Sunday, March 27, 2005

Thoughts on Where America is Heading

I don't have any articles to provide hyperlinks to in this post.

I don't even want to make it very long. Just a short note about restoring America to its rightful place in the world and restoring faith in America providing that beacon for everybody else who might live somewhere else.

America needs to come home to itself. Like a child that has ventured out into the "real world", we need to find our bearings once in awhile, find out who we are as a people, and what our place in history means to us today.

Speechwriters cheapen words like freedom, liberty, reform, democracy. But these are real terms about real things! Let us never forget that.

Patriotism is ever so important to us in America. But it is a love, not right or wrong, but a love of what America means in a far more important sense. America is about empathy. America is about feeling the pain of the impoverished and reaching out to them! America is about a freedom and respect of ideas that may or may not be identical to your own but represent instead a diversity of views that makes this Nation's politics so exciting.

We have gotten off course in America. We have a leadership that uses doublespeak in dealing with problems. Dismantling of Social Security is called Social Security "reform". Legislation called "Clean Air" is about relaxing pollution control. Even the creation of news is now accepted with video news releases that come fully equipped with fake newscasters.

I really don't know how to fix everything.

I am but one blogger.

But we need to see through the mirages of our government policy to understand the underlying policies and motivations of this Administration. And we need to start thinking about where we want to be going.

I believe John Kerry is the leader we need in these times. He may or may not be the nominee in 2008. But I know that changes are called for. That America must once again become the land of the possible, where education is available for all, nobody need go to bed hungry or homeless, where children have access to healthcare, and where government is not viewed as a necessary evil but as a tool for all of us to move society towards an America that will once again be admired worldwide. Admired for opportunity and justice, for freedom and equality. For working with all nations and not inserting ourselves blindly into the affairs of others.

Wishing you a wonderful Easter Holiday!


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Texas Futile Care Law: Spouse's Rights Ahead of Parents'

I find it interesting that the 1999 Texas Law that then Governor Bush signed, designates the spouse as the first line of responsibility about advanced directives:
COMMUNICATION. (a) If an adult qualified patient has not
executed or issued a directive and is incompetent or otherwise
mentally or physically incapable of communication, the attending
physician and the patient's legal guardian or an agent under a
medical power of attorney may make a treatment decision that may
include a decision to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining
treatment from the patient.
(b) If the patient does not have a legal guardian or an agent
under a medical power of attorney, the attending physician and one
person, if available, from one of the following categories, in the
following priority, may make a treatment decision that may include
a decision to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment:
(1) the patient's spouse;
(2) the patient's reasonably available adult children;
(3) the patient's parents; or
(4) the patient's nearest living relative.
And yet, the Schiavo Law gives a parent the over-riding right to sue in Federal Court, for the child, over the rights of the spouse:

Any parent of Theresa Marie Schiavo shall have standing to bring a suit under this Act. The suit may be brought against any other person who was a party to State court proceedings relating to the withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids, or medical treatment necessary to sustain the life of Theresa Marie Schiavo, or who may act pursuant to a State court order authorizing or directing the withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids, or medical treatment necessary to sustain her life. In such a suit, the District Court shall determine de novo any claim of a violation of any right of Theresa Marie Schiavo within the scope of this Act, notwithstanding any prior State court determination and regardless of whether such a claim has previously been raised, considered, or decided in State court proceedings. The District Court shall entertain and determine the suit without any delay or abstention in favor of State court proceedings, and regardless of whether remedies available in the State courts have been exhausted
So much for the "Sanctity of Marriage" under this President. So much for "States Rights", with the Federal Government once again interfering with State Courts and interfering with the right of spouses regarding the medical care of their loved ones.

Some ethicists have expressed views that President Bush has been inconsistent, since the legislation that he signed in Texas allows the withdrawal of life support, and now he claims to be in favor of prohibition of such activity.

However, closer examination shows President Bush to be completely consistent. In both statutes, the attempt is to deny spouses the right to make decisions about their ill loved one. In Texas, the law gives hospitals and physicians the right to decide to withdraw life support against the wishes of the spouse or parent. And in the Schiavo case, again, this gives government the right to undermine the right of the spouse to allow his wife to die contrary to the wishes of the closest relative.

Shameful. And Americans are beginning to see through the exploitative Republican actions. As reported:
The public, by 63 percent-28 percent, supports the removal of Schiavo's feeding tube, and by a 25-point margin opposes a law mandating federal review of her case. Congress passed such legislation and President Bush signed it early today.

That legislative action is distinctly unpopular: Not only do 60 percent oppose it, more — 70 percent — call it inappropriate for Congress to get involved in this way. And by a lopsided 67 percent-19 percent, most think the elected officials trying to keep Schiavo alive are doing so more for political advantage than out of concern for her or for the principles involved.
Thank you America! America needs a return to true family values and not this crass exploitation of a circus going on in Washington about Schiavo. Death is not a happy moment for anyone. Right wingers complain about judicial activism. But when the judges don't rule in an activist fashion, but instead allow a patient to choose to die in accordance with the wishes of her closest relative, her spouse, they decide to overturn the law with legislative fiat. America deserves better.


Three "Blind" Senators: See How They Run!

On Palm Sunday, three Republican Senators met, and by "voice vote" passed the Schiavo Bill for the United States Senate. What a mockery of democracy! How do three Senators feel it is appropriate for them to pass legislation that strips family rights from the dying?

As reported:
The Senate's GOP leadership won agreement on the legislation from Democrats, who didn't even show up Sunday for the voice vote that took less than two minutes.

With Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., presiding, the compromise Schiavo bill passed on a voice vote in a chamber empty of senators save for Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and John Warner, R-Va.

Click here for my tribute to these "blind" Senators, who willingly interfere in our Justice System, denying a spouse the right to provide appropriate "directives" for the care of their loved one.


Sunday, March 20, 2005

Schiavo, Hudson, and Nikoulozos

I turned to the Daily Kos today to read what was being discussed among the progressive bloggers. Armando had an interesting post on Terri Schiavo that really helped me understand the complexity of this issue and the fact that the Republicans are once again exploiting the "moral voters" while moving ahead in an immoral fashion.

