Saturday, June 21, 2008

FISA: Why Care So Much?

   A lot of the MSM and many ordinary people in the United States can't seem to understand why people like myself and many others, along with various activist groups, are so up in arms over the FISA Bill and it's retroactive immunity for the telecoms and the Bush administration. Let's face it. By giving the phone companies retroactive immunity for illegally spying on us for George Bush and his partners in crime, our New Congress has basically given George Bush and his partners in crime a free pass from any accountability to the congress or to " We, The People " for Bush's illegal, criminal activities since moving into the White House. Our Congress has given Bush and ATT and Verizon the okay to go ahead and intercept our emails, IM's, faxes, and our phone calls without having any legal basis for doing so.

   Congress, on Thursday, gave the Bush administration an early Christmas present by giving him and his crime partners the rights to your privacy. Privacy isn't yours anymore in any form. Our Democratic Congress helped George Bush, the telecoms, and the rest of the Republicans steal your right to privacy, plain and simple! Nothing else needs to be said as there was/is no reason that this bill should have passed in its present form. The Democrats sold you and I out for a few dollars from the telecoms, towards their re-election. There is no other reason that makes any sense what so ever! We have been robbed and I am one mad motherfucker and I am not going to take this one laying down!

Hunter@ DailyKos

Why do so many people care so much about a mere technical issue such as whether such-and-such is legal or illegal?

I can count three reasons.

  1. It goes to the heart of illegal actions by this administration. The Bush administration has broken law after law, and been enmeshed in scandal after scandal, and been met with no substantive actions. There are investigations that never end; there are stern letters that are never answered; there are subpoenas that are simply ignored. So to respond to a clearly illegal act by, of all possible things, writing legislation that offers retroactive immunity for those acts, maintains the secrecy of those acts, and declares that the Bush administration itself will be responsible for the future integrity of those acts -- it is patently asinine. It is an insult. It demonstrates a complete lack of regard for the law, and for the very responsibilities of each branch of government. In this, it is symbolic of the entire current Congress, which has proved itself all but nonfunctional when it comes to checking abuses by the executive branch -- or even by their own branch.

2.It is a Constitutional question, and of a sort that the administration has fought long and hard to cripple. Among the more basic premises of the Bill of Rights is the notion of probable cause; your government may not conduct searches or seizures without a warrant, and the judicial branch shall judge the merit of those warrants. But the Bush administration wishes simply nullify that entire concept, if those searches are electronic in nature. It takes no imagination at all to observe that once one type of widespread, warrantless, causeless electronic search is deemed to be outside of 4th Amendment protections, an entire series of other electronic searches will follow. That is, after all, the entire reason the Bush administration pursued these searches illegally, rather than attempting to change FISA law in advance; they have every intention of creating a precedent for future searches, and they now have been given exactly that.

3. It was easy. I mean, Jesus H. Christmas, it has been the easiest thing in the world -- all they had to do was not do it. It's not freakin' rocket science -- but thanks to the efforts of a number of Democrats, not just Rockefeller and Hoyer but people like Reid and Pelosi, they just couldn't not put immunity in. We were never told why it was so all-fired important -- they would never grace us with any non-childish, non-condescending, non-flagrantly-insulting explanation. But instead of just not passing bills granting immunity, we had Reid treating Dodd more shabbily than he ever treated any Republican, and Hoyer apparently going around Pelosi, and all manner of prodding and dealing by Democrats to get immunity for these acts. It is baffling, and the only rationale available seems to be the most cynical one -- it is merely doing the bidding of companies that provide substantive campaign contributions. No other explanation would seem to suffice.

So those are the reasons. Because of all the issues we've faced, in the last few years, this one was an absolute no-brainer, the one thing that the Democrats, no matter how stunningly incompetent, humiliatingly ineffective or bafflingly capitulating they may be, could manage to win simply by sitting on their damn hands. But no; it took serious work to lose on this one. Serious, burning-the-midnight-oil work to manage to quite so cravenly negate their own oversight duties.

