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The Soapbox Road Show
American Democracy
 
For latest news and posts click "Soapbox Blog" button to the left
 
 
Gridlock, Dysfunction, Obstruction, Filibuster, Gerrymandering
 
 
Occupy Congress!! 
Call 202-224-3121

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Atmospheric CO2 data and trend

DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH - PERCEPTION VS. REALITY
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wealth inequality in america

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Elizabeth Warren on banks and foreclosures

Elizabeth Warren on the minimum wage of $22 / hour

FISCAL CLIFF
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Mitt Romney admits using Chinese slave labor @ Bain. (Leaked Video)

Paul Ryan's 6 Lies in his Convention Speech

 Georgetown Letter to Rep. Paul Ryan

 

Dear Rep. Paul Ryan,

Welcome to Georgetown University. We appreciate your willingness to talk about how Catholic social teaching can help inform effective policy in dealing with the urgent challenges facing our country. As members of an academic community at a Catholic university, we see your visit on April 26 for the Whittington Lecture as an opportunity to discuss Catholic social teaching and its role in public policy.

However, we would be remiss in our duty to you and our students if we did not challenge your continuing misuse of Catholic teaching to defend a budget plan that decimates food programs for struggling families, radically weakens protections for the elderly and sick, and gives more tax breaks to the wealthiest few. As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has wisely noted in several letters to Congress – “a just framework for future budgets cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor persons.” Catholic bishops recently wrote that “the House-passed budget resolution fails to meet these moral criteria.”

In short, your budget appears to reflect the values of your favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Her call to selfishness and her antagonism toward religion are antithetical to the Gospel values of compassion and love.

Cuts to anti-hunger programs have devastating consequences. Last year, one in six Americans lived below the official poverty level and over 46 million Americans – almost half of them children – used food stamps for basic nutrition. We also know how cuts in Pell Grants will make it difficult for low-income students to pursue their educations at colleges across the nation, including Georgetown. At a time when charities are strained to the breaking point and local governments have a hard time paying for essential services, the federal government must not walk away from the most vulnerable.

While you often appeal to Catholic teaching on “subsidiarity” as a rationale for gutting government programs, you are profoundly misreading Church teaching. Subsidiarity is not a free pass to dismantle government programs and abandon the poor to their own devices. This often misused Catholic principle cuts both ways. It calls for solutions to be enacted as close to the level of local communities as possible. But it also demands that higher levels of government provide help -- “subsidium”-- when communities and local governments face problems beyond their means to address such as economic crises, high unemployment, endemic poverty and hunger. According to Pope Benedict XVI: "Subsidiarity must remain closely linked to the principle of solidarity and vice versa.”

Along with this letter, we have included a copy of the Vatican's Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, commissioned by John Paul II, to help deepen your understanding of Catholic social teaching.

Respectfully,


Fact Check Republican Lie of year 2010: “Government Take Over of Healthcare” 

  thesoapboxroadshow.com — PolitiFact editors and reporters have chosen "government takeover of health care" as the 2010 Lie of the Year. Uttered by dozens of politicians and pundits, it played an important role in shaping public opinion about the health care plan and was a significant factor in the Democrats' shellacking in the November 2010 elections. 2 days ago

PolitiFact's Lie of the Year 2009: 'Death panels'

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2009/dec/18/politifact-lie-year-death-panels/

By Angie Drobnic Holan
Published on Friday, December 18th, 2009 at 5:15 p.m. 

 

Supreme Court: Obamacare = Romneycare = Republican Idea

Posted on June 28, 2012 by admin

Obamacare = Romneycare = REPUBLICAN IDEAS

Republicans oppose their own idea!

healthcarereform.procon.org — Republicans oppose the Mar. 2010 health care reforms for many reasons, especially the provision creating an individual health care mandate which many of them find unconstitutional. However, the idea of an individual mandate originated with the conservative Heritage Foundation in 1989, and in 1993, two different Republican-introduced health care reform bills contained an individual mandate. Feb 25, 2011

http://digg.com/newsbar/topnews/republicans_oppose_their_own_idea FTA The concept of the individual health insurance mandate is considered to have originated in 1989 at the conservative Heritage Foundation. In 1993, Republicans twice introduced health care bills that contained an individual health insurance mandate. Advocates for those bills included prominent Republicans who today oppose the mandate including Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Robert Bennett (R-UT), and Christopher Bond (R-MO). In 2007, Democrats and Republicans introduced a bi-partisan bill containing the mandate.

 

Sign Petition to amend "Citizens United" decision

Move to Amend

On Memorial Day, let’s remember that 1,985 U.S. soldiers, 1,031 other foreign troops, and tens to hundreds of thousands of Afghans have died in the futile Afghanistan war, which continues to claim lives nearly every day with no end in sight.

President Obama has promised to bring the troops home by 2014, but in reality his administration plans to leave a “residual force” estimated at 16-20,000 troops in Afghanistan for another ten years – until 2024.  Meanwhile, the Republican House is pushing for legislation that seeks to slow down the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, keeping 68,000 through 2014.   In good conscience, how can anyone ask the troops, to continue to risk their lives, limbs and emotional well being for this endless, futile war?   Our military policy has failed.  

Click here to ask your Members of Congress and their staff to attend Lt. Col. Davis’ briefing on Thursday, May 31.

In every year since Obama took office, the toll of dead and injured U.S. and NATO troops has increased.  Similarly the number of dead and wounded Afghans has increased.  The number of suicides and cases of post-traumatic stress among our troops has increased.   The number of green-on-blue attacks (in which Afghans turn their weapons on their foreign “partners”) has increased.  The level of corruption has increased.   The size of the poppy crop and drug smuggling has increased.   The number of roads on which the U.S. military must bribe local war lords to assure safe passage of supply trucks has increased.  The number of attacks on Afghan public officials has increased.  

If this is a definition of progress, I’d hate to see what defeat looks like!

Lt. Col. Daniel DavisLt. Col. Daniel Davis, a highly respected military officer, who recently returned from Afghanistan, has written a declassified report detailing the actual state of affairs in Afghanistan.  His report illustrates that talks of progress in Afghanistan are flawed and nothing like the story our soldiers have experienced on the ground.  The National Intelligence Estimate, signed by all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, also clearly illustrates the quagmire in Afghanistan.  Read Lt. Col. Davis’ full report and watch his interview on Democracy Now

It is Congress’ duty to provide military oversight – it is their responsibility to be well informed before funding more war. 

Representative Barbara Lee has invited Lt. Col. Davis to hold a briefing on Afghanistan for members of Congress and their staff on Thursday, May 31, at 2 pm in B-318 Rayburn (Ways and Means Committee room).  Click here to tell your Senators, House Representative, and staff, to attend Lt. Col. Davis’ Afghanistan briefing.  It is Congress’ duty to provide oversight and to be well informed before continually funding war.    Or call your members of Congress toll free at 877-429-0678 (courtesy of FCNL).     

Ending war does not mean abandoning the Afghan people who have suffered so much in this almost 11 year old war.  As the U.S. withdraws we must provide constructive, humanitarian assistance to independent agencies focused on making a stronger, safer and self-reliant Afghanistan. 

There is no military solution in Afghanistan - 2 more years or 12 more years is not going to change that fact.  On Memorial Day, let’s remember that the time for our troops to come home is now.  

Also, please donate to UFPJ using the link below, so we can continue the struggle to bring them home for as long as it takes.

Yours truly,

Mary Hladky
Member, Military Families Speak Out and mother of a soldier serving in Afghanistan
Co-Convenor, UFPJ Afghanistan Working Group

Goodbye: a Republican Operative Who Left the GOP Cult

truth-out.org — The Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe. This trend has several implications, none of them pleasant. 6 days ago

E. L. Doctorow: America becoming Unexceptional A Primer

nytimes.com — A quick guide to unmaking the American dream. Phase 1 If you’re a justice of the Supreme Court, ignore the first sacrament of a democracy and suspend the counting of ballots in a presidential election. Appoint the candidate of your choice as presiden 5 days ago

Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.

washingtonpost.com — How Republicans have made Washington worse. 7 days ago

 

 

The $9 Trillion in debt accumulated by Three Recent Republican Presidents

Bush 43:

09/30/2009   $11,909,829,003,511.75

09/30/2008 $10,024,724,896,912.49
09/30/2007 $9,007,653,372,262.48
09/30/2006 $8,506,973,899,215.23
09/30/2005 $7,932,709,661,723.50
09/30/2004 $7,379,052,696,330.32
09/30/2003 $6,783,231,062,743.62
09/30/2002 $6,228,235,965,597.16
09/30/2001 $5,807,463,412,200.06

Bush 41:

09/30/1992 $4,064,620,655,521.66
09/30/1991 $3,665,303,351,697.03
09/28/1990 $3,233,313,451,777.25
09/29/1989 $2,857,430,960,187.32
 
Reagan:
09/29/1989    $2,857,430,960,187.32

09/30/1988 $2,602,337,712,041.16
09/30/1987 $2,350,276,890,953.00
09/30/1986 $2,125,302,616,658.42
09/30/1985 *$ 1,823,103,000,000.00
09/30/1984 *$ 1,572,266,000,000.00
09/30/1983 *$ 1,377,210,000,000.00
09/30/1982 * $1,142,034,000,000.00
09/30/1981 *$ 997,855,000,000.00

http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/pd/histdebt/histdebt_histo4.htm

Videos - America: Plutocracy

 

Obamacare, demonized by right, had conservative roots

mdjonline.com — At every campaign debate, the mere mention of “Obamacare” has caused Republican presidential hopefuls to morph into pro-wrestlers — pounding the mat in feigned pain, wailing about its mandate that all Americans must have health insurance. Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul grappled and clamored to be the first to denounce President Obama’s mandate as “liberal.” Also “socialist.” And in their zeal to mold your minds, the Grand Old Party’s Obama-denouncers seem to ha... 4 days ago

 

Newly Found Reagan Journal Reveals the Former President Regretted Becoming Republican (SATIRE.......)

freewoodpost.com — Just last week, a new journal written by former President Ronald Reagan was revealed and released to the public through the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA. Inside the journal was a passage many were not expecting to find. 15 hr 41 min ago
 
Although at the time I felt I could more effectively get my ideas of a collective philosophy accomplished as a Republican more so than a Democrat, I realize now that the Republican Party was indeed the party of purely individual rights, not the Democrats. When I worked as the president of the Screen Actors Guild I understood the need for people to stick together for the greater good to get their goals accomplished. I admired other great presidents of the past such as Franklin Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower who knew that in order for the nation to thrive, we must all thrive. 

 

Racism, Obama, and the Discourse of Disdain

blog.sfgate.com — The discourse of disdain is not about critique but contempt. It seeks not to interrogate but to insult. This is a problem on many levels, but among the most worrisome is how such discourse tries to shut off interaction and honest deliberation. 23 hr 32 min ago

The terrifying race to the loony right - Republican Party - Salon.com

www.salon.com/2012/02/27/the_terrifying_race_to_the_loony_right/

Feb 27, 2012 – This originally appeared on Robert Reich's blog. ... another in their race for the votes of the loony right that's taken over the Grand Old Party.

Republican candidates do not balance the budget

  1. Study: 3 of 4 GOP candidates would pile up debt
    The Seattle Times‎ – 2 days ago
    Study: 3 of 4 GOP candidates would pile up debt The GOP candidatesbudget plans provide a contrast with Obama, whose 10-year fiscal

 

 

POVERTY IN AMERICA

c-spanvideo.org
Tavis Smiley moderated a conversation on solutions for restoring America's prosperity. Topics included the White Paper from Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA), released the previous day, titled [At Risk: America's Poor During and After the Great Recession], which ...

 

ABC debate on Big Govt.; Barney Frank, Robert Reich, Rep. Paul Ryan, George Will,

the-new-progressive-movement.html

www.nytimes.com
As before in history, the moment has arrived when people just can’t take it anymore.

Federal retirement plans almost as costly as Social Security

usatoday.com — Retirement programs for former federal workers — civilian and military — are growing so fast they now face a multitrillion-dollar shortfall nearly as big as Social Security's, a USA TODAY analysis shows. 3 hr 27 min ago

Poll: 73 Percent Support 'The Buffett Rule', Including 66 Percent Of Republicans

tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com — Even since President Barack Obama proposed raising taxes on millionaires as part of a debt reduction package, Republicans has been refining their d... 1 day 22 hr ago

Budget Crisis, Spending in 2011 2012 and projections ( Super Committee )

youtube.com — The budget problems facing the Super Committee Federal retirement plans almost as costly as Social Security http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/story/201... 2 sec ago

 

Economic Charts and graphs - click on image to enlarge

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October 2011 is the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan and the beginning of the 2012 federal austerity budget. It is time to light the spark that sets off a true democratic, nonviolent transition to a world in which people are freed to create just and sustainable solutions. Read more.

"I pledge that if any U.S. troops, contractors, or mercenaries remain in Afghanistan on Thursday, October 6, 2011, as that occupation goes into its 11th year, I will commit to being in Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., with others on that day or the days immediately following, for as long as I can, with the intention of making it our Tahrir Square, Cairo, our Madison, Wisconsin, where we will NONVIOLENTLY resist the corporate machine by occupying Freedom Plaza to demand that America's resources be invested in human needs and environmental protection instead of war and exploitation. We can do this together. We will be the beginning."

www.truth-out.org
Those lines of dialogue from a classic film noir sum up the state of the two political parties in contemporary America. Both parties are rotten - how could they not be, given the complete infestation of the political system by corporate money on a scale that now requires a presidential candidate to ...
 
Excerpt:
 
1. The GOP cares solely and exclusively about its rich contributors. The party has built a whole catechism on the protection and further enrichment of America's plutocracy. Their caterwauling about deficit and debt is so much eyewash to con the public. Whatever else President Obama has accomplished (and many of his purported accomplishments are highly suspect), his $4-trillion deficit reduction package did perform the useful service of smoking out Republican hypocrisy. The GOP refused, because it could not abide so much as a one-tenth of one percent increase on the tax rates of the Walton family or the Koch brothers, much less a repeal of the carried interest rule that permits billionaire hedge fund managers to pay income tax at a lower effective rate than cops or nurses. Republicans finally settled on a deal that had far less deficit reduction - and even less spending reduction! - than Obama's offer, because of their iron resolution to protect at all costs our society's overclass.

The Safe and Responsible Redeployment of United States Combat Forces from Afghanistan Act of 2011

1) States that is U.S. policy to begin the phased redeployment of U.S. combat forces from Afghanistan by July 1, 2011.

