Justice Department investigating Harkin
Why isnít the Des Moines Register reporting it?
Editorial by: Roger Wm. Hughes
On Dec. 2, the Associated Press reported that Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) was
under investigation for corruption connected to the Jack Abramoff scandal.
However, The Des Moines Register has not printed a word about it.
The Register failed to report for more than two weeks about the fact that
Harkin finally admitted to breaking ethics laws by not reimbursing Jack
Abramoff for the use of his skybox at the Washington D.C. MCI Center. As it
turned out, a client of Abramoff's -- the Mississippi Band of Choctaw
Indians -- was paying for the skybox, so Harkin reimbursed the tribe $1,800
for the 2002 event and $1,900 for the 2003 event.
Now once again, the Register is covering for Harkin. This time the
allegations are even more serious and the Register is not letting Iowans
The Associated Press reported that Michael D. Smith, a member of Jack
Abramoff's tribal lobbying team at the Greenberg Traurig law firm, drafted
letters that Harkin sent to the Interior Department and National Indian
Gaming Commission between June and November 2003. During that very time,
Harkin raked in $17,000 from Smith and other Abramoff-related sources. The
Sac & Fox gave $4,000 more to Harkin in 2004 -- about six months after the
federal government allowed the tribe's casino to reopen.
It is clear that Harkin was involved in the controversial takeover of the
Mesquaki Casino on the side of Abramoff. It is also clear that he reaped
considerable donations for his actions in the matter. He also broke ethics
rules by not reimbursing Abramoff for the use of his skybox.
What is not clear is why the Register is covering this up.
need to send an e-mail to the Registerís
VP/Editor Carolyn Washburn at:
firstname.lastname@example.org and ask why is the Register covering up the Justice
Departmentís corruption investigation of Sen. Tom Harkin.
I hope that
many Americans and Iowans take up the call to ask for old media to do its
Jane Fonda is at it again. Newsmax reports that she is claiming that the
American military deliberately trains its soldiers to commit atrocities:
"Hanoi Jane" Fonda is claiming that ever since Vietnam, U.S. troops have
been trained to commit atrocities against innocent civilians as a matter of
"Starting with the Vietnam War we began training soldiers differently," the
anti-American actress says in an email to the Washington Post.
Fonda claims she learned of the policy switch in "secret meetings" she had
with military psychologists "who were really worried about what was
happening to our combat personnel."
One doctor, she insists, told her U.S. troops had been deliberately trained
to be "killing machines."
Abramoff scandal widens
Washington Times is reporting that the top Democrat (Sen. Byron L.
Dorgan, North Dakota) investigating the Jack Abramoff scandal is returning
the money he was given. Democrats received some $700,000 in Indian tribe
money from Abramoff. In total, Senate Democrats and their national
committees accepted $3.1 million:
The top Democrat on the Senate committee investigating casino lobbyist Jack
Abramoff is returning $67,000 in donations after press reports showed that
he collected the money from Mr. Abramoff's gambling clients around the time
he took actions favorable to those clients.
On Dec. 2, the Associated Press reported that Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) was
part of the Justice Departments investigation into corruption for his
activities concerning the Masquaki Casino closing. The Des Moines Register
has yet to cover the story.
Harkin also revealed the fact that he failed to pay for the use of Jack
Abramoffís skybox and has subsequently reimbursed the Indian tribe for its
Iranís President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continues to create an atmosphere of a
showdown with Europe and the world. Germany has recalled its diplomat from
Iran after the Presidnet said that the Holocaust didnít happen. Ahmadinejad
has also called on Israel to be wiped from the earth and suggested that it
should be moved to Alaska or Europe.
Israel has intimated that it might strike Iran militarily.
Harkin not good enough
The House yesterday approved a bill that would name two federal health
buildings after Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks and Mother
Teresa This ended the Senate effort at self-aggrandizement to have the
buildings named after Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Arlen Specter,
The House bill passed by voice vote. It would name two Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention buildings in Atlanta after the well-known women.
Still our President
Hillary and Bill Clinton had their inner circle get together for a little
fund-raiser for the Senatorís reelection. Alan Patricoff in introducing Bill
stated, "He is still our President. The event raised $600,000. This was the
amount reportedly raised by Gov. Mark Warner (D-VA) who also is also
interested in residency at the White House in 2008.
