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In case you are not on Wes Clark's (excellent) mailing list (signup at www.securingmerica.com) you might have missed the latest desperate Republican smear attempt against 24 year Navy Vet, netroots populist champion and cancer survivor, "Fighting Eric" Massa.  Massa has been running slightly ahead of Kuhl, who is distinguished only by his position as the very favorite Congressman of both President Bush and Karl Rove.  Read Clark's letter below for the details on the latest attempt by Kuhl's campaign henchmen to smear Massa, his Navy service and even his battle against cancer.  As much as anywhere else, the voters of New York's 29th district are hurting thanks to the Bush/Kuhl economy.  They need new policies, new ideas and progressive economic solitions -- not endless smears, old politics and a failed economy.  Send them a message by showing support for "Fighting Eric" Massa.  Please read Wes Clark's great letter and also check out www.massaforcongress.com

Sadly, it has come to this. I've written to you about my good friend Eric Massa many times. Eric is running in New York's 29th congressional district, and he needs our help now.

He's being swift-boated.

Randy Kuhl and his cronies are attacking Eric's service, contending he didn't obtain a high enough rank. That would be a ridiculous argument even if they didn't deliberately leave out the fact that Eric nearly died of cancer while in uniform, cutting his brilliant career short. How do I know? I was there.

We can't let these despicable attacks defeat Eric. Please join me and contribute to Eric's campaign today!

http://www.actblue.com/...

Just yesterday, Don Davidsen, one of Randy Kuhl's biggest fans, wrote a shameful letter to the editor and sent it to several newspapers in New York. He questioned Eric's fitness to serve in Congress because of his military experience. Mr. Davidsen would like you to believe that Eric Massa left the Navy without obtaining a high enough rank.

It's absurd.

Eric Massa was my personal Military Aide when he fell ill, and I am the one who ordered Eric, against his will, to leave his post and seek the medical attention that led to his eventual diagnosis -- a diagnosis that saved his life. Was Eric's military career cut short? You bet it was. Does this make it right for Randy Kuhl and his ilk to shamefully attack Eric for his service to our nation?

No.

We cannot back down to these attacks. Eric needs our help to fight back now. Contribute today!

http://www.actblue.com/...

This kind of treatment of our veterans makes me fighting mad, but it's hardly a surprise, because when it comes to attacking veterans, it's tough to compete with Randy Kuhl. Randy has a zero (that's right, zero) rating from the Disabled American Veterans, and just this year voted against healthcare for our soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and against expanding the GI Bill. This isn't the kind of leadership that we need in Congress.

We need Eric to bring real change to Washington. Unlike his opponent, Eric supports our veterans, and has received the endorsement of several leading vet's organizations including VFW, VoteVets, and IAVA. We came so close two years ago. You can put Eric over the top in these final weeks.

Help Eric Massa fight the Right-Wing attacks against his service to his country.

http://www.actblue.com/...

Randy Kuhl and his supporters seem to think that swift-boating veterans is OK. They're wrong. It's a disgrace, and I am asking for your help to put this type of vile political behavior to an end once and for all.

Sincerely,

Wes Clark

Originally posted to howardpark on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 09:18 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Kuhl is loathsome (4+ / 0-)

    Eric already has some of my money, maybe he should get a little more.

    "...this nation is more than the sum of its parts ..." Barack Obama-18 March,2008

    by Inventor on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 09:34:57 AM PDT

    •  Pls give Eric whatever you CAN. I did. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jen, taters, seesmithrun

      I've met Eric several times in the course of his campaigning. Additionally, Erice took the time to personally help my elderly father, a World War II veteran, who desperately needed targeted advice and guidance.

      I am forever indebted to Eric, who spoke with us from Washington and who took valuable time from his personal schedule to help us.

      I can't say enough good things about the man.

      He is truly a caring individual, and someone who I KNOW will NEVER leave our veterans or ANY of our needy citizens out in the cold.

