Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Majority of Independents Disaprove of Bush's Policies

John Zogby: The Lost Center
To paraphrase William Shakespeare, "Now is the summer of our discontent." Nowhere is this more apparent than in the latest Zogby International poll (conducted June 20-22) which finds George W. Bush at the lowest ebb of his presidency. The president’s job approval rating stands at an abysmal 44 percent. The disapproval is across the board: nearly two-thirds of all respondents dislike Bush’s handling of the Iraq War, jobs and the economy, education, the environment, and Social Security and Medicare. Moreover, on Bush’s two signature issues–the war on terror and taxes–his performance has wandered into negative territory: 50 percent disapprove of his management of terrorism; 62 percent dislike his tax policies.

Table 1: The Lost Center and George W. Bush.
Moderate Response // Independent Response // Nationwide Response

Percentage giving George W. Bush either a fair or poor rating on his overall job performance
66 // 67 // 56
Percentage giving George W. Bush either a fair or poor rating on education
79 // 74 // 63
Percentage giving George W. Bush either a fair or poor rating on handling Iraq
70 // 68 // 61
Percentage giving George W. Bush either a fair or poor rating on foreign policy
70 // 73 // 61
Percentage giving George W. Bush either a fair or poor rating on the environment
74 // 72 // 65
Percentage giving George W. Bush either a fair or poor rating on jobs and the economy
73 // 74 // 65
Percentage giving George W. Bush either a fair or poor rating on taxes
69 // 68 // 62
Percentage giving George W. Bush either a fair or poor rating on Social Security and Medicare
75 // 78 // 69
Percentage Giving George W. Bush either a fair or poor rating on foreign policy
70 // 73 // 61
Percentage giving George W. Bush a fair or poor rating on the war on terrorism
54 // 56 // 50
Percentage of respondents saying they are proud to have George W. Bush as their president
44 // 44 // 51
Percentage saying the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction
60 // 57 // 53

Source: Zogby International, poll, June 20-22, 2005.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

What Would Kerry Do About Iraq?

From the Salon War Room:

What would Kerry do?

We have a pretty good sense now of what President Bush will say in his prime-time speech on Iraq tonight: The road is long, but there's progress being made in the training of Iraqi security forces and in the building of a real Iraqi government; we need patience, not timetables; and just in case you've forgotten, let me remind you one more time that Iraq is part of a war on terrorism that began when America was attacked on 9/11.

Now imagine that we live in some other universe, one in which the 53 percent of the public that disapproves of Bush's job performance now had voted in accordance with those feelings back in November. What would President John Kerry be telling the nation tonight?

We don't have to imagine because Kerry is telling anyone who will listen. The senator from Massachusetts has "what the president should say" op-ed in today's New York Times, and he's repeating much the same advice in an email message to supporters and in a floor speech this afternoon in the U.S. Senate.

Kerry's message: The president has made a mess of things in Iraq so far, and it's "long past time to get it right." "Our mission in Iraq is harder because the administration ignored the advice of others, went in largely alone, underestimated the likelihood and power of the insurgency, sent in too few troops to secure the country, destroyed the Iraqi army through de-Baathification, failed to secure ammunition dumps, refused to recognize the urgency of training Iraqi security forces and did no postwar planning," Kerry wrote in the Times this morning. "A little humility would go a long way -- coupled with a strategy to succeed."

So what should Bush do now? Start by telling the truth, Kerry says. "We must tear down the wall of arrogance," Kerry says in the remarks prepared for delivery on the Senate floor. "When the vice president absurdly claims the insurgency is in its 'last throes,' he insults the common sense and intelligence of the American people and diminishes our stature in the world. And how can we expect the Iraqi people to take us seriously and do their part when the White House says the insurgency is fading. . . . While we shouldn't dwell on mistakes, we need to understand their consequences on our ability to effectively move forward. With allies reading the Downing Street memo, and the American people realizing the rationalization for this war changed midstream, it becomes that much harder to rally the collective strength of the nation and the world to our cause. We have to acknowledge the past to overcome it, because the truth is the stubbornness of this administration matters. It hurts our chances for success. It leads to frustrated expectations at home, makes it so much more difficult for the Iraqi people to embrace this cause, and makes it so much easier for sidelined nations to turn their back on a common interest and say: 'OK, it's their deal.'"

