Wednesday, August 30, 2006

What is he hiding?

The Democratic Party

Dear automat,

You know the joke about how the government paid $436 for a hammer?

It's true.

So a bipartisan group of Senators introduced the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 -- a bill that would create a public, searchable database of all federal grants and contracts. Letting the public and the press see where the money goes would be a huge step towards eliminating ridiculous, wasteful spending.

A Google-like web site to find out where your tax dollars go -- seems like a no-brainer, right?

Think again. A Republican Senator famous for pork barrel spending placed a "secret hold" that's preventing the proposal from even getting a vote. The mystery Senator has revealed himself -- it's none other than Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, who became famous for trying to waste taxpayer dollars to build a "bridge to nowhere".

It's time to ratchet up the pressure and get this bill on the Congressional agenda. Tell Ted Stevens to give this important open government measure a fair up or down vote:

http://www.democrats.org/transparency

Under the Bush administration, fraud, corruption and abuse are worse than ever.

In fact, their chief procurement officer -- the guy who spends the money Congress authorizes -- was arrested and charged with being part of the web of Republican corruption surrounding disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Under Bush and the Republican Congress, the number of contracts awarded without competitive bidding has skyrocketed, as Democrat Henry Waxman on the House Government Reform Committee has documented. There are likely thousands of examples even more ridiculous than a toilet seat out there -- money wasted, stolen or misspent under this administration.

There's only one way to find out for sure, and that's by publicly accounting for which companies are getting your federal tax dollars. Send your message demanding a vote on the bill now:

http://www.democrats.org/transparency

Ted Stevens, the most senior Republican in the Senate, don't want you to see the wasteful mess that he and his party have made of the federal budget.

From Iraq to our own Gulf Coast, dollars that could be saving lives are being held up, misspent, or wasted. Troops don't have the body armor they need, small businesses in New Orleans haven't received support, and across the country 45 million people go without health insurance.

We've seen the damage that Republican secrets and lies can do to our country, and enough is enough.

Tell Republican Ted Stevens that you demand accountability from the people who spend your money:

http://www.democrats.org/transparency

The corruption and right-wing ideology of Republican rule has created a double nightmare for taxpayers.

Republicans have created the most expensive government in history through their corruption and out-of-control spending, but at the same time they've either refused or failed to meet the challenges of governing, like adequately preparing for disasters like Hurricane Katrina.

Democrats offer a new direction. We'll cut waste, root out corruption, and reprioritize federal spending so that it works for the people -- and we'll do it responsibly.

Remember -- only one president has balanced the budget in the last 45 years, and he was a Democrat.

One lesson learned over the last six years should be clear beyond any doubt: You cannot trust Republicans with your money.

By pressuring the Republicans to give this accountability measure an up or down vote, you can make this election about the open government and fiscal responsibility Americans deserve.

Thank you.

Governor Howard Dean, M.D.


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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Before Katrina

The Democratic Party

Dear automat,

An important fact has to be remembered as we recall the victims of last year's devastating storms:

Almost half of all children in New Orleans lived in poverty -- before Hurricane Katrina.

The callous and inept federal response to Hurricane Katrina revealed that, when faced with a crisis that experts had actually predicted, the Republican administration was utterly unprepared and unresponsive.

Meanwhile, the shameful foot-dragging since the storm on reconstruction and help to families shows the same lack of interest in solving real problems and saving lives. So far, the administration has gotten around to spending barely half of what Congress authorized.

The Republican administration's failures before and after the storms are linked by a common approach to the solemn responsibilities of government. Simply put: they aren't interested.

This Republican leadership's philosophy means that our government simply will not meet the needs of our people.

Not because it's impossible -- but because they don't believe it should.

And so we are left with each American having to do what he or she can to help.

There is too much to be done for individuals acting alone to fix everything, but until we achieve a change in leadership we all must step up to the plate.