And that is why this will not be forgotten anytime soon. A caucus willing to go to these lengths to satisfy the illegalities of the Bush administration is not one that can easily be defended. It is understandable that it would take a great deal of courage to enforce Congressional subpoenas. We can understand that voting against funding for the war could be risky, if we were to presume that Bush would simply keep the troops in the Iraqi desert to rot regardless of funding.

But this one? This petty, stinking issue of granting retroactive immunity to companies that violated the law, such that they need not even say how they violated the law, or when they violated the law, or how often, or against who, and the whole thing started before 9/11 so it is clear that terrorism wasn't even a prime factor for doing it -- that whole mess is now absolved, no lawsuits, no discovery, no evidence allowed to be presented?

No, that one is indefensible. It is indefensible because it requires not just passive acceptance of a corrupt administration performing illegal acts, but legislators actively condoning those acts with the stroke of a pen. The Democrats are determined to set themselves as partners in committing crimes, then absolving them; there should be nothing but contempt for such acts.

Iran's Few Of The United States In Iraq

  All that we seem to hear about when it comes to Iraq is the tale of the " security " agreement that President Bush has been trying to shove down the Iraqi's throats. We already know what our government wants to do with Iraq and that it was only our government that had any input when it came to writing this agreement.

   The press in Iran has a different look at this agreement, which you may find somewhat interesting. It certainly is a different viewpoint from what we hear from our press.

  Tehran Times

June 21, 2008

U.S. colonialism in Iraq
By Ardeshir Ommani

Earlier this month, that part of humanity that respects its own freedom and dignity was a witness to an impending conclusion of a unilateral ‘security’ agreement between the U.S., the sole author of this forced concession, and the Iraqi government.

