"Today, we heard more of the same distortions from the President about the situation in Iraq. George W. Bush keeps saying that things are getting better even when we all know that's just not true. The fact is, no matter what he says, all of us can see for ourselves what's happening in Iraq - we can see it on the front pages and on the nightly news. But why would we expect George Bush to level with us about Iraq? He never has. So I'll be straight with you: things are getting worse. More than a thousand Americans have been killed. Instability is rising. Violence is spreading. Extremism is growing. There are now havens for terrorists that weren't there before. And the Pentagon has even admitted that entire regions of Iraq are now controlled by insurgents and terrorists. The situation is serious and we need a president who will set a new direction and be straight with the American people."
9/11 Widow Kristen Brietweiser
Endorses John Kerry
"I don’t really know what happened to him. I don’t know whether he jumped or he choked to death on smoke. I don’t know whether he sat curled up in a corner watching the carpet melt in front of him, knowing that his own death was soon to come or if he was alive long enough to be crushed by the buildings when they collapsed. These are the images that haunt me at night when I put my head to rest on his pillow."
--Kristen Breitweiser, speaking about her husband Ronald, who died on 9/11/01
I believe this is one of the most important endorsements John Kerry could have received. Kristen Breitweiser has often been the topic of my conversations here at Iddybud. She was featured in my second and third anniversary 9/11 blog presentations.I respect her greatly for having had the fortitude and persistence in speaking out for the 9/11 Commission at a time when the Bush administration was doing nearly everything in their political power to put a stop to it. Kristen asked the right questions. She expected answers, as any of us women who might have lost their husband or family member might expect the government to answer our questions.
Kristen wanted to know why her husband Ronald had to die that beautiful horrible day in September.
She wanted to know if our governmental agencies were doing their job on that fateful morning.
She only wanted to know.
Kristen has said she finds it strange that Bush would pin his re-election hopes on an event like 9/11 because she thinks it was the chief failure of his administration. She said the highly critical Sept. 11 commission report should be enough to make any politician think twice about invoking the attacks.
"I don't understand how 9/11 can be a platform for his re-election," said Breitweiser, who voted for Bush in 2000. "Every day that goes by since Sept. 12 I see as a squandered opportunity by the administration in fixing problems everyone knows need to be fixed."
Most of the Shays-Meehan campaign finance reform favored politicians' organized interests over individual liberty.
Suing the FEC over 527s reveals these Congresspeople as Americans with a divested interest in seeing my speech--and yours--cut down to silence.
Special interests belong to American individuals--and not to the members of Congress as a cartel.
If their lawsuit is successful, these 527 groups will be forced to register as political action committees and thus be confined to using hard money only. If 527s are outlawed, there will be other ways for these groups to form legally.
My emphasis here? I firmly believe that all these politicians are doing is showing us their contempt for American voices having a power equal to that of Congresspeople's favorite lobbyists and corporate contributors.
An oligarchy cannot stand when individual voices break down the shrouded concentration of corporate power through individual freedom of speech. In this case, "money" is the same as "freedom" for individuals as much as "money" is "freedom" to corporate special interests.
They've wasted our hard-earned tax money and become embedded with the lobbyists of Washington D.C. for too long. Their regrettable use of pork-barrel spending to lure PAC money has made political competition nearly impossible.
American individuals have found a powerful political voice in the 527 option. I'm not surprised that members of Congress and President Bush and his challenger John Kerry would be intimidated.
But to see them sue to cut off our individual voices--it's criminal. It runs against all tenets of freedom and liberty. Free speech can harm no one except the most corrupt Representatives, when all is said and done. Americans should be trusted to form their own common-sense opinions in an atmosphere of sheer freedom.
I pray the Supreme Court will find a way to legally accomodate the American individual and not the D.C. cartel.
See this editorial that praises Bush for his "progressive" stand on 527s. What is wrong with this picture? It's thievery of American freedom in the name of bipartisanship. Why is this one of the only issues on which Congresspeople can "get along" when it runs contrary to individual freedom?