2) Requires the President's administration submit a plan to Congress, by July 31, 2011, for the phased redeployment of U.S. combat forces from Afghanistan

3) Requires the plan include a date certain for completion of redeployment.

http://www.democracyforamerica.com/activities/512?t=sbb2

112th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 186

To provide for the safe and responsible redeployment of United States combat forces from Afghanistan.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

January 25 (legislative day, January 5), 2011

Mrs. BOXER (for herself, Mr. DURBIN, Mrs. GILLIBRAND, and Mr. BROWN of Ohio) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations

This is a critical moment for the war in Afghanistan. Over the next few weeks, President Obama will be making his decision on U.S. strategy in the region.

Together, we can amplify our voices. Together, we can influence the debate in Congress and the Administration.

On Tuesday, May 24, join us for a Day of Action to Exit Afghanistan.

Following the killing of Osama bin Laden, the debate over the war in Afghanistan rages on within the Administration and on Capitol Hill:

Former State and Defense Department officials are speaking out because they know it is decision time. In a recent Wall Street Journal oped, Leslie Gelb said, "the United States simply cannot afford to squander more time and resources for a nonvital Afghanistan before the core of U.S. power and freedom—the American economy—begins an irreversible decline."

In the House, Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Walter Jones (R-NC) introduced H.R. 1735, the Afghanistan Exit and Accountability Act, which, among other things, calls for a concrete plan from the President on the accelerated transition to the Afghan government of U.S. military and security operations in Afghanistan.

Any decision made must have the full input from us. That's why on Tuesday, May 24, we're making our voices heard together by teaming up with a dozen other peace and justice organizations to keep the Congressional phones off the hook!

Take a minute to stir up the majority who believe it's time to exit Afghanistan:

On Tuesday, May 24, we'll send a sample call script to make the calls even easier. Together, let's keep the phones off the hook!

Humbly for Peace,

Sign the petition to begin swift troop withdrawals from Afghanistan.

Dear R. E.,

Thanks to your financial support, we are able to launch rapid response actions like this.

On Sunday night, we learned that U.S. forces killed Osama Bin Laden. After 10 years of war, it's time to bring the troops home from Afghanistan.

Please sign this petition immediately to the White House to begin a swift withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. Then, invite others to sign it on Facebook and email.

We've received tens of thousands of signatures in just 24 hours, and we've caught the attention of Washington, D.C. Here's what U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) had to say about it on Democracy Now! today:

“[T]his petition...really does give us the wind beneath our wings that we need here in Congress to begin to exercise our leadership responsibilities and to say no more combat operation in Afghanistan. And so, I really want to commend Robert and all those who have begun this.”

With Bin Laden dead and al-Qaeda driven from Afghanistan, there's no good reason to continue spending $2 billion a week on this war.

Please join the tens of thousands of others calling for the return of our troops to the U.S. after the death of Osama Bin Laden. Sign our petition today.

Sincerely,

Derrick Crowe, Robert Greenwald
and the Brave New Foundation team

tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com
Why we aren't in for a repeat of the August 2009 tea party town halls -- even though Republicans just voted to end Medicare.
 
Favorited on www.youtube.com
Learn more: http://thinkprogress.org/2011/04/20/paul-ryan-wealthy-tax-breaks/
 
www.alternet.orgAmerica is exceptional in the advantages we’ve had over other nations, not what we’ve done with those advantages
 
www.npr.org
The average price for regular gas is now well above $4 a gallon in seven states, and some analysts say we could reach $6 a gallon in some parts of the country as the summer driving season approaches. Host Scott Simon talks with John Hofmeister, founder and CEO of the non-profit group Citizens for Af
 
 

www.politicususa.com
The empire is continuing to crumble for Glenn Beck as Fox News program has lost 500,000 viewers per night during 2011.
secure.actblue.com
Join us! So far, 6,073 supporters have contributed $57,720.
 
www.nytimes.com
Some aides suggest Representative Gabrielle Giffords might recover in time to seek a seat made available by Jon Kyl’s retirement.
 
www.nytimes.com
Even by Washington’s standards, the House’s Republican freshmen are turning pandering into a high art.
 
 
 

www.npr.org
An election campaign for the state's Supreme Court is normally a quiet affair. But the fight over collective bargaining has turned the officially nonpartisan race into a referendum on the governor. With the contentious bargaining bill likely headed to the court, union advocates are trying to flip it
 
www.pbs.orgAs part of his continuing coverage of Making Sen$e of economic news, Paul Solman examines the struggles to close the widening U.S. inequality gap, even as the economy 
 
www.huffingtonpost.com
WASHINGTON - Republican angst about 2012 is growing.
 
www.nytimes.com
More layoffs, service cuts and tax increases are almost certain as deep cuts loom for state aid to cities.
 
www.thenation.com
‎83 of the US’s 100 corporations hide fortunes in tax havens, even as many of those corporations were receiving federal dollars from the government’s TARP bailout. Why were these corporations receiving taxpayer money when they weren’t even paying their own taxes?

According to a congressional report, the cost of offshore tax abuses could be as high as $100 billion per year [PDF]. The corporations in these slides have been tricking the government twice over: first by hiding their money in offshore accounts and second by claiming they still needed the fed’s TARP funds.

Plenty of corporations not on this list didn’t get bailout money, but are still robbing Americans of tax revenue that should rightly be all of ours—massive pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and retail companies like Apple, BestBuy, ExxonMobil, FedEx, McDonald’s and Safeway are just a few of the more recognizable corporations funneling money through tax havens.

 

As The Nation's Johann Hari explains in his report on widespread UK protests against corporate tax dodgers in this week's issue, the main reason for the lack of action may be that we simply aren’t asking for it forcefully enough. According to Hari, the Government Accountability Office calculated in 2008 that 83 of the US’s 100 corporations hide fortunes in tax havens [PDF], even as many of those corporations were receiving federal dollars from the government’s TARP bailout. Why were these corporations receiving taxpayer money when they weren’t even paying their own taxes?

 

 
 
 
 

www.washingtonpost.com
Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the war in Afghanistan is no longer worth fighting, the highest proportion yet opposed to the conflict, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
 
As you probably heard, last week Wisconsin lawmakers stripped state workers of their rights in a grossly undemocratic process.   But what you may not have heard is that those same lawmakers are coming to Washington, DC tomorrow to get their corporate pay...off. That's right, they're coming here to have a fundraiser with one of the largest corporate lobbying firms in the country!   Please join us tomorrow (Wednesday, March 16) at 5:00pm at the Homer Building in downtown DC to protest the Wisconsin Republican leaders' fundraiser with big money corporate DC lobbyists.  The Homer Building is located at 601 13th Street NW, just outside the Metro Center stop on the red line.   Hope to see you there! See More
 
To bring economic woe to companies that support Scott Walker, and therefore his anti-worker, anti-education and anti-progress politics.
Page: ‎20,737 people like this.
 
www.dailykos.com
    M & I Bank of Wisconsin has committed an unpardonable offense. This bank took bailout funds and thanks to the magic of Citizens United our own tax dollars flowed through their executives hands into the coffers of Scott Walker's gubernatorial campaign. We haven't dug deeply yet, but I think when
 
www.channel3000.com
MADISON, Wis. -- The fallout from Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill has shifted to the private sector as upset citizens begin boycotts of business owners who contributed money to the governor. Monday, March 14, 2011.
 
 
 
 

February 28, 2011 MSNBC http://MOXNews.com/
 
www.commondreams.org
WASHINGTON -- Members of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) gave President Obama a rare push on Saturday, adopting a resolution attempting to encourage the administration to move toward a speedier withdrawal from Afghanistan.
 
www.huffingtonpost.com
WASHINGTON -- On Feb. 17, 2009, President Barack Obama announced that he would be sending 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan. The move, he argued, was necessary to "meet urgent security needs."
 
antiwarcommittee.org
Bring the Troops Home Now! Out of Afghanistan – End the War – Don’t Extend it! All U.S. Troops Out of Iraq Say No to new U.S. wars in Pakistan, Yemen, Iran, Africa, Korea… End U.S. aid to the occupation of Palestine Opposing War is Not A Crime – Being Muslim is Not a Crime Stop Attacks on Civil Libe
 
 

 

blog.buzzflash.com
In fact, Walker's former chief of staff at the Milwaukee County Board, Tom Nardelli, is well on his way to receiving a whopping four pensions, one of them is $30,000 a year from the city of Milwaukee.
 
Liked on www.youtube.com
Average Floridians are fed up with politicians who balance the budget on the backs of hard-working Floridians. Florida cannot afford more cuts to education, health care, economic infrastructure, and environmental protection while at the same time ...
 
February 26, 2011 01:26 PM | SAVE THE AMERICAN DREAM 
 

act.credoaction.com
In a recently released budget proposal, House Republicans announced plans to zero out all funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the nonprofit responsible for funding public media including NPR, PBS and more. Take action now to stop Republicans from destroying public media.
 
act.boldprogressives.org
Wisconsin Gov. Walker has threatened to call out the National Guard against workers who protest his radical plan to cut benefits of middle class workers and strip them of their rights. Stand in solidarity with workers -- sign the open letter.
 
www.thenation.com
Already multiple members of the Super Bowl winning Green Bay Packers have taken public stands against the frightening, dictatorial, anti-union rampage of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. These pro athletes have chosen to link arms with the tens of thousands of nurses, teachers, and firefighter
 
 
Feb 21, 2011, 07:04 AM |
http://www.thesoapboxroadshow.com The US is behind Spain, Por..

 
www.youtube.com
Airing Date Feb.17, 2011 Yes Bill Hemmer offered up a pretty weak excuse for what they did in an interview with Ron Paul Tuesday, they claim the reason they aired the wrong clip was the two clips of the CPAC victory announcements looked to similar. The winner (Ron Paul) was announced February 12, 2
 
5 days ago |
Fox News caught using 2010 CPAC footage with booing when repor... Fox News caught using 2010 CPAC footage with booing when reporting that Ron Paul won the 2011 CPAC Straw Poll. Watch and compare the video We Are Change Oklahoma shot at CPAC 2011 as the straw poll results were read. This may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in an effort to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. we believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
by WeAreChangeOklahoma 

pol.moveon.org
The Republicans just released their budget proposal, and it zeroes out funding for both NPR and PBS--the worst proposal in more than a decade. Tell Republicans that cutting off funding was unacceptable last time they were in charge, and it's unacceptable now. Sign the petition to save NPR and PBS.
 
www.170millionamericans.org
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans proposed ending more than 60 government programs and cutting hundreds of others Wednesday in a $35 billion down payment on their promise to rein in federal deficits.
 
www.youtube.com
Facebook.com/Cuentame - with the help of fans' donations has placed a billboard in Salt Lake City, UT reading 'God doesn't discriminate, why should Utah?' Find it at 4055 S. 1-15 Northbound. 'Like' us at Facebook.com/Cuentame
 
www.youtube.com
Go to: http://facebook.com/cuentame. Brave New Foundation's Cuentame partners with other groups in Utah to rally against the new immigration legislation that is comparable to Arizona's discriminatory new law, SB1070. Utah's NBC affiliate, KSL-TV covered the event. For more information and to help
 
Favorited on www.youtube.com
God bless John Boehner, God bless the Republicans, and God bless the Tea Party for finally taking our country back! Back to the days when and a few rich white guys were making the rules for everybody else. And thank you for spitting on Roe Vs. Wad...
 
 
 

www.thenation.com
In 2001, in a profile of Grover Norquist I wrote for The Nation, the conservative activist and president of Americans for Tax Reform proclaimed that he’d like to shrink the government “down to the size where we can drown it in a bathtub.” It now appears that Norquist—with a growing alliance of liber
 
www.nytimes.comRepublican lawmakers at the state level have introduced a plethora of bills on hot-button issues that single out minorities, women, gays and the poor.  The Republican Agenda. by Charles Blow
 
www.nytimes.com
While Egyptians celebrate, we should look at the American democracy.  Bob Herbert
 
 
www.usatoday.com
But that's just the bonus to what it succeeded in doing: Saving the nation from a second Great Depression.
 
www.thenation.com
President Obama’s State of the Union speech was as jumbled as the seating plan on the House floor; Republicans and Democrats sat side by side, often uncomfortably, and so did the conservative and progressive ideas in Obama’s address. If the president didn’t deliver the FDR-style call for a New Deal
 
 
www.npr.org
President Ronald Reagan is an icon among anti-tax conservatives. His rhetoric is clear. His record, not so much.
 

When Obama can't convince American conservatives of verifiable facts, what hope does he have of convincing them to support his policies?

  1.  
  2. www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1348083/Iraq-inquiry-Tony-Blair-misled-MPs-legailty-war-says-law-chief.html?ito=feeds-newsxml" Iraq inquiry: Tony Blair 'misled MPs on legailty of war' says law ...

    The shattering testimony is a watershed moment for the Iraq Inquiry, as it is the first time that Lord Goldsmith has directly contradicted Mr Blair. ...
    Daily Mail - 274 related articles
 
www.youtube.com
Speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. against the "triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism." Audio. This speech was released by Black Forum records, a subsidiary of Motown, and went on to win a Grammy in 1970 for the Best Spoken Word Recording. Excerpts of a Sermon at the Ebene
 
 
 
shar.es
Bill Maher was back on the air this weekend with the 2011 premier of Real Time and he had a few things to say about what the Founding Fathers might have thought of this anti-intellectual teabagger movement in his New Rules segment.
 
 
 
http://www.movementforthepeople.org/
(improved version)

"Citizens United" anniversary sparks FOR THE PEOPLE SUMMIT

Trans-partisan, populist rejection of "Citizens United" kicks off Jan. 20

Washington DC (Jan. 13, 2011) — Planners of the For the People Summit an

"Citizens United" anniversary sparks D.C. summit, rally, national meetings
(Edit)
FOR THE PEOPLE Summit convenes in Washington D.C. Jan. 20 to 22

WASHINGTON D.C. Jan. 14, 2011 — To mark the first anniversary of the controversial "Citizens United" Supreme Court ruling, a coalition of advocacy groups and concerned citizens will host the For the People Summit, including a strategic conference at the Washington Plaza Hotel and a "We the Corporations" vs. "We the People"rally at the U.S. Capitol.

In Washington, Summit events will include: * Lobby Day on Capitol Hill (Jan. 20) supplemented by Lobby Days around the country * Party For the People Jan 20, 6 to 9 PM at K Street Lounge * "We the Corporations vs. We the People" Rally (Jan. 21 at 11 AM at the U.S. Capitol Area 9) * Two-day Summit (Jan. 21 and 22 at the Washington Plaza Hotel at Thomas Circle)

CLICK HERE for updated list of speakers.