The one-sided accord is an example of colonial rule and a pseudo-legal foundation for the extension of the violent U.S. occupation of that country. By means of this so-called treaty, with no time and space limitations, George W. Bush’s Washington intends to disguise its ugly and brutal treatment of the people of Iraq with a veneer of legality, such that in the eyes of the least-informed American people, and some of the European members of the UN Security Council, the presence of the U.S. military machine in Iraq and the Persian Gulf region would not be construed as an indefinite continuation of the U.S. military occupation. Furthermore, the agreement would probably be exploited to serve as a basis for using Iraq’s territory as a launch pad for more wars against regional countries.
Meanwhile, in talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Tehran in early June, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei made his rejection of this proposed ‘security pact’ clear by stating that “occupiers who interfere in Iraq’s affairs through their military and security might” are the main cause of Iraq’s problems and are the “…main obstacle in the way of the Iraqi nation’s progress and prosperity.”
Clearly, there is no doubt that the continued aggression of U.S. forces in Iraq should not be tolerated by the Iranian people.
Some years ago, when the early draft version of today’s pact was in its infancy, the nationalist forces and religious leaders of Iraq were led to believe that signing the agreement would sooner or later lead to U.S. troop withdrawal and Iraq’s independence. But today that presumption has been turned on its head and it has become transparent to everyone that the U.S. objective is to pull the noose tight and attain the position of the permanent hangman of modern history. Today some Iraqi officials are trying to convince the Iraqi and Arab popular masses that the agreement will result in the invalidation of paragraph seven of the UN resolution on Iraq that made the U.S. the guarantor of Iraq’s security until the end of this year.
At the same time as this hoax is being pushed, the U.S., by attempting to depict Iran as a serious threat in the Persian Gulf region, is making every effort to define the agreement between Washington and Baghdad as a means to maintain Iraq’s security as a shield against Iranian interference in Iraq and the region. What hypocrisy: the invader of Iraq and Afghanistan claims to be an agent of peace and security!
This agreement imposes capitulation on Iraq for decades to come. It is revealing that the details of the ‘agreement’ have not been made public or grasped by the people of Iraq, who will have very little say in the matter and that is why the package is being furiously pushed through the Iraqi Parliament before its terms are thoroughly exposed. This so-called ‘security agreement’ could more correctly be called ‘The Legitimization of America’s Occupation of Iraq’. According to some reliable Iraqi sources, the agreement does not assure Iraq’s independence, national integrity, and national sovereignty as an inalienable right.
The empire also has to deal with its own American public, which is war-weary and demanding an end to the occupation. The intent of the Bush administration is to blur the differences between the Democratic and Republican candidates on the question of immediate troop withdrawal. Should the White House be able to impose such an enslaving order on the people of Iraq, the chance of Senator McCain’s election improves, while the lot of Senator Barack Obama plummets. It seems tricky George has a card up his sleeve for stealing yet another election.
Once again, the sorcerer in the White House is orchestrating another fabrication. If the current administration can pull this off, they intend to proclaim to the American people that the Iraqi people have agreed to the continuation of the U.S. occupation of their country and “want us to stay to protect them.”
On the other side of this cruel and long occupation stands a fighting force, led by Moqtada al-Sadr, who announced and called for widespread demonstrations against the disreputable and colonial infliction. Responding to the call on Friday, June 1, 2008, hundreds of thousands of indignant and offended Iraqis poured into the streets of all major cities and their reaction was a clear refutation of George W. Bush’s plot: they burned American flags in the hundreds.
Should this Washington document between the invader and the invaded succeed, it would be a clear violation of the national sovereignty of Iraq, to say the least. Meanwhile, the U.S. will continue to plunder Iraq’s natural resources and subject its labor force to the most de-humanizing exploitation and degradation.
The patriotic forces, first and foremost the laboring people’s movement, led by Moqtada al-Sadr, along with other nationalist organizations, have expressed their outrage over such an agreement, which would capitulate their country’s independence to an occupying power. Nevertheless, some Iraqi officials speak in favor of signing the agreement. A draft of this ‘agreement’ emerged for the first time in 2006. It was meant to serve as a legal document legitimizing the crimes committed by individual U.S. servicemen and contract mercenaries (Blackwater comes to mind) against Iraqi citizens with no involvement in the national conflict. The document deprives the Iraqi state apparatus of the right to arrest or prosecute any American involved in service to the occupation, even when he or she commits crimes not related to the U.S. war effort. In the last quarter of 2007, the Bush administration once again brought the issue of the ‘agreement’ forward for discussion in the Iraqi Parliament.
It could safely be said with a high degree of certainty that, for a long time, the U.S. has not been a country that is able to convince other nations to follow its path to peace, democracy and lasting prosperity, the way it has been showcased by an army of advertisers promoting the old cliché of American exceptionalism. In the minds of the overwhelming majority of humanity, including the nations of Western Europe that the U.S. has for almost a century taken for granted, the U.S. socioeconomic system has increasingly become a symbol of violence and fraud. The history of the last half century in particular brilliantly shows that the U.S. has been synonymous with wars, killings, palace coups, threats of annihilation, strangulating sanctions, and false allegations about many countries and nations on earth. Iraq and Afghanistan are only the latest examples

Friday, June 20, 2008

Barack Obama's Statement On The FISA Bill

"Given the grave threats that we face, our national security agencies must have the capability to gather intelligence and track down terrorists before they strike, while respecting the rule of law and the privacy and civil liberties of the American people. There is also little doubt that the Bush Administration, with the cooperation of major telecommunications companies, has abused that authority and undermined the Constitution by intercepting the communications of innocent Americans without their knowledge or the required court orders.

"That is why last year I opposed the so-called Protect America Act, which expanded the surveillance powers of the government without sufficient independent oversight to protect the privacy and civil liberties of innocent Americans. I have also opposed the granting of retroactive immunity to those who were allegedly complicit in acts of illegal spying in the past.

"After months of negotiation, the House today passed a compromise that, while far from perfect, is a marked improvement over last year's Protect America Act.

"Under this compromise legislation, an important tool in the fight against terrorism will continue, but the President's illegal program of warrantless surveillance will be over. It restores FISA and existing criminal wiretap statutes as the exclusive means to conduct surveillance – making it clear that the President cannot circumvent the law and disregard the civil liberties of the American people. It also firmly re-establishes basic judicial oversight over all domestic surveillance in the future. It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses. But this compromise guarantees a thorough review by the Inspectors General of our national security agencies to determine what took place in the past, and ensures that there will be accountability going forward. By demanding oversight and accountability, a grassroots movement of Americans has helped yield a bill that is far better than the Protect America Act.

