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I just finished the book "Three Cups of Tea," by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. It tells the true story of Mr. Mortenson, a

I just finished the book "Three Cups of Tea," by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. It tells the true story of Mr. Mortenson, a real American hero. He wages a one man mission to promote peace, one school at a time, by building schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan. No book, political speech or news article has put the war in Iraq in such an enlightened perspective. And, his story helped me understand why we can't afford to have the Grand Old Party spend one more day in the White House or in control of Congress.

Some of the reasons for not supporting Republicans for national office in November:

* Starting a war which has taken the lives of over 4,000 young men and women on false pretenses and made America the most hated country in the world

* Nine trillion dollar deficit (they talk about fiscal responsibility - the "cut taxes for the rich" spend and spend party, and 70% of all our historical deficits were given to us by Republican administrations)

* No energy policy but oil company profits have never been higher

* Culture of corruption and favoritism

* No healthcare policy, leaving more Americans uninsured than ever before

* No Child Left Behind, with more of our youth failing to graduate than at any time in our public school history

* Single biggest transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to the rich in the history of any presidency

* An economy which has lost 1.5 million jobs this year

Now, the Grand Old Party is pushing John McCain, aka John McBush, on the voters for a third term of war, corruption, tax breaks for the rich, no energy policy, etc.

America cannot afford another Republican in the White House or to re-elect Republicans to Congress. Their demonstrated performance has proven to be far more focused on continuing their power than representing the people of this country. Their public policy agenda is not focused on making America a better place to live, work, play and learn. It's no surprise 71% of Americans disapprove of President Bush's job performance. And the "stop and block" Republicans in Congress have helped rank Congress' performance at an all time low.

America must be the nation of education, opportunity and economic development, not war, death and hate. It's time for a change; it's long overdue.

Mike Schmidt, Bend


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