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Isakson: Window of Opportunity for World Peace and Liberty is Closing

MIKE KLEIN

MIKE KLEIN

One day after President Obama seemed to throw his administration’s intelligence team under the bus, and one day before the first-ever confirmed case of Ebola in the United States, the Senator and the Soldier sat before hundreds of people in an Atlanta ballroom and sought to bring clarity to what often seems like an out of control world.

“ISIS wants you to fear them. They want you to cower in your house and just not come outside,” Georgia U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson told 400 guests at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition meeting in Atlanta. “Since the threats have changed the way we deal with threats has changed,” said former U.S. Army Chief of Staff General George W. Casey (Ret.).  “Those threats will not be addressed or resolved through military means alone.”

On chance you are not familiar with this group, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition articulates the role American strength plays on the world stage, in particular, development and diplomacy, with a firm understanding that sometimes military intervention is essential first, but it must be backed up with resources that allow newly free people to create a new society. USGLC’s membership includes every living former U.S. Secretary of State and many of America’s and the world’s greatest non-governmental organizations that do hard work in the world’s worst places.

If you watched CBS “60 Minutes” on Sunday evening you saw President Obama throw his administration’s own team under the bus when he said the intelligence community “underestimated what had been taking place in Syria” with regard to ISIS, the terrorists whose murderous ways have paralyzed the Middle East and threaten world security.

If you tuned into almost any newscast Tuesday evening you heard that a West African man who traveled by plane to the United States was quarantined in a Dallas hospital after his Ebola diagnosis. In Atlanta, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tried hard to assure everyone there was no anticipated danger to anyone else here.

The emergence of ISIS as a world destabilizing force and the rapid spread of Ebola from West Africa to Texas confirms again that much of what we think we control we really don’t control and often governance is reactionary. The message Senator Isakson and General Casey brought Monday to Atlanta is that the United States must remain engaged in every level of these conflicts, whether they are conflicts against forces or health care conflicts.

United States Senator Johnny Isakson, moderator Richard Warner and General George W. Casey

United States Senator Johnny Isakson, moderator Richard Warner and General George W. Casey

“We’re fighting the biggest all-time health war probably ever by the time it’s over in terms of Ebola in West Africa,” Isakson said. “The people (who are) going to West Africa now (are) not just the 3,000 military troops but it’s literally thousands of Americans … who volunteer to deliver the goods and deliver peace and deliver welfare to people who’ve been living in war-torn communities who are finally emerging from those wars.”

Casey is a retired four-star General whose command assignments included Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia. “Since September 11 the international security environment and the threats to the United States have changed fundamentally and for me as an Army officer, I like to say I spent the first 30 years of a 40-year career training to fight a war I never fought and the last ten learning to fight a different war while I was fighting it.”

Today 40 percent of the world’s population is online, there are about as many cellphones in the world, 7 billion, as there are total people and the 24 x 7 rapid availability of information has created what Casey described as “a global awakening and expectations.” Yet in many parts of the world people are no freer today than when World War II ended and billions live in wretched poverty without food, clean water, toilets, health care or education.

“Our window of opportunity for peace around the world and liberty for all the people of the world is running out,” Isakson said. “The Arab world is re-producing at about 6.7 children per marriage; the West is less than two now. As we are shrinking in size the poorer countries are actually accelerating. It ends up being a numbers game. The quicker we can help bring peace and security and food and stability to poorer countries the less ISIS and people like that can recruit in these poor countries because the people are no longer just fighting for another day’s bread.”

There was a dramatic end to the discussion when General Casey noted the 13th anniversary of the 911 attack on America has just passed and then he spoke about the human toll that is sometimes too easily overlooked.

“Over 6,000 men and women have given their lives and they’ve left 20,000 surviving family members. Over 50,000 men and women have been wounded, some 10,000 of them serious enough to require long-term care,” Casey said. “Over 2 million men and women have served. Over 1 million have already left the service. A quarter of them are unemployed. We can do better than that as a country. Put these veterans back to work. You hear a lot about the problems veterans are having. If they have a job a lot of other problems get a whole lot easier.”

Learn more about the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.

(Mike Klein is a journalist and media executive who has held leadership positions with the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, Georgia Public Broadcasting and CNN where he was Vice President of News Production. Learn more about Mike at LinkedIn.)

(Photo provided by U.S. Global Leadership Coalition)

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October 1, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. Takes Out Murderer Osama bin Laden: “A Great Day For the U.S.”