"It is not all that I would want. But given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives – and the liberty – of the American people."   Source

  If Barack Obama was truly against this bill, he would have told both the House and the Senate to kill this piece of garbage. Immunity for the telecoms is a slap in the face to Americans everywhere!

The House Passes NEW War Funding

  If I remember things correctly, you and I were promised by the Democratic Party that we would see some changes in government when they rose up in numbers in both chambers of Congress. Cutting back and/or stopping U.S. involvement in the war in Iraq was one of the things that our new majority in the House and the Senate would put an end to.

   Have I missed something? We still have our men and women being sent to Iraq and President Bush is still getting the cash to run his little war games.

  Today, Bush got another chunk of money for the Iraq war, but he did have to give into a few of the Democratic demands of funding a few other programs which are much needed.

The Gavel

The House has just passed the fiscal year 2008 supplemental. This version of the supplemental reflects an agreement that was reached yesterday by the House Democratic Leadership, the House GOP Leadership, and the White House. The proposal consisted of two amendments. Amendment #1 provides DOD funding of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as passed by the Senate on May 22, 2008, and passed by a vote of 268-155. Amendment #2 will fully restore GI Bill education benefits for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, provide extended unemployment benefits to Americans struggling in an economy on the brink of recession, provide urgently-needed disaster relief in the response to the floods and tornadoes in the Midwest, and block damaging Medicaid regulations. Amendment #2 passed by a vote of 416-12.

  Now we can all hope that our troops will live long enough to enjoy the GI Bill benefits.

Can Obama Defend America?

  Another view from overseas


Michael Tomasky Thursday June 19, 2008

The last two days have brought the beginning of the debate that will be the most important of the presidential election. The fundamental question is whether Barack Obama can hold his own against John McCain on national security questions.

McCain and the Republicans will try to make the race about security and terrorism (other conservatives will make the race about race, which McCain will hopefully decry when the time comes with more than a nod and a wink). They'll trot out – as they just did for two days running – the same rhetoric that worked for George Bush against John Kerry in 2004. Will it be as effective this time around?

The current set-to started in the wake of the US supreme court's Boumediene decision last week, which extended habeas corpus rights to non-citizen prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay. As I wrote previously, Obama praised the decision and McCain called it "one of the worst" in American history.

On Monday, Obama gave an interview to ABC News in which he brought up the successful prosecutions of all but one of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers. He said: "We were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in US prisons, incapacitated."

For the neocon circle around McCain, this was all they needed to hear. That girly-man Obama wants to arrest terrorists instead of kill them – read them their Miranda rights, make sure they have lawyers and gym privileges and pillows in their cells. So for two days running, McCain aides and supporters on the daily press conference call stressed that the comment proved that Obama had a "September 10 mindset", a famous phrase from the 2004 campaign, was advocating "a policy of delusion" and basically that if he became president we'd be lucky if we weren't all blown to smithereens by 2012.

This is the point at which the Kerry campaign would have done one of three things: one, said nothing and hoped the matter went away; two, said something lame along the lines of "Americans are tired of seeing their leaders play politics with our national security" and then tried to change the subject back to domestic issues; three, said something trying to prove that Kerry could be just as tough as Bush, which statement would inevitably seem laughable to conservatives, unpersuasive to moderates and cringe-inducing to liberals.

Besides all that, Kerry was all over the place on Iraq in 2004. The fact that he voted for the war meant he couldn't really call it a disaster or even an error with much credibility. And that in turn got him all twisted up like a pretzel on the war.

It's early days yet, but so far Obama seems to have learned from Kerry's mistakes. Obama returned serve quickly. "Let's think about this," he said Tuesday. "These are the same guys who helped engineer the distraction of the war in Iraq at a time when we could have pinned down the people who actually committed 9/11."

The charge had the benefit of being true. The McCain adviser who accused Obama of "delusion" is a certain Randy Scheunemann, a leading neocon Iraq war booster who was on the board of the Project for the New American Century, the chief right-wing intellectual glee club for the war. Being called delusional by Scheunemann is like being called a hypocrite by Eliot Spitzer.

