Thursday, November 30, 2006
Let's give John Kline the BIG rubber stamp from last session. He earned it by his lockstep 98% voting record for Bu$h's GOP radical NeoCon agenda.
Under John Kline's leadership America was led into the Iraq war, allowed corporate welfare in the billions of dollars for war profiteers and cut funding from domestic programs like education and health to pay for it. The United State's deficit is higher than it's ever been and we can't seem to provide working Americans affordable medical assistance so our businesses are leaving for countries with universal healthcare....By all means, give the rubberstamp to John Kline.
And if you think Kline will reach across partisan lines (as he promised when campaigning)...think again! The BIG rubber stamp will serve Kline well in the next session of congress!
Let the DCCC know, give the rubberstamp to Congressman John "the rubberstamp man" Kline!
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
What we have today is a very involved and dangerous political destabilization of the region. Even previously very stable countries like Saudi Arabia are now facing violence. The war has reinvigorated weakened terrorist network with new recruits and more funding and a goal...fight the crusaders (that would be Americans). It has basically grown the seeds of Al Qaeda-linked groups and those like them. Add in the militias that we've armed and the local cultures of revenge and power... and wah la.... civil war without ending. Kline can be a soldier directing the war until the end of days with his 'stay the course' policy but it will ultimately bankrupt the United States and end up here anyway. John Kline will shortly being using Bu$h's 'blame the victim' by blaming Iraq. But ask yourself, did Iraq ask to be invaded? Did the Iraqis promise American anything? Or did America lie to them just like they lied to us. Kline should be held accountable just like Bu$h for what has happened in Iraq. It didn't just happen...they lead us there with thier "we could have won in Vietnam" beliefs.
Those who want to know more on what is truly happening can't depend on the local media. The three blind mice could have done a better job in the last five years. Try these ‘must read’ on the Iraq war. Let me know if you have a favorite not listed among these.
Juan Cole on Informed Comment, a very in dept look at all the information in the Middle East with insight by Juan:
And Nuri al-Maliki, head of the al-Da`wa al-Islamiyah Party (Islamic Call [Shiite]) will make all those concessions to the Baathists over his own dead body. (Remember he is already being stoned when he goes to Sadr City; what do you think the Shiite masses will do to him if he kisses and makes up with the remnants of the Baath officer corps?)On the other hand, I have long argued that the neo-Baathist and Baathist-cum-Salafi guerrilla movements are the central political actors in Sunni Iraq, and something like the process described by al-Zaman will have sooner or later to be attempted
Baghdad Burning, an female blogger in Iraq, very insightful inspired by Read Jarrar’s Blog.
A final note. I just read somewhere that some of the families of dead American soldiers are visiting the Iraqi north to see ‘what their sons and daughters died for’. If that’s the goal of the visit, then, “Ladies and gentlemen- to your right is the Iraqi Ministry of Oil, to your left is the Dawry refinery… Each of you get this, a gift bag containing a 3 by 3 color poster of Al Sayid Muqtada Al Sadr (Long May He Live And Prosper), an Ayatollah Sistani t-shirt and a map of Iran, to scale, redrawn with the Islamic Republic of South Iraq. Also… Hey you! You- the female in the back- is that a lock of hair I see? Cover it up or stay home.”And that is what they died for.
Back to Iraq, former AP reporter who is a good read on the fly for background information.
Ain el-Rummane, a Christian neighborhood in the hills above Beirut occupies an ominous place in Lebanese history. It was here, in 1975, near a statue of the Virgin, that a bus full of Palestinian refugees was ambushed by Christian militiamen. It was a massacre in response to an assassination attempt, and the reprisals it generated in turn quickly grew into the Lebanese civil war.Today in Iraq, a picture of failure happening through out Iraq…it’s not pretty.
Bring ‘em on: Three U.S. Army soldiers were killed and two wounded during combat operations in Baghdad, the military said today. The Multinational Division soldiers died at about 9 a.m. Sunday, the command said, without providing any details about what had happened.
A transition to failure, an oldie but none the less true assessment of what has come to be in Iraq:
Insurgent Iraq, You have to at least know the players (something our own government leaders have lost sight of?)
