Janet's Conner

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

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A LETTER TO VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY



---Says "There was no provable link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda."---

WASHINGTON, D.C.---Today, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, sent the following letter to Vice President Dick Cheney:

September 12, 2006

Vice President Dick Cheney
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. Vice President:

On Sunday's "Meet the Press," you stated "we don't know" whether September 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta ever met with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague.

Just last Friday, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report that cites multiple declassified intelligence assessments, some from as early as mid-2002, reporting evidence that the meeting did not occur. In addition, the 9/11 Commission concluded that "the available evidence does not support the original "Czech report" of a meeting between Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi officer.

There are also classified assessments on this topic from the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, dated 20 March 2006 and 27 April 2006, respectively.

The evidence is now public and the facts undisputed that the Prague meeting never happened. There was no available link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda prior to 9/11.

I urge you to correct your statement on "Meet the Press" and to be accurate in any future remarks.

Politics: THE REPUBLICAN RECORD ON BORDER SECURITY



This afternoon, September 12, 2006, the House Republican Leadership is holding a forum on the "results" of their sham "hearings" on immigration and border security, which they held throughout August.

The headlines that these sham "hearings" generated say it all:

"All Talk, No Action on Immigration" (Boston Herald, 8/17/06)

"Immigration Hearings Are Just Sales Job" (Tucson Citizen, 8/10/06)

"Immigration Hearing Misfires" (Denver Post, 8/31/06)

"Field Hearings A Waste of Time, Money" (Denver Rocky Mountain News, 8/17/06)

"Immigration Hearings Staged to Run Out the Clock" (Springfield Massachusetts Republican, 7/31/06)

Republicans have stalled by holding these "hearings," that are all talk and no action---conducting hearings instead of going to conference on the immigration/border security bills that the House and Senate have passed. Hundreds of thousands of American taxpayers' dollars were wasted on these sham hearings.

The record on border security over the last 5 years is poor. As the report shows, Republicans have been consistently voting against efforts to better enhance border security resources---including Border Patrol agents, detention beds, and immigration enforcement agents. Once again, the Republican rhetoric and the Republican record simply don't match up.

VA Issues: INSURANCE CHANGE COULD COST MILITARY RETIREES



Would ban civilian employers from paying incentives to workers who use TRICARE.

Insurance change could cost retirees

Gannett News Service
By: Dennis Camire
via: VA Watchdog dot Org
September 12, 2006

WASHINGTON---Some working military retirees would lose thousands of dollars a year under a proposed cost-cutting move for a federal health-insurance program.

This year's House and enate defense bills would ban civilian employers---including local and state governments---from paying incentives to military retirees who use the Defense Department's Rricare insurance instead of their companies' healthcare plans.

Dave Winnett, who retired in 1995 after 20 years in the Marine Corps, said the move could cost him as much as $3,000 a year in healthcare payments he now receives from his employer, the city of Torrance, Calif.

"It just seems that as soon as I retired, all I hear about is Washington trying to figure out ways to reduce our benefits," said Winnett, 52, a disabled veteran of the first Gulf War who manages city-owned cars and trucks.

It just seems like we're always struggling to keep what we got."

But the Pentagon says the private-sector incentive payments contributed to an increase in Tricare costs to $36.7B this year from $18B five years ago.

"Those payments may exceed $1,000 a year in some cases." David Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said this year. As Chu sees it, the Defense Dept is subsidizing healthcare for private-sector employees.

But Steve Strobridge, director of government relations for the Military Officers Association of America, said the proposed change would penalize thousands of retirees whose employers aren't trying to shift healthcare costs to the Pentagon.

Some companies reward any employee who chooses another healthcare plan, such as a spouse's, Strobridge said.

Other companies use a cafeteria plan in which the employer pays a set amount and the employee chooses where to spend it, he said.

Winnett, for example, said Torrance offers all employees the choice between its own plan and a monthly payment toward costs of another plan. He said he uses the city's dental and vision insurance, and Tricare for medical needs.

"This is not something where the city is saying, 'Let's go after those Tricare retirees and force them to use that benefit,'" Winnett said.

Even if Congress approves the change, he is not going to give up Tricare.

"All it's going to result in is me losing money out of my pocket," he said.





Veterans Issues: GAO REPORT FINDS VA SHORT OF RESOURCES TO ADDRESS HOMELESS VETERANS' NEEDS



Rep. Michaud Urges Administration to Provide Necessary Funding and Make Commitment to End Homelessness Among Veterans

News Release
House Committee on Veterans' Affairs-Democratic Office
Lane Evans
Ranking Democratic Member
September 12, 2006

Washington, D.C.---"With veterans living on the streets at night, it is unacceptable to have a shortfall of nearly 10,000 beds for homeless veterans," said Rep. Michael H. Michaud, Ranking Democratic Member of the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health in reaction to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report issued late Tuesday.

"The GAO report clearly indicates that gaps on service exist and that we are leaving behind veterans who are sleeping on the streets, under bridges, in alleys and in cars. Homelessness is curable. We must---and can---take steps to prevent and end homelessness among veterans," said Michaud.

