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Sunday, May 29, 2005

President Bush's Memorial Day Weekend Radio Address

President's Radio Address

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This Memorial Day weekend, Americans pay tribute to those who have given their lives in the service of our nation. As we honor the members of our Armed Forces who have died for our freedom, we also honor those who are defending our liberties today.

On Friday, I met with some of the courageous men and women who will soon take their place in the defense of our freedom: the graduating class of the United State s Naval Academy. These new officers will soon be serving on ships, flying combat missions, and leading our troops into battle against dangerous enemies. They are prepared for the challenges ahead -- morally, mentally, and physically. The American people can be confident that their freedom is in good hands.

Our citizens live in freedom because patriots are willing to serve and sacrifice for our liberty. And on Monday, I will lay a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery in honor of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, a victory for freedom in which more than 400,000 Americans gave their lives. Today a new generation of Americans is making its own sacrifice on behalf of peace and freedom, and some have given their lives.

In their hometowns, these soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are more than names on a roll of honor. They were friends and neighbors, teachers and coaches, classmates and colleagues. Each was the most important person in someone's life; each had hopes for the future, and each left a place that can never be filled.

We mourn their loss, and we honor their sacrifice. We pray for their families. And we take heart in knowing that these men and women believed deeply in what they were fighting for. Christopher Swisher was a staff sergeant from Lincoln, Nebraska, who joined the Army a year after graduating from high school. He was killed in an ambush while on patrol in Baghdad. Sergeant Swisher told his loved ones: "If anything happens to me, I'm doing what I want to be doing -- I'm protecting my family and my home."

Rafael Peralta also understood that America faces dangerous enemies, and he knew the sacrifices required to defeat them. An immigrant from Mexico, he enlisted in the Marine Corps the day after he got his green card. Just before the battle of Fallujah, he wrote his 14-year-old brother, "We are going to defeat the insurgents. Be proud of me, I'm going to make history and do something that I always wanted to do." A few days later, Sergeant Peralta gave his life to save his fellow Marines.

This Memorial Day, we remember Sergeant Peralta, Sergeant Swisher, and all who have given their lives for our nation. And we honor them as we continue to wage the war on terror and spread freedom across the world. The people of Iraq and Afghanistan are determined to secure their freedom, and we will help them. We're training Iraqi and Afghan forces so they can take the fight to the enemy and defend their own countries, and then our troops will return home with the honor they have earned.

Throughout our history, America has fought not to conquer but to liberate. We go to war reluctantly, because we understand the high cost of war. Those who have given their lives to defend America have the respect and gratitude of our entire nation.

Thank you for listening.

Memorial Day Video Tribute at

From the Inbox:
Memorial Day weekend is upon us, a time when Americans pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and security of our great nation. And as we reflect on our fallen heroes, we also honor our troops currently defending America and advancing freedom around the world.

In honor of this occasion, we invite you to share in a video tribute that reminds us of the proud patriots who defended and currently defend America's ideals.

Click here to watch.

This Memorial Day, ceremonies will be held across the nation to recognize our military men and women and brave soldiers dating back to the Revolutionary War; Flags will be flown high. Take a few minutes to watch this video tribute, and then if you can, attend an event to honor America's inspirational heroes.

Ken Mehlman,
RNC Chairman

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Boycott Monster-in-Law

From the Inbox:
Please pass on...

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, May 22, 2005 5:22 PM
Subject: Hanoi Jane

On May 13, the movie, Monster-in-Law, starring Jennifer Lopez, Michael Vartan and Jane Fonda was released nationally.

PLEASE boycott this movie in protest of the TRAITOR Jane Fonda.

If the movie is a box office flop, other stars and movie studios will think twice about appearing with or casting Hanoi Jane in future films.

We can make a difference and this is one way we can let the film industry know we will not pay our hard earned money to see a TRAITOR who disrespected our POW's, causing them great mental and physical pain, slapped America in the face and refuses to apologize for her actions star in a film.

What Jane Fonda did during the Vietnam War went way beyond just protesting the war and is unforgivable and more than "regrettable", to use her words from a recent "60 Minutes" show.

PLEASE send this to all on your e-mail list, especially military veterans and active duty military personnel.
I wouldn't have watched the movie to begin with, but it is on the same list as Meet the Fockers as far as I am concerned.

The Eagle and the Serpents

The Eagle and the Serpents

Such discord now ‘tween you and us,
Mainstream Media and populace:
You envenom all that we hold dear,
And revel in those things we fear.
You denigrate our national pride
Taking always now the others’ side.
A Media mamba, a poisonous pest
That lurks within our Eagle’s nest.

You arrogant adders puffed with pride,
We know truth’s on our Eagle’s side;
And care not what you snakes declare,
We’ve had it with your venomous fare.
Our Eagle soars above your wrath,
Your tortured, twisted serpents’ path.
From your low crawl, you fail to see,
Our Eagle strikes have set men free.

Now the Eagle from his lofty post,
Looks down upon your hissing host,
Who poison every good intent,
With noxious toxins you invent.
Like diamondbacks you loudly rattle,
Strike fear in those you deem but cattle;
But your cattle now look to the sky,
See the Eagle soaring, and know you lie.