While certainly the Iraq War does indeed represent “hard work” – as the President pointed out more than 22 times during the debate – it more importantly symbolizes the colossal failures of the Bush administration. As the daunting statistics of the “transition” reveal, “remaining steadfast” will only compound a terrible error in judgment.
The occupation of Iraq is today less about rolling back Iraqi military power, dislodging a tyrant, or building a stable democracy than it is about fighting an insurgency -- an insurgency that is now driven substantially by the occupation, its practices, and policies. We can take a first step toward understanding the insurgency by locating it within the broader field of popular Iraqi opposition to the occupation, which is widespread.
Antiwar Blog, The Corner, Truthout, more insight on what has happened in Iraq particularly politically.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Even Neo-con Adelman (it'll be a cakewalk!) has now backed away from the Iraq Kool Aid. When will Kline drink from the fountain of truth and call for an end to our invasion of Iraq? How many more must die in our Iraq quagmire before reality sets in?
Video - WMV Video - QT
"It is a shame and it is embarrassing to us all when President Bush travels 8,000 miles only to wind up avoiding reality again"
And now, as promised, a Special Comment about the President's visit to Vietnam.
It is a shame — and it is embarrassing to us all — when President Bush travels 8,000 miles, only to wind up avoiding reality, again.
And it is pathetic to listen to the leader of the free world, talk so unrealistically about Vietnam, when it was he who permitted the "Swift-Boating" of not one but two American heroes of that war, in consecutive Presidential campaigns.
But most importantly — important, beyond measure — his avoidance of reality is going to wind up killing more Americans.
And that is indefensible — and fatal.
Asked if there were lessons about Iraq to be found in our experience in Vietnam, Mr. Bush said that there were — and he immediately proved he had no clue what they were.
"One lesson is," he said, "that we tend to want there to be instant success in the world, and the task in Iraq is going to take a while."
"We'll succeed," the President concluded, "unless we quit."
If that's the lesson about Iraq that Mr. Bush sees in Vietnam, then he needs a tutor. Or we need somebody else making the decisions about Iraq.
Mr. Bush, there are a dozen central lessons to be derived from our nightmare in Vietnam, but "we'll succeed unless we quit" is not one of them.
The primary one — which should be as obvious to you as the latest opinion poll showing that only 31 percent of this country agrees with your tragic Iraq policy– is that if you try to pursue a war for which the nation has lost its stomach, you and it are finished. Ask Lyndon Johnson.
The second most important lesson of Vietnam, Mr. Bush: if you don't have a stable local government to work with, you can keep sending in Americans until hell freezes over and it will not matter. Ask South Vietnam's President Diem, or President Thieu.
The third vital lesson of Vietnam, Mr. Bush: don't pretend it's something it's not. For decades we were warned that if we didn't stop "communist aggression" in Vietnam, communist agitators would infiltrate and devour the small nations of the world, and make their insidious way, stealthily, to our doorstep.
The war machine of 1968 had this "Domino Theory."
Your war machine of 2006 has this nonsense about Iraq as "the central front in the war on terror."
The fourth pivotal lesson of Vietnam, Mr. Bush: if the same idiots who told Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon to stay there for the sake of "Peace With Honor," are now telling you to stay in Iraq, they're probably just as wrong now, as they were then… Dr. Kissinger.
And the fifth crucial lesson of Vietnam, Mr. Bush, which somebody should've told you about, long before you plunged this country into Iraq — is that, if you lie us into a war — your war, and your presidency, will be consigned to the scrapheap of history.
Consider your fellow Texan, sir.
After President Kennedy's assassination, Lyndon Johnson held the country together after a national tragedy — not unlike you tried to do.
He had lofty goals and tried to reshape society for the better. And he is remembered for Vietnam and for the lies he and his government told to get us there and keep us there… and for the Americans who needlessly died there.
As you will be remembered for Iraq and for the lies you and your government told to get us there and keep us there… and for the Americans who needlessly died there — and who will needlessly die there tomorrow.
This president has his fictitious Iraqi W-M-D, and his lies (disguised as subtle hints) linking Saddam Hussein to 9/11, and his reason-of-the-week for keeping us there when all the evidence has, for at least three years, told us we needed to get as many of our kids out, as quickly as we could.