Tom DeLay has said it best:
"Right now," Tom DeLay said on Friday, "murder is being committed against a defenseless American citizen in Florida. Terri Schiavo's feeding tube should be immediately replaced, and Congress will continue working to explore ways to save her."

Mark A.R. Kleiman has explained further:
Sun Hudson, a six-month-old boy with a fatal congenital disease, died Thursday after a Texas hospital, over his mother's objections, withdrew his feeding tube. The child was apparently certain to die, but was conscious. The hospital simply decided that it had better things to do than keeping the child alive, and the Texas courts upheld that decision after the penniless mother failed, during the 10-day window provided for by Texas law, to find another institution willing to take the child .

Where, I would ask, is the outrage? In particular, where is the outrage from those like Tom DeLay, who referred to the withdrawal of Terry Schiavo's life support as "murder"? If it's appropriate to Federalize the Schiavo case, what about the people being terminated simply because their cases are hopeless and their bank accounts empty?

Sun Hudson is dead, but 68-year-old Spiro Nikolouzos is still alive, thanks to an emergency appeals court order issued yesterday. However, his life support could be cut off at any moment. A nursing home is willing to take him if his family can show that he will be covered by Medicaid after his Medicare runs out. Otherwise, the hospital gets to pull the plug.

Clearly the issue of the end of life of patients with brain damage and poor prognoses is complex. But let's not let the Republicans politicize this poor woman's medical condition in their hypocritical fashion.

Digby summarizes this well:
By now most people who read liberal blogs are aware that George W. Bush signed a law in Texas that expressly gave hospitals the right to remove life support if the patient could not pay and there was no hope of revival, regardless of the patient's family's wishes. It is called the Texas Futile Care Law. Under this law, a baby was removed from life support against his mother's wishes in Texas just this week. A 68 year old man was given a temporary reprieve by the Texas courts just yesterday.

Those of us who read liberal blogs are also aware that Republicans have voted en masse to pull the plug (no pun intended) on medicaid funding that pays for the kind of care that someone like Terry Schiavo and many others who are not so severely brain damaged need all across this country.

Those of us who read liberal blogs also understand that that the tort reform that is being contemplated by the Republican congress would preclude malpractice claims like that which has paid for Terry Schiavo's care thus far.

Those of us who read liberal blogs are aware that the bankruptcy bill will make it even more difficult for families who suffer a catastrophic illness like Terry Schiavo's because they will not be able to declare chapter 7 bankruptcy and get a fresh start when the gargantuan medical bills become overwhelming.

And those of us who read liberal blogs also know that this grandstanding by the congress is a purely political move designed to appease the religious right and that the legal maneuverings being employed would be anathema to any true small government conservative.

Those who don't read liberal blogs, on the other hand, are seeing a spectacle on television in which the news anchors repeatedly say that the congress is "stepping in to save Terry Schiavo" mimicking the unctuous words of Tom Delay as they grovel and leer at the family and nod sympathetically at the sanctimonious phonies who are using this issue for their political gain.
Thank you fellow bloggers for helping me see through this charade of morality.


Saturday, March 19, 2005

More Evidence Abstinence Education Ineffective

President Bush and the Republicans in Congress have been big supporters of abstinence education.

In fact, as reported:
In the past five years, President George W Bush has more than doubled funding for such programmes, which teach that abstinence from sexual activity until marriage is the only sure way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other health problems.

In his fiscal year 2006 budget unveiled last month which drastically slashed spending on hundreds of other social programmes, Bush proposed increasing funding for abstinence by US$39 million to US$206 million, rising to US$270 million by 2008.
Meanwhile President Bush proposed cutting an array of programs. As has been reported:
In spite of criticism over the proposed cuts, President Bush insists that programs being affected by these reductions are those that have already proven themselves to be ineffective and shown chronically disappointing results.
So how is it possible that abstinence education should receive increasing amounts of funds when evidence shows it to be ineffective? Once again research is showing abstinence education to be ineffective and dangerous for young people:
In fact, the study participants who made the virignity pledges contracted STDs at the same rate as their peers who had not pledged. The pledgers were less likely to use condoms to prevent STDs, and they were less likely to seek medical testing and treatment, increasing possibility of transmission, the researchers found.
Bill Smith, President of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), had this to say about the recently released study:
"Not only do virginity pledges not work to keep our young people safe, they are causing harm by undermining condom use, contraception and medical treatment," says Smith. "Enough is enough. It is time for lawmakers to stop pushing their ideological agenda at the expense of young people and fund comprehensive and medically accurate sexuality education programs that work," Smith urges.
Once again the Bush Administration with its Republican cohorts has advanced archaic abstinence programs that are ineffective and dangerous to the youth of America. Even under their criteria for budget inclusion, they should be cut!

As reported during the past campaign, President Bush's position on sex education:
Opposes federal funding for comprehensive sex education. Has authorized federal funding for abstinence programs only.
And Senator Kerry? His position:
Supports federal funding for comprehensive sex education, including but not limited to abstinence.
Senator Kerry, America is calling to you to keep us from sliding back into the Dark Ages. We have leaders in Washington who oppose modern health practices, sex education, evolution, and scientific investigation! Keep that door open for 2008! Our future and the health of America's youth depends on it!


Thursday, March 17, 2005

Kerry Speaks With Judy Woodruff

A great interview with a great American!

To the point on Social Security:
But what we're opposing by the administration's own admission does nothing, nothing -- understand that -- zero, to cure the problem of solvency.

Privatization is not related to solvency. And so what we're trying to do is stop something that requires borrowing $2 trillion or more, adding to the debt of our nation and putting Social Security at risk.
And on "values":
You know what the president's tax cut that he hasn't yet given to people to make it permanent costs over the next 10 years? $1.6 trillion. Just next year alone, the president's tax cut for people earning more than $1 million a year costs $32 billion.

So this is a value's choice. What are your values? What are the values of the American people?

Do we cover children with insurance who are not getting immunizations for diseases that we know we've cured, who don't get medicine for asthma? One out of three kids doesn't get medicine for asthma. Do we cover them or do we give millionaires a tax cut? That's the values choice for America.

