Friday, March 14, 2008

FISA Bill Passes In House

  So the House passed the House Democratic leadership version of FISA, which does not allow amnesty for the telecoms, by a vote of 213-197. The Democrat's bill says that the telecom's can be sued for helping Bush with his illegal warrantless spy program.

   So this bill will now go to the Senate, which, like Bush, not does like a FISA bill without the amnesty provision in it. the House bill will allow the telecoms to make their cases and to show classified evidence to the presiding judge in a closed session without having the plaintiffs in attendance.   Source

   As is usual, the Republican amnesty supporters had a few more fear-mongering statements to make after the bill was passed.


Democrats "know the risks they are taking on behalf of the American people and they don't care ... and that's what bothers me most," Republican Rep. Heather Wilson of New Mexico said.

Rep. Adam Putnam of Florida blasted Democrats for adjourning Congress for two weeks "without having given every protection available to the American people."  

  These sorry Republican's don't know when to quit with the scare tactics! It's all that they have left to run on, so I guess we'll just have to " suck it up " and listen to it a while longer.

   The Department of Justice had a statement also.

"We are concerned that the proposal would not provide the intelligence community the critical tools needed to protect the country."

The statement also restates the administration's position that immunity protection is necessary so the program can continue.

"Exposing the private sector to continued litigation for assisting in efforts to defend the country understandably makes the private sector much more reluctant to cooperate. Without their cooperation, our efforts to protect the country cannot succeed," it said.

Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, warned Wednesday that the House proposal "would, in essence, shut us down" and sent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a letter outlining his objections to the legislation.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers took a different angle.

"We are not going to cave into a retroactive immunity situation," the Michigan Democrat said. "There's no law school example in our memory that gives retroactive immunity for something you don't know what you are giving it for. It just doesn't work in the real world or on the Hill either."

Bush called the plan "a partisan bill that would undermine America's security," and White House spokesman Tony Fratto said the Democratic bill "would hamstring the intelligence community."

  I do believe that the Republicans make recordings of their fear-mongering message since it is the same old crap day in and day out. I will most certainly be glad when this group of communist are no longer in office. I'll be more than happy if these lawsuits ever make it into a court of law just so that we have more evidence against Bush and Cheney so that they can rightfully be prosecuted in court for their crimes, which we all know are vast.

Resignation Of Detroit Mayor Called For

  This crook needs to vacate the premises right now.

   The walls are crumbling for embattled Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who is under increasing pressure to resign over his role in a police whistleblower settlement scandal that many say is paralyzing the already struggling city.

Mr. Kilpatrick, a Democrat, is under investigation for reportedly lying in sworn testimony in a police whistleblower trial about an affair with his chief of staff and a secret $8.4 million settlement he brokered without the City Council's knowledge.

The mayor, through his spokesman, reiterated yesterday that he would not resign and would continue to push forward his agenda for growth. However, his time in office may be limited. The City Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to order Mr. Kilpatrick, along with his former chief of staff and suspected mistress, Christine Beatty, as well as others involved in the police whistleblower settlement case to appear before the City Council.   WaTimes

  Of course, the mayor is claiming that these are attacks on him and his family based on racial hatred.

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GOP Starting To Realize That They Won't Be The Senate Majority Come November. Nobody Wants To Run

  That crying sound that you are hearing is National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Chairman John Ensign of Nevada discussing the recruitment efforts of the GOP in getting anyone, mostly top millionaires in top states, to take a shot at running for the Senate in November, as many proposed nominees are instead declining the GOP offers.

  It doesn't help that many of the GOP Senators are having a hard time raising their cash quotas for the GOP committees and those candidates who are running or expected to run. This is just to damned funny, I think.

Ensign said about half of the Senate’s 49 GOP members are “not even close” to being on pace to raise the amount of money they are expected to for the committee and fellow candidates. The members are expected to raise between $750,000 and $3 million, depending on seniority and stature.

Ensign stressed that five GOP senators have already exceeded their goals and said some members – particularly Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) – are seen more and more frequently at NRSC headquarters. But it’s become clear they are there to save their GOP colleagues and their open seats, rather than go after control of the Senate.  The Hill

  This is what most normal people would call " every man for himself " and the Republican Party just isn't use to this kind of behavior from its " tow the line " membership.

“There is no question that getting back in the majority now, because of some of the recruiting – some of these just terrific candidates that we wanted ended up not running – would be a very long stretch,” Ensign said. “That’s the best way I can say it.”

  I won't even get into the Republicans very sad financial numbers when it comes to raising cash for the elections, because it is a very weak total for them as the Democrats are out-raising and out-spending them by almost 2 to 1 margins.

The financial woes are not limited to the committee, which has less than half of its Democratic counterpart’s $30 million in cash on hand. The nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute issued a report Thursday that showed incumbent Democrats up for reelection raised, on average, $1.2 million more than Senate Republicans with expiring terms did in 2007, and that Democratic open seat candidates raised about $1.4 million to their GOP counterparts’ $800,000.

Ensign said the leadership is using future committee assignments as incentives and threats, and that the conference is and should continue to move away from seniority-based assignments.

“There are different ways to motivate people,” Ensign said. “We’ve tried fear, we’ve tried positive reward, positive reinforcement, we’ve tried being a little harder on them, we use different things at different times – begging, we begged a lot.”   The Story

  Okay. So I changed my mind. Look at those cash numbers. Hell, the Republicans can't even afford one of those over priced caviar fund raising dinners that they are so fond of. The way that the fund raising is going, soon it will be Happy Meals for all of the potential donors! Can't you just feel the love?

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The House Creates New Ethics Board

  Don't you generally have to know what ethics are before you can create a board to investigate any lapses in ethics that House members may have?


An independent ethics board created by the House of Representatives this week is meant to put some teeth into a self-policing process that has been all-but-dormant for years.

The six-member board, which will be split equally between Republican and Democratic appointees, will have the power to investigate ethics allegations if at least one board member from each party agrees. After an investigation, a majority board vote could send the matter for further action to the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct — the long-standing ethics committee.