Another who threw down against Obama in the McCain conference calls was former CIA director James Woolsey, who wrote after 9/11 that (I kid you not) Osama bin Laden "may well be responsible" for the attacks but really thought we needed to take very seriously the possibility that the attacks were "sponsored, supported and perhaps even ordered by Saddam Hussein." He's certifiable.

So Obama is not going to do what Democrats have done on military issues going back to the 1980s and on terrorism for seven years now. He's not going to say: "Hey, look at me, I can be a tough guy too." He's going to say: "The notion that these people are the tough guys is an illusion. They've screwed up everything they've touched, and there's a better way to do all this, and here it is." And by the way, Scheunemann and Woolsey are lying about him and the law-enforcement trope. Obama said in August 2007 that if he were presented with reliable intelligence on bin Laden's whereabouts, he'd take him out. There is no contradiction in saying that the US or any country needs to use both law-enforcement and military options in fighting terrorism, and in fact it's obviously the only common-sense way to approach the matter. The Bush administration relies on law-enforcement techniques against terrorism every day of the year, as any administration would.

One of the main reasons I supported Obama in the primaries and always thought he'd be the Democrats' strongest candidate, whatever his drawbacks, is exactly this. He is willing to present a genuinely alternative view of foreign policy and America's role in the world and to stand up for that view and push back with it. He's not afraid of the big bad guys on the other side. The fact that he opposed the Iraq war from the start – which was a gamble, even for a state senator; if the war had gone well he not only wouldn't be the nominee, he probably wouldn't even have run in the first place – means that he has credibility as a critic that Kerry lacked.

Will it succeed? I don't know. The major political media in the US, which spent years watching such attacks work for Bush, operates for the most part on the assumption that they'll work for McCain, too. Certainly the coverage of the fracas on CNN on Tuesday, for example, was full of breathless assertions that McCain had Obama on the defensive and so on. The press won't drop this reflex easily.

But beyond the precincts of the media, out there in the land of regular voters, I suspect that Obama's strategy here will work, or at least will work well enough so that he doesn't get hammered on the issue. Solid majorities support his view that the Iraq war wasn't worth fighting and that we should withdraw as quickly as prudently possible. Large majorities support his "irresponsible" view that talking to world leaders we don't like is a good idea. His support for last week's supreme court decision, however, represents the minority view (for data on these last two, go here, and see question 13 for the supreme court decision and question 26 for meeting with hostile foreign leaders).

Obama doesn't need to win the national security fight. So many other issues tilt so strongly in his direction – the economy, healthcare, change versus experience and so on – that he merely needs to stand his ground on national security and not let it become the single defining issue of the race. It seems to me that the best way to do that is to push back. Certainly "ceding the issue", as Democrats have done since 9/11, has worked something other than wonders.

And importantly, putting forward an alternative view will come in handy not only before November but after it, if he's elected. It's the understatement of the millennium that America needs to change both its practice and its image in the world. A president who will radically depart from the radicalism of the past seven years is a pretty radical idea indeed.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bush's Oil Policy Is A Fraud

  That jack-ass President Bush had his little speech today which was pretty much an attempt to raze the Congress for not opening up more of our lands to the oil companies for more drilling.

  President Bush: “First, we should expand American oil production by increasing access to the Outer Continental Shelf, or OCS.”

  But the facts as far as that drilling is concerned?

         Energy Information Administration: “The projections in the OCS access case indicate that access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030. … Because oil prices are determined on the international market, however, any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant.”

  So Mr. Bush, how would all of that extra drilling help me at the gas pumps right now?

President Bush: “Meanwhile, scientists have developed innovative techniques to reach ANWR’s oil with virtually no impact on the land or local wildlife. I urge members of Congress to allow this remote region to bring enormous benefits to the American people.”

Energy Information Administration: “The opening of ANWR is projected to have its largest oil price reduction impacts as follows … $0.75 per barrel in 2025 for the mean oil resource case…”

  So once again, none of George Bush's energy policy help either you or myself. I should make note though, that his ideas would help the big oil companies, of course.

   Now, here's a little fact sheet for you.


· The fact is there are 68 million acres onshore and offshore in the U.S. that are leased by oil companies—open to drilling and actually under lease—but not developed.