After coming clean, Kerry says, Bush should make it clear that the U.S. doesn't intend to stay in Iraq permanently; insist that the Iraqis build a "truly inclusive political process" and meet their deadlines along the way; and announce that he's putting the training of Iraqi troops on a "true six-month wartime footing" by, among other things, ensuring that the Iraqi government has the budget it needs to train and deploy the troops and by accepting offers from Egypt, Jordan, France and Germany to do more to help. Kerry says the administration should set -- and share with Congress --"clear milestones and deadlines for the transfer of military and police responsibilities to Iraqis after the December elections." Kerry says Bush should push Iraq to rely on tribal, religious and ethnic militias while its own national army is being built, and that the administration should establish a multinational force to help protect Iraq's borders. Meanwhile, he says, the administrations should encourage Iraq's Sunnis neighbors to help more with the rebuilding of Iraq by presenting them with a "strategic plan" for regional security that acknowledges their fears about an "Iran-dominated crescent and their concerns about our fitful mediation between Israel and the Palestinians."

It may sound like a lot of hard work to the man who is president in the universe in which we live, but Kerry says that the next few months in Iraq will be critical. "If Mr. Bush fails to take these steps, we will stumble along, our troops at greater risk, casualties rising, costs rising, the patience of the American people wearing thin, and the specter of quagmire staring us in the face. Our troops deserve better: They deserve leadership equal to their sacrifice."

Monday, June 27, 2005

Democratic Party Update

While I'm an Independent voter I have donated to organizations that promote my values and ideals for the future of America. It's with that sentiment I post the following update on the Democratic Party's Online activities. Whether you're an Independent, Republican, Green, Libertarian or whatever a democracy demands that we all stand up for what we believe. We don't have to agree 100% with the party line to get active or contribute even if we don't consider ourselves members.

Instead of building a party I'd like to build a better America, but that's just not possible with the current group of Washington Republicans who control everything and reward special interests and the ultra rich at the expense of America's future.

What's New with the Democrats:
A New Website:
50 State Strategy Taking the message to RED and BLUE states
'Democracy Bonds' - A Commitment to Our Future Invest in priorities that make you proud to be an American
Democratic Party Agenda - Don't let Republicans tell you Democrats don't have any bold, fresh, innovative ideas.
Democratic Party Blog

Friday, June 24, 2005

Kerry Asks Senate Intelligence Committee to Investigate Downing Street Memo

Full Letter Below:

June 22, 2005
The Honorable Pat Roberts, Chairman
The Honorable John D. Rockefeller, IV, Vice Chairman
United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Roberts and Senator Rockefeller:
We write concerning your committee's vital examination of pre-war Iraq intelligence failures. In particular, we urge you to accelerate to completion the work of the so-called "Phase II" effort to assess how policy makers used the intelligence they received. Last year your committee completed the first phase of a two-phased effort to review the pre-war intelligence on Iraq. Phase I-begun in the summer of 2003 and completed in the summer of 2004-examined the performance of the American intelligence community in the collection and analysis of intelligence prior to the war, including an examination of the quantity and quality of U.S. intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the intelligence on ties between Saddam Hussein's regime and terrorist groups. At the conclusion of Phase I, your committee issued an unclassified report that made an important contribution to the American public's understanding of the issues involved. In February 2004-well over a year ago-the committee agreed to expand the scope of inquiry to include a second phase which would examine the use of intelligence by policy makers, the comparison of pre-war assessments and post-war findings, the activities of the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group (PCTEG) and the Office of Special Plans in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and the use of information provided by the Iraqi National Congress. The committee's efforts have taken on renewed urgency given recent revelations in the United Kingdom regarding the apparent minutes of a July 23, 2002, meeting between Prime Minister Tony Blair and his senior national security advisors. These minutes-known as the "Downing Street Memo"-raise troubling questions about the use of intelligence by American policy makers-questions that your committee is uniquely situated to address. The memo indicates that in the summer of 2002, at a time the White House was promising Congress and the American people that war would be their last resort, that they believed military action against Iraq was "inevitable." The minutes reveal that President "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

The American people took the warnings that the administration sounded seriously-warnings that were echoed at the United Nations and here in Congress as we voted to give the president the authority to go to war. For the sake of our democracy and our future national security, the public must know whether such warnings were driven by facts and responsible intelligence, or by political calculation. These issues need to be addressed with urgency. This remains a dangerous world, with American forces engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other challenges looming in Iran and North Korea. In this environment, the American public should have the highest confidence that policy makers are using intelligence objectively-never manipulating it to justify war, but always to protect the United States. The contents of the Downing Street Memo undermine this faith and only rigorous Congressional oversight can determine the truth. We urge the committee to complete the second phase of its investigation with the maximum speed and transparency possible, producing, as it did at the end of Phase I, a comprehensive, unclassified report from which the American people can benefit directly.

