Saturday, September 30, 2006
Now that "the Foley matter" has been referred to the House ethics committee to determine if there should be an investigation, one has to wonder what CD 4's Tom Cole who serves on that committee and is running for the chairmanship of the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee will do.
There should be no delay in an immediate investigation of the matter and Cole's committee should disclose who knew what and when in the next ten days so that voters can make decisions on which party to trust to protect our children. (Likewise, can we trust the GOP to tell the truth? to secure our nation?)
If the reports coming from the Hill are verified, many of the GOP House leadership, and possibly Tom Cole, knew about Foley and were involved in a cover up. Certainly Cole will have to take a strong stand against this behavior and the GOP coverup if he hopes to maintain his integrity and position with CD4 voters --- and it should happen soon --- 'cause there's an election in a few weeks and voters deserve the truth -- not more lies and coverups.
Oklahoma voters must insist that each of our GOP Congressmen must choose whether it's more important to protect our children from predators or to protect their political cronies and power brokers. So what will it be? Congressman Cole, did you know? Congressman Lucas, did you know? Congressman Sullivan, did you know? Congressman Istook, did you know?
Friday, September 29, 2006
No, this is not a rapture series, rather, it's an accounting of the impact of the Do-Nothing Congress on Oklahoma. Under the leadership of President Bush and his Republican allies in Congress, life has become more difficult for many Oklahomans. Read the details in full here. Democrats are working for real security, better jobs, college access for all, energy independence, affordable health care, and retirement security.
On the Senate floor this morning, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) launched into a diatribe about Democratic obstruction, but then came clean by admitting that HE was the Senate's biggest obstructionist.
See for yourself...click here.
Stop Desperate GOP Slash and Burn Strategy
Republicans know "the Senate" is up for grabs. They are attacking. They are lying. And they have publicly pledged to burn through every last nickel they have to gain control of our Oklahoma State Senate and hang onto the U.S. Senate.
Folks, let me put it simply. Republicans have absolutely nothing going for them other than fear and the support of deep-pocketed special interests.
If committed Democrats across the state and this country give the financial resources to neutralize the Republican fundraising advantage, we will hold the Oklahoma State Senate and take back the U.S. Senate.
There is no question.
That is why I need you to help us financially today. In the next 36 hours, we need $10,000 to reach our September 30 fundraising goal. Democrats are now leading or are within single digit margins in races for U.S. Senate seats. Democrats have strong incumbents and strong nominees for our State Senate and we must hold onto our majority.
Please make a secure online donation to the Oklahoma Democratic Party of $50, $75 or more to help reach our goal before midnight tomorrow. Please act now. Every minute and every dollar counts.
Republicans see the writing on the wall. They see Democrats opening up our leads and making strong advances into red territory. They see a Democratic majority in the Oklahoma State Senate and the U.S. Senate.
They surely saw the just released Survey USA poll showing that Republican incumbents Rick Santorum (PA) and Conrad Burns (MT) are the two most unpopular Senators in the entire United States. They are losing ground every day to Democratic challengers Bob Casey and Jon Tester.
In Oklahoma we must do everything we can to help our nominees in open seats: John Sparks, Tom Ivester, Sean Burrage, John Mark Young, Andrew Rice and Joe Sweeden. We must do everything we can to support our incumbents Senator Daisy Lawler, Senator Mary Easley, Senator Kenneth Corn and Senator Randy Bass. And we have challengers in Pat Potts, Josh Woods, Tom Gibson, Dennis Weese, and James Woods. Please make a contribution today so we can talk to Democrats in each of these districts about the real choices in front of them, about the differences between our nominees and theirs.
Backed into a corner, national Republicans have made no secret that 90% of their $60 million+ war chest will be spent running negative attacks against Democratic candidates. And Tom Daxon and Glenn Coffee are running around the state bragging about bringing in Karl Rove to help state GOP candidates. You know they will spend every dime and every day to expand their culture of corruption and cronyism in Oklahoma. Help us today to answer the negative attacks with positive, progressive messages --- not more political rhetoric.
You can help us elect Democrats and Save our Senate and Take Back the U.S. Senate today by making a contribution to the Oklahoma Democratic Party.
I visited with Fifth District Congressional nominee Dr. David Hunter and his wife Dianne Thursday at the successful fundraiser in Edmond last night. It seems the Lieutenant Governor has been dodging public appearances with Dr. Hunter since he wowed them at the Concerned Ethnic Americans of Oklahoma forum August 16. Where is Mary?
It was good to see Randel Shadid hosting this event at his fine art gallery in downtown Edmond. Shadid, a former mayor and long-time civic leader, doesn't make his political decisions lightly. He supports the person over the party. So, even though he's a registered Republican (like most people in Edmond), he doesn't hesitate to support Edmond's Dr. Hunter. That shows that Dr. Hunter's support is broad-based, like a Congressman's should be. He's comfortable wherever he goes, with whomever he meets.
The Republican nominee has been paid a million dollars in salary over her twelve years as Lieutenant Governor and four years in the State House before that. What do we have to show for our million dollars in taxes? She hasn't cast a legislative vote since 1994. She can't hold a candle to Dr. Hunter's business experience. Why should we vote for Million Dollar Mary?
Pols and Polls
If you didn't see it already, Channel 9 conducted a poll recently that shows Henry up, Edmondson up, Meacham up, Askins in a statistical dead heat, and tight races down ballot. You can read the poll at www.tvpoll.com. Remember, that a poll is merely a snapshot in time of a pool of likely voters. Trust them or not, we'll be seeing a lot more "pol polls" in the coming 40 days but what really matters will be the numbers on November 7th. Insiders say that turnout is critical.
Insiders also say that it's going to be a bright year for Democrats. Expect to see Dems SWEEP the constitutional offices including Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Treasurer, Auditor, Superintendent, Insurance Commissioner, Labor Commissioner, and Corporation Commissioner. Expect Dems to HOLD the State Senate and GAIN seats in the State House. Expect Dems to TAKE the US House and possibly TAKE CONTROL of the US Senate.
Want to be part of history? Call us at 405.427.3366 to be part of an historic victory for Democrats in November.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Sen. Inhofe pats himself on the back for recognition by a conservative front group for the pharmaceutical industry. Read about it here.
An excerpt here:
It would take a conservative front group to recognize a senator like Inhofe for his supposed crusade for seniors. Inhofe has most certainly sided more with the drug industry than with seniors. Surprising, since, at 71, he's a senior himself. Inhofe voted against allowing for the negotiation of lower prescription drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries. (Senate Roll Call Vote 50, 3/15/06) He penalized seniors by repeatedly voting against extending the deadline for enrolling in the Medicare prescription drug plan. (Senate Roll Call Vote 5, 2/2/06; Senate Roll Call Vote 342, 11/17/0/5) He voted for significant cuts in Medicare and Medicaid with his support of the Budget Reconciliation package. (Senate Roll Call Vote 303, 11/3/05) And, of course, he voted for the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit bill, largely a giveaway to drug companies at the expense of
Congratulations Senator, guess you earned it.
Key Point: President Bush told the American people that his policies are making America safer. Now all 16 agencies of America's intelligence community have revealed that his failed policy in Iraq has made terrorism worse. It is time for a new direction. The American people deserve real security.
All 16 of America's intelligence agencies agree: President Bush's failed policies in Iraq have made terrorism worse.
President Bush should not delay an updated NIE on Iraq because he doesn't like what it says. The American people expect the truth.
