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52 Congressional Candidates Oppose War Spending

May 25, 2010

For Immediate Release

Fifty-two congressional candidates and 18 activist organizations are opposing any more funding for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and inviting more candidates, incumbents, and organizations to join them.  The 52 candidates, from 21 different states, include 19 Democrats, 16 Libertarians, 15 Greens, 2 Independents, and 0 Republicans (and more may be added to the website by the time you read this).  Forty-six are candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, and six for the Senate.

They do not all agree with each other on many topics, including their reasons for opposing war spending.  But they all back this short statement:

“The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost Americans over $1 trillion in direct costs, and over $3 trillion altogether.  At a time when our national debt exceeds $13 trillion, we can no longer afford these wars.  It’s time for Congress to reject any funding except to bring all our troops safely home.”

The Coalition Against War Spending ( http://warisacrime.org/caws ) has posted online a variety of divergent statements — in text and video — from signers elaborating on their reasons for opposing war spending.  A wide ideological spectrum finds consensus around opposing more spending to continue or escalate the current wars.  The coalition is inviting any congressional candidate, incumbent or challenger, and any national organization to join.

This announcement comes just as Congress is set to vote on whether to spend another $33.5 billion in an off-the-books “emergency” supplemental spending bill to escalate a war in Afghanistan that polls show a majority of Americans opposes.

Initial members of the Coalition Against War Spending (being added to at http://warisacrime.org/caws ) are:

Candidates for U.S. House of Representatives:
Nick Coons, AZ-05, Tempe/Scottsdale, Libertarian
Rebecca Schneider, AZ-06, Phoenix, Democrat
Carol Wolman, CA-01, northwest corner, Green
Clint Curtis, CA-04, northeast corner, Democrat
Ben Emery, CA-04, Nevada City, Green
Mark Williams, CA-12, San Carlos, Libertarian
Mary V. Larkin, CA-17, Monterey, Libertarian
Les Marsden, CA-19, Yosemite/Mariposa, Democrat
Randall Weissbuch, CA-26, Arcadia, Libertarian
Marcy Winograd, CA-36, Los Angeles, Democrat
William Hedrick, CA-44, Riverside/San Clemente, Democrat
Ken Arnold, CA-46, Orange and L.A., Democrat
Mike Paster, CA-49, Fallbrook, Libertarian
Tracy Emblem, CA-50, San Diego, Democrat
Michael Benoit, CA-52, San Diego, Libertarian
Gary Swing, CO-01, Denver, Green
G. Scott Deshefy, CT-02, New London, Green
Doug Tudor, FL-12, Riverview et al, Democrat
Marleine Bastien, FL-17, North Miami, Democrat
Regina Thomas, GA-12, Savannah, Democrat
Matt Reichel, IL-05, Chicago, Green
Bill Scheurer, IL-08, Lindenhurst, Green / Independent
Rodger Jennings, IL-12, Alton, Green
Doug Marks, IL-14, Carpentersville, Libertarian
Sheldon Schafer, IL-18, Peoria, Green
John Wayne Cunningham, IN-08, Terre Haute, Libertarian
James E. “Jim” Holbert, KY-05, London, Democrat
Peter White, MA-10, Cape Cod, Independent
Michael Cavlan, MN-05, Minneapolis, Independent Progressive
Kevin Craig, MO-07, Springfield, Libertarian
Thomas Hill, NC-08, Fayetteville, Libertarian
Lon Cecil, NC-12, High Point, Libertarian
Jonathan Tasini, NY-15, New York City, Democrat
Emin Eddie Egriu, NY-28, Buffalo, Democrat
Ebert G. Beeman, PA-03, Lake Erie, Libertarian
Vernon Etzel, PA-05, Oil City, Libertarian
Ed Bortz, PA-14, Pittsburgh, Green
David Segal, RI-01, Democrat
Eric Schechter, TN-05, Nashville, Democrat
Martin Nitschke, TX-23, El Paso to San Antonio, Libertarian
John Jay Myers, TX-32, Dallas, Libertarian
Claudia Wright, UT-02, Salt Lake City, Democrat
Ron Fisher, VA-08, Arlington, Independent Green/Progressive
Larry Kalb, WA-02, northwest corner, Democrat
Diana McGinness, WA-02, Bellingham, Democrat
Roy Olson, WA-09, Olympia, Green

