
I voted against this lousy bill for two reasons: because net neutrality and internet build-out are crucial to building a more modern and fair Information Society, and both were pushed aside by the Republicans.
Friday, June 30, 2006
Fox News notes that the "partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," June 29, 2006, that has been edited for clarity"...
BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts has been serving on the Hill for 22 years. He came within a whisper, as you know, of becoming president. And I think he's going to run again.
During the last campaign, however, the senator would not talk with us. But now, things have changed. I spoke with him yesterday.
O'REILLY: All right, before we start the interview, I wish we could have done this in the campaign. You know, we kept waiting for you to come and...
KERRY: We should have done it. We should have.
O'REILLY: You think so?
KERRY: I would love to have.
O'REILLY: In hindsight, you should have.
KERRY: No, I don't know why we didn't, but we should have.
O'REILLY: OK, because some people said well, he doesn't like you, he doesn't think you're going to get a fair shot on the program.
KERRY: I've always had a fair shot.
O'REILLY: The New York Times, we have some Republicans calling for action against them. Maybe the attorney general will start an investigation into the leaks. What do you think?
Monday, June 26, 2006
He labeled the energy bill he will file this week as "the most far-reaching proposal in our history." In 43-minute speech before a cheering hometown crowd at historic Faneuil Hall, he added: "Nothing else will protect our security and our world, if you believe the science."
Leading environmentalists have weighed in on John Kerry’s Energy and Climate Change Plan introduced today. Here a look at what they are saying:
Continue reading here.
A fact sheet on the Kerry Energy Plan is attached.
Below are Kerry’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
Our Energy Challenge
Senator John Kerry
June 26, 2006
Faneuil Hall, Boston, Massachusetts
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.
Continue reading Kerry's speech here.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Republicans Playing Politics with Iraq
Bob Herbert writes about how the Republicans are Playing Politics with Iraq:
If hell didn’t exist, we’d have to invent it. We’d need a place to send the public officials who are playing politics with the lives of the men and women sent off to fight George W. Bush’s calamitous war in Iraq.
The administration and its allies have been mercilessly bashing Democrats who argued that the U.S. should begin developing a timetable for the withdrawal of American forces. Republicans stood up on the Senate floor last week, one after another, to chant like cultists from the Karl Rove playbook: We’re tough. You’re not. Cut-and-run. Nyah-nyah-nyah!
“Withdrawal is not an option,” declared the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, who sounded like an actor trying on personas that ranged from Barry Goldwater to General Patton. “Surrender,” said the bellicose Mr. Frist, “is not a solution.”
Any talk about bringing home the troops, in the Senate majority leader’s view, was “dangerous, reckless and shameless.”
But then on Sunday we learned that the president’s own point man in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, had fashioned the very thing that ol’ blood-and-guts Frist and his C-Span brigade had ranted against: a withdrawal plan.
Are Karl Rove and his liege lord, the bait-and-switch king, trying to have it both ways? You bet. And that ought to be a crime, because there are real lives at stake.
The first significant cut under General Casey’s plan, according to an article by Michael Gordon in yesterday’s Times, would occur in September. That, of course, would be perfect timing for Republicans campaigning for re-election in November. How’s that for a coincidence?
It’s no surprise that the Republicans are playing politics with Iraq considering that playing politics is also the way they decided to respond to the 9/11 attacks. The Washington Post also reports on how Democrats are angry that “the U.S. commander in Iraq had privately presented a plan for significant troop reductions in the same week they came under attack by Republicans for trying to set a timetable for withdrawal.”
Granholm Goes on the Attack
The Detroit Free Press reports that “Granholm goes on the attack.”
Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s re-election campaign is launching a more aggressive theme to rally worried supporters and subtly reinforce Democratic claims that Republican challenger Dick DeVos contributed to the loss of Michigan jobs.
A new slogan — “Fight Back — Put Michigan First” — is a grassroots organizing label that will promote the notion that DeVos sent his company’s jobs to China when he was president of Ada-based Amway Corp. in the 1990s, according to Granholm’s campaign leaders.
So far Dick DeVos has benefit from using his family fortune to buy television ads, but some ads for Granholm are expected to beginning:
Meanwhile, the Michigan Democratic Party has begun airing a new TV ad touting Granholm’s effort to keep jobs in the state, and blaming President George W. Bush’s trade policies for Michigan’s economy.
Edelson said the Granholm campaign, which is attracting donors from around the country, plans to ratchet up fund-raising over the Internet.
Last week, Granholm’s husband, Dan Mulhern, e-mailed a campaign fund-raising notice to supporters titled, “What’s Jennifer Waiting For?” It explained that the campaign must hold back its advertising money until closer to the Nov. 7 election.
“We are asking you to think of giving twice or three times as much as you have ever considered donating,” Mulhern’s e-mail implores.
The Granholm for Governor site is here.
Everyone’s Writing About the Blogs
I think it’s a combination of pack journalism and the lull before the 2006 election gets under way, but it seems everyone is writing about the bloggers. (Kevin Drum notices the same thing). I’ve already noted that David Brooks has a column on Kos, and TNR has been blogging about them the last few days (here and here). Of course the mainstream media stories on Armstrong and Kos first began in the New York Times.
We also have Newsweek writing on Hugh Hewitt on the right as well as Kos on the left. Can’t some writers break from the pack mentality for a moment and look at the liberal blogosphere beyond Daily Kos? Newsweek was somewhat negative on Kos, and David Broder was even more negative on the liberal blogosphere in the Washington Post. At least Broder does go beyond Kos and Armstrong, even having some favorable comments on Democracy: A Journal of Ideas and The Democratic Strategist. Even when discussion of the liberal blogosphere in the mainstream media is negative, such coverage does suggest that we are making an impact. A broader look at the liberal blogoshere, rather than stopping at Daily Kos, is also more likely to lead to a favorable impression as we saw with David Broder.
John Kerry issued a statement a short time ago on both the Casey plan for troop withdrawal and the Maliki timetable, noting that the "news reminds us again that we were right":
"The Republican attack dogs have some explaining to do and our troops deserve answers. Last week Republicans on Capitol Hill blanketed the airwaves attacking proposals for deadlines and timetables in Iraq.
But as Republicans attacked with rhetoric rather than attack the Iraq quagmire itself, the new Iraqi government was considering timetables for most American combat troops to leave, and our top military commander in Iraq was outlining plans to do exactly that. The same general who told Congress last fall that the large American troop presence delays the Iraqis standing up for themselves has now put forward a plan for us to stand down, and Administration officials leaked it to the nation's newspapers.
These plans look an awful lot like what the Republicans spent the last week attacking. Will the partisan attack dogs now turn their venom and disinformation campaign on General Casey? What will the Republican Congress say to Prime Minister Maliki? Will they label them the 'cut and run' military and the 'cut and jog' Iraqi government? Enough is enough.
I'm proud that Democrats insisted on a real Iraq debate last week, and this weekend’s news reminds us again that we were right. It's time to redeploy. It's time for realistic timetables rather than open-ended commitments. In fact, deadlines help get the job done in Iraq while Republican slogans are only designed to get the job done in November here at home.
No more slogans, no more hollow partisan attacks, no more questioning the patriotism of those who speak out. We owe our troops a policy, not a partisan slogan."
Kerry is right - "Enough is enough." From the Republican stand point, when the Democrats call for withdrawal of the troops it's "cut and run," let's see them stand up and have the audacity to "label them [Pentagon] the 'cut and run' military."
We can't say it enough... The Republican party is the party of the Hypocrites.
Kerry will address the urgent need to break our dependence on foreign oil, address the growing threat of global climate change, and establish a real energy policy.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
John Kerry on the Kerry-Feingold Proposal
Just hours ago, the Senate voted on the Kerry-Feingold proposal to redeploy American combat troops out of Iraq by July 1, 2007. Thirteen Senators voted for it.