The American people deserve tough and smart national security policies, but Republicans in Washington are satisfied with failure.
The only people in America who are satisfied with the Bush Administration's strategy in Iraq are the Republicans in the White House and the Congress.
Iraq is in civil war, Afghanistan is in decline, the military is stretched thin, and America's security is in doubt. It's time for a change.
Democrats are fighting to take America in a new direction. It's time to change course in Iraq so that America can finally fight and win the war on terror.
Whaa Whaa Whaa - "Photo-Op Thad" is Now "Crybaby Thad," Too
Every candidate knows their campaign signs may be subject to vandalism. No news there. But it appears Republican State Rep. Thad "Photo-Op" Balkman called up Oklahoma City's Fox News this week crying because a couple of his signs were spraypainted. Fox News drove to Norman (must have been a "slow news day") and interviewed Balkman about his misfortune. Balkman proceeded to talk about the "possibility" his Democratic opponent, Wallace Collins, was responsible for the vandalism. When interviewed by Fox, Collins explained that his campaign is staffed by family members and neither he nor his family had anything to do with Balkman's signs. So what's the big deal? The real story is that "Photo-Op Thad" is trailing in the polls and is desperately looking for any way possible to get his mug in front of a camera -- a tactic he's famous for at the State Capitol. (Remember his "mock funeral" complete with students carrying a casket on the steps of the Capitol to promote a piece of his legislation?) While Photo-Op Thad was crying for the camera, Wallace Collins told Fox News that what they really should have focused on was Balkman's poor excuse for leadership - including failing to provide needed funding for the Oklahoma Veterans Center and Griffin Memorial Hospital right down the street in the heart of District 45. Too bad Fox didn't include that comment in their news story. I guess Balkman's sorry legislative record isn't news anymore - but it is enough to make grown men (and women) in Norman cry real tears.
[As a side note, in 2004 when I challenged a Republican, fourteen of my 4x8 foot campaign signs were cut down and stolen in one night. During the same week a couple of my large signs were spraypainted with vulgar profanity. I reported the vandalism to the sheriff, replaced the signs, and continued campaigning. Unlike Crybaby Thad, I didn't call the TV stations, because this juvenile sign stuff is not really news. Vandalism is a crime and should be reported as such to the proper authorities.]
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Pittman’s Campaign wins BIG in House District 99
Oklahoma City’s House District 99 voters sent a loud message to the community in the Run-election by electing Anastasia Pittman, former legislative staffer for the Oklahoma State Senate, by almost 60% making her the Democratic Nominee for State Representative in the General Election on Tuesday, November 7th.
After a two-week break to reacquaint herself with her family, Anastasia Pittman begin her own listening tour through out Oklahoma City by attending the first round of Neighborhood Association Meetings in the district.
She is a well-known community activist, and proved it by getting right back on the campaign trail on September 16th with volunteers who canvassed the neighborhoods 2 times per day.
Anastasia Pittman participated in “Let Justice Roll” on Tuesday, September 26th at the St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oklahoma City at 4 p.m. and on Thursday, September 28th in a Meet and Greet for Oklahoma City Public School Teachers at the McFarland YWCA located on N.E.16th Street & Martin Luther King Ave from 6-8 p.m.
She is an advocate for quality education, aging seniors, healthcare, Economic Empowerment for small and minority businesses, good paying jobs and public safety.
"The Republicans' never-ending battle to shrink the size of government, no matter what the consequences, makes them ideologically unable and unwilling to take the necessary measures to make the country safer.
We saw this in Katrina. We continue to see it in Homeland Security -- where Republicans in Congress still haven't implemented the 9/11 Commission recommendations and continue to cut funding for local law enforcement."
Vision Oklahoma Town Hall
An honest discussion of local, state, and national issues
Midwest City Community Center, 100 N. Midwest Blvd.
Tuesday, October 3, 7 to 9 p.m.
Emcee is former Oklahoma State Representative, Laura Boyd
Join Hal Spake, Jim Roth, Scott Inman, Lee Roy Tucker, and David Prater for a discussion of their vision and concerns for Oklahoma across every level of government and how we can work together for a more prosperous Oklahoma!
Call 217-4100 for more information
SUE BARTON AT WOODS COUNTY: MEET THE CANDIDATES!
The Woods County Democratic Women in Alva will host a Meet-the-Candidates forum on Thursday, September 28, at the home of Donna Benson, 602 Woodlake Drive (four miles north of Alva in the Woodlakes Addition. Sue Barton, the Third District Democratic Nominee for Congress, will be addressing the gathering. The event, which is open to the public, is a come-and-go back-yard reception from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. The candidates will be given speaking time at around 6:00 p.m.
After addressing the Alva forum on Thursday, Barton will continue her week’s campaign in the District, visiting events and parades or speaking in Mooreland, Woodward, Buffalo and Cushing.
With endorsements from Senator Judy Eason McIntyre, Rep. Jabar Shumate and Veterans for Barton, Barton continues her work to take back District 3 for State Democrats, campaigning her way across the 32 counties of Western and North Central Oklahoma. Barton won the July Primary Election with over 53% of the vote against two other candidates, carrying the vote in all 32 counties. She will face Republican Frank Lucas in the November 7th General Election.
“I am running for Congress because I believe we can do better,” states Barton. “The theme of my campaign is that people are the focus, and that’s why I am traveling all over District 3 to meet as many people as possible and to hear which issues are most important to them. I’m meeting a lot of really nice folks and hearing a lot of great ideas and significant concerns about social security, affordable health care, living wages and veterans’ benefits.”
Barton, a life-long Oklahoman raised in Duncan, has over 20 years experience advocating in Oklahoma and in Washington, D.C. on behalf of children, youth and families. She has served on the National Council on Youth Policy in Washington, D.C. and has college degrees from both OSU and OU. For more information, to volunteer or contribute visit Sue Barton’s website at www.BartonForCongress.org.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Vote or Be Taken Over By Robots
Join Senate District 46 Nominee Andrew Rice and OKC native Wayne Coyne, singer for the Falming Lips, for a special voter registration party on Oct. 12 in Oklahoma City. The last day to register for the Nov. 7 election is Oct. 13. Call the Rice campaign headqurters at 405.601.1630 or the ODP at 405.427.DEMO for more information.
We were privileged today to attend a celebration of 15 years of service for the Latino Community Development Agency (LCDA) in Oklahoma City. The agency 's mission is "working to enhance the quality of life in the Latino Community through education, leadership, services and advocacy."
Dr. David Hunter, Democratic nominee for the 5th District Congressional seat, and his wife sat with us and appeared to be a big hit with the attendees following the event. He was accompanied by his wife Diane and one of his employees, Gabriella, who serves as a Spanish language translator for his patients. Hunter said nearly 25% of his patients are Hispanic. He also provides a Vietnamese translator in his medical office.
We were bewildered with Mayor Mick Cornett's 20 minute speech that outlined the history of OKCand his accomplishments while neglecting to highlight the many, many achievements of the Latino community in the economic and cultural development of the city. (I believe he did make one very small mention of the LCDA.) However, the other speeches and video presentations clearly reflected the strong contributions of Latino businesses and citizens.
Democratic sponsors included Attorney General Drew Edmondson, Wallace Collins - HD 45 Democratic nominee, and Dana Orwig - HD 87 Democratic nominee. We visited with these Democrats at the event: Rep. Al Lindley, Rep. Richard Morrissette, Rep. elect Al McAffrey, Rep. Mike Shelton, Oklahoma County Commissioner Jim Roth, Andrew Rice SD 46 nominee, and Pat Potts SD 40 nominee. Also attending was Rep. Jari Askins, our next Lt. Governor!
