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Decisive or Divisive?
March 10, 2004
By Todd Smyth

He was against global warming now he's for it; he was against "nation-building" now he likes it; he once opposed deficit spending now he's addicted to it; he was a uniter now he's a divider - and that's just one guy appointed by the Supreme Court. So, what redeeming qualities does George Bush have? Well, he's decisive!

... except on gay marriage (he used to be for civil unions)
... and outsourcing jobs (was a good thing, now a bad thing)
... Saddam and Osama good buddies? (actually mortal enemies)
... found mobile weapon labs (mobile weather balloon trucks)
... weapons grade uranium? (totally bogus, officially retracted)
... why we invaded Iraq (was WMD, now Saddam thinking bad thoughts)
... global warming (was our greatest threat, now ignore it and it'll go away)
... cost of new Medicare bill (was $395 billion, now over $534 billion)
... tax cuts favor the middle class (thought Steve Forbes was middle-class)
... budget projections (left out Iraq war, Medicare, and permanent tax cuts)
... no child left behind (except the poor ones)
... military service (was a 'Nam Vet, now "Don't mess with Texas")
... promised 2.6 million new jobs this year (but not in this country)
... promised 1.7 million jobs last year (in China and India shhh!)
... cost of tax-free health savings accounts (was $6.7 billion, now over $16 billion)
... doesn't know Enron CEO Ken Lay (biggest all-time campaign contributor)

It's easy to appear decisive when you think everyone is with you or against you. You can't have second thoughts when you never have the first one. It's hard to have conflicting views when you don't ask questions or even listen to your own cabinet members. While Bush's tax cuts trickle down overseas and al-Qaeda gears up for more attacks, George Bush is taking decisive action to amend the Constitution to restrict liberty, equality and dignity from the friendliest segment of our society.

In 1968 Richard Nixon won the White House by pitting Americans against one another, stirring up racial prejudice and bringing out the worst in people. It was called the "Southern Strategy." Republicans have been using and refining this divide and conquer approach for more than 30 years.

Now President Bush proposes an amendment to the Constitution in order to divide us by beating up on gay people. It's one thing for people to say they don't believe in gay marriage. It's completely different to change the Constitution to define marriage based on religious or personal beliefs. Even the most radical Bush supporters in congress like House majority leader Tom DeLay of Texas have backed off the president's proposal, suggesting that we allow the states to work it out.

It doesn't even look like Congress will touch the proposal. There is no chance of this amendment ever passing. The president is just using this hot button issue to change the subject of debate and misdirect people's attention from the real issues of jobs, healthcare and al-Qaeda. Remember al-Qaeda? They're the ones who attacked us on 9/11, 2001 when 2,992 Americans were killed during attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

It's not like there was no warning. Al-Qaeda attacked us in 2000 when suicide bombers blew up the Navy destroyer USS Cole killing 17 sailors. In 1998 al-Qaeda bombed U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Tanzania killing more than 250 people. al-Qaeda bombings at U.S. military facilities in Riyadh and Dhahran killed 26 American soldiers in 1995 and 1996. The World Trade Center was first bombed by al-Qaeda in 1993.

When asked about president Clinton's performance on defense the only criticism Paul Wolfowitz had was Bill Clinton's obsession with Osama bin Laden. Clinton's plan to eliminate al Qaeda root and branch was completed only weeks before the inauguration of George W. Bush. Clinton's National Security Advisor Sandy Berger arranged ten briefings for his successor, Condoleezza Rice, and her deputy, Stephen Hadley. He told Dr. Rice, "I believe that the Bush administration will spend more time on terrorism in general, and on al Qaeda specifically, than any other subject.''

For nine months the Bush administration did absolutely nothing to defend against bin Laden or al Qaeda. Instead they engaged in an obsession with the Star Wars Missile Defense system which would pay out hundreds of millions of dollars to Bush's best campaign contributors and protect America from nothing. Even if they ever get the system to work, the counter-measures will always be easier and less expensive to create.

Meanwhile, fifteen of the 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. Most of al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden are in Afghanistan or Pakistan, but George Bush wasted a year invading Iraq? Now that al-Qaeda has had time to regroup and expand, they're gearing up for more attacks. Bush failed to prevent the 9/11 disaster despite a history of attacks, plenty of accurate intelligence and strong warnings from the outgoing Clinton administration.