It was an important step towards ending the administration’s aimless, open-ended course in Iraq and having Iraqis stand up for Iraq.
When Jack Murtha stepped up to the challenge of leadership in the House on Iraq, he was alone. Last week, 140 House members voted to support his leadership.
When we in the Senate began the fight to change course in Iraq, we too were almost alone. Today our numbers grew — and that is progress you made happen.
First and foremost, Russ and I thank you for your support. Over the last few weeks, hundreds of thousands of you have joined our effort to bring our combat troops home. Once again, the johnkerry.com community has shown its deep commitment to fighting for a better course for America.
We ask you to join us now in honoring the strength and leadership of the Senators who stood with you:
Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), co-sponsor
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
Sen. James Jeffords (I-VT)
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA)
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), co-sponsor
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Please call, write, or email these Senators and acknowledge their leadership on Iraq.
Let me be absolutely clear. Russ Feingold and I would have forced this vote even if the outcome were going to be 98 to 2. Ending the Bush administration’s disastrous approach to this war isn’t about counting votes. It isn’t about legislative strategy or electoral calculation. It’s about applying constant pressure to change a broken course.
It’s about utterly rejecting the desperate tactics of cowardly political operatives like Karl Rove who, as John Murtha pointed out, have no qualms about telling our soldiers to “stay the course” from the comfort of their air-conditioned offices at the White House.
It’s about doing what’s right.
Karl Rove may worry about losing votes. It’s our job to worry about young Americans losing their lives. It’s our job to provide a new vision that offers real security for America while giving the Iraqis their best chance for a stable Iraq.
I will keep doing what’s right on Iraq, and I won’t stop until our troops are home and the future of Iraq is in the hands of the Iraqi people.
I know you’ll keep working right alongside me.
Monday, June 19, 2006
John Kerry and Russ Feingold to Offer Amendment with Deadline to Redeploy U.S. Combat Troops From Iraq
Below is a joint statement from John Kerry and Russ Feingold:
“For three years, Congress has played political games while the war in Iraq has gone on unchecked and unending. With the administration’s failure to offer a coherent or effective strategy in Iraq, it is long past time for Congress to offer a plan to redeploy our troops so we can give Iraq its best chance at stability, and refocus on al Qaeda and the terrorist networks that threaten the security of all Americans.
“We must redeploy to succeed – and we will put this national security imperative to a test in the United States Senate this week. We need a deadline for the redeployment of U.S. forces in Iraq. A deadline gives Iraqis the best chance for stability and self-government, and most importantly, it allows us to begin refocusing on the true threats that face our country.
“Our amendment recognizes the need to keep an over-the-horizon military presence in the Middle East to fight al Qaeda and its affiliates and protect regional security interests. Only troops essential to finishing the job of training Iraqi forces, conducting targeted counter-terrorist operations and protecting U.S. facilities and personnel should remain inside Iraq. The president also must move immediately to work with the Iraqis to convene a summit of Iraq’s neighbors and the international community to forge a lasting political settlement to give all Iraqis a stake in the new Iraq.
“A strong national security policy begins with recognizing that our massive presence in Iraq weakens our security and gives Iraqi politicians a crutch to avoid creating stability in their country. As long as 130,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq indefinitely, that country will remain what a series of mistakes have made it -- a crucible for the recruitment and development of terrorists determined to fight Americans and an obstacle to an Iraqi government capable of governing and securing its country. Our troops have done their job in Iraq. It is time to redeploy – to help increase stability in Iraq, and more importantly, to strengthen the national security of the United States.”
The goal of the Kerry-Feingold plan is to undermine the insurgency by simultaneously pursing a political settlement and the redeployment of American forces. Their plan calls requires:
-- The redeployment of U.S. combat troops out of Iraq by July 1, 2007.
-- Only U.S. troops essential to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces, conducting targeted counter-terrorist operations and protecting U.S. personnel and facilities would remain. President Bush has repeatedly said that when Iraqis stand up, we will stand down. However, that has not been happening. So far, the Iraqis have trained 265,600 security forces – just 7,000 shy of the Bush administration’s stated goal of 272,566. Yet just a few weeks ago, the Pentagon announced that they are sending 3,500 additional U.S. troops from Kuwait to Iraq.
-- The United States to maintain an over-the-horizon military presence to prosecute the war on terror and protect regional security interests.
-- The President to work with the new Iraqi government to convene a summit that includes those leaders, the 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, to reach a comprehensive political agreement for Iraq that addresses fundamental issues including federalism, oil revenues, the militias, security guarantees, reconstruction, economic assistance and border security.
-- The Secretary of Defense to report to Congress on how U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by July 1, 2007.
-- Feinstein and Dodd: Iraq — Time to Change the Mission
-- John Kerry has “Real Courage in Setting an Iraq Strategy”
-- Senate Democrats Want Vote on Iraq Withdrawal Plan
Perry O'Brien and Kelly Dougherty, who are both in the movie, and O'Brien's friend Daniel Paulson, a vet who is not in the film but has also become an anti war activist, attended a sold-out screening early in the festival. "People had a lot of questions about what they could do to become involved," said Dougherty, a former medic and military police officer. The documentary, by Patricia Foulkrod, screened again last night before the festival's close. With the senator expected on the island to spend Father's Day with family, the vets said they hoped Kerry might attend. O'Brien, a medic who was discharged as a conscientious objector, said: "I'd really like to meet him."
Find out more about "The Ground Truth" here.
Real Courage in Setting an Iraq Strategy
Monday, June 19, 2006
The Post applauded President Bush's courage in continuing an open-ended commitment to an American military presence in Iraq and disparaged what it termed political expediency on the part of Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) in calling for a reasonable timetable for phased withdrawal of our forces ["A Boost From Mr. Bush," editorial, June 14].
Mr. Bush's political capital is waning because he misled Congress and the American people, because we have experienced 21,000 American casualties as a result, because a mere 23 percent of the world's people respect our nation, because he has no strategy worth the title, and because he is responsible for a military and foreign policy disaster. To "stay" an undefined and unlimited "course" may demonstrate many things but it does not demonstrate courage.
Having acknowledged the error in trusting Mr. Bush's arguments for war, Mr. Kerry has demonstrated the real courage in proposing a realistic plan to extricate our troops from a nation whose people no longer want us there and which is now capable of achieving democracy on its own.
The writer, a Democrat, was a U.S. senator from Colorado from 1975 to 1986.
John Kerry, was a leader on the call for withdrawal from Iraq last fall when he first said at Georgetown University, on October 26, "To undermine the [Iraqi] insurgency, we must instead simultaneously pursue both a political settlement and the withdrawal of American combat forces linked to specific, responsible benchmarks."
The Boston Globe reports that a "resolution, crafted by Democratic Senators Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Carl Levin of Michigan," will also be entered into the second week of debate in Congress "over the state of the war."
John Kerry, (as I have reported here and here) "will press ahead this week with his separate amendment to pull virtually all US troops out of Iraq by the end of the year," said his spokeswoman, April Boyd.
Kerry's binding amendment to a Department of Defense authorization bill garnered six votes when it came up last week, but Boyd said the senator hopes to put pressure on the administration to come up with an exit strategy.
"We're not getting into whip counts" of how many senators will vote for Kerry's amendment, she said. "This is about saying we need to set a date and we need to withdraw ."
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said on Sunday in an interview on CNN, "Three years and three months into the war, with all of the losses, the insurgency, the burgeoning civil war that's taking place, an open-ended time commitment is no longer sustainable. We want to see an end to this thing. We want to transition the mission. That isn't cutting and running."
"I don't know why we are so afraid to stand up and say, 'look, we want to see an end to this thing'," she said.