· The fact is if oil companies tapped the 68 million federal acres of leased land, it could generate an estimated 4.8 million barrels of oil a day – six times what ANWR would produce at its peak.

· The fact is 80 percent of the oil available on the Outer Continental Shelf is in regions that are already open to leasing—but the oil companies haven’t decided it’s worth their time to drill there.

· The fact is that drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge wouldn’t yield any oil for 10 years—and then would only save the consumer 1.8 cents per gallon in 2025.

· The fact is that America uses a quarter of the world’s oil consumption every day—but only 1.6% of the world’s supply—so there’s simply no way to drill a solution.

Refinery Capacity

· We currently have excess oil refining capacity. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), our refineries are currently running at 88% capacity - well below the 95-98% capacity use rates we’ve seen this time of year for the last decade.

· No new oil refineries have been built in the past 30 years because major oil companies have not sought to build them:

1. ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP and Shell have publicly stated that they had no plans to build new refineries. Instead, they prefer to expand existing facilities.

2. Shell, ConocoPhillips and BP all testified that they were unaware of any environmental regulations preventing them from building new refineries or expanding existing ones.

3. Internal memos from oil companies make it clear that oil companies decided that they needed to reduce refinery capacity to drive up their profits.

   The Bush energy policy ideas suck big-time for both you and I, but not for his friends in the oil industry. We do not need more drilling. We need just a few oil company CEO prosecutions!

John McCain's Flip-Flop On Social Security

  This old man just cannot remember one of his comments from another.

    John McCain has stated that he has never been for the privatization of Social Security, but that isn't exactly true. Are we surprised?

Original from DailyKos

John McCain, last week:

But I'm not for, quote, "privatizing" Social Security.  I never have been, I never will be.

And back in the day when, side by side with George Bush, John McCain fought to privatize Social Security.

2004: "Without privatization, I don't see how you can possibly, over time, make sure that young Americans are able to receive Social Security benefits.  [C-Span Road to the White House, 11/18/2004]

2005: "McCain has been especially supportive of his onetime rival, appearing with Bush at three events over the past two days in trying to prod Democrats into negotiations to include private accounts in a plan to revamp Social Security." [Washington Post, 3/23/05]

2008: "As part of Social Security reform, I believe that private savings accounts are a part of it - along the lines of what President Bush proposed. I campaigned in support of President Bush's proposal and I campaigned with him, and I did town hall meetings with him." [Wall Street Journal, 3/3/08]

In the words of Barack Obama, "privatizing Social Security was a bad idea when George W. Bush proposed it. It's a bad idea today."  As for John McCain lying about his previous position?  It's yet another YouTube moment for Senator Straight Talk.TM

Just another Republican jackass who has sold his soul for a trip to the White House. If the GOP is supposed to be God's party, then God has some major issues going on.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

George Bush's Gifts To Israel

  Let us take a read from an editorial in a newspaper based in Syria concerning all of the military gifts which Israel has gotten from President Bush and others which they are requesting in aid. Weapons to Israel isn't the entire point of the editorial though.

Watching America

Why All These Gifts?

By Ahmad Hamada 2008-6-13
Syria - Al-Thawra - Original Article (Arabic)

The American President George Bush has agreed to increase American military aid to Israel so that it will reach thirty billion dollars over the course of the next ten years.
The Pentagon for its part is informing the American Congress about a proposal to provide Israel with what will amount to 25 T-6A training aircraft along with added equipment in a deal worth 190 million dollars. Among the characteristics [of these aircraft] is that they will lessen fuel requirements by 66 percent.
In addition to the two reports published by the American press, Israel has requested from Washington that they be supplied with 25 F-30 jets [sic, should be F-35 jets] as part of their yearly financial aid.
Perhaps the essential question which presents itself after all this enormous military assistance which Israel continues to receive from its main ally in the world is: what peace are they talking about?! And what kind of peace are they making plans for during the course of the next ten years when military aid reaches this unimaginable level over one decade, [a decade] during which it is assumed will be accomplished a movement towards promoting the establishment of desired peace in the region?!
And when we try to better understand American thinking which continues to insist on wars and inflaming the world and assistance to Israel, then the last question is: where are the plans of the United States to feed more than 40 million hungry Americans. Only yesterday the [United Nations] Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) disclosed at its conference in Rome that [these Americans] need less than a quarter of this amount in order to cross the threshold out of poverty and secure a free and decent life for their families.
Thirty billion dollars in gifts, presents and generosity from one [country] to another is unprecedented in the history of the relations of the countries of the world at a time when this country which is giving all this huge amount to Israel suffers from many problems, the least of which is that 40 million of its inhabitants suffer from miserable poverty!!

