Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bush says bin Laden tape aided re-election

For once I agree with the President. I do think the Osama tape which aired days before the election played an impact on the outcome of an extremely close race, causing last minute anxiety, and ultimately more Bush votes. That said, I think Osama played the US citizens for fools. Osama bin Laden needed Bush's failed Iraq policies to remain in place if he was to be successful in inciting Islam extremists against the US and create an Iraqi civil war. Why would he want Bush replaced? The simple answer is he didn't. He relied on the US electorates great fear of him, and Bush's campaign message which demonized democrats on security issues to ultimately get what he wanted. A year and a half later and Osama is still sending video tapes taunting America, Iraq is descending into chaos, and George Bush wants to stay the course, which means he's out of ideas. I hope the American people who voted for Bush are happy with these results. The bigger question is will they have more moral courage than Bush has demonstrated and admit they made a mistake and vote for Democrats in 2006 to force a change of direction on Iraq policy and American security in general. - IFK Editor

From The Examiner newspaper:
U.S. President George W. Bush said his 2004 re-election victory over Sen. John Kerry was inadvertently aided by Osama bin Laden, who issued a taped diatribe against him the Friday before Americans went to the polls, The Examiner newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Bush's comments in the Washington newspaper were excerpts from the new book "Strategery" by Bill Sammon, a long-time White House correspondent.

"What does it mean? Is it going to help? Is it going to hurt?" Bush told Sammon of the bin Laden tapes. "Anything that drops in at the end of a campaign that is not already decided creates all kinds of anxieties, because you're not sure of the effect.

"I thought it was going to help," Bush said. "I thought it would help remind people that if bin Laden doesn't want Bush to be the president, something must be right with Bush."

Monday, February 27, 2006

Edwards Misses the Mark with War on Poverty Campaign

By Jim Witkins

First let me say I like and respect John Edwards. When Kerry chose him as his running mate in 2004 I was cautiously optimistic and all things considered thought he was the best choice at that time, because after all he had a strong showing in the primaries finishing second behind Kerry in most states. It had the makings of a great ticket and it seemed Kerry was honoring the will of the democratic primary voters too. Edwards had a positive message for working class Americans and his down home style and upbeat sunny delivery was a good compliment to Kerry's more serious, statesman like demeanor.

In hindsight though, perhaps Kerry would have been better off going
with a more experienced security wonk with beefier credentials on foreign
policy and national security policy, however no use looking back now.

The point of this post though concerns fighting poverty, Edwards' new
cause de jour since the 2004 election results left him without a job.
While I am, of course, in favor of reducing poverty in the US and abroad,
and I am sympathetic to those who live below or near the poverty line,
especially single parents, I can't help but wonder if Edwards is fighting a
rhetorical fight that can't be won. By attempting to fight 'poverty' a broad
and wide ranging term, isn't he setting himself up for failure, similar to how
the Bush's administration has failed to win its war on 'terror'.

Concrete Solutions Not Empty Rhetoric
Fighting 'poverty' is certainly an admirable goal, however with US
budget realities being what they are, wouldn't it be smarter to promote
concrete solutions toward lifting up those people who seek to improve their
situation, rather than casting a wide net to fight poverty as a whole,
whatever that means exactly.

For instance, Kerry has invested considerable resources and thought in
devising a realistic health care plan for all children under 18, the Kids Come First Act that would go a long way toward making sure kids, regardless of family income, are healthy. Healthy kids are more successful kids, period, and the benefits to the parents are enormous as well, among them less stress and financial burden.

Combine that idea with better funding for early education, public schools,
and increases to federal pell grants which would give more kids an
opportunity to afford to go to college and you'll go a long way to lifting people out of poverty in the US.

On a global scale, the US would show real leadership and help to rebuild its damaged credibility around the world by fully funding its commitment to the United Nations' Millennium Goals which have concrete targets for helping lift people out of extreme poverty, along with many other health and security initiatives.

Yes, fighting poverty is noble, but there are so many demands for tax dollars at
the moment that you have to do it in a realistic way that gets you the most
bang for your buck. That's not to say people shouldn't donate and give their own time to help those less fortunate (THEY SHOULD), but lets be real about how much the US tax payers can accomplish.