  This group will be called the Office of Congressional Ethics and they can actually start up ethics investigations against our representatives and/or their own staffers. Let us just see how much investigating this group does in the coming months or years. You won't see to much unless one party pisses the other party off or there is some political gain to be made.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bush's Permanent Tax Cuts And The Economy

  Not going to say anything here. We are just going to look at the rhetoric from Bush and the facts. This is basically just a little observation.

"I think when people take a look back at this moment in our economic history, they'll recognize tax cuts work."
-- President Bush, 3/12/08


"[M]aking the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts and Alternative Minimum Tax relief permanent would add $4.3 trillion to deficits and debt over just the next ten years and would substantially worsen the nation's already serious long-term fiscal problems."
-- Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 1/28/08 American Progress

  I'm trying to figure out what George Bush's tax cuts have done for me. Hmmm. Due to those cuts and the mess in Iraq, my food supply costs have gone up. The dollar has gone down in value, Exxon is making a killing while the price of oil goes upwards to close at $110.33 today. My work hours have been cut back and my salary can't keep up with all of the food, gas, and medical supplies that I use.

   Thanks for those tax cuts George! Instead of stimulating the economy and creating jobs, you have shot it dead! I'll bet that even the stock market closes lower when Bush leaves office than it was when he entered the office.

Bush And The House Version Of FISA

  Hey, guess what everybody? President has threatened to veto the House version of the FISA bill because they won't give him and his friend at ATT the criminal amnesty that they so desire. Once again, I am totally surprised. NOT!

  Bush is a little pissed off that the Democrats actually want to show some over-site of Bush's activities when it comes to illegally reading yours and my emails and listening in on our phone conversations, Instant Messages, and our faxes.

   Bush had a few things to say to reporters.

"It seems that House leaders are more interested in investigating our intelligence professionals than in giving them the tools they need to protect us," Mr. Bush said.

"Congress should stop playing politics with the past and focus on helping us prevent terrorist attacks in the future," he said.

  The House is expected to vote on the bill today, which king George would like changed in order to meet his preferences. Let's hope that doesn't happen.

  Senator Kennedy had a response to Bush's bullshit fear-mongering.

"The president wants Congress to pretend that his administration did not conduct a massive, illegal, domestic warrantless surveillance program that was one of the most outrageous abuses of executive power in our nation"s history," said the Massachusetts Democrat.

"Rather than accuse Congress of playing politics, the president should stop playing politics with our national security," Mr. Kennedy said. "He is the one who has repeatedly blocked extension of the law, insisting that the phone companies must be protected, even though he claims that American lives are at risk."   WaTimes

  I'm not sure about all of you readers, but I have had more than enough of this idiots crap.

   Can we begin impeachment against Bush and Cheney yet?

Back To FISA/Telecom Amnesty Legislation

The Gavel

Judiciary Committee Members: Administration Has Not Made the Case for Telecom Immunity

March 12th, 2008 by Jesse Lee

Today, Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers and 19 Members of the Judiciary Committee issued a statement regarding telecommunications immunity, as the House prepares to consider the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. Following a review of classified information relating to the warrantless surveillance program and immunity for telecommunications companies, the Members reported their conclusion that the Administration has not established a valid and credible case to justify granting blanket retroactive immunity at this time.

The following Members joined Chairman Conyers in signing on to the statement: Representatives Howard L. Berman (D-CA), Rick Boucher (D-VA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Robert C. Scott (D-VA), Melvin L. Watt (D-NC), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), William D. Delahunt (D-MA), Robert Wexler (D-FL), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Betty Sutton (D-OH), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Anthony D. Weiner (D-NY), Artur Davis (D-AL), Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), and Keith Ellison (D-MN).

Full text of the statement (pdf):

Statement of Undersigned Members of the House Judiciary Concerning the Administration’s Terrorist Surveillance Program and the Issue of Retroactive Immunity

As a result of our review of classified as well as unclassified materials concerning the Administration’s Terrorist Surveillance Program, we have concluded that blanket retroactive immunity for phone companies is not justified. However, we do recommend a course of action that would both permit the carriers the opportunity to defend themselves in court and also protect classified information – by eliminating current legal barriers and authorizing relevant carriers to present fully in court their claims that they are immune from civil liability under current law, with appropriate protections to carefully safeguard classified information. In addition, we recommend legislation to fill a current gap in liability protection for carriers, and to create a bipartisan commission to thoroughly investigate the legality of the warrantless surveillance program.

I. Review of Materials by the House Judiciary Committee

In recent weeks, Judiciary Committee members have received classified briefings from intelligence and Justice Department officials on the Administration’s warrantless surveillance program; we have been provided access to the same classified documents on the program that were provided months ago to the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary Committees (and, more recently, to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence); and the Committee has conducted lengthy and extensive classified hearings on February 28 and March 5 to hear testimony from telecom and Administration officials. A key focus of that effort was the issue of retroactive immunity for phone companies that participated in the warrantless surveillance program.

II. Findings and Determinations

We have concluded that the Administration has not established a valid and credible case justifying the extraordinary action of Congress enacting blanket retroactive immunity as set forth in the Senate bill. We have reached this conclusion as a result of a number of findings and determinations we made pursuant to our classified briefings, our review of relevant documents, and our classified hearings, as well as our review of publicly available information.

1. Variable Actions by Carriers

The case for blanket retroactive immunity would be stronger if the various carriers had taken consistent actions in response to requests from the Administration. That is not what we found. Without revealing any specific details, we found a variety of actions at various times with differing justifications in response to Administration requests. It is not our place to judge carriers’ actions, as we certainly understand the very sensitive and compelling factual context in which these actions took place. Instead, we believe that such determinations are far more properly within the purview of the courts under our system of government.

2. Variable Legal Rules

If there were one simple, straightforward legal rule that applied to the conduct in question, it could perhaps be argued that it is a straightforward matter for the legislature to assess the lawfulness of the conduct in question. Without revealing any specific details, that is not what we found. It appears that a variety of legal rules and regimes may apply to the conduct of the carriers. We would note that one carrier has publicly stated that there are “numerous defenses and immunities reflected in existing statutory and case law” for companies that cooperate with legally authorized government surveillance requests. We would again note that it is not our place to specify, on an after-the-fact basis, which legal rules apply to which facts. Instead, such analysis is typically the role of the courts, particularly in instances as complex as this.

