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    Success of ‘going negative’ changes campaign strategies
    A Duty to the Wounded: Our Newest Veterans Need Help Now
    October 23rd, 2007 under Senator Dole. [ Comments: 8 ]

     By Bob Dole and Donna E. Shalala Tuesday, October 16, 2007;

    ww2.JPGIt is time to decide — do we reform the current military and veterans’ disability evaluation and compensation systems or limp along, placing Band-Aids over existing flaws? It has been more than 2 1/2 months since our commission presented its six pragmatic recommendations to improve the system of care for our injured service members and their families.

     Our recommendations are eminently doable and designed for immediate implementation. While progress has been made, more work remains. And the clock is ticking. The vast majority of the steps needed to implement our recommendations must be taken by the administration. Since unveiling our report, we have met frequently with officials from the White House and the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. We are pleased that they are moving forward with several critical changes, including the development of recovery plans and assigning coordinators to oversee the care of our most seriously injured troops. We have also testified before Congress and met individually with lawmakers.

    Overall, we are buoyed by the strong bipartisan support being given to the proposals. Despite this support, however, it is clear that our recommendations are being swept up in a decades-long battle to reform the entire disability system for all service members. It is important to remember that our commission was tasked with improving care and benefits for those returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. While we hope that our recommendations will help many others, our mission was to make the system work better for this new generation of veterans.

    The current systems of disability and compensation are convoluted, confusing and dated. Modernizing the disability system was of great importance to our commission. Four of our nine commissioners are disabled — including two who sustained serious injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan — and one is the wife of a soldier severely burned in Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to research our commission conducted among wounded and evacuated service members from the current conflicts, the disability rating system at both Defense and Veterans Affairs is poorly understood and is a source of major dissatisfaction. Almost 60 percent of the service members had difficulty understanding the disability evaluation process.

     Our recommendations would update and simplify the disability determination and compensation system; eliminate parallel activities between the two departments; reduce inequities; and provide injured veterans with the tools to return to productive life. We would create a system that allows the departments to focus on their separate missions. Under our system, Defense maintains authority to determine fitness to serve.

    For those found not fit for duty, payment would be provided for time served. Veterans Affairs then would establish the disability rating, compensation and benefits. Defense must provide the necessary military strength and expertise to keep our nation secure. It should determine fitness standards and provide for the health and readiness of the military workforce. As an employer, it must also provide retirement benefits.

    ww1.jpgThe VA’s mission is to care for our nation’s veterans by providing appropriate benefits and services. Fundamentally, the system our recommendations would create is designed for our current service members and their families. These men and women differ from the generations that came before them. They have different injuries, different needs and, thanks to advances in medicine and science, greater opportunities to transition back to fulfilling lives. They need a system that is easy to navigate and allows them to focus on building their futures. While this particular recommendation has received acclaim from many veterans organizations for being balanced and reasonable, some veterans groups that want to reform the system for all former service members have called to stop any movement forward and to simply perpetuate the present, flawed system.

    However, when we reviewed the recommendations that the Veterans Disability Benefits Commission released this month, we saw many of the same conclusions that we reached. That 2 1/2 -year study only adds to the pleas for change from those troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and throughout our country who just want their lives back. Since the historic Bradley Commission in 1956, numerous task forces and commissions have been created to improve the system of care. While there has been tinkering around the edges, lack of political will almost always got in the way of serious reform. This must not be allowed to happen again. Yes, our elected officials should continuously examine how to enhance care for all those who have been put in harm’s way. But right now, they have actionable recommendations that can make a real difference for those who have served our country in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    With Veterans Day only a few weeks away, we can think of no better tribute than to give our new veterans a system that truly meets their needs.

    Bob Dole was a Republican senator from Kansas from 1969 to 1996. Donna E. Shalala was secretary of health and human services from 1993 to 2001. They are co-chairs of thePresident’s Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors.