That president had his fictitious attacks on Navy ships in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964, and the next thing any of us knew, the Senate had voted 88-to-2 to approve the blank check with which Lyndon Johnson paid for our trip into hell.
And yet President Bush just saw the grim reminders of that trip into hell:
– Of the 58,000 Americans and millions of Vietnamese killed;
– Of the 10,000 civilians who've been blown up by landmines since we pulled out;
– Of the genocide in the neighboring country of Cambodia, which we triggered;
Yet, these parallels — and these lessons — eluded President Bush entirely. And, in particular, the one over-arching lesson about Iraq that should've been written everywhere he looked in Vietnam, went un-seen.
"We'll succeed unless we quit"?
Mr. Bush, we did quit in Vietnam! A decade later than we should have; 58,000 dead later than we should have; but we finally came to our senses.
The stable, burgeoning, vivid country you just saw there is there, because we finally had the good sense to declare victory and get out!
The Domino Theory was nonsense, sir. Our departure from Vietnam emboldened no one. Communism did not spread like a contagion around the world.
And most importantly — as President Reagan's Assistant Secretary of State Lawrence Korb said on this newscast Friday — we were only in a position to win the Cold War because we quit in Vietnam.
We went home. And instead it was the Russians who learned nothing from Vietnam, and who repeated every one of our mistakes when they went into Afghanistan. And alienated their own people, and killed their own children, and bankrupted their own economy, and allowed us to win the Cold War.
We awakened so late — but we did awaken.
Finally, in Vietnam, we learned the lesson. We stopped endlessly squandering lives and treasure and the focus of a nation on an impossible and irrelevant dream.
But you are still doing exactly that, tonight, in Iraq.
And these lessons from Vietnam, Mr. Bush, these priceless, transparent lessons, writ large as if across the very sky, are still a mystery to you.
"We'll succeed unless we quit."
No, sir. We will succeed — against terrorism, for our country's needs, towards binding up the nation's wounds — when you quit — quit the monumental lie, that is our presence in Iraq.
And in the interim, Mr. Bush, an American kid will be killed there, probably tonight — or, if we're lucky, not until tomorrow.
And here, sir, endeth the lesson.
Friday, November 17, 2006
“I have put principles above partisanship and always tried to keep your best interests in mind”But we know a group of Minnesotan veterans traveled to Washington DC last year to ask John Kline to support several pro-veteran bills.
John Kline summarily rejected the pro-veteran bills insisting that he would only endorse and co-author ‘Republican bills’. You can’t get much more partisan than that! Unless it’s to look at Kline’s 94% Bu$h voting record.
Do you really think a man who won’t support veterans unless they’re ‘Republicans’ will represent all the people? Don’t be fooled by false promises that don’t match his record! Kline realizes he’s now serving in a Democratic house. One he helped create by his Party’s inability to play fair, share leadership and be nonpartisan.
Kline also quotes President Reagan:
"It's not my intention to do away with government. It is rather to make it work - work with us, not over us; to stand by our side, not ride on our back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it."
So why is it that in Kline's terms in office with a Republican controlled House and Senate and with a Republican President, none of what Reagan said was accomplished? Either Kline and his Party lacks the leadership to do so or they lied. Either way Kline's back peddling is too little, too late.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
As American taxpayers we were asked to foot the bill for billions toward the ongoing occupation and reconstruction of Iraq. Yet where has the money gone?
Under the previous Republican House and with the knowledge of the Armed Services Committee that John Kline sits on, the vast majority of money for the Iraq war and reconstruction has mostly gone to companies with long-standing connections to the Bu$h administration, including Halliburton, Bechtel, and Black Water.
Early on, the administration even issued a memo which stated that "[i]t is necessary for the protection of the essential security interests of the United States to limit competition for the prime contracts of these procurements to companies from the United States, Iraq, Coalition Parties and force contributing nations."
It's still unclear how U.S. interests (particularly the interests of U.S. taxpayers) or the interests of the Iraqi people have been served by a 'no bid' contract process.