3. Important Legal Determinations Remain Pending

One of the cornerstone principles of our system of government is that it is the proper role of the courts to resolve factual and legal disputes between parties. The granting of blanket retroactive legal immunity is inconsistent with that principle.

Further, as Members of the Judiciary Committee, we are frequently confronted with requests for private relief. One of the more important principles we apply in reviewing such matters is whether the party seeking relief from Congress has exhausted available legal remedies first. Numerous legal actions have been brought against carriers alleging significant invasions of privacy by their customers. In the lawsuit that has progressed the furthest, the carrier and the government have sought to dismiss the action based primarily on the state secrets privilege. Although the trial court has refused to grant this relief, it is public knowledge that the government and the carrier are appealing the decision. In our view, the fact that such remedies have not been fully exhausted militates against a Congressional grant of retroactive blanket immunity at this time.

4. No Credible Evidence of Irreparable Damage to Carriers

In our view, the arguments for blanket retroactive immunity – that a decision not to enact it will irreparably harm the relevant carriers and that it will endanger our national security – have not been substantiated, either in a public or a classified setting. Without revealing any specific details, the relevant carriers are significant companies that appear capable of dealing with the lawsuits and accusations brought against them. We have seen no indication that in the event these actions were allowed to proceed, either their reputations or their financial viability would be meaningfully impaired. As a matter of fact, it could just as easily be asserted that the carriers could be best served by clearing their names, or that their reputations would suffer greater harm as a result of a legislative enactment of blanket retroactive immunity.

5. No Credible Evidence of Significant Damage to Intelligence Gathering

Without revealing any specific details, we have not seen credible evidence that carriers would refuse to take needed action with respect to intelligence gathering in the future as a result of Congress’ decision not to enact blanket retroactive immunity. As good corporate citizens, we would expect no less. This is consistent with a recent report in The New York Times that a telecommunications lawyer stated that he had seen “little practical effect on the industry’s surveillance operations” since the Protect America Act expired earlier in February and that “most operations appear to have continued unabated.” Indeed as noted above, the carriers have many, many paths to avoid such liability, and in many respects, it is premature to consider whether to relieve them of liability, indemnify them, or take other action. We would also note that we have taken care in legislation that has passed already and in proposed future legislation to ensure that relevant carriers receive prospective legal immunity for taking specified actions in response to appropriate government requests.

III. Recommendations

While the information we have seen does not justify retroactive legal immunity, we do believe another option is available that would protect the legitimate interests of carriers in light of the legal framework that already exists. Under current law, carriers that cooperate with government surveillance activities are already entitled to immunity from lawsuit under many circumstances. For example, one statute provides that “no cause of action shall lie in any court” against a telecom company that provides the content of telecommunications to the federal government when the company has received a court order or “a certification in writing” by the Attorney General or a designee stating “that no warrant or court order is required by law, that all statutory requirements have been met, and that the specified assistance is required.”

However, based on both unclassified and classified information, we have concluded that carriers may be unable to demonstrate their claims to immunity in court under current law because of the state secrets doctrine and related constraints concerning classified information. This is despite our conclusion that the carriers believe these claims to be valid and that at least some may well be upheld by the courts. It is a matter of public record that the U.S. has intervened in pending civil lawsuits against carriers, claiming that they should be dismissed altogether under the state secrets doctrine so that no information relating to the warrantless surveillance program and telecom companies’ participation in it is presented to or revealed in court. That issue is currently pending on appeal. The government has publicly stated that the companies “can’t really defend themselves, because this is all classified, confidential information.” One carrier has publicly stated that when litigation “involves allegations of highly classified intelligence activities, private parties are disabled from making the factual showing necessary to demonstrate that the cases lack legal merit.”

Accordingly, we support a resolution that would, notwithstanding the state secrets doctrine, authorize relevant carriers to present fully in court their claims that they are immune from civil liability under current law, with appropriate security protections to carefully safeguard classified information. This solution would ensure that carriers can fully present their arguments that they are immune under current law, while also ensuring that Americans who believe their privacy rights were violated will have the issue considered by the courts based on the applicable facts and law, consistent with our traditional system of government and checks and balances.

Our review has also led us to support two other recommendations. First, there is arguably a gap in liability protections for carriers that complied with lawful surveillance requests covering the time period between the expiration of the Protect America Act and the future enactment of more lasting FISA reform legislation. As Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid have proposed, legislation to fill that gap is justified and important. This provision is not included in the Senate FISA bill, and shoul dbe included in any final legislative product.

In addition, our review of classified information has reinforced serious concerns about the potential illegality of the Administration’s actions in authorizing and carrying out its warrantless surveillance program. We, therefore, recommend the creation of a bipartisan commission to conduct hearings and take other evidence to fully examine that program. Like the 9/11 Commission, it would make findings and recommendations in both classified and unclassified reports and thus inform and educate the American people on this troubling subject.

Democratic Voters Presidential Preference

  This is actually a pretty close race judging by the numbers that Gallup has been putting out in their daily tracking poll. This is a three day rolling average and on March 11th, it was Clinton with 45% and Obama with 47%. 2% were voting for others and another 5% were unsure as to who they would be choosing.

   Since March 1, Obama has lost 3%  of the voters and Clinton has picked up 3%. It is still a tossup at this point in time as to who the voters prefer for the Democrat's nominee.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Barack Obama: As President Of The United States? Part V: The Economy

  Moving right along, we next look at Senator Obama's plans to deal with the economy, which are pretty nifty if he can pull it off as the President. This post covers Obama's plan at a glance with more details to follow.

