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I have to say, in my 40 years on this planet I have never seen a more openly transparent and agreeable administration, determined to unite both sides of the political aisle and bond together every view across the ideological spectrum in an amalgam of peace, love, and hope and change.  Am I right?

What?  Oh… um… never mind.

“The White House has told Congress it will reject calls for many of President Obama’s policy czars to testify before Congress – a decision senators said goes against the president’s promises of transparency and openness and treads on Congress’ constitutional mandate to investigate the administration’s actions.”

What I mean to say is, in my 40 years on this planet I have never seen a more secretive and petty administration, determined to divide both sides of the political aisle and rend asunder every view across the ideological spectrum in an amalgam of disharmony, scorn, and hope and change (couldn’t really alter the last part as ‘hope n’ change’ has really become synonymous with insignificance.)

Now let’s take a look at this graphic from the Washington Post a little over a month ago…

GR2009091600074

Before anyone gets bent out of shape screaming, “Well, the evil Bush had over 40 czars, blar, blar, blar, Bush evil, blar, blar, blar,” take a close look at the above graphic.  Bush appointed 5 non-confirmed czar positions in his 8 years (which I still think should’ve been senate confirmed even if they didn’t enforce regulation, unlike the recently appointed Pay czar and Auto Recovery czar, each who did enforce regulation. And Van Jones, should he have floated under the radar, would’ve had tens of billions of dollars to spend while having no accountability to congress.) All the other czar positions during the Bush years were carry-overs from previous administrations.

Obama on the other hand has personally created 16 non-confirmed czars over the past sever or eight months who have no congressional accountability. They simply do what Obama wants. That’s a pretty significant disparity between Bush and Obama.  It does seems like an executive branch overreach and an apparent abuse of the checks and balances of our system.

Obama needs to stop being so secretive and divisive and start being what he promised: transparent and a reasonably cooperative uniter.

W.H. to Congress: Policy ‘czars’ won’t testify

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Little Green Footballs is fantastic. Hot Air is a revelation. Daily Kos is shame incarnate.

 

Old, but I’m late to the game anyway (even thought I’d been familiarized with the “screw you” incident for awhile now… Okay, so I didn’t find out about it day and date.) From Markos Moulitsas Zúniga commenting on Blackwater to his disgustingness’ exposition on Michelle Malkin (one of the coolest people to live in the northern hemisphere) to his sickening note on the death of four American compatriots.

Pathetic…

Hi! I’m Kos. I’m loved by several thousand useful idiots! I’m the star of this particular blog entry. To everyone who’s reading this, I hate you!

Kos on Blackwater: Still “screw them” after all these years

posted at 4:10 pm on October 6, 2007 by Allahpundit
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He doesn’t have the stones to clearly reiterate what he said three years ago, just like he didn’t have the stones earlier this year to say outright that he hoped Michelle would be killed during her trip to Iraq even while gleefully imagining the conditions under which that scenario would surely come to pass. The face of the new center of the Democratic Party can’t be seen wishing death on people, no matter how apparent it is that he wishes death on people. So he has to stick to oblique nonsense like this, which tacitly reaffirms the “screw them” comment by spinning it as a defense of the troops instead of the ghoulish callousness towards an atrocity perpetrated upon four of his countrymen that it actually is.

Given the choice, the wingnuts always choose Blackwater over our own troops. They’re not on the same side, and haven’t been ever.

“It was obviously excessive, it was obviously wrong,” said the U.S. military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the incident remains the subject of several investigations. “The civilians that were fired upon, they didn’t have any weapons to fire back at them. And none of the IP (Iraqi Police) or any of the local security forces fired back at them.”

The whole “screw them” thing four [sic] years ago was exactly that — the wingers were more outraged over four Blackwater mercenaries killed than they were about the five Marines that had died that very same day.

He doesn’t believe that — there’s no sane reason why anyone, left, right, or center, would feel worse about the death of a contractor than an American soldier — but the recent Blackwater shooting gives him an opportunity to do damage control on his most notorious political gaffe and he’s taking advantage. At the risk of stating the obvious, the reason the Fallujah incident got so much press was because of the gruesomeness of the attack and the relish that was taken by the enemy in perpetrating it; the same is true for the atrocity committed against Tucker and Menchaca last year. Only a nutroots reptile could be so cold-blooded as not to feel affronted by the scene of four Americans being burned and hung from a bridge while local insurgents celebrated for the cameras, but that’s what this cretin is so that’s how he responds. According to iCasualties, fully 1,001 contractors had been killed in Iraq as of June 30. I’ve been reading blogs since 2002 and while I’ve seen plenty of tributes to fallen soldiers, the only mentions I’ve ever seen of dead contractors have to do with the four killed in the atrocity at Fallujah. Which, needless to say, is an odd quirk for “wingers” allegedly obsessed with protecting their precious heroes from Blackwater.

Update: So much do the Kossacks love our troops that they take steaming dumps on Bronze Star winners.

 

Here’s one of the aforementioned useful idiots now! And ME of course! YAY!

Kos: It’d be “splendid” if Malkin had no security in Iraq Update: More reaction

posted at 4:57 pm on December 14, 2006 by Ian
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“Screw them” Kos thinks it would be a “splendid idea” if Michelle leaves the Green Zone without security in her possible upcoming trip to Iraq.

Because only that way will her reporting be fully informed.

Why? Did you think he had another reason in mind?

Greg Sargent has a problem with Eason Jordan going to Iraq with Michelle Malkin. I think it’s a splendid idea. So long as they leave the Green Zone, and without security detail that puts a single US soldier in harm’s way. I mean, things are so splendid and it’s just like Philly and there’s all those great new schools! They’ll be perfectly safe, I’m sure.

This comes from the “man” who said “screw them” to a group of contractors who were savagely beaten and murdered in Iraq in 2004.

The Political Pitbull has posted reaction from other liberals blogs, including our friends at Crooks & Liars.

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One of the most despicable websites ever birthed from the deepest, darkest depths of internet.

Daily Kos Gloats Over Fallujah
Thu, Apr 1, 2004 at 8:45:19 pm PST

Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, also known as “Daily Kos,” couldn’t restrain his joy over the gruesome deaths of four of his fellow citizens yesterday, and expressed one of the ugliest sentiments I’ve seen yet on the lefty blogs (and that’s really saying something). His foul pronouncement is in the topic: Corpses on the Cover.

Let the people see what war is like. This isn’t an Xbox game. There are real repercussions to Bush’s folly.

That said, I feel nothing over the death of merceneries. They aren’t in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.

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Kos. Daily Kos. I’m here to save you from yourself because you don’t know any better.

Every death should be on the front page (2.70 / 40)

Let the people see what war is like. This isn’t an Xbox game. There are real repercussions to Bush’s folly. That said, I feel nothing over the death of merceneries. They aren’t in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.

by kos on Thu Apr 01, 2004 at 12:08:56 PM PDT

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Simply, chalk one up for the good guys.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., called the vote “a victory for fear- mongering and obstruction over a bipartisan commitment to fix our broken immigration system.”

Yeah, Kerry would say that. It all comes down to fear-mongering. That’s it. And should we feel comfortable when something as controversial as amnesty becomes greatly bi-partisan? Of course not. When a few senators secretly scheme behind closed doors in order to concoct something as dangerous and damaging as was this immigration reform bill, then personally attack those who are against it while rigorously rushing to move it through the legislative process as quickly as possible, shoving it down our throats, we should suspect that perhaps something else could be cooking behind the scenes.

Regardless, thanks to millions of Americans who actually care for the sovereignty of their country by committed pestering of their elected officials, this bill will not go through, and Bush’s arrogant statement, “I’ll see you at the signing ceremony” will not come to pass. His legacy is dead. Thank God.

Border security first!

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Hardly

Senate Blocks Immigration Bill

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate drove a stake Thursday through President Bush’s plan to legalize millions of unlawful immigrants, likely postponing major action on immigration until after the 2008 elections.

The bill’s supporters fell 14 votes short of the 60 needed to limit debate and clear the way for final passage of the legislation, which critics assailed as offering amnesty to illegal immigrants. The vote was 46 to 53 in favor of limiting the debate.

Senators in both parties said the issue is so volatile that Congress is highly unlikely to revisit it this fall or next year, when the presidential election will increasingly dominate American politics.

A similar effort collapsed in the Congress last year, and the House has not bothered with an immigration bill this year, awaiting Senate action.

The vote was a stinging setback for Bush, who advocated the bill as an imperfect but necessary fix of current immigration practices in which many illegal immigrants use forged documents or lapsed visas to live and work in the United States.

It was a victory for Republican conservatives who strongly criticized the bill’s provisions that would have established pathways to lawful status for many of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. They were aided by talk radio and TV hosts who repeatedly attacked the bill and urged listeners to flood Congress with calls, faxes and e-mails.

Voting to allow the bill to proceed by ending debate were 33 Democrats, 12 Republicans and independent Joe Lieberman, Conn. Voting to block the bill by not limiting debate were 37 Republicans, 15 Democrats and independent Bernard Sanders, Vt. Tim Johnson, D-S.C., did not vote.

The bill would have toughened border security and instituted a new system for weeding out illegal immigrants from workplaces. It would have created a new guest worker program and allowed millions of illegal immigrants to obtain legal status if they briefly returned home.

Bush, making a last-ditch bid to salvage the bill, called senators early Thursday morning to urge their support. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez approached senators as they entered and left the chamber shortly before the vote.

“We have been in contact with members of Congress over the past couple of days and the president has made it clear that this is important to him,” White House spokesman Tony Snow said before the vote.

But conservatives from Bush’s own party led the opposition. They repeatedly said the government must secure the borders before allowing millions of illegal aliens a path to legal status.

“Americans feel that they are losing their country … to a government that has seemed to not have the competence or the ability to carry out the things that it says it will do,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

Sen. Elizabeth H. Dole, R-N.C., said many Americans “don’t have confidence” that borders, especially with Mexico, will be significantly tightened. “It’s not just promises but proof that the American people want,” Dole said.

But the bill’s backers said border security and accommodations to illegal immigrants must go hand in hand.

“Year after year, we’ve had the broken borders,” said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. “Year after year, we’ve seen the exploitation of workers.”

After the vote, he said: “It is now clear that we are not going to complete our work on immigration reform. That is enormously disappointing for Congress and for the country.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told colleagues that if the bill faltered, the political climate almost surely would not allow a serious reconsideration until 2009 or later. It would be highly unlikely, she said, “in the next few years to fix the existing system … . We are so close.”

From the beginning, the bill’s most forceful opponents were southern Republicans. GOP Sens. David Vitter of Louisiana, Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Jeff Sessions of Alabama led the charge, often backed by Texan John Cornyn.

Two southern Republicans—Lindsey Graham, S.C., and Mel Martinez, Fla., who was born in Cuba—supported it.

Also crucial to the bill’s demise was opposition from three Democrats recently elected from GOP-leaning states. They were Jon Tester of Montana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Jim Webb of Virginia.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., called the vote “a victory for fear- mongering and obstruction over a bipartisan commitment to fix our broken immigration system.”

 

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Thank you for your demand. Unfortunately for you, it isn’t happening.

U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 110th Congress – 1st Session

as compiled through Senate LIS by the Senate Bill Clerk under the direction of the Secretary of the Senate

Vote Summary

Question: On the Cloture Motion (Motion to Invoke Cloture on S.1639 )
Vote Number: 235 Vote Date: June 28, 2007, 11:04 AM
Required For Majority: 3/5 Vote Result: Cloture Motion Rejected
Measure Number: S. 1639
Measure Title: A bill to provide for comprehensive immigration reform and for other purposes.
Vote Counts: YEAs 46
  NAYs 53
  Not Voting 1
Vote Summary By Senator Name By Vote Position By Home State

Alphabetical by Senator Name

Akaka (D-HI), Yea
Alexander (R-TN), Nay
Allard (R-CO), Nay
Barrasso (R-WY), Nay
Baucus (D-MT), Nay
Bayh (D-IN), Nay
Bennett (R-UT), Yea
Biden (D-DE), Yea
Bingaman (D-NM), Nay
Bond (R-MO), Nay
Boxer (D-CA), Yea
Brown (D-OH), Nay
Brownback (R-KS), Nay
Bunning (R-KY), Nay
Burr (R-NC), Nay
Byrd (D-WV), Nay
Cantwell (D-WA), Yea
Cardin (D-MD), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Nay
Clinton (D-NY), Yea
Coburn (R-OK), Nay
Cochran (R-MS), Nay
Coleman (R-MN), Nay
Collins (R-ME), Nay
Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Nay
Cornyn (R-TX), Nay
Craig (R-ID), Yea
Crapo (R-ID), Nay
DeMint (R-SC), Nay
Dodd (D-CT), Yea
Dole (R-NC), Nay
Domenici (R-NM), Nay
Dorgan (D-ND), Nay
Durbin (D-IL), Yea
Ensign (R-NV), Nay
Enzi (R-WY), Nay
Feingold (D-WI), Yea
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Yea
Grassley (R-IA), Nay
Gregg (R-NH), Yea
Hagel (R-NE), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Nay
Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Johnson (D-SD), Not Voting
Kennedy (D-MA), Yea
Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Kyl (R-AZ), Yea
Landrieu (D-LA), Nay
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea
Leahy (D-VT), Yea
Levin (D-MI), Yea
Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
Lott (R-MS), Yea
Lugar (R-IN), Yea
Martinez (R-FL), Yea
McCain (R-AZ), Yea
McCaskill (D-MO), Nay
McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Murkowski (R-AK), Nay
Murray (D-WA), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Nelson (D-NE), Nay
Obama (D-IL), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Nay
Reed (D-RI), Yea
Reid (D-NV), Yea
Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Rockefeller (D-WV), Nay
Salazar (D-CO), Yea
Sanders (I-VT), Nay
Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Sessions (R-AL), Nay
Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Smith (R-OR), Nay
Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Specter (R-PA), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Nay
Stevens (R-AK), Nay
Sununu (R-NH), Nay
Tester (D-MT), Nay
Thune (R-SD), Nay
Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Voinovich (R-OH), Nay
Warner (R-VA), Nay
Webb (D-VA), Nay
Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
Wyden (D-OR), Yea
Vote Summary By Senator Name By Vote Position By Home State

