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Feingold-Reid Bill To End War Formally Introduced

Wed, 11 Apr 2007 14:19:54 +0000

Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), on behalf of cosponsor Harry Reid (D-NV) and many other Democratic supporters, went to the Senate floor yesterday and formally introduced the Feingold-Reid bill which, if George W. Bush vetoes the Iraq-withdrawal plan that will hit his desk in the coming weeks, will push the issue further by forcing a troop withdrawal by March of next year. The bill would end funding specifically for the failed Iraq effort, forcing the president to redeploy American troops elsewhere where, according to Senator Feingold, they can actually begin to defend the country against terror threats. “The President says he will veto legislation already passed by the Senate that both funds the troops and responds to Americans’ demands for an end to the Iraq war,” Feingold said. “Since the President refuses to change his failed Iraq policy, that responsibility falls on Congress. By setting a date after which funding for the President’s failed Iraq policy will end, we can give the President the time and funding he needs to safely redeploy our troops so we can refocus on the global terrorist networks that threaten the lives of Americans.” And Feingold made clear on the Senate floor yesterday that Bush and the Republican Congress must understand that, by stranding U.S. forces in Iraq indefinitely, they are expressly defying the will of the American people. "The President will not listen to the American people. It is up to this Congress -- newly elected by Americans fed up with the President's mishandling of Iraq -- to let the people's voices be heard," said Feingold on Tuesday. "And it is up to this Congress to end a war that is undermining our national security and draining precious resources from the global fight against al Qaeda and its allies. Last November, the American people voted to end the war. Now it is up to Congress to do the same." The Wisconsin Senator also spoke about how Congress using its "power of the purse" to end military deployments is hardly a precedent-setting event, as Republicans would suggest. Feingold points out that in October 1993, Congress enacted an amendment cutting off funding for military operations in Somalia effective March 31, 1994, with limited exceptions. He also made the embarrassing point that of the 76 Senators voting for that move during the Clinton administration, a large number of Republicans -- such as Senators Cochran, Domenici, Hutchison, Lugar, McConnell, Specter, Stevens and Warner -- voted affirmatively and those same people are now coming forward to call a similar Congressional move something outrageous, if not unpatriotic. "Did those eight Senators, and the many Democratic Senators who joined them, act to jeopardize the safety and security of U.S. troops in Somalia?" asked Feingold. "By cutting off funds for a military mission, were they indifferent to the well-being of our brave men and women in uniform?" Senate Majority Leader Reid has said that if Bush vetoes the emergency supplemental spending bill, he will work to ensure Feingold’s bill gets a vote in the Senate before Memorial Day. In other Feingold-Reid news, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), a guy who has long been known for standing up for Progressive causes and doing the right thing, agreed this week to cosponsor the war-ending legislation. Here's our updated list of Senators on the record as saying they will ratchet the pressure up a few more notches on Bush and Congressional Republicans if Bush vetoes the supplemental bill as expected: Barbara Boxer (D-CA) Chris Dodd (D-CT) Russ Feingold (D-WI) Tom Harkin (D-IA) Ted Kennedy (D-MA) John Kerry (D-MA) Patrick Leahy (D-VT) Harry Reid (D-NV) Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) "The President continues to insist that he has no intention of bringing this war to an end -- or even acknowledging when it might end. And, four years later, the American people are calling out in greater and greater numbers for an end to a misguided and open-ended military mission," said Feingold on Tuesday. "Most Americans recognize that it makes no sense to ask our tr[...]



The Saturday Cartoons

Sat, 24 Mar 2007 14:40:40 +0000

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Please go to BobGeiger.com to see many more great cartoons from this week in politics.




The Saturday Cartoons

Sat, 17 Mar 2007 11:46:38 +0000

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Please go to BobGeiger.com to see many more great cartoons from this week in politics.




Biden To Bush: "You're leading us off a cliff. Stop!"

Wed, 14 Mar 2007 18:11:35 +0000

(image) Clearly having had enough of Republican colleagues putting their blind loyalty to George W. Bush ahead of American opinion and the lives of our troops, Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) gave a powerful speech on the Senate floor Wednesday in which he ripped the GOP for their failure to lead and fulfill their duties to our country.

Saying "our troops don’t lose wars, bad polices, bad leadership loses wars," Biden, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, let loose during comments before the vote to even open debate on the Democratic proposal to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq by this time next year.

Here's Biden on the Senate's responsibility to the troops:

"They should have the courage to stand up and tell the administration, they have had a God-awful policy, they have put our troops in a position that, in fact, has made it virtually impossible for them to succeed at the outset.

"They deserve a policy. They deserve a plan. There is no plan. We went to war with too few troops, we went to war unnecessarily. We went to war with these men and women ill-equipped, they're coming home ill-served.

"It's about time we have the courage to stand up and say to the president 'Mr. President, you have not only put us in harm's way you have harmed us! You have no policy, Mr. President'

"I'm so tired of hearing on this floor about courage. Have the courage to tell the administration, 'stop this ridiculous policy you have.'"

More Biden on the folly of the Bush-McCain Doctrine of sending yet more troops to Iraq:

"This is a cycle of self-sustaining sectarian violence that 20,000, 30,000, 50,000, 100,000 Americans will not be able to stop. This is ridiculous. There is no plan. I ask the president and everyone else who comes forward with a plan, whether it's 'capping' or 'surging' or whatever they have, what will answer the two-word test? Then what? Then what? Then What?

"What happens after we surge these women and men? And by the way, you say General Patraeus is one who believes… He may be the only one who believes this is a good idea! Virtually nobody else thinks it's a good idea."

And on how Bush is breaking the U.S. military:

"So as long as the president keeps us on this ridiculous path, taking us off a cliff -- I ask my colleagues, does anybody think they're going to be able to sustain keeping American forces in Iraq, at 160,000, for another year and a half? What do you think? What do you think is going to happen in Tennessee, in Delaware, in Illinois?

"Are we gonna break this man and woman's army? What are we gonna do here? How many times are we going to ask those 175,000 to rotate, three, four, five, six, seven times?"

And he ends with what every person in Congress should be saying right now: "Mr. President, you're leading us off a cliff. Stop!"

I haven't always been a fan of Joe Biden's and don’t know that I'll ever quite forgive him for the hideous Bankruptcy bill passed a few years ago, but this is a passionate, long-overdue speech that it's good to hear from a Senate Democrat. It's certainly the way all Democratic candidates for president should be talking.

You can see the full video of Biden's speech at the bottom of this post at BobGeiger.com.




The Saturday Cartoons

Sat, 10 Mar 2007 15:52:55 +0000

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Please go to BobGeiger.com to see many more great cartoons from this week in politics.




Democrats Push Legislation On Catching "Osama Been Forgotten"

Tue, 06 Mar 2007 16:54:09 +0000

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and the entire Republican administration don’t seem to care about capturing Osama bin Laden but Democrats, led by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), continue to demand answers on the whereabouts of the man who claimed responsibility for the 2001 attacks on our country. Dorgan has offered as an amendment to the 9/11 Commission recommendations, a simple bill that demands accountability from the Bush administration on bin Laden and mandates "a report to Congress on the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the leadership of al Qaeda." The North Dakota Senator pointed out that we just passed the 2,000-day mark since September 11, 2001 with Osama still at large, while listening to repeated assertions from the White House that they do not care about capturing the terrorist leader. "The perpetrators who boasted that they committed the terrorist acts against our country that murdered so many thousands of Americans remain, apparently, in a secure hideout in Pakistan and still taunt us. They send the television and the radio stations their videos and their voice tracks telling us their views of world events," said Dorgan. "I don't understand when the President says he is not concerned about him. The top intelligence chief said this is the greatest threat to our country. We better be concerned about him -- the President and the Congress and the American people. We ought to be concerned enough to decide this is a priority; it is a priority for us to bring to justice those who are the greatest threat to our country, the greatest terrorist threat." The Dorgan amendment, which is cosponsored by Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND), is so simple and easy to read, I'm going to print the key requirements verbatim: (1) A statement whether or not the January 11, 2007, assessment provided by Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte to the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate that the top leadership of al Qaeda has a ``secure hideout in Pakistan'' was applicable during the reporting period and, if not, a description of the current whereabouts of that leadership. (2) A statement identifying each country where Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the leadership of al Qaeda are or may be hiding, including an assessment whether or not the government of each country so identified has fully cooperated in the efforts to capture them, and, if not, a description of the actions, if any, being taken or to be taken to obtain the full cooperation of each country so identified in the efforts to capture them. (3) A description of the additional resources required to promptly capture Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the leadership of al Qaeda. Isn't it amazing that the Congress even has to ask for this? What's even more extraordinary is that Dorgan offered the same bill before the Republican, do-nothing Congress and it was dead on arrival. In a speech on the Senate floor Monday, Dorgan cited statements from Former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte that are at complete odds with how little Bush and Cheney care about bin Laden's whereabouts. Mr. Negroponte was the Director of National Intelligence until about two weeks ago. He and the current leader of the intelligence service have said the same thing in open testimony before the Congress: "Al-Qaida is the terrorist organization that poses the greatest threat to U.S. interests, including to the homeland." He also said this: "Al-Qaida continues to plot attacks against our homeland and other targets with the objective of inflicting mass casualties. And they continue to maintain active connections and relationships that radiate outward from their leaders from a secure hideout in Pakistan." Again, it says from their secure hideout in Pakistan. On September 15, 2001, 4 days after 9/11, recognizing it was al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaida leadership that attacked this country and boasted about [...]



Obama Steps Up For Wounded Troops

Mon, 05 Mar 2007 18:45:31 +0000

In the wake of the scandal surrounding the conditions endured by some Veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) introduced two pieces of legislation last week to create a more suitable level of care for wounded troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama introduced, S. 713, the Dignity for Wounded Warriors Act, legislation written to "ensure dignity in care for members of the Armed Forces recovering from injuries," which has been referred to the Senate Armed Services Committee for review. "Last week, the Nation learned of the serious problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center including decaying, cockroach-infested facilities and an overwhelmed patient-care bureaucracy," said Obama in introducing his bill last week. "As described in a series of articles in the Washington Post by Dana Priest and Anne Hull, wounded soldiers are returning home from the battle in Iraq only to face a new battle to get the care and benefits they have earned." The Democratic presidential candidate's legislation is already cosponsored by 23 Senators, with only three of those -- Kit Bond (R-MO), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) -- coming from the Republican side of the aisle. Obama's legislation would fix conditions at outpatient VA residence facilities by setting higher standards -- such as stipulations that recovering soldiers' rooms will be as good or better as the best standard rooms for active-duty troops -- and increasing administration accountability. The bill also provides for expedited repair of maintenance problems in the facilities and, as Obama put it last week, "zero tolerance for pest infestations." The bill would also mandate that emergency medical personnel and crisis counselors be available to recovering troops 24 hours a day. "The stories out of Walter Reed last week did shock my conscience because, like many Senators, I have made the half-hour trek from the Capitol to visit Walter Reed. And I saw what the Army wanted the world to see: a shining world-class facility where the wounded can heal with state-of-the-art care," said Obama. "I never saw mold growing on the walls, or broken elevators, or the lack of adequate support for soldiers and their families. Walter Reed was supposed to be the flagship of military health care. Instead it has become an emblem of much that is wrong with the system, and a harbinger of more severe problems that may be hiding at other military hospitals and facilities that are not in the spotlight." In addition to providing for greatly streamlined administration and reduced paperwork for wounded troops upon returning to the states -- "there's no reason why a soldier with a gunshot injury to the spine should face the same procedural hurdles in order to prove his injury was service-related," said Obama -- the bill has interesting provisions to protect family member who are suddenly faced with the full-time job of caring for an injured loved one. "This bipartisan legislation provides federal protections against a family member on invitational orders being fired," said the Illinois Senator. "I think we can all agree that a mother should never have to choose between caring for a wounded son or daughter and keeping her job." Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) quickly joined Obama as a cosponsor and said she was sickened when she learned of the conditions faced by some troops after returning wounded from the Iraq battle zone. "It is not often that you read something in the paper that makes you sick, but this is precisely the feeling I had just over a week ago as I read a Washington Post article that spoke of awful living conditions and an interminable bureaucracy being experienced by our war wounded who are receiving outpatient care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center," said McCaskill last week. "I will not stand aside as those who have fought for our country come home to fight new battles against a[...]



Lieberman's Faux Concern For Troops Truly A Republican Message

Sat, 03 Mar 2007 20:11:02 +0000

Showing that the primary qualification for delivering the Saturday Democratic radio address is obviously not that the speaker be, well, a Democrat, Senator Joe Lieberman today gave the "Democratic" address and performed with a stunning degree of hypocrisy that showed he is indeed much closer to being a Republican than anything else in the political spectrum.

Lieberman, who is George W. Bush's only non-GOP ally in the Senate when it comes to the deadly, misguided war in Iraq, gave a talk in which he discussed the country's obligation to its Veterans and his dismay with the horrible conditions our wounded troops have seen at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

"Recent reports in the Washington Post have uncovered completely unacceptable living conditions and inadequate services that some of our wounded warriors have been forced to endure at Walter Reed," said Lieberman. "While it is clear that our soldiers do receive the best state of the art battlefield and in-patient medical treatment for their injuries, that high quality care has not extended to their out-patient treatment and recovery."

Lieberman then went on to use flowery language to talk about the responsibility we have to American troops and the heavy debt we must repay in seeing that they receive top-notch care when they return home.

"Our nation has no greater moral and patriotic responsibility than to ensure that these brave Americans receive first class treatment -- not only immediately after their injuries, but for their entire lives, through the Veterans Administration," said the former Democrat from Connecticut. "We can all agree that taking care of our military veterans is one of America's greatest responsibilities. We are and must continue to be united as a country to ensure that our heroes - those who have served us - receive the care that they deserve. This is no less than our moral imperative."

Talk about your bad case of situational ethics and morals -- though we've become all too accustomed to that from a man who long ago gave up his commitment to Democratic ideals.

Like his Republican allies in the Senate, Lieberman talks a big game about taking care of our troops, but his rhetoric is kind of the reverse of the GOP's "love the fetus, hate the child" stance when it comes to abortion.

Republicans will fight to the death for an embryo but don’t give a damn what happens to a child after he or she comes into the world. Similarly, Lieberman is more than willing to be a war hawk and send our men and women off to fight and die for nothing in Iraq -- that's right, I said for nothing -- but is suddenly concerned for their lives when they manage to make it back home.

Despite the fact that the majority of Americans no longer support the Iraq war -- and no matter how much politicians may run from the truth that any future American lives sacrificed there are indeed a waste -- Lieberman continues to stand by the worst president in U.S. history and advocate a war that keeps killing our troops day after day.

It's nauseating enough to many of us that we actually worked so hard to try to make Lieberman vice president in 2000, but the least the Democratic party can do is not continue to sicken us by allowing a guy who has so clearly abandoned our principles to even appear to be our national voice.

As he almost always does, Joe Lieberman talked a lot like a Republican today. So why the hell was he giving the Democratic address?

You can read more from Bob at BobGeiger.com.




The Saturday Cartoons

Sat, 03 Mar 2007 14:51:14 +0000

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Please go to BobGeiger.com to see many more great cartoons from this week in politics.




Major Swift Boat Donor To Kerry: "You're A Hero"

Wed, 28 Feb 2007 13:44:19 +0000

There are some things that you just don’t want to read about or watch on a full stomach -- this is one of those. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on Tuesday to consider the nomination of Sam Fox, a wealthy St. Louis businessman, to be the new U.S. Ambassador to Belgium. While it is not unusual for big political donors to be rewarded with ambassadorships -- and Fox is a huge donor to all things Republican -- what made everyone take note of this guy is that Fox gave a whopping $50,000 to help fund the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth smear campaign against John Kerry in 2004. And in being questioned by the Senate panel yesterday, Fox had to face one of the senior members of that committee in… Senator John Kerry. What followed was riveting theater, with Kerry coldly staring down a clearly-nervous Fox and Bush's nominee withstanding a barrage of questions from Kerry that the Massachusetts Senator nicely referred to as questions of Fox's "judgment" while many of us would have just flat-out called him a scumbag. It all started out nicely, with glowing introductions, including one nauseating passage from Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) who said that "professionally and morally, Sam is eminently qualified to hold the post for which he's been nominated." But it gets far worse than just hearing someone rave about the high morals of a guy who gave 50 grand to the Swift Boat Liars. Kerry got his turn to question Fox and started out politely enough, praising Fox's up-by-the-bootstraps life story and his generosity with non-political charities, while also asking him about American foreign policy vis-à-vis the European community. The tone then changed sharply when Kerry switched gears and, indicating he had concerns about Fox's judgment, said "I assume that you believe the truth in public life is important." "Yes, sir," answered Fox. "And might I ask you what your opinion is with respect to the state of American politics, as regards the politics of personal destruction?" said Kerry. This started a lengthy monologue from Fox in which Bush's nominee railed against how campaigns are funded in the United States, saving most of his bile for 527 groups, saying " I'm against 527s, I've always been against 527s. I think, again, they're mean and destructive, I think they've hurt a lot of good, decent people." I'm sure some people in the hearing room must have been stifling laughs hearing something like that coming from a man who was a major contributor to the scummiest 527 group ever, but the worst was to come in the next few sentences. "Senator Kerry, I very much respect your dedicated service to this country," said Fox. "I know that you were not drafted -- you volunteered. You went to Vietnam. You were wounded. Highly decorated. Senator, you're a hero. And there isn’t anybody or anything that's going to take that away from you. But yet 527s tried to." Here's the exchange that followed: Kerry: I certainly appreciate the comments you just made, Mr. Fox, and I'm not looking for anyone to call me a hero. I think that most heroes died, and do die, and those of us who are lucky enough to get out of there are lucky. But notwithstanding the comments you made, you did see fit to contribute a very significant amount of money in October to a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, correct? Fox: Correct. Kerry: Why would you do that given what you just said about how bad they are? Fox: Well, Senator, I have to put it in the proper context and bear with me. Marilyn and I have lived the American dream -- there's no question about it. My father came here with the clothes on his back and the Fox family and the Woodman family have truly lived the American dream that's been very, very good to us. I heard someone mention here that we gave to 250 charities. I also went back and had [...]