Can you Media serpents win this fight?
Bring our Eagle down from newfound height?
No longer now caged up by you,
Only negative news to shape our view.
The Internet set our Eagle free,
Now we can hear, now we can see.
A Mainstream Media hissing lies,
Spitting blinding venom in our eyes.

Our Eagle’s spied you false purveyors,
Just negative fools and foul naysayers.
The Eagle knows now he is right,
That he’s with honor in this fight.
And despite your biting fanged attacks,
He’ll land upon your serpent backs;
An image that should give you pause:
A thrashing snake in Eagle’s claws.

Russ Vaughn

Bush Commencement Address at Calvin College

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, President Byker; members of the Calvin faculty; distinguished guests; parents, friends, family -- and, most importantly, the Class of 2005. (Applause.)

Thanks for having me. I was excited to come back to Calvin, and I was just telling Laura the other night about what fun it would be to come to Calvin College. I said, you know, Laura, I love being around so many young folks. You know, it gives me a chance to re-live my glory days in academia. (Laughter.) She said, George, that's not exactly how I would describe your college experience. (Laughter.) She also said one other thing I think the graduates will appreciate hearing, a good piece of advice. She said, the folks here are here to get their diploma, not to hear from an old guy go on too long. (Laughter.) So with that sage advice, here goes.

I bring a great message of hope and freedom to Calvin College Class of 2005: There is life after Professor Vanden Bosch and English 101. (Laughter.) Someday you will appreciate the grammar and verbal skills you learned here. (Laughter and applause.) And if any of you wonder how far a mastery of the English language can take you, just look what it did for me. (Laughter and applause.)

I thank the moms and dads here for your sacrifice and for your love. (Applause.) I want to thank the faculty for your hard work and dedication. (Applause.) And, again, I congratulate the Class of 2005. Soon you will collect your degrees and say goodbyes to a school that has been your home -- and you will take your rightful place in a country that offers you the greatest freedom and opportunity on Earth. (Applause.) I ask that you use what you've learned to make your own contributions to the story of American freedom.

The immigrants who founded Calvin College came to America for the freedom to worship, and they built this great school on the sturdy ground of liberty. They saw in the American "experiment" the world's best hope for freedom -- and they weren't the only ones excited by what they saw. In 1835, a young civil servant and aristocrat from France, named Alexis de Tocqueville, would publish a book about America that still resonates today.

The book is called "Democracy in America," and in it this young Frenchman said that the secret to America's success was our talent for bringing people together for the common good. De Tocqueville wrote that tyrants maintained their power by "isolating" their citizens -- and that Americans guaranteed their freedom by their remarkable ability to band together without any direction from government. The America he described offered the world something it had never seen before: a working model of a thriving democracy where opportunity was unbounded, where virtue was strong, and where citizens took responsibility for their neighbors.

Tocqueville's account is not just the observations of one man -- it is the story of our founding. It is not just a description of America at a point in time -- it is an agenda for our time. Our Founders rejected both a radical individualism that makes no room for others, and the dreary collectivism that crushes the individual. They gave us instead a society where individual freedom is anchored in communities. And in this hopeful new century, we have a great goal: to renew this spirit of community and thereby renew the character and compassion of our nation.

First, we must understand that the character of our citizens is essential to society. In a free and compassionate society, the public good depends on private character. That character is formed and shaped in institutions like family, faith, and the many civil and -- social and civic organizations, from the Boy Scouts to the local Rotary Clubs. The future success of our nation depends on our ability to understand the difference between right and wrong and to have the strength of character to make the right choices. Government cannot create character, but it can and should respect and support the institutions that do.

Second, we must understand the importance of keeping power close to the people. Local people know local problems, they know the names and faces of their neighbors. The heart and soul of America is in our local communities; it is in the citizen school boards that determine how our children are educated; it's in city councils and state legislators that reflect the unique needs and priorities of the people they serve; it's in the volunteer groups that transform towns and cities into caring communities and neighborhoods. In the years to come, I hope that you'll consider joining these associations or serving in government -- because when you come together to serve a cause greater than yourself, you will energize your communities and help build a more just and compassionate America.

Finally, we must understand that it is by becoming active in our communities that we move beyond our narrow interests. In today's complex world, there are a lot of things that pull us apart. We need to support and encourage the institutions and pursuits that bring us together. And we learn how to come together by participating in our churches and temples and mosques and synagogues; in civil rights associations; in our PTAs and Jaycees; in our gardening and book clubs, interest groups and chambers of commerce; in our service groups -- from soup kitchens to homeless shelters.

All these organizations promote the spirit of community and help us acquire the "habits of heart" that are so vital to a free society. And because one of the deepest values of our country is compassion, we must never turn away from any citizen who feels isolated from the opportunities of America. Our faith-based and community groups provide the armies of compassion that help people who wonder if the American Dream is meant for them. These armies of compassion are the great engines of social change, they serve individual and local needs, and they have been found at the front of every great movement in American history.