John Kerry
Co-signers: Sens. Tim Johnson, Jon Corzine, Jack Reed, Frank Lautenberg, Barbara Boxer, Edward Kennedy, Thomas Harkin, Jeff Bingaman, Richard Durbin

Salon War Room Reports on Kerry's Request for DSM Investigation
Read The Downing Street Memo

Kerry calls Rove Comments 'Disgraceful'

WASHINGTON -- Senator John F. Kerry led a chorus of top Democrats yesterday in condemning White House political chief Karl Rove for saying that political liberals wanted to "prepare indictments and offer therapy" to terrorists involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. The Democrats urged President Bush to fire Rove if he refuses to apologize.

Kerry called Rove's comments "disgraceful" and said Rove's speech Wednesday to a gathering of New York conservatives a few miles from the site of the former World Trade Center disrespected Democrats and the nation, which rallied behind Bush following the 2001 attacks.

"That spirit of our country should never be reduced to a cheap, divisive, political applause line from anyone who speaks for the president of the United States," said Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, in a speech on the Senate floor. ''It is really hard to believe that last night in New York, a senior adviser -- the most senior adviser to the president of the United States -- is twisting, purposely twisting those days of unity in order to divide us for political gain."



Tuesday, June 21, 2005

2008 Presidential Odds Makers and Pundits Get it Wrong

With Joe Biden formulating a 2008 Presidential run, John Edwards making the rounds, and the press jumping on the Hillary bandwagon, it's not surprising that John Kerry's name is usually mentioned as an afterthought in the Democratic 2008 Presidential nomination sweepstakes, but the talking heads and odds makers don't have a good track record when it comes to picking the winners.

To hear the pundits tell it during most of the run up to the 2004 Democratic Primaries Dean had it wrapped up and John Kerry was politically dead. Seems nothing could be further from the truth.

The press will do their best to cover the horse race and make it close no matter who runs. No one will have an easy path to the nomination in 2008, but to consistently count Kerry out is setting him up for another great comeback story, which surely the press would love to cover.

Kerry didn't win the nomination in 04 with luck. He built a great loyal organization and took some risks in Iowa to come from behind and win big. He still has a dedicated following of hard core supporters and talented staffers who are eager to see him take another shot.

When the dust settles in the 2008 Democratic Primaries, you heard it here first: Don't be surprised it's a repeat for Kerry in 2008.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Evidence Mounting to Impeach Bush

Sure the Congress is controlled by Republicans and there is little hope of impeaching President Bush at this stage, but with evidence mounting against him concerning his intent to invade Iraq and the American public growing weary of the war's endless cost in lives and tax dollars, 2006 could spell doom for the Republican Party.

Newly released memo's add further detail to the Downing Street Memo's claim that Bush intentionally trumped up charges against Iraq to push for regime change at any cost.
New Memos Detail Early Plans for Invading Iraq
By John Daniszewski LA Times Staff Writer

The best way to justify military action, it said, would be to convince the Security Council that Iraq was in breach of its post-Gulf War obligations to eliminate its store of weapons of mass destruction.

The document appeared to rule out any action in Iraq short of an invasion.

"In sum, despite the considerable difficulties, the use of overriding force in a ground campaign is the only option that we can be confident will remove Saddam and bring Iraq back into the international community," it said.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Light Up the Darkness Covering Kerry's Actions

One of the best Pro Kerry blogs on the Web, Light Up The Darkness, has several updates this week on Kerry activity.

Some of the highlights include:
Kerry's visionary 20/20 plan for renewable energy. Will Republicans allow it to be included in the Energy Bill?

Kerry's common sense Trade Policy ideas.

More investigation into the Downing Street Memo.