“I’m in this race to take those tax breaks away from companies that are moving jobs overseas and put them in the pockets of hard working Americans who deserve it. And I won’t raise the minimum wage every ten years – I will raise it to keep pace so that workers don’t’ fall behind. That is why I am in it. To protect the American
worker. To fight for the American worker.”
-- Barack Obama, Speech in Des Moines, IA, November 10, 2007

Obama will cut income taxes by $1,000 for working families to offset the payroll tax they pay.
Obama believes that trade with foreign nations should strengthen the American economy and create more American jobs.  He will stand firm against agreements that undermine our economic security.
Obama will encourage the deployment of the most modern communications infrastructure to reduce the costs of health care, help solve our energy crisis, create new jobs, and fuel our economic growth.
Obama will strengthen the ability of workers to organize unions.  He will fight for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act.  Obama will ensure that his labor appointees support workers’ rights and will work to ban the permanent replacement of striking workers.  Obama will also increase the minimum wage and index it to inflation to ensure it rises every year.
Home Ownership
Obama will crack down on fraudulent brokers and lenders.  He will also make sure home buyers have honest and complete information about their mortgage options, and he will give a tax credit to all middle-class homeowners.
Bankruptcy Reform
Obama will reform our bankruptcy laws to protect working people, ban executive bonuses for bankrupt companies, and require disclosure of all pension investments.
Credit Cards
Obama will establish a five-star rating system so that every consumer knows the risk involved in every credit card.  He also will establish a Credit Card Bill of Rights to stop credit card companies from exploiting consumers with unfair practices.
Obama will double funding for after-school programs, expand the Family Medical Leave Act, provide low- income families with a refundable tax credit to help with their child-care expenses, and encourage flexible work schedules.

Wages are Stagnant as Prices Rise
While wages remain flat, the costs of basic necessities are increasing.  The cost of in-state college tuition has grown 35 percent over the past five years.  Health care costs have risen four times faster than wages over the past six years.  And the personal savings rate is now the lowest it’s been since the Great Depression.
Tax Cuts for Wealthy Instead of Middle Class
The Bush tax cuts give those who earn over $1 million dollars a tax cut nearly 160 times greater than that received by middle-income Americans.  At the same time, this administration has refused to tackle health care, education and housing in a manner that benefits the middle class.

Provide Middle Class Americans Tax Relief
Provide a Tax Cut for Working Families
:  Obama will restore fairness to the tax code and provide 150 million workers the tax relief they need.  Obama will create a new “Making Work Pay” tax credit of up to $500 per person, or $1,000 per working family.  The “Making Work Pay” tax credit will completely eliminate income taxes for 10 million Americans.
Simplify Tax Filings for Middle Class Americans:  Obama will dramatically simplify tax filings so that millions of Americans will be able to do their taxes in less than five minutes.  Obama will ensure that the IRS uses the information it already gets from banks and employers to give taxpayers the option of pre-filled tax forms to verify, sign and return.  Experts estimate that the Obama proposal will save Americans up to 200 million total hours of work and aggravation and up to $2 billion in tax preparer fees.
Fight for Fair Trade:  Obama will fight for a trade policy that opens up foreign markets to support good American jobs.  He will use trade agreements to spread good labor and environmental standards around the world and stand firm against agreements like the Central American Free Trade Agreement that fail to live up to those important benchmarks.  Obama will also pressure the World Trade Organization to enforce trade agreements and stop countries from continuing unfair government subsidies to foreign exporters and
non-tariff barriers on U.S. exports.
Amend the North American Free Trade Agreement:  Obama believes that NAFTA and its potential were oversold to the American people.  Obama will work with the leaders of Canada and Mexico to fix NAFTA so that it works for American workers.
Improve Transition Assistance:  To help all workers adapt to a rapidly changing economy, Obama would update the existing system of Trade Adjustment Assistance by extending it to service industries, creating flexible education accounts to help workers retrain, and providing retraining assistance for workers in sectors
of the economy vulnerable to dislocation before they lose their jobs.

( to be continued )




Part 1

Philadelphia Housing Director Punished By The Republican Leaders?

  I've spent the last few days in court so I have gotten behind on the latest issues of the day. Time to play catchup, a little.


After Philadelphia's housing director refused a demand by President Bush's housing secretary to transfer a piece of city property to a business friend, two top political appointees at the department exchanged e-mails discussing the pain they could cause the Philadelphia director.

"Would you like me to make his life less happy? If so, how?" Orlando J. Cabrera, then-assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, wrote about Philadelphia housing director Carl R. Greene.

"Take away all of his Federal dollars?" responded Kim Kendrick, an assistant secretary who oversaw accessible housing. She typed symbols for a smiley-face, ":-D," at the end of her January 2007 note.

Cabrera wrote back a few minutes later: "Let me look into that possibility."

HUD has argued publicly that this decision was not related to the demands by HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson that Greene turn over a $2 million vacant city lot to Kenny Gamble, a friend of Jackson's. HUD officials have said that Greene was not punished for his defiance.

But Greene and the Philadelphia authority have accused HUD and Jackson in a lawsuit of fabricating problems in the authority's performance as a way to retaliate against Greene.

The e-mails suggest that HUD leadership sought to punish Greene by threatening the authority's funding. What is not explicitly said in the e-mails is why.

  This would be President Bush and his cronies attempting to screw over not just another individual who won't tow the party line, but the people who are living in the housing.  Just to see how fast Bush's boys went on the attack, there is this:

On the date these e-mails were sent, HUD notified the housing authority that it had been found in violation of rules requiring that 5 percent of housing be accessible to disabled residents. The department later argued that because the authority refused to acknowledge it was in violation and to agree to a specific remedy, it was in violation of a broader agreement that put $50 million in federal funding in jeopardy.

  The Republican criminals waste no time trying to discredit anyone who does not bow down to them when it comes to the President and his boys making a little extra cash. Cash is king with this group of hoods, and everyone else and anything else means nothing to them.

  Copies of the emails were sent to Senators Arlen Specter (R) and Robert Casey Jr. (D) of Pennsylvania, and they were both urged to have Jackson and his cohorts explain their reasoning.

Casey said that he has "serious questions" about the e-mails and that "80,00 low-income Philadelphians deserve answers."

"This is the kind of stuff you read about in novels, not what you expect from government officials," Greene said in an interview. "It would appear they would carry out a vendetta against me even if it means damage to an entire city."   Read More

  Can we begin impeachment actions against all of the Bush Crime Syndicate members yet?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Barack Obama: As President Of The United States? Part IV: Healthcare

  In part four of Obama's plans as President, we look at his idea's with our healthcare situation.See all of his plans  HERE in downloaded PDF from his website.