The history of forming associations dedicated to serving others is as old as America, itself. From abolition societies and suffrage movements to immigrant aid groups and prison reform ministries, America's social entrepreneurs have often been far ahead of our government in identifying and meeting the needs of our fellow countrymen. Because they are closer to the people they serve, our faith-based and community organizations deliver better results than government. And they have a human touch: When a person in need knocks on the door of a faith-based or community organization, he or she is welcomed as a brother or a sister.

No one understood this better than another 19th century visitor to America whose name is well known to Calvin College: Abraham Kuyper. Kuyper was a Dutchman who would be elected his nation's prime minister, and he knew all about the importance of associations because he founded so many of them -- including two newspapers, a political party, and a university. Kuyper contrasted the humanizing influence of independent social institutions with the "mechanical character of government." And in a famous speech right here in Grand Rapids, he urged Dutch immigrants to resist the temptation to retreat behind their own walls -- he told them to go out into their adopted America and make a true difference as true Christian citizens.

Our government is encouraging all Americans to make a difference through our faith-based and community initiative; we're mobilizing Americans to volunteer through the USA Freedom Corps. We'll do our part, but, ultimately, service is up to you. It is your choice to make. As your generation takes its place in the world, all of you must make this decision: Will you be a spectator, or a citizen? To make a difference in this world, you must be involved. By serving a higher calling here or abroad, you'll make your lives richer and build a more hopeful future for our world.

At Calvin College, you take this call to service to heart. You serve as "agents of renewal" across the Earth. You volunteer for Big Brothers/Big Sisters to mentor young people. You work at Bethany Christian Services here in Grand Rapids, one of the best-known adoption services in America. A former Calvin student and professor, Vern Ehlers, serves in the halls of Congress. As the Class of 2005 goes out into the world, I ask you to embrace this tradition of service and help set an example for all Americans. As Americans we share an agenda that calls us to action -- a great responsibility to serve and love others, a responsibility that goes back to the greatest commandment.

This isn't a Democratic idea. This isn't a Republican idea. This is an American idea. (Applause.) It has sustained our nation's liberty for more than 200 years. The Founders knew that too much government leads to oppression, but that too little government can leave us helpless and alone. So they built a free society with many roots in community. And to keep the tree of liberty standing tall in the century before us, you must nourish those roots.

Today, the Calvin Class of 2005 looks out on an America that continues to be defined by the promise of our Declaration of Independence. We're still the nation our Founders imagined, where individual freedom and opportunity is unbounded, where community is vibrant, where compassion keeps us from resting until all our citizens take their place at the banquet of freedom and equality. And with your help, we'll all do our part to transform our great land one person and one community at a time.

Thank you for having me and may God bless you, and may God continue to bless our country. (Applause.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Whitehouse Press Briefing Regarding Newsweek Snafu

Press Briefing by Scott McClellan
The James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
May 17, 2005
12:46 P.M. EDT


Q Scott, you said that the retraction by Newsweek magazine of its story is a good first step. What else does the President want this American magazine to do?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, it's what I talked about yesterday. This report, which Newsweek has now retracted and said was wrong, has had serious consequences. People did lose their lives. The image of the United States abroad has been damaged; there is lasting damage to our image because of this report. And we would encourage Newsweek to do all that they can to help repair the damage that has been done, particularly in the region.

And I think Newsweek can do that by talking about the way they got this wrong, and pointing out what the policies and practices of the United States military are when it comes to the handling of the Holy Koran. The military put in place policies and procedures to make sure that the Koran was handled -- or is handled with the utmost care and respect. And I think it would help to point that out, because some have taken this report -- those that are opposed to the United States -- some have taken this report and exploited it and used it to incite violence.

Q With respect, who made you the editor of Newsweek? Do you think it's appropriate for you, at that podium, speaking with the authority of the President of the United States, to tell an American magazine what they should print?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not telling them. I'm saying that we would encourage them to help --

Q You're pressuring them.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I'm saying that we would encourage them --

Q It's not pressure?

MR. McCLELLAN: Look, this report caused serious damage to the image of the United States abroad. And Newsweek has said that they got it wrong. I think Newsweek recognizes the responsibility they have. We appreciate the step that they took by retracting the story. Now we would encourage them to move forward and do all that they can to help repair the damage that has been done by this report. And that's all I'm saying. But, no, you're absolutely right, it's not my position to get into telling people what they can and cannot report.


Q Back on Newsweek. Richard Myers, last Thursday -- I'm going to read you a quote from him. He said, "It's a judgment of our commander in Afghanistan, General Eichenberry, that in fact the violence that we saw in Jalalabad was not necessarily the result of the allegations about disrespect for the Koran." He said it was "more tied up in the political process and reconciliation that President Karzai and his cabinet were conducting." And he said that that was from an after-action report he got that day.

So what has changed between last Thursday and today, five days later, to make you now think that those -- that that violence was a result of Newsweek?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, clearly, the report was used to incite violence by people who oppose the United States and want to mischaracterize the values and the views of the United States of America. The protests may have been pre-staged by those who oppose the United States and who may be opposed to moving forward on freedom and democracy in the region, but the images that we have seen across our television screens over the last few days clearly show that this report was used to incite violence. People lost their lives --

Q But may I just follow up, please? He didn't say "protest," he said -- he used the word very specifically, "violence." He said the violence, as far as they know from their people on the ground -- which is something that you always say you respect wholeheartedly -- it was not because of Newsweek.