Grouped By Vote Position

YEAs —46
NAYs —53
Not Voting – 1
Vote Summary By Senator Name By Vote Position By Home State

Grouped by Home State

Alabama: Sessions (R-AL), Nay Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Alaska: Murkowski (R-AK), Nay Stevens (R-AK), Nay
Arizona: Kyl (R-AZ), Yea McCain (R-AZ), Yea
Arkansas: Lincoln (D-AR), Yea Pryor (D-AR), Nay
California: Boxer (D-CA), Yea Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Colorado: Allard (R-CO), Nay Salazar (D-CO), Yea
Connecticut: Dodd (D-CT), Yea Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
Delaware: Biden (D-DE), Yea Carper (D-DE), Yea
Florida: Martinez (R-FL), Yea Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Georgia: Chambliss (R-GA), Nay Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Hawaii: Akaka (D-HI), Yea Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Idaho: Craig (R-ID), Yea Crapo (R-ID), Nay
Illinois: Durbin (D-IL), Yea Obama (D-IL), Yea
Indiana: Bayh (D-IN), Nay Lugar (R-IN), Yea
Iowa: Grassley (R-IA), Nay Harkin (D-IA), Nay
Kansas: Brownback (R-KS), Nay Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Kentucky: Bunning (R-KY), Nay McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Louisiana: Landrieu (D-LA), Nay Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Maine: Collins (R-ME), Nay Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Maryland: Cardin (D-MD), Yea Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Massachusetts: Kennedy (D-MA), Yea Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Michigan: Levin (D-MI), Yea Stabenow (D-MI), Nay
Minnesota: Coleman (R-MN), Nay Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Mississippi: Cochran (R-MS), Nay Lott (R-MS), Yea
Missouri: Bond (R-MO), Nay McCaskill (D-MO), Nay
Montana: Baucus (D-MT), Nay Tester (D-MT), Nay
Nebraska: Hagel (R-NE), Yea Nelson (D-NE), Nay
Nevada: Ensign (R-NV), Nay Reid (D-NV), Yea
New Hampshire: Gregg (R-NH), Yea Sununu (R-NH), Nay
New Jersey: Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
New Mexico: Bingaman (D-NM), Nay Domenici (R-NM), Nay
New York: Clinton (D-NY), Yea Schumer (D-NY), Yea
North Carolina: Burr (R-NC), Nay Dole (R-NC), Nay
North Dakota: Conrad (D-ND), Yea Dorgan (D-ND), Nay
Ohio: Brown (D-OH), Nay Voinovich (R-OH), Nay
Oklahoma: Coburn (R-OK), Nay Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Oregon: Smith (R-OR), Nay Wyden (D-OR), Yea
Pennsylvania: Casey (D-PA), Yea Specter (R-PA), Yea
Rhode Island: Reed (D-RI), Yea Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
South Carolina: DeMint (R-SC), Nay Graham (R-SC), Yea
South Dakota: Johnson (D-SD), Not Voting Thune (R-SD), Nay
Tennessee: Alexander (R-TN), Nay Corker (R-TN), Nay
Texas: Cornyn (R-TX), Nay Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Utah: Bennett (R-UT), Yea Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Vermont: Leahy (D-VT), Yea Sanders (I-VT), Nay
Virginia: Warner (R-VA), Nay Webb (D-VA), Nay
Washington: Cantwell (D-WA), Yea Murray (D-WA), Yea
West Virginia: Byrd (D-WV), Nay Rockefeller (D-WV), Nay
Wisconsin: Feingold (D-WI), Yea Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Wyoming: Barrasso (R-WY), Nay Enzi (R-WY), Na

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When nutroot pundits can’t see the forest for the trees, it comes as no surprise when left-wing dilettante’s frantically politicize tragic events for their own ignominious ends. Indeed, it is tragic when seven oblivious children acting as human sacrifices are strategically placed to assure their deaths in order to demonstrate the supposed barbarity of U.S. led forces. Unfortunately, once the children have been killed, the grim incident becomes a soapbox upon which al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the far-left can beat their chests and accuse Bush (again, can’t stand the man) of child murder, shamefully glamorizing it as a reason to unilaterally pull-out of the Middle East.

While I have heard much from the left on the above incident that transpired last week in eastern Afghanistan–a grievous misfortune for which our military officials should be held accountable–I have seen little mention of the abhorrent story reproduced below. To me it often seems liberals, with forethought, ignore palpable and real-life nightmares (intentionally and deceptively placed at the feet of children in this instance) by those the left feels the need to humanize–namely Islamic jihadists who are doing nothing more than following in the footsteps of the prophet, Muhammad.

The below Associated Press story is potent enough to bring a tear to your eye, unless perhaps it does nothing to foment disgust in the United States military. If that’s the case, then there is no hope for you and your own humanity. Way to be a good dhimmi.

Photo

Afghan boy Juma Gul, 6, sits on a table surrounded by elders during a gathering at a joint U.S.-Afghan military command center in Andar district of Ghazni province, west of Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday, June 23, 2007. The story of Juma Gul, who says he thwarted an effort by Taliban militants to trick him into carrying out a suicide bombing against U.S. troops provoked tears and anger at a weekend meeting of tribal leaders. Though the Taliban dismissed the story as propaganda, at a time when U.S. and NATO forces are under increasing criticism over civilian casualties, both Afghan tribal elders and U.S. military officers said they were convinced by his dramatic account. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

Boy: Taliban recruited me to bomb troops

By JASON STRAZIUSO, Associated Press Writer

FORWARD OPERATING BASE THUNDER, Afghanistan – The story of a 6-year-old Afghan boy who says he thwarted an effort by Taliban militants to trick him into being a suicide bomber provoked tears and anger at a meeting of tribal leaders.

The account from Juma Gul, a dirt-caked child who collects scrap metal for money, left American soldiers dumbfounded that a youngster could be sent on such a mission. Afghan troops crowded around the boy to call him a hero.

Though the Taliban dismissed the story as propaganda, at a time when U.S. and NATO forces are under increasing criticism over civilian casualties, both Afghan tribal elders and U.S. military officers said they were convinced by his dramatic account.

Juma said that sometime last month Taliban fighters forced him to wear a vest they said would spray out flowers when he touched a button. He said they told him that when he saw American soldiers, “throw your body at them.”

The militants cornered Juma in a Taliban-controlled district in southern Afghanistan’s Ghazni province. Their target was an impoverished youngster being raised by an older sister — but also one who proved too street-smart for their plan.

“When they first put the vest on my body I didn’t know what to think, but then I felt the bomb,” Juma told The Associated Press as he ate lamb and rice after being introduced to the elders at this joint U.S.-Afghan base in Ghazni. “After I figured out it was a bomb, I went to the Afghan soldiers for help.”

While Juma’s story could not be independently verified, local government leaders backed his account and the U.S. and NATO military missions said they believed his story.

Abdul Rahim Deciwal, the chief administrator for Juma’s village of Athul, brought the boy and an older brother, Dad Gul, to a weekend meeting between Afghan elders and U.S. Army Col. Martin P. Schweitzer.

Schweitzer called the Taliban’s attempt “a cowardly act.”

As Deciwal told Juma’s story, 20 Afghan elders repeatedly clicked their tongues in sadness and disapproval. When the boy and his brother were brought in, several of the turban-wearing men welled up, wiping their eyes with handkerchiefs.

“If anybody has a heart, then how can you control yourself (before) these kids?” Deciwal said in broken English.

Wallets quickly opened, and the boys were handed $60 in American and Afghan currency — a good chunk of money in a country where teachers and police earn $70 a month.

Afghan officials described the boys as extremely poor, and Juma said he is being raised by his sister because his father works in a bakery in Pakistan and his mother lives and does domestic work in another village.

“I think the boy is intelligent,” Deciwal said. “When he comes from the enemy he found a checkpoint of the ANA (Afghan National Army), and he asked the ANA: ‘Hey, can you help me? Somebody gave me this jacket and I don’t know what’s inside but maybe something bad.'”

Lt. Col. George Graff, a father of five who attended the meeting, also teared up.

“Relating to them as a father and trying to fathom somebody using one of my children for that kind of a purpose, jeez, it just tore me up,” said Graff, a National Guard soldier from St. George, Utah. “The depths that these people will go to get what they want, which is power for themselves — it’s just disgusting.”

A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousef Ahmadi, denied the militant group uses child fighters, saying it has hundreds of adults ready for suicide missions.

“We don’t need to use a child,” Ahmadi told the AP by satellite phone. “It’s against Islamic law, it’s against humanitarian law. This is just propaganda against the Taliban.”

However, a gory Taliban video that surfaced in April showed militants instructing a boy of about 12 as he beheaded an alleged traitor with a large knife. U.N. officials condemned the act as a war crime.

Fidgety but smiling during all the attention, Juma told the AP that he had been scared when he was surrounded by Taliban fighters. He cupped his hands together to show the size of the bomb, then ran his hands along his waist to show where it was on his body.

A fan of soccer, Juma said his favorite subject in school is Pashto, his native language, but he also showed off a little English, shyly counting “1, 2, 3” before breaking out in an oversize smile.

Raised in a country where birthdays are not always carefully tracked, Juma said he is 4. But he looks older and Afghan officials said he is about 6. His brother appears to be a year or so older.

Their village lies in Ghazni province’s Andar district, a Taliban stronghold targeted this month in a joint Afghan-U.S. operation. The region remains dangerous and Afghan elders worry for Juma’s safety.

Maj. John Thomas, a spokesman for NATO‘s International Security Assistance Force, said he was “a bit skeptical” about Juma’s story at first, “but everything I’ve heard makes me more and more comfortable.”

Thomas said the case would force soldiers to think twice before assuming children are safe.

“This is one incident. We hope it doesn’t repeat itself. But it gives us reason to pause, to be extra careful,” he said. “We want to publicize this as much as we can to the Afghan people so that they can protect their children from these killers.”

Col. Sayed Waqef Shah, a religious and cultural affairs officer for the Afghan army, wiped away tears after seeing Juma. “Whenever I see this kind of action from the Taliban, if I am able to arrest them, I’ll kill them on the spot,” he said.

Haji Niaz Mohammad, one of the elders at the gathering, said he hoped “God makes the Afghan government strong” so it can defeat the Taliban.

“They are the enemy of Muslims and the enemy of the children,” he said, shaking his fists in anger.

Photo

Afghan boy Juma Gul 6, drinks during lunch at a joint US-Afghan military command center in Andar district of Ghazni province, west of Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday, June 23, 2007. The story of Juma Gul, who says he thwarted an effort by Taliban militants to trick him into carrying out a suicide bombing against U.S. troops provoked tears and anger at a weekend meeting of tribal leaders. Though the Taliban dismissed the story as propaganda, at a time when U.S. and NATO forces are under increasing criticism over civilian casualties, both Afghan tribal elders and U.S. military officers said they were convinced by his dramatic account. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

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The current immigration legislation debacle has hit a snag. A small victory has been achieved–postponement of a vote–largely due to riled American citizens calling and writing their congressmen and senators with indignant outrage focused on the measure itself and just about every member of the house and the senate whether they approve of the legislation or not. The legal, tax-paying individuals and families of the United States are justifiably vexed to say the least, and we are taking no prisoners with our elected officials–those who work for us–by threatening their future electability should they support such a flamboyant mockery of the legislative process embodied in the current immigration reform bill that would end up costing Americans massive amounts of their own money were it to fast-track its way through the senate as McCain, Kennedy, and Bush had hoped (to avert inevitable debate and eventual failure.)

But just how much would this legislation end up costing taxpayers? Millions? Billions? Try almost two and a half trillion dollars. This is money American citizens pay into the government in order to receive benefits in the form of social security, Medicare, unemployment, public education (the largest expenditure for state and local governments), general welfare, and much, much more. Now the senate wants to pass a law that would forgive and reward 15 to 20 million illegal aliens, allowing them instant access to legally obtaining the above benefits, without having paid into those programs during their years and decades living in the United States criminally. They have paid nothing in, but they will instantly have access to those benefits should the amnesty move forward and become law.

Welfare expert, Robert E. Rector from The Heritage Foundation has written an exhaustively thorough piece concerning this very issue. The recently concluded study, The Fiscal Cost of Low-Skill Immigrants to the U.S. Taxpayer (below in part), provides some startling statistics.

“On average, low-skill immigrant households re­ceived $30,160 per household in immediate govern­ment benefits and services in FY 2004, including direct benefits, means-tested benefits, education, and popula­tion-based services. By contrast, low-skill immigrant households paid only $10,573 in taxes. Thus, low-skill immigrant households received nearly three dollars in benefits and services for each dollar in taxes paid.” [emphasis added]

Now multiply that by millions upon millions of illegal aliens. While I don’t find this finding surprising, three dollars in benefits for every one dollar paid into the system (assuming illegals are actually paying taxes as most of them are likely not, making this even worse) should be a distressing revelation to those who are detrimentally on the fence with this issue, but it should also exist as a pre-apocalyptic kicker to the open borders lobby. If their desire is to seek the ruin of the United States by importing the world’s poverty, then it seems clear the immigration legislation currently under debate would be the way to do it.

Still, the delay of a vote on the legislation postponed until after Memorial day is a win for America, and can doubtlessly be attributed to all of the legal citizens who called in and voiced their displeasure over this travesty of ‘law.’ This does not mean we can rest. It simply means we have more time to keep calling and more time to keep pestering our elected officials–more time to bully them into killing this immigration reform perversion.

https://i2.wp.com/www.heritage.org/research/immigration/images/sr14_chart4-lg.jpg

May 22, 2007

The Fiscal Cost of Low-Skill Immigrants to the U.S. Taxpayer

by Robert E. Rector and Christine Kim

Special Report #14

 

 

Each year, families and individuals pay taxes to the government and receive back a wide variety of services and benefits. A fiscal deficit occurs when the benefits and services received by one group exceed the taxes paid. When such a deficit occurs, other groups must pay for the services and benefits of the group in deficit. Each year, govern­ment is involved in a large-scale transfer of resources between different social groups.

Fiscal distribution analysis measures the distribution of total government benefits and taxes in society. It pro­vides an assessment of the magnitude of government transfers between groups. This paper provides a fiscal distri­bution analysis of households headed by immigrants without a high school diploma. It measures the total benefits and services received by this group and the total taxes paid. The difference between benefits received and taxes paid represents the total resources transferred by government on behalf of this group from the rest of society.

The first step in an analysis of the distribution of benefits and taxes is to count accurately the cost of all benefits and services provided by the government. The size and cost of government is far larger than many people imagine. In fiscal year (FY) 2004, the expenditures of the federal government were $2.3 trillion. In the same year, expendi­tures of state and local governments were $1.45 trillion. The combined value of federal, state, and local expenditures in FY 2004 was $3.75 trillion.[1]

The sum of $3.75 trillion is so large that it is difficult to comprehend. One way to grasp the size of government more readily is to calculate average expenditures per household. In 2004, there were some 115 million households in the U.S.[2] (This figure includes multi-person families and single persons living alone.) The average cost of govern­ment spending thus amounted to $32,707 per household across the U.S. population.[3]

The $3.75 trillion in government expenditure is not free, but must be paid for by taxing or borrowing economic resources from Americans or by borrowing from abroad. In general, government expenditures are funded by taxes and fees. In FY 2004, federal taxes amounted to $1.82 trillion. State and local taxes and related revenues amounted to $1.6 trillion.[4] Together, federal, state, and local taxes amounted to $3.43 trillion. At $3.43 trillion, taxes and related revenues came to 91 percent of the $3.75 trillion in expenditures. The gap between taxes and spending was financed by government borrowing.

Types of Government Expenditure

After the full cost of government benefits and services has been determined, the next step in the analysis of the distribution of benefits and taxes is to determine the beneficiaries of specific government programs. Some programs, such as Social Security, neatly parcel out benefits to specific individuals. With programs such as these, it is relatively easy to determine the identity of the beneficiary and the cost of the benefit provided. At the opposite extreme, other government programs (for example, medical research at the National Institutes of Health) do not neatly parcel out benefits to individuals. Determining the proper allocation of the benefits of that type of program is more difficult.

To ascertain most accurately the distribution of government benefits and services, this study begins by divid­ing government expenditures into six categories: direct benefits, means-tested benefits, educational services, pop­ulation-based services, interest and other financial obligations resulting from prior government activity, and pure public goods.

Direct Benefits

Direct benefit programs involve either cash transfers or the purchase of specific services for an individual. Unlike means-tested programs (described below), direct benefit programs are not limited to low-income persons. By far the largest direct benefit programs are Social Security and Medicare. Other substantial direct benefit programs are Unemployment Insurance and Workmen’s Compensation.

Direct benefit programs involve a fairly transparent transfer of economic resources. The benefits are parceled out discretely to individuals in the population; both the recipient and the cost of the benefit are relatively easy to deter­mine. In the case of Social Security, the cost of the benefit would equal the value of the Social Security check plus the administrative costs involved in delivering the benefit.

Calculating the cost of Medicare services is more complex. Ordinarily, government does not seek to compute the particular medical services received by an individual. Instead, government counts the cost of Medicare for an individual as equal to the average per capita cost of Medicare services. (This number equals the total cost of Medicare services divided by the total number of recipients.)[5] Overall, government spent $840 billion on direct benefits in FY 2004.

Means-Tested Benefits

Means-tested programs are typically termed welfare programs. Unlike direct benefits, means-tested programs are available only to households below specific income thresholds. Means-tested welfare programs provide cash, food, housing, medical care, and social services to poor and low-income persons.

The federal government operates over 60 means-tested aid programs.[6] The largest of these are Medicaid; the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); food stamps; Supplemental Security Income (SSI); Section 8 housing; public housing; Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF); the school lunch and breakfast programs; the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) nutrition program; and the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG). Many means-tested programs, such as SSI and the EITC, provide cash to recipients. Others, such as public housing or SSBG, pay for ser­vices that are provided to recipients.

The value of Medicaid benefits is usually counted in a manner similar to Medicare benefits. Government does not attempt to itemize the specific medical services given to an individual; instead, it computes an average per capita cost of services to individuals in different beneficiary categories such as children, elderly persons, and disabled adults. (The average per capita cost for a particular group is determined by dividing the total expenditures on the group by the total number of beneficiaries in the group.) Overall, the U.S. spent $564 billion on means-tested aid in FY 2004.[7]

Public Education

Government provides primary, secondary, post-secondary, and vocational education to individuals. In most cases, the government pays directly for the cost of educational services provided. In other cases, such as the Pell Grant program, the government in effect provides money to an eligible individual who then spends it on educational services.

Education is the single largest component of state and local government spending, absorbing roughly a third of all state and local expenditures. The average per pupil cost of public primary and secondary education is now around $9,600 per year. Overall, federal, state, and local governments spent $590 billion on education in FY 2004.

Population-Based Services

Whereas direct benefits, means-tested benefits, and education services provide discrete benefits and services to particular individuals, population-based programs generally provide services to a whole group or community. Pop­ulation-based expenditures include police and fire protection, courts, parks, sanitation, and food safety and health inspections. Another important population-based expenditure is transportation, especially roads and highways.

A key feature of population-based expenditures is that such programs generally need to expand as the popula­tion of a community expands. (This quality separates them from pure public goods, described below.) For example, as the population of a community increases, the number of police and firemen will generally need to expand in pro­portion.

In its study of the fiscal costs of immigration, The New Americans, the National Academy of Sciences argued that if service remains fixed while the population increases, a program will become “congested,” and the quality of service for users will deteriorate. Thus, the NAS uses the term “congestible goods” to describe population-based services.[8] High­ways are an obvious example of this point. In general, the cost of population-based services can be allocated according to an individual’s estimated utilization of the service or at a flat per capita cost across the relevant population.

A sub-category of population-based services is government administrative support functions such as tax collec­tions and legislative activities. Few taxpayers view tax collection as a government benefit; therefore, assigning the cost of this “benefit” appears problematic.

The solution to this dilemma is to conceptualize government activities into two categories: primary functions and secondary functions. Primary functions provide benefits directly to the public; they include direct and means-tested benefits, education, ordinary population-based services such as police and parks and public goods. By con­trast, secondary or support functions do not provide direct benefits to the public but do provide necessary support services that enable the government to perform primary functions. For example, no one can receive food stamp ben­efits unless the government first collects taxes to fund the program. Secondary functions can thus be considered an inherent part of the “cost of production” of primary functions, and the benefits of secondary support functions can be allocated among the population in proportion to the allocation of benefits from government primary functions.

Government spent $662 billion on population-based services in FY 2004. Of this amount, some $546 billion went for ordinary services such as police and parks, and $116 billion went for administrative support functions.

MORE…

https://i1.wp.com/www.150.si.edu/smithexb/images/senate-1.jpg

 Senate Puts Off Action on Immigration

May 22, 4:27 AM (ET)
By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS

WASHINGTON (AP) – Senate leaders agreed Monday that they would wait until June to take final action on a bipartisan plan to give millions of unlawful immigrants legal status.

The measure, which also tightens border security and workplace enforcement measures, unites a group of influential liberals, centrists and conservatives and has White House backing, but it has drawn criticism from across the political spectrum. In a nod to that opposition, Senate leaders won’t seek to complete it before a hoped-for Memorial Day deadline.

“It would be to the best interests of the Senate … that we not try to finish this bill this week,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., as the chamber began debate on the volatile issue. “I think we could, but I’m afraid the conclusion wouldn’t be anything that anyone wanted.”

The bipartisan compromise cleared its first hurdle Monday with a bipartisan Senate vote to begin debate on a separate immigration measure. Still, it faces significant obstacles as lawmakers seek dozens of modifications to its key elements.

(AP) Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., center, accompanied by Sen. Jeff Session, R-Ala., left, and Rep. Brian…
Full Image

Republicans want to make the bill tougher on the nation’s estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. Democrats want to change a new temporary worker program and reorder priorities in a merit-based system for future immigration that weights employability over family ties.

The unlikely coalition that brokered the deal, led by Sens. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., is plotting to protect the agreement from “deal-breaker” changes that would sap its support. The group will hold daily meetings starting Tuesday to determine whether proposed revisions would sink what they are calling their “grand bargain.”

“We have to try our very best to work together to get something that will actually pass,” Kyl said.

Among the first changes to be debated will be a proposal by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., to shrink the temporary worker program created by the compromise plan. Some lawmakers in both parties consider the initiative, which would provide at least 400,000 guest worker visas annually, too large.

Others charge it’s impractical and unfair to immigrants, because it would allow them to stay only temporarily in the U.S. without guaranteeing them a chance to gain legal status.

“We must not create a law that guarantees a permanent underclass, people who are here to work in low-wage, low-skilled jobs but do not have the chance to put down roots or benefit from the opportunities of American citizenship,” Reid said.

Reid called the measure a “starting point,” but said he had reservations about it.

Conservative critics denounced the proposal’s quick granting of legal status to millions of unlawful immigrants.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said the measure’s so-called “point system” doesn’t do enough to guarantee that future immigration will serve the country’s economic needs.

“I’m nervous about this thing,” said Sessions, who voted not to go forward with the debate. He called the point scheme “bait” to get conservatives to embrace the measure, and accused Republicans of compromising too much on an outline drafted by the White House in late March to attract GOP support.

“I’m disappointed – almost heartbroken – because we made some progress toward getting to this new framework, but the political wheeling and dealing and compromising and splitting the baby has resulted in a circumstance that, you know, we just didn’t get far enough,” Sessions said.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, who also opposed opening debate, announced she would seek to alter the bill to mandate that illegal immigrants go back to their home countries before gaining legal status.

Under the proposal, that requirement only applies to heads of households seeking green cards and a path to citizenship. Others here unlawfully could obtain visas to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely without returning home.

Kennedy, called the plan “strong, realistic and fair.”

“For each of us who crafted it, there are elements that we strongly support and elements we believe could be improved. No one believes this is a perfect bill,” Kennedy said.

The White House has begun an active lobbying effort to drum up support for the measure, especially among Republicans who voted against an immigration overhaul last year.

President Bush is still hoping to sign the bill by summer’s end, said Tony Fratto, a White House spokesman.

“This is a very high priority for the president,” Fratto told reporters in Crawford, Texas. “We know that this is an emotional issue for members on both sides of political parties and both sides of the ideological spectrum, but we hope that we can find common ground.”

Conservatives in the House, whose opposition helped kill an immigration overhaul last year, began laying down markers in anticipation of their own debate, expected only if the Senate completes its measure.

Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., unveiled legislation he said was “an alternative to several of the large holes in the so-called Senate compromise.”

It would send home illegal immigrants who had been in the U.S. for fewer than five years and bar them from gaining lawful status.

Those in the country five years or more would be able to get a “blue card” to live and work legally in the U.S. after paying a $1,000 fine and learning English and American civics, but they could not bring their families. Blue card holders would have to leave the country to apply for legal residency.

In contrast, the bipartisan Senate compromise would allow illegal immigrants in the country by the beginning of this year to adjust their status.

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If you do not at least call ten of the names listed below in order to protest the brutally unfair amnesty legislation being proposed, please do not come back to this site. You are not welcome here.

To get an idea of what this country will be like in the future if this amnesty passes (and this is only one amnesty–more will come if this one passes) then please listen to my Los Angeles mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa at yesterday’s anti-LAPD/pro-illegal alien rally held in downtown LA. Villaraigosa is a man with great ambition. He wants to be governor. He wants to be president. You’d better start learning to speak Spanish now, because if this amnesty passes, this is what you will get.

This is the sound of your (future?) leader.
(Right click, Save as…to save the speech to your computer.)

Courtesy of the John and Ken show page…

CALL BOXER, FEINSTEIN, MCCAIN, OR ANY OTHER FOOL IN THE SENATE AND TELL THEM YOU REJECT AMNESTY FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS!

And give special attention to these politicians:

Senator Boxer:
202-224-3553 (D.C)
213-894-5000 (L.A)
909-888-8525 (Inland Empire)
E-mail

Senator Feinstein:
202-224-3841 (D.C)
310-914-7300 (L.A)
E-mail
Senator McCain:
(202) 224-2235 (D.C)
(602) 952-2410 (Phoenix)
(480) 897-6289 (Tempe)
(520) 670-6334 (Tucson)
E-mail
johnmccain.com

John Peschong – Senior Advisor to the California McCain for President Campaign:
916-648-1222, ext. 13 (Sacramento)

Senator Jon Kyl (author of this amnesty plan):
(202) 224-4521 (DC)
(602) 840-1891 (Phoenix)
(520) 575-8633 (Tucson)
E-mail
Kyl’s website says, “Securing the borders of the United States to protect against the entry of terrorists, drug smugglers, and illegal aliens – while keeping them open for legitimate visitors and commerce – is one of my highest priorities.”
Oh really?