Feinstein argued an open-ended deployment was unsustainable for the U.S. military, which needed to be free to deal with growing problems in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
There are approximately 129,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and the military death toll since the 2003 invasion reached 2,500 last week. Administration officials have said they would like to withdraw some troops before November's midterm if conditions on the ground permit it, which could ease pressure on Republicans in their battle to retain control of Congress.
Reuters also noted the Senate vote at the end of last week claiming that it was "offered by Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry. " The fact is, as reported by previous coverage in the MSM, that the vote was on a resolution that Senator Mitch McConnell put up, lifting the wording from Kerry's earlier resolution. As I reported here (and so too, did the MSM), it was decided on Thursday that there would be a debate on Kerry's plan this coming week.
Kerry spokeswoman, April Boyd said that Kerry "was angry that Republicans put to a vote his amendment, which was still being crafted and would work with colleagues this week on his amendment plans."
"John Kerry has been calling for a clear deadline for withdrawal and will not take the heat off the Iraqi leaders to do their job and stand up for their own country," she said.
The American Prospect debunks a couple of Republican talking points which the Washington Post repeated without correction. One involves John Kerry:
REPUBLICAN FALSEHOODS GO UNCORRECTED IN WASHINGTON POST. Today’s Washington Post piece on yesterday’s congressional debates about Iraq floated two key GOP falsehoods without debunking them. The first:
“I’m not surprised at John Kerry switching his position yet again,” [Dick] Cheney said on Sean Hannity’s radio talk show. Kerry is charging “that somehow he was misled,” the vice president said. “He wasn’t misled. He saw the same intelligence all the rest of us saw.” (Emphasis added.)
Lies, lies, lies. The falsehood that the President and Congress had access to the same intel in the runup to Iraq has been thoroughly debunked numerous times. Yet the administration has continued to peddle this line for years. And here it is again, quoted in the Post, with not a single word providing this crucial context or noting that it is simply false.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Free Press Reports on Dick DeVos’s Far Right Wing Views
The Detroit Free Press looks at the race between Jennifer Granholm and Dick DeVos for Governor of Michigan, noting DeVos’s history of contributing to far right wing organization, including the religious right. DeVos’s family made their fortune from multilevel marketing at Amway by means which amount to a legal pyramid scheme which enriches those at the top while the vast majority make minimal amounts–hardly the business model to revive Michigan’s economy. As DeVos has not divulged his financial information we are forced to go by estimates. According to the Free Press, “Estimates of his net worth start in the $500-million range, but no public figure is available. His father has an estimated net worth of more than $3 billion, according to Forbes Magazine’s latest list of America’s richest people.”
In reviewing DeVos’s record spending on television ads, the Free Press notes the contradictions between how DeVos portrays himself and reality. “DeVos’ TV image shows a nonpolitical successful businessman. In fact, he and his family have been among the nation’s biggest donors to Republican and religious-conservative causes — a partisan generosity that could both reap returns for Dick DeVos’ candidacy and make him a very large target for Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s reelection team.”
The Free Press looks further at the organizations DeVos has contributed to:
The DeVoses have supported such right-wing advocates as the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, Council for National Policy and the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty in Grand Rapids, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and Michigan Right to Life.
The organizations promote conservative economic and social agendas: free trade and less government regulation, school choice including vouchers, the infusion of Christian beliefs into public life and opposition to abortion and gay marriage.
Granholm spokesman Chris DeWitt commented on DeVos’s far right wing views:
“Dick DeVos is so far to the right it would make Rush Limbaugh blush,” DeWitt said. “He has supported groups that oppose all abortions, oppose stem cell research, oppose affirmative action, support outsourcing and unfair trade agreements, school vouchers, worked against the environment.
“The DeVos camp has gone out of its way to avoid answering any questions. What they can’t hide is the fact that DeVos’ actions in support of these groups speak very loudly.”
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Conservatives Recycle Same Spin To Hide Lies on War
My, how CBS has fallen, but the right wing media stays the same. CBS’s web site includes an article from National Review which recycles the same old, and dishonest, right wing talking points on the war. They continue to try to hide the dishonesty of the Bush Administration behind false claims of flip flopping by their opponents.
In trying to deny the fact that Bush misled the country into war, they misrepresent Kerry’s position in writing, “Senator Kerry, at least if I remember correctly, voted for the joint congressional resolution of October 11, 2002, authorizing a war against Iraq, on the basis of all these and several other casus belli, well apart from fear of WMDs.” Once they misrepresent Kerry’s position it is easy to claim he flip flopped by simply showing that this does not match other statements from John Kerry. Of course there is no reason Kerry’s real statements on the war should match distorted statements presented by the right wing media.
If John Kerry’s opinion from October 2002 is suddenly the new gold standard as to what we should have done, let’s look at what Kerry really advocated in his Senate floor speech:
Let me be clear, the vote I will give to the President is for one reason and one reason only: To disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, if we cannot accomplish that objective through new, tough weapons inspections in joint concert with our allies.
In giving the President this authority, I expect him to fulfill the commitments he has made to the American people in recent days–to work with the United Nations Security Council to adopt a new resolution setting out tough and immediate inspection requirements, and to act with our allies at our side if we have to disarm Saddam Hussein by force. If he fails to do so, I will be among the first to speak out.
If we do wind up going to war with Iraq, it is imperative that we do so with others in the international community, unless there is a showing of a grave, imminent–and I emphasize “imminent”–threat to this country which requires the President to respond in a way that protects our immediate national security needs.
In this, and other portions of his statement (as well as in articles written by John Kerry at the time) Kerry made it clear that we should only go to war as part of an international force (unless we faced an imminent threat which required immediate response), and that we should only go to war as a last resort if proven to be threatened by WMD. He argued we should only go to war to disarm Saddam if proven to be threatened, and not for regime change or nation building. None of this is what has occurred.
Kerry also voted for the IWR under false pretenses. This included both the distortions of the intelligence regarding WMD and false statements by George Bush as to the meaning of the IWR. Kerry quoted George Bush in his floor statement in saying:
“As the President made clear earlier this week, “Approving this resolution does not mean that military action is imminent or unavoidable.” It means “America speaks with one voice.”
Kerry warned in this speech that if Bush failed to keep his word he would “be among the first to speak out.” Walter Shapiro also reviewed Kerry’s position in his book, One Car Caravan, with this quote from Kerry from October 2002, showing that Kerry is doing exactly what he said he would do from the beginning when he now criticizes Bush’s handling of the war:
“My vote was cast in a way that made it very clear, Mr. President, I’m voting for you to do what you said you’re going to do, which is to go through the U.N. and do this through an international process. If you go unilaterally, without having exhausted these remedies, I’m not supporting you. And if you decide that this is just a matter of straight pre-emptive doctrine for regime-change purposes without regard to the imminence of the threat, I’m not going to support you.”
In opposing George Bush, John Kerry is doing exactly what he warned at the time of the IWR vote. John Kerry did not change positions as Republicans claim, but had a single coherent position on the war. His position was that we should go to war if we were proven to be threatened and the situation could not be resolved diplomatically, otherwise we should not go to war. Republicans call this flip flopping. I call this a sensible foreign policy.
Friday, June 16, 2006
“While Senate and House Republicans played political games to avoid meaningful debate on Iraq, Americans who know war is not a game prayed for the 2,500 brave troops lost in Iraq. While Don Rumsfeld arms surrogates with 74 pages of hollow talking points, Karl Rove spells out a political strategy on Iraq, and Dick Cheney dissembles with Sean Hannity, Americans are caught in the crossfire of vicious sectarian strife in Iraq.
“This has been the duck and cover Congress. For three years, Congress has sat on its hands or played political games while the war in Iraq has gone on unchecked and unending. It’s time for a Congress that shares responsibility for getting us into Iraq to take responsibility for helping to get us out and get resources refocused on the war on terror.