One way to do that is by donating new or used books to the Children's Defense Fund, an organization that's working to make sure that school libraries in Gulf Coast are well-stocked for returning students.

Only 18% of New Orleans children had returned by the end of the last school year, according to the New York Times. More children will return this year, but the conditions they will return to can be terrible.

I want to ask that you participate in a book drive for the children of the Gulf Coast. It's important, and it's a tangible way for you to make a difference:

http://www.democrats.org/bookdrive

While we all take time to reflect and do our small part to help, one thing is clear: Democrats offer a new direction.

We believe in a government that takes its obligations to the American people seriously, one that is always improving the services and protections it provides -- a government that becomes more efficient as it meets challenges and takes on new challenges with serious commitment.

And we believe passionately in the responsibility of public service -- doing the hard, unglamorous work that comes with solving real problems that impact people's lives.

With that sense of responsibility missing in our leaders today, we find ourselves in deep trouble.

A fifth grader interviewed by the New York Times recently -- one of the few who have made it back -- told the reporter that his father, who is in the National Guard, has been sent to the Middle East. Meanwhile, back on the home front, their house has been burglarized.

The boy summed up what people on the Gulf Coast -- and people all across the country -- are feeling right now:

"We deserve better."

Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

P.S. -- We've set up a resource center to help people learn more a year after Katrina. From the promises made and subsequently broken, to a look back at the failure of leadership on the levees in New Orleans, take a minute to explore just where we are one year later:

http://www.democrats.org/katrinaanniversary


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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Playing offense for a change

The Democratic Party
Dear automat,

Democrats have been playing defense for too long.

Over the past few months, though, something has shifted. When it comes to national security, Democrats are playing offense for a change -- and it's working.

It's not enough to respond to the daily misinformation coming out of the White House, or defend ourselves against outrageous claims from Dick Cheney. We can't let them dictate the national conversation.

We have a fundamentally different vision for our security than the Party of Bush. We want a new direction in Iraq, more competent security at home, and the restoration of America's moral leadership in the world.

And we have a plan to take that message to voters between now and Election Day with person-to-person outreach in all 50 states. We have staff on the ground ready to take a strong Democratic message to voters -- supporting candidates up and down the ballot and spreading the word that it's time for a change.

We're going to fight for the Democratic vision on national security -- will you make a contribution to help fund our plan?

http://www.democrats.org/playoffense

People trust Democrats to handle our national security. In the latest CBS News and ABC News polls, more people trust Democrats to make the right decisions on Iraq. And in the latest Newsweek poll, nearly two-thirds of Americans agree that the war in Iraq has not made us safer from terrorism.

Meanwhile, as Iraq descends into civil war and becomes a new training ground for international terrorists, cargo coming into our country still isn't being inspected.

While the Party of Bush scrambles to write its latest talking points calling anyone who opposes them "al Qaeda types", nuclear materials sit unguarded in the former Soviet Union.

While the administration organizes lawyers to try to salvage its illegal domestic spying program, Osama bin Laden continues to remain free roaming around northwest Pakistan making videotapes five years after the tragic events of September 11th.

We're strong, we're right, and the people know it. Now let's get our message our to voters in all 50 states. Can you donate to help make it happen?

http://www.democrats.org/playoffense

Republicans have won two elections by instilling fear in people, and they're trying to do it again this year.

But it's not going to work. The President's foreign policies have failed. Iraq is sliding into civil war. Iran and North Korea are more dangerous than they were five and a half years ago. And the Taliban continues to present a threat in Afghanistan.

People have had enough. This administration cannot be trusted with our security.

Democrats are going to reclaim American leadership with a tough, smart plan to transform failed policies in Iraq, the Middle East and around the world.

We will double the size of Special Forces to destroy Osama Bin Laden and terrorist networks like al Qaeda.

We will implement the bipartisan 9/11 Commission proposal to secure America's borders and ports and screen every container.