Governor Mitt Romney Ė a recent visitor to first-in-the-nation caucus state
Iowa -- will be having guests this weekend. The guests include political
consultant Michael E. Murphy, and a veteran GOP operative, Philip A. Musser.
Romney has just taken over the chairmanship of the Republican Governorís
Association. However, Romneyís 2008 plans will be the likely central area of
Hillary rakes it in for Kentucky
Kentucky Democrats recently raised more than $600,000 for Sen. Hillary
Clinton (D-NY). That's the most ever raised according to Hillary's
newsletter. She offered the following speech at that momentous occasion:
Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. I think I'm one step ahead of the
fire marshals. This is an extraordinary turnout of Kentucky Democrats who
are ready to win again on behalf of the Democratic Party. Our values are on
You know, it is great to see our old friend Senator Ford again. I heard
Jerry making his remarks, reminding all of us that we actually carried this
state in 1992 and 1996, and Wendell Ford was a big part of that. And then
because he was chairman of something called the Rules Committee in the
Senate, he was in charge of both inaugurations. He had a lot to do with the
successes of the Clinton Administration. He sometimes comes to the Senate to
say hello and we all tell him how much we miss him because we do. So it's an
honor to be introduced by such a great leader as Senator Ford.
And while I was standing backstage waiting to come out and see all of you, I
saw my longtime friend, your former governor, Martha Layne Collins. She did
an excellent job - so much for education and to promote jobs in the state.
It's wonderful to see her. I know that out in this great crowd are others of
Bill's and my friends. I've been told that former Senator Dee Huddleston is
here, and I want to say greetings to you, Senator. Former Governor Julian
Carroll is here as well.
Our long time friend, former Governor John Y. Brown is here. Where's John
Y.? It brings back a lot of wonderful memories. We had a great time at the
Kentucky Derby all those years ago. I've been reminiscing about all the
times we've been in your wonderful state, friends we've made and
extraordinary generosity that the people have shown to Bill and to me. Some
of you might remember that we actually were in Paducah the night before that
memorable election. I think that's what cinched it for us. There was no
doubt after we were in Paducah that Bill Clinton was going to be elected
There's someone else I see here that I want to acknowledge and thank. A
genuine hero, one of my favorite people, a fierce advocate for our men and
women in uniform, our veterans. He served as Secretary of Veteran Affairs.
He served in the United States Senates. He's a wonderful and patriotic
American, Max Cleland. Max, we love you.
And of course, I want to thank your energetic, effective chair. Now, when
Jerry called and asked me to come tonight, he said, well, he wanted to get a
few people together to talk about the future of the Democratic Party in
Kentucky. I had no idea that this is what he meant. But it's a great tribute
to his leadership. His wonderful family. That's what you get when you have a
great wife and five daughters who help you do what you need to do. And this
is a living testament to his commitment to this state and to the Democratic
Well, I could reminisce all evening because there are a lot of stories. But
I want to talk about the future. I want to talk about the Democratic Party.
What we can do and must do starting next year to take back our country.
Because all across America now you can here the conversations. Sometimes
they're almost a little embarrassed and take place over in a corner that
people, Republicans, independents are joining us in recognizing that our
country is not headed in the right direction. I've had so many Republicans
come up to me in the last months and say to me, "I didn't sign up for all of
this." And I say, "Well, what do you mean?" And they sort of shake their
heads. For some of them it's the deficit. For some it's Katrina. For some
it's the war in Iraq. For some it's the shredding of the social safety net
and the threat to privatize Social Security. But for all of them it's a
recognition that the leadership in Washington is not leading America in a
way that we know we need.
And there are many beyond this room that is filled to capacity who
understand that as well. We won some elections this past November because
Democrats ran tough, effective campaigns. They celebrated the best of what
we have to offer: a positive vision about where we want to lead our country
and a return to the real values that made America great. I think America is
calling for Democratic leadership. It is up to us to answer that call.
Because, as we look forward to 2006, our fight is about changing America and
reclaiming the American dream.