The bid 'process' is already dominated by this administration's corporate cronies, riddled with conflicts of interest, and designed in a manner that effectively undermines competition, transparency and accountability.
There are also shoddy fulfillment of work orders, huge gas surcharges and gouging and inflation of services and prices. Worse yet, the 'process' has hampered Iraqis' ability to get their own economy running. Congress own investigators reported numerous instances where Iraqi businesses have been able to complete certain work for a fraction of the cost estimated by U.S. contractors yet still were not awarded bids.
Although we hear repeated claims that the reconstruction and occupation are being managed in the interest of the Iraqi people, the ability of the Iraqi people to make key decisions about the structure of their own economy has been blocked. The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) has invoked a law established during the regime of Saddam Hussein to keep unions illegal so that they can't come together as a force opposed to the privatization of state-owned industries, and CPA Directive 39 has opened up Iraq to foreign investors, allowing them to buy formerly state-owned companies and expatriate the profits.
Meanwhile, the reluctance of commercial insurers to back contractors seeking to do business in Iraq may result in further costs to U.S. taxpayers through the use of a little-know development agency (the Overseas Private Insurance Corporation, OPIC), which critics suggest is a massive corporate welfare scam designed to benefit U.S. multinational corporations abroad.
The Center for Corporate Policy has made recommendations on how to at least keep the war on the level (listed below). But I question why an independent agency has to make the recommendation. Isn't oversight, judgement and leadership one of the reasons we elected Congressman Kline? Shouldn't he be looking out for our interest over war profiteers? And why isn't he?
All the recommendations below should have come from his office but didn't. Shouldn't we (American taxpayers) open an investigation in abuses, misuse of funds and positions in regards to awarding pf Iraq bids? Kline says he's fiscally responsible yet how is that possible given the expeditures of the Iraq War and the burden of it's cost to taxpayers? Just recently the Armed Services committee that John Kline sits added a line to legislation that killed federal oversight in Iraq.
Make no mistake, Bu$h & Co. are not patriots. They are cold blooded profiteers. And Kline has stood beside and supported the profiteering since it's inception.
- Improved oversight and open bidding.
- Eliminate conflicts of interest and ban corporate crooks from contracts. On the same day in May that the Pentagon awarded WorldCom/MCI a contract to provide wireless service in Baghdad, the SEC announced the penalties for what was the largest accounting fraud in history. Law-breaking companies should not be awarded taxpayer-funded contracts.
- Ban corporate tax dodgers from any contracts. The IRS estimates that offshore tax scams cost the Treasury $70 billion per year. In 2002, the President said, "we ought to look at people who are trying to avoid U.S. taxes as a problem. I think American companies ought to pay taxes here and be good citizens." Companies that move their headquarters to offshore tax havens and otherwise use offshore subsidiaries to avoid paying their fair share of taxes should be ineligible for taxpayer-funded contracts.
- Curb war profiteering and excessive executive pay. Defenders of sky-high CEO pay often argue that corporate leaders bear tremendous responsibilities and must oversee complicated business activities. But many of the companies that have received Iraq reconstruction contracts award their top executives pay packages that are 30 to 175 times as much as a U.S. army general with 20 years experience, and nearly 2,000 times the pay of entry-level soldiers. Congress should keep in mind the words of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who, in the aftermath of WWII said, "I don't want to see a single war millionaire created in the United States as a result of this world disaster." For more information about curbing CEO pay for war contractors click here. Also see the "War Profiteering Prevention Act" (H.R. 3673) introduced by Rep. Emanuel (D-IL).
- Cancel all contracts that work against Iraqi self-determination. The direction of Iraq's economy should be left for the Iraqi people to decide. Contracts such as the Bearing Point contract, which gives the company the right to "privatize state-owned enterprises" should be cancelled or amended. Under the principle of self-determination, such decisions are best left to a sovereign government once it is established.
- Re-established federal watchdog oversight to the reconstruction and war efforts!
Thursday, November 09, 2006
With that in mind, for the next week I'll be featuring a series of stories and postings that define why the Iraq war is a failure. Why it's another Vietnam, why Ameirca can't win freedom for foriegn countries with different cultures, and why the Americans will pay the ultimate price for this war.