And I know where I stand, and unfortunately we know where the president stands. He wants a tax cut for millionaires. I want to cover children.
Please read the rest of the CNN interview!

Thank you Senator Kerry! Your leadership is critical in these difficult times for America! Keep that door open for 2008! Millions of Americans are ready to watch your back!


Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Bush Defies General Accounting Office: Green Light for Propaganda

David M. Walker, a Republican, and Comptroller General of the United States is not happy with how the Bush Administration has been issuing propaganda disguised as news.

As has been reported:
Comptroller General David Walker of the GAO said Monday that his agency is "disappointed by the administration's actions" in telling agency heads to ignore the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress.

"This is not just a legal issue, it's also an ethical matter," Walker said. "The taxpayers have a right to know when the government is trying to influence them with their own money."
You see there is a little problem here. The Administration has been, according to the General Accounting Office, violating the law.

And this is not the first time this Administration has been taken to task about violation of laws preventing the dissemination of government propaganda.

One year ago this issue came up surrounding the Medicare drug bill, according to the New York Times:
Federal law prohibits the use of federal money for "publicity or propaganda purposes" not authorized by Congress. The accounting office has found that federal agencies violated this restriction when they disseminated editorials and newspaper articles written by the government without identifying the source.

The accounting office said the administration's misuse of federal money "also constitutes a violation of the Antideficiency Act," which prohibits spending in excess of appropriations. Under the law, the secretary of health and human services, Tommy G. Thompson, must report the violation to Congress and the president, with "a statement of actions taken" to prevent a recurrence.

The Antideficiency Act, derived from a law passed in 1870, is one of the major statutes by which Congress exercises its constitutional control of the purse.
And let me try to recall....what were those words that President George W. Bush said on his Inauguration? Did it go something like this:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.
And what did President Bush say about this gross violation of laws by his administration? How about this:
President George W. Bush said on Wednesday the U.S. government's practice of sending packaged news stories to local television stations was legal and he had no plans to stop it.

(This image is courtesy of The Visitations Band done by the Athens, Georgia, artist Eric Hernandez and Mike Turner. Plaudits to them for the artwork and thanks for allowing me to run with it!)

His defense of the packages, which are designed to look like television news segments, came after they were deemed a form of covert propaganda by the Government Accountability Office watchdog agency.
Bush stated:

"There is a Justice Department opinion that says these -- these pieces -- are within the law, so long as they're based upon facts, not advocacy," the president told a news conference.
It was reported:
Bush said government agencies, such as the Agriculture and Defense Departments, had been producing such videos for a long time and that it was appropriate so long as they were "based upon a factual report."

He said it was up to the local news stations to disclose that the segments were produced by the government
However, not all elected officials agree with the President:
In a letter, Sen. Daniel Inouye, Democrat of Hawaii, asked the FCC to investigate the government-produced videos.

He called the airing of such videos without any attribution an "alarming practice."

"Not only does this lack of disclosure represent a serious breach of journalistic ethics, but it also seems to violate FCC rules requiring attribution of 'any political broadcast matter' or 'the discussion of a controversial issue of public importance,'" Inouye said.
Alexander Hamilton wrote about Presidential misbehavior. He stated in Federalist No. 65:
". . . those offences which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself."
Or as James Madison explained:
". . . subject him to impeachment himself, if he suffers them to perpetrate with impunity high crimes or misdemeanors against the United States, or neglects to superintend their conduct, so as to check their excesses."
The President's action represent a wanton disregard of the law and the almost sacred relationship between government and the press for it is written:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The freedom of the press is so important that it is the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights that defends the press. This fact should not be lost upon any American. This President manipulates the Press, whether it be through phoney journalists in Press Conferences, funding journalists to write propaganda that appears as news, or even issuing propaganda paid for by the taxpayer to the news media.

I am saddened about what is happening to America!


Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Wisconsin Required to Relax Mercury Pollution Controls by EPA!

It is not safe to eat too many fish in Wisconsin from local lakes and waterways due to mercury pollution.

As has been reported:
Mercury in water can accumulate in fish, and eating too much mercury-contaminated fish can damage kidneys and the nervous system.

Because of high mercury levels, all Wisconsin lakes are under a fish consumption advisory alerting people to limit the number of fish they eat, particularly children and women who are of childbearing age.
In June, 2003, the Wisconsin State Resources Board adopted regulations to reduce mercury emissions from the state's power plants:
...DNR's proposed mercury regulations, which would limit mercury emissions from coal-fired generating plants. We Energies of Milwaukee, Alliant Energy of Madison, Wisconsin Public Service of Green Bay and Dairyland Power would be required to cut mercury emissions by 40 percent in 2010 and 80 percent in 2015.
It was reported today:
A newly announced federal order to reduce mercury pollution from coal-burning power plants will require weakening more stringent state controls that were enacted in Wisconsin only last year, a state official says.

Being a Wisconsinite, I am disgusted about this turn of events. What the EPA has done is to force Wisconsin to allow MORE pollution than state regulations permitted. Things are getting WORSE for health for Wisconsin because of what the so-called Environmental Protection Agency is doing!

The article continues:
Wisconsin was among states that had gone on record against the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed federal rule.

"We provided comment," Eagan said. "Our rule would have required some control actually be put in place at the power plants by 2010. Our read so far is that the utilities would not really have to do anything in terms of having to put controls on until 2013 under the federal rule."
Thank you Mr. President! America needs to wake up and smell the mercury. It is time for an Administration in Washington that works to protect the environment and not protect the utility lobby! It is time for an Administration that loves the air, water and land of America. It is time for John Kerry, but we shall all have to wait for 2008! Keep that door open John! We have got your back.


Monday, March 14, 2005

EPA: Allowing "Swaps" of Neurotoxin Pollution

Minimata. The name probably does not mean much to most people. A famous photo helped change many people's views on Mercury pollution.

