- Some would-be spectators hoping to attend Vice President Dick Cheney's rally in Rio Rancho this weekend walked out of a Republican campaign office miffed and ticketless Thursday after getting this news: Unless you sign an endorsement for President George W. Bush, you're not getting any passes. The Albuquerque Bush-Cheney Victory office in charge of doling out the tickets to Saturday's event was requiring the endorsement forms from people it could not verify as supporters... ... An endorsement form provided to the Journal by Random says: "I, (full name) ... do herby (sic) endorse George W. Bush for reelection of the United States." It later adds that, "In signing the above endorsement you are consenting to use and release of your name by Bush-Cheney as an endorser of President Bush." A Journal reporter, who is a registered Democrat, called to inquire about a ticket Thursday afternoon. He was asked for his name, address and driver's license number but was not told over the telephone that he would need to sign any endorsement form. He got the news after arriving at the Bush-Cheney office.
- "President Bush's re-election campaign insisted on knowing the race of an Arizona Daily Star journalist assigned to photograph Vice President Dick Cheney. The Star refused to provide the information. Cheney is scheduled to appear at a rally this afternoon at the Pima County Fairgrounds. A rally organizer for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign asked Teri Hayt, the Star's managing editor, to disclose the journalist's race on Friday. After Hayt refused, the organizer called back and said the journalist probably would be allowed to photograph the vice president. 'It was such an outrageous request, I was personally insulted,' Hayt said later. Danny Diaz, a spokesman for the president's re-election campaign, said the information was needed for security purposes... ...Organizer Christine Walton asked for Popat's race in telephone conversations with two other Star editors before she spoke to Hayt. They also refused to provide the information. Walton told Hayt that Popat's race was necessary to allow the Secret Service to distinguish her from someone else who might have the same name.
- "Nader office shuts down as workers seek pay Petition circulators demanded payment for signatures collected. A campaign employee said the scene smacked of dirty politics. Ralph Nader's presidential campaign this week abruptly abandoned the Center City office that housed its efforts to get on the Pennsylvania ballot, leaving behind a mess of accusations and a damaged building.
- "The theory behind Bush's hard-line style of governance came from his chief political adviser, Karl Rove. Rove believed that Bush lost the popular vote in 2000 because millions of conservatives stayed home. He believed that Bush's father lost the 1992 election by alienating the right and creating a Republican primary challenge by Pat Buchanan. So, on issue after issue, the current President Bush has played to his base. On Rove's theory, every step to the right earns Bush another conservative vote. That calculation is correct. But it's only half the story. For every conservative voter who's inspired to turn out for Bush because of his unyielding conservatism, there's a liberal voter who's inspired to turn out for Kerry. That's why Kerry has had no trouble uniting his party after the primaries. It's why the FleetCenter exploded tonight at every one of Kerry's applause lines. And it's why Kerry can now move aggressively to the middle without fear of losing the left. In his determination to unite the right, Bush hasn't just united the left. He has lost the center. Look at last week's New York Times/CBS News poll of registered voters. 'Do you think the result of the war with Iraq was worth the loss of American life and other costs of attacking Iraq or not?' Fifty-nine percent say it was not. 'Which do you think is a better way to improve the national economy - cutting taxes or reducing the federal budget deficit?' Fifty-eight percent say reducing the deficit. 'When it comes to regulating the environmental and safety practices of business, do you think the federal government is doing enough, should it do more, or should it do less?' Fifty-nine percent say more. One more Bush voter on the right, balanced by one more Kerry voter on the left, plus the tilting of one more voter in the middle toward Kerry, is a net loss for the president. That's the lesson of this administration, this election, and this convention. Kerry doesn't have to write any good lines. He just has to read them."
