NEW BEDFORD -- Sen. John F. Kerry yesterday called on Americans to be more aware of the "bait and switch" Iraq war and the "hollowing out" of the Army in the pursuit of a mistaken policy.
In a swing through SouthCoast, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee attacked the priorities of the Republican Party and President Bush, elaborating on what they are sacrificing -- health care for children, infrastructure, Social Security -- in the pursuit of tax cuts.
"The Holy Grail of the Republican Party is a tax cut, whether or not we need it," he said in a meeting with The Standard-Times editorial board.
Sen. Kerry puzzled over the apparent lack of interest by Americans in the Iraq war and the near silence in the U.S. mass media about the so-called Downing Street Memo.
That leaked secret document, the minutes of a 2003 cabinet meeting of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, says bluntly that Mr. Bush had decided to attack Iraq long before going to Congress with the matter, and that "intelligence was being fixed around the policy."
It caused an uproar in Great Britain and badly hurt Mr. Blair in national elections but went almost unnoticed in the United States.
"When I go back (to Washington) on Monday, I am going to raise the issue," he said of the memo, which has not been disputed by either the British or American governments. "I think it's a stunning, unbelievably simple and understandable statement of the truth and a profoundly important document that raises stunning issues here at home. And it's amazing to me the way it escaped major media discussion. It's not being missed on the Internet, I can tell you that."
He questioned Americans' understanding of the war and the sense that criticism equals disloyalty, saying, "Do you think that Americans if they really understood it would feel that way knowing that on Election Day, 77 percent of Americans who voted for Bush believed that weapons of mass destruction had been found and 77 percent believe Saddam did 9/11? Is there a way for this to break through, ever?"
Earlier in the day, Sen. Kerry met in a "town hall"-style meeting with about 75 seniors, where he assailed the recently passed Medicare prescription drug benefit, the GOP's tax cuts for wealthy Americans and the attempts to privatize Social Security.
He said to the largely supportive group, "The next time one of those conservative senators or congressmen comes to you and starts talking to you about American values, I want you to look him in the eye and say, what is the value that is represented in providing the wealthiest people in America with a great big tax cut at the expense of the poorest people in the country?"
"I went back and reread the New Testament the other day, and I've got news for you. Nowhere in the three-year ministry of Jesus Christ is there any suggestion at all that you ought to take from the poor and give to the rich and leave children at risk," he said to a loud round of applause.
Invoking the legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal's "safety net," Sen. Kerry accused Mr. Bush and the GOP of misleading the public about Social Security and their intentions. "They're never telling the truth," he said.
"There were people who opposed Social Security in the '30s and '40s. There were people who voted against Medicare in the last quarter-century. And they're still there," he said.
He dismissed claims that Social Security will be bankrupt by 2042 or 2052, but "Medicare Part A does go bankrupt in 2020. Why isn't the president talking about that?"
Several seniors quizzed Sen. Kerry about the practice of penalizing Social Security recipients who have other sources of income, especially those who have lost their spouses or who worked for some time outside the Social Security system. Sen. Kerry replied that he and others are backing legislation to ease those cuts, which one city resident said were causing her to have to sell her home.
Dartmouth resident Robert Michaud made a case for private retirement accounts, charging that they have been shown to produce a better rate of return than Social Security. A person making $90,000 a year puts $12,000 into Social Security, he said. Raising that income cap "is not tweaking, it's a crime," he said.
Later in the day, Sen. Kerry attended a forum in Fall River discussing the Head Start program.
Thursday, June 02, 2005
Thursday, April 14, 2005
John Kerry wins a big victory for Military Families
From the Congressional Record, April 13, 2005
This debate on emergency funding for our military wouldn't be complete if we did not begin to address the crises military families face at home as well as abroad.
I am proud that the Senate has passed my two amendments -- one to allow families to stay in military housing for a full year after the death of a spouse, the other to ensure all military families receive $500,000 in total death benefits when a loved one dies in service to America - but I am also deeply moved by the stories I've heard from across our country in the last 24 hours about the challenges to military families every day.
Yesterday, I sent an email to Americans asking them to share their stories - of husbands and wives, sons and daughters, neighbors and friends who serve their country with courage but have been left on their own by our policies here at home. Within hours over 2,000 Americans sent me their stories. They took time out of their busy days to share their stories on the hope someone would listen. Their voices must be heard in the halls of Congress. Today, I enter a small sample of their stories into the Congressional Record to prove we are listening, and hope that today's victory marks a new beginning - -and that soon Congress will answer all their prayers and pass a comprehensive Military Families Bill of Rights.
Alan - Aberdeen, SD
This is a story about my own family. In January 2003, my wife was called to active duty with her Army National Guard unit. She was inactive status and a mere 7 days from being completely out of the military when she was mobilized. She went from being a civilian attorney to a Sergeant/E-5 administrative clerk at a significant loss of pay. At that time, I became a single parent to four young children for one full year. In August 2004, I too was called to active duty with my Army Reserve unit. I went from being a university professor to being a Sergeant First Class/E-7. Once again, our four children were without one of their parents during their critical stages of development. We've done our part, now it's time for others to do their part. The burden placed on the National Guard and Reserve forces seems extreme. The morale among more seasoned soldiers, those with 10 to 20 years of service, is not good. Many are getting out of the military at the first available moment.