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

John McCain: Some Facts On His Support For Troops

BarbinMD at DailyKos put together a little list of a few of John McCain's votes when it comes down to helping our veterans and our current service members. Many of you will know about these votes. For those of you who did not, welcome to reality!
  • McCain has repeatedly voted against amendments in the Senate that would have...covered such important services as improving care at veterans’ hospitals, providing mental health services to soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse problems. [2006 Senate Vote #7, 2/2/2006]
  • In 2006, McCain voted against the Kerry amendment that would eliminate increased fees and co-payments for veterans in the TRICARE health care program by raising the discretionary spending limit by approximately $10 billion. The provisions would have been fully offset by eliminating creating corporate tax breaks. [2006 Senate Vote #67, 3/16/2006]
  • McCain was one of only 13 Republicans to vote against an amendment that added over $400 million for inpatient and outpatient care for veterans. [2006 Senate Vote #98, 4/26/2006]
  • McCain voted against increasing funding for veterans health care by $2.8 billion in 2006. [2005 Senate Vote #55, 3/16/2005]
  • McCain joined his Republican Senate cohorts in opposing exempting all military personnel and veterans from means testing in bankruptcy cases. [2005 Senate Vote #13, 3/1/2005]
  • McCain opposed an amendment that would reduce from 60 to 55 the age at which certain members of the National Guard and Army reserves could receive retirement benefits. [2004 Senate Vote #136, 6/23/2004]
  • Senator McCain opposed $322 million in funding for "battlefield clearance and safety equipment for U.S. troops in Iraq." A reduction in Iraqi reconstruction funds would have funded the additional protection for troops in the battlefield. [2003 Senate Vote #376, 10/2/2003]
  • McCain voted against an amendment that would increase spending on the veterans health care program TRICARE by $20.3 billion over 10 years to members of the National Guard and Reserves. The increase would be offset by a reduction in tax cuts. [2003 Senate Vote #81, 3/25/2003]
  • McCain opposed an amendment that would have increased veterans spending by $13 billion from 1997-2002 to be offset by closing corporate tax preferences and reinstating expired taxes. [1996 Senate Vote #115, 5/16/1996]

  It would seem that Senator McCain has forgotten all about the help which he received when he returned from Vietnam. He seems to forget a lot of things when it is convenient for him to do so. Should we remind the old man?

   This old liar does not have any business running the country that you and I live in.

   George Bush's third term? No thanks.

John McCain: 3RD Bush Term

  John McCain has been a little ill lately because of Democrat Barack Obama always saying that a McCain presidency would be a 3rd Bush term.

   Check this video out and you'll see that Barack Obama is right.

Labor Wages and Paid Sick Days

  Just while browsing around the net, I ran into these interesting stats from the magazine Dollars & Sense, which also has many more interesting stories and stats for those of you who care about labor rights and other issues.

    Elise Gould tells us that only 57 percent of private industry workers have paid sick days while 43 percent have none at all. The funny thing is that the less that you earn as an hourly worker, the less chances are that you have paid sick days.  See the    CHART.

Workers at the bottom of the wage scale, those making less than $7.38 an hour, are five times less likely to have sick days than workers at the top of the scale, those making greater than $29.47 an hour. As the figure reveals, only 16% of low-wage workers have access to paid sick days, versus 79% of high-wage workers.

  If you're alive and breathing and you happen to be one of those workers in the chart, then you already know that your workers rights have been turning to shit over the past few decades. Paid sick days should be available to all workers on an equal basis based on your time of employment, not your wage rate.

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