- "He also adapted Dean's line about a president's most solemn duty being to tell the truth before taking a nation to war, when he promised to 'be a commander in chief who will never mislead us into war.' There was also a dash of Wesley Clark's 'new patriotism,' Clark's affirmation of dissent as patriotism's highest form, when Kerry said, 'We are here to affirm that when Americans stand up and speak their minds and say America can do better, that is not a challenge to patriotism; it is the heart and soul of patriotism.' Clark also had a riff about family values that Kerry adapted tonight, saying, 'It is time for those who talk about family values to start valuing families.' "
- A text of Ret. General Wesley Clark's speech as prepared for delivery Thursday night at the Democratic National Convention: Thank you, my fellow Democrats. I am an American soldier. Our country was attacked. We are at war. Our nation is at risk, engaged in a life-or-death struggle against terrorists who are seeking nuclear and biological weapons. And as I speak tonight, our Armed Forces are in combat. Our freedoms were won in war, and protected by generation after generation of selfless service and sacrifice. From Bunker Hill to Bastogne, from the frozen hills of Korea to the jungles of Vietnam, from Kabul to Baghdad, American men and women in uniform have served with honor; they've given us so much, and they've asked for so little. Tonight we honor them: our soldiers, our veterans, our families. I want to thank my wife, Gert, my son, Wesley, his wife and son and all the military families who stand behind those who serve. Now I ask you to observe with me a moment of silence to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, so that we could have the freedom we exercise tonight. War. I've been there. Heard the thump of enemy mortars. Seen the tracers fly. Bled on the battlefield. Recovered in hospitals. Received and obeyed orders. Sent men and women into battle. Awarded medals, comforted families, attended funerals. And this soldier has news for you: Anyone who tells you that one political party has a monopoly on the defense of our nation is committing a fraud on the American people. Franklin Roosevelt said it best: "Repetition does not transform a lie into the truth." This hall and this party are filled with veterans who have served under this flag -- our flag. We rose and stood reveille to this flag. We fought for this flag. And we've seen brave men and women buried under this flag. This flag is ours! And nobody will take it away from us. The safety of our country demands urgent and innovative measures to strengthen our armed forces. The safety of our country demands credible intelligence. The safety of our country demands cooperation with our allies. The safety of our country demands making more friends and fewer enemies. The safety of our country demands an end to the doctrinaire, ineffective policies that currently grip Washington. Enough is enough! A safe America -- a just America -- that's what we want, and that's what we need. And with John Kerry and John Edwards, that's what we will achieve. John Kerry has lived the values of service and sacrifice. In the Navy, as a prosecutor, as a Senator. He proved his physical courage under fire. He's proved his moral courage too. John Kerry fought a war and came home to fight for peace -- his combination of physical courage and moral values is my definition of what we need in a Commander in Chief. And John Edwards, with his leadership and competence, will be a great member of this command team. John Kerry is a man who -- in times of war -- can lead as a warrior, and who -- in times of peace -- can heed the call of scripture to beat swords in to plowshares. John Kerry will lead America with strength and wisdom. He has the will to fight, and the moral courage born in battle to pursue and secure a strong peace. Under John Kerry we will attack and destroy the terrorist threats to America. He'll join the pantheon of great wartime Democrats. Great Democrats like Woodrow Wilson, who led us to victory in World War 1. Great Democrats like Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, who turned back the tide of fascism to win World War II. Great Democrats like John Kennedy, who stood firm and steered us safely through the Cuban Missile Crisis. And great Democrats like Bill Clinton, who confronted ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia, and with diplomacy -- backed by force -- brought peace to a shattered land. My fellow Americans, Democrats are leaders. Democrats are fighters. John Kerry is a leader and fighter and he will be a great Commander in Chief. John Kerry knows the power of America is our values and ideals. John Kerry knows that our soldiers embody the best of America's values: Service. Sacrifice. Courage. Compassion. They're serving to build something greater than themselves. They're serving to build something worth fighting for. They're serving to build something worth dying for. They are a company of heroes. Everyone who fights for the best in American life is also a hero. Firefighters. Police officers. Teachers, and so many others. John Kerry's time to lead this company of heroes has arrived. Right here. Right now. In this town. Tonight, from this place, we set out together to put our country back on track to security, freedom and opportunity. America: hear this soldier. Choose a leader whose physical courage, moral values and sound judgment will -- with the grace of God and our determined commitment -- strengthen our country, protect our liberty, renew our spirit and secure a future for our children that is worthy of our heritage. Make John Kerry the next president of the United States. Thank you, and God bless America.