Friday, June 10, 2005

It's time for Democrats to stop blaming Kerry

Bravo. Finally someone has the brains to tell the Democratic party they had bigger problems in 2004 than Kerry, or any single Presidential candidate of the future, including Kerry if he runs again. In my experience with the Democratic party (I am not a member), I think their ground game and voter targeting are woefully out of step with today's technology. The republican party also has huge advantages promoting their message in the media. And let's state the most obvious: an incumbent war time president has a distinct advantage over a challenger. There was a time in 2001 and even later in 2002 that Bush was riding so high in the polls everyone thought he was unbeatable.

It's time to stop blaming Kerry and instead concentrate on how to build a stronger progressive party platform that appeals to more voters.

Democrats have to end their addiction to the Kerry alibi

E.J. Dionne / Syndicated columnist

This habit is dangerous because dissing Kerry is an easy way for Democrats to evade discussion of what the party needs to do to right itself. By focusing on the past, the Kerry alibi allows Democrats to avoid engaging the future. In 2008, the Democrats could nominate a candidate who combines Harry Truman's toughness, JFK's charm and FDR's gifts of leadership — and still face many of the problems Kerry confronted. Blaming everything on Kerry as the supposedly elitist, stiff and indecisive Massachusetts liberal is the Democrats' version of cheap grace.


But saying Kerry was the Democrats' one and only problem is both an evasion and unfair. The three debates were the only moments in the campaign in which Kerry's fate was entirely in his own hands, and he used them well. Kerry trounced Bush the first time and, I'd argue, beat him in the other two encounters.

Kerry Group Is Staying Active

By Stacey Boyne
Mountain View Telegraph

A group of East Mountains residents who worked on John Kerry's presidential campaign are still actively meeting long after the end of the campaign.
At least 40 people from Bernalillo, Sandoval, Santa Fe and Torrance counties gathered recently to discuss important issues affecting residents in the East Mountains.
They refer to themselves as the East Mountain Progressives.
"We call ourselves progressive because we're not just Democrats," said Jim Buhaug, the group's facilitator. "Anyone with an open line of thinking and a willingness to listen is welcome."
The group decided to keep the energy sparked by the campaign flowing by forming a group to stay on top of local issues.
"Our goal is to help keep people in the area informed on the happenings in the Legislature, the environment and Social Security/Medicaid. The more people know, it is more likely they will be empowered to pursue their own path of action," Buhaug said.
The group is following such issues as election reform, privatization of Social Security and voter verification on paper ballots.
The group has formally created committees and is considering holding public forums in the near future. Currently, the group's main form of action is e-mailing, letter writing and phone calls to the Legislature before it finishes for the year.
It appears the group is growing quickly. There is mention of moving the meetings from homes of group members to Los Vecinos Community Center in Tijeras.
For more information on the East Mountain Progressives, contact Buhaug at 281-6310.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Kerry and His Supporters Promote Kids First Act

Continuing his push to fully cover 11 million kids without healthcare, Kerry asked supporters to help fund a new TV ad to be shown in southern states. Wouldn't it be nice if we had a leader who worked for us, rather than special interest groups and big business.

View Ad


Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Swift Boat Vets Should Apologize to Kerry: Newly Released Documents Further Discredit Their Claims

Now that all of John Kerry's Vietnam records are public after he signed form 180, it should be clearly noted how NOT ONE claim of the Swift Boat Vets has been proven true by these new documents.

In fact some of the same men who were criticizing Kerry are on record commending Kerry's Service.

Furthermore, while some second guess Kerry for not releasing the records during the campaign, it should be noted he released all relevant information and was under no obligation to release these remaining records.

Asked why he delayed signing the form for so long, Kerry said in a written response: "The call for me to sign a 180 form came from the same partisan operatives who were lying about my record on a daily basis on the Web and in the right-wing media. Even though the media was discrediting them, they continued to lie. I felt strongly that we shouldn't kowtow to them and their attempts to drag their lies out." (From the Boston Globe)

If these Anti Kerry, Republican backed, vets had any honor they would apologize for their misleading and deceptive "opinions" which they passed off as fact. They should vow not to repeat or resurrect any of these bogus claims in the future.

Will they accept responsibility for their lies and do the right thing?