There are so many reasons why the time is now. Some of it has to do with the
fact that, I know talking to people throughout New York, that what's on the
minds of most New Yorkers, like the minds of most of you and people around
our country has to do with the fundamental distinctively optimistic American
view about who we are and what we are capable of doing. But I also know that
as I talk with people from all walks of life - seniors and students,
teachers, and police officers and firefighters and factory workers -
everybody that I come across is concerned. And they tell me that there is a
growing sense of uncertainty, of insecurity, because they feel that America,
this land that we love and cherish, is off track.
Americans know that we can do better. And increasingly Americans are
demanding that we must do better. I don't have to tell you this because
you're here, feeling the very same things. You know that what's true here in
Kentucky or true in New York, it doesn't matter whether you're in a red
state or a blue state; we are all Americans. We love this country. We care
about our children. We want a better future and we have a responsibility to
go out and make it happen.
Americans have always risen to the challenge that confronted us. And at the
dawn of the 21st century, we face real challenges. From global competition
to global warming. From rising health care costs to rising energy costs. And
yet Republicans in Washington are not even serious about addressing these
challenges. They're not willing to take them on. And their failure of
leadership is leaving America unprepared for the future we face.
One of the underlying principles of the American success story has been our
belief that if we worked hard today and we made smart investments, we would
build a better tomorrow. We've done it in our families. We've done it in our
businesses. We've done it in our communities. It's one of the hallmarks of
the American ideal, that we are people who are constantly pushing the
boundaries, crossing the frontiers for a better future. And we've had
leaders who understood that, going back to the very beginning. There are so
many examples. I think of Thomas Jefferson spending what amounted to nearly
all of the federal budget, not on tax cuts for the rich but on the Louisiana
Territory so we could expand our nation.
I think of Franklin Roosevelt, of course. Someone who faced extraordinary
obstacles, who inherited a country in depression. And what did he tell us?
"We have nothing to fear but fear itself." What a difference. We now have
leadership who want us to be afraid. Who sow fear, anxiety, and insecurity
President Kennedy, with his enthusiastic commitment to sending a man to the
moon inspired all of us. I even wrote to NASA trying to figure out how I
could be an astronaut. Unfortunately, I received a reply that at that time
they weren't looking for girls. But that changed too. We just had a
wonderful young woman from New York, Eileen Collins, who captained the last
When I was growing up, like so many of you about my age - young, my family
benefited from our nation's commitment to expanding opportunity and building
up the middle class. There was a basic bargain in America, that if you
worked hard and played by the rules you and your family could and most
likely would prosper. My father, like so many men of the greatest
generation, returned from military service to a nation that made an
unprecedented investment in education, not only the GI bill but the
explosion of schools that were built, the colleges and universities that
opened their doors to people who wanted to improve their standing in life
and who understood how critical education was to doing that.
A nation that had a tax code the rewarded hard work, not just wealth. That
understood that, with all due respect, this is not a nation that was built
by and for the rich. There are rich people, thank goodness, everywhere, but
what made America different was the middle class, the upward mobility. The
belief that you could surpass your parents standing in life and that with
good fortune and hard work your children could go beyond even your position.
We had a basic bargain that we believed in and it worked. You know, the last
half of the 20th century created an opportunity society in America that was
unknown in the history of the world. And we had leaders who understood that
without a strong and growing middle class we wouldn't fulfill the promise of
America. Now someone out there might say, perhaps this extraordinary young
man, Michael Spicer, who came tonight, and I'm delighted that he did. You
might say, "But Senator Clinton, you grew up a long, long, long time ago."
Well, I think the values are the same. The same values that I was raised
with, the same belief in the American dream and possibilities beyond our
imagining. And what I see happening is that that promise, that sense of
possibility, is under attack. The values that made America in the 20th
century, not just the economic leader of the world, but the moral leader of
the world are under attack today.
I think all of us who are parents, and those of you lucky enough to be
grandparents, you know that it's to every generation the obligation that we
leave the world better off for our children and grandchildren than how we
found it. That is the inescapable generational compact. But I worry that
we're not doing that. That we may be, shamefully, the first generation to
leave our country worse off than how we found it. And that's because we're
ignoring and denying the tough challenges that we face. We are not doing
today what is required to make America in the future richer and stronger and
safer and smarter. To create the economic engine that will provide the high
standard of living that Americans should look forward to.
