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QUOTATION: People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote - a very different thing. - Walter H. Judd

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2004-09-02 - 2:06 p.m.

Cut-throat Politics

What role models for our children! Oh, yes, I watched prime time Republican Convention speeches last night and was relieved this morning to read Dana Milbank's fact-checked rebuttal of Miller and Cheney's mischaracterizations of Kerry's voting record in the Washington Post this morning.And Kristof noted that Miller gave a glowing introduction to John Kerry in March of 2001, praising him for being one of the best Senators. Ho-hum! Hypocrites! And once more, Joan Chittister writes a zinger in her weekly column: "...It isn't that religion doesn't have a place in the public debate. On the contrary. It's that politics has no place in religion. It is not the place of political parties to seek to enlist the religious community as part of its campaign staff. That smells far too much like collusion to me. It smacks far too much of the kind of theocratic thinking that preceded both the French and the Russian revolutions. It sounds too much like the rise of a new Christian Taliban to me. It sounds too much like this year's election, in fact...." You can read more here. I'm not Catholic, but feel she's well worth reading every week in the Catholic Reporter.

Here's an excerpt from Dana Milbank's column: [My note: Remember...just saying it LOUD doesn't make it true!]

Miller and Cheney reached deep into Kerry's past to present him as a danger to Americans' security -- at times mischaracterizing the Democrat's positions in the process.

"Senator Kerry has made it clear that he would use military force only if approved by the United Nations," Miller said. Cheney, in turn, said Kerry "began his political career by saying he would like to see our troops deployed 'only at the directive of the United Nations.' " The vice president said, "Kerry denounces American action when other countries don't approve -- as if the whole object of our foreign policy were to please a few persistent critics."

Both men apparently were referring to a 1970 interview Kerry gave to the Harvard Crimson. In his speech accepting his party's nomination in July, Kerry said: "I will never give any nation or any institution a veto over our national security."

Miller portrayed Kerry as "an auctioneer selling off our national security." He recited a long list of weapons systems he said Kerry opposed.[Miller's recitation made it sound as though there were dozens of votes against the military, whereas, in fact,he voted with the Republicans on that one and Dick Cheney, who was then Secretary of Defense was asking for even deeper cuts!! Come on, folks...a little truth for a change!] Miller's list was mostly derived from a single Kerry vote against a spending bill in 1991, rather than individual votes against particular systems. The bill was also opposed by five Republican senators at the time, and Cheney, who was defense secretary then, was demanding even deeper cuts in defense spending by Congress.

As Bush has often done, both speakers also condemned a vote Kerry cast against Bush's request for $87 billion for military and reconstruction spending in Iraq and Afghanistan. Cheney said Kerry "does not seem to understand the first obligation of a commander in chief -- and that is to support American troops in combat."

Kerry voted for an alternative version of the bill that would have funded some of the spending by raising taxes on incomes greater than $312,000. For his part, Bush had vowed to veto a version of the bill that passed that would have converted half of the Iraq rebuilding plan into a loan. [Kerry was also opposed to the $20B that was a blank check - probably to Halliburton! He asked for some accountability.]

Miller also angrily denounced Kerry for saying the United States is occupying Iraq. "Motivated more by partisan politics than by national security, today's Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator," he said, later adding: "No one should dare to even think about being the commander in chief of this country if he doesn't believe with all his heart that our soldiers are liberators abroad and defenders of freedom at home."

It was not immediately clear what Miller was referring to, since Bush himself has spoken of Iraq as being "occupied."

And from Nicholas Kristof also of the Washington Post:

Zell Millerís speech to the Republican convention was savage and mean-spirited, as well as inaccurate (of course Kerry isnít proposing that we require UN approval for any troop deployment). It was particularly strange to hear Kerry accused of flip-flops from a senator nick-named Zig-Zag Zell. Hereís a speech that Zell Miller gave on March 1, 2001 to the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Georgia, as he introduced Kerry:

It is good to be back in Georgia and to be with you. I have been coming to these dinners since the 1950s, and have missed very few. I'm proud to be Georgia's junior senator and I'm honored to serve with Max Cleland, who is as loved and respected as anyone in that body. One of our very highest priorities must be to make sure this man is re-elected in 2002 so he can continue to serve this state and nation. I continue to be impressed with all that Governor Barnes and Lieutenant Governor Taylor and the Speaker and the General Assembly are getting done over at the Gold Dome. Georgia is fortunate to have this kind of leadership.

My job tonight is an easy one: to present to you one of this nation's authentic heroes, one of this party's best-known and greatest leaders -- and a good friend. He was once a lieutenant governor -- but he didn't stay in that office 16 years, like someone else I know. It just took two years before the people of Massachusetts moved him into the United States Senate in 1984. In his 16 years in the Senate, John Kerry has fought against government waste and worked hard to bring some accountability to Washington. Early in his Senate career in 1986, John signed on to the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Bill, and he fought for balanced budgets before it was considered politically correct for Democrats to do so. John has worked to strengthen our military, reform public education, boost the economy and protect the environment. Business Week magazine named him one of the top pro-technology legislators and made him a member of its "Digital Dozen."

John was re-elected in 1990 and again in 1996 -- when he defeated popular Republican Governor William Weld in the most closely watched Senate race in the country. John is a graduate of Yale University and was a gunboat officer in the Navy. He received a Silver Star, Bronze Star and three awards of the Purple Heart for combat duty in Vietnam. He later co-founded the Vietnam Veterans of America. He is married to Teresa Heinz and they have two daughters.

So now you know why he's been nick-named Zig-Zag Miller.

For a an outrageous story of the illegal incarceration, courtesy of the Patriot Act, of a young mother of two children who are United States citizens, check out Hamiltonian.

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