MR. McCLELLAN: Dana, I guess I'm not looking at it the same way as you do, and I think the Department of Defense has spoken to this issue over the last few days. But the facts are very clear that this report was used in the region by people opposed to the United States to incite violence and to portray a very negative image of the United States, one that runs contrary to everything that we value and believe, and it has done some serious damage to our image.

Q You don't think there's any way that perhaps you're looking at it a little bit differently, now that you understand that the Newsweek report is false?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think you can go look at just about every news report that has covered this and they have pointed out that this report, itself, helped spark some violence in the region.

Q Scott, to go back to Dana's question, are you saying that General Myers was wrong, therefore, that this -- the violence he's talking about? Are you saying he was wrong in his assessment of what happened in Afghanistan?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, not at all. In fact, maybe you didn't hear me, but as I said, there are people that are opposed to the United States that look at every opportunity to try to do damage to our image in the region, and --

Q Okay --

MR. McCLELLAN: Hang on, let me finish -- and this report gave the additional material to incite violence, and additional material to exploit in the region. The report was wrong. Newsweek has stated that it was wrong. And there has been some lasting damage that has been done to our image because of this report. And it's going to take some work to repair that damage. And that's why we would encourage Newsweek to do its part to help repair the damage.

Q Let me follow up on that. What -- you said that -- what specifically are you asking Newsweek to do? I mean, to follow up on Terry's question, are you saying they should write a story? Are you going that far? How else can Newsweek, you know, satisfy you here?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, as I said, we would encourage them to continue working diligently to help repair the damage that has been done because of this --

Q Are you asking them to write a story?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- because of this report. I think Newsweek is going to be in the best position to determine how to achieve that. And there are ways that I pointed out that they can help repair the damage. One way is to point out what the policies and practices of our United States military are. Our United States military personnel go out of their way to make sure that the Holy Koran is treated with care --

Q Are you asking them to write a story about how great the American military is; is that what you're saying here?

MR. McCLELLAN: Elisabeth, let me finish my sentence. Our military --

Q You've already said what you're -- I know what -- how it ends.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I'm coming to your question, and you're not letting me have a chance to respond. But our military goes out of their way to handle the Koran with care and respect. There are policies and practices that are in place. This report was wrong. Newsweek, itself, stated that it was wrong. And so now I think it's incumbent and -- incumbent upon Newsweek to do their part to help repair the damage. And they can do that through ways that they see best, but one way that would be good would be to point out what the policies and practices are in that part of the world, because it's in that region where this report has been exploited and used to cause lasting damage to the image of the United States of America. It has had serious consequences. And so that's all I'm saying, is that we would encourage them to take steps to help repair the damage. And I think that they recognize the importance of doing that. That's all I'm saying.

Q As far as the Newsweek article is concerned, first, how and where the story came from? And do you think somebody can investigate if it really happened at the base, and who told Newsweek? Because somebody wrote a story.

MR. McCLELLAN: I think Newsweek has talked about it. They took it --

Q And second thing is that it's not only Newsweek story. In the past, well-known people who can make and break a society, they make statements against other religions, like Mr. Pat Robertson against Hinduism in the past. How can we prepare for the future all these stories, it doesn't happen again in the future? Do you think the President can come out and make sure, because that's what the Muslims are calling on the President to come out --

MR. McCLELLAN: We have to continue speaking out about the values that the United States stands for. And one value that we stand very strongly for is religious freedom. We believe all people should be able to practice their religion as they see fit. And we welcome a diversity of views. We welcome all those who -- well, I mean, we believe that religious freedom is at the heart of this issue here. And some people have taken this report and mischaracterized what we stand for here in America. So we're going to continue reaching out to people in the Muslim world and talking about what we believe in and what we stand for, and the values that we hold so dearly.

And in terms of what we're doing already, we're also asking our friends in the region to help make sure that that message gets out there, the message of what we believe in and what we stand for here in the United States, and the policies and practices that our military follows. Our military goes to great length to show the utmost respect for the Holy Koran and for the ability of detainees to worship freely. And I think that's something we will continue to point out.

In terms of the first question, I think that Newsweek talked about it yesterday; they talked about what went wrong, they talked about how this was based on a single, anonymous source, and they retracted the story, said it was wrong, and they shouldn't have gone with the story in the first place.

Q Just to follow quickly --

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me keep going. Terry, go ahead.

Q Scott, is this whole conversation about Newsweek and the White House, is this going on just in the media, or are White House officials talking to editors at Newsweek about what they think should be done?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I'm not aware of any such conversations, other than what I've said publicly. I know Newsweek did reach out to the Department of Defense to talk about the story, when they realized that they may have gotten it wrong. And they've since taken some steps, and we appreciate the step that they took yesterday.

Q But you are not being any more specific with editors of Newsweek about what you think -- I mean, in a sort of one-to-one way, about --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, look, I mean, Newsweek is going to have to make those determinations. All we're saying is that we would encourage them to help undo the damage that has been done. Some of it's not going to be able to be undone, some of it is lasting. But we would just simply encourage Newsweek to do what they can to help repair the damage that was done in the region. And Newsweek certainly has the ability to do that. They are a widely-published magazine.

