Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What we didn't hear tonight

Dear automat,

Remember this? "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

Those are George Bush's famous 16 words from his 2003 State of the Union address, delivered less than two months before he sent troops into war in Iraq.

They were false. Three years later Americans are still demanding answers on the manipulation of intelligence by an administration eager to start a war.

Americans have a lot of questions that went unanswered tonight. When George Bush delivered his State of the Union address, he had a big megaphone and the world's attention. He had the opportunity to regain some degree of credibility with the American people -- more than half of whom disapprove of his performance as president. But he failed to answer the real questions ordinary Americans have about the state of our union:

  • When will we have a new strategy in Iraq that protects American lives? Violence is increasing, not decreasing there and the mismanagement of this war has cost the lives of Americans and billions of dollars in fraud. And when will we secure our ports and chemical and nuclear plants, which remain vulnerable?

  • When will the Republican Party put its responsibility to the people before its greed and thirst for power? The Republican culture of corruption in the executive and legislative branches has violated the law and cost taxpayers billions.

  • When will President Bush and the Republican Congress wake up to the economic crisis tens of millions of Americans face? Good jobs are leaving this country, and many of the jobs that remain exploit working families by denying them adequate benefits. Millionaires and corporations receive tax breaks while Americans can't afford to save, and the gap between rich and poor continues to widen to levels unseen since the 19th century.

  • When will we finally do something for the 46 million Americans who lack health insurance? Many have had their lives ruined financially when the worst happened, and many more no longer seek the care they need because they cannot afford it.

  • When will we make serious strides towards energy independence? We get a greater percentage of our oil from cartels and dictatorships now than we did in 2000.

  • When will he take steps to further ensure retirement security for every American? Growing old with dignity is a right, not a privilege, and dismantling Social Security in favor of private accounts is the wrong direction for our society.

    If Bush and the Republicans would bother to answer these questions, the answers would be simple. But they won't answer.

    That's because the answer to each and every one is "Never." Never as long as they control our government, never as long as they can execute the same incompetent, dishonest and destructive government without paying a price at the ballot box. The answer will be "never" until we grow the operation and build the infrastructure to beat them.

    Part of that means telling people clearly and unambiguously what we stand for -- and I'll tell you right now:

  • Real security -- we will protect Americans at home by getting serious about homeland security, and address the real threats abroad by capturing or killing Osama bin Laden and focusing on actual (not imagined) nuclear proliferation. We will be prepared for the threats of tomorrow, and we will always tell the truth to our troops and the American people.

  • Honest leadership and open government -- we will end the criminal Republican culture of corruption and restore a sense of responsibility to elected office, and we will pass fundamental reforms that make government more honest, open, and accountable to the American people than ever before.

  • Economic prosperity and educational excellence -- we will keep good jobs from leaving and ensure that every job in America is a fair deal. We will balance the budget, ensure that the tax code is simple and fair, and invest in education to ensure that every American has an equal opportunity to succeed.

  • A health care system that works for everyone -- we will join every other industrialized country by making sure everyone has access to affordable health care. We will change a corrupt, inefficient system into one that makes sure the world's wealthiest country is also the healthiest.

  • Energy independence -- we will reduce our reliance on foreign oil by investing in cleaner and more efficient technology. We will treat energy independence as what it is -- not only a conservation issue, but an economic and national security issue.

  • Retirement security -- we will strengthen Social Security and make sure that a retirement with dignity is the right and expectation of every single American.

    Tonight and tomorrow, Republicans will be out in full force, spinning, distracting, distorting and dividing. But don't be fooled. You know what you heard in Bush's speech -- and you know the reality.

    When Republicans hurl insults and lies, we must be ready to stand up and speak the truth in response -- and to make sure our friends and neighbors are not afraid to do the same.

    Please take the time to write a letter to the editor about what's wrong with the Republican priorities -- and what we'll do to put America on the right track:

    http://www.democrats.org/sotu/rapidresponse

    We cannot sit back and let them attack us. And we cannot sit back and let them attack the values and ideals we hold dear.

    That's why we are investing millions of dollars and countless volunteer hours to build the Democratic Party everywhere. We're building a year-round, 50-state party capable of winning elections for every level of office.

    Building our party everywhere isn't only about electing more Democrats. It's about bringing people back into the political process and ensuring that we have at least one political party representative of, and responsible to, the people.

    These are not short-term investments, and we are not there yet. But we will only create lasting change if every single one of us takes responsibility for speaking out and organizing in our local community.

    Over the next ten months, that's exactly what we're going to do.

    Thank you.

    Governor Howard Dean, M.D.



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  • Standing Firm


    JohnKerry.com

    Dear Friend,

    Yesterday, 25 Democratic Senators joined our effort to filibuster the Alito nomination -- that's more votes to filibuster the Alito nomination than there were votes against Justice Roberts' nomination itself just a few months ago.