I've heard people say they were unsure about George Bush before 9/11 but were converted when he picked up a megaphone at Ground Zero in New York after the attacks. I suppose that was impressive. But what is astounding to me is that on the morning of 9/11 George Bush Sr. was attending a Carlyle Group meeting with Shafig bin Laden, brother of Osama bin Laden at the New York Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Shafig bin Laden financed part of George W. Bush's first oil company in Texas. The list of family connections between the bin Laden family and the Bush family is extensive and well documented. Even more astounding is that while airports around the country were closed after 9/11 George Bush had the FBI gather up 24 members of Osama bin Laden's family and safely fly them out of the country before they could be questioned about the 9/11 attacks.

George Bush's so called "strong and principled leadership" has misled the world about WMD as an excuse to invade Iraq and run for re-election as a "war president", while providing his biggest campaign contributors with greedy war profiteering. Bush publicly stated more than 43 times leading up to the war in Iraq, that there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks. When his bogus claim of Iraq obtaining enriched uranium from Niger was disputed by Joseph Wilson, Bush's staff illegally leaked the identity of Wilson's wife who was a covert CIA agent. Wilson said "The reason was to intimidate others from coming forward."

George Bush's decisive policies have resulted in the wholesale give away of our middle-class job market. His best remedy is job retraining which is just another misdirection. Retrain us for what jobs? While George Bush tells us the economy is in great shape and job growth is just around the corner, the trickle-down effect of his tax cuts has already come and gone overseas. The trick to trickle-down economics is the jobs need to be created in the same country the tax cuts come from.

The Republicans are now trying to label John Kerry as being indecisive and weak on defense. They've attacked him for attempting to change the spending habits on defense and intelligence systems. At the same time they want to label Kerry as a product of special interests. But spending on defense and intelligence systems is flawed and lacking accountability. John Kerry fought to stop the wasteful spending on bloated defense contractor pork and special interest favors.

For example, John Kerry's efforts to reduce spending on intelligence included spy satellites and other Cold War technology that would be ineffective in a non-cold war environment. Unfortunately, John Kerry's best efforts to restructure our intelligence spending failed and look at what we ended up with. The president himself is blaming the Weapons of Mass Destruction mirage on flawed intelligence. That's the kind of result we get when defense spending is not accountable and is entrenched in special interests.

It's not the amount of money you spend on defense. It's how effectively the money is spent. There was plenty of intelligence to identify and prevent the 9/11 attacks but it fell on unengaged and deaf ears. You can't defend America by wasting money on corrupt defense contractors and Cold War technology while ignoring the pay and health benefits of the soldiers who have to fight the wars and provide the defense. Why is it that John Kerry has had to fight so hard to spend money on soldiers and veterans? Because defense contractors can't make profits when we invest in people. But our soldiers can't use a Star Wars Missile Defense System to fight terrorism.

Now the country gets to decide if George W. Bush can have another four years to keep us marching down the wrong path. Bush will be waving his war record as proof of his strength on national security and foreign policy. His self-declared status as a "war president" and his carrier landing and flight-suit photo-op are just the beginning. George Bush has now changed the reason for going to war with Iraq. Last year Saddam was about to attack America using massive stockpiles of Weapons of Mass Destruction. But now Bush says Saddam was a threat based on his history of using mustard gas on the Kurds 15 years ago.

As long as George Bush sends our children into battle in a war of choice, waged on false intelligence and broken promises to exhaust all diplomatic solutions, he should answer for his own history and decisions during wartime. If a person's past history is enough of a reason to go to war then it won't hurt to take another look at George Bush's history.

Just why has the White House been so careful about releasing the president's National Guard records? It's not the alleged drug arrest or the DUI they're afraid of. It was the unusual timing of George Bush's disappearance from Texas. Some have suggested the Vietnam War was winding down in the spring of 1972 and young Lieutenant Bush simply lost interest in flying and just forgot to maintain his flying status.

But George Bush disappeared from Texas when the air war heated up over Hanoi. On April 10-14, 1972 Richard Nixon began carpet bombing North Vietnam. "The bastards have never been bombed like they're going to be bombed this time," Nixon privately declared. Fighter planes were used as a screen to protect the B-52 bombers. The slow moving fighter planes were shot down like clay pigeons. Pictures of captured US fighter pilots appeared on the front pages by April 15. George W. Bush's last paid day as a fighter pilot with the Texas Air National Guard was the very next day, April 16, 1972 (according to records released by the White House).

Bush stayed in Alabama for five months before he received authorization to transfer there. In Alabama, Bush stopped flying, failed to take a required physical exam and allowed his flying status to lapse. He never went back to Texas until he received his discharge six months before his required end of service date.