Avoiding a Global Poverty Catastrophe
Finally, I fear that if global warming is the looming crisis that most
scientists now believe it is, the US government needs to make clean alternative energy options a reality, and in a hurry, or the ranks of those in poverty
will most likely swell to catastrophic levels in the US and globally if certain doomsday scenarios play out in the coming decades. Imagine if more coastal cities begin to flood regularly due to rising sea levels and storm surges similar to what we witnessed with Katrina. How can the American way of life, whether you're in poverty or not, continue if millions of people are continually being displaced by natural disasters or forced to fight for control over resources, like water, fertile land, or energy sources.

It sounds too scary to be real, but most scientists believe that to avoid such a disaster, the US Government needs to prioritize scientific research and development for a new Apollo Project immediately while drastically curbing our carbon emissions in the near future.

I give Edwards credit for making poverty an issue, but I think he needs to offer more concrete workable solutions and think bigger picture.

Bush Adopts Kerry's Strategy for Iran

From the Carpetbagger Report...

Maybe that Kerry guy knew what he was talking about

In the 2004 presidential race, John Kerry offered a very clear approach as to how the United States should deal with Iran: have the international community offer Iran nuclear fuel to be used in a peaceful nuclear energy program. As Kerry put it at the time, "We should call their bluff and organize a group of states that will offer the nuclear fuel they need for peaceful purposes and take back the spent fuel so they can't divert it to build a weapon."

Nonsense, said the Bush gang, which argued such an approach would effectively be "appeasement." Condi Rice dismissed Kerry's approach, telling Fox News, "This regime has to be isolated in its bad behavior, not quote-unquote 'engaged.'" Frank Gaffney Jr., a former Pentagon official and Bush ally, knocked Kerry's plan in an op-ed entitled, "Kerry's Nuclear Nonsense." Gaffney boasted, "Mr. Bush understands the folly of going that route." National Review ran an item calling Kerry's proposal "ignorant" and "dangerously wrong."

But Kerry was unyielding, insisting that this was the best approach, even working his idea into an answer in one of the presidential debates. ""I think the United States should have offered the opportunity to provide the nuclear fuel, test them, see whether or not they were actually looking for it for peaceful purposes. If they weren't willing to work a deal, then we could have put sanctions together," Kerry said. "The president did nothing."

That was 2004. Now, suddenly, after deriding Kerry in the campaign for his dangerous ideas, Bush is staring to think, "You know, maybe that Kerry guy was on to something."

President Bush's endorsement of a plan to end the nuclear standoff with Iran by giving the Islamic republic nuclear fuel for civilian use under close monitoring has left some of his supporters baffled.

One cause for the chagrin is that the proposal, which is backed by Russia, essentially adopts a strategy advocated by Mr. Bush's Democratic opponent in the 2004 election, Senator Kerry of Massachusetts.

"I have made it clear that I believe that the Iranians should have a civilian nuclear power program under these conditions: that the material used to power the plant would be manufactured in Russia, delivered under IAEA inspectors to Iran to be used in that plant, the waste of which will be picked up by the Russians and returned to Russia," Mr. Bush said at a news conference yesterday. "I think that is a good plan. The Russians came up with the idea and I support it," he added.

Maybe so, but he was against the idea before he was for it.

Just out of curiosity, any chance we'll see National Review blasting Bush's new approach to Iran as "ignorant" and "dangerously wrong"? Or maybe Condi Rice will explain why the idea rewarded Iran for bad behavior when Kerry recommended it, but it's brilliant leadership when Bush recommends it?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Kerry Fundraisers Calling for 2006 Campaign Dollars

If you're like me you hate getting phone calls asking for money, however with important 2006 elections coming up I was actually pleasantly surprised to get a call from Kerry's fundraising team asking for my contribution to be used to 'help democratic candidates all over the country'. Sure I get the occasional email blast from Kerry, which always has a contribute link, but dialing for dollars is a whole different ball game. It takes resources and dedicated volunteers and staff.

For the record I declined, as I had donated only days before via Kerry's PAC web site,
http://www.keepingamericaspromise.com/, however I was glad someone was tackling that thankless task, and doing it sooner rather than later.

While Hillary gets the most attention when it come to fundraising dollar figures it remains to be seen whether her pile of cash will be used predominantly for her own re-election, or to help other democrats win in 2006, OR if her main goal is simply to get a jump start on 2008. Sure she has to be prepared to fight the inevitable Republican attacks, but all indications are that her re-election will be a cake walk.