Mike Klein

Georgia’s United States senators, Governor Nathan Deal and the state’s thirteen congressmen were united in praise on Monday for the U.S. military hit that killed Osama bin Laden.   Congressman Austin Scott released a YouTube video that you can watch here.  Congressman David Scott issued a succinct statement on Facebook: “A great day for the U.S.”

Osama bin Laden masterminded the September 11, 2001 attack against the United States, along with many other incidents during two decades of terrorist violence. Bin Laden was shot in the head and killed when U.S. forces stormed his compound in Pakistan.  President Barack Obama announced the successful hit on bin Laden during a late Sunday evening live broadcast from the White House.

Governor Nathan Deal:
“We celebrate this victory against an embodiment of evil, and we remember and mourn the thousands of innocents who died at the hands of this murderer. Today, our great nation showed once again that we will stop at nothing to defeat those who threaten our people with terrorism.”

Senator Saxby Chambliss:
“This is a historic moment for the U.S. special operations and intelligence communities. I highly commend the special operations units who undertook this mission and carried it out. The CIA and others in the U.S. intelligence community did a phenomenal job over several months in carrying out this assignment.”  An early version of the Chambliss statement said there were no injuries to women and children; that part was retracted after U.S. officials said one woman who was being used as a human shield was killed.

Senator Johnny Isakson:
“This is an historic moment that brings to a close an unfortunate chapter in American history. This day comes as a result of the hard work by the Central Intelligence Agency, the national security agencies and especially our military. We have hunted down and killed the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, but we must not stop here. The threat of terrorism still exists and we must remain steadfast in our mission to eradicate it around the globe.”

Congressman Jack Kingston (1st):
“What happens in the Hereafter to a man whose life caused the death of so many innocent people is left up to God.  Our job is to continue the fight against terrorism which he – on tragic day – raised to the highest level.  “His legacy in America is more government security, more check points, less personal freedom, more war and an end to our relative isolation and peace as we knew it.  While the world is better off without him, his hatred lives on in his followers and we must remain ever vigilant on their next move.”

Congressman Sanford Bishop (2nd):
“We all remember where we were on September 11th when Al Qaeda attacked our country, but today we have finally brought the mastermind of those terrorist attacks to justice. I congratulate President Obama, our military and the intelligence community for conducting a successful mission to kill Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. While this is a great moment in the war on terror, the threat from those who wish to harm our country will continue, and we must remain vigilant.”

Congressman Lynn Westmoreland (3rd):
“Today is a great day for America.  After years of searching for the terrorist behind the most massive strike on American soil since World War II, we have finally killed Osama Bin Laden.  This is a huge victory for our troops and I would like to personally thank them for all they have done for us.  This historic victory is also due to our Intelligence Community and all of our international partners in the War on Terror.  Without their work and support, we would never have been able to achieve this.  The backbone of al-Qaeda is no more.”

Congressman Hank Johnson (4th):
“This victory in the ongoing fight against violent extremism shows the resolve of the American people and the leadership of President Obama. We are grateful to U.S. intelligence personnel and military forces who carried out this essential mission and brought Osama bin Laden to justice.”

Congressman John Lewis (5th):
“I am not one to rejoice in the death of any person, but Osama bin Laden took the lives of thousands of innocent people in this country and around the world.   He committed heinous crimes that ended the hopes and dreams of many courageous public servants … Many people left home for work that day never to return. Today thousands of families are missing their fathers and mothers, sons and daughters due to the violence this man fomented and supported.  His terrorism changed not only individual lives, but it promoted an environment of fear and the need for ever-ready security to assure the defense of this nation and others around the world.”  (Edited for Length)

Congressman Tom Price (6th):
“Confirmation of the death of Osama bin Laden is welcome news to freedom loving people around the globe. Evil has met justice. The brave men and women of our military forces and intelligence services are to be commended for their defense of our liberty and freedom.  May God Bless America.”

Congressman Rob Woodall (7th):
“The news that Osama bin Laden has been located and killed by U.S. troops is uplifting and sobering at the same time.  We all remember where we were and what we were doing when the hijacked planes crashed on American soil.  We will all now remember where we were and what we were doing when the President of the United States announced that the man with the blood of more than 3,000 Americans on his hands is no longer a threat to America.  My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims of the September 11 attacks, for the soldiers overseas who are still working to keep our homeland safe, and the families that wait so patiently for their return.”