And we will fully man, train, and equip our National Guard and our police, firefighters and other first responders.

Let's get this message out to Americans who need to hear it:

http://www.democrats.org/playoffense

When it comes to national security, the Republicans have not led.

We will.

Governor Howard Dean, M.D.
Chairman, Democratic National Committee

P.S. -- We are spending $8 billion a month in Iraq. That's $2 billion each week, $267 million each day, or $11 million each hour. For what we spend in three weeks, we could make needed improvements in order to properly secure our public transportation systems. For what we spend in five days, we could put radiation detectors in all of our ports. And for two days in Iraq, we could screen all air cargo.

Can you donate to help make those things happen?

http://www.democrats.org/playoffense


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Thursday, August 17, 2006

People who live in white houses...


JohnKerry.com

Dear Friend,

People who live in white houses shouldn't throw stones.

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove should know better, but it's no surprise they don't. For almost five years now, every time they've got their backs to the wall politically, they play "the fear card." The latest example: Dick Cheney claiming that Democratic candidates who dare to challenge the Bush White House on Iraq are "emboldening terrorists."

What's worse, and startling, is that in Connecticut Joe Lieberman is now echoing their intolerable rhetoric attacking the Democratic Senate nominee.

It won't work. We won't let it work.

HELP WIN THREE CRUCIAL SENATE RACES.

In Connecticut, New Jersey and Hawaii, this cynical Bush-Cheney strategy is running aground because our stand-up candidates are exposing the failed policies, botched strategies, and mind-boggling incompetence of the Bush White House that have squandered America's treasure, kept Osama Bin Laden on the loose, and cost the lives and limbs of our brave young people.

If the Bush administration could plan and execute the war on terror as well as it executes its shameless pre-election fear-mongering, we'd all be a lot safer.

That's what strong, principled Senate candidates like Ned Lamont, Bob Menendez, and Dan Akaka are making clear to voters in three of America's closest, high-stakes Senate contests.

HELP WIN THREE CRUCIAL SENATE RACES.

Our candidates are refusing to buckle or bend in the face of withering attacks by shameless politicians.

I urge you to stand with these candidates now. Because when we help them win, the cynical tactics of the Bush-Cheney-Rove political machine will lose their power.

There's only one way we can win. We've got to help our candidates give back as good as they get.

We'll meet every shameless attack with more energy, every distorting ad with more passion, and every ugly appeal to fear with more determination.

And 82 days from now, we'll celebrate the election of standup Democrats all across America.

We'll teach them, once and for all, that people who live in white houses shouldn't throw stones.

Let's get it done.

Sincerely,

John Kerry

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

'The al Qaeda Candidate'

The Democratic Party

Dear automat,

Here's what a CNN Headline News anchor asked a Washington journalist on Friday during an interview about the British terror arrests:

"How does this factor into the Lieberman-Lamont contest in Connecticut? Might some argue, as some have, that Lamont is the al Qaeda candidate?"

You would expect this kind of disgusting and inappropriate suggestion from someone more like Dick Cheney. In fact, it was Dick Cheney who said last week that electing people who question the Republican war in Iraq encourages "the al Qaeda types".

The anchor later apologized to Lamont for misquoting Cheney -- but then went on to question Lamont about the same ridiculous accusation. He's not alone -- commentators and journalists have mindlessly repeated Cheney's remarks over and over again, reporting on it or inquiring about it over the past week as if it's a real question for debate.

Journalists have a responsibility to do more than regurgitate the most desperate and most extreme talking points. When journalists allow these defamatory and un-American suggestions to infect their coverage of the news, we have to act swiftly to call on them to stop it.

Democrats offer a new direction. We'll do a better job of fighting the war on terror by taking the target off the backs of American troops in Iraq; we'll get serious about capturing or killing Osama bin Laden; and we'll be ready for threats to our safety and security here at home, whether it's terrorism or hurricanes. We'll sit down with journalists and answer the tough questions about our nation's security any time -- but there's no excuse for resorting to repeating desperate Republican talking points.