“Every month we are in Iraq, we lose more American lives and over $8 billion dollars. It’s time for Iraqis to stand up for Iraq.
“Since October, I have been pushing for a clear deadline in Iraq. We cannot take the heat off the Iraqi leaders to do their job and stand up for their own country, and we can’t take the heat off Washington to do the job of applying pressure in Iraq. There will be a real Iraq debate next week, and it will address the real needs of our troops, not the political needs of the Republican Party.”
Bring U.S. troops home by end of '06Read more »
By Sen. John Kerry
Half of those whose names are inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial were lost after America's leaders knew our strategy would not succeed. It was immoral then, and it is immoral now, to be quiet or equivocal in the face of such delusion.
Our soldiers, no matter how brave, can't bring democracy to Iraq simply with a gun barrel; the Iraqis themselves must build their democracy. And it will never be done if Iraq's leaders are unwilling to make the compromises that democracy requires.
The confirmation of Iraq's vital cabinet ministers to run the police force and army, coupled with the killing of the brutal terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, are an opportunity to change the course in Iraq - if we seize it.
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 "feeds the notion of occupation" and "extends the amount of time that it will take for Iraqi security forces to become self-reliant." To make Iraqis self-reliant, we need hard and fast deadlines, not an open-ended commitment of U.S. forces.
The spin from the rightwing nutjobs is laughable on this one, as the much of the MSM made note of the fact that Mitch McConnell lifted Kerry's resolution and put his own name on it.
Michael Crowley on the Plank claims "...that there's a specific reason why Mitch McConnell forced a premature Senate vote on Kerry's Iraq-withdrawal resolution: Senate Democratic leaders, I'm reliably told, had been working on a middle-course alternative allowing their party members to oppose Kerry's plan without implicitly seeming to support Bush's policy (and thus without further enraging hard-core anti-war activists)."
Whoever "reliably told" Crowley that "Senate Democratic leaders,"... "had been working on a middle-course alternative" -- weren't so reliable. Obviously, Crowley missed the interchange on the Senate Floor yesterday when Harry Reid "accused Republicans of political gamesmanship and sought to curtail floor debate on the proposal." The vote was forced and per discuss on the floor with John Kerry and Senator Warner, a vote on Kerry's Iraq resolution was promised for next week.
Here's what John Kerry had to say on the Senate floor following the forced vote: MORE
Suburbs Grow in Significance
In 2004 John Kerry met his goals in the battleground states but George Bush still won a narrow victory largely due to bringing in more votes in the exburbs–votes that were missed by the pollsters. While apparently only the GOP understood the significance of the exburbs in 2004, this will not be missed by either party, or the media, in upcoming election. The New York Times reppports that the ‘06 Race Focuses on the Suburbs, Inner and Outer. This time both Democrats and Republicans see prospects for votes:
After years in which Republicans capitalized on rapid growth in outlying areas, Democrats now see an opportunity to make gains in close-in suburbs where changes in the composition of the population are working in their favor. In a dozen or so Congressional districts that are leading battlegrounds in the midterm elections, older, more densely packed suburbs are trending Democratic, helping to offset Republican dominance on the sprawling exurban frontier.
To really be competitive in the suburbs means that Democrats also must new constituencies to replace the collapsed New Deal coalition. This includes groups which we’ve discussed before such as the Starbucks Republicans. While the name might not be totally appropriate, many suburbanites may be more receptive to the message of more libertarian Democrats.
John Kerry Re:Troop Withdrawal–It’s time for Iraqis to stand up for Iraq
By John Kerry posting at The Congress Blog:
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.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Joan Vennochi’s Ignorance of Kerry’s Positon on Iraq
Some people are just determined to display their ignorance in public. Joan Vennochi does a particularly shocking case of this in her editorial in today’s Boston Globe. You would think from her editorial that she just started covering Kerry this week, but obviously we know this is untrue as she has had plenty of other absurd comments on him in the past.
Writing on Kerry’s anti-war speech this week, Vennochi writes “The Massachusetts senator is finally taking the antiwar position that people who know him well expected him to embrace long ago.” From her comments on Kerry’s admission that his vote for the IWR was a mistake–an admission he has been making for several months. Vennochi even acknowledges that Kerry had stated he changed his mind on the vote in his 2005 Georgetown speech, failing to realize how this contradicts her earlier statements in the same column.
Vennochi is also clearly unaware of Kerry’s pre-war position. She has no idea that Kerry’s explanation for his IWR vote in his Senate floor statement made it clear that his vote was not one in support of war except as a last resort. She is unaware of Kerry’s advice against going to war such as in his op-ed in the New York Times, his article in Foreign Affairs, or his pre-war Georgetown speech. Then there’s Kerry’s call for regime change in the United States in protest at the onset of the war.
Of course Vennochi isn’t the only person who has made this mistake. Even if we forgive her for this, she seems oblivious to Kerry’s many statements opposed to the war during the campaign. She writes “Had he taken such a clear stand in 2004, he might be in the White House.” Kerry’s statement of “wrong war, wrong place, wrong time” sound pretty clear. She also appears unaware of Kerry’s many statements on the war following the campaign and prior to this week.
Vennochi expresses skepticism over what she sees as Kerry’s change in position. Her problem is that she fails to understand what Kerry’s position has been.Those of us who have actually paid attention to what Kerry has had to say about the war, and his vote, understand that Kerry has been consistent in his views, understand why Kerry voted for the IWR, and understand why Kerry realized his vote was a mistake when more information on George Bush’s motives became clear. Kerry never changed his position on the war as he always opposed going to war with the conditions that actually existed. The only change is that Kerry changed his mind on whether to give Bush authorization to go to war as a last resort, and whether to believe Bush’s promises that he would first seek a diplomatic settlement. The Downing Street Memos proved that Bush was lying, and Kerry realized he should have never have trusted George Bush to keep his word. Kerry’s speech this week just reflects the same position he has been expressing for quite some time.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Kerry Ignites Progressives at Take Back America Conference
Thanks to the speed of the blogosphere, first reactions to John Kerry’s speech at the Take Back America Conference are starting to come in. John Kerry has taken a lot of criticism for his vote for the Iraq War Resolution. This included mild criticism from those of us who supported him due to understanding his vote was not a vote in support of going to war, and much harsher criticism from those who misunderstood his position. By taking a leadership role in opposing the war, and by acknowledging his error on the IWR vote, Kerry is getting a second look from some progressives. TomPaine.com reports favorably on Kerry’s speech at the Take Back America conference:
Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts ignited us at the Take Back America conference by admitting that his 2002 vote for the resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq was wrong. “It is essential to acknowledge that the war itself was a mistake,” Kerry said, adding, “I was wrong to vote for that war resolution.” He received sustained applause and some cheers.
Contrast that with the comments of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has become famous for her assiduous courtship of the center — and at times, even the right — as well as her coy courtship with a 2008 presidential bid. While she criticized the Bush administration’s prosecution of the war and its “open-ended commitment,” she added that she believed it was wrong to “set a date certain” for withdrawal. She received a scattering of applause and a number of boos.
Kerry told the morning plenary session that he is going to sponsor an amendment to the defense spending bill demanding a withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year. It is measure that will apparently put Kerry at odds with the more cautious Clinton. It will force her to make a choice between those who are urging caution in Iraq and Kerry’s now full-throated denunciation of the war and the way it is being executed.
“A war on Iraq founded on a lie can never be true to the American character,” Kerry said early in his speech, which was almost totally devoted to the war, in contrast to Clinton’s, which was mainly focused on domestic policy. Kerry drew parallels between the Iraq war and the Vietnam War that he was a soldier in, noting that in both wars, thousands of soldiers were killed or injured long after policymakers realized they had headed in the wrong direction but stubbornly refused to reverse themselves. “I was morally wrong then and it is morally wrong now,” he said.