Mitch McConnell, Republican Senate Leader:
Washington, DC Office
Phone: (202) 224-2541
Fax: (202) 224-2499

US SENATORS – use toll free number 866.340.9281

Akaka, Daniel K.- (D – HI) (202) 224-6361
Alexander, Lamar- (R – TN) (202) 224-4944
Allard, Wayne- (R – CO) (202) 224-5941
Baucus, Max- (D – MT) (202) 224-2651
Bayh, Evan- (D – IN) (202) 224-5623
Bennett, Robert F.- (R – UT) (202) 224-5444
Biden, Joseph R., Jr.- (D – DE) (202) 224-5042
Bingaman, Jeff- (D – NM) (202) 224-5521
Bond, Christopher S.- (R – MO) (202) 224-5721
Boxer, Barbara- (D – CA) (202) 224-3553
Brown, Sherrod- (D – OH) (202) 224-2315
Brownback, Sam- (R – KS) (202) 224-6521
Bunning, Jim- (R – KY) (202) 224-4343
Burr, Richard- (R – NC) (202) 224-3154
Byrd, Robert C.- (D – WV) (202) 224-3954
Cantwell, Maria- (D – WA) (202) 224-3441
Cardin, Benjamin L.- (D – MD) (202) 224-4524
Carper, Thomas R.- (D – DE) (202) 224-2441
Casey, Robert P., Jr.- (D – PA) (202) 224-6324
Chambliss, Saxby- (R – GA) (202) 224-3521
Clinton, Hillary Rodham- (D – NY) (202) 224-4451
Coburn, Tom- (R – OK) (202) 224-5754
Cochran, Thad- (R – MS) (202) 224-5054
Coleman, Norm- (R – MN) (202) 224-5641
Collins, Susan M.- (R – ME) (202) 224-2523
Conrad, Kent- (D – ND) (202) 224-2043
Corker, Bob- (R – TN) (202) 224-3344
Cornyn, John- (R – TX) (202) 224-2934
Craig, Larry E.- (R – ID) (202) 224-2752
Crapo, Mike- (R – ID) (202) 224-6142
DeMint, Jim- (R – SC) (202) 224-6121
Dodd, Christopher J.- (D – CT) (202) 224-2823
Dole, Elizabeth- (R – NC) (202) 224-6342
Domenici, Pete V.- (R – NM) (202) 224-6621
Dorgan, Byron L.- (D – ND) (202) 224-2551
Durbin, Richard – (D – IL (202) 224-2152
Ensign, John- (R – NV) (202) 224-6244
Enzi, Michael B.- (R – WY) (202) 224-3424
Feingold, Russell D.- (D – WI) (202) 224-5323
Feinstein, Dianne- (D – CA) (202) 224-3841
Graham, Lindsey- (R – SC) (202) 224-5972
Grassley, Chuck- (R – IA) (202) 224-3744
Gregg, Judd- (R – NH) (202) 224-3324
Hagel, Chuck- (R – NE) (202) 224-4224
Harkin, Tom- (D – IA) (202) 224-3254
Hatch, Orrin G.- (R – UT) (202) 224-5251
Hutchison, Kay Bailey- (R – TX) (202) 224-5922
Inhofe, James M.- (R – OK) (202) 224-4721
Inouye, Daniel K.- (D – HI) (202) 224-3934
Isakson, Johnny- (R – GA) (202) 224-3643
Johnson, Tim- (D – SD) (202) 224-5842
Kennedy, Edward M.- (D – MA) (202) 224-4543
Kerry, John F.- (D – MA) (202) 224-2742
Klobuchar, Amy- (D – MN) (202) 224-3244
Kohl, Herb- (D – WI) (202) 224-5653
Kyl, Jon- (R – AZ) (202) 224-4521
Landrieu, Mary L.- (D – LA) (202) 224-5824
Lautenberg, Frank R.- (D – NJ) (202) 224-3224
Leahy, Patrick J.- (D – VT) (202) 224-4242
Levin, Carl- (D – MI) (202) 224-6221
Lieberman, Joseph I.- (ID – CT) (202) 224-4041
Lincoln, Blanche L.- (D – AR) (202) 224-4843
Lott, Trent- (R – MS) (202) 224-6253
Lugar, Richard G.- (R – IN) (202) 224-4814
Martinez, Mel- (R – FL) (202) 224-3041
McCain, John- (R – AZ) (202) 224-2235
McCaskill, Claire- (D – MO) (202) 224-6154
McConnell, Mitch- (R – KY) (202) 224-2541
Menendez, Robert- (D – NJ) (202) 224-4744
Mikulski, Barbara A.- (D – MD) (202) 224-4654
Murkowski, Lisa- (R – AK) (202) 224-6665
Murray, Patty- (D – WA) (202) 224-2621
Nelson, Bill- (D – FL) (202) 224-5274
Nelson, E. Benjamin- (D – NE) (202) 224-6551
Obama, Barack- (D – IL) (202) 224-2854
Pryor, Mark L.- (D – AR) (202) 224-2353
Reed, Jack- (D – RI) (202) 224-4642
Reid, Harry- (D – NV) (202) 224-3542
Roberts, Pat- (R – KS) (202) 224-4774
Rockefeller, John D., IV- (D – WV) (202) 224-6472
Salazar, Ken- (D – CO) (202) 224-5852
Sanders, Bernard- (I – VT) (202) 224-5141
Schumer, Charles E.- (D – NY) (202) 224-6542
Sessions, Jeff- (R – AL) (202) 224-4124
Shelby, Richard C.- (R – AL) (202) 224-5744
Smith, Gordon H.- (R – OR) (202) 224-3753
Snowe, Olympia J.- (R – ME) (202) 224-5344
Specter, Arlen- (R – PA) (202) 224-4254
Stabenow, Debbie- (D – MI) (202) 224-4822
Stevens, Ted- (R – AK) (202) 224-3004
Sununu, John E.- (R – NH) (202) 224-2841
Tester, Jon- (D – MT) (202) 224-2644
Thomas, Craig- (R – WY) (202) 224-6441
Thune, John- (R – SD) (202) 224-2321
Vitter, David- (R – LA) (202) 224-4623
Voinovich, George V.- (R – OH) (202) 224-3353
Warner, John- (R – VA) (202) 224-2023
Webb, Jim- (D – VA) (202) 224-4024
Whitehouse, Sheldon- (D – RI) (202) 224-2921
Wyden, Ron- (D – OR) (202) 224-5244

Toll Free Congressional switchboard: 1-800-862-5530 or 202-224-3121

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Here’s a quick update that I felt was simply too interesting (it would be funny if so many lives weren’t at stake) to pass up.

Coming in after the debacle that was yesterday’s AP-Ipsos poll demonstrating America’s disapproval of President Bush is only exceeded by their displeasure in the obviously impotent job performance of the newly elected Democratic congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, frustrated with the Republican minority, is now going back to the drawing board. Way back in fact–all the way back to 1822.

Is this the progress Democrats and liberals have been promising? Do you think? Progress? Ahem.


PELOSI LOWERS THE BOOM
Wed May 16 2007 14:43:59 ET

After losing a string of embarrassing votes on the House floor because of procedural maneuvering, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has decided to change the current House Rules to completely shut down the floor to the minority.

The Democratic Leadership is threatening to change the current House Rules regarding the Republican right to the Motion to Recommit or the test of germaneness on the motion to recommit. This would be the first change to the germaneness rule since 1822.

In protest, the House Republicans are going to call procedural motions every half hour.

Developing...

Iraq Withdrawal Move Thwarted in Senate

 

May 16, 11:34 AM (ET)

By ANNE FLAHERTY

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate on Wednesday rejected legislation that would cut off money for combat operations in Iraq after March 31, 2008.

The vote was a loss for Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., and other Democrats who want to end the war. But the effort picked up support from members, including presidential hopefuls previously reluctant to limit war funding – an indication of the conflict’s unpopularity among voters.

