Take Back Congress - New York

Friday, October 20, 2006

Fossella attacks the President's lack of strategy for military victory


"I have a responsibility to all Americans as we make these difficult decisions. But [the] President has failed the test of leadership since this military action began. In the past, I have supported the President as Commander in Chief in military actions against Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq and Yugoslavia. But in this matter, he has avoided articulating a strategy that will ensure victory, prevent a nightmarish quagmire or provide permanent security...

The President has a responsibility to articulate America's long-term strategy before placing even one soldier in harm's way. He has asked the Congress and the American people to follow his lead, but he has shrouded in darkness where that road will take us. Leading military and foreign policy experts have questioned why the Administration won't define the mission and what plans are in place for us to withdraw."

Fossella said that after only six weeks of military action, the American people are already seeing the fallout of the Administration's ambiguous strategy and failure to plan for victory.

"...It begs the questions of whether the Administration was caught off guard or of it lacks a clear vision of how we will wage and win this war."

Fossella said Congress has a responsibility to the American people to provide a check on the President's ability to unilaterally escalate the military action.

"It would be unwise for Congress to issue the President a blank check to wage war," Fossella said. "We learned only to well the dangers of gradual escalation. The 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution started a bombing campaign against North Vietnam that resulted in an 11 year quagmire, over 57,000 Americans killed in combat and some 600,000 American ground troops. That resolution became President Johnson's blank check to troop waves of new soldiers into combat. To many Americans, the war ... bears striking similarities to Vietnam. The President must have a frank discussion with the American people as to what our military's mission is, when victory will be achieved and how it will be achieved."

This of course is from April 30, 1999, when Rep. Fossella attacked then President Clinton on the NATO led war in Serbia. If only Clinton were still President so that Fossella could realize what a colossal failure this administration is and how disastrous of a situation they have gotten us into. The absolute hypocrisy to attack the 'ambiguous strategy' of 1999 and have no criticism of the war in Iraq today is is disgusting at the very least. This after numerous military leaders in our forces and our allied forces have vociferously condemned the President's failure to have a plan and successfully protect our forces. Fossella is a failure who can't even pass floor resolutions about a postal stamp, so I expect international policy and military related legislation is too complicated for him to understand.

Cross-posted at NY-13

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Watch the Video James Walsh Wanted to Be Censored!

James Walsh has a terrible record on Iraq. Congressman Walsh has been a big bush loyalist from the start on the Iraq issue. Before the war, I personally went with a delegation of MoveOn activists to Walsh's office in Syracuse to ask him to not to vote in favor of allowing George W. Bush to start a war in Iraq. Walsh not only rejected the request, he wouldn't even meet with us. He didn't think it was important enough.

Representative Walsh's irrational support for the Iraq War has continued from that time on. Walsh continues to follow the tired old PR talking points from the White House, and he won't stand up to President Bush and demand answers for the repeated failures in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So, this week, an independent group got the money together to produce an ad for TV calling on James Walsh to end his shameful record on Iraq and start doing his job of congressional oversight. And what did James Walsh do? He had the ad censored.

No kidding. Congressman Walsh actually called up the people at Syracuse ABC affiliate WSYR and told them to take the anti-Walsh advertisement off the air. And what did the people at WSYR do? They did what Walsh told them to do. They took the advertisement off their station, just because Walsh didn't agree with what the advertisement said.

They ought to be ashamed of themselves. The United States of America is not supposed to be the kind of country where politicians can bully the press into censoring messages that embarrass the government.

Well, Congressman Walsh, I've found out that that video is now online. I'm posting it here to teach you this simple lesson: The more you try to censor the voice of dissent, the stronger that voice will become. While you're at it, pass the message on to your friend, Mr. Bush.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Revisiting Fossella's Illegal Activities

Back on August 13th, the NY Daily News ran a follow up on Rep. Vito Fossella's illegal/inappropriate usage of tax payer created photographs in campaign materials.

U.S. Rep. Vito Fossella has a new explanation for why his photos with constituents - and Elmo from "Sesame Street" - were improperly used in congressional mailings and campaign literature.

Although the photos used in both instances appear to be exactly the same, the Staten Island Republican now says they are actually different snapshots.

Fossella's campaign responded claiming that identical photographs used in both tax payer funded Congressional mailings and in re-election campaign literature in reality are two different photographs taken seconds apart. In an attempt to legitimize his claims he submitted a report by Ronald Sartini a susposive photography expert from Brooklyn. The campaign refused to acknowledge if Sartini was paid for his report or if he was paid did that money come from his Congressional accounts or his re-election campaign coffers.

Fossella made his unusual claim in response to an investigation being conducted by the House Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards, which is looking into possible violation of rules that prohibit a member of Congress from using his office to benefit his reelection campaign.

Essentially Fossella claims that one of his staff members, Craig Donner, took several photographs seconds apart. Mr. Donnor claimed to have used his own (not a campaign owned) Sony DSC-P100 camera.

Greg Smith, the reporter covering this story seems to embarass Fossella's flimsy string of excuses in just one sentence;

But Donner did not respond to written questions about how he was able to take campaign and congressional photos within seconds of each other without violating the rule barring staffers from doing campaign work.

Let's just be clear about what happened here. Rep. Vito Fossella's campaign potentially acted illegally in using tax payer funded photography in both his official and re-election communications. Further he did act illegally in allowing his paid Congressional staffer to violate these rules by working simulaneously on both campaigns, while being a tax payer paid Congressional staffer.