Congressman Austin Scott (8th):

Congressman Tom Graves (9th):
“For the victims of 9/11, U.S.S. Cole, the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and countless other terror attacks across the globe, justice has finally been brought to the chief perpetrator of those evils, Osama bin Laden.  Not only is this a great day for America, but also for all in the world who cherish freedom and democracy … May God bless our fighting men and women, their families, and all who continue the work of bringing justice to those who have attacked or threaten terror against the United States.” (Edited for Length)

Congressman Paul Broun (10th):
“I am elated to learn that Osama bin Laden, an enemy with so much blood on his hands, has finally been brought to justice.  I congratulate our brave men and women in uniform who fought tirelessly to secure this victory, and I encourage all Americans to remember those who paid the ultimate price while fighting the War on Terror. We will forever be grateful. I also commend President Barack Obama, our Commander in Chief, for authorizing this strategic operation, as well as President Bush for initially launching our counterattack after the tragic events of September 11th, 2001.” (Edited for Length)

Congressman Phil Gingrey (11th):
“The death of the terror mastermind, Osama bin Laden, is a victory for Americans and all those who believe in the principles of freedom and justice. The horrific attacks on our nation on September 11, 2001 began a relentless pursuit for the death or capture of bin Laden. This news proves that – no matter how long it takes – we will not rest until those who kill Americans have been brought to justice.”  (Edited for Length)

Congressman John Barrow (12th):  
“This is a true victory for our country, and it shows that Americans are committed to fighting terrorism wherever it hides, and for however long it takes.  Our military leaders, intelligence community, and brave men and women who executed the raid that killed bin Laden special commendation today.  These folks have never wavered in their commitment to our country, and our entire nation is grateful for their service.  Anyone who attacks America needs to know that our people and our country will not rest until justice is done.”

Congressman David Scott (13th)
“A great day for the U.S.”

Quotes were compiled from official websites and statements to news organizations.

(Mike Klein is Editor at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation)

May 2, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Georgia Republicans Finish the Drill; Trauma Care Amendment Loses

This article was published by StatehouseNewsOnline.Com and Watchdog.Org.

Georgia voters provided Republicans arguably their greatest statewide victory ever Tuesday as the GOP administered a whipping to Democrats like nothing they had seen, literally, since Reconstruction after the Civil War.  This was the political equivalent of what football coaches preach:  Finish the Drill!

Republicans won every state constitutional office starting with Governor.  Retired nine-term congressman Nathan Deal ended Democratic former Governor Roy Barnes’ comeback bid by 53% to 43%.  Georgia requires a majority margin to win.  Georgia sent Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson back to Washington by an even wider margin, 58% to 39%.

That was just the beginning of a great night for Republicans, a fright night for Democrats.

Republicans retained seven Congressional seats and took one from Democrats.  Former GOP state legislator Austin Scott defeated four-term Democrat Jim Marshall 53% to 47% in central Georgia’s 8th Congressional district.  Republicans will hold both Senate seats and eight of the state’s 13 House seats in the next Congress.

Republicans seized three state executive offices from Democrats:  attorney general, agriculture commissioner and labor commissioner.  The GOP retained lieutenant governor, secretary of state, insurance commissioner, state school superintendent and public service commissioner.

As Wednesday dawned over Georgia, Democrats could only wonder, what now?

Historians will consider whether Tuesday was more significant than eight years ago when Sonny Perdue became Georgia’s first Republican governor in 130 years.  Democrats held many state offices after 2002 and 2006 elections.  Now the GOP will hold every state government office for the next four years.  The party retained state Senate and House majorities.

The evening began with many predictions Deal and Barnes would face a gubernatorial run-off on Tuesday November 30.  Analysts predicted African-American support would break to Barnes and Libertarian candidate John Monds would take votes from Deal.  Barnes did carry the African-American vote but Monds could not get over 4% and Barnes conceded just before midnight.

Deal told supporters, “Georgia has placed its faith in the Republican Party and we are not going to let them down.” Barnes quoted the Apostle Paul, “I have fought the good fight.   I have run the good race.  I have finished the course.  I have kept the faith and so have you.”

An amendment to fund trauma care with a special $10 tax that would be added to annual vehicle registration was defeated 53% to 47%.   This high-profile measure was supported by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the state’s major medical organizations.  A major final weekend media blitz was not enough to save it from voters who rejected the new tax.

Mike Klein is Editor at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.

November 3, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Georgia Palette Likely To Become Redder; Deal – Barnes No Sure Thing

This Georgia election preview was written for the Franklin Center for Government.