I believe that the Democratic Party should and will take on these tough
challenges. I believe we can do it. We can reverse high energy costs, and we
can become energy independent and break our addiction to foreign oil which
is undermining our economy and our security. I believe we can make quality
health care more affordable and available for every single American. I
believe we can make the investments today in both the public and the private
sector that will promote high-paying quality jobs and will ensure that
American business can compete in the global marketplace not by engaging in a
race to the bottom where people are paid wages they cannot live on but my
lifting up our economic sights and making the investments that will make us
richer and stronger.
And I believe we can defeat terrorism, secure our homeland, and make
Americans feel safe again by leveling with the American people, telling them
the truth, and pursuing strategies that will actually work, not just
platitudes and rhetoric that are not working. Now that all sounds good, but
how do we do it? Well, I think we start by getting back to performance-based
politics and evidence-based decision making. Getting back to a government
that listens to the American people, hears their concerns, cares enough to
seek out the facts and is willing to work together across party lines from
one end of the country to the other to find practical solutions to the
problems that we face.
Now, let's take some of these problems we face. Energy's a perfect example.
We have a short-term problem: helping people pay their bills, and that will
be particularly important this winter. Because at least in my state there
are a lot people who are going to have to pay hundreds of dollars more to
heat their homes. And we're going to have to help them. The price of
national gas has tripled in the past months and families can expect to spend
30-50% more just to heat their houses.
But we also have a long-term problem. Economic development in China and
India and elsewhere means that we are competing for oil and other scarce
natural resources. That competition is driving prices higher and higher. And
we have increasing evidence, from scientific findings to brutal storms, that
we are warming the planet at a rate that can endanger the futures of our
children and grandchildren.
These problems will not go away by ignoring them. They certainly will not go
away by forming secret energy task forces. But they can be addressed if we
roll up our sleeves and go to work together. It will take new technologies
and new priorities, but we can do this. We have always, in America, led the
way in virtually every new technology, from telephones to electric lights to
the personal computer to new miracle drugs. We not only can be, we must be
leaders in the energy revolution. We can make better investments in
alternative energy. We can make better use of the coal that comes right from
Kentucky. We can invest not only in clean coal but in solar and in wind, in
fuel cells, biofuels and so much else.
One idea that I've proposed is to establish a strategic energy fund. Now I
know you've seen the same news I have. The oil companies have made more
profits in the past three quarters than any companies in the history of the
world have ever made. One of them, Exxon, in the last quarter made nearly
$10 billion in profits. Well, I think we ought to ask these oil companies to
be part of America's energy solution. Have them invest in new technologies
that will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil. And if they don't want
to do it voluntarily, have them put some of those amazing profits into a
strategic energy fund, and we will do it by giving it to people who are
willing to make the investments in clean coal, in solar, in wind, in all of
the other new technologies.
You know sometimes when I listen to the Republicans in Washington talk about
energy, I don't know what country I'm in. I can't tell exactly why they
believe we are incapable of taking these steps that will help us conserve
energy and be stronger in the future. If they won't make the hard decisions,
I have an answer: let's elect Democrats, and we can begin to make those
decisions and get ourselves on the right track for an energy future.
You know, the same thing is true about healthcare. Now this, as you know, is
a subject that I've had some experience with. And I still have the scars to
show for it. But I am not sorry that we tried twelve years ago to make sure
we provided health care that was affordable and of high quality and
available to every American. And in fact, we have the same problems we had
back then, don't we? In fact we have more uninsured people and health care
premiums are going up by double digit inflation. A twenty percent jump in
the past two years.
So we still have the problems we tried unsuccessfully to address back in '93
and '94, and now we have new problems. Let me just name two. One is that
with all this wonderful work that is being done on the human genome, and
we're finding out about all the ways we're susceptible to diseases and what
we need to do to protect ourselves. That's amazing and exciting. But it's
going to make all of us uninsurable. Because when we know what our true
genetic makeup is, every one of us is going to be susceptible for something.