Personally I find it ridiculous that an elected member of Congress is reduced to this kind of avoidance and lack of accountability. If he wants to clear up this issue in an acceptable manner that does not include covering his ears and saying la, la, la, la when these accusations arise, he can turn over the memory stick from his staffers Sony camera. Doing so would address four indisputable issues, as you can see in two sample screen shots I uploaded from my own camera and iphoto:

1. the file names of the two differing photos used in each instance
2. the shutter speed of the camera to show that they it was possible to take identical photos seconds apart
3. the camera name which will show it was in fact a Sony DSC-P100
4. the exact time down to the second each photo was taken (image 2)

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Image Hosted by Free image hosting

[note there is an hour difference on my camera setting, however the dates are the same and the time is essentially the same with exception to the hour differntial]

These are simple and quick solutions to this potential illegal activity by a sitting member of Congress. He can clear up at least part of the issue, the potentially illegal use of the same photograph in Congressional mailings and campaign election mailings. But should he avoid it, like many other things (debates!) he has not escaped the fact that his campaign broke the law by allowing a Congressional staffer to be working on his re-election campaign while being paid by tax dollars in his Congressional staff role.

Cross posted at NY13.blogspot.com

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Recapturing the Northeast

A Washington-Post ABC News poll this month found Bush's approval rating at 28 percent in the Northeast -- 12 points below his national average. The Republican Congress fared no better.

Republican losses in the region could echo well beyond the 2006 campaign. Because much of the region is tilting Democratic, history suggests Republicans would find it hard to recapture seats once lost.

via Raw Story (via the Washington Post)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Changing the Course of Our Nation With Bob Johnson and the Democratic Party

It didn't take long for the Republicans and the Connecticut for Lieberman Party to exploit the news of the terror plot in London.

“If we just pick up like Ned Lamont wants us to do, get out by a date certain, it will be taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England,” Mr. Lieberman said at a campaign event at lunchtime in Waterbury, Conn. “It will strengthen them and they will strike again.”
- Joementum in the New York Times


"I'd rather be talking about this than all of the other things that Congress hasn't done well," one Republican congressional aide told AFP on condition of anonymity because of possible reprisals.

"Weeks before September 11th, this is going to play big," said another White House official, who also spoke on condition of not being named, adding that some Democratic candidates won't "look as appealing" under the circumstances.

What they are unwilling - or unable - to understand is that Americans are sick of the War in Iraq and they want a New Direction for America.

Future leaders of the Democratic Party, Bob Johnson and Ned Lamont, understand that we need real solutions, not Republican rhetoric.

This crisis actually shows that the Republican policies have not made us any safer. The terrorists apparently received training in Pakistan, which continues to be a terrorist safe haven. Since we took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan to go on the ridiculous Iraq misadventure the region has been sliding back toward anarchy.

After five years of Bush's Terror War the same region of the world continues to produce 9/11 style plots. Maybe if Reagan and the Republicans hadn't trained and funded the Mujaheddin to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan we wouldn't have Al
Queda today. Regardless, it is clear that the current Bush Republican foreign policy of "Lie and Die" creates terrorists faster than we can possibly kill them.

The Republicans and the Connecticut for Lieberman Party claim to be about values, but it is Democrats like Bob Johnson who understand what real American values are.

Democrats are standing up for our values. I'm running for Congress in New York's 23rd district because I believe in Democratic values. I believe that an individual life has value, and that people have dignity beyond their economic worth. I believe that hard-working Americans shouldn't have to go without proper health care. In fact, I don't believe any American should go without health care and that a hospital has an obligation to treat whoever passes through its doors. I believe that going to war is a profound moral decision, a decision in which the entire country needs to be involved and listened to. I believe that Americans have a right to feel secure when they talk on the phone. I believe that government should be open, accountable, and effective. I believe that science has a positive role to play and should not be stifled by government ideology. I believe that we have an obligation to the next generation and that he who has the most toys does not win the game. I believe that we are not in this alone, but together and that helping others requires sacrifice and not just lip service. My values command me to love and help my neighbor and not denigrate them. I believe in paying my debts and staying within my means. These are Democratic values. They are American values.
- Bob Johnson, future US Congressman, on Daily Kos

Bob Johnson will be traveling the around the district with renowned actor Viggo Mortensen (Lord of the Rings, History of Violence, Hildago) discussing how we need to change the course in America, I suggest everyone who can to join him.

The Democratic Party of today is strong and we understand that America's future depends on finding new dynamic solutions based in reality. The Republicans and the Connecticut for Lieberman Party foolishly cling to the mistakes of the past - like the War in Iraq - they feel reality has a liberal bias.

Today, America is no safer, Israel is no safer, Iran is more dangerous, Osama bin Laden is still at large, and our brave troops are stuck in the middle of a bloody civil war. I believe that those leaders who got us into this mess should be held accountable.

Looking forward, I salute the patriotism and wisdom of Congressman Murtha and others who emphasize that “stay the course” is not a winning strategy for Iraq or America. Our best chance of success requires that the Iraqis take control of their own destiny. America should make clear that we have no designs upon their oil and no plans for permanent bases. While we will continue to provide logistical and training support as long as we are asked, our frontline military troops should begin to be redeployed and our troops should start heading home.
- Ned Lamont, future US Senator

Friday, August 11, 2006

Vito Fossella and Bush are Best Friends

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"More sobering for the GOP are the number of voters who backed Bush in 2004 who are ready to vote Democratic in the fall's congressional elections 19 percent. These one-time Bush voters are more likely to be female, self-described moderates, low- to middle-income and from the NORTHEAST and Midwest.


The number of voters who say their congressional vote this fall will be in part to express opposition to the president jumped from 20 percent last month to 29 percent, driven by double-digit increases among males, minorities, moderate and conservative Democrats and NORTHEASTERNERS." [emphasis mine]

via ABC News

Maybe this is why Rep. Vito Fossella is scared to even admit he is a Republican.