“We now face an opportunity – and an obligation – to turn the page on the failed politics of yesterday’s health care debates.... My plan begins by covering every American.  If you already have health insurance, the only thing that will change for you under this plan is the amount of money you will spend on premiums.  That will be less.  If you are one of the 45 million Americans who don’t have health insurance, you will have it after this plan becomes law.  No one will be turned away because of a preexisting condition or illness.”
--Barack Obama, Speech in Iowa City, IA, May 29, 2007

Universal Coverage
Obama will sign a universal health care plan into law by the end of his first term in office.  His plan will provide affordable, quality health care coverage for every American.
Reduce Health Care Costs
Obama’s plan will bring down the cost of health care and reduce a typical family’s premiums by as much as $2,500 per year.

Millions Of Americans are Uninsured or Underinsured because of Rising Medical Costs
47 million Americans – including nearly 9 million children – lack health insurance with no signs of this trend slowing down.
Health Care Costs are Skyrocketing
Health insurance premiums have risen four times faster than wages over the past six years.
Too Little is Spent on Prevention and Public Health
The nation faces epidemics of obesity and chronic diseases as well as new threats of pandemic flu and bio-terrorism.  Yet despite all of this less than 4 cents of every health care dollar is spent on prevention and public health.

Quality, Affordable and Portable Coverage for All
(1) Obama’s Plan to Cover Uninsured
Obama will make available a new national health plan so all Americans, including the self-employed and small businesses, can buy affordable health coverage that is similar to the plan available to members of Congress.
The Obama Plan will have the Following Features:

Guaranteed Eligibility:  No American will be turned away FROM ANY INSURANCE PLAN because of illness or pre-existing conditions.

Comprehensive Benefits:  The benefit package will be similar to that offered through Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), the plan members of Congress have.  The plan will cover all essential medical services, including preventive, maternity and mental health care.
•  Affordable Premiums, Co-Pays and Deductibles.

Subsidies:   Individuals and families who do not qualify for Medicaid or SCHIP but still need financial assistance will receive an income-related federal subsidy to buy into the new public plan or purchase a private health care plan.
•  Simplified Paperwork and Reined in Health Costs.

Easy Enrollment:  The new public plan will be simple to enroll in and provide ready access to coverage.

Portability and Choice: Participants in the new public plan and the National Health Insurance Exchange will be able to move from job to job without changing or jeopardizing their health care coverage.

Quality and Efficiency:  Participating insurance companies in the new public program will be required to report data to ensure that standards for quality, health information technology and administration are being met.
(2) National Health Insurance Exchange:  The Obama plan will create a National Health Insurance Exchange to help individuals who wish to purchase a private insurance plan.  The Exchange will act as a
watchdog group and help reform the private insurance market by creating rules and standards for participating insurance plans to ensure fairness and to make individual coverage more affordable and accessible.  Insurers would have to issue every applicant a policy, and charge fair and stable premiums that will not depend on how healthy you are.  The Exchange will require that all the plans offered are at least as generous as the new public plan and have the same standards for quality and efficiency. The Exchange would evaluate plans and make the differences among the plans, including cost of services, public.
(3) Employer Contribution:  Employers that do not offer or make a meaningful contribution to the cost of quality health coverage for their employees will be required to contribute a percentage of payroll toward the costs of the national plan.  Small employers that meet certain revenue thresholds will be exempt.
(4) Mandatory Coverage of Children:  Obama will require that all children have health care coverage. Obama will expand the number of options for young adults to get coverage, including allowing young people up to age 25 to continue coverage through their parents’ plans.
(5) Expansion Of Medicaid and SCHIP:  Obama will expand eligibility for the Medicaid and SCHIP programs and ensure that these programs continue to serve as a critical safety net.
(6) Flexibility for State Plans:  Due to federal inaction, some states have taken the lead in health care reform.  The Obama plan builds on these efforts and does not replace what states are doing.  States can
continue to experiment, provided they meet the minimum standards of the national plan.

 Lower Costs by Modernizing the U.S. Health Care System
(1) Reducing Costs of Catastrophic Illnesses for Employers and Their Employees. Catastrophic health expenditures account for a high percentage of medical expenses for private insurers. The Obama plan
would reimburse employer health plans for a portion of the catastrophic costs they incur above a threshold if they guarantee such savings are used to reduce the cost of workers’ premiums.
(2) Lowering Costs by Ensuring Patients Receive and Providers Deliver Quality Care:
Helping Patients.
Support Disease Management Programs:  Seventy five percent of total health care dollars are spent on patients with one or more chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood
pressure.  Obama will require that providers that participate in the new public plan, Medicare or the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) utilize proven disease management programs.
This will improve quality of care, give doctors better information and lower costs.
Coordinate and Integrate Care:  Over 133 million Americans have at least one chronic disease and these chronic conditions cost a staggering $1.7 trillion yearly.  Obama will improve coordination and
integration of care of those with chronic conditions by making sure programs are fully implemented and encouraging team care.
Require Full Transparency about Quality and Costs:  Obama will require hospitals and providers to collect and publicly report measures of health care costs and quality, including data on preventable medical errors, nurse staffing ratios, hospital-acquired infections, and disparities in care.  Health plans will also be required to disclose the percentage of premiums that go to patient care as opposed to administrative costs.
Ensuring Providers Deliver Quality Care:
Promote Patient Safety.  Obama will require providers to report preventable medical errors and support hospital and physician practice improvement to prevent future occurrences.
Align Incentives for Excellence:  Both public and private insurers tend to pay providers based on the volume of ser vices provided, rather than the quality or effectiveness of care.  Providers who see patients enrolled in the new public plan, the National Health Insurance Exchange, Medicare and FEHBP will be rewarded based on how effectively they treat patients.
Comparative Effectiveness Research:  Obama will establish an independent institute to guide reviews and research on comparative effectiveness, so that Americans and their doctors will have the ac-
curate and objective information they need to make the best decisions for their health and well-being.
Tackle Disparities in Health Care:  Obama will tackle the root causes of health disparities by addressing differences in access to health coverage and promoting prevention and public health, both of
which play a major role in addressing disparities.  He will also challenge the medical system to eliminate inequities in health care through quality measurement and reporting, implementation of effective interventions such as patient navigation programs, and making the health workforce more diverse.
Reform Medical Malpractice:  Obama will strengthen antitrust laws to prevent insurers from overcharging physicians for their malpractice insurance and will promote new models for addressing errors that improve patient safety, strengthen the doctor-patient relationship and reduce the need for malpractice suits.
(3) Lowering Costs Through Investment in Electronic Health Information Technology Systems:
Most medical records are still stored on paper, which makes it hard to coordinate care, measure quality or reduce medical errors and which costs twice as much as electronic claims.  Obama will invest $10 billion a year over the next five years to move the U.S. health care system to broad adoption of standards-based electronic health information systems, including electronic health records, and will phase in requirements  for full implementation of health IT.  Obama will ensure that patients’ privacy is protected.
(4) Lowering Costs by Increasing Competition in the Insurance and Drug Markets:
Increase Competition:  The insurance business today is dominated by a small group of large companies that has been gobbling up their rivals.  There have been over 400 health care mergers in the last
10 years, and just two companies dominate a full third of the national market.  These changes were supposed to make the industry more efficient, but instead premiums have skyrocketed by over 87 percent. Barack Obama will prevent companies from abusing their monopoly power through unjustified price increases.  His plan will force insurers to pay out a reasonable share of their premiums for patient care instead of keeping exorbitant amounts for profits and administration.  His new National Health Exchange will help increase competition by insurers.
Lower Prescription Drug Costs: The second-fastest growing type of health expenses is prescription drugs.  Pharmaceutical companies are selling the exact same drugs in Europe and Canada but charging Americans more than double the price.  Obama will allow Americans to buy their medicines from other developed countries if the drugs are safe and prices are lower outside the U.S.  Obama will also repeal the ban that prevents the government from negotiating with drug companies, which could result in savings as high as $30 billion.  Finally, Obama will work to increase the use of generic drugs in
Medicare, Medicaid, and FEHBP and prohibit big name drug companies from keeping generics out of markets.
In 2003, Barack Obama sponsored and passed legislation that expanded health care Health Insurance coverage to 70,000 kids and 84,000 adults.  In the U.S. Senate, Obama cosponsored the Healthy Kids Act of 2007 and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) Reauthorization Act of 2007 to ensure that more American children have affordable health care coverage.
Women’s Health:
Obama worked to pass a number of laws in Illinois and Washington to improve the health of women.  His accomplishments include creating a task force on cervical cancer, providing greater access to breast and cervical cancer screenings, and helping improve prenatal and premature birth ser vices.
Read the Speech:



Part 1

800 Pound Man's Date Ruined By Mishap

  This is a funny story but at the same time it isn't so funny.

  Manuel Uribe was ready to celebrate his having lost 440 pounds, bringing him down to 800 pounds, over the last 2 years. He also had a date with his girlfriend to celebrate the weight loss, but, this was not to be.

Washington Times

Uribe was halfway to a picnic near his Monterrey-area home on Sunday when one of the posts holding a sun-shielding tarp over his bed hit an overpass.

Uribe's blood pressure dropped so much his doctors advised him not to go on and the celebration - being documented by about two dozen photographers and reporters from around the world - was canceled.

"We were going to celebrate that I've been losing weight for two years and that it was my girlfriend's birthday," Uribe said in a telephone interview. "The saddest part was that I couldn't fulfill my dream of taking my girlfriend out to eat."

Uribe says that after losing weight on a high-protein diet he started two years ago, he's down to about 800 pounds.  

  To lose 440 pounds in 2 years is a major feat in itself. To lose that weight while living in Mexico is an act of God! Trust me on this, they do know how to eat very well south of the border. Congrats to you Manuel.

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Exhaustive review finds no link between Saddam and al Qaida

By Warren P. Strobel | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — An exhaustive review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents that were captured after the 2003 U.S. invasion has found no evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime had any operational links with Osama bin Laden's al Qaida terrorist network.

The Pentagon-sponsored study, scheduled for release later this week, did confirm that Saddam's regime provided some support to other terrorist groups, particularly in the Middle East, U.S. officials told McClatchy. However, his security services were directed primarily against Iraqi exiles, Shiite Muslims, Kurds and others he considered enemies of his regime.

The new study of the Iraqi regime's archives found no documents indicating a "direct operational link" between Hussein's Iraq and al Qaida before the invasion, according to a U.S. official familiar with the report.    Read More

    So now I guess that since the Pentagon has come out with this news, that what everyone else on the planet already knew is now official, George Bush and this administration are nothing but flat out liars. I am shocked!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Barack Obama: What Would He Do As President Of The United States? Part III

Senator Obama's plans as the President of the United States.  See all of his ideas  HERE in downloaded PDF from his website.



Bring Americans Back into their Government
Hold 21st Century Fireside Chats:  Obama will bring democracy and policy directly to the people by requiring his Cabinet officials to have periodic national broadband townhall meetings to discuss issues before their agencies.
Make White House Communications Public:  Obama will amend executive orders to ensure that communications about regulatory policymaking between persons outside government and all White House staff are disclosed to the public.
Conduct Regulatory Agency Business in Public:  Obama will require his appointees who lead the executive branch departments and rulemaking agencies to conduct the significant business of the agency in public, so that any citizen can watch these debates in person or on the Internet.
Release Presidential Records:  Obama will nullify the Bush attempts to make the timely release of presidential records more difficult.

 Free the Executive Branch from Special Interest Influence
Close the Revolving Door on Former and Future Employers:  No political appointees in an Obama administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to
their prior employer for two years.  And no political appointee will be able to lobby the executive branch after leaving government service during the remainder of the administration.
Free Career Officials from the Influence of Politics:  Obama will issue an executive order asking all new hires at the agencies to sign a form affirming that no political appointee offered them the job solely on the basis of political affiliation or contribution.
Reform the Political Appointee Process:  FEMA Director Michael Brown was not qualified to head the agency, and the result was a disaster for the people of the Gulf Coast.  But in an Obama administration, every official will have to rise to the standard of proven excellence in the agency’s mission.

  Next up we will look at his ideas on healthcare.

Previously: Part 1, Part II

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American Intelligence Analyst Speaks About War In Iraq

  First off, I have a court hearing today so posting will be limited.

Iraq and the Presidential Campaign

by nehpets84 Sat Mar 08, 2008

A lot is said around here about Iraq, especially as it relates to the current campaign for the Presidency.