ODP volunteers Wilfredo and Otilia Rivero were there as were Carl and Debbie Hogue-Downing.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Yesterday, CNN aired a portion of an interview with President Bush in which the President dismissed the current disastrous situation in Iraq as something that would be viewed in the future as "just a comma" in the history of the country. (As a former history teacher I must disagree with the President's assessment here.) A look at the facts shows that the situation in Iraq should not be so lightly dismissed. Yesterday, Americans learned that Bush's Iraq policy is increasing terrorism. Today, Americans will hear from retired Generals on how the Bush Administration has bungled the war in Iraq. The army is short billions of dollars and inept Iraqi troops are hindering progress. It's time for a new direction.
Bush Dismissed Violence in Iraq as "Just a Comma":
BLITZER: We see these horrible bodies showing up ...
BUSH: Of course you do.
BLITZER: ...tortured, mutilation. The Shia and the Sunni, the Iranians apparently having a negative role. Of course, Al-Qaida in Iraq's still operating.
BUSH: Yes, you see -- you see it on TV, and that's the power of an enemy that is willing to kill innocent people. But there's also an unbelievable will and resiliency by the Iraqi people. Twelve million people voted last December. Admittedly, it seems like a decade ago. I like to tell people when the final history is written on Iraq, it will look like just a comma because there is -- my point is, there's a strong will for democracy. [CNN, 9/24/06]
Why Calling the Situation in Iraq a "Comma" Deserves Comment:
Iraq - Security
Approximate number of U.S. troops currently in Iraq:147,000 Percent of coalition forces contributed by the U.S.:87 Approximate amount appropriated by Congress for Iraq operations so far: $379 billion Estimated total cost of operations in Iraq by war's end:$549 billion - $1.27 trillion Approximate amount spent by the U.S. in World War I (in inflation-adjusted dollars): $205 billion Approximate amount the U.S. is spending in Iraq per month in Fiscal Year 2006 (including operational and investment costs): $8 billion Approximate amount the U.S. spent in Iraq per month in Fiscal Year 2003 (including operational and investment costs): $4.4 billion Number of U.S. service members killed in Iraq:2,690 Number reported wounded by the Defense Department:20,322 Number of National Guard soldiers killed in Iraq through September 2, 2006:374 Number of National Guard soldiers killed in the entire Vietnam War:97 Number of Iraqi military and police killed since training began in June 2003: 5,409 Number of journalists killed in Iraq:77 Number of journalists killed in Vietnam: 63 Estimated number of insurgents in Iraq (November 2003):5,000 Estimated number of insurgents in Iraq (August 2006):20,000 + Estimated number of foreign fighters in Iraq in May 2003:100 Estimated number of foreign fighters in Iraq in August 2006: 800 - 2,000 Number of civilian casualties in Iraq since U.S.-led invasion:43,300 - 48,000 Number of multi-fatality bombings in August 2004:13 Number of multi-fatality bombings in August 2006:52 Average number of daily attacks by insurgents in August 2004:47 Average number of daily attacks by insurgents in August 2006:90
Iraq - Political
Number of operational links between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq: 0 Estimated number of al Qaeda members worldwide in 2001, according to the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT): 20,000 Estimated number of al Qaeda members worldwide in 2006, according to the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT): 50,000 Amount requested by the President in his Fiscal Year 2007 budget for democracy promotion in Iraq: 0 Number of seats radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al Sadr controls in the Iraqi parliament: 30 Percent of Iraqis who believe the country is headed in the right direction: 41 percent Percent of Iraqis who rate current economic conditions as poor:51 percent Degree of corruption in Iraq on the Transparency International 2005 Corruption Perceptions Index (on a scale of 0-10, with 0 representing "highly corrupt" and 10 representing "highly clean"):2.2 Annual cost of corruption to Iraq's economy, according to the Deputy Prime Minister:$4 billion Number of corruption cases that have been filed since the Iraqi Commission on Public Integrity was established in 2004:3,500 Approximate number of Iraqi families internally displaced as of February 2006 (prior to February 22 bombing of Shiite shrine in Samarra):3,000 Approximate number of Iraqi families internally displaced since the Samarra bombing in February 2006, according to Iraqi government officials: 30,000 families or 182,000 people Number of Iraqi civilians killed in May, according to data from the Iraqi Health Ministry and the Baghdad morgue:2,669 Number of Iraqi civilians killed in June, according to data from the Iraqi Health Ministry and the Baghdad morgue:3,149 Number of Iraqi civilians killed in July, according to data from the Iraqi Health Ministry and the Baghdad morgue: 3,438 Number of Iraqi civilians killed in August, according to data from the Iraqi Health Ministry and the Baghdad morgue:3,009 Number of Iraqis who died violently during the period of June-August 2006: > 110 per day Number of Iraqis who died violently during the period of June-August 2004: <> 2 million Percent of Iraq's professional class that has left the country since late 2003:40 percent
Iraq - Reconstruction
Amount of the $14.6 billion pledged by the international community for Iraq's reconstruction that has been dispersed according to the July report from the Special Inspector for Iraq Reconstruction:$3.5 billion Amount of taxpayer money spent by Halliburton that the Defense Contract Audit Agency has deemed either excessive or insufficiently documented:$1.47 billion Amount of Iraqi reconstruction funds the military has failed to account for (according to the Defense Department's inspector general):$8.8 billion Amount, of the $20.9 billion appropriated for the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund (IRRF), that the U.S. has spent to date:$20.1 billion Percent of Iraq reconstruction funds used for security:25 Number of days before all funding will be obligated and no new work orders will be allowed under the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund: 5 According to the GAO, anticipated reconstruction gap (difference between estimates of what is needed to rebuild and what the international community has pledged in aid) that the new Iraqi government will face: $50 billion Percent decline in Iraq's GDP in 2005:3 Oil output for September 2006 (barrels per day):2.4 million Average oil output prior to invasion (barrels per day):2.5 million Bush Administration's prewar projections of Iraq's post-war oil output (barrels per day):3 million Iraq's lost oil revenues in 2005:$6.25 billion Percent of Iraq's economy represented by oil revenues: 90 Amount U.S. taxpayers have invested in Iraq's oil industry reconstruction:$2 billion Cost of 2-year delay in construction of a critical oil pipeline in Northern Iraq, due to lack of security and flawed management and planning:$14.8 billion Approximate number of guards who actually were trained in protecting Iraq's oil equipment, of the 21,000 originally targeted:11,000 Electricity capacity in Iraq (in megawatts) prior to invasion (March 2003):4,500 Electricity capacity to have been reached by July 2004, according to U.S. reconstruction goals:6,000 Electricity capacity in Iraq (in megawatts) in September 2006:4,050 Percent of planned water projects that have been completed, according to the Special Inspector for Iraq Reconstruction's July report:55 percent Percent of planned sewage projects that have been completed, according to the Special Inspector for Iraq Reconstruction's July report: 57 percent Number of the planned 142 health care clinics that actually will be completed under the Army Corps of Engineers $243 million program:20 Number of the planned 136 sanitation and water projects that will be completed: 49 Number of Iraqi physicians registered prior to the invasion:34,000 Number of Iraqi physicians who have been murdered or fled the country since the invasion:14,000 Infant mortality rate in Iraq: (Middle East average is 37, sub-Saharan Africa average is 105)102
Iraq - Security
1. Associated Press, 9/20/06.
2. The Brookings Institution Iraq Index reports that there were approximately 18,000 non-U.S., non-Iraqi troops in Iraq as of September 2006. September 21, 2006. (http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf)
3. Senate Appropriations Committee Minority Staff. Congressional Research Service, RL 33110 (http://www.congress.gov/erp/rl/pdf/RL33110.pdf)
4. Low end cost, Congressional Budget Office, 7/13/06 - the CBO offers two different scenarios, with estimated costs of $493 billion and $697 billion. High end cost is from Linda Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz, "The Economic Cost of War in Iraq." NBER Paper, February 2006.
