Countdown’s Keith Olbermann points out in a Special Comment that while John McCain might want to use Sarah Palin to hit Barack Obama below the belt and accuse him of terrorist associations, he overlooked the unfortunate fact that “pallin’ around with terrorists” is one area where Palin has more experience.
It’s hardly news that Time Magazine’s principal function is uncritically to amplify false claims from government officials, but this article by Massimo Calabresi — entitled “Behind the Compromise on Spying” — is such a masterpiece in spouting simplistic government propaganda and rank falsehoods that it is revealing on numerous levels.
McCain Refuses to Support Sen. Jim Webb’s and Chuck Hagel’s new GI Bill.
The bill, officially called the “Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2007”, would establish a program of educational assistance for members of the Armed Forces who serve in the Armed Forces after September 11, 2001.
Sen. Jim Webb has called on McCain to sign on as a co-sponsor to his GI bill
The bill has 51 co-sponsors – including 9 Republicans – but needs 60 co-sponsors to make it filibuster proof.
McCain Voted Against $19 Billion for Military Hospitals, Choosing Tax Cuts for Wealthiest Earners over Veterans.
In February 2006, McCain voted against an amendment that would have provided for at least $19 billion for military health facilities, paid for by eliminating tax cuts for the wealthiest earners.
*Senate Amendment 2735, Amendment failed.
McCain Voted Against Legislation to Provide $2.8 Billion For Medical Care for Veterans.
McCain voted against a 2006 Democratic amendment that would have provided $2.8 billion to increase veterans’ medical care.
*Senate Amendment 149, Amendment failed.
McCain Voted Against Establishing $1 Billion Trust Fund to Provide Improvements to Military and Veterans’ Health Facilities
McCain voted against an Amendment to establish a $1 billion trust fund to provide improvements to health facilities that treat veterans and military personnel paid for by allowing dividends and capital gains tax breaks, for those with incomes greater than $1 million to lapse on December 31, 2006.
*Senate Amendment 2735
McCain Chooses Corporations Over Veterans, Voting Against Adding $1.5 billion to Veterans’ Medical Services in 2007 Budget by Closing Corporate Tax Loopholes.
McCain voted against an Amendment offered by Democrats to increase medical services funding to veterans by $1.5 billion in 2007, to be paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes.
*Senate Amendment 3007
McCain Voted Against Mandatory Funding of $6.9 Billion in 2007 Budget and $104 Billion Over Five Years for Veterans’ Health Care.
McCain voted against a Democratic amendment to provide a mandatory stream of funding of $6.9 billion in Fiscal Year 2007 and $104 billion over five years for veterans’ health care; paid for by restoring the pre-2001 top tax rate for incomes over $1 million and closing various corporate tax loopholes.
Senate Amendment 3141
September 2007: McCain voted against the Webb amendment calling for adequate troop rest between deployments.
The legislation would have provided minimum periods between deployment of units and members of the Armed Forces deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
*Senate Amendment 2909
April 2006: McCain one of only 13 Senators to vote against $430 million for Medical Services for the Department of Veteran Affairs for outpatient care and treatment for veterans.
Despite his vote against, it passed overwhelmingly, 84-13 (3 not voting). All 13 voting against were Republicans.
*Senate Amendment 3642
October 2003: McCain voted against an amendment offered by Senator Dodd that called for an additional $322 million for safety equipment for troops in Iraq.
*Senate Amendment 1817
April 2003: McCain voted against an amendment that would have provided more than $1 billion for National Guard and Reserve equipment in Iraq related to a shortage of helmets, tents, bullet-proof inserts, and tactical vests.
*Senate Amendment 452
August 2001: McCain voted against increasing the amount available for medical care for veterans by $650 million.
*Senate Amendment 1218
Revisiting a long-standing debate over the controversial tax, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing where Chairman Max Baucus said he supports ending the estate tax, although he said he did not expect this to happen any time soon.
A federal intelligence court judge earlier this year secretly declared a key element of the Bush administration’s wiretapping efforts illegal, according to a lawmaker and government sources, providing a previously unstated rationale for fevered efforts by congressional lawmakers this week to expand the president’s spying powers.
Citing executive privilege, President George W. Bush on Wednesday rejected a subpoena for his close adviser Karl Rove to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee in a probe over fired federal prosecutors.
The committee had subpoenaed Rove to testify at a hearing on Thursday morning in its investigation of the firing last year of nine federal prosecutors, which critics said was prompted by partisan politics.
