In my links of the day I try to find the links under the wire, articles all the top blogs miss. I'm not afraid to go to Al Jazeera, Kurd Media or to the Pakistan student movement page to bring the real daily news to you.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Links of the Day 2/29/2008 Church and State? And Who Set the IRS on Obama’s Church?

Links of the Day 2/29/2008 Church and State? And Who Set the IRS on Obama’s Church?

EVERYTHING and I do mean everything happening in the world today is caused by the want of OIL and the worship for money and power. WE THE PEOPLE of the world must unite. If today is not a go day for a worldwide revolution when is?

Corporations all over the world are taking over governments, USA, Canada, France, United Kingdom, Israel, China, Japan just to name a few. If WE THE PEOPLE do not act soon our children and grandchildren will become slaves to these fascist countries.

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Wow 3 times today while trying to write my blog Microsoft software failed and wanted to send a report and by saying no it closes all the open tabs. When this happens and you say yes send a report Microsoft is able to view all open files that can identify you and your computer, virtually overriding your firewall and giving them a backdoor into your computer.

What's very strange is this has never happened in the year I've owned my computer. These failure notices began 3 days after I downloaded a new internet browser and stopped using Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

I am now convinced Microsoft is illegally spying on American's. The big question is are they spying on us for themselves or are they turning over our web browsing to the NSA and Bush?

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Sorry to be posting so late today but last night Missouri held it's Democratic Caucus. I am now a alternate delegate for the 2008 Democratic Convention. I don't hold much hope of getting to go to the Convention. I was so hoping that I would get to live blog it for you my readers. I will find us someone who will get to go and blog it for us in August.

Poor Hillary didn't even have enough men to fill the all the delegate spots last night, while Obama had 3 times the caucus goers. I was surprised by this because she beat Obama in the primary in my county. So are Hillary people jumping ship or did they just not show up for the caucus?

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Bush has vowed to veto this bill

House Votes to End Big Oil's Tax Breaks

Despite Veto Threat, Bill to Boost Renewable Energy Is Sent to Senate

By Steven Mufson Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 28, 2008; Page A03

The House of Representatives brushed aside threats of a White House veto yesterday and voted 236 to 182 in favor of an $18 billion tax package that would rescind a tax break for the five biggest oil companies and use the revenue to boost incentives for wind and solar energy and energy efficiency.

The measure now heads to the Senate, where Democrats face a challenge in getting enough support to bring the bill to a vote. This is the fourth time in the past year that Democrats have tried to get the package adopted.

The Bush administration, Republican lawmakers and big oil companies condemned the bill, which they said would raise fuel prices for consumers, discourage oil and gas exploration in the United States and unfairly discriminate against a single industry while other manufacturers continue to enjoy tax breaks.

But hours after crude oil hit a new high of $102 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, most lawmakers said they saw no reason why the oil industry couldn't pay an additional $1.8 billion a year in taxes over the next 10 years.

"We don't think it's asking too much to ask them to assist in a partnership to help find out whether there's a better way to meet our energy needs," said Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. He called the money raised from the oil giants "grains of sand on the beach."

Supporters of the measure noted that rescinded tax breaks would amount to less than 2 percent of the profits of the five biggest oil companies. Even if the companies were to pass along that entire cost to gasoline consumers, it would amount to about a penny a gallon.

Rep. Rahm Emmanuel (D-Ill.) said "Americans are being asked to pay twice" -- once at the gasoline pump and then through tax subsidies to the oil companies.

However, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) said that "politicians are shooting at Big Oil but hitting Americans" in their wallets.

Supporters of the measure also said that by extending tax breaks for wind and solar energy, the bill would prevent the loss of jobs linked to those fast-growing industries. Solar and wind energy companies have been arguing that investment would slow sharply without an extension of investment and production tax breaks for their industries, which are set to expire at the end of the year. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) issued a statement saying that 116,000 jobs were at risk.

Republicans mostly supported the bill's renewable energy provisions, worth about $8 billion.

But at the heart of the floor debate was a provision to exclude oil and gas companies from a tax break given to U.S. manufacturers in 2004. Two years earlier, Congress had given a subsidy to manufacturers -- not including the oil industry. When the World Trade Organization ruled that the subsidy was a violation of trade accords, Congress instead came up with a provision that effectively lowered the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 32 percent over a number of years. In addition to the traditional manufacturers that would have received the earlier subsidy, the new tax break was extended to Hollywood studios, architectural and engineering firms, and oil and gas companies.

The current bill raises $13 billion by eliminating that manufacturers' tax break for the five biggest oil companies: Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP and Royal Dutch Shell.

"The administration must strongly oppose" the legislation, the Office of Management and Budget said Tuesday, "because the bill would use the tax code to target tax increases on a specific industry in a way that will lead to higher energy costs to U.S. consumers and businesses." The OMB said that if the bill were sent to the president in its current form, "his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill."

If adopted and signed into law, the legislation would also raise about $3 billion by altering the treatment of foreign tax credits for oil companies. It would close the so-called Hummer loophole that gives tax breaks on sports-utility vehicles bought for business purposes.

To spur renewable energy, the bill would extend the production tax credit, now 2 cents a kilowatt hour, for wind for three years; after 2009, tax credits would not be able to exceed 35 percent of the value of a wind project.

The 30 percent investment tax credit for solar projects would be extended eight years for commercial customers and six years for residential customers. The current maximum credit for homeowners would be doubled to $4,000.

The legislation would also channel $2 billion into clean renewable energy bonds, which would help finance renewable energy investments by the country's politically powerful rural electric cooperatives. The bill would also expand tax credits for the installation of pumps for motor fuel with 85 percent ethanol and for purchases of plug-in hybrid vehicles.

The Bush administration called the clean energy bonds "highly inefficient" and said they could cost the federal government money outside the 10-year budget window.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/27/AR2008022702635.html?hpid=moreheadlines

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Would you people who have a "Blue Dog Democrat" as your district rep in the House please stop voting for them. Most of these blue dogs are not democrats, they are republicans who switched parties just to get elected.

Blue Dogs prevent the House from doing what WE THE PEOPLE want done. They vote 90% of the time with the republicans. Go here http://www.bluedogdems.com/members.html to see if you own one of these dems in freeper clothing.

Please go to http://www.votesmart.org/ and type in your Blue Dog reps name and look at their voting record.

Blue Dog Democrats have got to go!

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Keeping jobs, money and politics "All in the Family"

CREW RELEASES NEW REPORT DETAILING SENATORS' USE OF POSITIONS TO BENEFIT FAMILY MEMBERS

24 Feb 2008 // Washington, DC – Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released its first-ever analysis of the misuse of power by all members of the Senate to financially benefit their family members. The analysis covers the 2002, 2004 and 2006 election cycles.

Highlights of CREW's Family Affair - Senate report include:

31 senators have one or more family members registered to lobby or employed in government affairs.

In total, senators paid $928,399.49 in fees or contributions to family businesses or employers.

Combined, senators paid $528,797.42 in salaries or fees directly to family members.

http://citizensforethics.org/node/31077

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What are we fighting for? Democracy in Iraq or the money the corporations make by the continued occupation?

DAMN THE TROOPS! G.I. means Government Issue they are not looked as human being and are counted by the DOD like any other piece of equipment. If one piece of equipment is lost the DOD just replaces it with another.

Not only did Rumsfeld send our troops into danger without the equipment the needed but what equipment they did give them was inferior. Bushco gave out no-bid contracts to his buddy and didn't give a damn whether they meet the DOD standards.

Now we know why so many soldiers are coming home with brain injuries.

The company who made inferior Kevlar helmets paid a whole 2 million dollar fine which might pay for 1 soldier's life time care who wore one of these helmets.

This Mother of a soldier is begging, begging the House and the Senate Democrats to STOP the funding of the continued illegal occupation in Iraq. JUST STOP NOW!

If we cannot give our soldiers the best equipment made then we must bring them home>.<

28 Feb 2008 // Tape Recordings and Transcripts of Secret Whistle Blower Conversations About Production of Substandard Helmet Material Now Posted

Washington, DC - Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), joined VoteVets.org and two whistle blowers to discuss the need for an investigation by the Armed Services Committees – led by Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ) and Reps. Ike Skelton (D-MO) and Duncan Hunter (R-CA) – into a $74 million Department of Defense contract awarded to a North Dakota manufacturing company, Sioux Manufacturing Company, which has been outfitting our nation's troops with substandard Kevlar helmets.

Tape recordings of employees discussing the production of the substandard Kevlar for helmets are posted below.

On February 6th, The New York Times reported that Sioux Manufacturing, which makes the Kevlar for helmets, has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that the company had shortchanged the armor in up to 2.2 million helmets for the military, including helmets used by American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Department of Defense, aware of both the problem with Sioux's helmets and the company's efforts to cover it up, awarded another contract to Sioux a mere 12 days before the lawsuit was settled. That same day, CREW sent a letter to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees requesting an investigation into a Department of Defense $74 million contract awarded to Sioux Manufacturing.

Three weeks later, CREW has yet to hear from the Armed Services Committee. Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and John Kerry (D-MA) have written letters to the Department of Defense calling for an investigation, but Congress itself has taken no action. Unfortunately, calls on the Department of Defense to investigate itself are unlikely to produce real results and this is why it is critical for Congress to exercise its oversight authority and get to the bottom of this.

Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW, said today, "How was Sioux Manufacturing allowed to make insufficient Kevlar in the first place and then once that was exposed how could the company be awarded a new contract? Are there soldiers who would have escaped injury or death if their helmets had met government standards rather than the inferior ones produced by Sioux? Frankly, the chairs and ranking members of Armed Services, Senators Carl Levin and John McCain and Representatives Ike Skleton and Duncan Hunter cannot be permitted to take a pass on this."

http://citizensforethics.org/node/31149

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Do you remember last year my Senator Clair McCaskill and Jim Webb wanting to form a Truman Commission to look into the fraud, waste and mismanagement of wartime contracts?

After much wrangling in the Senate and finally getting the funding for the commission turns out Bush attached a signing statement to the bill, virtually putting the Commission in limbo.

The rich war mongers will continue robbing the American people and leading to the direct death of our Soldiers, Sailors and Marines. I am urging everyone to please contact your House and Senate members to please stop the funding of the Iraq occupation.

Sens. Webb, McCaskill's "Modern Day Truman Committee" Signed into Law

Posted by Matt Ortega on January 28, 2008 at 10:04 PM

Senators Jim Webb (D-Virginia) and Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) spoke about the need for a "modern day Truman Commission," and last year introduced an amendment to that effect. The commission was signed into law by the President as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2008.

Senator Jim Webb's office provided details last September:

Establishes an independent, bipartisan eight-member Commission on Wartime Contracting to study federal agency contracting for logistics support, reconstruction, and security functions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Commission will issue interim and final reports on its findings and recommendations, including an evaluation of which functions are inherently governmental and which functions are appropriate for performance by contractors in a contingency operation, especially whether providing security in an areas of combat operations is inherently governmental.

* Requires an assessment of the extent of waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement of wartime contracts, and the extent to which those responsible have been held accountable. The Commission will have the authority to refer to the Department of Justice any violation or potential violation of law it identifies.

* Expands the jurisdiction of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) and a newly-created Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) beyond reconstruction to include security contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also requires an expanded series of audits of wartime contracts by the inspectors general of the Department of Defense and other executive agencies.

Update: It turns out that the commission championed by Senators Webb and McCaskill was one of four items listed on a signing statement issued by President Bush.

Senator Webb will be speaking on the Senate floor about the signing statement shortly.

Stay tuned.

http://www.democrats.org/a/2008/01/sens_webb_mccas.php

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If you missed Democracy Now's Amy Goodman's interview with Jeremy Scahill here is the link to the interview. This is a must read article.

I'm so sick and tired of being lied to by our politicians.

Jeremy Scahill: Despite Antiwar Rhetoric, Clinton-Obama Plans Would Keep US Mercenaries, Troops in Iraq for Years to Come

Jeremy Scahill reports Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama will not "rule out" using private military companies like Blackwater Worldwide in Iraq. Obama also has no plans to sign on to legislation that seeks to ban the use of these forces in US war zones by January 2009. Despite their antiwar rhetoric, both Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton have adopted the congressional Democratic position that would leave open the option of keeping tens of thousands of US troops in Iraq for many years. [includes rush transcript]

Jeremy Scahill, Democracy Now! correspondent Jeremy Scahill joins us now in our firehouse studio. Author of the bestselling book Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army. His latest article is "Obama's Mercenary Position." It appears in the upcoming issue of The Nation magazine.

Continued

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/2/28/jeremy_scahill_despite_anti_war_rhetoric

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Report: More than 1 in every 100 Americans now behind bars

From the Associated Press
11:07 AM PST, February 28, 2008 For the first time in history, more than one in every 100 American adults is in jail or prison, according to a new report tracking the surge in inmate population and urging states to rein in corrections costs with alternative sentencing programs.

The report, released today by the Pew Center on the States, said the 50 states spent more than $49 billion on corrections last year, up from less than $11 billion 20 years earlier. The rate of increase for prison costs was six times greater than for higher education spending, the report said.

Using updated state-by-state data, the report said 2,319,258 adults were held in U.S. prisons or jails at the start of 2008 -- one out of every 99.1 adults, and more than any other country in the world.

The steadily growing inmate population "is saddling cash-strapped states with soaring costs they can ill afford and failing to have a clear impact either on recidivism or overall crime," said the report.

Susan Urahn, managing director of the Pew Center on the States, said budget woes are prompting officials in many states to consider new, cost-saving corrections policies that might have been shunned in the recent past for fear of appearing soft in crime.

"We're seeing more and more states being creative because of tight budgets," she said in an interview. "They want to be tough on crime, they want to be a law-and-order state -- but they also want to save money, and they want to be effective."

The report cited Kansas and Texas as states which have acted decisively to slow the growth of their inmate population. Their actions include greater use of community supervision for low-risk offenders and employing sanctions other than reimprisonment for ex-offenders who commit technical violations of parole and probation rules.

Continued

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-prisons29feb29,1,3562271.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

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The list continues to grow by leaps and bounds!

http://www.armchairsubversive.org/

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Is This America? Is This Separation of Church and State? And Who Set the IRS on Obama's Church?

Submitted by christine on Wed, 02/27/2008 - 1:45pm.

A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Christine Bowman

Surely one of the greatest things, and a defining characteristic of the United States of America in contrast to the rest of the world, is our Constitutionally guaranteed separation of church and state. It gives us the freedom to worship or not; it gives our political leaders the responsibility to work for all Americans, not just for their own religious camp; it gives the religious organizations the freedom to meet and speak and honor their unique spiritual traditions without fear of political interference. Right?

Wrong. At least, not lately, and not in certain cases.

On Monday, February 25, the national headquarters of the United Church of Christ, Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama's church, received a letter from the IRS questioning whether the church "has engaged in political activities that could jeopardize its tax-exempt status." They were given 15 days to respond.

The IRS is scrutinizing specifically an address given by Barack Obama last June. Church leaders appear confident that all rules for tax-exempt groups were met, and they clearly address the issues in a post to their website February 26. If they're correct, then does the IRS probe constitute harassment and a Bush administration breach of First Amendment rights?

Continued http://www.buzzflash.com/articles/analysis/255

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Comcast will stop at nothing! If you have Comcast dump them if you can.

Grassroots Support? Or Astroturf?

by Sam Gustin Feb 26 2008 Comcast acknowledges that it hired people to take up room at an F.C.C. hearing into its practices.

How big are the stakes in the so-called network neutrality debate now raging before Congress and federal regulators?

Consider this: One side in the debate actually went to the trouble of hiring people off the street to pack a Federal Communications Commission meeting yesterday—and effectively keep some of its opponents out of the room.

Broadband giant Comcast—the subject of the F.C.C. hearing on network neutrality at the Harvard Law School, in Cambridge, Massachusetts—acknowledged that it did exactly that.

Comcast spokeswoman Jennifer Khoury said that the company paid some people to arrive early and hold places in the queue for local Comcast employees who wanted to attend the hearing.

Some of those placeholders, however, did more than wait in line: They filled many of the seats at the meeting, according to eyewitnesses. As a result, scores of Comcast critics and other members of the public were denied entry because the room filled up well before the beginning of the hearing.

http://www.portfolio.com/news-markets/top-5/2008/02/26/Comcast-FCC-Hearing-Strategy

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Heads up Mom's and Dad's if your thinking about letting you high school kid become and exchange student to Egypt.

Maine exchange student starved while staying with host family in Egypt

By Associated Press
Thursday, February 28, 2008

HALLOWELL, Maine - Jonathan McCullum was in perfect health at 155 pounds when he left last summer to spend the school year as an exchange student in Egypt.

But when he returned home to Maine just four months later, the 5-foot-9 teenager weighed a mere 97 pounds and was so weak that he struggled to carry his baggage or climb a flight of stairs. Doctors said he was at risk for a heart attack.

McCullum says he was denied sufficient food while staying with a family of Coptic Christians, who fast for more than 200 days a year, a regimen unmatched by other Christians.

Continued

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/national/general/view.bg?articleid=1076498&srvc=rss

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Bush' Way of Bringing the Troops Home

Bush' Way of Bringing the Troops Home
If Not Now When?