    This morning, 42 Senators voted against Alito's nomination. That's the highest number of votes against any Supreme Court nominee since Clarence Thomas in 1991.

    It's hard to lose -- but it's important to fight for what we believe in. I want to thank the hundreds of thousands of you who signed our petitions, called your senators, wrote letters to the editor and, most important, refused to stand silent while President Bush worked to pack the highest court in the land with far right ideologues. We fought a fight that needed fighting.

    We made sure the nation knew the truth about the Alito nomination. We made sure America heard how a right wing ideological coup sandbagged Harriet Miers' nomination and replaced her with Judge Alito. No one will be able to say, in five to ten years, that he or she is surprised by the decisions Judge Alito makes from the bench. People who believe in privacy rights, who fight for the rights of the most disadvantaged, who believe in balancing the power between the President and Congress had to take a stand.

    We also made it clear to the Bush administration that no matter what they throw at us in 2006 -- whether it's extreme nominees, special interest giveaways, shortsighted policy or Swift Boat-style attacks against Democratic candidates -- we will never surrender. We will always fight back.

    Now, we must be clear about something else. Winning the 2006 congressional elections is the only way to change the dangerous path George W. Bush has put us on. We need to defeat those Republicans who have overlooked this administration's incompetence, turned a blind eye to its failures, and lent a helping hand to its dangerous ideology.

    Together, we have to act to make sure 2006 is the year Americans, led by Democrats, stand up to incompetence, cronyism and corruption, take back Congress, and get our nation moving in the right direction again.

    I look forward to fighting alongside you.

    Sincerely,

    John Kerry

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    Thursday, January 26, 2006

    Filibuster


    JohnKerry.com
    Support a filibuster

    Dear Friend,

    Yesterday, Senator Ted Kennedy and I told our colleagues that we supported a filibuster of Judge Alito's nomination for the Supreme Court. And we weren't alone. But the bottom line is that it takes more than two or three people to filibuster successfully. It's not "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." If you want to stop Judge Alito from becoming Justice Alito, use your own email list and organize. We can't just preach to our own choir. We need to prove to everyone - from our friends and neighbors to our fellow Senators - that the American people know Judge Alito will take our country in the wrong direction, and they expect something to be done about it.

    So I'm asking you to join Senator Kennedy, me, and concerned citizens across America who are signing this petition to support a filibuster. If there was ever a time to forward an email on to friends and family, this is it. One way or another, we're going to find out in the next few days if Judge Alito is going to become Justice Alito. You know where I stand. The time to make your voice heard is now. So please sign this filibuster petition and get as many friends as you can to do the same.

    Sign the filibuster petition

    If Judge Alito gets on the Supreme Court, it will be an incredible mistake for America. And remember, this is one mistake that we can never take back.

    I voted against Justice Roberts, but I feel even more strongly about Judge Alito. Why? Rather than live up to the promise of "equal justice under the law," he has consistently made it harder for the most disadvantaged Americans to have their day in court. He routinely defers to excessive government power no matter how much government abuses that power. And, to this date, his only statement on record regarding a woman's right to privacy is that she doesn't have one.

    There isn't a shred of doubt in my opposition to Judge Alito's nomination. I spent a lot of time over the last few years thinking about what kind of person deserves to sit on the highest court in the land, so I don't hesitate a minute in saying that Judge Alito is not that person. His entire legal career shows that, if confirmed, he will take America backward. People can say all they want that "elections have consequences." Trust me, I understand. But that doesn't mean we have to stay silent about Judge Alito's nomination.

    Sign the filibuster petition

    President Bush had the opportunity to nominate someone who would unite the country in a time of extreme division. He chose not to do this, and that is his right. But we have every right -- in fact, we have a responsibility -- to fight against a radical ideological shift on the Supreme Court. This nomination was a sellout to the demands of the extreme right wing of the Republican Party. The president gave no thought to what the American people really wanted - or needed. So now that the president and Judge Alito have proven they won't stand up for the majority of Americans, we have to stand up. We have to speak out. That's the true meaning of "advice and consent."

    Sincerely,

    John Kerry

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    Wednesday, January 25, 2006

    Less than a week left

    Dear automat,

    On Tuesday night, George Bush will attempt to convince America that up is down, left is right and that staying the course is the way to go.

    Republicans will be out in full force spinning reporters who are just itching to give George Bush a pass -- but we can't let them.

    Thousands of Americans will join together at our State of the Union Watch Parties and become a part of the Democratic Party's rapid response efforts.

    Since I wrote to you on Monday more events have been created from Seattle to Baton Rouge to Buffalo. Attending one of these historic (and fun) events is as easy as clicking here for a list of events near you:

    http://www.democrats.org/events/find

    State of the Union Watch Parties happening in your area are a great way to gather with other people who know that we need to change the course, both in Iraq and here at home -- and they are a great way to get new people involved in the 2006 election. Click that link above to find a party near you -- and bring some friends along.