5. Christian Science Monitor, 8/29/05.
6. Congressional Research Service RL 33110. (http://www.congress.gov/erp/rl/pdf/RL33110.pdf) This estimate includes both operational (military personnel, operation and maintenance, working capitol, defense health) and investment (procurement, RTD&E, and military construction) costs.
7. Congressional Research Service RL 33110. (http://www.congress.gov/erp/rl/pdf/RL33110.pdf) This estimate includes both operational (military personnel, operation and maintenance, working capitol, defense health) and investment (procurement, RTD&E, and military construction) costs.
8. DoD Casualty Report (http://www.dod.gov/news/casualty.pdf) September 25, 2006.
9. DoD Casualty Report (http://www.dod.gov/news/casualty.pdf) September 25, 2006.
10. As of September 2, 2006. Brookings Institution Iraq Index, September 21, 2006. (http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf)
11. New York Daily News, 7/5/05.
12. As of September 20, 2006. Brookings Institution Iraq Index, September 21, 2006. (http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf)
13. Brookings Institution Iraq Index, September 21, 2006. (http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf)
14. New York Times, 5/30/06.
15. New York Times, 5/30/06.
16. Brookings Institution Iraq Index, September 21, 2006. (http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf)
17. New York Times, 6/15/06.
18. New York Times, 6/15/06.
19. As of September 19, 2006. Brookings Institution Iraq Index, September 21, 2006. (http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf) (and not including deaths from crime); other estimates cite higher numbers: 43,426 - 48,215 according to the Iraq Body Count (http://www.iraqbodycount.net/) accessed on 9/25/06.
20. Brookings Institution Iraq Index, September 21, 2006. (http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf)
21. Brookings Institution Iraq Index, September 21, 2006. (http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf)
22. Brookings Institution Iraq Index, September 21, 2006. (http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf)
23. Brookings Institution Iraq Index, September 21, 2006. (http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf)
Iraq - Political
1. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Phase II Reports, 9/8/06. (http://intelligence.senate.gov/) 2. 3rd Way, September 2006. (http://www.third-way.com/products/58)
3. 3rd Way, September 2006. (http://www.third-way.com/products/58)
4. Senate Appropriations Committee, Minority Staff.
5. Washington Post, 7/7/06. Sadr controls 30 of 275 Parliamentary seats, as well as 5 cabinet posts.
6. According to a June survey conducted by the International Republican Institute, reported in the Brookings Institution Iraq Index, September 21, 2006. (http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf)
7. According to a June survey conducted by the International Republican Institute, reported in the Brookings Institution Iraq Index, September 21, 2006. (http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf)
8. Transparency International (http://www.transparency.org) 9. Special Inspector for Iraq Reconstruction, Quarterly Report, July 2006. http://www.sigir.mil/reports/QuarterlyReports/Jul06/Default.aspx
10. Global Policy Forum, 9/6/06. (http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/reconstruct/2006/0906corruption.htm)
11. Brookings Institution Iraq Index, July 17, 2006. (http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf)
12. According to Iraq's Ministry of Displaced and Migration, reported by The Weekly Standard, 8/21/06.
13. Reuters, 7/18/06. Reuters reports that a new U.N. report has compiled data from the Baghdad morgue and Iraqi Health Ministry. The Baghdad morgue reports taking in 1,155 bodies in April, 1,375 in May and 1,595 in June. An estimated 80 percent of these deaths were the result of violence. At the same time, Iraq's Health Ministry reports a further 1,294 violent deaths in May and 1,554 in June. See http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/MAC852433.htm.
14. Reuters, 7/18/06. See details in #10.
15. New York Times, 8/15/06. See details in #10.
16. Washington Post, 9/21/06. According to the U.N. and based on data from the Bagdad morgue and the Iraqi Health Ministry.
17. Los Angeles Times, 9/2/06.
18. Los Angeles Times, 9/2/06.
19. Minority Rights Group, 1/19/2006. (http://www.minorityrights.org/) 20. New York Times, 6/26/06.
21. New York Times, 6/26/06.
Iraq - Reconstruction
1. SIGIR Quarterly Report, July 2006. (http://www.sigir.mil/reports/quarterlyreports/Jul06/Default.aspx)
2. Boston Globe, 6/28/05.
3. Boston Globe, 4/6/06.
4. As of September 2006. Brookings Institution Iraq Index, September 21, 2006. (http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf)
5. Christian Science Monitor, 6/15/06.
6. Washington Post, 7/12/06. According to the Army, all monies under IRRF will be obligated by September 30 and no new work orders will be issued after that date.
7. GAO-06-885T, 7/19/06
8. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, reported by the Los Angeles Times, 1/2/06.
9. Brookings Institution Iraq Index, September 11, 2006. (http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf).
10. Brookings Institution Iraq Index, September 11, 2006. (http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf).
11. Brookings Institution Iraq Index, September 11, 2006. (http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf).
12. According to Iraqi oil ministry spokesman, Assem Jihad, reported by UPI, 2/23/06.
13. Department of Defense, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq, August 2006. http://www.defenselink.mil/home/features/Iraq_Reports/Index.html
14. UPI, 2/23/06.
15. Washington Post, 8/1/06.
16. New York Times, 4/30/06.
17. Boston Globe, 2/16/06.
18. Brookings Institution Iraq Index, September 11, 2006. (http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf).
19. Brookings Institution Iraq Index, September 14, 2006. (http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf).
20. Special Inspector for Iraq Reconstruction, Quarterly Report to Congress, July 2006. (http://www.sigir.mil/reports/quarterlyreports/Jul06/Default.aspx)
21. Special Inspector for Iraq Reconstruction, Quarterly Report to Congress, July 2006. (http://www.sigir.mil/reports/quarterlyreports/Jul06/Default.aspx)
22. New York Times, 4/30/06.
23. Council on Foreign Relations, 6/22/06.
24. As of September 2006. Brookings Institution Iraq Index, July 17, 2006. (http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf)
25. Brookings Institution Iraq Index, September 21, 2006. (http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf)
26. Brookings Institution Iraq Index, September 21, 2006. (http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf)
Forty-three days from now, we can wake up with a Democratic majority on Capitol Hill and put an end to George Bush's extreme, right-wing regime.Forty-three days from now, we can wake up with a Democratic Governor supported by a Democratic Lt. Governor, Attorney General, State Superintendent, State Auditor, State Insurance Commissioner, State Treasurer, Labor Commissioner, and Corporation Commissioner. Forty-three days from now, we can wake up with a strong Democratic majority in the State Senate and a new Democratic majority in the State House. Now that's Victory!
Or we can wake up and wonder why we didn't do enough, why we allowed ourselves to be Swift-boated by hateful Republican attack ads. The choice is ours.