Candidates for U.S. Senate:
Duane Roberts, CA, Green
John Finger, CO, Libertarian
Bob Kinsey, CO, Green
Cecile Lawrence, NY, Green
Mel Packer, PA, Green
Ben Masel, WI, Democrat (2012)

Organizations:
Backbone Campaign
CODE PINK: Women for Peace
Consumers for Peace
The Democratic Activist
Democrats.com
Global Exchange
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Jobs for Afghans
Justice Through Music
Liberty Tree
Peace Majority Report
Progressive Democrats of America
Progressive Push
Velvet Revolution
Veterans For Peace
Voters For Peace
War Criminals Watch
WarIsACrime.org

For more information about Doug Tudor, Democrat, for Florida’s 12th District, contact Chief of Staff, Rosalind Moffett, (813) 385-8605 or visit www.teamtudor.org.

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The Way Ahead

As we head into the holiday season, I am remindful of the many blessings my family and I have enjoyed over the past year. Good health, sound employment, and a bright future grace my family, and I hope that you are equally blessed.

In my opinion, this is the hope of America. No matter the circumstances faced by any individual or group of individuals, America always has a brighter tomorrow. Now let me be very clear, that brighter future is not assured by destiny or by any sort of magic quotient. It is assured by the sheer determination and guts of Americans themselves. In other words, America works, its institutions work, and we have 200 years of experience which show they work.

If you agree with me, please consider Contributing Today!

As we go into 2010, we have a number of issues that must be faced. Some of these issues – warfare, economy, education – are ongoing and require a continuing reevaluation of our basic interests, common values, and best determinations. They are by no means easy issues.

Here is what I believe we can agree upon, though. Our national security interests are ill served by non-defined and never-ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. With clearly defined missions and well-defined end-states in these two conflicts, America has the best chance of continuing to be the world’s leader in not only military matters, but diplomatic matters. Once America firmly determines its role in the world community, it will not only be in America’s best interest, it will be in the world’s best interest.

The above rationale also will serve us well in economic matters. As we have seen since the start of the Great Recession in December 2007, when America’s economy falters, the world’s economy falters. In my opinion, there is only one way to correct the many faults in our economic systems – regulation. Now, I don’t believe regulation has to be an overarching burden to innovation, entrepreneurship, or grand ideas. I do believe that regulation should keep excessive risk-taking from putting us all in danger. As a friend of mine told me, “Corporate regulations are like guardrails on the highway. The vast majority of us never need them, but if you hit one, you’re glad you didn’t go over the bridge.”

On matters of education, I truly believe that America must absolutely, positively make education our number one long-term domestic priority. Let me rephrase that: We have to invest time, treasure, and talent into our nation’s overall educational goals. When we talk about education, we can’t just talk about K-12, we must also talk about continuing education. We have to talk about vocational education, continuing education, and advanced education. Yes, we must target disadvantaged children for early help. We must understand that not all students will be college bound, and we must do everything possible to ensure that our colleges and universities are the finest in the world. That will require a national commitment to our nation’s future.

This has been a long post, but I wanted you to have a better feel for what I believe are the important issues we face as a nation.

Here’s the rub, though. My conservative opponents in the FL-12 race are very well funded. They are collecting tens of thousands of lobbyists’ checks from the insurance and financial service industries. These industries, of course, are opposed to our progressive ideals. To a person, each of my conservative opponents are showing they are willing to be cast as totally bought by those industries which are opposed to the Progressive agenda.

If you able, please contribute to my grassroots campaign today. I need your help. My conservative opponents are garnering thousands of dollars from those industries that are opposed to us. My secret weapon is you. Please Contribute Today!

Happy Holidays, and Merry Christmas. I have no doubt that 2010 is going to be a great year for America. I look forward to continuing to press the fight, making the argument, and winning our election. Please join us by Contributing Today

Eight Years Later

After eight years of combat operations in Afghanistan, “The Graveyard of Empires,” America needs to have a national conversation on our future in that hostile, unyielding country. To begin the conversation, I believe one point needs to be very clear: we were never supposed to go to war in Afghanistan. Instead, we were supposed to go into Afghanistan to topple the Taliban and kill or capture (K/C) the leadership of al Qaida. We succeeded at the first objective and partially succeeded at the second.

Eight years ago today, America invaded Afghanistan. Operation ENDURING FREEDOM was born. On November 12, 2001, Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, fell to our forces. The Taliban was in full retreat. Objective number one accomplished.

In December 2001, conventional wisdom holds that we had Osama bin Laden trapped in the complex series of caves and fortresses in Tora Bora. Due to political pressures and cultural sensitivities, it was decided that, instead of using America’s overwhelming military force, our Special Forces should combine their efforts with the militia of Afghan warlords Hazret Ali and Haji Zaman Ghamsharik. When our efforts at Tora Bora did not realize the mission of killing or capturing al Qaida’s top commanders, America should have redeployed our forces for another phase of operations intended to achieve the K/C objective.

Instead, as often happens in wartime, mission creep set in. We had troops within Afghanistan’s border, so we figured we needed to find a mission for them.

President Obama is currently reviewing our current mission in Afghanistan. If he were to ask me for advice, which he hasn’t (yet), I would tell the Commander-in-Chief this: Stop counter-insurgency operations and concentrate on counter-terrorism operations. In other words, leave Afghanistan to the Afghanis and concentrate on killing or capturing the leaders of al Qaida.

To me, it really is that simple. After eight years of combat operations abusing America’s military force which is stretched dangerously thin, let’s concentrate on capturing or killing the people who killed nearly 3,000 of our fellow citizens on September 11, 2001. We cannot make Afghanistan a Jeffersonian democracy. We cannot abet thousands of years of ethnic and tribal conflicts. We CAN use the awesome technological and intelligence advantages America holds to kill or capture the leadership of al Qaida. Not to be cliché, but “Yes, We Can.”

If you agree with me, Please Contribute to Our Grass Roots Campaign Now!. My only campaign promise is “I will always vote my conscience, no matter the politics of the issue.”

Thank you for all you have done, for all you are doing, and for all you will do.

Remembering America’s Senator

Friends,

As the entire world now knows, Senator Edward Kennedy has lost his fight to brain cancer.

There have been, and will still be, millions of words written about America’s Senator, and I would be remiss not to add my own thoughts.

First and foremost, I take great comfort in knowing that man with great flaws can still achieve great things. As we are all flawed, Senator Kennedy’s example of overcoming flaws serves to show each of us and all of us to always to be better, to do better, and to look to better days. His example allows me to learn from my own mistakes instead of dwelling upon them.

Ted Kennedy joined the U.S. Senate when I was about four months old. For my entire life, his family has served as an example of public service. As I became interested in politics, I was drawn to the legacy of President Kennedy’s charisma and ability to inspire. As I became a student of politics, I was drawn to Senator Robert Kennedy’s ideological transformation after his brother’s death. As I matured in political thought and reasoning, I became totally enamored in Senator Edward Kennedy’s ability to see the big picture, to compromise when necessary, and to incrementally make gains that benefit all Americans, and, indeed, all humanity.

Two weeks ago, I held a healthcare roundtable. It was a very civil discussion, where I got a chance to better understand the difficulties faced by working families due to for-profit healthcare. As person after person told the stories of a broken system that left family members either without coverage or with crippling bills, I couldn’t help but think that we can do better. We must do better.

I told the “Organizing for America” representative that was present, “Please tell President Obama that it will be one of America’s great failures if Senator Kennedy were to pass without true healthcare insurance reform being enacted.” How I wish America’s Senator could have lived to see true reform of America’s healthcare system.

I am a proponent of a single-payer system. Given the opportunity, I will vote for single-payer, understanding, as Senator Kennedy did, that we may have to get there incrementally.

Despite that understanding, I call on our Democratic majority to start anew on crafting a bill that will truly provide universal coverage. I call on the conservative elements of our party to stop carrying the water of the Republican Party and the multi-billion dollar insurance companies. I call on my President to understand that no member of the Republican Party of No is going to vote with us, no matter how much we compromise.

Mr. President, in your inaugural address you offered to extend a hand, if our opponents would unfold their fist. They have not, and you should withdraw your hand of compromise on this particular issue. We have the votes to pass a major bill of reform, and we should pass the legislation for which a majority of Americans voted in November 2008.

TeamTudor’s thoughts are with the Kennedy family tonight. We mourn a great legislative leader, a friend of working families, and an example of greatness overcoming weakness.

Your brother, Doug

Moral Courage

Friends,

Our elected representatives in Washington have departed the capital for their August recess, and they have chosen to not pass legislation reforming our nation’s healthcare system. There are many reasons for their lack of action, most of which are propagated by conservative Republican and Democratic obstructionists, who are receiving enormous amounts of lobbyist money and spreading irrational fear regarding a public option.

I believe the main reason, though, is the lack of basic moral and political courage. It takes courage to stand up to the multi-billion dollar insurance and pharmaceutical industries. It takes courage to admit that a law is not perfect, but should be enacted anyway. It takes courage to take a stand for the less fortunate amongst us.

I support HR 3200, but I do so only as a stepping stone to a single-payer system. My main concern about HR 3200 is that it doesn’t go far enough. By bowing to conservative and industry pressures, the bill will probably not achieve the desired end state wanted by the vast majority of Americans. The public has overwhelmingly voiced that they want a system that will provide quality healthcare without breaking a family’s finances.

By going to a single-payer system, much like the current Medicare system, we can provide higher quality healthcare to all Americans at a lower overall cost per person. This is mainly accomplished by reducing the insurance industry’s bureaucracy. The overhead for Medicare is about 4%, compared to about 40% for private insurers. By going to a single-payer system, we reduce the overhead by cutting out the insurance industry’s profit motive.

A number of other advantages of a single-payer system: no one is denied coverage for preexisting conditions; small businesses will prosper as they get out of the role of healthcare providers; and catastrophic treatment will not bankrupt families.

I strongly believe that our country funds its priorities. If we collectively believe, as I do individually, that our citizens are our most important national resource, we should absolutely, positively adopt a single-payer national healthcare system. It is cheaper; it is better; and it is the right thing to do.

Throughout our history, America has shown the courage to pass laws to correct many of society’s shortcomings. Our elected representatives must now show that they have the courage of their predecessors. It is far past time to fix our broken healthcare system.

Your brother, Doug

Healthcare Up Close and Personal

Friends,

It seems there are times when the scope of a challenge is so large, a solution seems indescribable. One way to deal with these enormities is to reduce the scope to a personal example.

Summer Ellen, or Elle, as her parents call her, was four months in the womb when the doctors told her parents of a very serious medical condition. She would be born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. In the normal heart, oxygen-poor (blue) blood returns to the right atrium from the body, travels to the right ventricle, and then is pumped through the pulmonary artery into the lungs where it receives oxygen. Oxygen-rich (red) blood returns to the left atrium from the lungs, passes into the left ventricle, and then is pumped out to the body through the aorta. In Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, most of the structures on the left side of the heart are small and underdeveloped. If not corrected, the baby will only live for about two weeks after birth.

The first time her father saw her, Elle was three days old. She was in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, and, due to swelling, her chest was still open from the surgery that had been performed that morning. Over the next seven years, she would have a total of three more open heart surgeries, numerous catheterizations, and two brain surgeries for a related abnormality called a Chiari Malformation.

At nine years old, Elle is a beautiful young lady with big blue eyes and long golden hair. She is intelligent, loving, and artistic. At times, she can also be bratty and mischievous. In other words, she is a regular kid.

Elle has been very lucky to have had government-funded healthcare throughout her life. Without it, she would have denied insurance coverage due to having a preexisting condition – at birth. Her family would have been financially devastated, even though both of her parents had full-time employment. Even now, she will fall off her father’s coverage at age 18, unless she is a college student. As a student, she can remain covered until 23. At 23 years old, under today’s healthcare system, Elle will no longer have access to medical care.

I write this to ask you to support President Obama’s healthcare reform, House Resolution 3200, which will provide a public option and will nearly eliminate any uncovered citizens or denial based on preexisting conditions.

I also write this to thank you for giving Elle a life.

She is my daughter, and her healthcare is government-provided TriCare, due to my Navy career. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for allowing doctors to fix her heart.

Your brother, Doug