- Mr. President, as I close, Mr. President, I heard you say Friday that you had questions for voters, particularly African- American voters. And you asked the question: Did the Democratic Party take us for granted? Well, I have raised questions. But let me answer your question. You said the Republican Party was the party of Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. It is true that Mr. Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, after which there was a commitment to give 40 acres and a mule. That's where the argument, to this day, of reparations starts. We never got the 40 acres. We went all the way to Herbert Hoover, and we never got the 40 acres. We didn't get the mule. So we decided we'd ride this donkey as far as it would take us. Mr. President, you said would we have more leverage if both parties got our votes, but we didn't come this far playing political games. It was those that earned our vote that got our vote. We got the Civil Rights Act under a Democrat. We got the Voting Rights Act under a Democrat. We got the right to organize under Democrats. Mr. President, the reason we are fighting so hard, the reason we took Florida so seriously, is our right to vote wasn't gained because of our age. Our vote was soaked in the blood of martyrs, soaked in the blood of Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner, soaked in the blood of four little girls in Birmingham. This vote is sacred to us. This vote can't be bargained away. This vote can't be given away. Mr. President, in all due respect, Mr. President, read my lips: Our vote is not for sale."
- [Democratic County Legislator Al] DeBenedetti said the Legislature's majority sees dozens of vacant positions that can be deleted to save money and lead to a better budget, but he suspects Giambra wants to keep the positions so he can refill them someday without the Legislature's approval. 'How do they know?' Giambra said when reminded the Democrats feel they've identified vacant jobs that can be eliminated. 'They are not the managers of county government. They weren't elected to manage county government. I was, all right? And my departments know which positions aren't necessary and which ones are. There should be some deference to the people who run the day-to-day operations of county government.'
- "Jerry Bailey is precisely the kind of taxpayer President Bush had hoped to bestow his tax cuts on: an entrepreneur brew-pub owner, a job provider, not overly rich by Washington area standards but well off enough to pay a hefty sum to the federal government each year. But after three tax cuts in three years, the part-owner of Loudoun County's Old Dominion Brewing Co. is not exactly celebrating his gains. Sure, his federal tax bill was trimmed, by a healthy $5,600, according to a rough calculation by Clint Stretch, director of tax policy at the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche LLP. But other factors having nothing to do with federal taxes have clouded Bailey's situation. This year, the property tax bill on his Bethesda home will reach $6,725, a $950 increase over his payment four years ago. The annual cost of his 56-mile-a-day commute has jumped more than $300 since 2001, and the long, slow decline of business profits these past four years has left Bailey far behind, no matter what his federal tax payment may be. 'I'm not paying any taxes at all because we're not making any money,' Bailey said with a sigh. 'I loved paying taxes. It meant we were doing all right.' "
- Here's an idea: Instead of 'Excelsior,' which means 'ever upward' and therefore constitutes deceptive advertising, New York should change its motto to reflect the true spirit of its government. Henceforth, the state motto should be 'Don't just do something, stand there!' Got a budget deadline? Don't worry! It'll keep. Cities and counties struggling with the cost of pensions? Delay! Instead of fixing the problem, let them postpone the payments they need to make. Costs of Medicaid sinking the state? No problem! Just ignore it and it will go away. Courts demanding a change in how the state funds education? Who cares? What do they know, anyway? But just so the governor can pretend he's doing something, he calls a special, one-day session of the Legislature less than 10 days before the deadline. As everyone expected, the Legislature said no dice to the governor's plan. Surely this must be the worst run state in the Union. California may be in worse financial shape, but it just had an honest vote on borrowing its way out of trouble. New York borrows on the sly. Louisiana may have more crooks, but New York legalizes anti-democratic behavior. State government of New York is a creature of extremes. Either it does nothing, as in passing a budget or fixing education, or it does something, usually big, without bothering to debate it, as in a dramatic expansion of Medicaid in 1999. Typical of the state's commitment to the status quo is its reported response to the problem of soaring pension costs in the state's lower governments. Partly because of state policies, pension costs in New York are exorbitant, and cities and counties this year are facing a crisis. Albany's solution: Instead of forcing those governments to come up with $980 million in December, let them come up with it in February. In Albany, it is always better to look away from a problem. That's what state leaders have done for months as a court-imposed deadline looms over the unconstitutional funding of schools in New York City. The need, obvious to everyone, is to craft a statewide response to the city-focused court decision, but everyone, including Gov. George Pataki and the two legislative leaders, for months did virtually nothing but complain about the other side. In the last few weeks, the Assembly and Senate tossed out plans like dead fish, but have done little to advance the discussion. Pataki called a special session of the Legislature to discuss the subject this week, but without any new effort to craft a serious proposal. It's like a show trial, with New York's public school students standing in the dock. That's the way government is in New York, the dyslexic state that thought Benjamin Franklin's advice was never to do today what you can put off until tomorrow.