Q Scott, just real quickly --

MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead, April.

Q Scott, on the issue of lasting damage in the Muslim world, you keep talking about that, but is there concern that the damage could trickle from the Muslim world back here to the United States? Like 9/11 was considered a jihad over religious beliefs, do you think -- is that some of the lasting and irreparable damage that this White House is talking about that could happen?

MR. McCLELLAN: I didn't quite look at it in those terms, April. I just haven't looked at it. I mean, this report -- this was about a report that was wrong and that Newsweek has since retracted. It has caused damage to us. What we've got to do is continue to reach out through public diplomacy efforts to the Muslim world and talk about our policies and talk about our values. And that's what we're going to continue to do, because I think that all people across the world want to live in freedom, and that is one of the values that is at the forefront of our foreign policy.


Q In context of the Newsweek situation, I think we hear the caution you're giving us about reporting things based on a single anonymous source. What, then, are we supposed to do with information that this White House gives us under the conditions that it comes from a single anonymous source?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not sure what exactly you're referring to.

Q Frequent briefings by senior administration officials in which the ground rules are we can only identify them as a single anonymous source.

MR. McCLELLAN: Ken, I know that there is an issue when it comes to the media in terms of the use of anonymous sources, but the issue is not related to background briefings. But I do believe that we should work to move away from those kind of background briefings. I've been working with the bureau chiefs on that very issue. And I think we have taken some steps, and I think you have noticed that.

But there is a credibility problem in the media regarding the use of anonymous sources, but it's because of fabricated stories, and it's because of situations like this one over the weekend. It's not because of the background briefings that you may be referring to.

Q What prevents this administration from just saying from this point forward, you will identify who it is that's talking to us?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, in terms of background briefings, if that's what you're asking about, which I assume it is, let me point out that what I'm talking about there are officials who are helping to provide context to on-the-record comments made by people like the President or the Secretary of State or others. I don't think that that is the issue here when it comes to the use or widespread use of anonymous sources by the media. I think it's --

Q But--

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me finish -- I think it's a much larger issue. And as I said, one of the concerns is that some media organizations have used anonymous sources that are hiding behind that anonymity in order to generate negative attacks.

Q But to our readers, viewers and listeners, I think it's all the same.

MR. McCLELLAN: And then you have a situation -- you have a situation where we found out later that quotes were attributed to people that they didn't make. Or you have a situation where you now learn that a single source was used for verifying this allegation -- and that source, himself, said he could not personally verify the accuracy of the report. And I think that that's -- you know, that's one of the issue that concerns the American people when they look at the media, and I think sometimes the media does have difficulty going back and kind of critiquing itself. And sometimes it's convenient for the media to point to others or to point to something other than internally. I think it's an issue that they need to work to address internally, and we'll work to address from our standpoint, as well. And those bureau chiefs that I met with have indicated that it is a problem that they're working to address internally, as well.

So I think we need to talk about the larger issue here when we talk about it.

Q With all due respect, though, it sounds like you're saying your single anonymous sources are okay and everyone else's aren't.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I'm not saying that at all. In fact, I think you may have missed what I said. I think that we should move away from the use of -- the long-used practice of the background briefings, and we've taken steps to do that. But I was putting in context what these background briefings that you're referring to are about. They're about individuals providing context to remarks or policies that may have been implemented by the administration, and you have other officials on the record talking about --

Q Sometimes you do --

MR. McCLELLAN: -- hang on -- talking about those policies. You also have incidents, or instances, where individuals are providing context to meetings with world leaders, and there's some diplomatic sensitivities involved there.

Q We also have incidents, like most recently with the energy speech, where it was before the President made his comments, it was all we had -- and we had to make the decision of whether to report this from anonymous sources who, frankly, in that case, we didn't even know who they were.

MR. McCLELLAN: This is one of the issues that I sat down and discussed with the bureau chiefs. I think it's best to kind of have those discussions with the bureau chiefs; I did. We've made some progress. I think they had a legitimate issue that they brought up. But there's a larger issue here. Let's not point to the background briefings as the problem with the credibility in the media about using anonymous sources, because it's a much larger issue than that, Ken. And I think you recognize that.

In terms of that one, I mean, that was simply done because the President was making the announcement the next day. But, anyway, we've taken steps to address that matter.

Q In terms of Newsweek, I know you're saying that you made some recommendations of what you'd like to see Newsweek do. Has there been any discussion either out of the Pentagon or the State Department in sort of an equal time situation where they produce copy stating the U.S. policy on treating the Koran?

MR. McCLELLAN: None that I'm aware of. We're just simply saying we would encourage them to help undo the damage that can be undone, to take steps to help repair the damage that was done by this report. I think they recognize the responsibility they have in that regard, as well.

Q But in terms of any articles that would specifically be solely produced by Newsweek and have no input of --

MR. McCLELLAN: No. I guess you're making that suggestion here, but, no, we haven't had any discussion.

Go ahead.


Can a Publication Commit Murder?