So how are we going to do that if we exempt pre-existing conditions - those
are the absolute definition of pre-existing conditions. So how are we going
to insure ourselves?
A second problem is that because of global competition American companies
are finding it harder and harder to compete. And I don't blame the
companies. They're in a tough global, competitive race. They're expected to
provide health care. And most of them are not only providing health care to
their existing employees, but to retirees as well. How can they compete
against companies in countries like China that don't pay decent wages by our
standards and don't provide health care? And how can they compete against
companies in countries where everybody has to contribute, and there are no
freeloaders in the system? You know, recently Toyota announced they were
going to build their next big manufacturing plant in Canada because health
care costs were too high across the border in America.
So we have a short-term problem and a long-term problem. Now in the
short-term I believe, and I have worked to pass legislation which I passed
through the Senate just a few weeks ago, that we should have more health
information technology that will give us better information about health
care, give everyone one of us a safe, secure, confidential electronic
medical record, enable us to learn more about how to take better care of
ourselves, reduce medical errors, improve the quality of care, and give us
at least a fighting chance to save billions of dollars in our system. And
I'm very proud of the fact that in spite of the bitterness and the
partisanship in Washington, we were able to get this done in a bipartisan
But you know as well as I do that to fix health care is going to require
more than just computerizing it. We've got to figure out how to help people
afford health care. There are many common sense ideas around. Why not let
early retirees buy into Medicare? Why not let families buy into the federal
government's health care system? After all, you pay for, and it's a pretty
good system, I can tell you. Why not help small businesses band together to
negotiate for lower prices so that they can afford to provide health care
for themselves? Why not renegotiate the Medicare prescription drug benefit
so that, number one, it's understandable, and people actually know what
they're buying when they sign up for one of those plans that comes in the
mail? And number two, why don't we let Medicare negotiate for lower prices
the way the Veteran's Administration was able to do starting in the Clinton
But it's not only the health care system that's at risk, the health of our
economy is also at risk. We've gone from record surpluses to record
deficits. Now you know, when I first got to the Senate, January of 2001, I
quickly realized that the new administration wanted to undo everything my
husband had done. And I admit I took that kind of personally. Because I
thought we'd a few good things for America in those eight years. But I
quickly realized that they wanted to undo most of the 20th century, so
that's what we're really up against.
But just think, in a short period of time, we have not only piled up a
massive debt for our children and our grandchildren, but we have surrendered
our fiscal sovereignty to foreign capitals and foreign bankers. Every single
month, we have to borrow 60 billion dollars. And where do we get that? We
get it from Beijing and Seoul and Tokyo and Riyadh. And when I travel around
upstate New York, and a factory worker whose factory has just been closed
and the equipment has been carted off to China or India or someplace
overseas and that person who's worked in that factory for decades looks and
me and says, "I don't understand Senator, why can't we get tough with the
Chinese? They don't follow the trade rules, they don't enforce the law." And
I say, "Well, how do you get tough with your banker?" If you ever wonder why
this administration can't get tough on China remember, they have to borrow
money to feed that debt that they have exploded in the last four years to
provide tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.
And apparently they're not finished yet. You know, they take a victory lap
when the deficit is 300 billion instead of 400 billion. They're pushing an
economic plan right now in Washington that is cutting health care, cutting
education, cutting so many of the important programs that so many of your
communities and so many of the people who live here rely on in order to fund
even more tax cuts. An interesting historical fact: this president is the
first president in American history who has ever taken our country to war
and cut taxes at the same time. And, amazingly, they want to give even more
tax breaks to the wealthy. And then they want to try to conceal and reduce
the impact by raising the cost of college loans. By cutting child care to
working families. By imposing new burdens on Medicare and people on
Medicaid. The President's discovery of poverty in front of a cathedral in
New Orleans hasn't even lasted 90 days. Instead we're back to Republican
business as usual. Cut taxes for the wealthy. Favor the privileged. And let
everyone else fend for themselves.
That is not what is best about America. These economic policies of theirs
defy both arithmetic and reality, and it's time that we got back to a
conservative fiscal policy that pays as you go, doesn't spend what you don't
have, produces balanced budgets and surpluses that will enable us to take
care of the problems in the future.