Bill Moyer of the Backbone Campaign and Annabel Park of the Coffee Party are two of the principal organizers. "It's very hard to make progress on any issue without addressing the problem of money in politics," Park said, "because right now it takes a nearly impossible amount of effort for ordinary people to compete with the daily influence that entrenched lobbyists enjoy. To succeed, we need to step outside the traditional left-right-center framework and find common cause across the political divide."

"The greatest political reform of our time will be to abolish the legal concept of 'corporate personhood' and the inherently anti-democratic equation of money with political speech," Moyer said. "I believe this monumental task will be achieved in the coming years built on a foundation of community-based battles to return power to the People."

Nancy Price, Co-chair of the Alliance for Democracy, said she is impressed with the emerging coalition, for which she has served as an adviser. "The Summit will be an open discussion putting aside political, cultural, and ideological differences because the problem of money in politics is uniting America like few issues can," she said. "80% of us disapprove of the Citizens United decision. 87% disapprove of the job Congress is doing. The American public will not accept a future in which we are no longer a self-determining people."

Lisa Graves, Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy, and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General, is also advising and will be speaking at the Summit. "Nearly a million Americans have signed petitions against the Supreme Court's decision to expand corporate rights," she said. "We are coming together on the anniversary of this terrible because, regardless of party labels, we are Americans first and foremost and we must reject the Court's efforts to undermine the power of We the People in our democracy."

digg.com
From a year of enormous whoppers—like the president's alleged $200 million-a-day trip to India and the claim that the stimulus created not one job in the private sector—the editors at Politifact have identified the biggest deception of all.
 
Our friends at the nonpartisan Politifact watch American politics in the way that would make most people’s stomachs churn. All year, they chronicle every bit of political discourse, every hysterical pundit and every government vow or rally cry in a sometimes quixotic effort to separate truth from fiction.
 
  1. 'Don't ask, don't tell' is repealed by Senate; bill awaits Obama's ...

    Dec 19, 2010 ... The U.S. military will for the first time in history allow gays to serve openly after the Senate voted Saturday to repeal "don't ask, don't ...
    www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/.../AR2010121801729.html
  2. Senate Votes to Repeal DADT

    Senate Votes to Repeal DADT. December 18, 2010. Associated Press. In a landmark vote for gay rights, the Senate on Saturday voted to advance legislation ...
    www.military.com/news/article/senate-votes-to-repeal-dadt.html - Cached
Finally the repeal is done and over with. The DADT has passed, now just President Obama's signature.  Senate vote was 65-yes 31-no.
 

Online version of the weekly magazine, with current articles, cartoons, blogs, audio, video, slide shows, an archive of articles and abstracts back to 1925
 
For fifty years, Americans have regarded Eisenhower’s Farewell Address with a mixture of awe and bewilderment. Speaking three nights before the end of his Presidency, in 1961, Eisenhower warned of a “scientific-technological élite” that would dominate public policy, and of a “military-industrial complex” that would claim “our toil, resources, and livelihood.”
 
@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
 
Gov. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, who befriended President Obama’s parents when they were university students here, has been in office for less than three weeks.

But he is so incensed over “birthers” — the conspiracy theorists who assert that Mr. Obama was born in Kenya and was thus not eligible to become president — that he is seeking ways to change state policy to allow him to release additional proof that the president was born in Honolulu in 1961.

“It’s an insult to his mother and to his father, and I knew his mother and father; they were my friends, and I have an emotional interest in that,” Governor Abercrombie said in a telephone interview late Thursday. “It’s an emotional insult. It is disrespectful to the president; it is disrespectful to the office.”

The governor, a Democrat and former congressman, said he has initiated conversations with the state’s attorney general and the chief of its Health Department about how he can release more explicit documentation of Mr. Obama’s birth on Aug. 4, 1961, at Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital.
 
 

  1. Seattle Post Intelligencer
  2. The 9/11 bill passes -- but should it really have been this hard?‎ - 2 days ago
    By Ezra Klein The bill extending medical benefits to 9/11 responders passed today. It had been held up because, well, it's not exactly clear. ...
    Washington Post (blog) - 2573 related articles - Shared by 10+
  3. Tom Coburn To Block 9/11 Responders Bill

    Dec 21, 2010 ... This story has been updated with additional reporting by Ryan Grim WASHINGTON - Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), a licensed physician long known ...
    www.huffingtonpost.com/.../tom-coburn-911-responders-bill_n_799699.html - Cached
  4. Exclusive: Congress Passes 9/11 Responders Bill - ABC News

    Dec 22, 2010 ... Congress passed a bill to provide health benefits and compensation to 9/11 first responders after Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., ...
    abcnews.go.com/Politics/exclusive-senate...911-responders-bill/story?id...
 

Wealth: When Will The 98% Tell The 2%, Enough Is Enough?

newsjunkiepost.com — Last night, as reported by News Junkie Post’s O. Olson, Congress passed, by an overwhelming majority, a two year renewal of the Bush tax cuts. The ... 6 days ago

 

Jon Stewart to Republicans: You Can't Exploit 9/11 Anymore (Video)

unstructed.com — Jon Stewart against Republicans for blocking a Congressional bill that would have provided health care for 9/11 first responders. 11 days ago

 

Why Tax Cuts For The RICH Killed The Economy In 1929 And Are Killing Us Again

politicususa.com — Here is where the problem lies with the conservative argument defending tax breaks for the top 2%. It is causing a greater gap in our income bracke... 8 days ago

 

Our Founding Fathers Were Liberal, NOT Conservative

politicususa.com — A lot has been said about our founding fathers in recent years. The tea party has all of a sudden become historical scholars. They have become the ... 6 days ago

 

 

Hexavalent chromium

RECENT POSTS

3 things to know about chromium in Bend water

The Oregonian reports some new information about the hexavalent chromium found in Bend tap water.

Three things to know (in addition to the fact that some experts say we shouldn’t worry about the low levels detected):

  1. The water sample containing chromium-6 was taken from a tap served by private water utility Avion Water Co. (one of three that serve the city).
  2. Avion serves 12,000 customers in central Oregon, including roughly 6,000 in Bend city limits and 6,000 in the area north of Redmond and West of La Pine.
  3. Avion said because the sample was collected at the tap instead of at the source or main waterline, it’s harder to tell where the chromium-6 came from.

EPA responds to chromium-6 study

The Environmental Protection Agency just sent out this statement on its standards for chromium in drinking water. The Environmental Working Group is pressuring the agency to tighten its standards for a specific kind of chromium, chromium-6 or hexavalent chromium, which can have negative health impacts if ingested. From the EPA:

“EPA absolutely has a drinking water standard for total chromium, which includes chromium-6 (also known as Hexavalent Chromium), and we require water systems to test for it. This standard is based on the best available science and is enforceable by law. Ensuring safe drinking water for all Americans is a top priority for EPA. The agency regularly re-evaluates drinking water standards and, based on new science on chromium-6, had already begun a rigorous and comprehensive review of its health effects. In September, we released a draft of that scientific review for public comment. When this human health assessment is finalized in 2011, EPA will carefully review the conclusions and consider all relevant information, including the Environmental Working Group’s study, to determine if a new standard needs to be set.”

Background, also from the EPA: Continue reading

Opposing views on chromium-6 in tap water

On the New York Times Green blog, two experts weigh in with different conclusions on whether we should be worried about the levels of hexavalent chromium in tap water tested by the Environmental Working Group. One says the public shouldn’t be concerned about the low levels the group detected, another says the findings are “disturbing” and states should strive to remove the chemical entirely from drinking water.

The group found the probable carcinogen chromium-6 in Bend’s drinking water – the only city in Oregon that was tested. But it’s still unclear what level is safe to ingest. California has a public health goal of .06 parts per billion (not binding), and Bend’s water sample showed levels of .78 parts per billion. Should Bend residents be worried (or maybe just investing in reverse-osmosis water filtration systems)? Continue reading

   
  1. A 2002 Garbage strip

  2. B 2000 Plastic bag spill

  3. C Shoes found

  4. D Eastern Garbage Patch
    At the eye of the gyre, plastic reaches concentrations of a million pieces per square mile. Researchers have mapped a giant spill of bags and a mile-long strip of wind-driven garbage.

  5. E Caught in a gyre
    Some of the plastic drifting in the North Pacific is swept to shore, like the thousands of Nike shoes that washed up in the Pacific Northwest. But much is trapped by calm winds and sluggish water within the North Pacific's loop of currents.

Trash Gyre  in the Pacific Ocean

Tea Party/ Fox News/ Racism

ECONOMIC VIDEOS

 “Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders’ equity, myself included, are in a state of shocked disbelief,”  “Yes, I’ve found a flaw (in my economic theories). I don’t know how significant or permanent it is. But I’ve been very distressed by that fact.”

- Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, 2008

 

"Tax breaks for corporations (and their investors, particularly large ones) were a major part of the Administration's 2002 and 2003 initiatives.  If class warfare is being waged in America, my class is clearly winning."

-Investor Warren Buffett

"One year after his massive tax cut,
Reagan agreed to a tax increase to reduce the deficit that restored fully one third of the previous year's reduction. (In a bizarre bit of self-deception, Reagan, who never came to terms with this episode of ideological apostasy, persuaded himself that the three-year, $100 billion tax hike - the largest since World War II - was actually 'tax reform' that closed loopholes in his earlier cut...) Faced with looming deficits, Reagan raised taxes again in 1983 with a gasoline tax and once more in 1984, this time by $50 billion over three years, mainly through closing tax loopholes for business."

... George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton also raised taxes to deal with the ongoing deficit problems..

(from the book "Hot, Flat and Crowded")

 

coloradoindependent.com
Warren Buffet is a billionaire businessman who once asked California Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to raise taxes on the rich. The wealthy governor ignored him. This week the Berkshire Hathaway CEO inserted himself into the contentious debate over the Bush tax cuts. In an interview with
 
Obama’s only real hope to be an effective president and secure his legacy: talk straight about the looming economic disaster facing the country.
 
Politically, Obama will have to appeal to -bipartisanship—ideally, nonpartisanship. He will have to persuade Congress—which means getting Democrats to defy party orthodoxy by voting to cut entitlements and Republicans to do likewise by voting to raise taxes. There is an obvious and logical compromise, or at least an opening bid for bargaining: one dollar of spending cuts for every dollar of taxes raised.

To overcome opposition in both parties, Obama will have to go the people and win a national mandate. This is not a bad time to defy the political parties, which are in low repute. Fewer people identify themselves as Republicans or Democrats than at any time since polling began during World War II. The Republicans did well in the recent elections, but not so much because people flocked to the GOP. Rather, independents who voted for Obama in 2008 voted against Democratic incumbents.

It’s true that one can look in vain in the history books for examples of presidents who boosted their popularity by demanding sacrifice. With the possible exception of FDR in wartime, presidents have been careful not to demand too much. And broadly speaking, American popular culture is not very amenable to sacrifice,

 

 

A New Era
Campaign Finance Reform

Read our 2009 report, "Campaign Finance Reform: A New Era," which lays out the action steps to end pay-to-play politics by eliminating the dominant role of large campaign contributors, amplifying the voice of small donors, increasing transparency in the way campaigns are funded, and adding teeth to enforcement.

The problem is not so much the amount we spend on political campaigns—columnist George Will likes to remind us that we spend more on potato chips each year—as it is who pays for them, what they get in return, and how that distorts public policy and spending priorities. Keeping our elected officials dependent on the very same wealthy special interests they are supposed to regulate undermines public confidence in their government and its ability to tackle the tough issues that face the nation.

Changing the Way America Pays for Elections

Clean Elections give citizens a greater voice in their government, while greatly reducing the undue influence of special interest money in politics.  Clean Elections-style reforms in Maine, Arizona, New Mexico, Connecticut, North Carolina, and New Jersey have proven effective and popular with voters and candidates alike.

Recent Common Cause-backed victories include:

  • New Mexico enacted Clean Elections for judicial races, and Albuquerque did it for municipal races.
  • New Jersey improved and reauthorized its Clean Elections pilot project for a handful of legislative races.
  • North Carolina passed a Clean Elections pilot project for down-ticket statewide offices.


 Instead of focusing on their constituents and the important issues of the day, elected officials in Washington spend too much time raising money from wealthy donors and lobbyists – often from the very industries they’re supposed to oversee!

It’s time to get our leaders out of the fundraising game and let them do the jobs we’ve elected them to do.

The best way to do that is to pass the Fair Elections Now Act. Under such a system, qualified candidates who take no contributions larger than $100 can run for Congress on a blend of small donations and public funds.

This bill already has more than 150 cosponsors. If your Representative is one of them, please thank him or her. If your Representative has not yet signed on as a cosponsor, please ask him or her to do so right away! (When you enter your address below, our system will look up the name of your Representative and his/her co-sponsor status.)


Reducing the Influence of Big Money


Citizen-Funded Presidential Campaigns

The presidential public finance system has become out of sync with modern presidential campaigns, leaving the incentives to opt into the system too weak for most candidates. It's time to reboot the system.

The Solution: A Free Speech for People Amendment

To correct the damage the Supreme Court has done to the First Amendment, we need to pass a constitutional amendment of our own that puts people ahead of corporations.

Below is our resolution in support of the Free Speech for People Amendment.  

ADD YOUR NAME IN SUPPORT OF THIS RESOLUTION»

WHEREAS the First Amendment to the United States Constitution was designed to protect the free speech rights of people, not corporations;

WHEREAS, for the past three decades, a divided United States Supreme Court has transformed the First Amendment into a powerful tool for corporations seeking to evade and invalidate democratically-enacted reforms;

WHEREAS, this corporate takeover of the First Amendment has reached its extreme conclusion in the United States Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Citizens United v. FEC;

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC overturned longstanding precedent prohibiting corporations from spending their general treasury funds in our elections;

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC will now unleash a torrent of corporate money in our political process unmatched by any campaign expenditure totals in United States history;

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC presents a serious and direct threat to our democracy;

WHEREAS, the people of the United States have previously used the constitutional amendment process to correct those egregiously wrong decisions of the United States Supreme Court that go to the heart of our democracy and self-government;

NOW HEREBY BE IT RESOLVED THAT WE THE UNDERSIGNED VOTERS OF THE UNITED STATES CALL UPON THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS TO PASS AND SEND TO THE STATES FOR RATIFICATION A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO RESTORE THE FIRST AMENDMENT AND FAIR ELECTIONS TO THE PEOPLE.

Learn more about the "Free Speech for People Amendment"

ADD YOUR NAME IN SUPPORT OF THIS RESOLUTION»

‎28th Amendment to the Constitution regarding Citizens United decision by the SCOTUS
org2.democracyinaction.org
‎"Today, the Court has enthroned corporations, permitting them not only all kinds of special economic rights but now, amazingly, moving to grant them the same political rights as the people.
 