Welcome to Bizarro Congress. The past six months have been stuffed chockfull of triumphs and disappointments for the Democratic Party: bills denouncing the Iraq War, bills prolonging the Iraq War, bills calling the troops home, bills providing the funds to keep the troops in Iraq for up to three more years. The strange news? They’re all the same bill.
by Maya Schenwar
By Jonathan Weisman
The House gave final and overwhelming approval yesterday to a landmark bill that would tighten ethics and lobbying rules for Congress, forcing lawmakers to more fully detail how their campaigns are funded and how they direct government spending.
By Amy Goldstein and Carrie Johnson
The night before the government secured a guilty plea from the manufacturer of the addictive painkiller OxyContin, a senior Justice Department official called the U.S. attorney handling the case and, at the behest of an executive for the drugmaker, urged him to slow down, the prosecutor told the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday.
“Americans have been waiting months for Mr. Bush to fire Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who long ago proved that he was incompetent and more recently has proved that he can’t tell the truth. Mr. Bush refused to fire him after it was clear Mr. Gonzales lied about his role in the political purge of nine federal prosecutors. And he is still refusing to do so….
On reading the July 21 editorial “The Phony Debate,” it became clear why The Post’s editorial writers have been such eager cheerleaders for the Bush administration’s flawed Iraq policies — the two share the same disregard for the facts en route to drawing dubious conclusions.
by Harry Reid
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday issued a subpoena for top White House adviser Karl Rove to compel him to testify about the firing of several U.S. attorneys.
By Klaus Marre
By ERICA WERNER
“I defer to the Transportation Department,” EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson repeated three times in a row in response to questions from Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.
I attended the MoveOn.org rally on Tuesday night where Speaker Pelosi and Leader Reid discussed how they were going to “end the war” and “bring our troops home” with the Levin-Reed Amendment. When I asked if they meant all the troops, I was quickly told to, “shut up” and muscled aside by security. A fellow Marine Mom was treated in much the same manner and we couldn’t get over how much like the Republicans the “Anti-Escalation” folks were acting.
The White House, by proclaiming that it will not let the Justice Department pursue contempt charges against a former White House official who failed to comply with a congressional subpoena for information regarding the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, has declared the executive branch to be superior, rather than co-equal, to the other two branches of government. Congress must look for other avenues of redress to protect its oversight role.
The nation is heading toward a constitutional showdown over the Iraq war. Congress is moving closer to passing a bill to limit or end the war, but President Bush insists Congress doesn’t have the power to do it.
By JEFF KOSSEFF
WASHINGTON — Constituents called Rep. Peter DeFazio’s office, worried there was a conspiracy buried in the classified portion of a White House plan for operating the government after a terrorist attack.
As a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, DeFazio, D-Ore., is permitted to enter a secure “bubbleroom” in the Capitol and examine classified material. So he asked the White House to see the secret documents. On Wednesday, DeFazio got his answer: DENIED.
This morning, John Yoo, a Berkeley law school professor and former lawyer for the Bush administration, writes* on the WSJ op-ed page that the Democrats’ attack on Bush’s assertion of executive privilege shows a blatant disregard for the Constitution. And he says that President Clinton’s “personal recklessness” — he asserted the privilege during the Monica Lewinsky scandal — “undermined executive privilege for all future presidents. (via WSJ blog)
Someone is not telling the truth and it is incumbent on Congress to get to the bottom of this nonsense.
by Larry C Johnson
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has said that if three more Congress Members get behind impeachment he will start the impeachment proceedings.
Margaret Talev |
WASHINGTON — This year Senate Republicans are threatening filibusters to block more legislation than ever before, a pattern that’s rooted in — and could increase — the pettiness and dysfunction in Congress.
The Bush administration decided to announce to Washington Post reporters Dan Eggen and Amy Goldstein its view that it has the power to block the Justice Department, and its U.S. Attorneys, from criminally prosecuting Executive Branch employees who refuse to comply with Congressional subpoenas, notwithstanding a statute enacted by the American people through their Congress requiring such prosecution where Congress issues a contempt citation. We do not know who specifically in the administration announced this obviously radical position because the Post courteously granted them a shield of anonymity to hide behind. (more…)
By FRANK RICH
Published: July 22, 2007
IT’S not just the resurgence of Al Qaeda that is taking us back full circle to the fateful first summer of the Bush presidency. It’s the hot sweat emanating from Washington. Once again the capital is titillated by a scandal featuring a member of Congress, a woman who is not his wife and a rumor of crime.