In direct contrast to Clinton’s refusal to back a firm deadline for troop withdrawal, Kerry said, “We need a hard and fast deadline” and a policy that demands that Iraqis take responsibility for their own security. He said that every movement in Iraq toward the establishment of a permament consensus government has been prompted by deadlines set by the Bush administration and coalition partners.
Kerry also offered a set of principles he said progressives should stand for:
• Tell the truth to the American people.
• “Fire the incompetents” and hold government accountable.
• Make America secure by making America energy independent.
• “Value work, not wealth.”
• Export products, not jobs.
• Provide affordable health care for all Americans.
• Address global warming and the pollution of our air and water.
John Kerry at the Take Back America 2006 Conference
Monday, June 12, 2006
John Kerry is calling for the withdrawal of United States forces under a schedule agreed upon with the new government of Iraq. This will legitimize the new Iraqi government, enable the Iraqis to become more self-reliant, and undermine support for the insurgency.
In fact, Senior American commanders have said the large U.S. military presence in Iraq feeds the insurgency. General George Casey, the top American military commander in Iraq, testified to Congress that our large military presence “feeds the notion of occupation” and “extends the amount of time that it will take for Iraqi security forces to become self-reliant.”
The goal of John Kerry’s plan is to undermine the insurgency by simultaneously pursing a political settlement and the military draw down of American forces. Kerry’s plan calls for:
** The redeployment of U.S. combat troops out of Iraq by the end of 2006.
** Only U.S. troops essential to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces would remain.
President Bush has repeatedly said that when Iraqis stand up, we will stand down. However, that has not been happening. So far, the Iraqis have trained 265,600 security forces. The Bush administration’s stated goal is 272,566 Iraqi security forces. Yet just two weeks ago, the Pentagon announced that they are sending 3,500 additional U.S. troops from Kuwait to Iraq.
Kerry Endorses Webb
John Kerry has posted in support of Jim Webb at the Huffington Post:
I’m for Jim Webb. He’s a Marine, and I say “is’ because when you’re a Marine you’re a Marine for life. And I say that as a Navy man.
The people calling the shots in Washington have a habit of treating veterans and members of the military as terrific backdrops for their speeches, but they don’t listen to them about what they’re seeing on the ground as they serve (witness the body armor ordeal,) they ignore the lessons military men and women learned in uniform (just ask General Shinseki,) and, judging by Bush policies they certainly don’t pay any attention to their needs when they come home (they tolerate billion dollar shortfalls in veterans funding.)Ke
Lipscomb Continues Smears on Kerry
Thomas Lipscomb continues to smear Kerry at Real Clear Politics. Pamela has shown why his writing is not trustworthy here and here. An early clue that this article isn’t going anywhere comes in the second paragraph as he makes reference to “a Kerry-sponsored (and Kerry-censored) documentary campaign film by respected producer Steve Rosenbaum, Inside the Bubble.” Inside the Bubble was an independent film which was not sponsored by Kerry. While Kerry supporters had negative comments on the film, largely due to its lack of meaningful information on the campaign as it was not sponsored by the campaign, this is hardly censorship.
Rather than trusting such biased and inaccurate accounts from Lipscomb, we have recently reposted many accurate accounts which refute the claims of the Swift Boat Liars. Most of these posts can be found by clicking here. A more detailed account of Kerry’s first purple heart is here. Fact Check’s review of the attacks is here and Snope’s finding that these are untrue urban legends is here.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Battlestar Gallitica Beats O’Reilly
War on Science Suffers Set Back
Dayton Daily News Debunks 2004 Election Myths
Myths of fraud in the 2004 Ohio election have been repeated so frequently by portions (and fortuantely a minority) of the left wing blogosphere so frequently that some accept them as truth without evaluation. The controversy increased with Robert Kennedy’s article in Rolling Stone (discussed here and here). The Dayton Daily News, being near the heart of the controversy, evaluated several of the claims. My first question on reading this was whether the paper had a bias. Maybe they do. In 2004 they endorsed John Kerry–placing them in a distinct minority among Ohio newspaper which supported Bush by an eleven to four margin. They also supported Gore over Bush in 2000. A copy of their endorsement for John Kerry is available in the Kerry Reference Library.
The Dayton Daily News has run an editorial entitled Robert Kennedy Jr. fails to carry Ohio for John Kerry. Here’s their analysis of some of the claims:
RFK Jr. says: “The worst theft in Ohio may have quietly taken place in rural counties. An examination of election data suggests widespread fraud — and even good old-fashioned stuffing of ballot boxes — in 12 sparsely populated counties scattered across southern and western Ohio: Auglaize, Brown, Butler, Clermont, Darke, Highland, Mercer, Miami, Putnam, Shelby, Van Wert and Warren. … John Kerry’s numbers were suspiciously low in each of the 12 — and George Bush’s were unusually high.
“Take the case of Ellen Connally, a Democrat who lost her race for chief justice of the state Supreme Court. … Kerry should have drawn far more votes than Connally — a liberal black judge who supports gay rights and campaigned on a shoestring budget. …
“Yet in these 12 off-the-radar counties, Connally somehow managed to outperform the best-funded Democrat in history, thumping Kerry by a grand total of 19,621 votes (or) 10 percent.
“(Congressman Dennis) Kucinich … (says) ‘Down-ticket candidates shouldn’t outperform presidential candidates like that. That just doesn’t happen. The question is: Where did the votes for Kerry go?’ …
“The … likely explanation is that they were fraudulently shifted to Bush. …
“Says (one analyst), ‘By itself, without anything else, what happened in these 12 counties turns Ohio into a Kerry state. To me, this provides every indication of fraud.”
The truth is: There’s a simple, innocent explanation:
In judicial races in Ohio, including Supreme Court races, the ballot does not mention a candidate’s party. That’s an ideal situation for a Democrat in Republican territory in a low-profile race. Ms. Connally simply got the votes of people who didn’t know that she is a Democrat.
(Moreover, the article doesn’t mention a central fact: Votes are counted at the county level, where election boards have equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. A multicounty conspiracy would be remarkable.)
Warren County in spotlight
RFK Jr. says: “The most transparently crooked incident took place in Warren County. (Officials devised) a way to count the vote in secret. Immediately after the polls closed, … GOP officials — citing the FBI — declared that the county was facing a terrorist threat that ranked 10 on a scale of … 10. The county administration building was hastily locked down.”
The truth is: Well, that was certainly bizarre. The distrust is entirely appropriate. But it turns out that a Kerry campaign representative was present for the vote count and saw nothing suspicious. And the election board has as many Democrats as Republicans. They reported nothing hinky in the counting.
And the event was reported immediately, resulting in much attention for Warren County, even nationally. And, later, a (public) recount found nothing unusual in sampled precincts.
Bush vs. marriage ban
RFK Jr. says: “Ohio… had an initiative on the ballot… to outlaw gay marriage. Statewide, the measure proved far more popular than Bush, besting (him) by 470,000 votes. But in six of the 12 suspect counties (mentioned above) — as well as in six other small counties in central Ohio — Bush out-polled the ban … by 16,132. To trust the official tally, in other words, you must believe that thousands of rural Ohioans voted for both Bush and gay marriage.”
The truth is: Nothing of the sort. In 11 of the 12 counties the article names, more people voted in the presidential contest than on the gay-marriage issue. Therefore, President Bush got more votes than the ban. This is not rocket science. Sen. Kerry also got more votes than opposition to the ban. (The numbers are at the secretary of state’s Web site.)