      You can steal our signs, but you can't steal our vote! OBAMA/BIDEN '08!

      by Blue Waters Run Deep on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 09:49:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great letter (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    taters, Blue Waters Run Deep

    Thanks for posting that. Randy Kuhl is one of the worst of the worst when it comes to Bush sycophants and I'm hoping we kick his ass right out of congress in two and a half weeks...

    "John McCain is a dick" -My dad, lifelong Republican -8.12, -6.62

    by seesmithrun on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 09:35:58 AM PDT

    •  Kuhl is among the WORST in the R-osphere. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      taters, seesmithrun

      Everyone at Kos should know about Kuhl and his 100% support for Bush, and his non-caring for our veterans, those returning, and those already returned.

      There are other issues of which we should be aware. To me, this is one of the worst.

      You can steal our signs, but you can't steal our vote! OBAMA/BIDEN '08!

      by Blue Waters Run Deep on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 09:50:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  All those 24 years of Massa's service to the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Blue Waters Run Deep

        country, to give his life if necessary, meant that Kuhl could sleep soundly at night.

        Randy Kuhl and his cronies are attacking Eric's service, contending he didn't obtain a high enough rank.

        Gen Clark is absolutely right! What has high or low rank got to do with running for office? Just look at John McCain! He's an ex-Navy captain (colonel in army), not even a star rank and running for the most powerful job in the world (and am sure he probably barely qualified to get that captain rank!)

  •  These people are despicable (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jen, taters, Blue Waters Run Deep

    You can read the letter here:

    http://www.mpnnow.com/...

    Check the comments.  You can tell them the answers to their "questions" (as if they didn't know) and they attack again.  

    Unbelievable.  You'd think they'd be embarrassed.

  •  Proud to call Eric a friend (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jen, taters, Blue Waters Run Deep

    I've had the pleasure and honor to exchange Navy lies over a brew or two twice.  The guy is a real fireplug with unbounded energy and commitment.  Congress will not be the same with Eric there, and I mean that in the most positive sense.

    Let's give CDR Massa all the help we can.

    Stan Davis
    Lakewood, CO

    If not us, WHO? If not now, WHEN?
    BE THE CHANGE you want to see in the world. [Gandhi}

    by Stan81747 on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 11:16:14 AM PDT

  •  Thanks, Howard. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    taters

    Swiftboaters should be ashamed of themselves.

  •  Well done Howard. (0+ / 0-)

    I gave to Eric yesterday.

  •  The Eric Massa-Wes Clark connection (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    taters

    Clark supporter feels called to duty

    General made believer of wary aide
    Thursday, November 27, 2003

    By ANNMARIE TIMMINS
    Monitor staff

     As a junior Navy officer, Eric Massa had no choice the first time he went to work for Gen. Wesley Clark in 1996, as Clark's assistant in Panama. The Navy set up the interview, and Massa hoped to mangle it with blunt honesty.

    "I didn't want the job, and I told him so," said Massa. "I was afraid of working for a pompous moron, of which there are several wearing stars. I had worked for senior officers who didn't care about people, and I didn't want to do that again."

    It turned out Massa and Clark had something in common there, and Massa spent the next four years attached to Clark, first in Panama and then in Europe, during Clark's stint as supreme allied commander in Europe.

    When Massa left Clark in 1999 it was under protest and only because Massa had been diagnosed with advanced cancer. Now, years later, Massa - recovered and retired from the Navy - is working for Clark's army again, this time as a campaign staffer trying to get Clark elected to the White House.

    Massa wasn't looking for the job this time, either. Clark asked

    him to come on board after learning a month ago that Massa had "involuntarily resigned" from his government job at the urging of Republican bosses. They were upset that Massa had visited Clark at a Democratic campaign event.