Write to your local newspaper and let them know where Democrats stand, and that we're not going to allow our party and our candidates to be smeared.

http://www.democrats.org/speakout

The American people have woken up.

Everywhere people are saying, "Enough is enough" -- rejecting the extremist ideology and total incompetence of the Bush administration, and rejecting their desperate, scorched-earth political tactics.

Democrats are energized and ready for change. We want this administration to get serious about protecting America, our troops and our citizens.

It's deeply irresponsible for journalists to repeat these ridiculous smears. Democrats are going to do a better job at keeping America safe, and you can tell them so in your own letter:

http://www.democrats.org/speakout

Thank you,

Tom

Tom McMahon
Executive Director, Democratic National Committee


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Reward Their Courage


JohnKerry.com
CONTRIBUTE

Dear Friend,

We say America needs candidates who take strong positions and have the courage of their convictions. We've got them. We're searching for leaders who understand that we can't change George Bush and Don Rumsfeld's aimless course in Iraq if we don't stand up in this fall's campaign and demand change. These leaders are standing right in front of us.

So now the question is: Can Ned Lamont, Daniel Akaka, and Bob Menendez count on us to act right now and pull them through to victory?

Support Strong Leaders Who Aren't Afraid to Tell the Truth About Iraq

Each of these strong leaders has forcefully spoken out in favor of a clear timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Despite the "warnings" coming from consultants, political pundits and naysayers in Washington, each of these candidates is making the mess in Iraq a central issue in their campaigns for the Senate. They aren't afraid to talk about why the war is wrong and what must be done to change course and start doing what is best for our troops and our country. And they aren't afraid to stand up for a better way that will bring our heroes home and put Iraq in Iraqis' hands.

It's time to reward their courage.

Support Strong Leaders Who Aren't Afraid to Tell the Truth About Iraq

In Connecticut, Ned Lamont has caused a national stir by successfully challenging the Bush position on Iraq that ignores the utter failure of the President's policy and calls for a deeply misplaced reliance on a dangerous course of action. In the Senate, Ned Lamont will go head to head with Don Rumsfeld, and our troops will benefit from Lamont's leadership. He knows that patriotism isn't reserved for those who defend a President's position; patriotism is doing what's right for our troops and our country.

My friend Dan Akaka (D-HI) has been a powerful voice of opposition to dangerous policies, as one of 13 votes in favor of the Kerry-Feingold amendment calling on the Bush administration to withdraw all U.S. combat troops by the middle of 2007.

My colleague Bob Menendez (D-NJ) proudly supported that amendment, as well. In fact, the day after we voted, he put his money where his vote was, putting an ad on TV saying it was time to start bringing our troops home. His vote was that important to him.

Ned, Dan, and Bob have been attacked mercilessly for acting with such conviction and are locked in close must-win races.

It's time to support candidates who are willing to tell the truth: that George W. Bush's policies have failed to make America safe and that it is time to change course in the war in Iraq.

Support Strong Leaders Who Aren't Afraid to Tell the Truth About Iraq

Helping win victories for Democratic candidates who have acted with clarity on the war in Iraq is the best way to bring George W. Bush's miserable failure to an end.

But, we can't fool ourselves. None of these candidates will coast to victory -- not in the face of the brutal, unprincipled assaults on their character and patriotism that are the stock in trade of the Bush-Cheney-Rove political machine.

If we want these Democrats to win, we've got to throw our support behind them. We have to use the last few months of this campaign to pull them through to victory -- and to drive from office politicians who continue to support the President's miserable failure in Iraq.

If we want to reward their courage, we've got to commit ourselves to pulling them through to victory.

Support Strong Leaders Who Aren't Afraid to Tell the Truth About Iraq

I know how urgently you want to turn America around -- not only on Iraq, but on a wide range of crucial issues. I'm telling you this: there is no better way to challenge the harmful policies of the Bush administration than to throw our support behind these three candidates.