In comparison, John Kerry volunteered for combat service in Vietnam and risked his own life to save others. On February 28, 1969, during a mission on the Mekong Delta, a Vietcong soldier fired a rocket at his boat and missed. Before the enemy could reload, Lt. Kerry beached his boat, ran into the jungle, took out the NVA soldier and returned with the rocket launcher, earning a silver star for gallantry in action.

On March 13, 1969, Jim Rassmann, a Green Beret, was traveling down the Bay Hap river in a swift boat behind John Kerry's when both were ambushed by exploding mines. Kerry was hit in the arm, while a mine blew Rassmann's boat out of the water. With enemy fire coming from both sides of the river Kerry turned his boat around to save Rassmann. "We were still under fire, and he was wounded at the time...," recalled Rassmann. Kerry pulled the Green Beret into his boat before leaving the scene. Kerry didn't even know Jim Rassmann but he brought him home alive and he was awarded a Bronze Star and his third Purple Heart.

When John Kerry returned to the States he protested to end the war in Vietnam, to save the lives of the soldiers that were left behind. John Kerry asked a Congressional panel: "How do you ask a man to be the last to die for a mistake?" On principle, he risked his own future and fought the Nixon political establishment to save lives.

-----

In 1989, business man, George W. Bush was on the board of directors and finance audit committee of Harken Energy Corporation. At that time, Harken used a phony sale to bump up their stock price. In 1990 Bush sold $848,560 worth of stock, eight days before Harken posted their first losing quarter created by the phony bubble. The incident was investigated by the SEC's chairman Richard Breeden, a Republican and friend of then-President George Bush Sr. No charges were filed. Big surprise.

During the Enron scandal in December 2001, George Bush denied knowing the head of Enron, Ken Lay, even though Mr. Lay was a Bush Pioneer having personally raised $100,000 for Bush's 2000 election. Enron is still Bush's all-time biggest campaign contributor. The remarkable thing about the Enron disaster that most people overlook is that Enron didn't get caught. The company had to completely collapse under the weight of their own greed before anyone bothered to investigate.

During the 2000 election George Bush was hailed as a compassionate conservative. He said he was a uniter not a divider. Now he says you're either with him or against America. The No Child Left Behind program for children is a good idea. But like a hammer it can be used to build or destroy. Bush has been quick to ramrod the unfunded mandates for higher education standards without any solution to achieve them. Just a one-size-fits-all hammer that pounds our children through the same misshapen form that Bush himself could never pass.

George Bush has borrowed more than $500 billion dollars from our children in deficit spending, to help US companies expand overseas. George Bush's tax cuts for his wealthy circle of friends have resulted in the wholesale give away of our middle-class job market. For every good paying job that we lose overseas our market loses a consumer. America is the largest consumer market in the world. We have every right and responsibility to protect that market at some level.

Trickle-down or supply-side economic theory is no longer a viable option in a global economy because the money and the jobs trickle overseas. In contrast, middle-class tax cuts are invested in America. They have a direct and positive impact on the US economy. That is the only way to stimulate growth and ensure our money is not wasted.

We need a president who will stand up to special interests and fight for our interests. We the People of the United States. In Vietnam John Kerry risked his own life to save others. In the Senate, John Kerry has fought for better pay and benefits for our veterans as well as the soldiers who defend us today. He has fought against flawed legislation that lacks accountability but is often full of pork barrel spending and special interest favors. John Kerry has fought for balanced trade agreements that contain enforceable US labor safeguards. He has fought for campaign finance reform, and for fair and sensible tax policy.

As our new president, John Kerry will continue to fight for these important issues. In addition he will roll back Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans so we can invest in education and healthcare. He will fight to restore a balanced budget, fiscal discipline and environmental protection. John Kerry has promised to close the convoluted tax code loopholes that encourage the outsourcing of our middle-class job market. He will hold corporations accountable that use offshore accounts to avoid paying their fair share. He will provide manufacturing job credits and incentives to stimulate small business growth which create 7 out of every 10 new jobs in this country.

John Kerry will improve public education. Not with arbitrary one-size-fits all solutions but by improving teacher pay and by identifying and promoting the best practices of successful public schools in different rural and urban locations. And then helping other schools implement solutions that work best for their situation. John Kerry will invest in alternative energy to reduce our dependence on foreign oil which results in more terrorism and increased drug trafficking. And he will invest in American infrastructure to rebuild schools and roads and water systems to create jobs and build a better future.

We the People of the United States can not afford another four years of George Bush. It is time for a change and that change is John Kerry.

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