As reported, Japanese citizens suffered by the thousands due to mercury pollution in Minimata Bay:
The government officially recognizes 2,265 victims - 1,435 already dead - of the dumpings in the bay in southern Japan, where chemical maker Chisso Corp. had been pouring tons of mercury compounds since in the 1930s.

Some victims died after eating mercury-tainted fish, while others suffered spasms and blurred vision. Babies of poisoned mothers were born with gnarled limbs. Reports of victims began appearing in the 1950s.

Another 15,000 people have registered with the government as victims of mercury poisoning - but that number could more than double under new research that suggests weaker concentrations of the chemical than previously thought can cause brain damage and birth defects.

The low levels of mercury required to induce disastrous effects have only been recently been appreciated. The article continues:
The government's original benchmark had been mercury levels of 50 parts per million detected in people's hair. But Ekino's research indicates that levels as low as 10 parts per million can stunt the brain's cerebral cortex, the area responsible for speaking, thinking and voluntary movement.
Well what has the Environmental Protection Agency been doing about Mercury Pollution? This is a picture of Stephen Johnson the new EPA chief with President Bush.

It is not difficult to see how insensitive this Administration has been to the environment. As reported:
Tough court fights loom on his easing of rules that require older industrial plants and refineries to add pollution controls if they expand. Under court order, the EPA is due to introduce by March the first national cap on mercury emissions.

Bush plans to cut spending on low-interest loans for local clean water projects and to seek more federal support for development of a hydrogen-fueled car.

He also wants to overturn a Clinton-era ban on 58 million acres of roadless areas and allow logging and road-building in them unless governors petition the federal government to preserve them. He would keep Yellowstone National Park open to snowmobiling, despite a challenge in federal court.
But back to Mercury. Today, the EPA announced a new plan for pollution "swaps" among utilities whereby some could cut back their mercury pollution, while others make no changes. This was made possible, as reported:
To justify the new approach, the administration reversed a decision by the Clinton administration to list mercury as a "hazardous air pollutant." That allowed for greater flexibility in designing emission controls and made possible a trading system to mesh with the EPA rule issued last week to control emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, said Scott Segal, a spokesman for the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, which represents a number of coal-fired utilities.
But why have swaps at all? If Mercury is a potent neurotoxin:
Susan West Marmagas, environment and health program director at the group Physicians for Social Responsibility, said 630,000 babies each year in the United States are at risk of mercury toxicity and 1 in 12 American women who could become pregnant have heightened risk of mercury toxicity.
why not limit Mercury pollution at every power plant?

The EPA spokesperson stated:
Bergman said that the competing approach -- to reduce mercury at every plant -- could indeed produce dramatic results, but she said it depends on the flawed assumption that the technology is available to make sharp cuts at every plant. She said such technology will not be ready for several years.
However, environmentalists see things differently:
At a press briefing yesterday by several environmental groups, John Walke, clean air director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, contested Bergman's claim about the lack of available technology and said the real purpose of the rule is to invite litigation and "years and years and years of delay" in instituting mercury controls. "This is the most dishonest, dangerous and illegal rule I have ever seen come out of the EPA," he said.
Well what about John Kerry? As described:
As president, John Kerry has pledged to reverse the Bush-Cheney rollbacks to our Clean Air Act, plug loopholes in the law, take aggressive action to stop acid rain, and use innovative, job-creating programs to reduce mercury emissions and other emissions that contribute to global warming.
America cannot afford to have "swaps" of dangerous neurotoxin pollution. America deserves better! America deserves John Kerry!


Sunday, March 13, 2005

Maher Arar: A Victim of Rendition

Thanks to Dex for pointing me to this article:

As the Boston Globe reported:
This extraordinary rendition first gained national attention in September 2002, when Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen, was seized by the US government while on US soil, but then was whisked away to Jordan and later Syria at the request of the CIA. While in Syria, Arar was tortured and held in a dark, 3-by-6-foot cell for nearly a year. He was ultimately released and detailed his story to the media upon his return to Canada. Since that time, other press reports have identified renditions elsewhere around the world, such as the transfer of an Australian citizen, Mamdouh Habib, from Pakistan to Egypt, where he was reportedly tortured.
"...with liberty and justice for all." So ends our Pledge of Allegiance. That is the Pledge that I grew up with. That helped form my belief about why I love America.

I still believe in that America. I believe in America as a beacon for liberty. Let us show the world through our actions why they should emulate our form of government. Not through incarceration and torture, but through understanding and the rule of law shall we lead the world. Not through bombs but through love shall we succeed in lifting up the persecuted peoples of our Age.


Schwarzenegger: Releasing Videos as "News"

Governor Schwarzenegger also has been using videos that look like news to promote his Administration's policies. Is this a Republican strategy?

As reported in the online edition of the Kansas City Star:

Aides to Schwarzenegger acknowledge using state money to produce "video news releases," or VNRs, that cast an entirely favorable light on some of the administration's most controversial policies.

The videos resemble local television news stories, complete with a suggested introductory script for anchors to read. They're distributed via satellite for stations to use as they wish. There were no reports of any station using one in its entirety
What has happened to our government? The right-wing attacks liberals as being controlled by "Hollywood" as shown on this Hollywood billboard attacking so-called "Hollywood liberals", and yet it is the Republicans who doctor the news, whether it be the "Terminator" in California, or the Bush Administration in Washington. It is they who release videos purporting to be news, allow a phoney reporter to be in the Washington Press Pool, arrange Town Meetings with pre-screened citizens, hold rallies with only supporters allowed, and fail even to meet the press in regular news conferences.

America needs new leadership. It needs a new political party leading us. And we need John Kerry to take that role for us. Keep that door open John! America and the White House is calling!


Bill Maher Interview: A Must Read

Bill Maher mixes politics and humor. Sort of makes the distasteful medicine go down easier! I came across a terrific interview with lots of words of wisdom from the St. Petersburg Times.