- The study said that legislative committees in New York do little real work, have few hearings on bills and release few reports to help members make voting decisions. It also noted New York has more restrictions on putting a measure to a full house vote than in any other state. Republican Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno is the only legislative leader in the country who can unilaterally suspend action on bills listed in the Senate calendar. Both Bruno and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, are among just a handful of legislative leaders nationwide who can determine the order of bills to be considered.
Make it easier for members to request a public hearing on a bill. Require all bills reported to the floor to have a detailed public committee report reflecting the debate held on each. Limit committee assignments to no more than three per lawmaker per legislative session. Restrict the number of bills passed under a "message of necessity" from the governor, which gives lawmakers little time to read what they are voting on. The report also calls for the end of proxy voting. Legislators can swipe their ID cards, reporting themselves as "in," and leave the chamber -- sometimes even going home -- but still have their votes recorded. Those votes are automatically counted in the affirmative. Citizens are cheated by the existing system, Creelan said. Many bills of public interest never receive public hearings. The report found that from 1997 to 2001, the Senate held only one public hearing on a bill out of the 152 pieces of major legislation that passed the Senate.
Here's a link to the actual report, so you can read it for yourself; (you'll need Adobe Acrobat). Please be sure to contact your state Assemblyperson and Senator about the fact that you're absolutely fed up with the Banana Republic-style of governing that pervades Albany. It's time for a fundamental change in the way business is conducted in this state. It's time for Albany to stop handing perks out willy-nilly to coveted, parochial constituencies. It's time for Albany to stop viewing the hardworking, uphill-climbing taxpayers of this State - and especially those of us in disproportionately beleaguered upstate - as a big, unlimited piggy bank. Can you believe there's no fundamental, grassroots movement to reform the state? Maybe its time has come. Let me know what you think.
- Fix Albany is a Political Committee created to reform New York State government, and keep Albany legislators accountable for their actions. New York state's elected officials in Albany are engaged in unfair legislative practices that directly and adversely affect local taxpayers. Our local taxes (primarily property taxes) are 72% above the national average because our representatives in Albany have forced the costs of huge expenditures, like Medicaid, onto county governments. In most other states, these programs are far less expensive because they are handled more efficiently at the state level, with state money. Our state representatives in Albany give themselves pats on the backs for passing politically popular programs, and then they shift the cost off the State's books and onto the local governments. Along with other unfunded mandates, Medicaid is the best example of this unfair and irresponsible governing. New York's Medicaid program is the most expensive one in the United States - two and a half times the national average. The fact is many of our legislators in Albany have been more focused on preserving power and the status quo than on solving problems, like capping the costs local counties must pay for Medicaid. In the past 22 years, there have been close to 2,300 reelection campaigns for the State Legislature. In that time, only 30 incumbent legislators have been defeated less than 1.5%. Moreover, this incumbent body has failed to pass an on-time budget for a record 20 years. We need drastic reform in Albany. The Fix Albany Political Committee will create awareness of the problems our Albany incumbents have created for local taxpayers and work constructively to change their practices by holding them accountable to the voters of New York.
- We think withdrawal sends the wrong signal and that it is important for people to stand up to terrorists and not allow them to change our behavior.
July 13, 2004
BUSH-CHENEY '04, Inc.