    President’s Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors


    Let Taiwan Join the U.N.
    September 18th, 2007 under Senator Dole. [ Comments: none ]

    taiwan.gifBy BOB DOLE
    September 17, 2007; Page A16 - Wall Street Journal

    Tomorrow the United Nations will consider Taiwan’s application for membership. It has formally sought admission every year since 1993, but this year’s application is different.

    First, the country is applying under its own name (”Taiwan”) rather than its official appellation (”Republic of China”). Second, it is applying to the U.N. General Assembly, the organization’s comprehensive body of member nations — despite the rejection of its application this summer by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his legal office. Third, the application may be followed by a national referendum on whether Taiwan should apply for U.N. membership under its own name — a plan that has elicited a sharp rebuke by the Bush administration.

    The U.N.’s lawyers argued that, having transferred China’s seat from Taipei to Beijing in 1971, the U.N. should reject Taiwan’s latest application because Taiwan “for all intents and purposes” is “an integral part of the People’s Republic of China.” Taiwan presents a more compelling legal case: It meets all of the requirements of statehood under law.

    It is already a full and productive member of international organizations such as the World Trade Organization and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. It has never been a province or part of the local government of the People’s Republic of China. Taiwan’s recent transformation into a modern democratic state supersedes any decades-old determination that gives the PRC a United Nations seat — even as the U.N. failed to determine that Taiwan is part of the PRC or bestow upon it the right to represent Taiwan.

    Taiwan’s political case for U.N. membership is equally strong. It is the 48th most populous country in the world. Its economy is the world’s 16th largest. Its gross national product totals $366 billion, or $16,098 per capita. With $267 billion in foreign exchange reserves, it is one of the world’s three largest creditor states. Taiwan is therefore poised to be a significant contributor to the U.N.’s operations and play a constructive role in the organization.

    Unfortunately, the United States and the other major powers discourage Taiwan in its quest for de jure international recognition of its de facto sovereignty. This is because they do not want to raise the ire of the PRC, which, as a member of the U.N. Security Council, can block any significant U.N. action, and, as a global power, can interfere on a host of issues important to the U.S. and Europe.

    Read more »


    Senator Dole receives awards for support of Hospice, Disabilities and Nutrition
    April 25th, 2007 under Senator Dole. [ Comments: none ]

    bdole.jpgWashington, DC:  Former Senator Bob Dole received three separate awards this past week for his work on behalf of hospice, people with disabilities, and nutrition and hunger issues.

    National Hospice Foundation Award:  Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Medicare Hospice benefit, the National Hospice Foundation honored Senator Bob Dole on April 18 for his leadership role in enacting that breakthrough legislation.  Senator Dole, along with The Honorable Leon Panetta, The Honorable Bill Gradison, and The Honorable John Heinz (posthumously) were the National Hospice Foundation’s Silver Anniversary Honorees.  Senator Ron Wyden was presented the 2007 NHPCO Public Policy Award on behalf of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

    For more information on the National Hospice Foundation, please visit www.nationalhospicefoundation.org

    The Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR):  On April 24, Senator Dole was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by The Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation for his longtime support of people with disabilities.

    For more information about CSAVR, please visit www.rehabnetwork.org

    Center for Budget and Policy Priorities:  On April 24, Senator Dole was honored by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities for his contributions to strengthening programs that help low-income families, particularly in the area of nutrition, while promoting long-term fiscal discipline.  The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities celebrated its 25th Anniversary and commemorated the 30th anniversary of the reforms achieved by the Food Stamp Act of 1977.  The award was presented by Senator Dole’s former colleague, Senator George McGovern, who was Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs during the late 1960s and ‘70s while Senator Dole served on that committee an the two Senators worked together on key reforms in nutrition and hunger policies.

    For more information about the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, please visit www.cbpp.org
    To view a video on the history of the Food Stamp Program, please visit http://www.cbpp.org/foodstamp-video.htm


    Former Sen. Bob Dole continues to build his legacy as a leader and statesman
    March 7th, 2007 under Senator Dole. [ Comments: none ]

    dole_bob.jpg Lawrence Journal World - Editorials

    Wednesday, March 7, 2007

    Two items in the news Tuesday remind us that, long after his retirement from elective office, former Sen. Bob Dole continues to be an outstanding representative of Kansas and Kansas values.