We'll start with the wounded Americans that return home from war. America will see more of their sons and daughters among the ranks of those that have returned from Iraq bearing more than just tourist trinkets.
Paying The Price, I
"We must break this cycle of violence and begin to move in a different direction; war is not the answer, violence is not the solution. A more peaceful world is possible."
I am the living death
The memorial day on wheels
I am your yankee doodle dandy
Your John Wayne come home
Your Fourth of July firecracker
Exploding in the grave
The Forgotten Wounded of Iraq
A Dig led by Ron Kovic
Thirty-eight years ago, on Jan. 20, 1968, I was shot and paralyzed from my mid-chest down during my second tour of duty in Vietnam. It is a date that I can never forget, a day that was to change my life forever. Each year as the anniversary of my wounding in the war approached I would become extremely restless, experiencing terrible bouts of insomnia, depression, anxiety attacks and horrifying nightmares. I dreaded that day and what it represented, always fearing that the terrible trauma of my wounding might repeat itself all over again. It was a difficult day for me for decades and it remained that way until the anxieties and nightmares finally began to subside.
As I now contemplate another January 20th I cannot help but think of the young men and women who have been wounded in the war in Iraq. They have been coming home now for almost three years, flooding Walter Reed, Bethesda, Brooke Army Medical Center and veterans hospitals all across the country. Paraplegics, amputees, burn victims, the blinded and maimed, shocked and stunned, brain-damaged and psychologically stressed, over 16,000 of them, a whole new generation of severely maimed is returning from Iraq, young men and women who were not even born when I came home wounded to the Bronx veterans hospital in 1968.
I, like most other Americans, have occasionally seen them on TV or at the local veterans hospital, but for the most part they remain hidden, like the flag-draped caskets of our dead, returned to Dover Air Force Base in the darkness of night as this administration continues to pursue a policy of censorship, tightly controlling the images coming out of that war and rarely ever allowing the human cost of its policy to be seen. more
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
John Kline and congressmen of his ilk are a species on the brink of extinction.
Some that Kline stood with are now fallen, with more to follow. In addition, many of the corrupted rank and file that supported Kline are gone, defeated in this election.
Plus both major committees that Kline sits on (the House Armed Services Committee and the Education and the Workforce Committee) will have new leadership. And Democrat Nancy Pelosi will be the new majority leader in the US House.
It won't be business as usually for John Kline...er..well, he'll probably still rubber stamp whatever the the Preznit wants, but without bi-partisan support, nothing will fly. I also fully expect Michele Bachmann and John Kline to form an alliance as both are radical fringe folks that pathologically lie and distort issues.
I'd like to think that maybe now Kline will address the needs of this community instead of corporate America and big business. But I doubt that Kline will changed course. We'll still be here to tell the truth.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
But just in case you missed the last several years and need more incentive, Smithers Mpls has a post on why every member of the Republican House 109th Congress (including our own Bu$hCo rubber stamper Rep. John Kline) should be voted out of office.
Buh Bye 109th
• The 109th Congress set a record for the fewest number of days worked — 218 between the House and Senate combined.
• The 109th Congress failed to raise the minimum wage, leaving it at its lowest inflation-adjusted level since 1955 while giving itself a two percent pay raise.
• There were 15,832 earmarks totaling $71 billion in 2006. (In 1994, there were 4,155 earmarks totaling $29 billion.)
• The 109th Congress turned the tragic Terri Schiavo affair into a national spectacle because, according to one memo, it was “a great political issue” that got “the pro-life base…excited.”
• The chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works thinks global warming is the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.”
• The House leadership held open a vote for 50 minutes to twist arms and pass a bill that helped line the pockets of energy company executives.
• The 109th Congress fired the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction,the lone effective federal watchdog for Iraq spending, effective Oct. 1, 2007.
See ya guys. You won’t be missed
Monday, November 06, 2006
Talk about low!
The caller ID traces back to a cell phone in New York, but the owner of that phone says he has no knowledge of the calls. If the dirty tricksters are going through this much trouble, I suspect they're using a phony caller ID too.