16 of the Dumbest Things Americans Believe -- And the Right-Wing Lies Behind Them |

alternet.org — We’ve gone beyond Stephen Colbert's 1 day 12 hr ago

 

Poll Shows Americans Don't Know GDP Grew With Tax Cuts and Bailout Profits

bloomberg.com — The Obama administration cut taxes for middle-class Americans, expects to make a profit on the hundreds of billions of dollars spent to rescue Wall... 16 days ago

 

 

 

 "President Bush and his top advisors have repeatedly claimed that they did not
exaggerate the threat (from Iraq), and top CIA officials have publicly argued
that their ominous assessments that Iraq had on-going weapons programs
were fully justified by the available intelligence.  But in fact, many CIA officials -
from rank-and-file analysts to senior managers - knew before the war that they
lacked sufficient evidence to make the case for the existence  of Iraq's weapons
programs.  Those doubts were stifled because of the enormous pressure.... CIA
officials felt to support the administration."

- James Risen, STATE OF WAR

Greenspan: Lawmakers Should Let All Bush's Tax Cuts Expire

businessweek.com Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, whose endorsement of George W. Bush's 2001 tax cuts helped persuade Congress to pass them, said lawmakers should allow the cuts to expire at the end of the year.

 

digg.com
David Stockman, President Reagan OMB director in 1980s. He wrote an impressive article, Four Deformations Of The Apocalypse in the NYT that everyone including those in the media should read carefully. For him to make these statements now shows the fear he has that we may return to the irresponsible ...

 

 

Economic Information by graphs (click on image to enlarge)

tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com
News Corporation, the Rupert Murdoch media empire that serves as the parent corporation of Fox News and other properties, is now throwing its monetary weight around in politics with a big contribution to the Republican Governors Association.

Reagan insider: GOP destroyed economy

marketwatch.com How my G.O.P. destroyed the U.S. economy. Yes, that is exactly what David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan's director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a recent New York Times op-ed piece, 'Four Deformations of the Apocalypse.'

 
 
 

Glenn Beck Rally Continues to Spur Controversy

cbsnews.com Social activists and civil rights leaders, among them the Rev. Al Sharpton, are planning marches and demonstrations -- including the unveiling of a nearly four-story-tall original sculpture on the Mall -- on Aug. 28 to coincide with a rally organized by Fox News personality Glenn Beck. Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally, with former vice presidential..

 
 

Dear Friend,

President Bush opened the floodgates for outsourcing government jobs, and we're still reeling from the effects.

Blackwater (now known as Xe), Halliburton, DynCorp, KBR, and Triple Canopy are just some of the multitude of private, for-profit corporations that became integral parts of the American war machine during the simultaneous Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

There is already legislation that has been introduced to tackle some of this problem. The Stop Outsourcing Security Act would prohibit the American government from using mercenaries to fight our wars.

But military contractors are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reckless government outsourcing.

We have an opportunity to change direction. The Obama administration is seeking public comments on the definition of "inherently governmental" functions, which sets the parameters government-wide for what can and cannot be outsourced.

The comment period ends on Tuesday. So click here to submit a public comment to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy about "inherently governmental" functions today.

It's vital that we speak out to make sure the federal government steps back from the Bush-era practice of dismantling our government and giving free rein to Blackwater and companies like it.

The role of Blackwater in Iraq and Afghanistan offers a clear picture of the rot that infects our government when we outsource important functions to private entities that only care about their own bottom lines.

When we use private contractors, we sacrifice even the insufficient transparency and accountability we have over our military. Meanwhile, our reliance on greedy and shameless entities magnifies both the human and monetary cost of war.

In 2007, Erik Prince, the former head of Blackwater, testified before Congress that over 90 percent of Blackwater's contracts were with the federal government (and publicly available data shows over 2/3 of those government contracts were awarded as no-bid contracts).

Weeks before Prince's testimony, Blackwater mercenaries needlessly slaughtered 17 civilians in Nisour Square in Baghdad while guarding American State Department officials. Despite massive and widespread outrage in Iraq and elsewhere, the State Department still has a contract with Blackwater to provide protection for its personnel.

There's no justifiable reason why our government ought to outsource the decision to pull the trigger and take another life in our name. And what's true for shooting a gun and taking a life is also true for a whole host of broad areas where our of government should act directly, not through a company looking to squeeze a buck out of the process.

Click here to speak out and submit a public comment about the definition of "inherently governmental" functions.

Thank you for standing up to companies like Blackwater.

Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

P.S. This issue is, of course, about more than Blackwater, and it's about more than military contractors. The lack of clarity about what can and cannot be outsourced and the willingness of the American government to outsource as much as possible has allowed the role of federal contractors to metastasize and transform in horrific ways.

It's even gotten to the point that we cannot adequately oversee contracts and have contractors evaluating the performance of other contractors on behalf of the American government.

We can no longer allow the government to abdicate responsibility of core government functions based upon the unfounded hope that the profit motive will somehow ensure everything will turn out okay.

We need to speak out. There are some things that only the government should do. This outsourcing craze needs to come to an end. Click here to submit your public comment about "inherently governmental" functions today!

 

 


 

Sue Lowden, Republican, running for the Senate in Nevada

VA Gov. McDonnell Longs for the Confederacy, Slavery Not ‘Significant’ | ChattahBox News Blog

Source: chattahbox.com
(ChattahBox)---- Since his inauguration in January, the Republican Gov. of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, has been busy transforming the Southern commonwealth into a
    Virginia's new Governor 

The BP Leak is 1.1 Million Gallons a Day

Source: digg.com

Most news accounts of this spill are repeating a much lower estimate of 210,000 gallons (5,000 barrels) per day, an unexplained number that NOAA and the Coast Guard were using for a few days until they admitted a week ago that they couldn't accurately estimate the flow rate. We estimate this well is...
    debate on the oil spill    

Democrat in Florida wins easily in special election

Deutch Wins Easily In First Post-Health Care Special Election

Firedoglake (blog) - David Dayen - ‎Apr 14, 2010‎
... that was more than enough to win easily. State Sen. Ted Deutch (D) handily won tonight's FL-19 special election over '08 nominee Ed Lynch (R), ...
 

Discarded Palin contract sparks investigation - Yahoo! News

Source: digg.com

A document fished out of a California state university trash bin last week has prompted a state investigation into the university's foundation arm and its refusal to disclose details related to Sarah Palin's upcoming speech at the school.
    LOL!!!!

Bet Against The American Dream

Kilde: vimeo.com
A collaboration between ProPublica, This American Life and Planet Money.

Senate Republicans Block Over 100 Bipartisan Bills

Source: digg.com

Much has been made about Senate Republicans’ abuse of the filibuster, which has skyrocketed in recent years. But less attention has been devoted to how Republican obstruction has held up hundreds of other ...
    PARTY OF "NO"    
  
 

http://www.thesoapboxroadshow.com Sarah Palin is getting very greedy

Added: April 14, 2010, 06:49 AM
Time: 0:48
Raw File: palin speaking_0001.wmv
Broadcast: Public
 
 

POLL: What issues should the Coffee Party prioritize? | Coffee Party

Source: bit.ly
Note about the ad below: Coffee Party USA is a grassroots effort, and we use Google AdSense to defray our web hosting costs. Please Donate Now to support this fledgling movement so we don't need to run ads.
    FYI    

t r u t h o u t | Another GOP Sen Blocks Extension of Jobless Benefits

Source: www.truthout.org

After Threats and Vandalism, Democrats Meet with Capitol Police - Politics - The Atlantic

Source: www.theatlantic.com

After Democratic lawmakers were targeted by death threats and vandalism, House Democrats met with…
 

Brazile: Health care games - Framingham, MA - The MetroWest Daily News

Source: www.metrowestdailyne...

There are issues that are neither the domain of the Democratic nor Republican Party. They are national issues. Health care should be one of these.
    "The New York Times, in a remarkable background piece, revealed that the
Republican Party, with McConnell as a prime leader, decided - two weeks
before President-elect Obama's inauguration - to go for gridlock as a
path back to power."
  
 

Quarter of Republicans Think Obama May Be the Anti-Christ - Yahoo! News

Source: news.yahoo.com

Americans have some extreme views of President Obama, with a new survey revealing 40 percent of adults believe he is a socialist, and about a quarter of survey participants thinking the president is a racist, anti-American and even doing things Hitler did.
    The far rightwingers... in the Republican party   
 
 

News Desk: Glenn Beck, Eugenics, and History : The New Yorker

Source: www.newyorker.com
 
 

2nd Amendment Rally in Washington, DC Bus Trip - Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore

Source: www.ammoland.com

The Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore (AGC) has reserved two 54 passenger buses to provide comfortable, stress free transportation to and from the rally...
    Rightwing Gun rally in Maryland on April 19 (the day the Murrah Federal building was blown up)    
 
 

Coordinated Anti-Democratic Vandalism in at Least 3 States | Emptywheel

Source: emptywheel.firedoglake.com
On Friday, former militia leader Mike Vanderboegh called for anti-Democratic vandalism across the country to protest the health care bill. Vanderboegh posted the call for action Friday on his blog, “Sipsey ...
    reaction to healthcare bill
 

Tea Party Protests: 'Ni**er,' 'Fa**ot' Shouted At Members Of Congress

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com
Abusive, derogatory and even racist behavior directed at House Democrats by Tea Party protesters on Saturday left several lawmakers in shock. Preceding the president's speech to a gathering of House Democrats, ...
    Tea partiers..
 

Cigna Gives $110.9 Million Compensation Package To Ex-CEO

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com

The insurance giant Cigna last year gave compensation packages worth more than $120 million to two executives who left the company, according to a filing with the SEC on Friday.
    Over-paid corporate Execs 
 

U.S. Chamber of Commerce sets sights on Democrats ahead of midterm elections - washingtonpost.com

Source: www.washingtonpost.com
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, already one of Washington's largest lobbying groups, is gearing up to play a major role in this year's midterm elections on a scale that rivals the nation's two main political parties.
    $50 million in spending    
 
 

 

Rubio's campaign image belies history of $250 million in pork requests - St. Petersburg Times

Source: www.tampabay.com

Former House Speaker Marco Rubio racked up roughly $250 million in budget requests for hometown spending, which could become an issue in a Republican Senate race where government spending is taking center stage.
    oops.......    
 

Boxer the Blimp: The Most Ridiculous Campaign Ad Ever

Source: digg.com

From the maker of "Demon Sheep": Carly Fiorina unveils her latest over-the-top campaign ad slamming Barbara Boxer, and it is HILARIOUS
 

Alter: The GOP's Doomed 'Repeal the Bill' Idea - Newsweek.com


Palin Crossed Border For Canadian Health Care

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin -- who has gone to great lengths to hype the supposed dangers of a big government takeover of American health care -- admitted over the weekend that she used to get her treatment in Canada's single-payer system. ...
    repost   

In California, Exhibit A in Debate on Insurance - NYTimes.com

Source: www.nytimes.com

With the health care debate stalled, the White House has seized on fury about an insurer’s planned rate increases.
    Anthem 35% rate increase
 

Anthem Blue Cross to delay rate increases - Los Angeles Times

Source: articles.latimes.com

Anthem Blue Cross on Saturday announced it would delay until May 1 controversial price increases of up to 39% for its individual health insurance policyholders in California, but maintained its
    High cost of health insurance   
 
 

Schwarzenegger Rips Romney, GOP For Stimulus Hypocrisy

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.) accused his Republican colleagues in Washington on Sunday of blatant hypocrisy on the stimulus package -- railing against the jobs bill in public while poising for stimulus-related projects and ceremonies in their home districts.
    Repubs take the stimulus money
 

BIG BANKS merger-mania: Too Big To Fail


 

REPUBLICAN Sens. Cochran, Collins, and Shelby December Porkers of the Month

Source: www.cagw.org
(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today named Sens. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) its December Porkers of the Month. The three ...
    Republicans like pork!!! 
 

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Tea Party Will "Twinkle And Disappear"

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger told Greta Van Susteren Tuesday night that he expects the tea party to "twinkle and disappear" as the economy improves. Van Susteren tried to get Schwarzenegger ...
    I don't know   

AllGov - News - Six Republicans Vote Against Deficit Bill They Sponsored

Source: allgov.com

Congress often is loath to make tough fiscal decisions that may spur anger from constituents, which is why a plan was devised to create a special bipartisan commission that would craft a solution to reduce the nation’s ballooning deficit. ...
    Republicans always say NO?   
 
  1. Newsvine - Teabaggers beware: Majority of Republicans vote against ...

    Jan 26, 2010 ... Majority of Republicans vote against deficit commission. Republicans in the Senate shot down an amendment that would have created a ...
    pwtenny.newsvine.com/_.../3813056-teabaggers-beware-majority-of-republicans-vote-against-deficit-commission - Cached -
  2. AllGov - News - Six Republicans Vote Against Deficit Bill They ...

    Jan 28, 2010 ... Six Republicans Vote Against Deficit Bill They Sponsored ... Senate Rejects Deficit Commission (by David Rogers, Politico) ...
    allgov.com/.../Six_Republicans_Vote_Against_Deficit_Bill_They_Sponsored_100128 - Cached -
 
 

Newsvine - Teabaggers beware: Majority of Republicans vote against deficit commission

Source: pwtenny.newsvine.com

This will be short and to the point; teabaggers who think we're all stupid enough to believe that they care about the national debt and budget deficits (yet were silent while Republicans doubled the national debt with nearly two trillion in tax cuts for the rich and two concurren…
    where are the Republicans??   

Is GOP Becoming the Party of No? - ABC News

Source: abcnews.go.com

Is GOP Becoming the Party of No?

Howard Dean: Democrats ‘need a spinal transplant’ | Raw Story

Source: rawstory.com

WASHINGTON -- One year after being swept into the White House and bestowed huge majorities in Congress, Democrats have seen their towering lead over Republicans evaporate. Why? According to previous DNC chairman Howard Dean, they're just not tough enough.
    very popular........   
 
 

Tom Tancredo and the Right-Wing Mind

Source: digg.com

On Thursday, Tancredo delivered the opening remarks at the national Tea Party convention, and, as I watched the clips, I was struck by two things. First, it was oddly gratifying to see Tancredo take the next step in a long personal journey toward Crazy Land. ...
 

Sarah Palin emails reveal an attempted tanning bed coverup and blacklisting of journalist - Politica

Source: www.examiner.com

The emails from Sarah Palin's reign as Governor of Alaska have finally been made public. As expected the press is now looking through over 3,000 pages of emails and some interesting discoveries are being made.
    IS SARAH TANNED ENOUGH?   
 

Palin skipped paying property taxes on cabins, records show

Source: digg.com

Records show that Sarah Palin has not paid any property taxes on cabins that have been built on two backcountry plots partially owned by the former Alaska governor.
    Palin still in trouble in Alaska   
 

Discussing Global Economic Crash at AEA and Davos - Newsweek.com

 economists are competing to make sense of our failed financial system.
    Economic theories put to the test  
 

Jon Meacham: The Winter of Our Discontent - Jon Meacham - Newsweek.com

Source: www.newsweek.com

Newsweek magazine online plus daily news, features and commentary from our global network of correspondents
    OBAMA THE CENTRIST    
 
 
CALIFORNIA:

West Coast Wasteland

Source: www.thenation.com
Savage budget cuts and political dysfunction are tearing California's social infrastructure apart.
    California's budget cuts and problems    
 

Editorial - Don’t Give Up Now - NYTimes.com

Source: www.nytimes.com
Democrats should take another look at what really happened in Massachusetts and then summon the nerve to enact comprehensive health care reform.
    Healthcare reform: a poll found that a surprising 68 percent of those who had voted said that
they supported their own state’s plan, including slightly more than
half of those who had voted for Mr. Brown.
    
 
 

Decade In Review: Corporate Scoundrels And Scandals : NPRpicturegallery661327.tmp/lay_tall.jpg

Source: www.npr.org

The business world has been rocked by one scandal after another in the past decade. From Martha Stewart to Bernie Ebbers and Bernie Madoff, it's been a confusing and angry time for investors. The era also saw a 777-point one-day plunge in the Dow and some 7 million job losses.
    Capitalism has a very bad decade.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Huff TV: Arianna: Move Your Money And Make Too-Big-To-Fail Banks Smaller (VIDEO)

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com
Arianna appeared on Countdown with Keith Olbermann Thursday to explain Move Your Money, a project that encourages Americans to fight back against Wall Street's too-big-to-fail culture by moving their money from bailed out big banks to smaller, better-managed community banks. ...
    from Huff Post group  

Inauguration of Gay Mayor: "God Hates Fags" Signs (PICS)

Source: digg.com

Fred Phelps and his family of hate mongering nut jobs protested the otherwise uneventful inauguration of Annise Parker on Monday, Houston's first gay mayor and the first gay mayor of a large city in the United States.
    more of the same old junk...    
 

Fox spent weeks promoting apparent tea party scam | Media Matters for America

Source: mediamatters.org
TPM Media's Zachary Roth reported earlier in the week that the political action committee that organized the Tea Party Express -- Our Country Deserves Better PAC -- funneled almost two-thirds of its spending ...
    Tea Party Express ("Our Country
Deserves Better PAC") funneled almost two-thirds of its spending back
to the political consulting firm from which it was spawned. More than
$850,000 of the money the "grassroots"
 
  

California Will Begin 2010 With Massive Budget Gap : NPR

Source: www.npr.org
California's dismal financial straits this year are just a prelude to what the state can expect in terms of budget woes in 2010. Legislators and the governor battled through much of 2009 to close a $60 billion budget gap. ...
    NPR news    
 
 Pentagon spending more for war than all 50 States combined
Source: digg.com

The U.S. spends more for war annually than all state governments combined spend for the health, education, welfare, and safety of 308 million Americans.
    popular at DIGG
    

Michael Moore Threatens To Boycott Connecticut Over Lieberman

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore is threatening to organize a boycott of Connecticut in response to Sen. Joseph Lieberman's opposition to key parts of federal health care legislation. ...
    I wonder if this will work??????   

 

81% Of Dems Want Lieberman Punished For Health Ca

 
 

Dean: Keep on fighting for real reform, vote no on Sen bill watch!

dailykos.com Howard Dean on Countdown, making a clear and compelling case for saying no to the Lieberman-wrecked Senate bill. Bottom line: Don't give up on the fight for real reform. Say no to the Senate bill, and get something real done.

 

 

The real inconvenient truth

The whole world needs to adopt China's one-child policy

Diane Francis, Financial Post  Published: Tuesday, December 08, 2009


http://www.financialpost.com/story.html?id=2314438

A planetary law, such as China's one-child policy, is the only way to reverse the disastrous global birthrate currently, which is one million births every four days.

The world's other species, vegetation, resources, oceans, arable land, water supplies and atmosphere are being destroyed and pushed out of existence as a result of humanity's soaring reproduction rate.

Climate Talks Near Deal to Save Forests - NYTimes.com

Source: www.nytimes.com
Negotiators were closing in on a sweeping deal that would compensate countries for preserving forests and other natural landscapes.
    global warming news   

 

350 ORG AND GLOBAL WARMING

Diana West: Afghan debate steps forward in UK | Washington E

 

washingtonexaminer.com Howell explains that seven years of military and civilian aid have neither destroyed Al Qaeda in Afghanistan nor the Taliban. "There can be no guarantee," Howells writes, "that the next seven years will bring significantly greater success and, even if they do, it is salutary to remember that Afghanistan has never been the sole location of terroris

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com
I am told by people I respect that Barack Obama cannot pull out of both Iraq and Afghanistan without becoming a one-term president. I think that may be true.

 


Fox News (!) Fact-Checks Palin's Claims About Dollar Coin

tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.… Sarah Palin's public pronouncements have now reached an amazing point -- where even Fox News is fact-checking her.

Palin? Whatever! Who the Hell is Lynn Vincent?

godsownparty.com This is no coincidence, nor is it to be taken lightly. Lynn Vincent is a devout Dominionist! If there has been ANY lingering doubt that my assertions regarding

Lou Dobbs announces abrupt departure from CNN

rawstory.com The evolution of CNN anchor Lou Dobbs from financial news wizard to populist defender of American jobs to right-wing promoter of "birther" conspiracies appears to have come to an abrupt end with his announcement Wednesday evening that he's leaving the network to "pursue new opportunities."

 

 


 


Source: crooksandliars.com
[Members of the James Younger Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in 2006.] Looking into the background of Rep. Joe Wilson, R-South Carolina, after his heckling of President Obama last night, I came across this: Joe also has been a member of
 

Iran And The Bomb: U.S. Keeps Options Open

npr.org U.S. officials say the window to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon could close as early as 2013. The Obama administration wants to use diplomacy to stop that, but it also reserves the right to use military means.

Source: www.nytimes.com
Despite the recent addition of 17,000 American troops and extra security efforts surrounding the presidential election, the situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating.

Editorial: Defense spending bill: $636 billion

scrippsnews.com The House chalked up a signal success by passing the 12th and last spending bill to fund the government next year on schedule. But that rare feat came at a cost -- a $636 billion military spending bill filled with planes and weapons that Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the Pentagon doesn't need or want.

Acid In The Oceans: A Growing Threat To Sea Life

npr.org Carbon dioxide isn't just affecting our climate, it is also increasing the acidity of our seas. Scientists worry that corrosive conditions will harm marine life, and could change our oceans in ways they're just now starting to understand.

Second Warmest July on Record Globally, according to NASA

global-warming.accuweather.com AccuWeather.com's global warming center offers a daily blog of news related to the topic of global warming. An unbiased look at myths, articles, and anything related to global warming

Source: www.time.com
The GOP's race-baiting legacy extends beyond Trent Lott, argues TIME's Jack White
The sad truth is that many Republican leaders remain in a massive state of denial about the party's four-decade-long addiction to race-baiting.

Happy? $100 Mill for a guy that probably cost u $4 a Gallon

 

$100 million in bonus!!!!

nytimes.com In a few weeks, the Treasury Department’s czar of executive pay will have to answer: Should Andrew J. Hall get his bonus? That suggests that last summer, drivers paid more at the pump, at least in part, because of people like Andrew J. Hall. How do you hand $100 million to a guy who may have profited because gas hit $4 a gallon

Goldman Sachs profit bonanza could stoke anger

reuters.com — By Steve Eder - Analysis NEW YORK (Reuters) - Under normal circumstances, Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) might be afforded a moment of gloating as it struts toward what could be a banner earnings announcement just nine months after being roiled by..
 
New York Times:::::
 

NEW YORK — Even on Wall Street, the land of six- and seven-figure incomes, jaws dropped at the news Tuesday: After all that federal aid, a resurgent Goldman Sachs is on course to distribute bonuses that could rival the record paydays of the heady bull-market years.

Goldman posted the richest quarterly profit in its 140-year history and, to the envy of its rivals, announced it had earmarked $11.4 billion so far this year to compensate its workers.

At that rate, Goldman workers could, on average, earn roughly $770,000 each this year — or nearly what they did at the height of the boom.

 

C.I.A. Had Plan to Assassinate Qaeda Leaders

nytimes.com The program was designed after the Sept. 11 attacks, but the plans were never carried out before Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, canceled it last month.

Top Dem Says Bush Broke the Law By Authorizing Spy Program

pubrecord.org John Conyers who famously opposed impeachment of George W. Bush now says Bush committed an "impeachable offense" by personally approving surveillance.

U.S. top prosecutor considering torture investigation?

reuters.com This smells like bullshit... more saber rattling and no substance... I'll be surprised if they do jack shit about any of it

Leaders in House Would Tax Rich for Health Plan

nytimes.com The proposal, a clear expression of Democrats’ perceived mandate, calls for a surtax on individuals earning at least $280,000, but it faces opposition in the Senate.

 

The below economic conditions resulted in the stock market crashes and implosions of 1873, 1893, 1929, 1987, 2000 and 2007

1) Conservative politics

2) Poor climate for labor

3) Normative support for reduced government

4) Large-scale corporate restructuring

5) Tax reduction

6) Disinflation or deflation

7) Two tier economy

8) Concentration of wealth in a few hands

9) Increased debt and speculation

 

from Kevin Phillips "Bad Money"

 

Turning The Camera On Health Care Lobbyists

npr.org NPR turned the camera on the lobbyists> attending a recent Senate hearing on health care reform, instead of the senators. Whatever health care bill emerges from Congress will affect one-sixth of the economy, and the profiteers were out in force. Know any? Help identify them: Have a look, then email dollarpolitics@npr.org.

New Downing Street Memo Has Bush & Blair with Filthy Hands

huffingtonpost.com — Never has it been more clear that Bush II's war in Iraq was a pre-decided war in desperate search of a public rationale. In this Wednsday segment of Olbermann's "Worst Person's in the World." Keith decimates Bush and his legacy.

Finally, a British Inquiry into the Iraq War/ WMD

time.com — After years of public demand, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced the launch of an inquiry into Britain's role in the Iraq War. But will it provide answers or just more questions?

ACLU: No One is Above the Law, Prosecute Bush & Cheney

huffingtonpost.com — No one should be surprised that the ACLU would issue a call to prosecute those who authorized torture on detainees. But what grabs my attention, is the thorough argument presented by ACLU executive director Anthony Romero to hold accountable everyone from President Bush, to Cheney, Condolezza Rice, VP Chief of Staff Addington, plus many more.

Talking Business: Chasing Small Fry, S.E.C. Let Madoff Get Away

 Three months ago, in a courtroom in Bridgeport, Conn., a 72-year-old former Morgan Stanley broker named Richard A. Kwak was cleared of any involvement in a small-time stock manipulation scheme.

Obama to propose strict new regulation of financial industry

latimes.com — The plan would give the government new powers to seize key companies whose failure jeopardizes the financial system, as well as creation of a watchdog agency to look out for consumers' interests. The Obama administration this week will propose the most significant new regulation of the financial industry since the Great Depression, including a new

PMA’s (lobby firm) Friends: Tales from Military Industrial Complex

nytimes.com — Representative Peter Visclosky should step down as chairman of his defense subcommittee until the PMA investigation is completed. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is reportedly at odds with her majority leader, Steny Hoyer, who wants to defuse Republican criticism with an ethics committee resolution. The speaker would be wise to get ahead of the scandal

Democrats Have Qualms Over War in Afghanistan

nytimes.com — Congressional Democrats’ concerns about a potentially endless conflict have complicated the White House’s push for $83.4 billion in war spending and other aid.

Politicians Speak of Peak Oil - US needs green energy, etc. watch!

youtube.com — If Peak Oil is real, why don't politicians ever use the words "Peak Oil"? Well they do, you just haven't been noticing. Plus more of them should.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
 
 
 
 
The ratio of pay of the top 1% (dark blue) income earners and top .1% (light blue) income earners compared to the bottom 90% income earners (starting in 1945 until 2006).

White House Appoints Czar to Oversee Executive Pay

nytimes.com — The Obama administration appointed Kenneth R. Feinberg to the new post, giving him broad discretion to set pay for 175 top executives at seven of the nation’s largest companies.

Published: June 10, 2009
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s sweeping new proposal to restrict executive pay is likely to be a humbling exercise for seven of the nation’s largest companies, which have received billions of dollars in federal assistance to survive the economic crisis.

 

Both Houses of Congress Agree on Cash for Clunkers

greencarreports.com — It appears the Senate and House have agreed to include $1 billion to fund the program through September 30. The funding is part of a $106 billion wartime spending bill that's expected to pass next week.

30 Governors call for federal energy legislation

gov.ca.gov — "Just today, a total of 30 governors acting as the Governors’ Energy and Climate Coalition, the largest, most diverse group ever assembled, called on Congress to pass this kind of legislation. I congratulate the House members of both political parties that today voted to move America toward a more energy secure and sustainable future.

“I applaud today’s bipartisan vote in Congress to move forward the Waxman-Markey Clean Energy and Security Act. I will work with the California delegation to improve it further, this Act represents the kind of strategy to use energy more efficiently, produce more clean energy here at home

The Climate Debate Heats Up - NY Times

nytimes.com — A stalled clean energy bill needs to be revised, and quickly, if there is a chance for comprehensive climate change legislation to be passed by this Congress.The heart of the bill is a provision to reduce greenhouse gases by 20 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent by midcentury — cuts scientists say are necessary to avert the worst cons

Pentagon War Spending Hits $685.7 Billion: GAO

reuters.com — WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Pentagon spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to fight terrorism elsewhere has reached $685.7 billion since 2001, a U.S. government watchdog agency said on Monday. The Government Accountability Office, or GAO, said...

Democrats Have Qualms Over War in Afghanistan

nytimes.com — Congressional Democrats’ concerns about a potentially endless conflict have complicated the White House’s push for $83.4 billion in war spending and other aid.

NPR: General Sanchez on Abu Ghraib and Iraq withdrawal

npr.org — Retired Army Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez was in charge of the ground forces in Iraq when some of those techniques were used at the Abu Ghraib prison. The recent release of the so-called "torture memos" detailing some of the Bush administration's reasons for using harsh interrogation techniques has opened the floodgates. Human rights organiz

White House Is Firm on Shaking Up Military Spending

nytimes.com — Money that in the past might have been restored to a military spending bill after first being stripped out is now likely to be kept out.......