Lets hope she follows Kerry's example and spreads the wealth. Same goes for all the other democratic contenders positioning for 2008. Put up or shut up in 2006. Your political ambitions are secondary to getting progressives elected in 2006, period.

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Case for Bush's Impeachment

Many Americans are salivating at the possibility of impeaching Bush as communities and activists around the country organize to get mostly symbolic referendums on their spring election ballots in 2006, however is impeachment a realistic option? In a well reasoned op-ed, a Professor of Constitutional Law makes the case:

Impeach: Yes, But...

Jamin B. Raskin (jbr@jaminraskin.com ) is a professor of Constitutional Law at American University and Director of its Program on Law and Government. He is also a Democratic candidate for the Maryland State Senate in the 2006 elections.

The key is to think of impeachment not as a single event but as a series of steps to restore the rule of law and reassert the practices of popular democracy that have been trampled ever since the Republican Party and five collusive Supreme Court justices derailed the presidential election in 2000. We should follow these three specific steps to restore constitutional law and order:

1. Moral Impeachment: One meaning of impeachment is to charge with malfeasance in office, but the other is "To challenge or discredit." We can debunk the administration's policies all over America, especially with the excellent work done by Rep. John Conyers and his staff on the fraudulent rush to war. Institutions with moral authority like universities, municipalities, unions and churches should conduct their own "Impeach-Ins" to impeach the various frauds and policy deceptions of the administration. The Federalist Society and others who support Bush should be invited to defend the constitutionality of Bush's actions.

2. Electoral Impeachment: We should nationalize the coming elections and use them to "impeach the Republican Party," which has been captured by its most extreme elements and now poses a real threat to the Republic. The Abramoff-soaked Republicans in Congress have presided over dangerous political corruption, deficit spending, violation of civil liberty, and military and national security lawlessness. The 2006 elections must become a nationwide referendum on corruption and restoration of the rule of law at every level of government.

3. Congressional impeachment: If the Democrats recapture Congress or at least one chamber in 2006 and evidence of the administration's law-breaking continues to mount, the moral, political and legal predicate will have been laid to introduce articles of impeachment that can actually be heard and passed. If President Clinton can be impeached (though not convicted) for lying about sex, why can't President Bush be impeached for lying about weapons of mass destruction, for spying illegally on Americans, for violating the Constitution and international treaty obligations, and for criminal dereliction of duty before, during and after 9/11, the invasion of Iraq and Hurricane Katrina?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Kerry Fundraising Hard for 2006 Democratic Candidates

John Kerry is heading to Minnesota next Thursday to raise money for Democrats. The Massachusetts Democrat and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee will be traveling to Minnesota and Colorado during the congressional break to raise money for Democratic candidates and state party organizations.

Kerry will headline an event for the Minnesota House as well as the state's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.

Kerry's leadership committee, Keeping America's Promise, says it helped raise more than $3 million last year for Democrats running in 2005 and 2006.

Last year, Kerry traveled to Minnesota to support Chris Coleman's successful campaign for mayor in St. Paul.


You can contribute to Kerry's political Action Committee Keeping America's Promise

Kerry Highlights 2005 Accomplishments

Letter to Kerry Supporters...

Together, we had an amazing year in 2005, mobilizing grassroots volunteers, supporting Democratic candidates, and fighting for the issues and causes we care about most.

Take a look at all that we accomplished together in 2005:

* This past November, our 3 million citizen volunteers helped spearhead Get Out The Vote efforts in critical Democratic victories across the nation.
* Since the end of 2004, together we gave $4.5 million to Democratic candidates, committees, state parties, and progressive causes.
* We mobilized to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from the Bush-Cheney drill-at-any-cost onslaught.
* We garnered endorsements from over 700,000 citizens, from every state in the nation, for our Kids First Act to provide health care for the 11 million uninsured children.
* Our national lawyers' network helped ensure that the voting problems of 2000 and 2004 were not repeated in 2005, and it is poised to do it again in 2006.
* You also helped me travel around the country to rally citizens, engage grassroots volunteers, and help raise funds on behalf of Democrats.
* In Pennsylvania, we've helped Bob Casey wage a strong Senate campaign that has incumbent Rick Santorum on his heels. Long a poster boy for mindless support of Bush policies and the right-wing agenda, Santorum is now scrambling to convince Pennsylvania voters otherwise.
* In Washington state, we've stood by Senator Maria Cantwell. She joined me in leading the fight to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - and now powerful oil company special interests are coming after her with everything they've got.
* In Florida, we're helping Senator Bill Nelson, who is running for re-election against Katherine Harris. As you know, Harris made a name for herself by playing a leading role in the 2000 Florida voting fiasco, and we will not allow her to parlay her partisanship into a seat in the Senate.