If John Kline has any sense of decency he'll call a news conference immediately to call attention to these dirty tricksters and get the correct voting information out. Call his office to demand he do so. Kline's silence will only indicate he approves of the fraudulent phone calls.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
The latest FEC filing shows Kline to be anything but 'independent'. John Kline's campaign has accepted more money from 'special interests’ and PACs than from individuals (57% to 43%).
The PACs that gave money, 80% of which are out-of-state, include: chemical companies, right wing issue interests, pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, insurance companies and a slew of others who seek to preserve the status quo and help their industry – even though it isn't in best interest of Minnesota.
Some highlights include checks from PACs associated with the 21st Centutry who’s top donors are from California and Arizona. They also include the likes of Ex Enron CEO Ken Lay and companies like Halliburton and Exxon.
Kline also received money from both Eli Lilly and Pfizer PACs which are large pharmaceutical companies with a special interest in keep their profits up through John Kline votes.
While Medicare Part D's 'Donut Hole' denies coverage to individuals with annual drug costs exceeding $2,250. Seniors and disabled must pay nearly $3,000 in out-of-pocket drug costs on top of costly monthly premiums. With about 7 million Americans in stand-alone prescription drug plans at risk of falling into the donut hole, these large drug companies are having record yearly earnings.
The latest FEC filing coupled with his voting record shows that John Kline has peddled his influence to big money lobbyists and special interest.
When you put these special interests and out-of-state PACs on top of Kline’s connections to Dennis Hastert, Tom Delay, Randy “Duke” Cunningham, and Bob Ney, you can't help but realize that John Kline is just another pea in the corrupt Washington DC pod.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Yesterday, Rowley for Congress held a press conference to highlight the deluge of smear attacks which John Kline has launched during this election cycle. David Peterson of the Star Tribune reports:
Pressed to specify what her own circular called "John Kline's Lies," Rowley said she had considered using the word "distortions" instead. "A lot of it turns on wordsmithing and connecting the dots by implication," she said.
Kline has accused her, among other things, she said, of wanting to legalize methamphetamines, reinstate the draft and reward illegal immigrants, and of disrespecting the military. None of that is true, she said.
In a rare moment of candor, a Kline campaign spokesman acknowledged that this is standard operating procedure for Kline:
For John Kline, spreading lies about your opponent and her staff is all just part of the game.
"She is calling a press conference to complain that the other side is campaigning," Young said. "It's a little strange."
Friday, November 03, 2006
According to a report in the New York Times today, the House Armed Services Committee somehow inserted language into an appropriations bill that effectively terminates the oversight of the Office of the Special Inspector (IG) General for Iraq Reconstruction on October 1, 2007. The termination of the IG generated surprise and some outrage among lawmakers who say they had no idea it was in the final legislation. The obscure provision was reportedly inserted in spite of the objections of Democrats during a closed-door conference that was dominated by the Republican majority.
Minnesota Second District Congressional candidate, Coleen Rowley, says if the voters of her district knew John Kline was misusing his Congressional authority in this manner, they would be outraged. The GOP's stopping of any effective oversight over potential war profiteering is just another example of the Republican "culture of corruption" that has pervaded government since the Bush Administration came to power. The public, on the other hand, is crying out for comprehensive ethics reform in Congress."
U.S. Representative John Kline apparently acted together with fellow-Republicans to add a last-minute provision that effectively undermines investigations into corruption and war profiteering, according to his opponent, DFL challenger and retired FBI Agent Coleen Rowley.
Rowley noted that Kline's comment published in today's Minneapolis Star-Tribune that he "can't authorize unlimited money" with regard to helping fund veterans health benefits and other assistance starkly contrasts with his actions to terminate reconstruction oversight since it is just such governmental oversight which serves to detect and reduce fraud, waste and abuse.
"This is yet another example of what I've termed 'special interest corruption', and how it happens that the interests of big-money corporate campaign donors, in this case the companies that have contracts for reconstruction of Iraq, are placed over the needs of 2nd District taxpayers and their families. It's increasingly clear that this corrupting influence has influenced what John Kline does in Washington and who he really represents."