You know there's a lot of talk about conservative and liberal. I don't know.
I was raised by a father who was a small businessman, who didn't believe in
credit cards. Didn't even believe in mortgages, saved up the money so he
could buy that house that I grew up in. What is conservative about spending
ourselves into this deep deficit? When you leave here tonight and you go
back home, I want you to ask your friends, especially your Republican
friends, what does it mean to be conservative if you cannot conserve the
money that the people entrust you with, you cannot conserve the environment
that you have inherited from God's creation, you cannot conserve that values
that made America special in the eyes of the world?
We have a lot of work to do, but we should not take a backseat to anyone
when it comes to the values that make America strong and that the Democratic
Party stands for. And we cannot have a strong country if we do not have our
fiscal house in order. So let's be clear. You don't strengthen the middle
class by cutting wages. You don't strengthen the middles class by weakening
unions with so-called "right to work" laws. You don't strengthen the middle
class by blocking an increase in the minimum wage for the last 10 years.
Finally, let me say a word about real security. I was senator from New York
on 9/11, and I have spent more time than I care to remember with victims,
families, people who lost everything. And in my work on the Senate Armed
Services committee I have pursued a comprehensive security agenda. To
increase our homeland security through strengthening our border security.
Through making sure that we could test cargoes coming into our ports and
being loaded into our airports and protecting mass transit and looking at
the world as a dangerous place that we had to be prepared to defend. I
worked to oppose the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran, both of whom
pose a terrible threat to the entire world. I've supported the containment
and destruction of weapons of mass destruction and to keep them out of the
hands of rogue states and terrorist groups. It's been important to stress
the work of intelligence agents here at home and around the world as they
attempt to break up terrorist cells, arrest and detain people before they
can inflict harm from London to Madrid, to Bali, Indonesia and all places in
And I've worked hard to make sure that our mission in Afghanistan was
successful. Remember, that is where the attack on us originated. And it is
important that we not forget there is unfinished work there. To support the
democratically elected government. To finally root out the Taliban and
eliminate bin Laden and al Qaeda.
I also want to say that, with respect to Iraq, that first and foremost I
know I speak for everyone hear when I express our deep and profound
gratitude to the men and women of our armed forces. I have been honored to
meet with them twice in Iraq, and because New York is the home to the 10th
Mountain Division at Fort Drum - the most deployed division in our Army -
I've met them in New York, active duty, guard and reserve. They are the best
we have, and they honor our country every day with their courage, their
selfless dedication and their success in the battles we send them to fight.
But the time has come for the administration to stop serving up platitudes
and present a plan for finishing this war with success and honor.
Now, I reject a ridged time table that the terrorists can exploit and I
reject an open time table that has no ending to it. Instead I think we need
a plan for winning and concluding this war, and the President can begin by
taking responsibility for the false assurances, faulty evidence and
mismanagement of this war. And it is past time for the President, the Vice
President, and anyone associated with them to stop impugning the patriotism
of their critics. We know that criticism should not be confused with
softness against terrorists, with inadequate support for Democracy or
support for our troops. In fact criticism, in this country, is a hallmark of
our Democracy and the highest form of patriotism.
I recently returned from visiting Israel and Jordan. My husband and I went
to Jordan, and we saw first hand the tragedy of the suicide bombers that
attacked the hotels in Amman, Jordan. Just imagine, suicide bombers went
into a wedding party, a place of joy and celebration, and reeked death and
mayhem. As a New Yorker I believe that America has a special bond with the
victims of terrorism, and we understand the need to fight terrorism anywhere
and everywhere. But we also know that if we do not have a clear plan in
Iraq, we will not be able to focus our resources in the right ways to
prevent terrorism from spreading.
America has a big job to do now. We must set reasonable goals to finish what
we started and successfully turn over Iraqi security to Iraqis. The
elections on December 15 will give us a chance to work with a government
that is truly elected to represent all of the Iraqi people. We must deny
terrorists the prize they seek in Iraq, and we must repair the damage to our
reputation. We must reform our intelligence system so we never go to war on
false premises again. We must repair the breech with the Muslim world and we
must again work to create international alliances because we cannot win the
war against terrorism unless we have more friends than enemies.