As some of you know, I just got done with four years as an intelligence analyst in the 82nd Airborne Division. I know a little bit about Iraq, because I was there for a year.

I often find myself responding to comments people make about the situation in Iraq, because it's the only topic where I really feel that I can add something unique and of value to the conversation. But I guess most of those  remarks, left as comments on various threads, go unread most of the time and so I find myself responding the same way to the same comments. So I figured I would just write this and be done with it.

I was an intelligence analyst in Mosul from July 2006 to July 2007. Mosul is a city in northern Iraq, just outside the region traditionally known as Kurdistan (or just inside, if you ask the Kurds). With a population of 1.8 million people, it is Iraq's third largest city, behind Baghdad and Basra. The Tigris river passes right through Mosul, making the city much greener than the rest of the Ninevah Province, which is mostly desert. Mosul is a fairly cosmopolitan city in comparison to many places in Iraq, with a decent mix of Sunni, Shia, and Kurd living side by side and (at least when we first arrived) relatively little ethnic strife.

  My rank when we arrived in Mosul was Sergeant, which is the first rank where you're considered a Noncommissioned Officer and formally placed in charge of people (except for Corporal, which doesn't count). I had just one soldier working for me when we arrived, and we were tasked with providing intelligence for our unit on the entire city - as I said earlier, Iraq's third largest. It was a daunting task, especially because neither one of us had ever been to a combat zone before. When we first ambled into the unit headquarters, we frankly didn't have too much of an idea about what to do. Both of us had gone through the Army's old intelligence training program, which had been focused on fighting North Korea - a military that would adhere closely to textbook soviet doctrine. Obviously, Iraq was different kettle of tea.

  Nonetheless, we got to work. We learned a lot very quickly from the unit we were replacing. In the first days, I was working eighteen to twenty hours a day, trying to learn from the old unit on my shift, and then teach what I had learned to my soldier on his shift. For the next 365 days, neither one of us ever worked less than a twelve-hour day, except for the two weeks when he went home on R&R.

  We worked hard, and we were willing to work hard. An intelligence analyst, if he does his job well, helps to keep the other people in his unit alive. He helps to keep his friends safe (I should say "or she," because both of my immediate superiors were female. Please nobody take offense). We gathered information and reporting from various open-source and classified sources, and we distilled that information until it began to paint pictures for us. We were very much like detectives, tracking down the locations of terrorist leaders, learning the plans of local insurgent cells, and figuring out ways to avoid the hazards these things presented.  When we felt we had a relatively good idea of the location of a specific target, we would recommend ways to eliminate that target.

  I want to say this: I am proud of the work we did over there. I am against this war, but I do not regret for one moment any of the times when I helped to cause the capture or killing of any insurgent or terrorist (two different things, obviously, and we recognized that).

  The people we were specifically targeting were not good guys; regardless of your view of the war, these people could never be seen as sympathetic characters. The very first high-level terrorist captured while I was in Iraq - in fact, someone captured on the work of the outgoing unit just as we arrived - was an al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) leader in Tal Afar. Most of the time, terrorist leaders and financiers stay out of the dirty work themselves, choosing instead simply to direct or pay for operations, respectively. Not this guy. This gentleman liked to make Improvised Explosive Devices, or IEDs - roadside bombs notorious for killing Americans. That, I think, is a legitimate way to fight an enemy you can't beat on conventional terms. But the way this gentleman went about that was something else altogether. I'll just tell you: he kidnapped young Iraqi boys, mostly between 8 and 12 years old, from the streets of Tal Afar. He sodomized them and killed them. Then he placed explosives in their bodies and left them on roadsides to detonate when they inevitably attracted the attention of concerned American or Iraqi soldiers.

  Here's another story. You may have read about this one in the New York Times. The Ninevah province is more diverse than you might think. In addition to Arabs, there are Kurds and Turkomen. In addition to Muslims, there are Christians and Yazidis. The Yazidi sect practices a religion that basically combines a lot of Islam, Christianity and Judaism, and then throws in some more mystical stuff as well. Well, one day a Yazidi girl who lived in a village north of Mosul fell in love with a Sunni Muslim boy, and converted to his religion so she could marry him. In response, her village freaked out and stoned her to death. Naturally, a lot of Sunnis were gravely offended by this, seeing it as an insult to their religion. But what were they to do? Well, once again, AQI had the answer, and a guy I had been targeting for several months came up with a plan. This individual knew that many Yazidis commuted to Mosul to work in one of the city's textile mills (like John Edwards' dad! Sorry, humor at an inappropriate time, I know). So one day he sent his people out, and stopped the bus that carried these Yazidis home at the end of the day. The Yazidis, young and old, male and female, were dragged off of the bus, lined up outside of a mosque, made to kneel in a field, and shot in the back of the head. Twenty-one Yazidis were killed outside that mosque.

  The person who carried out that slaughter was also responsible for a lot of the trouble going on in Mosul. He regularly arranged for Imams who preached peace to be kidnapped and beheaded. He intimidated professors at the University into helping to identify pro-western students to be killed. He orchestrated suicide bombings in crowded marketplaces, regularly ending the lives of innocent Iraqis.  He was an all-around bad guy, and although I always felt we were getting closer and closer to catching him - and indeed, we almost got him not once but twice, missing him (we found out later) only by the slimmest of margins - but in the end, just as we were getting ready to come home, we learned that he had been killed by some of his own people for having killed another terrorist leader.

  I bring all this up to point out two things:

  One, this war has caused a ridiculous amount of suffering for the Iraqi people. Whatever we do to try to help, the fact is that although we try to keep Americans as safe as possible over there, there is little we can do to protect average Iraqi citizens who do not fully support the terrorist and insurgent elements. Countless thousands of innocent Iraqis have been killed because of our foolish decision to invade that country. Add to this the fact that you can't keep Americans safe 100% of the time, either. In my unit, we lost only one soldier, and sent just a few more home wounded. Other units lost many more soldiers while we were there. Whether you lose one of your friends or a dozen, it's too many. Standing on an airstrip in the middle of the night and saluting the flag-draped coffin of someone you were joking with only the day before is a heart-wrenching experience. It has the effect of causing time and space to become disjointed in a way that doesn't make any sense and takes a lot of time to get better.