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Kerry Takes on Republican Values

Putting kids first
Kerry wants to redirect the debate on values
By STEVE URBON, Standard-Times senior correspondent

The term "values," as it applied in last year's presidential election, boiled down mainly to two things: opposition to abortion and opposition to gay marriage. It worked in favor of President Bush.
Sen. John Kerry, the losing Democratic challenger, now wants to redirect the values debate to a new area favorable to Democrats: guaranteed health care for poor children called "Kids First."
"If you want to talk about values as a lot of these politicians would just throw it at you, then let's have a values test."
The test he proposes is this: "If you simply take the top 5 percent of the tax cut (for next year) and say you're going to do health care, you could cover health care for all 11 million children" who now are without any coverage at all, he told The Standard-Times editorial board in a visit last week.
"It would affect people of $300,000 in income and up," he said.
"Now, everybody I talk to at that level of income, sitting down to dinner or whatever, says, You know, this tax cut isn't going to do anything to change what I invest in. It's going to give me more disposable income to go out and buy more or do something. But it's not going to change my fundamentals of investing. The bottom line is, we can't afford it and it's the wrong moral choice."
"I'm taking part of the health care plan I proposed to the country last in the course of the campaign. I'm just saying if we can't start with kids, where can we start?"
Asked whether the Bush White House would even allow a vote in Congress on such a concept, Sen. Kerry said, flatly, "No."
"What I'm doing is putting a stake in the ground around which we can organize and draw a clear values distinction."
He said the message is being well-received. "In Austin, Texas, a few weeks ago we took the health care thing on the road and 3,000 people came out on a Saturday morning. Twelve hundred in Seattle."
But don't the states and federal government already provide health care for children living in poverty, or something close to it? Isn't there something called CHIP, the Children's Health Insurance Program?
There is, but Sen. Kerry said it's not working well enough, missing millions of children.
"The CHIP program is actually an expansion of Medicaid, and Medicaid goes up to 100 percent of poverty. Fifty percent is shared by the states, approximately. Above that, states have been given an incentive through the CHIP program to try expand health care to children. That's what our theory was, help give them incentive to cover more kids. And they've expanded. There has been growth in the number of kids covered up until last year.
"But this year the Bush administration is actually cutting Medicaid and it will cut available funds for children to have health care," he said.
Another problem with CHIP is that above the poverty level, some states provide significant help while others do not. While Massachusetts might extend care to those families earning as much as the poverty level of $15,670, others are "terrible," said Sen. Kerry.
He added that many states do an inadequate job of enrolling eligible children, partly because of the bureaucracy.
"What I propose to do is take over Medicaid children from the states. I will cover kids up to 100 percent, $15,670 of income. The deal with the states is if I agree to take over 100 percent, they take over from there.
"In exchange we ask states to take a lesser burden and cover kids from 100 percent up to 300 percent of poverty. That's how we get every kid covered. And it's a net plus to the states of $6 billion. So every state in country makes out with several hundred million dollars and it's an incentive for governors to do it," he said.
"The reason the states will love this is that, No. 1, they hate the bureaucracy, and No. 2, they don't do it well. They don't enroll the kids. There's a huge burden to enrollment.
"In my program, there's automatic enrollment. You go to school, you've got health insurance. You go to day care, child care, you've got health insurance. You're covered. So any provider will know immediately they don't have to wrestle with 'This kid doesn't have health care. We can't take him to the hospital,' " Sen. Kerry said.
"You have no idea of how many family physicians I talk to around the country who tell me of kids they don't see until they're 12 years old, and the kid has an earache perpetually in school and the kid winds up with a learning disability because they just didn't get a visit to the doctor. These are real stories."
He said he put his Kids First plan out in three million e-mails "and we got 20,000 phone calls leaving a message as to why it is important."
But Sen. Kerry said he has no expectation that his plan will advance with the GOP in control of Congress and the White House.
He's even having trouble getting backing from Republican governors, he said.
"I've called (New York Gov. George) Pataki. I've called (California Gov. Arnold) Schwartzenegger. I've called these guys and I say look, here's a choice, and Arnold says, no, we can't change taxes."
"They're just scared. The Holy Grail of the Republican Party is a tax cut, whether it makes sense or doesn't. It's the single opinion of their politics now."

This story appeared on Page B1 of The Standard-Times on June 5, 2005

Saturday, June 04, 2005

The Unbroken Line: America's Veterans, Faces Behind the Uniforms

Through a variety of circumstances I ended up meeting a young local artist today, Jennifer DeCarlo, who invited me to her exhibit called "The Unbroken Line: America's Veterans, Faces Behind the Uniforms"

When she offered the invite I politely said, "I'll try to stop by" which is code for, thanks, but I'm a busy person, so it's highly unlikely. As it turns out I wasn't that busy, and I happened to be in the neighborhood of her show so I dropped in expecting to look around briefly and head back to my uneventful average Saturday in blissfully ignorant USA-land, but instead I spent a good amount of time soaking in the stories and pictures documented in her exhibit.