And we're just getting started. Together in 2006 we'll help more Democrats achieve victory at the local, state, and national level. And we'll be there, each and every day, to make sure no Democrat stands alone against the Republicans' underhanded election tactics and facts-be-damned campaign ads. Stay tuned for the next steps in our work together.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Wisconsin Anti Intelligent Design Bill First in Nation

Go Badgers! I'm proud to live in Wisconsin the 'UnKansas'. - IFK Editor

Bill banning intelligent design draws national notice
Restricts teaching of intelligent design
By Judith Davidoff

Religious conservatives around the country are up in arms over a Wisconsin bill that would ban the teaching of intelligent design as science in the state's public schools.

Focus on the Family, the evangelical Christian advocacy group led by founder James Dobson, panned the legislation this week on its Web site.

"If you can't beat them, keep them from showing up for the game," the group opined. "That's the tack Wisconsin evolutionists and liberal lawmakers are taking in attempting to ban the study of intelligent design in public schools."

Baptist Press, the online wire service of the Southern Baptist Convention, based in Nashville, also was critical. It called the introduction of the bill by Democratic Rep. Terese Berceau "an unprecedented political move to protect evolution."

Meanwhile, the University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists who helped draft the Wisconsin proposal are contacting friends and allies in other states, hoping to curry the introduction of similar legislation around the country.

"We think what we've introduced is just a standard for science education and we would like it adopted nationwide," said Alan Attie, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who helped draft Berceau's bill.

Attie said the Baptist Press and other critics are misrepresenting the bill as banning intelligent design and creationism from the classroom.

"We're not planning to do that at all," he said. In fact, Attie said, the bill provides an opportunity to fully explore the question of what is science and how it should be defined. "We see this as a wonderful teaching moment," Attie added.

The proposal has been popular blog material since Berceau announced it last week. A search on Google's new blog search turned up 48 references to the bill.

William Dembski, one of the leading proponents of intelligent design, is offering a $1,000 award to the first teacher in Wisconsin who would challenge the policy by teaching intelligent design as science within a public school curriculum.

On his Web site, Dembski said Berceau's bill bodes well for proponents of intelligent design, which proposes that biology was shaped by an intelligent creator.

"I take this as a clear sign that we are winning," he said.

"Wisconsin may well be evolution's Waterloo," Dembski added.

Berceau said her office has received more than 50 phone calls and e-mails from all over the country about the bill and almost all have been favorable.

Berceau said only one person in an e-mail called her a "communist" and an "atheist."

"If the Christian right is interested, they're not calling me."

Gary McCaleb, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian law firm based in Scottsdale, Ariz., said in an interview that his firm would take a hard look at the legislation.

"Mandating a point of view and trying to enshrine your current science in law is, to me, just scientists begging for disaster," McCaleb said. "It's very problematic to have scientists trying to shut down the debate."

Attie said he and the other UW scientists backing the bill are doing just the opposite.

"We're trying to uphold standards for science education, but by no means do we want to stop discussion. We've very interested in discussing this issue at length, but we want truth in labeling. Intelligent design is religion and it's not science."

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Inc. Magazine Names John Kerry “Entrepreneur-friendly” Member of Congress

So much for the Republicans being the party of business. (Large corporate donor scandals maybe) Meanwhile John Kerry is ranked one of the best Senators for small business.

Sen. John Kerry
Democrat from Massachusetts

Ranking minority member, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee

Republicans pilloried Kerry as antibusiness during the 2004 campaign, but few senators have done as much to promote entrepreneurship. Back in 1985, he sought out a spot on the Small Business Committee--a low-profile post for an ambitious man. His signature initiative in recent years, the BRIDGE Act, would create tax breaks on small-business stock. The bill hasn't gone very far, largely because he is a member of the minority party. But in November the Senate did pass Kerry's plan to provide low-interest loans to drought-stricken small businesses. He has also hounded the SBA over procurement data that makes it seem as if the government is awarding more contracts to small businesses than it is. "John Kerry is the biggest friend small businesses have in Congress," says Lloyd Chapman, head of the nonpartisan American Small Business League.