The Commons is a weblog for concerned citizens of southeast Iowa and their friends around the world. It was created to encourage grassroots networking and to share information and ideas which have either been suppressed or drowned out in the mainstream media.

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (Henry V, Act V, Scene 4)

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Democratic Talking Points 8/31/04

A more full compendium will come later today...Va. governor stumps for Kerry in CapeSoutheast Missourian ~ Tuesday, August 31, 2004By Mark Bliss~ Southeast MissourianAmerican workers are losing out in the Bush administration, Virginia'sfirst-term governor told Democratic supporters during a campaign stopin Cape Girardeau on Monday on behalf of Democratic presidentialcandidate John Kerry.Gov. Mark Warner and Missouri lieutenant governor candidate Bekki Cookof Cape Girardeau criticized Bush and praised Kerry during a meetingwith about 50 area Democrat supporters, union leaders and carpentersunion apprentices at the Carpenters Union Hall Local 1770 at 815Enterprise St.Warner, who also campaigned for Kerry in Sikeston, Poplar Bluff andKennett over the weekend, said more than 1 million jobs nationwidehave been lost during the Bush administration, including many inMissouri.Cook said Missouri has lost 39,000 manufacturing jobs since Bush took office.Warner criticized the Bush administration's financial policies. "Thispresident has taken a $236 billion surplus and turned it into thebiggest deficit in the nation's history," he said.Warner said the nation would do a better job of fighting terrorism ifKerry were elected president because Kerry would seek to involve allcivilized nations in the war on terrorism rather than depend solely onAmerican soldiers and American tax money to do the job."We all agree America has to stay strong in the world," the Virginiagovernor said.Warner said Americans need to elect Kerry to deal with the health-carecrisis. "We are the wealthiest country in the world and we have 45million Americans who don't have health insurance," he said. "It is asin."Warner said the Bush administration has ignored the nation'shealth-care problem. "What we've got right now is benign neglect inhealth care," he said."I think the big problem is that the jobs are going overseas," saidTerry Shackles, a business representative for the InternationalBrotherhood of Electrical Workers Union Local 1 in Cape Girardeau."They are eliminating the middle class people of this country," hetold Warner and Cook. "We can't afford another four years of whatwe've got."mbliss@semissourian.comMember of swift boat crew defends KerryBy JOHN SULLIVAN of the Tribune's staffPublished Monday, August 30, 2004A veteran who served with John Kerry in Vietnam spoke yesterday inColumbia to defend his former skipper's war record against a nationalgroup trying to debunk its legitimacy.Brian W. Kratzer photoGene Thorson, a crew member of a swift boat captained by John Kerryduring the Vietnam War, defends the presidential candidate's warrecord yesterday outside Courthouse Square in Columbia. Critics havequestioned Kerry's account of March 13, 1969, attack on his boat inVietnam.Gene Thorson, a crew member of the swift boat Kerry commanded,addressed a group of about 40 veterans and their families yesterday atthe veterans memorial in front of the Boone County Courthouse. Localveterans working for the Kerry-Edwards presidential campaign sponsoredthe event.If there were Kerry opponents, none spoke up during the event.Thorson, who served from February to April of 1969 with Kerry inVietnam, has been working on Kerry's campaign for two years, he said."We have to come out here and explain what's going on because theother side has to dirty the street."Thorson, a 58-year-old stone mason from Iowa, defended Kerry's actionsas commander of PCF-94. On March 13, 1969, Kerry and his crew joined afive-boat flotilla to insert pro-government forces in VietCong-controlled villages along the Bay Hap River.Military records depict a battle in which Kerry saved Jim Rassman, apassenger and Special Forces officer who fell overboard during theattack. Kerry received a Bronze Star for bravery and his third PurpleHeart for an injury to his arm.A political group of former swift boat skippers calling themselvesSwift Boat Veterans for Truth has attacked Kerry's accounts of thatday. Fueled by anger over Kerry's anti-war protests after serving inVietnam, the group asserts Kerry's boat did not receive heavy fire andKerry exaggerated the extent of his injuries to earn honors.Thorson contends his crew did come under attack from gunfire androckets and Kerry sustained significant injuries. He criticizedKerry's detractors, specifically retired commander George Elliot andretired Adm. Roy Hoffmann, who served as Kerry's superiors in Vietnam.Both men gave Kerry "excellent reports" for his service during thewar."It's sad when you congratulate him with one hand and stab him in theback with the other," Thorson said. "You're going to have to decidefor yourself who you're going to believe. You're going to believe themor me, who was with him that same day?"Bryan Fitzpatrick, 54, a disabled Vietnam War veteran, who came withhis wife, Ann, to listen to Thorson, said he believed it possible forwar accounts of former soldiers to differ. He considered the claims ofthe swift boat veterans against Kerry motivated by politics."It's the lowest form of politics