The gist of her project was to document a small portion of the lives of several American soldiers starting with WWII to the present. Her objective was to focus on the people and their stories and leave the political editorializing up to the viewer.

Some of the soldiers were family members, like her grandpa who served in WWII, while others were friends serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. Still others were strangers who served in Korea or Vietnam and only grew to trust her over time as they began to recognize her familiar face at their VFW gatherings. Through interviews, news clippings, personal letters, and photos taken by the soldiers themselves, bits of their lives and service to country began to emerge.

As I happened to be the only one there at that time Jennifer walked me through the exhibit and personalize the lives of each soldier even more for me. She talked about the tears or distant stares from the older vets as they recounted certain details to her, yet often failed to bring words to whatever their mind was trying to cope with. She elaborated on the anger and frustration many of today's vets face as they struggled to do their risky thankless job, while their country doesn't seem to be paying attention. She recounted recent returning vets who were having a hard time adjusting to normal life. Many were contemplating what the appropriate level of support was for their government and how it might effect those still in harm's way. At the time they did what they needed to do to survive and keep their buddies alive, but now back home things didn't seem as black and white any more.

One set of disturbing pictures in the exhibit were tragically graphic and unlike any most of us would see in our sanitized coverage of war by the American media. The photos showed the god awful reality of two American land mine victims as they underwent amputations and drastic surgery to salvage their lives.

I guess my point in recounting this is to remind myself and anyone who might happen to read this how much we owe to others and how much we can give back if we make up our mind to make a difference somehow. It's easy to go about our daily lives and forget what's happening thousands of miles away in some distant desert, but the effects are long term and they're right here in America.

A no-brainer way to respect these men and women would be to make sure they get the medical and psychological treatment they need upon return. If we're going to send our sons and daughters into harm's way, we damn well better live up to our end of the bargain and make sure they're looked after when they're back. That sounds so simple, but nothing is simple in Washington.

I imagine some of us have some other 'crazy' ideas about what we can do to make a difference, but I'll leave that for another day.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Hillary Clinton 2008 Watch

Not mincing any words, Time columnist Joe Klein tells us what he really thinks about Hillary's chances in 08. While I don't always agree with Klein's opinions I do think he raises the same red flags I would raise concerning Hillary's long odds of being successful.

Hillary in 2008? No Way! By Joe Klein
It would doubtless be a circus, a revisitation of the carnival ugliness that infested public life in the 1990s. Already there are blogs, websites and fund-raising campaigns dedicated to denigrating her. According to the New York Observer last week, these sites aren't getting much traffic—yet. But they will. I remember several conversations with Senator Clinton after her health-care plan was killed 10 years ago, and she was clearly pained—nonplussed by the quality of anger, the sheer hatred, directed against her. That experience would be a walk in the park compared to the vitriol if she ran for President.


And then there is her husband, a one-man supermarket tabloid. A few weeks ago, the New York Post ran a photo of Bill Clinton leaving a local restaurant with an attractive woman, and the political-elite gossip hounds went berserk. Prominent Democrats—friends of the Clintons—were wringing their hands. "Do we really want to go through all that again?" one asked me. I don't know—should the sins of the husband be visited upon the wife? Absent any evidence, the former President should be considered guilty until proved really guilty. But there is another problem: What role would the big guy play in a Hillary Clinton Administration? Would he reform health care? Does anyone believe that a man with such a huge personality would have a less active role in her Administration than she had in his?

Kerry Raises Downing Street Memo

Does anyone else find it ironic that while the main stream media gushes over the recent revelation of "Deep throat" and contemplates the political consequences to then President Nixon, they turn a blind eye to Bush's criminal abuse of power surrounding the invasion of Iraq?

The Downing Street Memo is about as damning as it gets offering hard evidence that Bush and his administration lied about WMD's in order to invade Iraq.