As for the fact that the gay marriage ban got more votes statewide than President Bush: elementary. A lot of Kerry people in the cities (including blacks) supported the ban.
Much of the Rolling Stone article is about Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell. It says he did a lot of things to decrease turnout, such as insisting (briefly) that registration cards must be on paper of a certain thickness. But, as the article notes, Mr. Blackwell lost some battles in court. The article insists that he nevertheless sowed confusion and kept some people from voting for fear they’d be hassled.
But his impact must have been minimal. After all, the election had an amazing million more voters than in 2000. Mr. Kennedy’s article doesn’t mention that.
The Kennedy piece, like the one in Harper’s, makes charge after charge after charge. They shouldn’t all be rejected out of hand. Clearly, something went wrong in counties where people had to stand in line to vote for hours.
Again, though, decisions about distribution of voting machines were made by evenly divided election boards. Republicans alone can’t be blamed.
Among the 350,000 people Rolling Stone says were “prevented” from voting by Republicans, 174,000 were allegedly discouraged by long lines. The other main impediments were errors made by voting machines and avoidable errors made during registration. All are attributed to Republicans.
If these numbers were derived with the same sophistication used to analyze the judicial race and the gay-rights issue, they aren’t worth much.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
“Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was a brutal terrorist and his death strikes a blow to al-Qaeda in Iraq. This ruthless thug who abused the true meaning of Islam was an intruder on Iraqi soil and it’s good news that he’s dead. Our troops did an incredible job hunting him down and destroying him, and all of America is proud of their skill and commitment.
“With the end of al-Zarqawi and the confirmation of the final vital cabinet ministries in Iraq’s new government, it’s another sign that it’s time for Iraqis to stand up for Iraq, bring the factions together, end the insurgency, and run their own country. Our troops have done their job in Iraq, and they’ve done it valiantly. It’s time to work with the new Iraqi government to bring our combat troops home by the end of this year.”
I reported earlier on Bush's statement on al-Zarqawi death. The short version from Bush, was "Stay the Course."
John Kerry's got it right, "Our troops have done their job in Iraq, and they’ve done it valiantly. It’s time to work with the new Iraqi government to bring our combat troops home by the end of this year.”
If you have not done so already -- Call Your Senators and Tell them to "Support Senate Joint Resolution 36 to bring our combat troops home in 2006."
John Kerry issued the following statement on the defeat of the amendment:
“In the first week of June, 7 more American soldiers were killed in Iraq while the Senate wasted time debating a crass, political, divisive amendment Bill Frist knew would never pass. How dare the Republicans waste Americans’ time while we have troops getting killed and maimed in Iraq with next to no debate about that broken policy.
“Why the urgent push from so-called conservatives to strip away states’ rights to regulate marriage? There’s no marriage crisis, there’s a political crisis in the Republican Party and this debate is nothing more than a pathetic diversion.
“Good luck to any Republican Senator who chooses to score cheap political points by dividing Americans, while serious problems are being ignored. We should have spent these past three days dealing with gas prices and our dangerous dependence on foreign oil, lowering health care costs, securing our ports, or working out a real plan to fix the mess in Iraq.
“If Washington doesn’t get its priorities straight, I’m confident Americans will find their own way of holding this Congress accountable on November 7th.”
TV Alert: Kerry on Fox
The Democratic Daily has other recent Kerry news.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Democratic Daily Reviewing Swift Boat Liars
Monday, June 05, 2006
The NY Times did do a piss poor job of covering the truth about the swift boat lies. That fact has now been well documented by Eric Boehlert in his new book "Lapdogs" (see posts here and here).
So here's a little taste of the truth about Thomas Lipscomb: Thomas Lipscomb is a Conservative Propagandist and a Destroyer of Veterans...
The Right-wing Blogosphere's (and Lipscomb's own) Wildly Exaggerated Claim that Lipscomb Was Nominated for a Pulitzer for his "Kerry" Reporting...
Thomas Lipscomb is an independent investigative reporter who was nominated for a Pulitzer for his reporting on Kerry during the 2004 elections. He is a senior fellow at the Annenberg Center for the Digital Future (USC).
Funny thing about that claim that Lipscomb was nominated for a Pulitzer -- Pulitzer.org provides lists of all nominees and winners on their website - Lipscomb's name is NO WHERE TO BE FOUND in 2004 or 2005.
If Thomas Lipscomb would lie about being nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, ask yourself this question... "What else would he lie about?" Here's the answer - John Kerry's military service.
Need more clarification about Thomas Lipscomb? Let me lay it out for you...
Read more »
Swift Boat Attacks on Kerry Dismissed As Urban Legends
With Pamela discussing the Swift Boat Lies once again at The Democratic Daily, a couple of thoughts came to mind. As she notes, many right wing bloggers are continuing to bring this up, repeating the same lies which have repeatedly been disputed. This remains important for a number of reasons. There’s the principle Pamela discusses of standing up against such unfounded attacks on men who served their country. On a political level putting an end to these lies would serve a useful purpose as they distract from the real message. During the 2004 campaign George Bush was able to avoid defending his record by having John Kerry on the defensive for these and other lies.
An unfortunate legacy of the 2004 campaign is that for many people the first thing they think of is the Swift Boat Lies, even when they recognize that they attacks were untrue. This plays into the GOP line that Democrats have no ideas. If we had a clean campaign, instead of constantly hearing of these dishonest attacks, voters would hear about John Kerry’s plans for a strong defense against terrorism. They’d recall Kerry’s plans to reduce health care costs and help small business.
When conservatives continue their attacks, this is all part of a larger plan. Their goal is not just to attack John Kerry, but to distract the voters with the failings of their policies and keep them from hearing the real solutions offered by Democrats.
Recently when doing a google search for on line discussions of the Swift Boat Lies I found that this topic was discussed just where it belonged–at Snopes.com–the site for debunking urban legends.
Snopes has two entries on the Swift Boat Lies. The first evaluates the claim that “John Kerry’s Vietnam War service medals (a Bronze Star, a Silver Star and three Purple Hearts) were earned under “fishy” circumstances.” It flatly describes this claim as false and offers plenty of information to debunk it.
The second, which provides the opinions of the various Swifties, cannot be totally labeled true or false as it is based on people’s opinions. Despite these being opinions, Snopes finds plenty to debunk:
The important point to note here is that this piece presents only one side of the story:
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:
“In 1969, I was Sen. Kerry’s gun mate atop of the Swift boat in Vietnam. And I just wanted to let everyone know that, contrary to all the rumors that you might hear from the other side, Sen. Kerry’s blood is red, not blue. I know, I’ve seen it.
“If it weren’t for Sen. John Kerry, on the 28th of February 1969, the day he won the Silver Star . . . you and I would not be having this conversation. My name would be on a long, black wall in Washington, D.C. I saw this man save my life.”3
— Fred Short
“I can still see him now, standing in the doorway of the pilothouse, firing his M-16, shouting orders through the smoke and chaos . . . Even wounded, or confronting sights no man should ever have to see, he never lost his cool.
I had to sit on my hands [after a firefight], I was shaking so hard . . . He went to every man on that boat and put his arm around them and asked them how they’re doing. I’ve never had an officer do that before or since. That’s the mettle of the man, John Kerry.”3
— David Alston
“What I saw back then [in Vietnam] was a guy with genuine caring and leadership ability who was aggressive when he had to be. What I see now is a guy who’s not afraid to tackle tough issues. And he knows what the consequences are of putting people’s kids in harm’s way.”
— James Wasser
Many of Kerry’s Vietnam commanders and fellow officers also continue to speak positively of him:
Navy records, fitness reports by Kerry’s commanders and scores of interviews with Swift boat officers and crewmen depict a model officer who fought aggressively in river ambushes and won the respect of many of his crewmates and commanders, even as his doubts about the war grew.