Over the past several months, allies of the President have questioned John Kerry's patriotism while your staff has criticized his service in Vietnam. Republicans and their allies have gone so far as to launch attacks against his wife and your campaign has run $80 million in negative ads that have been called baseless, misleading and unfair by several independent observers.
Considering that the President has failed to even come close to keeping his promise to change the tone in Washington, we find your outrage over and paparazzi-like obsession with a fund-raising event to be misplaced. The fact is that the nation has a greater interest in seeing several documents made public relating to the President's performance in office and personal veracity that the White House has steadfastly refused to release. As such, we will not consider your request until the Bush campaign and White House make public the documents/materials listed below:
Military records: Any copies of the President's military records that would actually prove he fulfilled the terms of his military service. For that matter, it would be comforting to the American people if the campaign or the White House could produce more than just a single person to verify that the President was in Alabama when said he was there. Many Americans find it odd that only one person out of an entire squadron can recall seeing Mr. Bush.
More after the jump.
- "I'm growing a bit frustrated with the media, including you, running with this Kerry and Edwards being the first and fourth most liberal Senators. Everyone is citing the National Journal's ratings but they are doing it sloppily. I have seen no recent article that cites anything but the 2003 ratings where Kerry missed 37 and Edwards missed 22 of 62 votes and both were setting themselves up for primary battles where their base was essential. Think what you may about missing votes and pandering a bit (seems suicide to not do both when going for the nomination), but my larger point is the media should be looking at this much more historically and in years when Edwards and Kerry actually showed up to do their jobs. I'll do it for them. Following are rankings and liberal scores since 1999. 2003: Kerry - 1st (96.5) Edwards - 4th (94.5) 2002: Kerry - 9th (87.3) Edwards - 31st (63.0) Edwards made the centrist list. 2001: Kerry - 11th (87.7) Edwards - 35th (68.2) Edwards almost tied with Lieberman. 2000: Kerry - 20th (77) Edwards - 19th (80.8) Rankings past 20 are not available nor are composite scores for all Senators, so Kerry is 21st or higher. 1999: Kerry - 16th (80.8) Edwards - 31st (72.2) Average: Kerry - 12th (85.9) Edwards - 24th (75.7) Now this paints a different picture. Certainly Kerry is a stalwart liberal (although probably not or barely a top 10 liberal), but he does hail from and represent one of the most liberal states. But Edwards is definitely a moderate Democrat (if you define that as somewhere in the ideological middle of the Democratic platform).
- "This public pressure would be appropriate, even laudable, had it not been accompanied by an unseemly private insistence that the Pakistanis deliver these high-value targets (HVTs) before Americans go to the polls in November. The Bush administration denies it has geared the war on terrorism to the electoral calendar. 'Our attitude and actions have been the same since September 11 in terms of getting high-value targets off the street, and that doesn't change because of an election,' says National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormack. But The New Republic has learned that Pakistani security officials have been told they must produce HVTs by the election. According to one source in Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), 'The Pakistani government is really desperate and wants to flush out bin Laden and his associates after the latest pressures from the U.S. administration to deliver before the [upcoming] U.S. elections.' Introducing target dates for Al Qaeda captures is a new twist in U.S.-Pakistani counterterrorism relations--according to a recently departed intelligence official, 'no timetable[s]' were discussed in 2002 or 2003--but the November election is apparently bringing a new deadline pressure to the hunt. Another official, this one from the Pakistani Interior Ministry, which is responsible for internal security, explains, 'The Musharraf government has a history of rescuing the Bush administration. They now want Musharraf to bail them out when they are facing hard times in the coming elections.' (These sources insisted on remaining anonymous. Under Pakistan's Official Secrets Act, an official leaking information to the press can be imprisoned for up to ten years.) "
- When you hear Republicans disparage Sen. John Edwards's lack of experience, remember the words of Sen. Orrin Hatch, spoken to George W. Bush at a debate on Dec. 6, 1999. "You've been a great governor," Hatch declared of his rival for the Republican presidential nomination. "My only problem with you, governor, is that you've only had four and going into your fifth year of governorship ... Frankly, I really believe that you need more experience before you become president of the United States. That's why I'm thinking of you as a vice presidential candidate." Which is exactly what Edwards was chosen for yesterday