The proposal lost 29-67 on a procedural vote, falling 31 votes short of the necessary votes to advance. Of the 67 senators who opposed Feingold’s proposal, there were 19 Democrats, 47 Republicans and Connecticut Independent Joseph Lieberman. Of the 29 supporting, 28 were Democrats and Vermont Independent Bernard Sanders.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a Democratic presidential front-runner, previously opposed setting a deadline on the war. But she said she agreed to back the measure “because we, as a united party, must work together with clarity of purpose and mission to begin bringing our troops home and end this war.”

Sen. Barack Obama, another leading 2008 prospect, said he would prefer a plan that offers more flexibility but wanted “to send a strong statement to the Iraqi government, the president and my Republican colleagues that it’s long past time to change course.”

The proposal had been expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed to advance under Senate rules, but was intended to gauge the tolerance of members on anti-war legislation. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid staged a series of war votes Wednesday to inform negotiations with the House on a war spending bill.

“We stand united…. in our belief that troops are enmeshed in an intractable civil war,” said Reid, D-Nev.

Feingold’s measure, co-sponsored by Reid and Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., proved divisive for Democrats.

Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said he opposes any measure that cuts off money for the war.

“We don’t want to send the message to the troops” that Congress does not support them, said Levin, D-Mich. “We’re going to support those troops.”

But other Democrats said the move was necessary.

“I’m not crazy about the language in the Feingold amendment, but I am crazy about the idea that we have to keep the pressure on,” said Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., who also wants the Democratic presidential nomination.

The Senate vote on Feingold’s legislation was one of several expected Wednesday, as the Democratic-controlled Congress struggles to clear legislation for Bush’s signature by the end of next week to continue U.S. military operations through Sept. 30.

The House last week passed legislation funding the war on two separate, 60-day installments.

The Senate must take the next step by passing its own measure. Given the political forces at work, that legislation will be a placeholder, its only purpose to trigger three-way negotiations involving the House, Senate and Bush administration on a final compromise.

As a result, officials said Tuesday that Reid and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell had discussed jointly advancing a bill so barebones that it would contain no funds and do little more than express congressional support for the troops.

Negotiations on the final compromise are expected to take days.

Wednesday’s votes on Feingold and other proposals “will provide strong guidance to our conferees and help shape the conference negotiations we have ahead of us,” said Reid.

In addition to Feingold’s measure, members were expected to vote on legislation by Sen. John Warner, R-Va., that would threaten billions of dollars in U.S. aid for Iraq if Baghdad does not make progress on certain military and political reforms.

Reid said he would oppose Warner’s measure because it doesn’t go far enough; the proposal would allow the president to waive the restriction on foreign aid.

“It is nothing,” said Reid.

Levin pulled from the floor his proposal to set an Oct. 1 date to begin troop withdrawals, but allow the president to waive that requirement. He had pitched the idea with the expectation that the president would accept it because of the waiver; but, Levin said Wednesday he had been advised by the White House that the president would veto the measure regardless.

Poll: Congress, Bush share low approval

By ALAN FRAM, Associated Press Writer Fri May 11, 3:49 PM ET

WASHINGTON – People think the Democratic-led Congress is doing just as dreary a job as

President Bush

, following four months of bitter political standoffs and little progress on

Iraq

and a host of domestic issues.

An AP-Ipsos poll also found that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record) is a more popular figure than the president and her colleagues on Capitol Hill, though she faces a gender gap in which significantly more women than men support her.

The survey found only 35 percent approve of how Congress is handling its job, down 5 percentage points in a month. That gives lawmakers the same bleak approval rating as Bush, who has been mired at about that level since last fall, including his dip to a record low for the AP-Ipsos poll of 32 percent last January.

“It’s mostly Iraq” plus a lack of progress in other areas, said Rep. Tom Cole (news, bio, voting record), R-Okla., who heads the House GOP’s campaign committee. “These are not good numbers for an incumbent, and it doesn’t matter if you have an ‘R’ or a ‘D’ next to your name.”

Democrats agree that the problem is largely Iraq, which has dominated this year’s session of Congress while producing little more than this month’s Bush veto of a bill requiring the withdrawal of U.S. troops. It has also overshadowed House-passed bills on stem cell research, student loans and other subjects that the White House opposes, they say.

“People are unhappy, there hasn’t been a lot of change in direction, for example in Iraq,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (news, bio, voting record), D-Md., chairman of House Democrats’ campaign effort.

Rising gasoline prices could also be a factor, lawmakers said.

In another measure of popular discontent, the survey found that 71 percent say the country is on the wrong track — about even with the 73 percent who said so last May, the worst level since the AP-Ipsos poll began in December 2003.

The survey was taken Monday through Wednesday, before Bush offered to seek compromise with congressional Democrats over a war spending bill setting benchmarks for progress in Iraq.

Bush told reporters Thursday that if pollsters had asked his opinion about Iraq last fall, “I’d have said I disapprove of what was going on in Iraq. They could have put me down as part of the disapproval process.”

That was before his decision to send nearly 30,000 additional troops to Iraq, which “would more likely cause me to approve of what’s going on in Iraq,” he added.

Overall approval of Bush was steady from last month, but fell to 69 percent among Republicans, about 7 percentage points below where it had been in April. Earlier this week, a group of GOP moderate House members warned Bush that the status quo in Iraq could mean Republican election losses next year.

“If the war doesn’t begin to turn around, Republicans will have problems,” said Rep. Peter King (news, bio, voting record), R-N.Y., who said he supports Bush’s Iraq policy.

White House spokesman Tony Snow declined to comment on the poll.

Congress’ approval rating this week was 10 points higher than a year ago, when Republicans were in control.

But after bumping up in April, this month’s drop left lawmakers’ job approval where it was when the year began. April saw Congress defy Bush and send him a bill financing the war and requiring a troop withdrawal, which he vetoed May 1.

“People wanted change in Washington” on many issues, not just Iraq, said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (news, bio, voting record), D-Ill., a member of the House Democratic leadership. “I’m not surprised about where people are. They’re hearing only about Iraq.”

Congress’ reduced appeal was evident in several categories of people. Only 48 percent of Democrats said they approved of Congress, down from 55 percent last month. That included a 12 percentage point drop among Democratic women, though support from Democratic men remained steady.

Approval by minorities also fell a dozen points to 39 percent, with a similar reduction among people whose family incomes exceed $75,000.

By region, the steepest drop was in the Midwest, where approval fell by 10 percentage points to 28 percent. Congress’ highest approval was in the Northeast, where four in ten gave it a positive rating.

As for Pelosi, D-Calif., her overall approval of 45 percent stood 10 points higher than Bush’s and Congress’.

She was seen favorably by 52 percent of women, but only 39 percent of men. While whites are closely split about her, minorities approve of her job by a 15-point margin.

Pelosi’s numbers are about where she was last month but slightly lower than in January. In the last month, she has lost significant support from younger voters, college-educated women and Westerners.

“Voters are frustrated by the fact that the president refuses to change direction on Iraq,” said Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly.

Bush’s approval ratings are lowest for his handling of Iraq and domestic issues including health care, with about one-third seeing him favorably. About four in 10 like the job he is doing on the economy and foreign policy.

Men give the president higher grades than women do, whites higher than minorities, and married people higher than singles.

The AP-Ipsos survey involved telephone interviews with 1,000 adults. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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