“I don’t like what he said after the war,” said Adrian Lonsdale, who commanded Kerry for three months in 1969. “But he was a good naval officer.”
“I don’t know what conclusions you can draw about someone’s ability to lead from their combat experience, but John’s service was commendable,” said James J. Galvin, a former Swift boat officer . . . “He played by the same rules we all did.”1
How well all of these men knew John Kerry is questionable, and discrepancies between how some of them described Kerry thirty-five years ago and how they describe him today suggest that their opinions are largely based upon political differences rather than objective assessments of Kerry’s military record. For example, Rear Admiral Roy Hoffman is quoted above, yet the Los Angeles Times reported:
. . . Hoffman and Kerry had few direct dealings in Vietnam. A Los Angeles Times examination of Navy archives found that Hoffman praised Kerry’s performance in cabled messages after several river skirmishes.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
TNR on Kerry's Iraq Email
The New Republic has some rather strange comments on John Kerry’s email on Iraq. Mixed in their snarky comments they write, “It was clear by mid-2004 that Kerry hated the war (and I’m not sure he ever truly supported it in his heart), but he couldn’t quite bring himself to say so.”
They are right that Kerry never truly supported the war in his heart, despite the confusion caused by Kerry’s vote for the IWR, which he did not consider to be support for going to war except as a last resort if we were proven to be threatened by WMD. They most likely missed Kerry’s op-ed in the New York Times and Foreign Affairs against going to war, his advice to Bush not to rush to war in his Georgetown speech, and his call for regime change in Washington in protest at the onset of the war.
While they misunderstood Kerry’s initial opposition to the war, their claim that Kerry could not bring himself to say so is just incredible. Besides the pre-war statements I mentioned above there were multiple anti-war statements during the campaign. Does “wrong war, wrong place, wrong time” ring a bell?
Gore Convinces Skeptic
Making weak arguments which are easily refuted by those who review the facts has doomed many activists. Examples range from theories on the 2004 election discussed earlier to the environment. Michael Shermer writes in Scientific American how he became an environmental skeptic:
My experience is symptomatic of deep problems that have long plagued the environmental movement. Activists who vandalize Hummer dealerships and destroy logging equipment are criminal ecoterrorists. Environmental groups who cry doom and gloom to keep donations flowing only hurt their credibility. As an undergraduate in the 1970s, I learned (and believed) that by the 1990s overpopulation would lead to worldwide starvation and the exhaustion of key minerals, metals and oil, predictions that failed utterly. Politics polluted the science and made me an environmental skeptic.
There certainly has been a lot of unscientific nonsense promoted by environmental groups. The errors of some, however, do not prove that the warnings of others are not valid. Shermer reviewed data from various sources on global warming:
Then I attended the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference in Monterey, Calif., where former vice president Al Gore delivered the single finest summation of the evidence for global warming I have ever heard, based on the recent documentary film about his work in this area, An Inconvenient Truth. The striking before-and-after photographs showing the disappearance of glaciers around the world shocked me out of my doubting stance.
After further discussion of global warming, this skeptic concluded, “Because of the complexity of the problem, environmental skepticism was once tenable. No longer. It is time to flip from skepticism to activism.”
Saturday, June 03, 2006
The Un-Gore, Un-Hillary
With all the talk about Gore and Hillary, Susan Estrich mentions another strong 2008 contender. While we might disagree with a couple points, for the most part she sure makes sense:
Opinion : The Un-Gore, Un-Hillary…
by Susan Estrich
While Al Gore is commanding all the attention of those searching for the un-Hillary, there’s another candidate who is quietly doing the work it actually takes to run for president. While Al Gore continues to protest that he isn’t running, there’s another candidate who is privately making no bones about his future prospects. While Al Gore has yet to acknowledge that he lost, there’s another candidate who is belatedly addressing the mistakes that caused his defeat.
The un-Gore, un-Hillary is John Kerry.
He is doing everything Gore isn’t doing to prepare for a presidential run in 2008.
He is running hard and running smart.
Watch him, and you know Gore has a lot of catching up to do — that it isn’t just a matter of making a movie and then standing back and waiting for the votes to come in. Running for president is a lot of work, and John Kerry is working hard.
He is finally addressing the Swift Boat lies that, more than anything else, undermined his campaign. He is working his lists, traveling the country and re-recruiting his old backers, one-by-one.
Don’t count him out for a minute.
How does he get past the electability argument? I asked one of his supporters. After all, electability was his claim last time, and it isn’t an argument you can easily make twice. He’s a different man, this friend and supporter told me.
That is certainly evident in his approach to his military record.
Last time, with his record under attack, he basically did nothing. He let them attack his heroism, his integrity and his manhood, and he simply didn’t answer. It was positively Dukakis-like, and it killed him. Since February of last year, he and his team have been fighting back, lie by lie. Maybe it’s all for the next run, but his friends tell me they would be doing it anyway, because he cannot bear leaving the record where it was. In the immediate aftermath of the campaign, he was ready to blame this one or that one — those days are past. It’s not about blame any more, it’s about getting it right.
What Dick Nixon did between 1960 and 1968 is what John Kerry has been doing and will do in these four years. Unlike Gore, it isn’t a show about him. It’s about each congressman and woman who calls and asks him to come to their district and do a fund-raiser. He comes. He spreads money around. He contributes to everyone. He has a list of 3 million voter contacts, and they hear from him regularly. He is generous with time. He is easy to get to.
It’s not like getting in an endless line to get into the Hillary campaign, or fighting half of Hollywood to get close to Gore. It’s not like negotiating the intricacies of Clinton Inc., where you are expected to give endlessly and might someday get an invitation to lunch with a hundred others. If you want to have dinner with Kerry, you can have dinner with Kerry. Alone, or with one or two other people. You can spend real time. He’ll listen.
Maybe the arrogance is still there, but he isn’t wearing it on his sleeve. He doesn’t talk about all the votes he got. He knows that the people he had last time have to be re-recruited, one by one, and that’s how he’s doing it.
His vice presidential nominee, John Edwards, may well run — but so what? No love lost between those two. What one does won’t matter to the other, one way or the other. My guess is that he wishes he’d picked Dick Gephardt. Whether it would have mattered or not, who knows? Would Gephardt have been a better debater? Fought harder? That’s the past. It won’t stop Kerry from running against Edwards. Or Gore. Or Hillary.
Boehlert Criticizes Press Handling of Swift Boat Lies
Eric Boehlert, author of the excellent book, Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush, has a guest blog at Crooks and Liars on Why the Swift Boat Hoax Still Matters! I rcommend reading the entire post, as well as his book, with a selection posted below:
Incredibly, faced with an elaborate campaign hoax, most in the press didn’t set their sights on the Swifties or the Bush campaign which refused to denounce the lies. Instead, the punditocracy, echoing Republican spin, collectively agreed that the smear campaign was really Kerry’s fault. “In some ways you can certainly say that John Kerry brought this on himself,” insisted Time magazine’s Carney. “He should have known that this was coming because he has experienced it in previous campaigns. He knows that John O’Neill is out there.”
ABC’s Chris Bury made the same point during an appearance on CNN: “Because [Kerry’s military service] is the central tenet of John Kerry’s campaign….once that issue is open, it’s fair game.”
In a sense they were right, it was fair game–just as questions about Bush’s military service were fair game. But the Swifties never played fair– they couldn’t even keep their stories straight. As their dishonesty become obvious, journalists never adjusted their coverage. Instead, pundits and reporters diverted their eyes from the porous, poorly constructed smear campaign and focused the blame on the Kerry campaign. That saved reporters the trouble of labeling Vietnam veterans as liars (not to mention Bush’s father, wife, and political advisor Karl Rove who all publicly signed off on the contents of the Swifty campaign), which in turn would have unleashed the fury of right-wing press critics. It also kept the Swift Boat storyline on familiar ground, one of tactics and process—were Kerry’s consultants too slow in responding? Was their coordination between the Swifts and the Bush campaign, etc.? All of that should have been secondary to the central and pressing question—Were any of these allegations true?