We see it all the time. A person the victim of violence, killed or wounded by a gun, and the anti-gun lobby starts the ball rolling screaming that the guns are to blame and the gun industry is responsible. The industry, they argue, is responsible for the death and violence their product creates.

It is a terribly flawed argument, but courts have granted the argument with having at least some merit. The tools of destruction can be traced back to their maker, and the maker knows or should know that the tools of destruction can fall into the wrong hands and ultimately lead to terrible tragedies. The makers of such tools must, therefore be held at least partially responsible for the havoc their product creates.

-Again, I do not subscribe to such a theory but I have always believed that a successful argument, even a flawed one, can be useful. Take, for instance, the recent Newsweek disaster in which unsubstantiated allegations were published for no other apparent reason than to inflame and destabilize one of the most politically tumultuous regions of the world by fanning the flames of anti-US sentiment with uncorroborated accounts of US wrongdoing.

Newsweek ran a false story which they knew would incite violence and chaos throughout the middle east... they ran the story because they hate the current administration, they hate the idea of US Imperialism (even though we liberate, not conquer), they hate the US military, and they hate freedom. Newsweek ran a story based on lies that could only hurt America and the lie ran its course... riots ensued, people died, the terrorists ranks swelled with new recruits as the propaganda machines fired up. Our soldiers who spend their blood fighting for freedom faced harsh attacks because of a reporter's lie.

By now you may be wondering what the gun industry and the US news media have in common. If it isn't already painfully clear, each product, when used carelessly can lead to the deaths of innocent people and bring about terrible tragedies. We have all heard that the pen is mightier than the sword. Well the printed word is many thousands of times over more powerful than a gun. If the gun manufacturers should be held responsible for the violence their product creates why not apply this same principle to the media and hold them too responsible for the blood that falls on their hands.

Newsweek ran a story that can directly be traced to the deaths of Muslim protestors. The Newsweek story will also likely lead to the deaths of US soldiers. Newsweek published an article under the guise of free speech which both incited violence and was wholly inaccurate. I think such speech is NOT protected and that Newsweek SHOULD be held responsible for the rhetoric they published and the damage that ensued.

The whole nasty affair makes me wonder whether a publication can commit murder.
Read More from other authors:
'Newsweek' article a traitorous act
Newsweek’s retraction not enough
Newsweek retracts story that killed 16
Newsweek's gaffe -- damage is done
Muslim Reaction to Newsweek Apology: Too Little, Too Late

Monday, May 16, 2005

Two Birds... One Stone

Two birds…one stone

While driving through El Paso recently, I heard a caller to a talk-radio program laughingly suggest that we should embed Army recruiters within the frontline ranks of the Border Patrol so that they could sign up illegal immigrants and thus eliminate the Army’s current recruiting deficits. I laughed, as did the host of the show, and said to my wife, “Hey, that’s not a bad idea.” As I continued driving eastward across the desert expanse of West Texas, I began to think more seriously about what the ramifications of such a policy might be. When we went through the Border Patrol checkpoint near Sierra Blanca, I told my wife, “You know, that fellow was joking but in fact, he may truly be onto something.”

Think about it, folks. We have a serious illegal immigration problem on our southern border. We also have a problem recruiting troops for the combat arms sectors in our military, all while we have this steady flow of stalwart young men sneaking into our country seeking a better way of life. From the benefit of six years active duty in the 101st and 82d Airborne Divisions, I know that Hispanics volunteer in disproportionate numbers for hazardous duty such as jumping out of airplanes and special operations. American Hispanics have a long and honorable tradition of serving in the Marine Corps with multiple generations having been Leathernecks. These volunteers have a warrior instinct that serves our nation well, as exemplified by Special Forces Medal of Honor winner, Roy Benavides, a native of my own South Texas.

So why don’t we put this warrior ethic to work for us? Let’s follow the jesting suggestion of the caller to the radio show and put some our sharpest, most impressive, Hispanic Army and Marine Corps non-coms in Border Patrol stations to interview physically fit illegal immigrants picked up by Border Patrol agents. Let those hapless young illegals see what determined Hispanic men can become in this country. Screen them thoroughly and offer the best of them an opportunity to become United States citizens by serving a four-year enlistment in Army or Marine Corps combat arms organizations. For you civilians not conversant in military terms, that means putting them in those units at the point of America’s military spear, where the fighting and the dying are done. Why combat arms units? Because no one who has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with a fellow soldier or marine under fire will ever have a greater appreciation for what this country is, what it stands for and the opportunities it offers.

How do we do it? Create two special training facilities, one at Fort Bliss in far West Texas, and the other at Camp Pendleton on the West Coast, where we put these volunteers through a four-week crash course of English with an emphasis on Army or Marine Corps terminology. Then, put them through an eight to twelve-week, basic training course to teach them fundamental military skills, conducted by bilingual non-coms, all the while, further honing their English language skills. Upon graduation from basic training, they should possess sufficient English to be able to take advanced specialty training with their American counterparts and then go on to assignments in combat arms units around the world. Perhaps we could even establish a buddy system wherein serving American Hispanic troops could volunteer to mentor these alien volunteers until they are fully assimilated.