Does anyone in the media have the integrity to follow up and ask questions, or are they all too afraid of Scott Mcclellan and his Newsweek bashing points? -IFK Editor

Kerry assails Bush on Iraq
Policies on Social Security, health care also draw fire
By STEVE URBON, Standard-Times senior correspondent

NEW BEDFORD -- Sen. John F. Kerry yesterday called on Americans to be more aware of the "bait and switch" Iraq war and the "hollowing out" of the Army in the pursuit of a mistaken policy.
In a swing through SouthCoast, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee attacked the priorities of the Republican Party and President Bush, elaborating on what they are sacrificing -- health care for children, infrastructure, Social Security -- in the pursuit of tax cuts.

"The Holy Grail of the Republican Party is a tax cut, whether or not we need it," he said in a meeting with The Standard-Times editorial board.

Sen. Kerry puzzled over the apparent lack of interest by Americans in the Iraq war and the near silence in the U.S. mass media about the so-called Downing Street Memo.

That leaked secret document, the minutes of a 2002 cabinet meeting of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, says bluntly that Mr. Bush had decided to attack Iraq long before going to Congress with the matter, and that "intelligence was being fixed around the policy."

It caused an uproar in Great Britain and badly hurt Mr. Blair in national elections but went almost unnoticed in the United States.

"When I go back (to Washington) on Monday, I am going to raise the issue," he said of the memo, which has not been disputed by either the British or American governments. "I think it's a stunning, unbelievably simple and understandable statement of the truth and a profoundly important document that raises stunning issues here at home. And it's amazing to me the way it escaped major media discussion. It's not being missed on the Internet, I can tell you that."

He questioned Americans' understanding of the war and the sense that criticism equals disloyalty, saying, "Do you think that Americans if they really understood it would feel that way knowing that on Election Day, 77 percent of Americans who voted for Bush believed that weapons of mass destruction had been found and 77 percent believe Saddam did 9/11? Is there a way for this to break through, ever?"

Earlier in the day, Sen. Kerry met in a "town hall"-style meeting with about 75 seniors, where he assailed the recently passed Medicare prescription drug benefit, the GOP's tax cuts for wealthy Americans and the attempts to privatize Social Security.

He said to the largely supportive group, "The next time one of those conservative senators or congressmen comes to you and starts talking to you about American values, I want you to look him in the eye and say, what is the value that is represented in providing the wealthiest people in America with a great big tax cut at the expense of the poorest people in the country?"

"I went back and reread the New Testament the other day, and I've got news for you. Nowhere in the three-year ministry of Jesus Christ is there any suggestion at all that you ought to take from the poor and give to the rich and leave children at risk," he said to a loud round of applause.

Invoking the legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal's "safety net," Sen. Kerry accused Mr. Bush and the GOP of misleading the public about Social Security and their intentions. "They're never telling the truth," he said.
"There were people who opposed Social Security in the '30s and '40s. There were people who voted against Medicare in the last quarter-century. And they're still there," he said.

He dismissed claims that Social Security will be bankrupt by 2042 or 2052, but "Medicare Part A does go bankrupt in 2020. Why isn't the president talking about that?"

Several seniors quizzed Sen. Kerry about the practice of penalizing Social Security recipients who have other sources of income, especially those who have lost their spouses or who worked for some time outside the Social Security system. Sen. Kerry replied that he and others are backing legislation to ease those cuts, which one city resident said were causing her to have to sell her home.

Dartmouth resident Robert Michaud made a case for private retirement accounts, charging that they have been shown to produce a better rate of return than Social Security. A person making $90,000 a year puts $12,000 into Social Security, he said. Raising that income cap "is not tweaking, it's a crime," he said.

Later in the day, Sen. Kerry attended a forum in Fall River discussing the Head Start program.

Steve Urbon can be reached at

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Bill Clinton to Head UN?

I had heard this rumor before that Clinton was positioning himself for a shot at becoming Secretary General at the United Nations, however here it is spelled out clear as day. Kofi Annan's term is up in 2006. What will Bill do?

Clinton is probably more popular around the world than here in the US, however this article details some of the obstacles he would face.

Also complicating matters is his wife's political ambitions. Would American voters nominate or for that matter support as President a woman who could potentially be married to the UN Secretary General. Seems like a conflict of interest of the highest proportion, even if you're a strong UN supporter.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Bill Clinton Takes Spot On Global Stage
In 2001, in the opening months of his ex-presidency, Bill Clinton confided to an aide that he had decided on his dream job for the next chapter of his life: secretary general of the United Nations.