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Statement from John Kerry on the Passing of Pope John Paul II
Washington, DC - Senator John Kerry issued the following statement on the passing of Pope John Paul II.
"The Holy Father led the Catholic Church during some of the most challenging times the world has witnessed, and persevered through enormous suffering with inspirational dignity. Teresa and I were deeply saddened to hear of his passing."
"Drawing upon his enduring moral strength and conviction, Pope John Paul II advanced the cause of solidarity in his native Poland and helped to topple communism around the world. We will never forget the example he set by forgiving the man who tried to take his life, and by praying at the Western Wall to ask Jews for their forgiveness. He traveled to places forgotten by all but God to pray for the sick and the poor, and millions turned out to hear his voice, even when strained. In death, as in life, his incredible spirit provides every Catholic with strength and his memory provides us with wisdom. Teresa and I join people all over the world in mourning this tremendous loss. The Holy Father is in our prayers."
Sunday, February 06, 2005
WASHINGTON -- Pained but not bowed, Senator John F. Kerry promised in an interview with the Globe last week to apply the lessons of a presidential campaign that he portrayed as ''so much bigger and more complex than people think" to bolster a Democratic Party that he indicated he might seek to lead again.
''I'm not going to sit around, you know. I'm going to learn a lot of good lessons," he said.
Sitting in a wing chair in his Senate office, opposite a historical print of Nantucket Harbor, Kerry offered a wide-ranging assessment of an election he lost by about 3 million popular votes and 35 electoral votes. He said he was determined to play a leading role in his party's efforts to integrate values and religion into its message, especially as directed at his fellow Catholics.
He also said he'd be eager to work at improving the party's grass-roots organizations alongside his former rival Howard Dean, now in line to head the Democratic National Committee, a man he said won his respect by campaigning tirelessly for the Kerry-Edwards ticket.
During the two-hour interview on Thursday, Kerry cited some impediments to his election as president, including the gay marriage referendums in 11 states (''I can certainly tell you it had an impact"), the financial disadvantage of the early convention (''We had a 13-week general election and they had an eight-week"), and surveys showing half of Bush voters believed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had helped plan the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks (''Now, did I scratch my head over that? You better believe it.")
Kerry also said he hopes to sit down with President Bush to talk about foreign affairs before Bush's trip to Europe at the end of this month, in what would be the first meeting between the two since their final presidential debate.
Despite the contentious nature of the campaign, Kerry expressed no resentment toward the president, but revealed a simmering bitterness toward some of the president's staunch backers. Kerry demanded that the swift boat veterans who had criticized his military record agree to open up their own files because he knows ''one guy was busted" and another ''has a letter of reprimand."
The fight over the ads by veterans accusing Kerry of exaggerating his Vietnam heroism -- a period that marked a downturn in Kerry's polling numbers -- lingers as a key battle of the campaign.
Last spring, after securing the nomination, Kerry promised Democrats that he wouldn't fall victim to the character attacks that felled so many of the party's former nominees. Three months after Election Day, Kerry still appears angry with himself for allowing the swift boat ads, along with the Republican portrayal of him as a ''flip-flopper," to define his candidacy for some voters.
Read the complete interview
Sunday, January 09, 2005
Via Laura Rozen
Kerry in Syria
After Kerry left the Foreign Ministry on Saturday, 13-year-old Mustafa al-Nabulsi approached him with a drawing of the senator as a soldier in his Vietnam days.
"You have made me much more important than I was, though. You made me a general," Kerry said.
"I wish you were the president," al-Nabulsi said.
"Thank you very much. So do I," Kerry said.
Friday, January 07, 2005
BAGHDAD (AFP) - Former US presidential hopeful John Kerry (news - web sites) visited US troops stationed in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, scene of a major suicide attack against on a US base in December, the US military said.
Kerry ate dinner on Thursday with soldiers at Camp Freedom, a former Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) palace, and met with Brigadier General Carter Ham, commander of troops in northern Iraq (news - web sites), and local provincial governor Duraid Kashmula, it said in a statement.
"Thanks for what you're doing," the senator from Massachusetts told soldiers. "The folks back home really appreciate your courage and sacrifice."
He arrived in Baghdad on Wednesday and is expected to make to more stops besides Mosul to meet soldiers and officials.
During the presidential campaign, Kerry was a strong critic of how the administration of US President George W. Bush (news - web sites) was managing its involvement in Iraq and said the invasion of the country in 2003 diverted resources and focus from the global war on terror.
Monday, January 03, 2005
Catholics for Fatihful Citizenship from Eric McFadden, President of Catholics for Kerry 04.