Have you noticed that neither Bush nor Kerry has asked their supporters to discontinue 527 activity immediately?
It's nothing surprising. Russia's been sliding back toward Soviet-style rule for years now.
What should be shocking is the fact that our president watched Russia slide back toward its ocean of Soviet illness and has done nothing to abate the undertow. The sands of democracy erode beneath the Russian people's feet.
The Bush administration has squandered many opportunities to keep Russia from sliding back toward authoritarian rule. What was our foreign policy toward Russia? Did we even have one?
The leverage the U.S. had before 9/11 was softened like mashed potatoes by the (greatly restrained) State Department in order to attempt to get Russia's cooperation on Bush's Manichaean war on terror. The Bush administration deliberately looked the other way, knowing fully well that Chechnya was a victim of Russia's cruel denial of human rights.
Russia agreed to help us in Afghanistan. In the tradition of Gorbachev and Yeltsin, Putin had been consistently pursuing wide-ranging security cooperation with dominant Western powers--especially the U.S. Then came Bush's disastrous Iraq war, which contributed greatly to a near-total breakdown of trust of the Bush administration--in over half of domestic America and abroad.
Bush's dogmatic insistence and race to unilaterally take out Saddam Hussein caused him to proceed with blinders, neglecting a diplomacy that was sorely needed and inviting distrust of America and inviting right-wing radicals-East and West- to follow America's pre-emptive lead. Putin recognized the Iraq war (and rightly so) as a war evocative of the Cold War-era rather than a new and necessary type of warfare where we don't rub out regimes, but instead rub out terrorist networks.
That breakdown in trust has led to Russia's falling away from democracy and contributes to European instability which endangers our nation's interests in Central Asia. It has lead many in the world to believe that the Bush administration's National Security strategy did not take into serious consideration the fact that the Berlin Wall had fallen in the first place. It's no wonder all nations of the world (except for three) hope there is a change in American leadership this November.
As historians look back with retrospect, Bush's greatest historic error will have been his alliance with Neoconservatives--rabid Russia haters who hide themselves in 'freedom-fighters' clothing while placing Israel's interests above America's best interests.
As punishment for their refusal to join America in the Neoconservative war on Iraq, Russia was made to appear, by frothing Bushite propaganda, as little more than a thief-nation which robbed in the name of the U.N.'s Oil-for-Food program (when myriad nations, including the US, reaped untold benefit from the same easily-corruptible program).
Any morally-trained child could tell you that, if you alienate a friend in need, that friend will slide into despair. If we hold liberty as our American mainstay, the people of Russia should have been considered friends. We should have acted, in accordance with the America's best interests, to ensure that the people of Russia remained free. As overwhelmingly troubled as the old U.S.S.R. was, Ronald Reagan understood that, unless you employed diplomacy with hope and good faith, you will never forward America's best interests.
Colin Powell has been kept on a short leash by the president and allowed himself to be used badly in the lead-up to the Iraq war (in the name of loyalty to the president). Shamefully, Powell has been the most-wasted American asset.
While I truly believe Ronald Reagan acted in his nation's best interests, I believe Bush has acted with contempt for America's best interests, or at best, Bush has simply been an incapable leader.
This is only one glaringly dreadful consequence of failure of American leadership. Faltering US/international relationships and the quickly disintegrating Israeli-Palestinian relationship, the rise of Fundamentalist popularily in Muslim states, and the growth industry for new terrorists are more examples of failure in American leadership.
Not only has Bush admitted the war on terror is unwinnable, we've lost Russia's democratic promise. Putin has, in effect, coopted and encouraged the right-wing flank of the Western political spectrum and the Bush administration is a beautiful example.
Wartime restrictions on citizens' freedoms in the US have allowed Putin and his pro-Kremlin media, through America's example, to recast Russia’s domestic dictatorship of the law as a standard towards which the US itself has allegedly turned.
Bush-supporters are afraid to look into the sterile eyes of the truth, because what would stare back at them would shatter their frozen, false beliefs.
See Washington Monthly for Robert Kagan's statement on the issue of democracy in Russia.