Books We'd Love To Read
Here’s a book I’d love to read. You’ll find it doesn’t exist at Abebooks:
With over 80 million new, used, rare and out-of-print books for sale from 13,500 booksellers, Abebooks.com has the world’s largest selection. So if you can’t find a book on our site, it probably doesn’t exist.
That’s the idea behind our new campaign which features obviously nonexistent books like the ones below. These “Not-Books” will be featured on millions of bookmarks distributed by our booksellers, as well as in various magazine and newspaper advertisements.
Kennedy Made The Cover of the Rolling Stone, and Flopped
I eagerly anticipated Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Rolling Stone article examining questions of election fraud in Ohio. While such stories have been common in the blogosphere ever since the election, they have been virtually ignored by the mainstream media. I noted that “assuming that Kennedy presents convincing evidence to support this article, this could have a major impact on how the 2004 election is perceived beyond the blogosphere.”
The reaction to Kennedy’s article was justifiably under whelming. Those bloggers who have been immersed in this story saw this as justification for their theories, but for most readers the article was an embarrassment which will likely do far more harm than good to the cause of election reform. The Left Coaster found it ” troubling that a half hour after this story is online, not one of the A-list center-left blogs is even posting on it.” There is good reason many liberal bloggers chose to ignore this article. We cannot claim to be the “reality based community” while supporting arguments which are far weaker than those made to claim the existence of WMD in Iraq.
Rather than coming up with anything new, Kennedy rehashed arguments which have been thoroughly refuted by those of all political persuasions. Rather than lending any credence to these arguments, Kennedy’s sloppy research and misstatements of the facts have seriously harmed his own credibility, placing him more in the category of questionably reliable writers such as Mark Crispin Miller. While there were clearly problems in Ohio which should be addressed, careful analysis of these factors by many parties have showed that these did not affect anywhere near as many votes as Kennedy claims. As the Democratic Party’s report found, “Despite the problems on Election Day, there is no evidence from our survey that John Kerry won the state of Ohio.”
There are far to many errors in Kennedy’s article to review in a blog post. Those who have examined the election with an open mind, as opposed to based upon hopes for the Kerry victory we wish had occurred, are already familiar with this information. For others, fortunately Salon has already performed an excellent act of fact checking on Kennedy’s article.
By presenting such a weak and easily disputable case Kennedy sets back the cause of achieving more transparent and fair elections. It is a shame that Kennedy didn’t take the approach that John Kerry wisely has. It is time to face the fact that the 2004 election is history and George W. Bush was the winner. By all means continue to investigate, but claims of a stolen election carry an extremely high burden of proof and claims of fraud should not be made until such proof is well established.
As long as any efforts at election reform are based upon changing the results of the 2004 election half of the country will be immediately suspicious and discount any arguments for reform. However, if problems such as those which did occur in Ohio and elsewhere (including areas which voted Democratic) are criticized based upon the principle of fair and transparent elections we have hopes of receiving the support of a solid majority. In a democracy it is urgent that all accept the legitimacy of election results. Unfortunately, while it can not be definitely proven that the election was stolen from John Kerry, it also cannot be proven to everyone’s satisfaction that George Bush legitimately won. This in itself is good reason to search for ways to conduct elections better.
Update: The Salon article is also mentioned at Hulabaloo with a suggestion that “either a substantive counter-response or an admission of error on Kennedy’s part really is appropriate.” This would be interesting but this also should not be confused as a disagreement between Kennedy and one Salon writer. Similar criticism of the arguments Kennedy made have been made by others in the liberal media since the election, including the Washington Monthly, Mother Jones, The Nation, and NPR. Democratic pollster Mark Blumenthal (aka The Mystery Pollster) has also debunked the exit poll arguments. However as the Salon article most directly relates to Kennedy’s article a response from Kennedy to these arguments would be a good place to start. If Kennedy cannot refute these arguments it would be helpful to the cause of election reform if Kennedy limited his charges to the problems which really can be demonstrated to exist. We should demand election reform not only because of Democratic questions as to whether Ohio was stolen by Republicans but also due to Republican beliefs that Wisconsin was stolen by Democrats, and the very real possibility that another Kennedy benefited from a stolen election in Illinois in 1960. The problem remains one of a poorly run election system which leaves far too much room to question the results.
Update 2: There’s another good analysis of the article at a non-partisan site, Election Law.
Update 3: The Carpetbagger Report is “suspicious of the argument because I’m not sure it holds up to close scrutiny.” He writes:
I’ve read the article, and the accompanying 74 footnotes, and I remain a skeptic. Some of Kennedy’s sources are a little shaky, and his over-reliance on voter exit polls brings his conclusions into question. Kennedy makes an excellent and persuasive case that Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell (R) played fast and loose with the rules, and arbitrarily pushed voting standards that contributed to statewide irregularities, but one dubious state official does not a stolen election make.
Friday, June 02, 2006
Kerry Speaks in Los Angeles
Kerry Attacks Bush Over Iraq Policies
Times Staff Writer
June 2, 2006
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) harshly criticized the Bush administration for "disdaining diplomacy" in favor of a confrontational and unilateral foreign policy that has hurt the United States' standing around the world and made it less safe.
In a speech Thursday in Los Angeles, the former (and perhaps future) Democratic Party presidential candidate warned that the mistakes of Iraq must not be repeated in the current standoff with Iran.
"War is the ultimate failure of diplomacy," Kerry told a gathering of the Pacific Council on International Policy. "Yet our current leadership has arrogantly discarded this basic principle…. All too often they disdained diplomacy as little more than an inconvenient detour on the chosen path to armed conflict."
The result, he said, was an ill-advised rush to war in Iraq that alienated other governments and diminished sympathy for the U.S. generated by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. America's current isolation, and the presence of thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq, is "playing right into Iranian hands…. The Iranians are delighted," Kerry said.
Emphasizing that a nuclear-armed Iran would be "a very serious threat to the U.S. and our allies," Kerry contended that the most conservative estimates are that Tehran is at least five years away from developing atomic weapons.
"There is time for diplomacy to work here," he said, but added that negotiating with Iran is "an uncertain proposition at best."
Kerry spoke before news broke of the agreement between six major powers, including the U.S., to offer an incentive package for Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions. He hailed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's recent offer of direct negotiations with Iran, but said any talks "must be more than an effort to check the box on diplomacy as they move toward a confrontation."
The 21-year veteran of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee also had harsh words for the Iraqi government. The sight of politicians haggling over Cabinet seats in the midst of an undiminished insurgency is "a disgrace, and this administration ought to get tough," he said.
He proposed intense U.S. pressure to force consensus, either by withholding reconstruction funds or threatening a unilateral withdrawal of troops.
Kerry, who voted to give President Bush authorization to use force against Saddam Hussein in 2002, said he would attach an amendment to this summer's defense appropriations bill calling for a total withdrawal of U.S. combat troops by the end of this year. But he acknowledged that the idea would be unpopular. "I know I'm not going to get the majority of my own caucus."
On domestic issues, Kerry predicted that rising public dissatisfaction with the Bush administration could translate into huge gains for Democratic candidates in November's midterm congressional elections.
"There is something bubbling up in America that I believe is going to be reflected in the polls," he said.
As for his own political ambitions, Kerry would say only that he is "thinking very hard" about another presidential run in 2008.
"And I'm thinking about it a lot earlier than I'd like to because it's clear there are several other people also thinking about it," he said
See The Democratic Daily for more exclusive coverage.