He writes about the "sore winners" in the Republican Party:

There's been so much finger-pointing: "Don't you get it now, you liberals? Don't you get it?" (But) it's not that we don't get it; it's that we don't share it. I get what you're saying, I just don't believe in it. I don't think that the morals and values crowd understands what morals and values are. Morals and values, I was taught, are making choices . . . choices that have to do with how you treat people - principles. I think the morals and values crowd is very often talking about rituals, superstitions, beliefs, reciting things, praying, believing in Jesus, loyalty to people as opposed to principles. Those are not morals and values to me.
Maher doesn't mince words. He has advice about what Democrats need to do to win elections. And it isn't about being more like a Republican:
They need to go to their base, as opposed to trying to inch ever closer to the Republican side. You see Hillary Clinton positioning herself more to the right on the abortion issue. (And) once again, the folks in this country who believe in science and rationality as a means of governing over faith are left without a choice. Somehow, John Kerry, Al Gore, they all felt the need to buddy up to the red-state, NASCAR, gun-loving, beer-drinking culture. And I'm perfectly happy to live in a country where there is that culture. I just wish there was somebody to stand up for the other half of us. We have the Republicans and the people who are trying to be like Republicans. I wish we had a candidate who said, "You know what? My religion or whatever it is, is none of your business, and it doesn't really affect how I do the job of president and I'm going to promote science and rationality - how about that?"

And what about Social Security? What about how this President loosely uses "reform" when he means dismemberment?
I don't think Social Security reform is the worst idea in the world. Once again, they're presenting it in a very dishonest way. (Bush is) the morph master. When he ran for president, he morphed monogamy into integrity. He morphed bin Laden into Saddam Hussein. He morphed his National Guard service of 1968 into the National Guard service of today, which are two completely different things. It was a way to get out back then, and now it's a way to get in. And he's morphing the idea of private accounts - which is not a bad idea - with the notion that this is going to save Social Security . . . which it certainly isn't.
Thank you Bill for saying it like it is. Isn't it time that we all did the same?


Saturday, March 12, 2005

Goodbye Dan Rather--Hello 1984

Courage. That's what Dan Rather had. He didn't read the lines; he tried to think. He challenged convention. He was not intimidated by title or position. And for that he was hated. He was driven right out of his job so that the right-wing movement sweeping this nation would have one less independent reporter asking "Why?"

As Mr. Rather recalled recently:
After all, what other TV journalist has a Web site ( dedicated to cataloguing his alleged sins?

"I hadn't thought about it like that," he says with a rueful smile, "but it's true. And I may be the only one for which there was a concerted effort to buy the whole network in order to get me out of this job." That was in 1985, when Sen. Jesse Helms called for fellow conservatives across the nation to buy enough CBS stock to "become Dan Rather's boss" and counter alleged liberal bias at CBS News.

"It goes back a long way," notes Rather. "It's been my lot, my destiny, and I'm not sure I fully understand it. But I am, for better or worse, independent and, when necessary, fiercely independent. When somebody or some group takes the attitude, 'You can report the news the way we want you to, or we're gonna try to cave you in,' I don't turn my back on that. I don't run."
Thank you Dan Rather. We need more Americans who will stand and ask the questions. The politicians in America can run, but they can't hide!

As sung by the group " A Flock of Seagulls":

What's this I see?
You're try'n' to hide
Away from me,
Away from me.

Don't you know
That you can run
But you can't hide

No, you won't find
Your piece of mind
Away from me,
Away from me.

And in your mind
You will not find
Your piece of mind

You can run, (no, you can't run)
You can hide, (no, you can't hide)
You can run, (no, you can't run)
You can hide

So if the political right has successfully silenced another voice that won't run away, what are they replacing it with?

In 1949, the British Author George Orwell wrote the now famous novel "1984". Orwell explains the concept of "doublethink" in this novel:
To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully
constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be
contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while
laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of
democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget then to draw back into memory again at
the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the
same process to the process itself-that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce
unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just
performed. Even to understand the word 'doublethink' involved the use of doublethink.
That is the America that this administration is creating.

The character Winston, in 1984, worked in the "Records Department." As described:
Winston worked in the RECORDS DEPARTMENT (a single branch of the Ministry of Truth) editing and writing for The Times. He dictated into a machine called a speakwrite. Winston would receive articles or news-items which for one reason or another it was thought necessary to alter, or, in Newspeak, rectify. If, for example, the Ministry of Plenty forecast a surplus, and in reality the result was grossly less, Winston's job was to change previous versions so the old version would agree with the new one. This process of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound-tracks, cartoons, photographs - to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance.
We don't do that in America, do we? What about Guckert/Gannon manipulating Presidential Press Conferences right in the White House? What about the $240,000 paid to Armstrong Williams to write material favorable to the President? Or how about Mike McManus and Maggie Gallagher receiving money from the government?

Or as Daniel Kurtzman has written, 'Can a President be impeached for plagiarism...for copying George Orwell's 1984?':
As President Bush wages his war against terrorism and moves to create a huge homeland security apparatus, he appears to be borrowing heavily, if not ripping off ideas outright, from George Orwell. The work in question is "1984, " the prophetic novel about a government that controls the masses by spreading propaganda, cracking down on subversive thought and altering history to suit its needs. It was intended to be read as a warning about the evils of totalitarianism -- not a how-to manual.

Granted, we're a long way from resembling the kind of authoritarian state Orwell depicted, but some of the similarities are starting to get a bit eerie.
And now comes additional information, as reported by the New York Times, of this government's manipulation of the media with pseudo-news reports being fed into mainstream media as news pieces that are being run as such for the public. As they report:
Under the Bush administration, the federal government has aggressively used a well-established tool of public relations: the prepackaged, ready-to-serve news report that major corporations have long distributed to TV stations to pitch everything from headache remedies to auto insurance. In all, at least 20 different federal agencies, including the Defense Department and the Census Bureau, have made and distributed hundreds of television news segments in the past four years, records and interviews show. Many were subsequently broadcast on local stations across the country without any acknowledgement of the government's role in their production.
1984 is closer than we think. We have a President who has "Town Hall Meetings" by invitation only so that only favorable comments and questions will be made. This right-wing movement has attacked and cowered main stream media, and those like Dan Rather are dispensed with rather than respected.

1984 is closer to 2005 than we may like to believe. Dan Rather is right. Courage is called for.


Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Republican Bankruptcy Laws: "Compassionless Conservatism"

artwork by Diane Fenster.

The United States Senate moved ahead with legislation to make it more difficult for working-class Americans to use bankruptcy protection to get out of overwhelming debt.

Changes are needed because as bill sponsor, Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) states, the current law:
"a convenient financial planning tool where deadbeats can get out of paying their debt scot-free while honest Americans who play by the rules have to foot the bill."
Deadbeats? Not so fast Senator Grassley! A recent Harvard University study looked at 1,771 bankruptcies from five states filed in 2001, including California. According to a report on the study:
Almost half of those filers -- 46.2 percent -- cited illness and medical bills as a major cause of bankruptcy. More than three- quarters had insurance at the onset of illness.
And the problem gets worse if people cannot even afford health insurance and prescription drugs. A lot of Americans do not even carry insurance. As reported:
"The bigger issue for the uninsured and underinsured are day-to-day health-care needs and chronic-disease management," he said.

An estimated 15 percent of the total U.S. population, or 44 million people, lack basic health insurance, Retchin said. Yet most of the uninsured do work.

They make too much to qualify for public assistance but too little to afford private health insurance, said Denise C. Daly, executive director of REACH, or Richmond Enhancing Access to Community Healthcare.

"Some uninsured persons face heartbreaking decisions -- to provide for their families or seek health care -- as if the two are mutually exclusive," Daly said.

"Filling prescriptions or buying groceries. Seeing a specialist or buying school clothes for the kids."
And have the Republicans made drugs more affordable under President Bush? Not at all. In February, 2005, President Bush appointed Lester Crawford to be permanent head of the FDA. Mr. Crawford "...has stated he opposes legalizing the reimportation of prescription drugs from foreign nations." Reimportation would lower drug costs.

And what about the Medicare drug benefit? Isn't the U.S. Government doing everything it can do to keep prices low for America's seniors? Not really.

As has been reported:
Some Democratic and Republican lawmakers who support the drug benefit are moving ahead with bills to let Medicare negotiate bulk discounts for drugs and lift restrictions on importing lower-cost drugs from Canada and other industrialized nations.
But the President won't allow anything as outrageous as negotiating with drug companies for lower prices. He trusts drug companies just like he trusts credit card companies to do right by Americans! The report continues:
The administration opposes both bills. It says private plans would be more efficient than Medicare at negotiating discounts, a conclusion shared by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. And the president has said he is concerned about the safety of drugs from abroad.
And what about just raising the income of the lowest-earning Americans? What about just raising the minimum wage to reduce the need for resorting to bankruptcy protection?

The President and his Republican Congressional members oppose such a raise.

On Monday, March 7, 2005, an Amendment to the bankruptcy legislation sponsored by Republican lawmakers, was made by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass). As reported:
An amendment offered by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) would have raised the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour over two years. It was defeated, 49-46.

The GOP-controlled Congress has blocked all such Democratic-backed efforts to increase the minimum wage in recent years. And Senate Republicans were especially determined to keep the Kennedy amendment off the bankruptcy bill because the House GOP leadership has promised to act quickly on the measure only if it remains largely unchanged.
Kennedy argued:
...the federal minimum wage has not been increased for eight years.

"For minimum-wage workers, prices have increased every year since 1997, but their paychecks have remained exactly the same," Kennedy said. "With few savings, and little safety net, minimum-wage workers are one pink slip or one medical emergency away from bankruptcy."
But the Republicans know who butters their bread. While cracking down on so-called "deadbeats", the working poor, Republicans have acted to protect the wealthy once again. In so-called "Asset Trusts", in which wealthy individuals can protect millions in assets in offshore trusts exempt from bankruptcy action.

These are the "deadbeat" wealthy. And the Republicans didn't do anything about them! In fact Amendments to change these Asset Trusts were beaten back by Republicans.

When will the average American see what is happening in Washington? When will America realize that putting faith in big Pharma to protect us and befriending Credit Card Companies in the guise of "reform" is just phoney rhetoric?

Senator Kerry, America calls out to you to provide the leadership in worker protection, bankruptcy law, and truly representative leadership in Washington!
Keep that door open for 2008! America is depending on you!


Sunday, March 06, 2005

Hearing the "March of Rendition"

I have always thought of "rendition" as something an artist does. Maybe it is a still-life. Maybe the artist is a musician and delivers a beautiful musical piece.

I will not be able to hear that word anymore without thinking of America filling airplanes with terror suspects and shipping them to third world nations to be tortured. What has happened to the America I grew up with?

According to a New York Times report, the Bush Administration has been outsourcing torture. As reported:
In public, the Bush administration has refused to confirm that the rendition program exists, saying only in response to questions about it that the United States did not hand over people to face torture. The official refused to say how many prisoners had been transferred as part of the program. But former government officials say that since the Sept. 11 attacks, the C.I.A. has flown 100 to 150 suspected terrorists from one foreign country to another, including to Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Pakistan.
Somehow, we think that these people are safe in these countries and not subject to abuse and torture. The article continues:
"We get assurances, we check on those assurances, and we double-check on these assurances to make sure that people are being handled properly in respect to human rights," the official said. The official said that compliance had been "very high" but added, "Nothing is 100 percent unless we're sitting there staring at them 24 hours a day."
And things are getting worse:
Before Sept. 11, the C.I.A. had been authorized by presidential directives to carry out renditions, but under much more restrictive rules. In most instances in the past, the transfers of individual prisoners required review and approval by interagency groups led by the White House, and were usually authorized to bring prisoners to the United States or to other countries to face criminal charges.

As part of its broad new latitude, current and former government officials say, the C.I.A. has been authorized to transfer prisoners to other countries solely for the purpose of detention and interrogation.

What is happening America? Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and now rendition charters for torture.

James Madison, the fourth President of the United States once stated:
It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad.

In the year 1215, the Barons in England had extracted from King John the principle of due process of law. As Clause 39 of the Magna Carta stated:
No free man may be taken or imprisoned, or ousted of his lands, or outlawed, or banished, or hurt in any way; nor will we [the king] go against him, nor send our officers against him, save by lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.
In other words, under the principles of due process of law (“the law of the land”) no free man could be put in prison and held there without legal justification.