We can choose to define our candidates before GOP operatives smear them with below the belt personal attacks and misrepresentations about their records. We can answer every Republican smear by telling every voter what Democrats really stand for. And we can implement the most comprehensive and aggressive voter contact program in history.
We need your help today. Please make a contribution today to help us answer the hateful Republican attack ads and to make it very clear to our voters that Democrats, not Republicans, can be trusted to govern effectively.
Duck Duck Goose
The race for the the 5th District Congressional seat is getting interesting with Dr. Hunter now closing in on Mary Fallin who is ducking debates with the Democrat. This race is not a children's playground game but is real politics and real issues facing our nation. So why is the Republican nominee playing games with the voters in the 5th District? The voters need real leadership, not games.
Word is that she has refused to debate Dr. Hunter on a previously scheduled debate sponsored by KWTV9 and the OIPA. If she's really the frontrunner she should have no qualms about facing the good doctor. Makes me wonder if she's got what it takes to represent the citizens of the 5th District when she won't defend her "faith, family, and freedom" platform and positions on TV. I know that Dr. Hunter is ready to defend honest, open government and real security. Check him out at www.drhunterforcongress.com.
Democrats On the Offensive
You can't trust Republicans on national security -- and two things proved it yesterday:
1) In a powerful interview that aired yesterday, President Bill Clinton took on the extremist Republican propaganda about 9/11 -- and Fox News tried to cover up the fact that the Bush administration downgraded terrorism as a priority before September 11th and has failed to eliminate Osama bin Laden since the attacks.
2) An explosive report on the still-classified National Intelligence Estimate states that the "invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks" -- and Republicans have been trying to cover it up.
This is what we're fighting against every day -- an administration covering up of the Bush failure of 9/11 and covering up an honest look at the war in Iraq and the war on terror.
You know that Democrats have a real plan for destroying Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, fixing the mess in Iraq, and really securing us at home.
But we've always had those things -- the problem until now has been our willingness to stand up and fight for them in the face of fear mongering, bullying and intimidation from the other side.
That's why we're going on the offense on national security. The future of our party, and of our country, depends on the ability of Democrats to get a strong national security message out in all 50 states this year. Donate to make it happen and watch President Clinton fight back now:
Here's the meat of the Fox News interview with President Clinton, where he's had enough of the right-wing revisionist history from the propaganda machine:
CLINTON: I'm being asked this on the Fox network. ABC just had a right-wing conservative run in their little Pathway to 9/11, falsely claiming it was based on the 9/11 Commission report, with three things asserted against me directly contradicted by the 9/11 Commission report. ... And I think it's very interesting that all the conservative Republicans, who now say I didn't do enough, claimed that I was too obsessed with bin Laden. All of President Bush's neo-cons thought I was too obsessed with bin Laden. They had no meetings on bin Laden for nine months after I left office. All the right-wingers who now say I didn't do enough said I did too much -- same people.
Over a quarter million Americans stood up to ABC and beat back the right-wing Republican 9/11 propaganda that tries to cover up the Bush administration's huge failures to protect America before and after the attacks.
Yesterday Bill Clinton did exactly what Democrats need to do in this election -- to stand up to the right-wing and tell the truth. We will not let the Republicans twist history and distort reality.
We're sick of playing defense against a Republican leadership that uses national security to scare people to win elections. We're not going to be pushed around, spun, and defamed by right-wing extremists and those whom they use to disseminate their propaganda.
Our plan for this election is to go on the offense -- to talk straight about the Republican failures and lay out a clear Democratic plan to take American foreign policy and national security in a better direction.
Watch President Clinton and donate now to Democrats who will fight back:
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.
They failed to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, and five years after September 11th he still lives to taunt Americans.
They squandered America's moral authority and global leadership by launching a war of choice in Iraq instead of fighting the war on al Qaeda.
The calls of the 9/11 Commission Report and Hurricane Katrina simply did not awaken Republican leaders to our continuing vulnerabilities at home.
We've had enough, and we're going to run an honest campaign about the security of our country. People are smart and ready for real leadership -- will you make a donation right now to help get the message out?
Republicans have won two elections since 9/11 by instilling fear in people, and they're trying to do it again this year.
But it's not going to work. The Bush 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 resurgence poses new threats in Afghanistan.
As President Clinton said on Fox News that we have a government "that thinks Afghanistan is only one-seventh as important as Iraq."
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 increase 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:
When it comes to national security, the Republicans have not led.
Candidates and Grant County citizens are invited to a County Political Forum at 7 p.m. October 9 in the Bi-Centennial Building of the Wakita School in Wakita.
For more information contact Nevaleen Selmat, Grant County Democratic Party Chair at 580.594.2977.
Friday, September 22, 2006
If you haven't read it yet, check out the New Yorker's profile on Bill Clinton (his "quest to save the world, reclaim his legacy -- and elect his wife"). In the Sept. 18 issue, editor David Remnick profiles Clinton and his ex-presidency.
To read his comments online about the article and Clinton's legacy, click here.
Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry has lead the nation in eradicating mom and pop meth labs from Oklahoma. He is responsible for the drastic reduction in meth addiction and meth production in Oklahoma. His policies are making Oklahoma safer for our kids. View his newest tv commercial "The Proud" about stopping meth in Oklahoma. Governor Brad Henry is tough on crime. Governor Brad Henry is right on the issues. Join with the other 60% of Oklahomans who are saying Yes to Brad Henry for four more years.
GOTV - the most important part of a campaign/county plan
Get-out-the-Vote (GOTV) is the culmination of all the long hours of work done in every campaign. It is the busiest time of every campaign, and it is critical to your success.
You have one deadline: the closing of the polls on Election Day. The deadline will not change. You are either prepared or you are not. You cannot run a little behind schedule. There are no time outs. Every part of your get-out-the- vote operation must run flawlessly.
Every voter you identified must be reminded over and over again to vote. On Election Day, votes cannot be allowed to sit at home. The number of voters who forget to vote or who vote for Congress but forget about State and local election races will determine what kind of future you will have.
It is important to develop a good GOTV plan for your campaign, and your county. For more information about GOTV, contact me at email@example.com
Attorney General Drew Edmondson has completed his 77 county tour and is working hard to protect Oklahoma citizens from fraud, waste, and corruption. Please help Drew in his efforts to win re-election in November. Check out his website at www.edmondsonagain.com and sign up for his great newsletter. Edmondson will be the guest on the popular TV show "The Verdict" this Sunday on Cox Communications Channel 7 in OKC at 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and on Channel 3 in Tulsa at 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Deep Impact of Congressional Failures
This NY Times story "Pickers Are Few, and Growers Blame Congress", featured on KFOR-TV's website today explains the frustration of a dependably Republican group with the Bush conservatives in Congress who have failed to approve a new guest-worker program or deal with the very complex problem of immigration. Read it here. The fruit farmers, in particular pear growers, are furious and frustrated with the conservative agenda that refuses to deal with real problems in favor of political games. Meanwhile, Democrats are ready to pass tough, practical, comprehensive immigration reform to secure the borders, enforce our laws, and fix our immigration system. In Oklahoma Senator Daisy Lawler's Immigration Task Force is reviewing the facts and will make recommendations for action. And Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry has shown great leadership already by sending our National Guard troops to the border to assist in the security problem there. Listen to the Governor talk about the Washington Way vs. the Oklahoma Way of problem solving here. One thing is for certain, you can trust Democrats to develop solutions to complex problems, not just develop political slogans. When the issues are tough, trust the Democrats.
Live Music, Free Hamburgers & Hotdogs & Soft Drinks
Coal County Democratic Party Chairman Greg Davidson invites you to a Democratic Rally and Appreciation Event October 19th from 6 to 9 p.m. at the 45th Park Community Building south of Coalgate. Special guests will include Rep. Paul Roan, Sen. Jay Paul Gumm, Sen. Susan Paddack, CD 2 Congressman Dan Boren, Rep. Danny Morgan, Lt. Gov. nominee Jari Askins, Rep. Bob Plunk, Rep. Ray Miller, Rep. Dale Turner, Rep. Terry Harrison, Rep. John Carey, Rep. Purcey Walker, Coal County Commissioner Johnny Ward, and me.
Senator Biden Coming to OKC
I just spoke with Senator Joe Biden's scheduler at Unite Our States who confirmed that he will be in OKC on Monday afternoon. I should have details by COB today. Please check back here for the latest update on Senator Biden's OKC appearance.
Democrats know it is time for tough, practical, comprehensive immigration reform to secure the borders, enforce our laws, and fix our immigration system.
Five years of Bush Republican incompetence has left America's borders unsecured and our immigration system broken.
Bush Republicans would rather ignore a problem than address it. Unfortunately, America can't ignore 12 million undocumented workers.
Senator Debbe Leftwich hosted a great event last night at the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union Hall in south OKC. Current elected officials present included Gov. Brad Henry, Rep. Jari Askins, Rep. Al Lindley, Rep. Rebecca Hamilton, Rep. Richard Morrissette, OK County Commissioner Jim Roth, and OK County Sheriff John Whetsel. Their presence is a great testament to Senator Leftwich's standing and leadership in the district and in Oklahoma.
The room was packed with folks enjoying the music, bbq, hot dogs and politics. And that includes CD 5 Congressional nominee Dr. David Hunter whose standing in the polls is rising. (I heard that Fallin refuses to debate him after his inspiring performance Saturday night. And when I reviewed the tape of the speech I noticed Thad Balkman ducking out of the audience as Hunter took control of the room, as a matter of fact, I don't remember seeing any of the Republicans at the conclusion of the event.)
And speaking of rise in the polls, check out the great work at the Askins for Lt. Gov. campaign. Todd who?????
Other notables and activists I saw include Betty McElderry, Pat Hall, Myrna Burnam, Judy Calhoun, Ed Blau, Thomas Cook, Calvin Rees, and Tim O'Connor.
Thank you Senator Leftwich for your leadership!
If you can loan your lawn for the next 46 days to a local or statewide Democrat to display a yard sign, please let us know. We'll make sure that you have the appropriate yard art asap. Call us at 405.427.3366.
If you live on a corner or own property where we can put a sign, let us know. Our sign crews are ready and waiting to help you support Democrats.
If your county has a local Democratic Party HQ talk to them about stocking some signs and decorating the neighborhood. If not, stop by our office and help yourself.
We also have bumper stickers for most candidates so if you can't loan your lawn, boast about a candidate on the bumper of your car for the next month. Show your support for Democrats NOW!
Stephens County Democrats Open HQ
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Congressman Dan Boren told me personally this morning that he is NOT switching parties, that he will never switch parties and what's more he is looking forward to being in the MAJORITY in November --- A DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY! Thanks Congressman for your leadership and your commitment to Democratic principles and to the Democratic Party.
The reality is that people are abandoning the Republican Party daily and registering as Democrats because they understand that Bush and the GOP have bullied, lied, and spied on the American people. People have had a gutful of extremist politics and they want leaders who are committed to principled leadership and big ideas for big problems, not more slogans.
This is a letter from Senator Barak Obama that arrived in my inbox today. Please read it and know how very important the next 47 days are and that in Oklahoma the name calling has already begun, the push polls are already in the field, and Karl Rove is coming to dinner to raise money for Ernest. If you can give, now is the time to do it. How about making a contribution today of 47 dollars, one dollar for each of the next 47 days that we have to make sure we take the high road with our positive message of hope and opportunity. You can make a contribution online here or call us at 405.427.3366. To read the letter continue here.
You and I both know what's coming.
In the 47 days before Election Day, we're bound to see the worst of petty right-wing name calling: cut-and-run appeasers, terrorist-emboldeners, and - coming soon to an attack ad near you - the "Defeatocrats."
That's just not good enough. The American people deserve far greater leadership.
Our nation faces serious challenges both at home and aboard. To meet those challenges, we need leaders who will appeal to the best in all of us. We need leaders unwilling to settle for equality for some, opportunity for the lucky, freedom for the few. We cannot let the politics of division and fear give such a small view of our American dream.
To succeed, we need you. . . . . It's the only way we can help our . . . . candidates answer all the name-calling with TV ads and voter contact programs that leave no doubt Democrats are ready to lead.
Today, we face a choice. We can let Karl Rove define who we are in the last few weeks of another election. Or we can make sure that [we have] every resource it needs to tell the American people just what the Democratic Party stands for.
As Democrats, we believe in a smart foreign policy that battles the forces of terrorism and fundamentalism by matching the might of our military with the power of our diplomacy and the strength of our alliances. If we have to go to war, we will always be honest with the American people about why we are there and how we will win.
We are the party of opportunity. In a global economy that's more connected and more competitive, we are the party that will guarantee every American an affordable, world-class, top-notch, life-long education - from early childhood to high school, from college to on-the-job training.
We are the party of an energy independent America. The party that's not bought and paid for by the oil companies. We will harness homegrown, alternative fuels and spur the production of fuel-efficient, hybrid cars to break our dependence on the world's most dangerous regimes.
But we can only achieve these lofty goals if we win in November.
The choice is up to you. Unless we all do our part today for victory in November, we Democrats will never have the chance to lead.
There is a fundamental difference between us and them. We believe there's no problem we can't handle. We believe no challenge is too great for a government of, for, and by the people.
They believe that government is the problem itself. That we're better off facing these challenges on our own.
It's this timidity - this smallness - that's holding us back right now. You and I both know that we can't just ignore the problems and hope they go away. You and I know that our Democratic agenda will solve them.
The first step is winning in November and seizing our chance to lead. Don't settle for anything less. Do your part today.
For a straight up, cutting to the chase memo on framing political speech read "Twelve Traps to Avoid" from the new book by George Lakoff "Thinking Points". The book is available for purchase on Amazon and is being released in parts on the Rockridge Institute website.
This book takes the "Don't Think of an Elephant" lesson to the next level.
Worth reading, then worth doing. Words matter. Frames define the meaning of our words.
"Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear." Harry S. Truman, August 8, 1950.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
The Karl Rove wing of the Republican Party may believe that scapegoating groups of Americans and challenging the patriotism of Administration critics is an appropriate electoral strategy, but Democrats will never stoop to dividing Americans or targeting groups of people to win elections.
Oklahomans should reject those who use smear and fear tactics to win elections. Why would any self-respecting candidate want to be associated with scapegoating and racial profiling?
Democrats Lead in NYT/CBS Poll
There’s a new New York Times/CBS Poll coming out tomorrow. Here are the key highlights:
Democrats Lead on Congressional Ballot By 15. With less than seven weeks until Election Day, 50% of voters say they will vote for Democrats in the midterm elections, while only 35% are voting for a Republican.
Bush Got NO Bump Out of Latest Terror/Iraq Speeches. After the latest round of speeches in which he tried to tie Iraq to the war on terror, including the fifth anniversary of 9/11, Bush’s approval rating is still just 37%, virtually unchanged from the last survey. And Bush’s approval ratings on the war on terror haven’t changed at all since the last poll.
Americans – and Even Republicans – Have Anger Towards GOP Congress That Mirrors 1994. The current alienation of the Republican Congress is as intense as it has been since the bombshell election of 1994, signaling the challenge Republicans face in trying to maintain their control. 78% of voters – including two-thirds of Republicans – said most members of Congress don’t deserve to be re-elected and it’s time for a change, the highest number since 1994.
Voters Agree That GOP Has Run a “Do-Nothing” Congress. Two-thirds of Americans agree that the GOP has run a do-nothing Congress. In fact, most people can’t name a single accomplishment.
Here’s a link to the full story: http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/09/20/news/poll.php
Last Sunday Hal Spake appeared on the first segment of Flashpoint. If you missed the show you can now view it here. Hal's years of experience in the military and diplomatic corps are evident as he carefully and thoroughly addresses the questions from Turpen and Hargis.
For more information about Hal Spake go to his website at www.halspake.com.
Cherokee County Democratic Round Up
2nd District Congressman Dan Boren will be the featured speaker at the Cherokee County Democrats annual Democrat Round up October 5, 2006 at the Community Building in Tahlequah 300 West First. Doors open 6:00 p.m. Program begin at 7:15 pm, Tickets are $10 each and will be available at the door. All Democrats are invited.
For more information contact.
Don Brock, Cherokee County Democratic Party Chairman, at 918-456-1078.
Dr. David Hunter delivered this speech to a non-partisan audience of 700 Oklahomans Saturday night in Oklahoma City and was rewarded with a standing ovation. Take time to listen to his passion, his courage, and his insight. You too will be moved to applause and action as he challenges us to "Rise Above the Fear".
For more information about Dr. Hunter's campaign to Put a Doctor in the House go to his website at www.drhunterforcongress.com.
Comanche County Democrats Open HQ
Comanche County Chairman Mike Weddington (at left with Larry Jefferson) called yesterday to invite us to the new HQ in Comanche County at 816 West Gore Blvd. in Lawton. Office hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the phone number is 580.250.1554.
More information about the Comanche County Democrats can be found on their website at http://www.ccdem.com.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
The Oklahoma Democratic Party is sponsoring a booth in the Hall of Modern Living building at the Oklahoma State Fair, which runs through September 24. Stop by and volunteer to work in a campaign or at the State Headquarters, or pick up literature on your favorite candidate to distribute in your precinct! You're likely to see one of our party candidates, such as Fifth District Congressional Candidate David Hunter (above), as they get up close and personal with the voters.
Thanks to all the staff and volunteers who have put in many hours to increase our visibility with the voters!
CD 1 Alan Gentges Promoted on Daily Kos
Alan Gentges is making waves in CD 1 in his challenge to unseat incumbent John Sullivan and people are talking/listening/reading about it. Read this recent entry about Alan Gentges on the blogosphere's hottest site Daily Kos.
Allen is taking his campaign to the people of CD1. Check out his comments on the campaign blog.
Oklahoma Kicking the Habit and Saving Millions
Under the leadership of State Treasurer Scott Meacham Oklahoma is saving millions of dollars that are being invested wisely to the benefit of all of our citizens. Check the facts here. And under the direction of this honest banker, Oklahoma has doubled our state's investment earnings. Check the facts here.
Oklahoma Republican Assembly President Tim Pope is apparently urging local clergy to ignore tax laws that govern use of the pulpit for political speech....here's an excerpt from his recent email:
"And, oh yeah, lest I haven’t quite offended everyone quite yet, let me pass a word on to Pastors – stop being more concerned with your tax status than you are with what is going on in our society – you have tons of leeway behind the pulpit but you have to want to find out what it is and then use it. Follow the lead of Pastor Paul Blair who says that his ministry is supported by people because of his mission – not the tax deduction. "
President, Oklahoma Republican Assembly
Seeking a Solid Senate Majority
The Oklahoma State Senate Democrats are working overtime to hold their historic majority this election cycle. They are defending eight seats that are open due to term limits and are seeking to protect their incumbents. Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan, Stillwater, has put together a strong slate of candidates and has provided fundraising support for the Democrats. Thank you Senator Morgan for your hard work on behalf of the Senate Democrats and the people of Oklahoma.
Press reports have shown rampant abuse in the Coalition Provisional Authority where unqualified, politically-connected staffers were put in positions critical to the success of rebuilding Iraq. Qualified applicants with language skills and experience in post-conflict reconstruction were rejected in favor of unqualified cronies with close ties to the Republican Party. Today, Senate Democrats condemned the Bush Administration's record of mismanagement and cronyism in Iraq, and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid demanded answers from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld when he briefs Congress this Thursday.
Pledge of Allegiance
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Attorney General Drew Edmondson's new radio spot features his fight to protect the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Listen to the "Pledge" radio spot here.
Oklahoma Democrat Sue Barton won 35 counties and 53% of the vote in the 3rd Congressional District primary to earn the opportunity to face Republican Frank Lucas in November. In the next 49 days Sue needs your help to take her message of Hope for the People to the voters in the 3rd District. Please consider making a contribution to Sue Barton for Congress today. Don't hesitate, Sue will use your contribution to share the truth about the rubber stamp voting record of her opponent and to share her message of honest leadership and open government for all the people.
Since George Bush took office, the number of American citizens without health insurance has increased by six million. In 2004 alone, more than a million Americans fell out of the middle class and into poverty. Gasoline prices have put the squeeze on American families while oil companies are making record profits. And our national security has been compromised by failed judgments and rosy assessments - with no oversight and no accountability. To make a difference in the future of America, please make a contribution today to your Democratic Party. We are poised to win elections at the federal and state level but we need your help today. With 49 days remaining until the elections won't you please make a contribution today. Fight the culture of corruption and the dangerous incompetence of the GOP by supporting your Democratic Party.
Urgent action is needed to oppose H.R. 4844, the deceptively titled Federal Election Integrity Act of 2006. A vote is expected in the U.S. House tomorrow or Thursday. Please act now!
Contrary to its title, the bill will undermine the integrity of our electoral process by imposing unnecessary barriers to full participation in federal elections. The bill's requirements of proof of citizenship and photo identification as a prerequisite to voting may appear innocuous, but in reality they will disenfranchise seniors, minority voters, low income voters, students and young voters, and voters with disabilities. In addition, the implementation of H.R. 4844 places a huge burden on state governments.
Proponents of photo identification provisions at the polls and proof of citizenship when registering to vote claim that these draconian constraints are necessary to guard against identity fraud at the nation's polling places. But there is no credible evidence that voter impersonation or non-citizen voting is anything but an anomaly. As the United States District Court found in Common Cause v. Billups (when considering a Georgia law requiring ID at the polls), photo identification requirements amount to an unconstitutional poll tax and burden the fundamental right to vote of eligible American citizens. Learn more about restrictive photo ID and proof of citizenship requirements.
Urge your Member of Congress to vote NO on H.R. 4844. When you take action, you will be directed to our website where you can send our sample letter to your Representaive or customize your letter based on our talking points and your own opinions. A fax is automatically generated and sent to the Washington, DC office of your Member of Congress.
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Congratulations to Linda Hasler-Reid the 2006 State Teacher of the Year
State Superintendent Sandy Garrett presented the prestigious 2006 State Teacher of the Year award to Linda Hasler-Reid, Muskogee, today at the Oklahoma State Fair.