Air Force will agree with Obama on Cutting the F-22

nytimes.com — Top Air Force officials said Monday that they supported the Obama administration’s decision to buy only four more of the advanced F-22 fighter jets, making it less likely that Congress will insist on extending its production.

Gates: Scrap F-22 Jet, President's New Helicopter

npr.org — Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday recommended halting production of the F-22 fighter jet and scrapping a new helicopter for the president as he outlined deep cuts to many of the military's biggest weapons programs.

EPA to clean-up 50 most polluted sites with stimulus money

news.yahoo.com — The money announced Wednesday will pay to excavate contaminated soil from hundreds of residential lawns in Evansville, Ind., Minneapolis, Minn., Madison County, Mo. and Omaha, Neb. Up to $25 million will connect 180 houses in southeastern North Dakota to public drinking water. Their wells were tainted with arsenic from bait applied to control gra

Fuel Efficient Cars Act of 2008" introduced in Senate

autobloggreen.com — A bill was introduced in the Senate earlier this month that seeks to offer a $10,000 incentive for low-income families to trade in their old cars for newer, more fuel efficient models. First, a few details: eligible individuals are those who earn less than $25K per year. Autos must be rated at 25 miles per gallon plus and are 4.9 mpg better than th

Pelosi: 75% Of American's Want Investigation into Wallstreet watch!

fora.tv — "At least 75% of the American people want an investigation as to what happened on Wallstreet. I'm not saying a criminal investigation, they just want to know. In order for us to make the right decisions going forward, we need to know what happened to get us here."

Wall Street Salary Caps Drive Away Assholes - Borowitz Repor

borowitzreport.com — Experts Warn of ‘Douchebag Drain'

 

@

@

@

Robert Reich argues against GM and bailout

marketplace.publicradio.org — Reich says it won't work, among other things. It will just delay the transition to a different economy.

How Goldman Sachs took over the world

independent.co.uk — Whether it's a credit crunch to fix or an Olympics to plan, the list of Goldman Sachs alumni is sure to have a candidate. Almost whatever the country, you can find Goldman Sachs veterans in positions of pivotal power.

Can Anti-trust laws break up Big Banks?

marketplace.publicradio.org — A congressional committee is discussing criteria to use in determining if a financial institution is too big to fail. Duke law professor Zephyr Teachout talks to Bob Moon about whether antitrust laws can be used to break up the financials.

Stiglitz: ‘The Too-big-to-fail Institutions Have Succe

oxdown.firedoglake.com — "Stiglitz: ‘The Too-big-to-fail Institutions Have Succeeded in Managing Their Risk’" Just starting now, JEC hearing: Too Big to Fail or Too Big to Save? Examining the Systemic Threats of Large Financial Institutions (live webcast at the link) Witnesses: Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize recipient, 2001; University Professor, Columbia University;

 

WSJ.com - Too Big to Fail Firms Must Be Broken Up, Economist

online.wsj.com — It is time for the government to take the radical step of breaking financial firms into smaller, more transparent companies, top economists told U.S. lawmakers.

Bush Six to be indicted by Spainish Prosecutors

thedailybeast.com — Spanish prosecutors have decided to press forward with a criminal investigation targeting former U.S. attorney general Alberto Gonzales and five top associates over their role in the torture of five Spanish citizens held at Guantánamo, several reliable sources close to the investigation have told The Daily Beast. Their decision is expected to be an

Joseph Stiglitz: Economic InEquality is increasing watch!

youtube.com — Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz explains what drove the US economy off a cliff and what steps need to be taken to rectify the situation during a Nation Institute panel discussion held to mark the release of a new book: "Meltdown: How Greed and Corruption Shattered Our Financial System and How We Can Recover"

Reich: Hold CEOs of big banks accountable, for bonuses etc.

marketplace.publicradio.org — Tim Geithner says he might fire the heads of big banks that are being bailed out, just as he disposed of Rick Wagoner, the former CEO of General Motors. And before Wagoner, the old heads of AIG, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. Geithner's tough talk is designed to reassure a public that's lost all faith in the bank bailout. At the rate the bailout m

Economist: US collapse due to fraud, Geithner covering it up

rawstory.com — In an explosive interview on PBS' Bill Moyers Journal, William K. Black, a professor of economics and law with the University of Missouri, alleged that American banks and credit agencies conspired to create a system in which so-called "liars loans" could receive AAA ratings and zero oversight, amounting to a massive "fraud" at the epicenter.

Merrill Lynch Bonus Payments Dwarf A.I.G. %$%#??

truthout.org — In its last days as an independent company, Merrill gave performance-based bonuses exclusively to employees earning $300,000 a year or more and holding a rank of vice president or higher, according to their financial statements. $3.62 billion was handed out to these executives - a sum equal to 36.2 percent of the $10 billion in taxpayer funds th

A.I.G. to Pay $100 Million in Bonuses After Huge Bailout

The Obama administration sought to reduce the bonuses, but the insurer, which received more than $170 billion in aid, said it was obligated to pay them.

The Bank Rescue

nytimes.com — In the absence of good-faith measurement of the banking system, taxpayer-financed purchases of bad assets could court huge unnecessary risks.

Financial Policy Despair

nytimes.com — If Barack Obama’s bank rescue plan fails, it is unlikely that Congress will come up with more funds to do what should have done in the first place.

But the real problem with this plan is that it won’t work. Yes, troubled assets may be somewhat undervalued. But the fact is that financial executives literally bet their banks on the belief that there was no housing bubble, and the related belief that unprecedented levels of household debt were no problem. They lost that bet. And no amount of financial hocus-pocus — for that is what the Geithner plan amounts to — will change that fact. 

Bank Of America CEO Subpoenaed Over Merrill Deal

npr.org — Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis received a subpoena from New York state officials who want to know about bonuses paid to Merrill Lynch employees. The investigation focuses on whether the bank withheld information from investors during its acquisition of Merrill.

Conyers Calls For A Special Prosecutor to Probe Bush Crimes

pubrecord.org — Rep. John Conyers has recommended that Attorney General Eric Holder appoint a special prosecutor to launch a criminal inquiry to investigate, among other things, whether “enhanced interrogation techniques” used against alleged terrorist detainees violated international and federal laws against torture.

John Dean: Cheney is guilty of 'murder' if Hersh claims true

rawstory.com — Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh ’s bombshell earlier this week that Vice President Dick Cheney controlled an “executive assassination ring” continues to reverberate throughout Washington, with Nixon aide John Dean going so far as to accuse the former VP of murder if the charges are true.

Freeman Affair Puts Israel Lobby in Spotlight

antiwar.com — "Although the successful campaign to keep Amb. Charles "Chas" Freeman out of a top intelligence post marked a surface victory for the pro-Israel hardliners who opposed him, the long-term political implications of the Freeman affair appear far more ambiguous.

Freeman Calls Out Israel Lobby; WaPo Editorial Strikes Back

alternet.org — Chas Freeman states the obvious: the ‘Israel lobby’ torpedoed his nomination because he didn’t embrace the ubiquitous pro-Israel bias required of those operating in U.S. foreign policy circles.

NYTIMES: Israel lobby blocked Charles Freeman

nytimes.com — Israel lobby blocked Charles Freeman for daring to question America's unconditional support for Israel.



UK:Secret Emails Show Iraq Dossier Was 'Sexed Up'.

independent.co.uk — The evidence are piling against Blair and his manipulation of "intelligence" to justify the Iraq war...

"You can't sweep unlawful activities under the table" - Taguba

salon.com — Abu Ghraib investigator Antonio Taguba talks to Salon about why he backs a commission to examine Bush torture policies.

71% of Americans want to see Bush investigated

alternet.org — According to a poll by Gallup the majority of Americans Want Investigations on Possible attempts to use Justice Dept. for political purposes,use of telephone wiretaps without a warrant use of torture in terror interrogations

Sen. Patrick Leahy: Investigate Bush-Cheney Abuses

 huffingtonpost.com — Proposing the idea of a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate abuses during the Bush-Cheney administration, which may include the use of torture, warrantless wiretapping, extraordinary rendition, and executive override of laws. 



Shortly after Merrill Lynch was purchased by Bank of America, CEO John Thain was publicly demonized for requesting a $10 million bonus and spending $1.2 million on office renovations while his company faced a $15.3 billion loss in the fourth quarter.

It's both better and worse than the demon-hunters thought. According to the The New York Times, Mr. Thain's $10 million bonus request was a comedown from $40 million initially proposed on his behalf.

From the article:

Several weeks after that agreement was struck, a top deputy to Mr. [Kenneth] Lewis met with Mr. Thain and asked him to lower the bonus pool below $3.5 billion and to increase the portion paid in cash. Mr. Thain agreed to do so, according to two people familiar with the meeting.

Mr. Thain, meanwhile, lobbied for a bonus of his own until December, according to people familiar with his board discussions. The initial $40 million suggestion floated on his behalf was no longer viable and Mr. Thain himself suggested a figure of $5 million to $10 million. After that number was pilloried in public, he formally asked the board to award him nothing.

 Million Dollar Bonuses for Many at Merrill Just Bf Rescue

nytimes.com — Merrill Lynch paid out bonuses of more than $1 million apiece to 696 people last year just as the firm ’s merger with Bank of America closed, according to the New York attorney general.

Applause For Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain?

observer.com — Applause For Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain, All Across the Trading Floor? Yes, When His Ouster Was Announced!

Stanford Owns Congress - HUGE LIST of donations to campaigns

soapboxroadshow.blogspot.com — Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla) $45,900; Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) $41,375; Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) $28,200; Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz)* $28,150; Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) $27,500; Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) $20,100; Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas)$19,700; Sen. Charles E. Schumer $17,000 Rep. Charlie A. Gonzalez (D-Texas) $15,500; Rep. Max Sandlin

 

1,000,000 Strong to Strip Mormon Church of Tax Exempt Status

alternet.org — During the election, the Mormon Church pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into the push to ban same-sex marriages in California -- a campaign that deprived people in a different state of a fundamental civil right.

 t r u t h o u t | How Popular Anger Grew, 1929 and 2009

truthout.org — Obtuse hardly does justice to the social stupidity of our late, unlamented financial overlords. John Thain of Merrill Lynch and Richard Fuld of Lehman Brothers, along with an astonishing number of their fraternity brothers, continue to behave like so many intoxicated toreadors waving their capes at an enraged bull, oblivious even when gored.

Maureen Dowd: Trillion Dollar Baby

nytimes.com — Despite the touting, the Treasury chief unveiled a plan short on illumination, recrimination, fine points and foreclosure closure.


Obama caps executive pay tied to bailout money

news.yahoo.com — President Barack Obama on Wednesday imposed $500,000 caps on senior executive pay for the most distressed financial institutions receiving federal bailout money, saying Americans are upset with "executives being rewarded for failure."

Iraq bars Blackwater from protecting U.S. diplomats

news.yahoo.com — Iraq said Thursday it will bar Blackwater Worldwide from providing security protection for U.S. diplomats because its contractors used excessive force, sanctioning a company whose image was irrevocably tarnished by the 2007 killings of 17 Iraqi civilians. The move will deprive American diplomats of their main protection force in Iraq.

Wall Street bonusfest 2008: 6th largest haul on record

blogs.moneycentral.msn.com — Investors may not be happy with the performance of bank executives and their top employees these days, but, apparently, compensation committees are satisfied. The NYT kicks off its business coverage today with some numbers that are hard to swallow. New York's financial institutions paid out a gaudy $18.4 billion in bonuses in 2008

Obama Slams $18 Billion Wall Street Bonuses

huffingtonpost.com — God Wall Street is so disgusting. President Barack Obama issued a withering critique Thursday of Wall Street corporate behavior, calling it "the height of irresponsibility" for employees to be paid more than $18 billion in bonuses last year while their crumbling financial sector received a bailout from taxpayers. "It is shameful," Obama said from the Oval Office. "And part of what we're going to need is for the folks on Wall Street who are asking for help to show some restraint, and show some discipline, and show some sense of responsibility."

Green Revolution: 10 Cars That Get More Than 40 MPG

editorial.autos.msn.com — U.S. cars emit 85 percent more carbon dioxide and consume twice as much fuel as European and Japanese cars. The average year-to-date fuel consumption figure for cars, minivans and SUVs in the U.S. market stands at 22.6 mpg, compared with 40.3 mpg in Europe and 40.6 mpg in Japan. Those are staggering differences, and they make us wonder why it will take American automakers until 2020 to reach a mandated average fuel-efficiency rating of 35 mpg, when European and Japanese automakers already do. (That's food for thought, folks.)

 

What Recession??  Dubya's new Digs in Dallas

Iraq Veterans Against the War

Letter regarding the election of Barack

Obama

Dear IVAW Supporter,

On November 4th Americans came together across lines of race, gender, class, and religion to elect Barack Obama as President of the United States, marking an historic moment for our nation. 

Over the course of President-elect Obama’s campaign, many were ignited with the hope that change is possible, and we share that hope.  As we take a moment to reflect on the significance of this vote, it is important for us to remember that our struggles did not end on election night.  Real change has never come because of the actions of any one person, but only through the combined efforts of grassroots organizing by people with the courage and conviction to see their struggle through to the end. 

Over the last four and a half years, Iraq Veterans Against the War has brought our message of change to our fellow veterans and members of the military, the American public, and indeed the world.  Our message remains the same: it is time to immediately withdraw all occupying forces from Iraq; it is time to end the death and destruction facing the people of Iraq and address the needs of the Iraqi people; and it is time to provide our veterans with the care and benefits that they need and have earned through their service to our country.

In recent months, we have expanded our focus to address the political parties, and we look forward to continuing an open dialogue with our new President and his staff in the months to come.  We will remind President-elect Obama of his statement in August 2007, that “ending this war will be my first priority when I take office.”  While we understand and share concern that addressing our economic crises must be a top priority, we know that we cannot repair our economy if we continue the costly occupation of Iraq – an immense financial burden which is simply unsustainable. 

We acknowledge the shift in focus from the war in Iraq to the war in Afghanistan, and we encourage President-elect Obama to listen to the Afghan people and U.S. veterans of that conflict before making any decision to escalate the occupation of Afghanistan. 

As veterans of these wars, we have seen through our experiences that the first casualty in war is the truth. We have also seen the power that exists when soldiers and veterans find their voices and tell their stories, resurrecting the truth that has been lost in the false glory and heroism of war. 

These are messages that Iraq Veterans Against the War will continue to spread, because we know that one leader, one Administration, or one political party is not going to make the change we need.  Rather, it is up to us collectively to continue organizing for that change.  The election of Barack Obama affords us a fresh opportunity in our struggle, but as our history tells us when it comes to ending wars and occupations, the power is truly in the hands of the people and our military.  We will continue to keep fighting for our goals and ask that you join us.