    If you'd like to schedule your own Watch Party, either at your home or at a public place where people can gather to watch the speech and the Democratic response, you still can. We will provide an online tool kit that makes hosting a party fun and easy. All you have to do is sign up and have your party counted:

    http://www.democrats.org/events/create

    Thank you,

    Tom

    Tom McMahon
    Executive Director
    Democratic National Committee

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    Monday, January 23, 2006

    Stand with us: No on Alito


    JohnKerry.com
    Stand with us

    Dear Friend,

    I've studied Judge Alito's legal record. I met with him one-on-one. After all this, I am left with one simple conclusion: if Judge Alito becomes Supreme Court Justice Alito, he will move the Court backwards.

    I will vote against Judge Alito's confirmation, and I hope a majority of Senators choose to join us on the Senate floor, voting and speaking out against him. I know we face tough odds, but this is an important fight.

    The bottom line is Judge Alito cannot be trusted on the Supreme Court. We can't trust him to stand up to government abuse of power. We can't trust him to ensure all citizens enjoy equal protection under the law. We can't trust him to protect our right to privacy. We can't trust him to defend mainstream American values.

    To muster enough Senators to defeat Judge Alito, the American people have to make it clear that they are against his nomination. That's where you come in. By speaking out, you will help us convince other Senators to join our fight.

    Stand with us today against Judge Alito

    If you want to understand why Americans don't want Judge Alito on the Supreme Court, just take a look at his record. It paints a disturbing picture.

    When it comes to standing up to the abuse of executive power and protecting our right to privacy, he barely has a record. Judge Alito refused to hold the government accountable for excessive force when an unarmed boy was shot and killed, or when an innocent 10 year old girl was strip-searched.

    In a speech in 2000, Judge Alito even endorsed a theory suggesting that independent agencies like the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which holds companies responsible for making products safe for kids, and the Securities and Exchange Commission, which stands up to corporate abusers like Enron, are unconstitutional infringements on the President's power.

    With this record, how can we expect Alito to stand up to the President when he breaks the law to eavesdrop on American citizens or authorizes the torture of detainees?

    Judge Alito's record on civil rights is no better. He saw no legitimate question of discrimination in allowing an all-white jury to sentence a black man to death for killing a white man. His own colleagues have criticized him for ignoring employees' rights to be free from job discrimination. Judge Alito's clear bias is to keep victims of discrimination out of the court system - and to rule in favor of corporate interests.

    Judge Alito's record on privacy rights is worst of all. In 1985, Judge Alito actually wrote a memo outlining a strategy to undermine Roe v. Wade by slowly chipping away at its protections. That same year, Judge Alito wrote in a job application that he did not believe in the constitutionality of the right to privacy. Judge Alito's views on privacy rights are not ambiguous; they are openly hostile.

    Stand with us today against Judge Alito

    Your voice is essential in this fight.

    We have no reason to be hesitant in fighting to keep Samuel Alito off the Supreme Court. None of our fears are based on inference, speculation or assumption. His record speaks for itself -- and it speaks on behalf of extreme ideology and powerful corporations -- not the rights guaranteed by our Constitution.

    To join this fight, please sign our letter. When I go down to the Senate floor to speak out against Judge Alito, I'll enter your name in opposition to Alito into the Congressional Record as well. And I'll show my Senate colleagues that as far as the American people are concerned, this is not some inside the beltway conversation; this is a landmark struggle for the future of our nation.

    Please join us in this fight for our most cherished rights and freedoms.

    Sincerely,

    John Kerry

    P.S. Please pass this letter on to your friends. We need as many voices as possible joining us and speaking out against Alito.

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    State of the Union Watch Parties

    Dear automat,

    In hundreds of communities across the country, people won't be sitting back when George Bush delivers his State of the Union address on January 31st. That's because in each of those communities someone decided to host a Watch Party -- a simple event to bring people together to get the facts and take action.

    There's still time to invite people over to watch together, react together, and -- most importantly -- decide together what you will do to work for change on the ground in your community this year.

    There will also be a Watch Party Conference Call immediately following the official Democratic response. You'll be able to join Governor Dean and other Democratic leaders for immediate reaction and opportunities for rapid response.

    You can set up your own Watch Party and start sending invitations using this simple tool on our web site:

    http://www.democrats.org/events/create

    From Anchorage to Wichita to Brooklyn people have already created Watch Parties. Everyone attending will receive background information before the speech, and the opportunity to hear directly from our party's leaders immediately after.

    You can search by zip code for an event in your area:

    http://www.democrats.org/events/find

    Where will you be next Tuesday night?

    Tom

    Tom McMahon
    Executive Director
    Democratic National Committee

    Paid for and authorized by the Democratic National Committee, www.democrats.org. This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

    Contributions or gifts to the Democratic National Committee are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.

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    DNC, 430 S. Capitol St. SE, Washington DC 20003


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