  That is why I couldn't support, in the primary, a candidate who helped to cause this war. I respect both Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. They're both smart, capable people who've done a lot of good. But Sen. Clinton voted for the war, and Sen. Edwards co-sponsored the resolution. I realize that everyone makes mistakes; however, I think that our leaders need to be held accountable for their decisions. I supported Barack Obama because he had the courage and judgment to oppose the war from the beginning (and I don't fault him for voting to continue funding the war - we shouldn't have gone, but if you're going to send me anyway, I'd like to have body armor and food, please). When three major candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination, and two of them helped to create the biggest foreign policy blunder of a generation, I feel morally obligated for the sake of my friends who are still in the service to support the candidate who opposed that decision.

  All that said, guess what? If it comes down to Clinton versus McCain, whatever anger I might feel about my view of how Senator Clinton has won the nomination will have to be put to the side. Again, I will feel morally obligated to support the candidate that is at least now acknowledging the mistake of invading Iraq and the need to get out. That will mean voting for Clinton over "100 Years" McCain. Ending this war is a responsibility that I take very seriously, and that I take very personally.

  All that was reason number one for this diary. Reason number two is this: there are a few people posting around here who have suggested - to me, in particular - that the American soldiers serving in Iraq are criminals, comparable to the Nazis in WWII. That is pure silliness. The people we targeted were undeniably awful, evil human beings with a desire only to maim and destroy - not just Americans, but Iraqis as well. They committed disgusting, obscene acts and often hid behind religion to do it. Every unit I worked with took extremely seriously its responsibility to prevent the loss of innocent life. The one soldier we lost, a Kiowa pilot, was killed because he chose not to fire on a large group of obviously armed, threatening terrorists after observing that there was a large number of children in their midst (some of the more brazen fighters sometimes surround themselves with children, knowing we'll be less likely to shoot). He didn't want to be responsible for the death of children, so he didn't shoot. He had to know that they would shoot at him - and they did. Approximately thirty of them all pointed their AK-47s at the sky and he was killed. This is the caliber of soldier that gets deployed to Iraq. This is the extent to which 99% of us go to avoid the loss of innocent life. Calling us criminals is simply inaccurate and insane. Believe what you want about this war and our reasons for waging it; believe what you want about our reasons for continuing it. But know that the only thing we're doing on the ground is attempting to protect innocent life until someone finally brings us home.     DailyKos

Sunday, March 09, 2008

DNC Chairman Howard Dean On John McCain

   Chairman Dean made the rounds of a couple of the Sunday talk shows and he shared a few views of his on McCain and a few other topics of interest



"We're going to beat John McCain. He's totally unsuited at this particular time to be president. He's wrong on the war in Iraq, wrong on the economy, wrong on health care." [ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, 3/9/08]


"We will beat John McCain if we're united and, in order to be united, the loser of the race has to feel like they've been treated fairly within the rules. That's how you keep the party united. So that's the number one thing. We will follow the rules. Both parties, both Michigan and Florida, have an opportunity to either have some sort of process that is within the rules or simply appeal to the credentials committee. But we are going to follow the rules that were voted on by all 50 state a year and a half ago." [CBS's Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer, 3/9/08]


"There was a huge election yesterday in Illinois where we took Denny Hastert's seat back...This is going to be a Democratic year. If we can take Denny Hastert's seat back in Congress, you know people really want a change." [ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, 3/9/08]


"I'm very optimistic. I know the cable TV set wrings their hands, and the inside the beltway set talks about all the problems we have. What about the several tens of millions of people who have voted in this primary? People are so excited in Texas and Ohio. I had somebody from Texas yesterday tell me they thought this was the beginning of the rekindling of the Democratic Party in Texas because of what happened down there in terms of the turnout. So I look at this as a very good primary system so far for Democrats." [ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, 3/9/08]


"Everyone, including me and I think both candidates, wants to find a way to seat Florida and Michigan, but is has to be done in such a way that you don't change the rules in the middle of the game." [CBS's Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer, 3/9/08] 

Barack Obama: What Would He Do As President Of The United States? Part II

All that we seem to hear is that Senator Obama Doesn't speak on the issues that face America or that he has no plans if he makes it into the White House. So, being the good citizen that I try to be, I am listing, a little at a time, Senator Obama's plans as the President of the United States.  See all of his ideas  HERE in downloaded PDF from his website



Shine Light on Washington Lobbying
Centralize Ethics and Lobbying Information for Voters:  Obama will create a centralized Internet database of lobbying reports, ethics records, and campaign finance filings in a searchable, sortable and
downloadable format.
Require Independent Monitoring of Lobbying Laws and Ethics Rules:  Obama will use the power of the presidency to fight for an independent watchdog agency to oversee the investigation of congressional ethics violations so that the public can be assured that ethics complaints will be investigated.
Support Campaign Finance Reform:  Obama supports public financing of campaigns combined with free television and radio time as a way to reduce the influence of moneyed special interests.  Obama introduced public financing legislation in the Illinois State Senate, and is the only 2008 candidate to have sponsored Senator Russ Feingold’s (D-WI) tough bill to reform the presidential public financing system.
Shine the Light on Federal Contracts, Tax Breaks and Earmarks
Create a Public “Contracts and Influence” Database
:  As president, Obama will create a “contracts and influence” database that will disclose how much federal contractors spend on lobbying, and what
contracts they are getting and how well they complete them.
Expose Special Interest Tax Breaks to Public Scrutiny:  Barack Obama will ensure that any tax breaks for corporate recipients – or tax earmarks – are also publicly available on the Internet in an easily searchable format.
End Abuse of No-Bid Contracts:  Barack Obama will end abuse of no-bid contracts by requiring that nearly all contract orders over $25,000 be competitively awarded.
Sunlight Before Signing:  Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them.  As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.
Shine Light on Earmarks and Pork Barrel Spending:  Obama’s Transparency and Integrity in Earmarks Act will shed light on all earmarks by disclosing the name of the legislator who asked for each earmark, along with a written justification, 72 hours before they can be approved by the full Senate.       ( To Be Continued )

Previous Parts

Part 1