to attack a vet's record," AnnFitzpatrick said.Columbia resident Jack Timmons, 73, a veteran of the Korean War, saidhe believes Kerry's attackers are lying. "I don't have the patience todiscuss it with someone who doesn't see it as I do," he said.Not all local veterans believe Kerry deserved his war honors. Columbiaresident Carl Smith, a former Marine who received a Purple Heart forwounds in Vietnam, said this morning in an interview he believed Kerryfabricated his war record. Smith, who called himself a Democrat, saidhe doubted Kerry's injuries were severe enough to merit three PurpleHearts."To get a Purple Heart, you had to bleed. You had to be treated. Fromwhat I can see from the records I read, Mr. Kerry made all this up,"he said.Smith said he didn't believe the accounts of Thorson or the otherfellow crew members who are now working on his campaign."Kerry didn't have contact with these people until his campaignstarted," he said. "It's kind of like groupies in a band; they're justtrying to benefit from association with the man."Published August 31, 2004Missouri Republicans take on New YorkCalifornia Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, center, rehearses on the stageat the Republican National Convention in New York during a soundcheck, late Monday night, Aug. 30, 2004. Schwarzenegger is scheduledto speak at the convention Tuesday night. (AP Photo/David Karp)Up to the MinuteCelebs Show Support for Planned ParenthoodBush: Diplomacy Is Best Option With IranFlorida Voters to Choose Senate NomineesSchwarzenegger, Laura Bush to Speak TodayHandheld Computers Aid Convention SecurityKerry Plans to Respond to Bush SpeechU.S. Rep. Ed Schrock Announces RetirementGOP Sees Colleges As Ground for VotesFirst Night of RNC a Battle of Sound BitesDemocrats Taking Aim at Bush ClaimsA member a protest group a wears a mask depicting President Bush aspart of a demonstration against visiting Republicans outside theRegency Hotel.Stuart Ramson / Associated PressByJames GoodwinNews-LeaderCindy Stein is spreading the message.A Missouri delegate to the Republican National Convention, she wasstopped on the street Monday by a New Yorker who asked, "Do you pleasehave a George W. Bush button? They don't sell them here."In a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans 5 to 1, Stein, theGreene County auditor, finds herself in another political world."We had a few people (Sunday) night who said, 'Republicans aren'twelcome here. Go home,'" Stein said Monday by telephone.But New York, known for its diversity, is experiencing a small bit ofMissouri's political variety this week - even if the number of Bushsupporters from the state dwarfs the number of Bush detractors.Both Republican delegates and the anti-Bush demonstrators who havedescended on New York are counting southwest Missouri residents amongtheir ranks.Jenny Esquivel is one of tens of thousands of protesters. TheSpringfield resident said Bush's foreign policy especially promptedher visit with four other area residents.They're sleeping on the floor of a church that provides them food andwater for the marches."We realize that while voting is important, it's not enough rightnow," said Esquivel, 23. "That's why we're here in the street."Stein, of course, is rooting for the president."I am a big believer in what George W. Bush stands for," she said,"... the strengths that he holds and the position that he takes in theMiddle East. ... As the leader of the free world, sometimes ourpositions aren't popular, but they're necessary."Stein is among the 57 delegates and 54 alternatives MissouriRepublicans sent to the convention, which runs through Thursday.They were chosen in June during the party's state convention inSpringfield and in April at congressional district conventions.Other delegates include Sens. Christopher "Kit" Bond and Jim Talent.Republicans, trying to reach out to moderates and independents in atight election, are keeping the most conservative speakers away fromthe microphone.Instead, they'll feature party moderates such as Arizona Sen. JohnMcCain, former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani and California Gov.Arnold Schwarzenegger.Stein, herself, takes a more moderate approach on at least one issue.She supports Bush's stances on Iraq and tax cuts but diverges when itcomes to the proposed federal constitutional amendment barring gaymarriage.The sister of a lesbian in a committed relationship, Stein supportsMissouri's law against same-sex marriage. But she doesn't support thefederal constitutional ban, and she opposed a similar ban Missouriansadopted Aug. 3."I was one of the minorities that didn't feel it was necessary tochange the constitution," Stein said.Democrats took issue with Bush's economic record in the week precedingthe convention.Economic advisors to Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry seizedon a Census Bureau report showing the number of uninsured andimpoverished Americans grew in 2003 for the third straight year.Incomes, when adjusted for inflation, remained flat last year,according to the report."It shows you the basic kitchen-table math for why middle-classfamilies are feeling squeezed," Kerry advisor Gene Sperling said lastweek during a conference call with reporters.He asked how such figures show the nation is "turning the corner," aphrase Bush has abandoned since he unveiled it during his Springfieldvisit last month.Bush supporters have countered by saying the Census