This writ of habeas corpus has been a foundation for the freedom in America since its founding.

John Kerry! America's freedom is at risk! It is no small matter to overturn the writ of habeas corpus! Pull us all from the water of those who scorn the blessings of liberty and proclaim its 'march'! America is calling for leaders that can protect the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of all of its inhabitants!


Alberto Gonzales: 2002 Harvard Law School Class Day Presentation

I found this speech from Alberto Gonzales addressing the 2002 Harvard Law School Class Day presentation.

It is interesting to hear him struggle with the issues of Terrorism and dealing with Constitutional challenges. He guarantees that this Administration is watching the Constitution closely. Worth a watch!


Bush: Exploiting Children to Advance Privatization of Social Security

The nine-year old Noah McCullough is for the Bush Social Security privatization plan. As reported in the Christian Science Monitor:
"What I want to tell people about Social Security is to not be afraid of the new plan," McCullough told The New York Times recently. "It may be a change, but it's a good change." It's such a simple, refreshing message, almost childlike. Of course, that may be because McCullough is a fourth-grader from Texas.

Has this Administration now reached the depth of advocating major changes in the Social Security Program as some sort of "freak show"?

The CSM goes on to report:
Yes, we've come to the point where what is arguably the biggest domestic policy debate in the past 50 years is being handled by a child trivia-champ. Don't miss next week when Ken Jennings of "Jeopardy" explains how the president's foreign policy is a winner. And coming in April, a tap-dancing squirrel tours in support of tax reform.

Doesn't America know it is being manipulated? As P.T. Barnum said:
There's a sucker born every minute.
In fact it was P.T. Barnum who made a whole circus with a little person. As has been recorded:
Barnum's first major success was the introduction of General Tom Thumb in 1842. Within two years, they embarked on a tour of Europe. His ultimate affiliation with the circus did not begin until 1870, when he was 60 years old. P. T. Barnum's Grand Traveling Circus, Menagerie, Caravan and Circus grossed $400,000 in its first year.

So as President Bush uses children as a source of entertainment and "inspiration", what do his policies actually do for this vulnerable group in our society?

As he recently presented his plan for the budget, we can have a better idea about what this President feels about these young Americans. As stated by the Quad Cities paper in their editorial:
What this budget means, quite literally, is that more kids will be hungry and malnourished. More kids who get sick will be unable to see a doctor, more kids with diseases will go undiagnosed until they get so sick they have to be carried to the emergency room. More kids who need glasses or hearing aids won’t get them, causing them to fall behind in school. More kids will show up to start school without being in the least prepared, and they will remain behind for the rest of their days. Less money for childcare means more kids left alone or in unsafe places while their parents work. More kids who are being severely abused will go unnoticed, and fewer of them will find safe foster homes.

America needs a President who really cares about children. Who cares about our young American men and women who are sent off to needless wars. Who cares about education, healthcare, educating them about sex and AIDS prevention, daycare and who preserves the environment for future generations. We do not need a President who offers young people a retirement plan and places trillions of dollars of additional debt on their shoulders.

America needs John Kerry. Keep that door open for 2008 John. We have your back!


Saturday, March 05, 2005

Bush: Social Security a "Train Wreck"

President Bush recently called the Social Security System a "train wreck".

Speaking to a crowd at the University of Notre Dame, Bush said:
“The math just doesn’t work anymore,” Bush said. “I don’t care how you look at it — it’s a problem.”
However, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has pointed out how President Bush's proposal only makes things worse for younger people. As she recently stated:
"President Bush likes to say that under his privatization plan, young people have the most to gain," the California Democrat said. "But the truth is they have the most to lose."
She went on to add:
"The president's plan will require borrowing trillions of dollars from foreign countries that your generation will have to pay off," Pelosi said. "It is a tax on your future."
This President has promised things to the younger generation that are attractive to them...on first glance. Why not want a private account? This is almost like a parent offering a child an expensive imported sports car when they are 16. Unfortunately, the parent hides the fact that it is the child that shall have to make the payments!

Do not be fooled America! Social Security may need reforms but not dismemberment. Do not allow this safety-net to be pulled from under the most vulnerable!


Another Great Website: Dean Lawrence Velvel on National Affairs

I have come across another website that deserves further attention by those interested in current affairs. Dean Lawrence Velvel, based in Andover, Massachusetts, is Dean of the Massachusetts School of Law.

Dean Velvel, on his website, Velvel on National Affairs, writes from the perspective of a law professor on issues facing America and the World.

It is not often we have the opportunity of reading and learning from someone as knowledgeable as Deal Velvel. Please give him a visit.


Friday, March 04, 2005

Homeland Security Protecting America: Deporting Special Education Teacher?

Who is Obain Attouoman? And why does the Homeland Security Agency want him deported?

It turns out that Mr. Attouoman is an immigrant from the Ivory Coast who arrived in 1992 seeking political asylum. However, after missing a deportation hearing four years ago, he ended up in jail for three months, lost an appeal, and is now facing possible deportation.

Ironically, there is a shortage of special education teachers in America. As one local paper reported:
"We have a healthy pool of applicants from which our principals can choose," Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Jennifer Johnson said.

Specialty positions such as special education teachers are very difficult to fill.

"We work 10 times harder to find a special-education teacher," she said.
Mr. Attouoman works at Fenway High School in Boston and has taught in the Boston public schools for more than a decade.

He states he misread a handwritten date on his hearing notice. He has been trying for the past three years to get a new hearing, but has been ordered to leave the country. Fortunately, since it would be dangerous for Mr. Attouoman to return to the Ivory Coast, he has been given a reprieve until 2007 to find another country to take him in asylum.

What is wrong in America that we attempt to deport a teacher who fails to make a hearing on their immigration status? A teacher who is employed in our schools and are here seeking asylum. A teacher that has already been jailed for his failure, who his loved by his students.

Senator John Kerry has introduced a bill in the Congress to allow Attouman to stay here permanently.