Sen. Byrd: Dogfighting Is “Barbaric”
West Va. Democrat Says “Hottest Places In Hell” Reserved For Promoters
“We have no alternative except to keep them in session to explain their obstruction,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
By taking impeachment and an Iraq War fund cut-off off the table, Democratic leaders have handed George W. Bush victory in his showdown with Congress even as the battle is supposedly just being joined.
If the Democrats really want to prevail over Bush — both on his Iraq War policy and his assertion of expansive presidential powers — they have no choice but to consider an appropriations bill that limits war spending to what’s needed for an orderly withdrawal and to commence impeachment hearings against Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
How dare the Iraqi parliament take off a month in the middle of a war? Especially when our troops don’t get a recess in the heat? I agree. But then how is it okay for the US Congress to take their August recess?
By David Swanson
Here’s the situation Nancy Pelosi finds herself in. A full 54% of Americans and 76% of Democrats want Dick Cheney impeached. Cheney’s 13% favorability makes him the least popular president or vice president ever. The Washington Post reports that Republicans are turning against Cheney. By failing to act, the Democratic Congress has made itself less popular than Bush.
Here’s the LINK to watch Bill Moyers’ introduction report on Impeachment with John Nichols and Bruce Fein.
The legislation, sponsored by Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, would begin the responsible redeployment of U.S. troops within 120 days and complete redeployment by April 1, 2008. The President would have to report to Congress why troops should remain in Iraq for limited purposes such as to fight terrorism or to train Iraqi forces.
The White House has refused to give Congress documents about the death of former NFL player Pat Tillman, with White House counsel Fred F. Fielding saying that certain papers relating to discussion of the friendly-fire shooting “implicate Executive Branch confidentiality interests.”
“Neither Mr. Cheney or his staff is above the law or the Constitution,” Durbin said. “For the vice president to believe that he has no responsibility to meet this requirement of the law is a dereliction of duty.”
On Monday, Vitter apologized after it was revealed his telephone number appeared among those associated with an escort service in Washington D.C. operated by the so-called “D.C. Madam.” In an e-mail Monday night, Vitter apologized for a “very serious sin in my past.”
Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, ripped into George W. Bush on Monday after receiving a letter from White House Counsel Fred Fielding stating that Senate subpoenas for documents and staff testimony in the Justice Department political firings would be met with silence and a specious claim of executive privilege.
Democratic Senate candidate Al Franken raised nearly $2 million in the latest reporting period, pulling in more money than both his Democratic rival and the Republican incumbent, Sen. Norm Coleman.
Congressmen returning from their Independence Day
break are ready for battle with the White House, with Democrats decrying President Bush’s commutation of former aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s prison sentence and fighting Bush’s latest claim of executive privilege.
I wish them Godspeed if they actually do.
From National Public Radio, July 9, 2007
By Joel Rose
The cost of getting a magazine to your mailbox is rising. Just how much depends on which magazine. Small publications say they’re shouldering more than their share of the rate hike. They contend the biggest titles are getting a break. They’ve convinced Congress to hold hearings on the matter.
To listen to the segment, click here. (Audio 6:15)
Members of Congress plan to push measures to stop funding for the Guantanamo Bay detention center and grant new legal rights to detainees when Congress returns this week. “As long as Guantanamo stays open, it undermines our defining principles as a nation of equal justice under law,” said Rep Jim Moran, D-Va., author of a funding proposal that would give the Bush administration six months to close the Cuban facility.
Today on CNN’s Late Edition, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Arlen Specter (R-PA), the committee’s top Republican, announced that they were interested in calling Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to testify about the CIA leak investigation.
President Bush directed former aides to defy congressional subpoenas on Monday, claiming executive privilege and prodding lawmakers closer to their first contempt citations against administration officials since Ronald Reagan was president.
President Bush let Scooter Libby, the one man who was convicted for the lies around the Iraq war, go free.
And the obstruction of justice doesn’t stop there. The Senate recently subpoenaed documents from the Vice President’s office around the illegal wiretapping program and so far he has not complied. It’s clear this administration thinks it’s above the law. That’s un-American, and I think it’s time for Congress to hold them accountable.
I just signed a petition urging Congress to force Vice President Cheney to respond to its subpoenas. If he doesn’t, Congress has to begin impeachment proceedings against him. Can you join me by clicking the link below?
There are two ways to look at the growing confrontation between Congress and the White House over access to information.
Of the Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Mike Gravel is probably the least well recognized. His dark-horse candidacy may be the butt of jokes on the late-night comedy shows, but that doesn’t faze former Pentagon analyst Daniel Ellsberg: “Here is a senator who was not afraid to look foolish. That is the fear that keeps people in line all their lives.”
by Amy Goodman