Bureau reportdoesn't include economic gains made this year.They highlight U.S. Labor Department figures from July that show thenational unemployment rate fell to its lowest rate since October 2001and that the rates of industrial production and construction of newhomes and apartments have risen.On Monday, the Missouri Republican Party issued a news release notingthat CBS News anchorman Dan Rather wrote in a recent online journalthat a "very high Kerry advisor" said the campaign has doubts aboutits ability to win Missouri.Rather reported the unnamed advisor said, "Our numbers have beenslipping there. Whether we can be turned around or not we're trying tofigure out."Michael Golden, Kerry's Missouri spokesman, called the statementdubious: "The race seems to be deadlocked in the state," he said. "...We're not taking our foot off the gas one bit."This week belongs to the Republicans, though. And New York is theirbase, if only for a few days.There, the Republican resident looking for a Bush button found help inStein and other members of the Missouri delegation."He was just thrilled to be able to get a pin," she said. "And he putit on right there on the sidewalk and walked off."Area Republicans take the stageBond, Kobach, Hanaway speak at conventionBy STEVE KRASKEThe Kansas City StarKEITH MYERS/The Kansas City StarIn his speech Monday to the Republican convention, Kris Kobach pledgedto "close the door to terrorists who abuse America's open borders."Kobach is Kansas' 3rd District congressional nominee.Keith Myers (/The Kansas City Star)BondNEW YORK - On day one of the Republican National Convention, U.S. Sen.Kit Bond of Missouri stepped before delegates and criticized what hecalled the Democratic "smear machine."Fellow Republican Kris Kobach, Kansas' 3rd District congressionalnominee, took to the convention's center stage Monday to knock hisDemocratic opponent, incumbent Rep. Dennis Moore.And when it came her turn to speak, Missouri House Speaker CatherineHanaway, a candidate for secretary of state, condemned Democratic Gov.Bob Holden for "relentlessly" seeking to raise taxes.All the speeches came on a day reserved for brief, 90-second tothree-minute addresses by Republican congressional and statewidecandidates.Bond, seeking a rare fourth Senate term against Democrat Nancy Farmer,charged out of the gate by discussing his service on the SenateIntelligence Committee that oversees the nation's spy agencies."What I didn't expect," he said, "was that intelligence would be usedby the Democrats as a smear machine attacking our president. We'veheard the accusations repeated as if they were true."Bond was referring to criticism from the Kerry-Edwards ticket that theBush administration had pressured intelligence analysts to find linksbetween Iraq and al-Qaida and to conclude that weapons of massdestruction existed. Independent groups backing the Democratic ticketalso have publicized those charges, Bond said."That's a Democratic hoax," he said.Many of those analysts have said in extensive interviews that nopressure existed, Bond added."President Bush knows that intelligence is too important to bepoliticized," he said.Democrats shot back that the administration had provided misleadinginformation on Iraq. Former CIA director George Tenet reportedly toldthe president that the United States had a "slam dunk" case againstformer Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, said Kerry campaign spokesmanBill Burton.In his remarks, Kobach, a former adviser to Attorney General JohnAshcroft, pledged to "close the door to terrorists who abuse America'sopen borders" and said Moore had placed citizens at risk."How many terrorists will enter the United States before my opponentrealizes that we must close the borders to terrorists?" Kobach asked.In an interview, Kobach said Moore had voted several times againstauthorizing the military to patrol U.S. borders and had opposed aprovision aimed at giving authorities the ability to obtain businessrecords of suspected terrorists. "I strongly disagree with thosevotes," Kobach said.U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore, campaigning Monday in Johnson County,addressed Kobach's criticism."In case Mr. Kobach hasn't noticed, our troops are spread pretty thinright now," he said. "When we are stretched as thin as we are rightnow, I don't think we should take away from units right now and(their) ability to do their first function, which is the nationaldefense of our country."The Moore campaign noted that he voted for Customs Border Security Actof 2001, which authorized funds for the hiring of 285 additionalCustoms Service officers. The campaign said the bill authorized $9.1billion over three years for customs, including $90 million forequipment to detect terrorist activity or narcotics on U.S. borders.In her remarks to the convention, Hanaway, the state's first womanspeaker, said Republicans fought Holden on taxes because they believethat "Americans know better than the government how to spend theirhard-earned money."Holden had sought more revenue for schools, which he said were ingreat need of additional support. He confined his proposals tocasinos, cigarettes and wealthy Missourians. He did not call for anacross-the-board increase.The Star's Brad Cooper contributed to this report.To reach Steve Kraske,Michael B. GoldenMissouri State Communications DirectorJohn Kerry For President(816) 822 - 1702

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