To read IVAW’s open letter to President-elect Obama, click here.

In order to continue organizing troops and veterans to end the occupation of Iraq, we need your help. Please donate today to help us amplify the voices of our over 1,400 members.

Thank you for your continued support,

Kelly Dougherty
Former Sergeant, Army National Guard
Executive Director
Iraq Veterans Against the War

Foreclosure activity rises 71 percent

Huge jump in the third quarter over the same period last year

 
updated 8:18 a.m. ET, Thurs., Oct. 23, 2008

WASHINGTON - The number of homeowners ensnared in the foreclosure crisis grew by more than 70 percent in the third quarter of this year compared with the same period in 2007, according to data released Thursday.

Nationwide, nearly 766,000 homes received at least one foreclosure-related notice from July through September, up 71 percent from a year earlier, said foreclosure listing service RealtyTrac Inc.

By the end of the year, RealtyTrac expects more than a million bank-owned properties to have piled up on the market, representing around a third of all properties for sale in the U.S.

Six states — California, Florida, Arizona, Ohio, Michigan and Nevada — accounted for more than 60 percent of all foreclosure activity in the quarter, with California alone making up more than a quarter of all U.S. foreclosure filings.

Joe The Plumber, famous, unlicensed

Thomas Joseph, the business manager of Local 50 of the United Association of Plumbers, Steamfitters and Service Mechanics, based in Toledo, said Thursday that Mr. JOE Wurzelbacher (pictured above) had never held a plumbers license, which is required in Toledo and several surrounding municipalities. He also never completed an apprenticeship and does not belong to the plumbers union, which has endorsed Mr. Obama. On Thursday, he acknowledged that he does plumbing work even though he does not have a license. 

A review of "State of War" by James Risen

Damning and dismaying... As a national security reporter for the New York Times, Risen has produced some of this era's best journalism on the Central Intelligence Agency and the dysfunctional relationship between the White House and the U.S. spy community... As one of the Washington press corps' best reporters on national security issues, Risen has a record of being right... State of War is a welcome reminder that American hournalism has a higher purpose than shallow pandering to the lowest pop-cultural denominator.  Somewhere, beyond celebrity, there are issues and ideas that matter.  James Risen's book as an urgent contribution to the country's common good by a skillful and courageous reporter."

- Los Angeles Times

Bailout: AIG Executives

go to Spa, St. Regis

Spend over $400,000

See the bill below:

Pork barrel Spending in Alaska

and Wasilla, Alaska

Palin SUPPORTED the $200,000,000

Bridge to Nowhere before she

OPPOSED it. -

The Double Talk Express

 Palin Was a Director of

Embattled Sen. Stevens's 527

Group

Conyers to launch probe into

forged CIA letter

For Immediate Release: Monday, August 11, 2008

Conyers Announces Review of Allegations of Bush Administration's Forged Iraq Intelligence

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) today announced plans to review allegations that senior Bush Administration officials ordered the forgery and dissemination of false intelligence documents as reported by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Ron Suskind, in his new book, "The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism."

"Mr. Suskind reports that the Bush Administration, in its pursuit of war, created and promoted forged documents about Iraq," said Conyers. "I am particularly troubled that the decision to disseminate this fabricated intelligence is alleged to have come from the highest reaches of the administration. The administration's attempt to challenge Mr. Suskind's reporting appears to have been effectively dismissed by the publication of the author's interview recordings and transcripts. I have instructed my staff to conduct a careful review of Mr. Suskind's allegations and the role played by senior administration officials in this matter."

A number of issues raised in Mr. Suskind's book to be reviewed include:

  • The origin of the allegedly forged document that formed the basis for Bush's 2003 State of the Union assertion that Iraq sought yellowcake uranium from Niger;
  • The role of this document in creating the false impression that 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta had a working relationship with Iraq;
  • The relationship between this document and other reported examples of the Bush Administration considering other deceptive schemes to justify or provoke war with Iraq, such as the reported consideration of painting a U.S. aircraft with UN colors in order to provoke Iraq into military confrontation;
  • Allegations that the Bush Administration deliberately ignored information from Iraq's chief intelligence officer that Iraq possessed no WMDs;
  • The payment of $5 million to Iraq's chief intelligence officer and his secret settlement in Jordan, beyond the reach of investigators;
  • The September 2007 detainment and interrogation of Mr. Suskind's research assistant, Greg Jackson, by federal agents in Manhattan. Jackson's notes were also confiscated.

More on the Ron Suskind book

"Way of the World"

Author Ron Suskind says his sources are under "enormous pressure" to change their stories after revealing to him that the Bush administration had ordered the CIA to forge a letter from the head of Iraqi intelligence connecting Iraq to the 9/11 hijackers.

On Tuesday, former CIA official Robert Richer, who is one of Suskind's sources, sent a statement to news outlets in which he wrote, "I never received direction from George Tenet or anyone else in my chain of command to fabricate a document from Habbush as outlined in Mr. Suskind's book."

Richer's statement also quoted Suskind's other source, former CIA officer John Maguire, as saying, "I have no knowledge to the origins of the letter."

Suskind told NBC's Meredith Vieira on Wednesday morning, "It's interesting. ... Rob Richer talked to me, and actually other reporters too, yesterday morning. He was fine, he'd gotten the book Monday night, read it. And then something happened yesterday afternoon."

"It's one of these instances where you've got a few people whose testimony could mean the impeachment, ostensibly, of the president," Suskind explained. "It's enormous pressure on both men."

Suskind had appeared on Countdown with Keith Olbermann the previous evening, where he had explained, "They've got to feed their families. They really survive off the government, they're contractors, both of them. ... They can be brought into a moment of crisis by the government saying, 'You'll never work again.'"

Suskind insisted to Vieira, however, that "I'm actually not concerned," telling her, "I've spent a lot of time with them. Their interviews are taped. ... They talked to me at length, hour after hour ... and all of that is on the record."

Suskind emphasized to Olbermann that "Maguire, I think, will still stand up in daylight." He noted that Maguire recently said he understands why the first and second amendments appear in that order, because "the first amendment is the most important amendment. If they take that one away, then you should start loading your weapons."

The Beginning of the End in Iraq

Dear MoveOn member,

Three big things happened on Iraq this week. They could mean the beginning of the end of the war.

But since the media have mostly ignored them, I wanted to make sure you saw what's going on.

Here's the scoop:

Iraqis want U.S. Troops out. No one was expecting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to speak up in favor of withdrawal—after all, he's close with the Bush administration. But with elections in Iraq coming up, and a great majority of Iraqis opposed to a prolonged U.S. occupation, Maliki can't afford to toe the Bush line. So he's surprised everyone by standing up this week for a timetable for troop withdrawals and a date certain to end the war. The LA Times headline reads, "Iraqi prime minister advocates withdrawal timeline."1

As a result, the "endless war agreement" Bush has been pushing fell through. Since January, hundreds of thousands of us pushed Congress to stand up to President Bush's proposed treaty with Iraq, which would have tied the next President's hands and made it much harder to get out. This week, the Washington Post reported that that agreement has fallen through—Iraqi leaders are putting their feet down and demanding a much shorter agreement.2

And now even the Pentagon is considering faster timelines. According to reporter Michael Hirsh at Newsweek, "a forthcoming Pentagon-sponsored report" will recommend a big drawdown of troops—suggesting "that U.S. forces be reduced to as few as 50,000 by the spring of 2009, down from about 150,000 now."3

In other words, it's now clear: Most Americans are for a timeline, and so are most Iraqis. And even experts in the Pentagon agree.

For his part, Barack Obama is using these developments to hammer home the point that John McCain and President Bush are now isolated in their resistance to any kind of timeline for withdrawal. He wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times yesterday that reaffirmed his commitment to a timeline that would have all combat troops out of Iraq in 16 months.

It concludes, "Unlike Senator McCain, I would make it absolutely clear that we seek no presence in Iraq similar to our permanent bases in South Korea. . . [F]or far too long, those responsible for the greatest strategic blunder in the recent history of American foreign policy have ignored useful debate in favor of making false charges about flip-flops and surrender. It's not going to work this time. It's time to end this war."4

It's important that we all work to get the word out about these developments. You can even start by just forwarding this email. Most Americans still don't know that the Iraqis want us out. And that may be the single most important fact to share at this point in time.

I'm always shocked when someone points out that it's been six years since we first started working together to prevent an Iraq war. This week, we're turning a corner in that fight. Bush's permanent war agreement has fallen through. The Iraqi politicians are speaking up. And if we keep working together, we just might see the remaining holdouts in Washington coming around as well.

Thanks for all you do,

–Eli Pariser

PS. Minutes ago, Barack Obama finished making a major speech on Iraq and foreign policy. Here's how he described the Bush-McCain approach:

George Bush and John McCain don't have a strategy for success in Iraq—they have a strategy for staying in Iraq. They said we couldn't leave when violence was up, they say we can't leave when violence is down. They refuse to press the Iraqis to make tough choices, and they label any timetable to redeploy our troops "surrender," even though we would be turning Iraq over to a sovereign Iraqi government—not to a terrorist enemy. Theirs is an endless focus on tactics inside Iraq, with no consideration of our strategy to face threats beyond Iraq's borders.

Another Critical Expose

of the Bush administration: 

The Darkside:  

How the War on Terror turned into a war on

American Ideals

By Jane Mayer 

 

700 Page official U.S. Army history

details Iraq war blunders 

The Army's new official history of the Iraq war says its senior leaders failed to properly plan for the aftermath of the 2003 invasion. It's a conclusion that others have reached before. But this time, the Army — in a 700-page book released today — is criticizing itself.

Shortly after the fall of Baghdad in April 2003, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, Gen. Tommy Franks, may have sealed the U.S. military's fate in Iraq for the next four years.

Franks ordered the team that led the invasion — the Coalition Forces Land Component Command, or CFLCC — to leave Baghdad and to set up shop in Kuwait.

CFLCC was an operational unit run by some of the Army's most experienced commanders, known as "the dream team" among senior officers including Gen. Jack Keane, who was the Army's vice chief of staff at the time.

"They had been together for about eight or nine months, almost a year, in preparing for the war, then executed the invasion, and now they were going to move to Kuwait and essentially just be a support headquarters. It seemed to be, in my judgment, very ill-advised to do something like that," Keane said.

With CFLCC in Kuwait, Franks assigned the Army's Fifth Corps to take its place. The only problem was that Fifth Corps was a tactical unit, trained to fight and defeat Saddam Hussein's army.

"It was a very conscious decision that was made by General Franks to do that, because in my assessment, he believed that the war was over and that most of the forces would be out by August. And therefore he just needed a caretaker headquarters, if you will, on the ground to manage the re-deployment of forces," said Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the Fifth Corps commander at the time.

Sanchez's headquarters was understaffed and ill-equipped to handle what unfolded in Iraq.

"It did put us on a path during the first 18 to 24 months of having tremendous difficulties. It led to the enhanced insurgency, and to the tremendous instability that we faced in the country," Sanchez said.

The decision to place Sanchez's Fifth Corps in charge of Iraq may have been the single biggest military blunder after the fall of Baghdad, according to the Army's new official history of the war.

Franks was not available for comment.

The book, released today, is based on interviews with 200 senior Army officers involved in the invasion and its aftermath.

It's an attempt to expose the mistakes that were made — in the hope that they won't be repeated by future officers.

Retired Gen. Bob Scales, a former Army historian himself, says the book is remarkably candid. He calls it a "chronicle of failure."

"The Army's got a strong internal culture of self-criticism. Hidden from the general population is the passion and often the vitriol that goes on, particularly among and between officers, particularly general officers, over the conduct of operations," Scales said.

While the book doesn't single out specific officers for criticism, it is hardly a ringing endorsement of the general officer corps — generals, the report implies, who failed to insist on better post-invasion planning.

"I think we could have asked tougher questions. ... Why didn't we ask 'What happens if the regime doesn't surrender?' " Keane said.

The next installment of the Army's official Iraq war history is due out in about a year.

The WMD Intelligence "Failure"

 Press Release of Senate Intelligence Committee re.
(WMD WEAPONS OF MASS
DESTRUCTION)

Senate Intelligence Committee Unveils Final Phase II Reports on Prewar Iraq Intelligence

-- Two Bipartisan Reports Detail Administration Misstatements on Prewar Iraq Intelligence, and Inappropriate Intelligence Activities by Pentagon Policy Office --


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Washington, DC -- The Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, and a bipartisan majority of the Committee (10-5), today unveiled the final two sections of its Phase II report on prewar intelligence.  The first report details Administration prewar statements that, on numerous occasions, misrepresented the intelligence and the threat from Iraq. The second report details inappropriate, sensitive intelligence activities conducted by the DoD’s Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, without the knowledge of the Intelligence Community or the State Department.
 
“Before taking the country to war, this Administration owed it to the American people to give them a 100 percent accurate picture of the threat we faced.  Unfortunately, our Committee has concluded that the Administration made significant claims that were not supported by the intelligence,” Rockefeller said.  “In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent.  As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed.”
 
“It is my belief that the Bush Administration was fixated on Iraq, and used the 9/11 attacks by al Qa’ida as justification for overthrowing Saddam Hussein. To accomplish this, top Administration officials made repeated statements that falsely linked Iraq and al Qa’ida as a single threat and insinuated that Iraq played a role in 9/11.   Sadly, the Bush Administration led the nation into war under false pretenses. 
 
“There is no question we all relied on flawed intelligence.  But, there is a fundamental difference between relying on incorrect intelligence and deliberately painting a picture to the American people that you know is not fully accurate.  
 
“These reports represent the final chapter in our oversight of prewar intelligence.  They complete the story of mistakes and failures – both by the Intelligence Community and the Administration – in the lead up to the war.  Fundamentally, these reports are about transparency and holding our government accountable, and making sure these mistakes never happen again,” Rockefeller added.
 
The Committee’s report cites several conclusions in which the Administration’s public statements were NOT supported by the intelligence. They include:
 
Ø      Statements and implications by the President and Secretary of State suggesting that Iraq and al-Qa’ida had a partnership, or that Iraq had provided al-Qa’ida with weapons training, were not substantiated by the intelligence.
 
Ø      Statements by the President and the Vice President indicating that Saddam Hussein was prepared to give weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups for attacks against the United States were contradicted by available intelligence information.
 
Ø      Statements by President Bush and Vice President Cheney regarding the postwar situation in Iraq, in terms of the political, security, and economic, did not reflect the concerns and uncertainties expressed in the intelligence products.
 