    One story was about President Bush’s selection of Dole and former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala to lead the federal investigation into problems at the nation’s military and veterans hospitals. The effort is in response to recent revelations about deplorable living conditions for out-patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Stories about Walter Reed unleashed a flood of complaints at other veterans facilities and prompted the broader investigation.

    It’s hard to imagine anyone more qualified to lead this effort than Dole, who was seriously wounded in World War II and spent years receiving treatment in veterans facilities. Even more important than the empathy Dole can bring to this task, however, is his no-nonsense approach to problem-solving. Dole is unlikely to be receptive to excuses for substandard treatment of wounded or aging veterans. In Dole, Americans have someone who knows how to cut through the bureaucracy and red tape to help make sure veterans get the respect and treatment they deserve.

    Read more »


    Senator Bob Dole
    March 6th, 2007 under Senator Dole. [ Comments: 1 ]

    Washington, DC:  Senator Dole made the following statement regarding his appointment to serve as Co-Chair of the President’s Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors:

    “The President will select members of the Commission.  We will start our work after meeting with the President tomorrow.  The first order of business will be putting together a staff.  I am pleased to be working with Secretary Donna Shalala who has vast experience having served eight years as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and having worked closely with the Department of Veterans Affairs during that time.”


    Former Sen. Robert Dole to help lead Walter Reed investigation
    March 6th, 2007 under Senator Dole. [ Comments: 4 ]

    — President Bush named former Sen. Bob Dole and former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala on Tuesday to lead an investigation of problems at the nation’s military and veterans’ hospitals.

    “We have a moral obligation to provide the best possible care and treatment to the men and women who served our country,” Bush said in a speech to the American Legion. “They deserve it and they’re going to get it.”

    Already grappling with low approval ratings and eager to avoid charges that he failed to act promptly, Bush said an interagency task force of seven Cabinet secretaries, led by Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson, would be convened to determine what can be done immediately to improve veterans’ care.

    Read more »


    Four Former Senate Majority Leaders Encourage Bipartisan Dialogue and Solutions on Key National Issues
    March 6th, 2007 under Senator Dole. [ Comments: none ]

    (Washington, DC) 

    Four former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders — Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell – today announced the establishment of the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), a new organization dedicated to reversing the decline in political discourse and demonstrating that bipartisan policy solutions can be developed to address critical national challenges.

    “Many Americans are concerned that today’s ultra-partisan political atmosphere is poisoning our national dialogue and preventing us from confronting the difficult problems,” Senator Baker said. “So today we are announcing the establishment of the Bipartisan Policy Center. We believe the BPC can help create common sense solutions to key national challenges, and can help foster a return to more civil political debate.”

    “We don’t have Republican problems and Democratic problems, we have American problems,” said Senator Daschle. “National security, economic competitiveness, fiscal responsibility, education, the environment—these are national challenges that affect all Americans. We need to solve them together.”

    Read more »


     


    About
    The Dole Institute of Politics is a bipartisan facility. Our mission; to encourage political and civic involvement, especially among young people; to encourage civil discussion on important issues; to emphasize that politics is an honorable profession; and to provide opportunities for all to interact with political leaders, practitioners and writers.
    While content on the blog will be moderated, we in no way wish to stifle vigorous debate. We request that participants engaging in the online discussion avoid personal, vitriolic attacks, and maintain respect for different opinions.
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    A Summary of the 2006 Blogger-Reader Survey

    Fall 2006 Blogger/Reader Survey Details and Research Reports
    ******
    In December of 2006 Dr. Dhavan Shah of the University of Wisconsin and his “Blogclub” of graduate students and Dr. David D. Perlmutterof the University of Kansas conducted a survey of major political blogs and their readers. The project was partially sponsored by a grant from the Knight/Carnegie Foundation’s Future of Journalism initiative. The summary of the results are posted here--please fully cite us if you refer to the findings.

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