I hope these upcoming elections are a true expression of Democracy, one that
is committed to majority rule, minority rights, women's rights and the basic
rule of law. If these elections succeed we should be able to start drawing
down our troops. But we will also have to have a plan to help secure the
country and the region with a smaller number of troops available on an as
needed basis. And I call on the President, both for such a plan and for a
full and honest accounting on the failures of intelligence and their use,
something that we owe particularly to those Americans who have been killed
and wounded in action, and to their families, and to all the American
In order to wage and win the war against terrorism we have to make sure we
apply America's best values and effective strategies. We have to do what is
both right and smart in the war against terrorists. That means repudiating
torture, which undermines America's values. And that means rejecting the
Administrations doctrine of preemptive war and their preference of going it
alone rather than building real international support. I say this because I
know when America leads with its values and fearlessly faces the facts, we
do make the best decisions. That is what is missing at the highest levels of
our government now and what we desperately need.
This is true across the board. We saw it most disgracefully in the failure
of response to Katrina. Every one of us, four years after 9/11, should have
expected our government to have been better prepared. Yet despite this
obvious failure by the Bush Administration, Republicans in Congress, under
pressure from the Administration, continue to block the independent Katrina
commission that I have proposed. I don't believe we should go into the
future confronting either man-made or natural disasters without knowing what
went wrong and how we can fix it, and I hope eventually we will get
bipartisan support to have such an investigation to give us the answers that
not only the people on the Gulf Coast but everyone, from Louisiana to
Kentucky to New York deserves to have.
You know, lately I find myself saying that Washington is being turned into
an evidence-free zone. We don't investigate or learn from our failures. The
FDA makes important health decisions based on politics instead of science.
We are told global warming poses no threat. We have evidence that our heath
care system is broken, that our education system is failing our young
people, and yet it's denied and ignored. America can and must do better than
what we see right now. You know it here in Kentucky. You see jobs like, the
loss of jobs at Carrhart and too many others that are being outsourced; we
don't' have a policy to keep jobs in America. We don't have a strategic
economic plan to be competitive. This administration just basically lets
whatever happens happen. And if we don't get back on a track where we look
at the facts, where we evaluate the evidence, where we address these
problems, then I do worry that the America I grew up in - the America I love
- will no longer be the America we see.
We are in a struggle for the soul and future of our country, and for too
long Democrats have been overwhelmed by the assertiveness, by the negative
campaigning, by the personal attacks from the other side. We are ready to go
forth and fight to take back our country starting at the courthouse, going
to the state house, going to the Congress, going to the White House, because
we love this country and we want it back on the right track. So let's be
united. Let's fight for the changes we know will work. Let's reach out and
bring more people into this party. I'm a Democrat and I'm proud of it, but
let's reach out to Republicans and independents who know better than what is
happening. Let's tell them that we are the true people of compassion, that
we have the practical progressive solutions to the problems facing America,
and if we do that we will be the leaders for the future.
Democrats have only been out of power completely in Washington for four
years, it may feel like a lifetime but its only four years. And I think in
those four years we've learned some valuable lessons. We've learned that
when you're attacked untruthfully, you fight back and you counter attack and
you deck your opponent with the truth.
So finally, I'm both optimistic and realistic. Optimistic because I believe
that we can win and we will win, realistic enough to know that the other
side is not going to go gently into that good night. They understand power,
and they want to keep it. They like giving tax cuts to millionaires. We have
to not only share our vision and our values, but our plans for the future,
our specific ideas about how we can do better. And then I'm optimistic again
because I trust the American people. I believe that the uncertainty and the
insecurity that is eating at so many of our fellow Americans will manifest
itself in positive action, political action, if we give them a chance to do
This is an extraordinary outpouring. I don't think that there's ever been a
bigger gathering of Democrats, there's some people who might have said there
weren't this many Democrats left in Kentucky. But I know better and so do
you. Look around this great audience. Look all these counties represented;
sign up for the hard work ahead. We can make a difference. We can elect
Democrats, and when we elect Democrats we elect a better future for America.
Thank you, and God bless you.