On behalf of the Oklahoma Democratic Party and more than one million registered Democrats, thank you Supt. Garrett for your leadership in recognizing our teachers and thank you Linda for your commitment to public education.
Finalists this year included the following teachers:
- Diana Beaulieu, Broken Arrow Public Schools
- Vicki Stuever, Chisholm Public Schools
- Raylene Harrison, Edmond Public Schools
- Jana Smithey, Elk City Public Schools
- Mary McDonald, Enid Public Schools
- Donny Longest, Konawa Public Schools
- Connie Boswell Sloan, McAlester Public Schools
- Linda Hasler-Reid, Muskogee Public Schools (winner)
- Sanford Jackson, Oklahoma City Public Schools
- Diane Brown, Sand Springs Public Schools
- Sabra Tucker, Shawnee Public Schools
- Lisa Steadman, Woodward Public Schools
Jari Askins New TV Ad
Jari Askins, Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor, leads in the race and is on tv with a new commercial. While her opponent is reportedly "nearly broke." Check out the ad and her website for the latest information about Oklahoma's next Lt. Governor, Jari Askins.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Come by our booth in the Hall of Modern Living, and help us support these heroes. Oklahoma Democrats will honor the sacrifice of the thousands of Oklahomans who have served our country, and we’d love to have you stand with us. Our booth will have Veteran specific literature, as well as Veteran volunteers throughout the day.
Republican Ernest Istook is playing fast and loose with the facts. ODP Vicechair Ben Odom said this morning "the way Ernest Istook plays with the facts he should be a PAC 10 referee. . . . while the Tulsa World called Istook's recent fact distortions "Pinochio Politics". Read all about it here.
Dr. Hunter embraces plan for Iraq
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK- Today, Dr. David Hunter, U.S. congressional candidate for the fifth district announced his support of Senator Joseph Biden’s plan for handling the war in Iraq. Senator Biden calls the plan ‘a way forward’ and is a strong logical alternative to President Bush’s ‘stay the course’ strategy.
“We’re in a losing effort in Iraq not because insurgents are beating us on the battlefield, but because they are making our continued occupation ineffective. Senator Biden has proposed the only viable argument against a policy that is obviously failing in Iraq,” said Hunter.
Senator Biden’s proposal is a five point plan, the most crucial of which is a decentralization of the central government by establishing three autonomous ethnic regions-Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish. A central government would remain intact in Baghdad to control borders, foreign affairs, and distribute oil revenues. With an increase in sectarian violence in recent months, Dr. Hunter believes this division would allow the three main ethnic groups in Iraq to cool off and ultimately prevent a civil war that seems imminent at the moment.
The plan is modeled after one implemented in Bosnia over a decade ago to stop ethnic cleansing and violence. “Look at the success of this type of plan in Bosnia. It has been effective in bringing peace to a region that was in a similar state as Iraq. If we want to salvage Iraq, it is our only option at this point,” Hunter said.
Other parts of Biden’s plan include guaranteeing the Sunni minority a proportionate share of oil revenues, implementation of plans protecting women and minorities, enforcing an orderly and timely withdrawal of U.S. troops, and convening of regional summits to guarantee security of Iraq from outside threats.
“Every part of Senator Biden’s plan is meant to support and reinforce the idea of a stronger, sovereign Iraq. This should be the ultimate goal of our government, but the Bush administration has not shown this to be its priority. With no clear plan in Iraq, a civil war will ensue and the country will continue to deteriorate as the administration pours money down the drain,” Hunter said.
Dr. Hunter says that wrong decisions were made regarding Iraq, but the important thing now is to develop a definite strategy. “This plan provides a way out that is beneficial to the people of Iraq. We have to ensure that Iraqis are safe while also enforcing an timely exit strategy. Senator Biden has proposed a way to do this, and I support it fully,” said Hunter.
”My opponent, if she is elected, will be a rubber stamp for this administration,” says Hunter. She has said that we need to ‘stay the course’ and is behind this President 100%. Oklahomans are ready for a change, and I am the only candidate in this race who will fight for a change in Oklahoma and America.”
Even at the best of times, it's hard to know what Congress is up to. Its rules are complicated. The words and phrases that House and Senate members use to describe the particulars of legislating seem arcane. Even the bills they write are tricky to follow, what with their instructions to strike this line or that paragraph in some previous law and replace it with new language.
Still, when Congress is functioning as it should, it only takes a little effort and some basic knowledge to follow its workings.
Not at the moment, though. Congress has become an opaque and secretive institution. This is a dangerous and troubling development for a democracy.
In essence, longstanding procedures have been changed with an eye toward centralizing power and making it much more difficult for those not in their inner circle — including many members of Congress, the press, and ordinary Americans — to see what they're doing.
Congressional leaders, more and more, are restricting the free flow of information for the purpose of developing legislation. This is handy for them, because it allows them to write bills without the messiness of open debate. But it's not a very good deal for the American people, because it also makes it nearly impossible for voters to hold their elected representatives accountable for their actions.
These days, key legislative decisions are often made behind closed doors. Committees used to be where the action was: where expert witnesses could give their opinion, where rank-and-file members of Congress could weigh in, where legislation got shaped. Now, committees too often just give a formal stamp of approval to measures that have already been crafted by congressional leaders, their staffers, lobbyists, and administration officials.
As the House worked on an important "bankruptcy reform" bill, for instance, congressional leaders overseeing the process rejected any amendments to a Senate version that had been developed with the help of the credit industry. As congressional scholars Tom Mann and Norman Ornstein wrote, "Actively seeking to prevent any deliberative process, the leaders of the House and Senate obtained a law — but one that was filled with holes and problems, many easily anticipated."
Why does this matter? I think the answer lies in the words from Alexander Hamilton that are carved into the House chambers, words that every member of the House can see: "Here, Sir, the people govern." Our nation rests on the belief that we, Americans of every stripe and belief, have the final say on whether we approve or disapprove of what our representatives and our government are doing in our name.
Yet how can we judge and weigh their actions if we don't know what they're doing? Our system depends on informed voters making discriminating decisions, and this means not just seeing the final product, but also being able to understand and even weigh in on its shaping.
Democracy thrives on information; secrecy is its enemy. Secrecy limits the informed consent of the people, and increases ignorance concerning public issues. It reduces our capacity to act wisely. If the facts about the need for a proposed policy, its cost, and its probable consequences are kept from the public, then democracy is threatened. The less people know, as information is withheld from them, the more suspicious and cynical they become.
This does not mean that every discussion needs to take place in front of the television cameras. There is a place in a democracy for politicians to do what we expect of them — that is, to discuss issues freely, strive to accommodate one another's points of view, and arrive at a consensus that works for the American people as a whole.
But that is not what has been happening over the past several years. The regular order of the traditions of the Congress has been subverted. Too many key decisions are being made in secret.
The truth is, process matters in government. What is called the "regular order" in Congress — the cumbersome steps designed to ensure that legislation gets discussed and examined, that all relevant information flows freely in the process, and that members have a chance to negotiate and compromise — all this developed because it is the best way for people from different regions who hold different beliefs to be part of governing.
Which means that the solution to Congress's growing furtiveness is not at all radical; it's simply a return to what used to be. If decisions are once again made in committee and on the floor, if members of Congress can offer amendments in public and see them debated in public, then not only will Congress have gone a long way toward restoring its transparency, but also the American people will once again have a national legislature they can understand and trust.
From Lee Hamilton is Director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years.