Rowley made her statements immediately after leaving a press conference at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul on Friday, where she criticized her Republican opponent John Kline for putting over a million dollars into negative and false campaign mailings and TV ads. "Minnesotans are fed up with negative advertising instead of discussing the issues," said Rowley. "We've tried to run an ethical, issues-focused campaign, while Congressman Kline has done little to discuss issues and has, instead, since day one, been spending enormous amounts of money derived in large measure from special interest and corporate PACs, to distract voters from the issues through distortions and half truths."
The clause was inserted by Rep. John Kline and the rest of the Republican side of the House Armed Services Committee over the objections of Democratic counterparts during a closed-door conference. Perhaps Kline thought the Iraq's war won't need oversight in another year but then why did he vote YES on declaring Iraq part of War on Terror with no exit date (june 2006)?
It has generated surprise and some outrage among lawmakers who say they had no idea it was in the final legislation.
Lawmakers aside, this intentional removal of oversight should generate outrage among all of us. It is unbelievable and inexcusable to eliminate the oversight of billions of taxpayer dollars in Iraq. This is a balant misuse of power. It is wrong and endangers our military. As Senator Dayton has pointed out in the past:
"Certainly as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee it's been frustrating not being able to get the kind of oversight that we should have. The intelligence committee Democrats feel the same way. But they (Republicans) run the Congress as well as the White House and they've been able to basically carry out their own will."
John Kline has removed all accountability and is allowing taxpayers to be openly ripped off by no-bid contracts and war profiteering scams.
Just this week it was revealed that U.S. military has not kept proper track of hundreds of thousands of weapons intended for Iraqi security forces. The report, released by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, shows the U.S. military never even recorded the serial numbers of almost half a million weapons it gave to the Iraqis. This means tracking the weapons has now become nearly impossible. Inconsistencies in the number of weapons purchased and those in Iraqi warehouses show that more than 13,000 weapons are, essentially, missing and presumed in the hands of insurgents who use those weapons to kill Iraqi civilians and American soldiers.
Private corporations that provide food, water, fuel, services, and protection to various government agencies are often found to possess no-bid contract deals, overcharge government agencies for services rendered at ludicrous amounts, and provide little to no accountability for any misfortune or tragedy that may befall any of its employees or our military by cutting costs at the expense of safety or security.
- Despite over eight months of work and billions of dollars spent, key pieces of Iraq's infrastructure - power plants, telephone exchanges, and sewage and sanitation systems -have either not been repaired, or have been fixed so poorly that they don't function
- Bechtel has been given tens of millions to repair Iraq's schools. Yet many haven't been touched, and several schools that Bechtel claims to have repaired are in shambles. One 'repaired' school was overflowing with unflushed sewage; a teacher at the school also reported that 'the American contractors took away our Japanese fans and replaced them with Syrian fans that don't work' - billing the U.S. government for the work.
- Inflated overhead costs and a byzantine maze of sub-contracts have left little money for the everyday workers carrying out projects. In one contract for police operations, Iraqi guards received only 10% of the money allotted for their salaries; Indian cooks for Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root reported making just three dollars a day.
John Kline said he wanted to run "an issues oriented campaign". Yet when it comes to answering even the basic questions on the issues in the Star Tribune voter guide, he's "deklined" to let us know where he stands. In the same voter guide Kline says "Mine is not a single-issue protest campaign." We agree. He's running a no-issues campaign.
On the several of listed above Kline has been quick to attack his opponent Coleen Rowley, but here he won't offer any solutions of his own. Why? When you see his real answers you might agree that not answering the questions is probably his best option if he wants to get re-elected.
- 1) Iraq - John kline has voted to build permanant bases in Iraq. Not exactly the thing you do if you're planning to withdraw your troops eventually.
- 2)Enforcement of laws forbiding employers to hire illegal immigrants. -- Kline has supported the Bush administration which has only very rarely cited employers for hiring illegals. A huge drop from enforcement of the same laws before the Clinton years.
- 3)Tax cuts - John Kline gets his campaign money from the richest 1% that get the lions share of the benefits from the Bush tax cuts. Of course he's not going to repeal them. He'd rather saddle our kids with lots of debt than be responsible and pay as you go.