They're telling the truth on the campaign trail -- that America is on the wrong course in Iraq, that it's time to withdraw our troops and leave Iraq's future in the hands of the Iraqi people, and that, behind all the Bush bluster and bombast, all you can find is a string of misjudgments, deceits, and failures that have seriously imperiled our national security.

I urge you to help elect candidates who will join me in telling those truths every day on the floor of the United States Senate -- never yielding until we turn America around and bring our troops home from Iraq.

Sincerely,

John Kerry

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Conduct Unbecoming

The Democratic Party
Dear automat,

Here's the question that the right-wing extremists who control the Republican Congress will put before the Senate:

"Over seven million Americans can have a raise of $2.15 an hour by raising the minimum wage, but only if we give a tax cut to 7,500 ultra-rich people at a cost of $753 billion dollars."

It's despicable, it's wrong, and we need to stop it.

Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist has said that this will be the only vote he will allow on a minimum wage increase this year.

Enough is enough. Contact your Senators and tell them to reject this shameful bill by signing this petition:

http://www.democrats.org/realminimumwage

Democrats have been fighting for a minimum wage increase, but Republicans won't allow a straight up-or-down vote on it.

Now Frist and his right-wing allies say they will allow a vote on the minimum wage -- but only in the form of a bill that includes a huge giveaway to ultra-wealthy Republican donors.

We want folks to do well, but America shouldn't have to sacrifice billions of dollars to give only a small group of millionaires a tax break while millions of hard working Americans - some with two or more jobs - are barely able to make ends meet.

What's more, the Republicans' so-called minimum wage increase contains provisions that would actually strip wages from over a million people in seven states where they earn that state's minimum wage in addition to their tips.

This isn't responsible government -- and we're not going to take it.

Let your Senators know that they should reject it:

http://www.democrats.org/realminimumwage

This is the kind of sad, twisted game that the Republican-controlled Congress has played for years.

We have troops at war without proper armor, a faltering reconstruction on the Gulf Coast, and a president openly defying the laws they pass -- and the Republican Congress gives us things like this.

Republicans have managed to find time to vote multiple times on raising their own salaries, though -- to the tune of over $35,000 during the 10 years since the last time they raised the minimum wage. Democrats, on the other hand, are opposed to Congressional pay increases until there's an increase in the minimum wage.

The Republican leadership's priorities are backwards and out of the mainstream. Even one moderate Republican Senator called the tactics around the minimum wage bill "unbecoming of the Senate".

It's up to the rest of us to stop this right now. Sign this petition opposing this sham bill:

http://www.democrats.org/realminimumwage

I'm tired of a do-nothing Republican Congress that plays games with people's lives.

There's work to be done, and it's clear that the Republicans won't do it. But we're going to take these issues to the people and in less than 100 days Americans will have an opportunity to change course.

Thank you for being a part of making it happen.

Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

P.S. -- Here are some simple facts that can't be ignored:

  • Someone working full-time for the $5.15 federal minimum wage makes just $10,700 a year. A single mom with two kids who works full-time for the minimum wage is about $6,000 below the poverty line.
  • The federal minimum wage has been stuck at the same rate since 1997. Since then, Republican leaders have raised the salaries of Senators seven times. Salaries of lawmakers have gone up by $35,000 -- almost three times the entire yearly income of someone on minimum wage.
  • The real value of the minimum wage is more than $3.00 below what it was a generation ago, and right now has its lowest buying power in over 50 years.
  • The minimum wage is the lowest it has been in over 50 years relative to the average wage.
  • Raising the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour adds up to more than one year of groceries, over 9 months of rent, a year and a half of heat and electricity, or full tuition for a community college degree.

Please do what you can to help call attention to this vitally important issue.

The world's richest and most powerful country must do better.


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