Georgia’s political palette will likely become deeper Red after next Tuesday, but whether that includes the Republican Party winning its third consecutive Governor’s Office election is uncertain.

Two national organizations released polls this week that show Republican Nathan Deal up 10% over Democrat Roy Barnes but should those vote projections become vote percentages, they would not be enough to avert a late November run-off on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

The Rasmussen Reports 2010 Gubernatorial Scorecard and SurveyUSA produced identical results with Deal leading Barnes 49% to 39%.  A majority vote – 50% plus one vote — is required to win statewide office in Georgia.  Deal is a retired nine-term congressmen and Barnes served one term as Governor from 1999 to 2003 after eleven terms as a state senator or representative.

Rasmussen moved Georgia from “Leans GOP” to “Solid GOP” after a Sunday, October 24 telephone poll of 750 likely voters statewide.   Libertarian Party candidate John Monds received 5%.  The remainder indicated preference for another candidate or said they are undecided.

The SurveyUSA sample was larger, 1,100 persons interviewed by telephone over four days, Thursday, October 21 through Sunday, October 24.   The SurveyUSA outcome was identical to Rasmussen, 49% for Deal and 39% for Barnes, but Libertarian candidate Monds polled 8%.  Some analysts believe the likelihood of a November 30 gubernatorial run-off would increase if the Monds vote exceeds 5%.

The Deal campaign strategy has been to criticize nearly everything about the first Barnes administration.  It has tried to portray Barnes as an over-the-top President Barack Obama style liberal Democrat.   The Barnes strategy has been to question Deal’s personal and business ethics.  Lately, Barnes has attacked Deal for his position on a Georgia rape shield law during Deal’s tenure in the state Senate.

Down the ballot, Republicans are poised to turn an already Red state an even deeper shade of Red.   U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson is heavily favored over Democrat Michael Thurmond whose candidacy has not generated traction.  SurveyUSA shows Isakson ahead by 24% and Rasmussen has Isakson ahead by 15%. The incumbent Isakson raised some $9.1 million and Thurmond raised less than $300,000.

Republicans currently hold seven of the state’s 13 congressional seats.  Three Republican incumbents are unopposed and Republicans are favored to retain the other four seats.  Two incumbent Democrats are also in the GOP sights, Jim Marshall in central Georgia and Sanford Bishop in southwest Georgia.

The 62-year-old Marshall is running an 8th Congressional District toss-up race against 40-year-old Republican state legislator Austin Scott.  Marshall is a four-term economic conservative who supports extension of the George W. Bush tax cuts.  The former Macon mayor also has strong military credentials and he has been a strong advocate for Robins Air Force Base but all of that aside, Marshall might be swept away by anti-Democrat, anti-incumbent sentiment.

Republicans also believe they can prevail in southwest Georgia’s 2nd Congressional District where state legislator Mike Keown will try to unseat nine-term Democrat Bishop.   The congressman might be hurt by recent reports that Bishop steered congressional caucus scholarship money to his own family.

Republicans will continue to hold solid state Senate and House voting majorities after next Tuesday.   The party fielded strong candidates in eight other contested statewide office races.  Democratic incumbents are not seeking re-election in three of those eight races.

Much less certain is how Georgia voters will respond to a ballot measure that would fund statewide trauma care expansion by imposing a new $10 annual fee on nearly all privately owned vehicles.

The business community, the hospital industry and a wide range of Republican and Democratic leaders support the new fee.  But some recent sentiment suggests voters are not much interested in new fees and taxes, even though large sections of Georgia have little or no available trauma health care.  Business leaders launched Yes2SaveLives.Com to support the trauma care measure.

Mike Klein is Editor at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.

October 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Michael Thurmond Prepares For His Biggest Political Challenge

Michael Thurmond will soon either make history, or perhaps see his political career wash away.

A source familiar with his plans says the Democratic Labor Department commissioner will enter the U.S. Senate race in an announcement expected  Wednesday.  Thurmond will be the favorite in the July primary against one political novice, setting up a November race against Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson.  Thurmond will spend the weekend at home in Athens discussing this with family.

Thurmond against Isakson for a U.S. Senate office could eclipse the state’s gubernatorial race in media attention, voter interest and potentially, millions of dollars raised and spent.  A victory over the popular and respected Isakson would make him an instant national political celebrity.  A source close to Isakson said Thurmond “would be swimming in a pool beyond his depth.”   Thurmond has run three successful statewide campaigns but nothing with the intensity, political knifing or media scrutiny of a United States Senate race. Continue reading

April 16, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment