Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Blog for Arizona receives numerous press releases from campaigns and organizations. Most are fundraising pleas that we will not publish. We exercise discretion with the other press releases we decide to post. I generally look for substantive releases over puffery. Substance over style. Keep this in mind.
Which brings me to two press releases Blog for Arizona received on Monday. As readers know, U.S. Senate candidate Rodney Glassman has been under fire recently for not agreeing to a series of debates with his primary opponents. It is now one week and counting, and still no announcement from the Glassman campaign that he has agreed to debate.
Instead, Blog for Arizona received this "puffery" press release from the Glassman campaign — flag pins and yet another damn silly contest! WTF!
Rodney Glassman: Putting Arizona First
PHOENIX, Ariz. — U.S. Senate candidate Rodney Glassman announced today that he will be adding an Arizona flag pin to his lapel, right next to his American flag pin, as a symbol of his dedication and commitment to the people of Arizona first.
"I respect and appreciate McCain's service to his country, but Arizona needs a U.S. Senator who is committed to Arizona," said Glassman. "Arizona needs someone willing to compete with other U.S. Senators to stop sending our tax dollars to other states and start bringing some of our money back home. Arizona needs a U.S. Senator who calls Arizona home and puts Arizona first."
"In 1777, the Second Continental Congress adopted Old Glory as the official flag of the United States. I celebrate our country every day by wearing the American flag pin. Starting today, I will also wear the Arizona flag as a symbol of my dedication to Arizona first," said Glassman.
The Glassman campaign also announced Monday an "Arizonans for Glassman" photo contest. Supporters will download an official Glassman for Arizona sign and take a photo of the sign somewhere in Arizona . The top photos will be used in campaign marketing. The contest will last through July 4, and the First Place winner will get a Flip camera. Second place is a dinner for two in Tucson or Flagstaff with Rodney Glassman and a special guest, and third place is a Rodney Glassman for U.S. Senate Supporter Pack.
Supporters of Rodney Glassman for U.S. Senate can enter the contest at http://www.rodneyglassman.com/
Now compare this "puffery" press release to the press release below that we received from candidate for U.S. Senate John Dougherty. Now this is the kind of substantive press release I tend to consider posting. (Helpful Hint: Too long, shorter releases.)
Want to slash federal spending?
Start with cutting the military's bloated budget
Statement from John Dougherty for U.S. Senate
June 14, 2010
A bipartisan Congressional report released Friday outlines a plan for cutting defense spending by nearly $1 trillion — approximately 10 percent of the projected budget — over 10 years without threatening national security or reducing funds for ongoing wars.
The Sustainable Defense Task Force is offering cost-cutting proposals covering the full range of Pentagon expenditures: procurement, research and development, personnel, operations and maintenance, and infrastructure. For details, visit http://www.c-spanarchives.org/program/294024-1&showFullAbstract=1.
"I support the bi-partisan task force's cost-cutting recommendations, particularly regarding a new array of expensive weapons systems that are prone to failure and huge cost overruns," Arizona Democratic Senate candidate John Dougherty said. "Reducing unnecessary military spending is a crucial step in cutting the nation's unsustainable budget deficit."
Dougherty said that he supports quick and orderly draw down of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, while ensuring security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. Massive spending for those wars — estimated at $1 million per soldier per year — is not even included in the annual Pentagon budget, though both are adding significantly to the U.S. deficit.
The Sustainable Defense Task Force was formed in response to a request from Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), working in cooperation with Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC), Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), to study how the defense budget could be trimmed to stem runaway deficits, without compromising the essential security of the United States.
"Our military must be strong and capable," Dougherty said. "But it must also be efficient and used as a means to strengthen our economy rather than weaken it by adding unnecessary debt to the deficit."
Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independentreports the proposed "cuts are supposed to come across the board, from nuclear forces, missile defense and space programs (nearly $200 billion saved over 10 years); big service priorities like the Joint Strike Fighter, the KC-X refueling tanker, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle and the Osprey helicopter (nearly $90 billion saved over 10 years); getting rid of two Air Force tactical fighter wings and cutting the Navy to 230 ships (nearly $167 billion saved over 10 years); reforming DOD's increasingly expensive health care system (nearly $50 billion saved over 10 years); and many, many other canceled, delayed or reformed programs. You can read the full (PDF) report here." [no link]
In a separate report released earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office found that the Defense Logistics Agency had no use for parts worth $7.1 billion, more than half of the $13.7 billion in equipment stacked in Defense Department warehouses on average from 2006 to 2008.
"The waste of taxpayer dollars is unbelievable," said Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent and Senate Budget Committee member who requested the study.
Unfortunately, many political observers predict the task force recommendations to slash wasteful military expenditures will never be enacted because too many members of Congress work to protect military spending in their home states.
"Unnecessary spending on duplicative and wasteful defense programs is the biggest pork barrel in the federal budget," Dougherty said.
"I will focus on slashing spending on unnecessary federal programs across the board, including the defense sector which has grown rapidly over the last decade and now exceeds $1 trillion annually," the former investigative journalist said.
The defense task force report states the bulk of savings could come from rolling back the size of the U.S. military over the next decade as the United States withdraws from Iraq and Afghanistan.
"No other nation or likely combination of nations comes close to matching U.S. conventional forces," the task force said. "Our options in this area seek to match conventional force capabilities more closely with the actual requirements of defense and deterrence."
The task force stated that reducing the U.S. nuclear arsenal to 1,000 warheads, on 160 Minuteman missiles and seven Ohio-class submarines would save the country $113 billion by 2020. The United States currently has 5,113 nuclear weapons in its stockpile, including 2,468 operational warheads.
Including the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. defense budget for fiscal 2011 is $708 billion, up from $691 billion this year. When other defense-related costs — such as aiding domestic counter-terrorism operations and providing veterans' health care — are added, defense costs this year exceed $1 trillion.
U.S. military spending outpaces annual outlays by China, Russia, the United Kingdom and France, plus the next 10 nations combined.
"As a U.S. senator, I would see that we stop wasteful spending," Dougherty said. "The defense budget is riddled with waste and duplication, and that amounts to a rip-off of the taxpayers."
Now before any of you claim that I am supporting one senate candidate over another, I am not. I have heard each of the four candidates speak and I have had a chance to speak with each of the candidates. My evaluation is that all four candidates have unique strengths, and each have substantial weaknesses. Let's just say there is substantial room for growth and improvement.
That being said, there is a general unease among Democrats around the state from whom I have heard regarding the Glassman campaign. They are tired of the silly contests and singalongs and they want to hear more substantive positions on the big issues of the day that confront this country. The best way to demonstrate that Rodney has command of the facts and the substantive issues is to debate his primary opponents. Seize this opportunity to shine in the spotlight.
If not, I have the Sue Lowden chicken video remix in the que and ready to go. Don't make me do it. Do the right thing and agree to a series of debates.