Ø      Statements by the President and Vice President prior to the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate regarding Iraq’s chemical weapons production capability and activities did not reflect the intelligence community’s uncertainties as to whether such production was ongoing.
 
Ø      The Secretary of Defense’s statement that the Iraqi government operated underground WMD facilities that were not vulnerable to conventional airstrikes because they were underground and deeply buried was not substantiated by available intelligence information.
 
Ø      The Intelligence Community did not confirm that Muhammad Atta met an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in 2001 as the Vice President repeatedly claimed.
 
 
Additionally, the Committee issued a report on the Intelligence Activities Relating to Iraq conducted by the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group and the Office of Special Plans within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. The report found that the clandestine meetings between Pentagon officials and Iranians in Rome and Paris were inappropriate and mishandled from beginning to end.   Deputy National Security Advisor Steve Hadley and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz failed to keep the Intelligence Community and the State Department appropriately informed about the meetings.   The involvement of Manucher Ghobanifer and Michael Ledeen in the meetings was inappropriate.   Potentially important information collected during the meetings was withheld from intelligence agencies by Pentagon officials.  Finally, senior Defense Department officials cut short internal investigations of the meetings and failed to implement the recommendations of their own counterintelligence experts.
 
Today’s reports are the culmination of efforts that began in March 2003, when, as Vice Chairman, Senator Rockefeller initially requested an investigation into the origin of the fraudulent Niger documents.  In June 2003, he was joined by all Democrats on the Committee in pushing for a full investigation into prewar intelligence, which was eventually expanded by the Committee in February 2004 to include the five phase II tasks.
 
The Committee released its first report on July 9, 2004, which focused primarily on the Intelligence Community’s prewar assessments of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs and links to terrorism. Those findings helped lay the foundation for some of the intelligence reforms enacted into law in late 2004.
 
In September 2006, the Committee completed and publicly released two sections of Phase II:  The Use by the Intelligence Community of Information Provided by the Iraqi National Congress; and Postwar Findings About Iraq’s WMD Programs and Links to Terrorism and How They Compare with Prewar Assessments.
 
In May 2007, the Committee released the third section of Phase II: Prewar Intelligence Assessments About Postwar Iraq.
 
Separately, in early 2007, the Pentagon Inspector General released its own report on the intelligence activities conducted by the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and also concluded that those activities were inappropriate.

Your Daily Politics Video Blog: There's been a lot of chatter over the last few days about John McCain's embrace of Pastor John Hagee, who's well-known for a history of anti-Catholicism and claims that God will send terrorists to create a "bloodbath" in America for its support of a two state solution in Israel/Palestine. So what is it exactly that Hagee's said and just how much has McCain cozied up to him? We thought we'd put all the choicest moments into one quick video so you could take a look and make up your own mind.
 
From Wikipedia on Hagee:
 

Financial controversy

In 2003, the San Antonio Express-News reported that, in 2001 alone, John Hagee had received over 1.25 million dollars in total compensation for his position as CEO at the non-profit corporation, Global Evangelism Television (GETV). This made him one of the highest-paid televangelists in 2001 [45].

According to the Form 990 that GETV filed for tax year 2003, Hagee received almost a million dollars in compensation for his work for GETV that year, which amounted to approximately 16 hours per week [46]. (The GETV Board of Directors, which determines his pay, consisted of John Hagee himself, his wife, his son, and a Cornerstone Church member.) However, because he claimed that he worked "80 hours a week" writing books, singing songs, meeting international dignitaries and answering the call to preach the word of God, John Hagee argued: "I deserve every dime I'm getting". Other observers, including many evangelical Christians, criticize Hagee's handling of finances [47]. Considering his combined pay from both donor-supported ministries (his separate church and TV ministries), his pay has been over $1 million per year.

Hagee said he was certain his finances complied with requirements of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) because he hired tax lawyers and accountants to make sure that his books complied with tax laws. Hagee said, 'We want a set of books so that when the IRS comes in here and looks they'll say, those people are clean'", Hagee said. "And I am waiting for the day that the IRS is going to come look at our books. I have spent a chunk of money waiting for them" [45].

In September 2004, Hagee re-registered GETV as a church under the name Grace Church of San Antonio, and became exempt from filing detailed returns with the IRS. A further reorganization in July 2006 moved all assets into Cornerstone Church.

 

Above, Rev. Wright meets with President Bill Clinton in 1998.

NPR Responds to "Pentagon Pundits" controversy
and their pundit, General Scales

Pentagon recruited "stealth" spokesmen for media campaign

"Responsible Plan for Iraq" Challengers running for Congress

By GLEN JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer

BOSTON - Former Clinton Cabinet member Robert Reich on Friday endorsed Barack Obama over Hillary Rodham Clinton in the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination.


Two other Democratic elder statesmen, former Sens. Sam Nunn of Georgia and David Boren of Oklahoma, also said they were supporting the Illinois senator.

Reich, who served as Labor secretary under Bill Clinton, said in a blog post that "although Hillary Clinton has offered solid and sensible policy proposals, Obama's strike me as even more so."

Reich also said Obama's plans for reforming Social Security and health care have a better chance of succeeding, and his approach to the nation's housing crisis and financial market failures are sounder than the New York senator's.

Reich is a longtime friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton. He ran for governor in Massachusetts in 2002 and now is a professor

A number of other former Clinton cabinet members have endorsed Obama. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who was U.N. ambassador and energy secretary under Clinton, endorsed former rival Obama in March despite heavy wooing by the former president. Former Denver Mayor Federico Pena, who headed the transportation and energy departments under Clinton, became a co-chair of Obama's campaign last September. Former Clinton Commerce secretaries Norman Mineta and William Daley also have endorsed Obama.

Nunn and Boren will serve as advisers to Obama's National Security Foreign Policy Team.

Nunn served as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee from 1987-95, while Boren was the longest-serving chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

"Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
- Lord Acton


"Wars begin when you will but do not end when you please."
- Machiavelli


"Old men start wars, young men fight and die in them."


"Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most dreaded."
- James Madison


"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
- President Eisenhower


Jefferson's quote on "standing armies" for 1802

Sec. of State Condi lied about torture program..

Another KBR Employee Alleges Rape in Iraq

See the article online in the Nation - written by Karen Houppert

Click here - link to article

Oil Company Execs/ Barons testify in Congress

Bush's War

PBS/Frontline documentary

Link to "Bush's War", watch it online

Link to "Bush's War"

FRONTLINE Bush's War Mar 24 & 25 @ pbs.org/frontline

On the 5th anniversary of the Iraq invasion, FRONTLINE presents the definitive documentary analysis of "Bush's War" http://www.pbs.org/frontline/bushswar/

From the horror of 9/11 to the invasion of Iraq; the truth about WMD to the rise of an insurgency; the scandal of Abu Ghraib to the strategy of the surge—for six years, FRONTLINE has revealed the defining stories of the war on terror in meticulous detail, and the political dramas that played out at the highest levels of power and influence.

Now, on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, the full saga unfolds in the two-part FRONTLINE special Bush's War, airing Monday, March 24, from 9 to 11:30 P.M. and Tuesday, March 25, 2008, from 9 to 11 P.M. ET on PBS (check local listings). Veteran producer Michael Kirk ("The Torture Question," "The Dark Side") draws on one of the richest archives in broadcast journalism—more than 40 FRONTLINE reports on the war on terror. Combined with fresh reporting and new interviews, "Bush's War" will be the definitive documentary analysis of one of the most challenging periods in the nation's history.

Following the broadcast: a new TV/Web experience. View the entire "Bush's War" online, integrated with more than 100 video clips of key moments since 9/11, drawn from FRONTLINE's robust online video archive and integrated into a master annotated chronology of the war.
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March 24

PBS Frontline Television Documentary

"Bush's War" March 24 and 25

pbs.org/frontline/bushswar/

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: State Rep. Sally Kern
Capitol: (405) 557-7348

Kern Responds to Activist Criticisms

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City) issued the following statement today in response to the criticisms of homosexual activists who have objected to a recent speech she gave on their efforts to promote their agenda at both the federal and state level.

“To put this simply, as a Christian I believe homosexuality is not moral. Obviously, you have the right as an American to choose that lifestyle, but I also have the right to express my views and my fellow Oklahomans have the right to debate these issues.

“In recent years homosexual activists have begun to aggressively promote their agenda through the political process, often providing substantial financing to candidates who agree with their views, including many running for state legislative races. National publications such as Time, The Atlantic and USA Today have noted that trend. That is their right, just as it is my right to voice opposition to their agenda, which I have been asked to do at several public forums in recent months. That’s what democracy is all about. It appears some homosexual activists believe only one group is allowed a voice in this debate. I disagree.

“A vigorous debate on an issue is not ‘hate speech’ – it’s free speech. I have made clear my opposition to the agenda of homosexual activists, but I have never endorsed or supported any hateful action targeting individuals on the other side of this debate and never will. The fact that many gay rights activists claim anyone opposing their agenda is engaging in ‘hate speech’ says more about them than me.

“Most Oklahomans are socially conservative and believe marriage is a sacred institution, the union of one man and one woman, and that the traditional family is worth protecting and preserving. When I campaigned for office, I promised my constituents to stand up for those values, and I do not apologize for keeping my word.”

Top U.S. Defense Contractor registered its shell

companies as "foreign owned company"

CAYMAN ISLANDS: Top Iraq contractor skirts US taxes offshore

Shell companies in Cayman Islands allow KBR to avoid Medicare, Social Security deductions

CAYMAN ISLANDS - Kellogg Brown & Root, the nation's top Iraq war contractor and until last year a subsidiary of Halliburton Corp., has avoided paying hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Medicare and Social Security taxes by hiring workers through shell companies based in this tropical tax haven.

When Texas pipe-fitter Danny Langford applied for unemployment compensation after being let go by Service Employers International Inc., he was rejected, he was told, because he worked for a foreign company.

More than 21,000 people working for KBR in Iraq - including about 10,500 Americans - are listed as employees of two companies that exist in a computer file on the fourth floor of a building on a palm-studded boulevard here in the Caribbean. Neither company has an office or phone number in the Cayman Islands.

The Defense Department has known since at least 2004 that KBR was avoiding taxes by declaring its American workers as employees of Cayman Islands shell companies, and officials said the move allowed KBR to perform the work more cheaply, saving Defense dollars.

But the use of the loophole results in a significantly greater loss of revenue to the government as a whole, particularly to the Social Security and Medicare trust funds. And the creation of shell companies in places such as the Cayman Islands to avoid taxes has long been attacked by members of Congress.

A Globe survey found that the practice is unusual enough that only one other ma jor contractor in Iraq said it does something similar.

"Failing to contribute to Social Security and Medicare thousands of times over isn't shielding the taxpayers they claim to protect, it's costing our citizens in the name of short-term corporate greed," said Senator John F. Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee who has introduced legislation to close loopholes for companies registering overseas.

With an estimated $16 billion in contracts, KBR is by far the largest contractor in Iraq, with eight times the work of its nearest competitor.

more: www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=14962
The Boston Globe
March 6th, 2008

Defense contractor KBR charging triple for monogrammed white towels

In a hearing today on waste, fraud and abuse in Iraq, Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) said the defense contractor KBR, formerly of Halliburton, has been stamping its logo on towels given to U.S. troops. Dorgan said a contractor told him that he ordered plain white towels for troops, but the "superviser" said the towels must have the KBR logo on them — despite the cost to taxpayers: He said the problem is, that will triple or quadruple the price. His superviser said, 'doesn't matter. This is a cost-plus contract. Taxpayers pay for that.' So this is the towel the troops got, with KBR embroidered on it

ABOVE: "Enduring" or permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq.

The Don Siegelman Case

Television Black-out in Alabama

Kerry Requests FCC Investigation of Alabama Media Blackout of CBS's 60 Minutes

WASHINGTON, DC - Senator Kerry sent a letter to Kevin Martin, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission today, asking him to investigate an Alabama television station that "blacked out" during a controversial segment of 60 Minutes. Allegations have been raised that the blackout, which the station blames on "technical difficulties", was an example of censorship.

"The airwaves belong to the American people, and they have a right to know whether this blackout was the result of technical difficulties, or whether it was an act of censorship," said Sen. John Kerry. "I think a full and thorough investigation by the FCC is owed to the public, especially those in Alabama who, for whatever reason, tuned in to watch 60 Minutes and didn't get a chance to evaluate the fairness of this story on their own that night."

March 5, 2008

The Honorable Kevin J. Martin

Chairman

Federal Communications Commission

445 12th Street SW

Washington, DC 20554

Dear Chairman Martin:

According to recent press reports, on Sunday, February 24th, a segment of “60 Minutes” addressing the conviction of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman failed to air on WHNT-TV in Huntsville, Alabama. Instead of the regularly scheduled segment, viewers were subjected to several minutes of dead air. Following the completion of the segment, the station resumed its broadcast of “60 Minutes” without further incident.

Although the station reportedly blamed the black out on a technical malfunction, questions have been raised as to whether the nature of the content played a role.

I understand that you will be looking into the details of this incident, including the reason for the station’s failure to broadcast this segment. Upon the completion of your inquiry, I ask that you share your findings and conclusions with interested members of the congressional committees of jurisdiction, so that we will know that a complete inquiry has been conducted.

It is a fundamental responsibility of the Federal Communications Commission to ensure that broadcasters fulfill their duties as trustees of the public airwaves. As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, I will be monitoring this situation closely, and I look forward to the resolution of your inquiry.

Cc: The Honorable Michael J. Copps, FCC Commissioner

The Honorable Jonathan S. Adelstein, FCC Commissioner

The Honorable Deborah T. Tate, FCC Commissioner

The Honorable Robert M. McDowell, FCC Commissioner

CLICK THE ABOVE LINK





WHY THIS WEBSITE???



(written in December 2007)



This is a new and experimental attempt at a pre-emptive and grassroots campaign within the Democratic, liberal and progressive circles of the American electorate. People in these Democratic and progressive circles are witnessing, seemingly, a troubling and hasty effort by the mainstream media and other powerful types to nominate Hillary Clinton for president even before a single primary has taken place or before a single vote has been cast. The presidential primary system that used to be open, democratic and deliberative, and that used to winnow out candidates and select the front-runners, has given way to a media-driven, beauty-contest, horse-race frenzy that selects the front runner/nominee after just one or two primaries - this is the bad (and corrupting) system we have today.



Hillary is already amassing the monies for her Big Campaign. But rather than hold this fund-raising contest, let's hold an election!!! It would seem to me that a healthy debate and discussion of the issues facing the country within the Democratic Party and during the presidential primaries, would be much better for the party, the voters and the nation. Just a thought....

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