And what’s in it for the illegals? How about a good paying, full-benefits job, which is what they come here seeking but seldom ever find. How about a job that teaches them responsibility and gives them skills usable as productive American citizens following their military service? The modern military is very supportive of those wishing to continue their education. Could we not ensure that these young soldiers obtain the equivalent of a high school GED during their enlistments so that they would be discharged back into civilian life with at least a basic education? Would not such men be able to contribute more to the economy of this nation than they do now as illiterate, minimum wage laborers, themselves and their families a drain on our already insufficient health care infrastructure?

Nay Sayers may argue these young men would be foreign mercenaries; I would counter that objection by saying that yes we are paying them to fight, but the coin of the realm is not just American dollars but dignity and honor, and a future to which they would not otherwise aspire. Offer them the opportunity to serve honorably as warriors and defenders of the nation they seek to inhabit instead of commending them to an unending future of degrading, undignified, menial labor. Oh, yes, and let us not forget citizenship, hard earned, legitimate citizenship in the nation they have served. Give them two years in the military to prove themselves worthy and then grant them full citizenship. Now they are no longer illegals; they have a vested interest in the nation’s wellbeing because they have served this country, defended this country as warriors, and it is now their country to cherish and maintain.

Think about it, folks. If you agree this concept has merit, copy this piece and send it to your representatives in Congress.

Russ Vaughn

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Dean on Cinco de Mayo

I couldn't find any similar transcripts from Dean but was able to find this on the DNC website:
"As Chair of the Democratic Party I join millions today in celebrating Cinco de Mayo, and the victory for freedom and liberty this day represents. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the battle at Puebla in 1862 when Mexican soldiers defeated an invading imperial force more than twice their size.

"Cinco de Mayo has become part of our cultural heritage in the United States, and a reminder of the contributions Mexican-Americans have made to our social, economic, and cultural identity. As Democrats we share the faith, work ethic, and family values that have made the Mexican-American community strong.

"The shared history we celebrate today stands in stark contrast to the failures and broken promises of the Republican administration in the White House. Mexican-Americans, and Hispanics in general, have seen economic opportunity crumble under the Bush administration, and more and more Hispanics do not have access to health insurance. Hispanics would see thousands of dollars per year slashed from their hard-earned Social Security benefit checks if the President’s privatization scheme were in place today. And rather than promoting immigration reform to bring millions of hard-working undocumented workers out of the shadows, President Bush has sided with extremist anti-immigrant Republicans by supporting such extreme measures as Real ID.

"This Cinco de Mayo the Democratic Party remains committed to increasing economic opportunities, making health care affordable and accessible, and protecting Social Security for every American. We will continue to fight for comprehensive immigration reform that both recognizes the hard work of immigrant families, and improves our homeland security. Mexican-Americans have been instrumental in building up the Democratic Party throughout its history, and together we will continue to work for a better future and a stronger America."
The speches are like night and day, water and oil. Republicans seek to integrate and assimilate while Democrats seek to segregate and instigate.

Friday, May 06, 2005

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman's Speech to The Latino Coalition Small Business Conference

In 1979, an ex FDR Democrat named Ronald Reagan predicted that others would soon follow his path, “Hispanics are Republicans, they just don’t know it yet,” he said

Twenty-five years later, more and more Hispanics do in fact know that their political home is in the Republican Party.

They do so not because the president can speak Spanish...but because he can speak common sense. He shares Hispanic American values...and he values Hispanic Americans.

And what are the bedrock principles that the party of Lincoln shares with Hispanics? First, in America, your aspirations matter more than your origins. We are not defined by our race, our religion, our national origin. We are united by something more important: our commitment to freedom and opportunity.

Our second principle is that freedom must constantly be expanded and extended. Every generation of Americans has recognized this principle. Americans have never been satisfied with the way freedom was defined yesterday. From our nation’s founding to the end of slavery, from women’s suffrage to civil rights, each generation’s legacy has been to expand freedom’s scope for tomorrow.

And today, President Bush and the party of Lincoln continue this proud tradition. Our mission is to expand freedom and opportunity across America.

Our opportunity agenda starts with equal opportunity in education. Every child in every neighborhood, every ghetto, every barrio and every rural community deserves a first rate education. Yet in 2000, too many children were being left behind. One out of four white children, two thirds of African Americans, and 58% of Latino fourth graders unable to read at the 4th grade level.

The President signed the most comprehensive education reform in 40 years, guaranteeing the equal opportunity of high standards and accountability to every child. President Bush increased funding in education more in his first 4 years than in all of Bill Clinton’s 8 years.

And increased funding was just the beginning. Educational success is now measured for every child, every year in every school. And schools are accountable for high standards because there are consequences. Schools where children are learning are praised. And children who are not learning receive special attention, and their parents are given charters and real choice.

Expanded opportunity requires good jobs at good wages, and that means more small businesses in America. Small businesses have always provided the road to economic opportunity in America. Today is no different. 70% of jobs are created by small businesses today. Over 1 million Hispanic owned small businesses employ almost 1.4 million people.

President Bush is helping these entrepreneurs by reducing the burden of taxation, regulation, and litigation. The President passed two of the largest tax cuts in history. We reduced frivolous lawsuits by reforming class action laws.

