Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Illinois Politics: MARCHERS DEMAND HASTERT ACT



Immigration reform: Two arrests mar boisterous rally

Suburban Chicago News
By: Tim Wagner
Sept. 5, 2006

BATAVIA---The four-day journey from Chicago to Batavia finished Monday outside U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert's office, where enthusiastic marchers rallied for nearly 4 hours on Labor Day, challenging Hastert to work for immigration reform.

About 300 participants walked about 50 miles from Chicago's Chinatown to downtown Batavia, where they were greeted by hundreds more, including participants in feeder marches from Aurora, Joliet and Elgin.

The fourth and final leg of the Immigrant Workers Justice Walk began Monday morning in West Chicago, and Batavia police Cmdr. Greg Thrun estimated the total crowd between 1,500 and 2,000, along with 150-200 counter-protesters who gathered on River Street just south of Hastert's office.

***Why wasn't Hastert there? Why did he run?

Batavia police, along with officers from other agencies including Elgin, deployed 50 uniformed officers who wore shielded helmets and carried batons. Advocates on both sides of the immigration issue---seperated by lines of police officers and wooden barricades---remained boisterous throughout the event.

***A majority of those protesters were Republican operatives. Some who worked for Hastert!

The walk and rally were in response to what marchers refer to as stalled legislation in Congress. They chose to demonstrate here because they believe Hastert repeatedly has failed to meet with immigrant leaders to hear their concerns.

***This is a lost cause this year. Hastert is only going to allow wedge issues onto the floor of the House. And probably national security issues just to make it appear that the Republicans are hard on security. If Bush would have closed the borders, which would have been great for national security, Hastert wouldn't have these protesters there now, would he?

"We call on Speaker Hastert and the members of his party to stop with the partisan rhetoric, to stop with racism and to give us real, comprehensive immigration reform," said Jose Artemio Arreola of the Service Employees International Union, one of the march's organizers.

"We marched here to demonstrate the diversity and power of the immigration community here in Illinois. And we marched here because we love America and we are mericans."

Hastert was not at his office on Monday, but spokesman Brad Hahn said the speaker is focused on the issue, has talked with people on all sides of the debate and has visited the U.S.-Mexico border.

***Hastert knew these people were coming, why wasn't he there? All talk and no action!

"It's important to note it isn't a question of who can yell the loudest, but finding the most effective solutions to securing the borders and strengthening our immigration system," Hahn said last week.

Counterdemonstration held

Critics of the pro-immigration groups began gathering early Monday. The anticipation grew, along with the crowd, when announcements were made that the marchers were just blocks away from their destination. Signs and flags were abundant.

***These were all Republican operatives! They knew the media was going to be there. They had to make it appear like he had a lot of support, but only 200 people were there compared to 2,000 of theirs!

Many marchers carried wooden crosses to represent the thousands of Mexicans who have died while trying to make the three-to-four-day trek through the desert in an attempt to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. The crosses were left on the curb in front of the speakers office.

"This law is killing people everyday," said Jorge Mujica of the March 10 Movement, another organizer of the march. People attempting to cross the border "didn't die on the job---they died trying to get a job."

Nearby, immigration critics shouted into megaphones and staged a rally of their own, albeit on a much smaller scale.

"We're here to primarily to support Congressman Hastert," said Rick Biesieda of the Minuteman Midwest organization. "We are being invaded. We have federal laws that are not being enforced or obeyed. We're here to hold Congressman Hastert's feet to the fire."

***That guy kinda' contradicted himself, didn't he? He claims he was there to support Hastert, but then says Hastert isn't upholding the federal laws that are already out there from this so-called invasion! So was he there to support him or to hold his feet to the fire? You can't do both!

"This is not about race and never has been, and it's not about immigrants and never has been," said Cheree Calabro of the Indiana Foundation for Immigration Reform and Enforcement. "This is about the rule of law. We want law and order, not chaos and corruption."

***Well, there you go. Why isn't Hastert doing anything about the illegals?

"Yes we can"

Around the corner, marchers cheered and chanted, as dozens of speakers relayed their views, speaking in both English and Spanish. The refrain "si se puede"---"yes we can"---emanated from the crowd throughout the rally.

"We know this is a country that stands for opportunity, for liberty and justice for all," Arreola said.

***Then they must be in the wrong country! Not under this administration!

Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigration and Refugee Rights, stressed the importance of how immigration reform ultimately would affect children and the generations that succeed them.

"We hope that Speaker Hastert hears a groundswell of petitions from both the immigrant community and the American-born community for bi-partisan comprehensive immigration reform," Hoyt said, "and that (Hastert) stops using immigrants as a political football for trying to hold onto the speakership in November.

***Hastert uses everybody as a political football!

A recruiting theme for the rally was: "Today we march, tomorrow we vote."

Arreola said the group will not waver.

"If we keep struggling, if we keep moving forward, one day we will win," he said. "We know that when we arrived here we represented not only our desires but the desires of the American people to see a just, fair immigration reform. This is Labor Day, and it's time to think about the worker."

***Sorry to say it but, the Republicans know how to fix Diebolt machines. They don't need anyone anymore!

Eggs tossed, 2 arrested

Two people were taken into custody on unrelated infractions near the end of the rally.

A Batavia youth was turned over to juvenile authorities after it was determined he was launching eggs that hit several people in the area of the crowd that supported immigration reform.

A 31-year-old Melrose Park man was arrested after he spit on a person attending the event.

Charges, if any, against either person had not been determined.



Iraq: GROWING DOUBTS IN U.S. ABOUT MILITARY STRATEGY



Poll: Many think war costs too high; dount bin Laden will be nabbed

MSNBC dot com
Associated Press
September 1, 2006


WASHINGTON---Doubts about the war on terrorism are growing. Most people worry that the cost in blood and money may be too high, and they don't think al-Qaida kingpin Osama bin Laden will ever be caught, am AP-Ipsos poll found.

***Watch for Bush and the Republicans to come out making speeches now about this. That's all that you are going to hear about! "We're winning the war on terrorism!"

Five years after the attacks of Sept. 11, fully one-third of Americans think the terrorists may be winning, the poll suggests. Worries fed by the war in Iraq have spilled over into the broader campaign against terrorists who directly target the U.S.

Half in the poll question whether the costs of the anti-terror campaign are too great, and even more admit that thought has crossed their mind.

Those costs are already high:

More than 2,600 U.S. troops dead in Iraq;

More than 270 dead in Afghanastan;

Roughly 20,000 wounded in both countries;

More than $430B for wars in Iraq and Afghanastan and other costs overseas;

and more than $250B for domestic security.

Increasing skepticism is not surprising to Lee Hamilton, co-chairman of the Sept. 11 commission.

"I think what you are seeing now is a pushback," said Hamilton, who noted he still considers the terror threat an urgent problem. "Since 9/11, the security folks have won all the arguments. People are beginning to see that security is a very expensive business... We're seeing some rebalancing of the scales."

But that shift may be unrelated to any reduction in the threat.

Bin Laden is beleived to be hiding out somewhere along the Pakistan-Afghanstan border, the conflict in Iraq is edging toward civil war and terrorists are still attempting attacks, as evidenced by the alleged plot, recently foiled by the British, to blow up airliners in the sky.

Embarrassed by the U.S. image abroad

The Ap-Ipsos telephone polling of about 1,000 people found:

* Less than half, 46%, are confident that bin Laden will ever be caught---down from 67% in December 2003.

* More than 4 in 10, 43%, say they're embarrassed by the U.S. image overseas.

The big question for Karen Brown of Gainesville, Va., is whether the U.S. efforts are making a difference.

"Things are moving very slowly and not going very well," said Brown, a freelance writer in Northern Virginia. "There's Osama bin Laden still running free. We're deeper into Afghanstan and deeper into Iraq. I don't see an end to it."

Not everyone agrees the war in Iraq is central to the war on terror, as the Bush administration maintains. 6 in 10 think there will be more terrorism in this country because the U.S. went to war in Iraq. Some feel strongly that the 2 wars are seperate.

"They've been successful in the war on terrorism as long as you distinguish between the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism," said Eva Washington, a semiretired nurse from Washington, D.C. "We allowed Iraq to become a home to terrorists by going over there."

And they are divided about whether they are losing personal freedoms, according to polls done between Aug 7-17 with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

"I think there's a fatigue about the price of doing these activities," said Robert Blendon, a specialist in public opinion at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. "There's also a concern about the competency of how well we're doing them."

Political divisions apparent

Some of the divisions are from political differences. For example, Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to think the cost of the terror fight may be too high and twice as likely to think Iraq is making terrorism worse. And this comes when the nation has gone five years without an attack---possibly making the terror war seem less urgent to some.

Popular support for the war on terror neutralize opposition to the Iraq war for a long time, said political analyst Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute. "Now the negative effect of Iraq is dragging down support for the war on terror," he said.

Objections to the U.S. policies include invading Iraq without sufficient support from allies, faulty claims of WMD and holding "enemy combatants" at Guantanamo for many months without trial.

Some say they're worried that terrorists are recruited faster than they can be captured or killed.

"I am very concerned that if you get one terrorist faction, then another one steps up," said Carla Sanda, a meeting organizer from Las Vegas. "I'm very concerned this is going to be the world my grandchildren are going to be faced with."





Iraq: LOOSE TALK/THE BUSH RHETORIC ON IRAQ IS SOUNDING DESPERATE



There are at least 3 pieces of falsely based rhetoric that are beiginning to emerge in the fall political campaign that need to be put in context now, early in the game.

All of these are being put forward by senior U.S. government officials or Republican candidates, notably Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Pennsylvania's own nonresidential peddler of nontruths, Sem. Ric Santorum.

The first of these is that any American who does not believe that the United States should stay in Iraq, to pursue President Bush's vanity war to the end and continue to lose young fighting Americans as well as burn up formidable amounts of cash, is somehow not only wrongheaded but also a traitor who does not really love freedom.

This is a scurrilous lie, insulting and a disgusting slur of good Americans---Democrats, Republicans or Independents---who believe that it is time the nation found a way to bring an end to a war that is now more than 3 years old.

A Second, very misleading, line that, notably, Republican candidate Santorum is using, most recently at a talk in Harrisburg on Monday, is that America's current war is against "Islamic fascism." This concept is inaccurate and unhelpful to the United States in both of its words. Anyone with half a brain can see that Islam is by no means unified or unanimous in its support of al-Qaida, terrorism or even Hezbollah and Hamas. Think of the leaders of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Or think of Indonesia, Bangladesh and Malaysia, majority Islamic countries that have offered troops to the United Nations to stand between Hezbollah and the Israeli Defense Forces in defending the integrity of southern Lebanon.

In addition, what is going on in the Middle East does not meet the definition of fascism. Fascism is a political philosophy, albeit a scrofulous one, and is generally a national phenomenon, not cross-national and religious in its scope.

Mr. Santorum has given no previous indication of any knowledge of foreign affairs, but waving around the words "Islamic Fascism" may take the cake.

The third falsely based line that some Republicans are throwing around is an effort to draw a link between the situation in Europe in the 1930s---Hitler, British Prime Minister A. Neville Chamberlain's 1938 Munich deal, the Holocaust carried out by Germany and other nations against the Jews of Europe---and some Americans' advocacy of a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. The 2 situations have nothing whatsoever in common---even the fact that Mr. Chamberlain saw himself as trying to preserve peace in Europe, whereas the Bush administration is trying to find a way to say it's been successful in Iraq despite that fact that none of its stated invasion objectives (apart from the overthrow of Saddam Hussein) have been achieved.

What would be most useful for America at this point is that its 2006 electoral campaign be waged on the basis of truths---about its economic situation, or primary importance, as well as the current position of the United States in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East.

FEEDING LIES INTO THE SYSTEM---WITH CLAIMS THAT ADVOCACY OF WITHDRAWAL IS DISLOYALTY, "ISLAMIC FASCISM" IS THE PROBLEM OR THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST IS LIKE THAT IN 1930s EUROPE---IS STUPID AND COUNTERPRODUCTIVE TO USEFUL DEBATE AMONG COMPETING CANDIDATES. IT NEEDS TO STOP NOW BEFORE IT GOES ANY FURTHER.

***It's the Republicans, not the Democrats lying to the people again! If the people are that weak minded, then they deserve to get the Republicans into office, but to me they are some of the stupidest people on the face of this earth if they can't see through the Republicans.

Karl Rove is running everything in the U.S. Cheney is running the war and Bush is the "no-mind" that sits and pretends that he is a president! All of the other Republicans are their minions! WE DIDN'T ELECT KARL ROVE INTO OFFICE. LET'S SEE BUSH TRY TO RUN THIS COUNTRY BY HIMSELF. HE'D LAST ABOUT 2 DAYS!

National Security: BUSH REPUBLICAN INCOMPETENCE HAS MADE AMERICA LESS SAFE



A PR campaign can't hide the facts. Bush Republican incompetence has made America less safe and it is time for a change.

NATIONAL SECURITY

Five years after 9/11, America is not as safe as it can and should be.

The facts do not lie. Under the Bush administation and this Republican Congress, America is less safe, facing greater threats, and unprepared for the dangerous world in which we live.

Because of their failures and mismanagement, Iraq is on chaos, and the world is more dangerous.

It's time to change course.

Republicans want to stay the course behind a failed policy in Iraq. Democrats have a real plan to change course to allow America to finally win the war in Iraq.

1. Transition the U.S. mission in Iraq to counter-terrorism, training, logistics and force protection

2. Begin the phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq before the end of this year

3. Work with Iraqi leaders to disarm the militias and to develop a broad-based and sustainable political settlement, including amending the Constitution to achieve a fair sharing of power and resources.

4. Convene an international conference and contact group to support a political settlement in Iraq, to preserve Iraq's sovereignty, and to revitalize the stalled economic reconstruction and rebuilding effort.

5. Replace the civilian leadership at the Pentagon.

Democrats and fighting for the tough AND smart new strategies needed to finally make America safe as it should be.

It is time for a new direction, with leadership that will give the American people the real security they deserve.



VA Issues: 1,800 TRICARE PATIENTS TOLD TO FIND NEW DOCTORS



Patterson, New Jersey clinic cutting services to TRICARE PLUS enrollees

APP dot com
via: VA Watchdog
August 30, 2006

Fort clinic patients told to find new doctors

4 Patterson physicians leave

Coastal Monmouth Bureau
By: Keith Brown

FORT MONMOUTH---Some 1,800 patients of Fort Monmouth's Patterson Army Health Clinic must begin searching for new doctors by the end of the week, and 2 lawmakers are demanding a meeting with top Army officials to explain why.

The change affects patients enrolled in the Tricare Plus medical program, Michele Steinert, a clinic spokewoman, said Monday. The clinic treats some 8,200 enlisted military personnel, veterans and their families. Patients included under other military benefit plans are not affected.

Steinhart said the service cuts are attributed to the exodus of four clinic doctors in the Tricare Plus program---2 civilian and 2 military---which has left the clinic short-staffed.

***In other words: They had to let 4 of the physicians go because of underfunding.

Two military doctors have been transferred overseas to support the war on terrorism, she said, and 2 civilians---a pediatrician and endocrinologist---have recently quit.

***How convenient for the VA to have the military physicians sent overseas! The 2 civilians probably had a choice: Quit of get fired! Whatever makes your resume' look better.

Patterson partients were notified of the abrupt change in an Aug. 15 letter. Patients will need to begin to look for civilian doctors by Friday and have chosen one by Oct. 15, according to the letter.

The letter, sent by Col. Don P. Speers, the clinic's commanding officer, came just over a month after Army officials and others repeatedly told scores of Patterson patients at a July 9 meeting that no changes in services would take place until 2009, when a yearlong phaseout of the clinic would begin.

***What is it with this administrtion that they can't tell the truth? These people need to get their lives together. They knew in July that this was going to happen! Why lie? If this administration told the truth, I think that I would fall off of my chair! What's worse, is that they have no shame about it.

The Patterson clinic is scheduled to close Oct. 1, 2010. The date marks the beginning of the 2011 fiscal year---the year the fort is due to close as a result of COST-CUTTING recommendations by the Pentagon accepted last year.

The move has drawn the ire of Reps. Rush D. Holt and Frank J. Pallone Jr., both D-NJ., who are demanding a meeting with the D.O.D. to explain why.

"They're (the D.O.D.) saying that this has nothing to do with the closure, but I don't buy it," Palone said Monday.

In a letter Friday sent jointly by Holt and Patterson to William Winkenwerder Jr., assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, the lawmakers wrote: "We wish to voice our strong opposition to this move, and demand that you meet with us to discuss alternatives."

The letter details an Aug. 10 telephone conference among the lawmakers and several Army and defense officials where alternatives to closing the Patterson clinic were discussed.

"We were assured that these options would be fully explored," the letter reads. "We were startled to discover one week later that these assurances seemed meaningless."

Holt and Pallone on Monday both said they have not received a response from the D.O.D.

"It just looks to me that they're looking for any excuse to cut back on services for anybody," Holt said.

***I always said that the so-called big increase to the VA budget was all fuzzy numbers. They are doing more cutting than ever before. It's just a shame that a lot of the veterans can't see it! I'm getting real tired of trying to step up for veterans when they continue to go and vote for the ones that are taking away from them. Kudos to those who see it though!






Iraq: GRAND AYATOLLAH ABANDONS ATTEMPTS TO STOP CIVIL WAR



"I no longer have power to save Iraq from civil war," warns Shia leader

Telegraph Group Ltd.
By: Gethin Chamberlain and Aqeel Hussein in Baghdad
September 3, 2006


The most influential moderate Shia leader in Iraq has abandoned attempts to restrain his followers, admitting there is nothing he can to do prevent the country sliding towards civil war.

Aides say Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is angry and disappointed that Shias are ignoring his calls for calm and are switching their allegiance in the thousands to more militant groups which promise protection from Sunni violence and revenge for attacks.

"I will not be a political leader any more," he told aides. "I am only happy to receive questions about religious matters."

It is a devastating blow to the hopes for a peaceful solution in Iraq and spells trouble for British forces, who are based in and around the Shia stronghold of Basra.

The cleric is regarded as the most important Shia religious leader in Iraq and has been a moderating influence since the invasion of 2003. He ended the fighting in Najaf between Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi army and American forces in 2004 and was instramental in persuading the Shia factions to fight the 2005 elections under the single banner of the United Alliance.

However, the extent to which he has become marginalized was demonstrated last week when fighting broke out in Diwaniya between Iraqi soldiers and al-Sadr's Medhi army. With dozens dead, al-Sistani's appeals for calm were ignored. Instead, the provinicial governor had to travel to Najaf to see al-Sadr, who ended the fighting with one telephone call.

Al-Sistani's aides say that he has chosen to stay silent rather than suffer the ignominy of being ignored. Ali al-Jaberi, a spokesman for the cleric in Khadamiyah, said that he was furious that his followers had turned away from him and ignored his calls for moderation.

Asked whether Ayatollah al-Sistani could prevent a civil war, Mr. al-Jaberi replied: "Honestly, I think not. He is very angry, very disappointed."

He said a series of snubs had contributed to Ayatollah al-Sistani's decision. "He asked the politicians to ask the Americans to make a timetable for leaving but they disappointed him," he said. "After the war, the politicians were visiting him every month. If they wanted to do something, they visitied him. But no one has visited him for 2 or 3 months. He is very angry that this is happening now. He sees this as very bad."

***The Iraqi government and the U.S. need this man. They need all of the help that they can get, so why are they pushing him aside? Bush has no intentions on leaving Iraq. He needs to stay a "war-time" president so that he can continue all of his spying on the citizens of the U.S. What's up his sleeve? Is Blackwater the new SS?

A report from the Pentagon on Friday said that the core conflict in Iraq had changed from a battle against insurgents to an increasingly bloody fight between Shia and Sunni Muslims, creating conditions that could lead to civil war. It noted that attacks rose by 24% to 792 per week---the highest of the war---and daily Iraqi casualties soared by 51% to almost 120, prompting some ordinary Iraqis to look to illegal militias for their safety and sometimes for social needs and welfare.

***How can Bush and the Republicans claim "progress" when all of this is happening?

Hundreds of thousands of people have turned away from al-Sistani to the far more aggressive al-Sadr. Sabah Ali, 22, an engineering student at Baghdad University, said that he had switched allegiance after the murder of his brother by Sunni gunmen. "I went to Sistani asking for revenge for my brother," he said. "They said go to the police, they couldn't do anything.

"But even if the police arrest them, they will release them for money, because the police are bad people. So I went to the al-Sadr office. I told them about the terrorists' family. They said, 'Don't worry, we'll get revenge for your brother.' Two days later, people had killed nine of the terrorists, so I felt I had revenge for my brother. I believe that Sadr is the only one protecting the Shia against the terrorists."

According to al-Sadr's aides, he owes his success to keeping in touch with the people. "He meets his representatives every week or every day. Sistani only meets his representatives every month," said his spokesman, Sheik Hussein al-Aboudi.

"Muqtada al-Sadr asks them what the situation is on the street, are there any fights against the Shia, he is asking all the time. So the people become close to al-Sadr because he is closer to them than Sisatani. Sistani is the ayatollah, he is very expert in Islam, but not as a politician."

Even the Iraqi army seems to have accepted that things have changed. First Lieut Jaffar al-Mayahi, an Iraqi National Guard officer, said many soldiers accepted that al-Sadr's Mehdi army was protecting Shias. "When they go to the checkpoints and their vehicles are searched, they say they are Mehdi army and they are allowed through. But if we stop Sistani's people we sometimes arrest them and take away their weapons."

Western diplomats fear that the vacuum will be filled by the more radical Shia clerics, hastening the break-up of the country and an increase in sectarian violence.

Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Britain's former special representative for Iraq, said the decline in Ayatollah al-Sistani's influence was bad news for Iraq.

"It would be a pity if his strong instincts to maintain the unity of Iraq and to forswear violence were removed from influencing the secene," he said.