So do you want someone in Congress who dodges the truth to protect himself, or someone who tells the truth so we can fix the problem? That's a simple question to answer. Vote for an Agent For Change. Vote for Coleen Rowley.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Coleen Rowley to Respond to Kline Accusations
9/11 Whistleblower Sets the Record Straight About Her Positions on the Issues
U.S. Congressional Candidate Coleen Rowley will hold a press conference tomorrow, Friday, November 3rd to respond to a barrage of negative mailings and television attack ads from the John Kline campaign to voters in the Second Congressional District.
The Rowley for Congress campaign invites you to attend, so Rowley has the opportunity to respond to your listeners, viewers, and readers.
PLACE: Minnesota State Capitol, Room 125
DATE: Friday, November 3, 2006
TIME: 10:30 AM
Unless Rowley has the entire day to talk she won't be able to cover all of the lies that Kline has spread about her. Go Coleen Go!
(It’s more than a little symbolic that Rowley credits performer, Pete Seeger with the “gone to graveyards everyone” line rather than lyrist/composer Bob Dylan. She also misquotes it -- soldiers not flowers "gone to graveyards everyone." )
We'll start with the small stuff, hmm, like: Pete Seeger did write "Where have all the flowers gone". I'm sure Dylan has performed it, but the words as written by the author Pete Seeger, shows the progression from flowers to graveyard. A concept maybe too deep for our slimey friend to grasp as an analogy but none the less true!
I'll stop here before this turns into a 'rant' about Westover's writing being more like a slimy fish than fact. I wouldn't want to be accused of not being a Liberal 'force' as compared to a republican 'hack'.
Now I need to go cut down some fishsticks for dinner!
Coleen Rowlely lays it out for us:
What's the most important issue in this year's election? If you had to answer that question using only the information available from the Republican Party, you would choose from the following: al-Qaeda, immigration, playboy bunnies and porn.
Al-Qaeda is a threat, one that the war of choice waged by George Bush and the Republican-led Congress has greatly exacerbated [not to brag, but I predicted exactly this outcome before the war began]. Illegal immigration is a problem, but Republicans in the House rejected a bipartisan solution which even George Bush supports, in part so they could use the issue in misleading attacks against their opponents.
I personally don't like them but campaigning against Playboy bunnies and porn descends into the realm of the absurd. In my own race, Republican incumbent John Kline is falsely accusing me of comparing U.S. Marines to Nazis. Oh yeah, I don't like Nazis either. The fact that some Republicans are campaigning on such things is a vibrant illustration of how desperate they are to avoid real scrutiny of their record. They're grasping for any distraction they can to deflect attention from the elephant in the room.
Today, more than 2800 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq, almost exactly the same as the number of people who died in the 9/11 attacks. More than 20,000 are wounded, many of them with life-altering injuries which will require a lifetime of care, care George Bush and our Republican-led Congress seem reluctant to provide. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel has likened Iraq to Vietnam, and declared that the occupation is "destroying the United States Army".
As badly as the occupation has hurt America, it's hurt the Iraqis more, with the overall death total estimated at a staggering 655,000. There is little, if any, progress to show for all the blood that's been shed. At the end of 2005, Iraq was producing less oil, electricity and drinkable water than it had before the invasion. And the sectarian violence has only increased since then.
Faced with this disaster of their own making, on such a mind-boggling scale, Republicans in Congress have done everything in their power to ignore it. They have engaged in no oversight of the administration or its failed policy in Iraq, and as a result, at least $9 billion in reconstruction funds has disappeared. This is more than a $9 billion cost to U.S. taxpayers, it has almost certainly cost U.S. and Iraqi lives. But pro-war, "tough on defense" Republicans, who also claim to be fiscal conservatives, have turned a blind eye to it.
Their willful ignorance has cost more than money. On Monday, it was reported that 14,000 weapons, including assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, have simply disappeared. There is no question that many of those weapons will be used to kill Americans.
Enough. There are many issues that matter to voters, and unlike my opponent and many other Republicans, I'm talking about them. But it's time to stop talking about Playboy bunnies and Nazis, and start working on solutions for the Republicans' failed policies in Iraq.The work starts November 7.