Thank you Senator Kerry! America needs to once again remember the words of Emma Lazarus from "The New Colossus" on the Statue of Liberty:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
We are living in difficult times. America needs the leadership of John Kerry in the White House and not just as a Senator. All of America and all of the world need the restoration of true American values that recognizes the plight of immigrants who have much to offer our nation.


Thursday, March 03, 2005

Jackie Robinson: An American Hero

Senator John Kerry sponsored the Senate bill awarding Jackie Robinson the Congressional Gold Medal which was awarded posthumously yesterday at the Capitol.

Jackie Robinson is pictured in his prime. Jackie broke through barriers that had kept African-Americans from fully participating in the American dream.

As was published yesterday in an account written by John Kerry and Robinson's widow, Rachel Robinson:
His fight for racial equality was so profound that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. called him ''a legend and a symbol in his own time" who ''challenged the dark skies of intolerance and frustration."

As sportswriter Maury Allen wrote:
Robinson was not just about baseball. He was about equality, about decency, about morality, about injustice, about ending a wrong with a right after more than 60 years of America and Americans in and out of the game suggesting a kid born with a black skin could not be a big leaguer.

Kids across the country, well back into the last quarter of the 19th century, dreamed of playing big league ball as they hit rocks with sticks on city lots and farm fields, college parks and neighborhood lots, cement school yards and grassy diamonds. Only white kids could make that dream live. Black kids could only hawk their athletic wares in Negro leagues.

Then along came a man named Branch Rickey, general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers who wanted to right that wrong and make a little money along the way. On October 23, 1945, he signed a UCLA baseball, football, basketball and track star out of Pasadena, California named Jack Roosevelt Robinson to a Brooklyn Dodgers contract.

Robinson once said:
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives."
Maybe that is something we all must live by as we judge our own lives and our own accomplishments.

It is the other lives that matter. When we judge a nation, it isn't about how they lowered the taxes for the wealthy. It isn't about how they dismantled Social Security for the elderly. It isn't about how they helped corporations make more money at the expense of the environment. It is how they help others. How they make peace and not war. How they educate and not indoctrinate. How they protect freedom and not just use the word as a slogan. America can and will get back on that path of caring and leadership the world demands. And we shall be doing this with John Kerry in the White House.

Thank you Senator Kerry for helping honor a great American who refused to let others tell him what he could or couldn't do because of the color of his skin. And Senator Kerry, your impact is only beginning. America is waiting for you in 2008! Keep that door open and let us all walk through it together to a brighter future!


Tuesday, March 01, 2005

John Kerry supports our Military

There is a proliferation of yellow ribbon magnets on cars where I live. It seems like everyone has a "support our troops" sticker. And yet I am not sure what they mean by this display of what they consider "patriotism". Do they mean we should support our soldiers, and provide for them when they are under fire in Iraq as well as when they return as veterans? Or does it mean simply "Support the War". For me, supporting soldiers means providing them with the appropriate menas to do their job, keeping them safe and not sending them into war unnecessarily, and caring for them when they return to the States.

John Kerry has always understood this. He has been a solidier and he has been in combat and he knows what happens when a nation fights wars like Vietnam that have no end to the number of American casualties.

Recently he wrote in the Boston Herald:
Our military needs a better ally at home
By John Kerry
Monday, February 28, 2005

I recently traveled to Iraq where I was proud to visit some of America's most remarkable young men and women.

I wish I was as proud about what is happening in Washington, where ``supporting the troops'' is often confused with simply supporting the administration's policies. Sometimes supporting the troops means challenging the policies that put them in harm's way or harm the families who pray for their safe return. It also means Congress has a special responsibility to our troops - both in the field and at home.

Our troops must have every tool they need to succeed. Every recent commitment of American military power, including the ``air war'' in Kosovo, has required sizeable ground forces, at the very least to provide post-conflict security. There's just no technological substitute for boots on the ground.

I introduced the Strengthening America's Armed Forces and Military Family Bill of Rights Act to permanently increase the size of the military by 30,000 to 40,000 in the Army and 10,000 in the Marine Corps to meet challenges of the new century.

Let me be clear: This is not a proposal to increase U.S. forces in Iraq. But our experience there is instructive. Our ground forces are stretched. The Army recently began calling back retirees ranging in age from their mid-40s to late 60s. The Guard and Reserve are stressed, too. The chief of the Army Reserve warns that his troops are ``rapidly degenerating into a broken force'' and at this rate couldn't meet future missions.

If we had begun expanding the military in 2003, when Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and many of us began calling for it, our military would not be as overstretched as it is today.

We need a Military Family Bill of Rights, a set of policies enshrined in law to meet the needs of military families.

Investing in military families isn't just compassionate - it's a smart investment in our national security. The Military Family Bill of Rights would:

Expand TRICARE to all Guard and Reserve members, whether mobilized or not. Members failing physicals impacts combat readiness, yet as many as one in five do not have health insurance.

Allow widows to stay in military housing for one year. For those with children, the current policy of 180 days can mean changing schools in the course of a year.

Establish a Military Family Relief Fund. Just as we let Americans donate a few dollars to finance presidential elections on their tax forms, they should be able to thank our troops.

Allow penalty-free withdrawals from Individual Retirement Accounts for deployment-related expenses, like increased child care.

Offer a tax credit to small businesses that make up the difference between Reserve and National Guard members' civilian and military pay.

Expand post-traumatic stress disorder programs and require more outreach. As many as one in six soldiers returning from Iraq show symptoms of PTSD, yet barely half of all VA medical centers have treatment facilities.

Increase the military death benefit. Last year I proposed increasing the benefit so that, combined with the Servicemembers Group Life Insurance, the families of those who die in military service would receive $500,000. No one can put a price on a life, but the current $12,000 is insulting. The president recently embraced a formula to reach $500,000 but limited it to deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. Congress should embrace the broader benefit for all troops, regardless of where they die, and act immediately to make it law.

Thank you Senator Kerry! America needs your voice of reason. Your concern for the American soldier and the American veteran. Support our Troops Senator Kerry! We shall all be supporting you in 2008!