    "They said I was a political liability and that if I liked Wes Clark so much I should go work for him," Massa said. A lifelong Republican, Massa just re-registered as a Democrat. Massa is the son of a Navy man, and as such grew up outside America and with a respect for the military. The family came to the United States when Massa was 16, and after graduating from high school in Louisiana, Massa attended the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

    In all, Massa spent 25 years in the Navy, 16 of them on sea duty. In the mid-1990s, Massa's commanding officer told him it was time to decide how he wanted to fulfill his joint duty, a requirement for officers to spend part of their service with another branch of the military.

    When Massa said he wanted to do something out of the ordinary, he was told an Army general by the name of Wes Clark was looking for a Navy aide. All he knew about Clark was that he had stars on his Army uniform, and that didn't carry much weight with Massa.

    Their 50-minute interview, however, convinced Massa to withhold judgment.

    "He had questions I didn't expect from a military man," Massa said. "He asked me if I was familiar with Greek literature, if I read Homer, what I thought about the Illiad.

    "And the last 20 minutes were devoted to people questions," Massa said. "He asked me what I would do if a young soldier came to me and told me his wife had died. Or a homosexual soldier told me he was being harassed. His whole thing was treating people with dignity and respect."

    Three hours later, Massa was on a plane with Clark to Panama, where Clark was commander in chief of the U.S. Southern Command. Massa described his job as Clark's executive assistant and deputy chief of staff.

    Once there, Massa asked Clark what the Homer question was about. Massa remembers the answer: "He said he was looking for someone who was well-rounded enough to talk about issues beyond military terms."

    For about 13 months, Massa shadowed Clark, keeping notes of his meetings and drafting follow-up letters to the people Clark had met. Massa said Clark forbade his staff to begin any of his correspondence with "I" because Clark wanted the emphasis on the recipient, not himself.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    A show of support
    When Clark was promoted to supreme allied commander in Europe in 1997, he asked Massa to stay on and be his advance man. Massa agreed and moved his wife and kids, who had been waiting for him back in San Diego, to Brussels, Belgium. After Clark arrived, Massa was again a close assistant and became one of Clark's main liaisons to Washington, D.C.

    Massa had every intention of staying in Europe as Clark's assistant until he got sick in late 1999. He hadn't recovered from running a half-marathon but chalked it up to the flu. He blew off a doctor's appointment his wife had made for him, thinking he'd work it off.

    On Nov. 9, 1999, Massa looked up from his desk to find Clark standing there. Clark told Massa that his wife had called worried about his health.

    Clark had arranged another doctor's appointment for Massa, and when Massa protested, Clark gave him the only direct order Massa recalls receiving in four years. "I think we have lost the fundamental relationship between a four-star general and a Navy commander," Clark told him. "You will go to the doctor."

    The doctor diagnosed Massa, who had never smoked, with advanced lung cancer and gave him four months to live. Clark cut through red tape to get Massa and his family back to the United States for treatment.

    Just before Massa left, Clark convened the staff and tearfully awarded Massa the Legion of Merit medal for his work. Clark had received the same medal in the 1970s when he was a speech writer for the then-supreme allied commander.

    It's one of the few times Massa saw Clark cry.

    "Everyone thought that was goodbye, that I was dying," Massa said.

    Back home in San Diego, doctors were more optimistic and diagnosed Massa with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, not lung cancer, and began aggressive treatment.

    Unknown to Massa, Clark had a soldier tracking Massa's surgery. As soon as Massa came to in recovery, staff told him he had a call. It was Clark. At the time, he was overseeing the bombing of Kosovo.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    A different kind of service
    Massa retired about three years ago; he waited so that the last thing he did in uniform was attend Clark's retirement. Now he's living in a hotel in Manchester, trying to avoid a fast-food diet and bringing his family in from New York when he can.

    He talks wistfully about the job he lost to get here. Massa was in Washington overseeing part of the Navy budget as a member of the House Armed Services Committee. His departure was reported by the press and has since become fodder for online political sites.

    But he doesn't regret where it got him. On the trail, Massa is helping get Clark the veteran vote - and whatever else needs doing.

    "If Wes Clark asked me to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge, I'd ask him if he wanted it done in the summer or the winter," Massa said.

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