There’s a reason the Party of Lincoln favors tax relief. We respect how hard people work today. We don’t believe that politicians in Washington should choose between a carpenter in Cleveland, taxi driver in El Paso, or accountant in Chicago as to who can keep more of their money. They all work hard. They’ve all earned it. And we need to let all of them keep more, which is why we need to make all of their tax relief permanent.

Making the President’s tax relief permanent is just the beginning. We won’t have 21st century jobs in America with a 20th century tax code. We need fundamental tax reform.

Our opportunity agenda builds on the important work of civil rights heroes. More than forty years ago, black and white Americans of good conscience staged sit-ins to integrate lunch counters. Today, we will work for more minorities to own the restaurant and other small businesses.

Forty years ago, Congress passed an open housing law to end legal discrimination in where people could live. President Bush’s policies have helped create 1.9 million new minority homeowners since 2002 and will close the gap between minorities and non-minorities in home ownership by 2010. Just this past quarter, minority home ownership in America reached an all time high.

Our opportunity agenda means we must ensure Americans will have security and dignity when they retire. In just 3 years, the baby boomers will start to retire. Our retirement and health care systems were created in the middle of the 20th century. We must modernize them for the world our families will face in the 21st century.

We began this process last year: America’s seniors will for the first time have access to prescription drug coverage and a reformed Medicare system that empowers patients.

Now we must modernize Social Security. Democrats and Republicans agree on this need. In 1998, President Clinton said, “This fiscal crisis in Social Security affects every American” and that “it would be unconscionable if we failed to act, and act now.” Senator Harry Reid said, “We’ve got to do something about Social Security.”

President Clinton’s solution to Social Security solvency in 1998 included government investment of Social Security Trust Fund in the stock market. President Bush agrees with President Clinton that the higher return from market investment should be part of modernizing Social Security.

Everyone who works for the federal government, including every Member of Congress, has the choice to set up a personal retirement account so they have a more secure retirement. They’re not alone. AARP’s website encourages’ its members to “take advantage of the power of compounding, which is essentially the build up of investment gains on previous gains over time. Albert Einstein reportedly called compounding the ‘most powerful force on earth.’”

All Americans should have the same choice of personal retirement accounts. If its good enough for federal employees, and makes sense for AARP members, then all workers should be able to choose “the most powerful force on earth” for a more secure retirement.

Personal retirement accounts will also expand economic equality.

For workers who live paycheck to paycheck and can never get ahead, an IRA or 401K plan is not a realistic choice. Forty-one percent of Latino seniors live entirely on their Social Security check because they never had the chance to set aside a nest egg and save for their retirement. Why? Because family needs consumed their whole paycheck.

A personal retirement account would allow future generations to get ahead: to set aside a nest egg for their own retirement while still paying for immediate family needs. And when they retire, these hard working Americans could count on 2 checks—a Social Security check because the program would be solvent and a second check so they could have more security in their golden years.

Modernizing Social Security is not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue. But so far today’s Democrat leaders propose nothing—no plans, no solutions, no proposals—to save a Social Security system they admit will go bankrupt.

The father of Social Security, Franklin Roosevelt, offered “nothing to fear but fear itself.” Today’s Democrat leaders have nothing to offer but fear itself.

For the sake of younger workers, Democrats should end their obstructionism. For the sake of fairness, they should allow every worker in America the same opportunity to choose a personal retirement accounts that today is only available to a select few. And for the sake of more economic equality for America’s hardest workers, Democrats should join with the President in saving Social Security and offering a better deal for the future.

On June 12, 1999, Governor George W. Bush first announced his campaign for presidency in Iowa. A simple theme wove together the various pieces of his speech. And that theme was, "The American Dream is for you."

For five years now, President Bush has been as good as his word. In his appointments of more Latinos to top posts than any president in history to his policies of economic growth and empowerment, President Bush has proven that the American dream is indeed for all Americans.

The party of Lincoln will build on this progress. Today I am pleased to announce the RNC will establish a national Hispanic Advisory Committee, made up of respected community leaders from around the nation who will develop and execute our plan to earn the Latino vote.

We will meet each month to develop and execute strategies to involve more Latino Americans in making policy. We will work to identify, recruit, and support more Latino candidates. We will register Latino Republicans and persuade Latino independents and discerning Democrats. We will recruit and mobilize Latino volunteers and we will hold conversations with Latino communities throughout this country. We will listen. We will learn. We will help.

And we will share this message:

Your interests are our interests...your cause is our cause.

We share your pride in your country, your love for your family, and your faith in your God. We welcome your culture and your contributions...your gifts and your goodwill.

We know that the old saying is still true: "E Pluribus Unum," out of many, one. Here in America, we are diverse, but never divided; we are all unique, but we remain one in the same. As the poet William Butler Yeats wrote, though the leaves are many, the root is one.

And so it is with our party. We welcome any and all Americans who share our values and our vision for the future. After all, we believe the American dream is for every American.

Thank you very much.
I love Republican speeches... so brimming with the American dream, so inclusive of ALL people. Later on I am going to post a recent speech from a top Dummycrat and see how it measures up.

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