One third of the nation's adult homeless population are veterans, half suffer from mental health disorders and many have substance abuse problems. The Dept of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diam program (GPD), which provides transitional housing to veterans.

The GAO report specifically found that while VA has attempted to improve its services and increase the capacity of the GPD program, an additional 9,600 transitional beds are needed to meet the current demand of homeless veterans in need of shelter. GAO states that VA plans to increase GPD beds by 2,200. The GAO report also indicated that resource and communications gaps have stood in the way of VA and provider efforts to help homeless veterans live independently. Misunderstandings in program policies have prevented homeless veterans from getting needed services.

The GAO also reported that VA served over 2,500 of the homeless veterans who had served in military operations in the Persian Gulf, Afghanastan, and Iraq.

Michaud has introduced H.R. 5960, the Homeless Veterans Assistance Act of 2006, legislation to fortify the nation's efforts to prevent and end homelessness among veterans. Michaud's legislation includes a pilot to prevent homelessness among returning troops.

Military Issues: REP. MILLER (D-CA) URGES GOP LEADERS TO DROP OPPOSITION TO SUPPORTING MILITARY FAMILIES



Provisions Would Give Military Families More Flexibility at Work

September 12, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C.---Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, issued the following statement today after the 'Army Times' reported that Republican leaders on the committee planned to oppose a provision in a pending defense bill that would require the federal government to give its employees more flexibility to use earned leave time to care for their families while a loved one is called to active duty for the U.S. Armed Forces and would encourage private employers to do the same:

"We have nearly 160,000 troops risking their lives for us in Iraq and Afghanastan. We owe it to them to do everything in our power to ensure that their families are taken care of while they are serving our country. In that spirit, Democrats in the Senate secured a provision in the Senate's 2007 defense bill that would require federal agencies to allow their employees to use their sick and leave time for children or other dependents when a family member in the Armed Forces is deployed. It would encourage, but not require, employers in the private sector to do the same for their employees.

***Now that's supporting our troops!

"This is the least Congress should do. It would cost the federal government very little, but it would make a big difference in the lives of families who are struggling to balance the demands of work and home life while a parent or other loved one is deployed. It would also establish the federal government as a model for all employees when it comes to granting flexibility to military families. In fact, the Senate Democrats had originally proposed to require the Dept of Labor to establish a private sctor leave program, but Senate Republican leaders refused to accept it.

***I thought the Republicans said that they "Support Our Troops?" How is rejecting this Democratic idea, supporting them? It appears that the Republicans would rather do for the corporations that support them than "Support Out Troops."

"Supporting our troops means more than just putting a sticker on your bumper. Republican leaders continue to claim they support the troops while they SLASH FUNDING for veterans' health care, send young men and women into harm's way without adequate armor and equipment, and FAIL to support military families. This LATEST REFUSAL to support military families is totally contemptible. With our military stretched so thin, efforts to support military families like this one shouldn't even be under debate. Republican leaders should DROP THEI OPPOSITION to this provision and do the right thing for military families."

Last week, Miller sent a letter to McKeon urging him to support the Senate provisions. The current Senate provision was secured by Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and James Jeffords (I-VT) and it passed the Senate by voice vote (that is, without opposition). It has the support of the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS), the National Military Family Association (NMFA), the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS), the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), and the National Partnership for Women and Families.

***Right now the Senate Republicans will go along with it because it's election season. But since Frist (R-TN) is a lapdog for the White House, let's see what happens when it comes time for the "real" vote!

Politics: PELOSI: "IT'S TIME FOR REAL LEADERSHIP AGAINST TERRORISM........"

Pelosi: "It's Time for Real Leadership Against Terrorism, Not Just Republicans' Half-Truths and Scare Tactics."

September 12, 2006

Washington, D.C.---House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement on Majority Leader John Boehner's inflammatory comments about Democrats and the war on terror:

"If anyone attacks America they will be dealt with swiftly and surely.

"Rather than try to defeat their own failed record, Republicans have resorted to the desperation politics of fear. It is long past time for the Republicans to be honst with American people and stop questioning the patriotism of those who recognize that the President's Iraq policy has not worked, is making us less safe, and must be changed.

"If Mr. Boehner has a concern with the Hamdan decision, he should take it to the U.S. Supreme Court, where a majority of the justices found that Mr. Bush was opereating outside of the rule of law. Attempting to criticize the decision by criticizing those whose views were validated by the Court reveals a lack of substantive argument and shows a profound lack of understanding about the way our democracy works.

"It's time for real leadership against terrorism, not just Republicans' half-truths and scare tactics. The American people will see through the Republicans cynical tactics and choose a new direction in the war against terror."



Politics: PELOSI AND REID---URGE NETWORKS TO DEVOTE FAIR COVERAGE TO HOUSE AND SENATE DEMOCRATS



Washington, D.C.---House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid sent the following letter today to the presidents of network news companies calling on them to devote more coverage to House and Senate Democrats if they continue to give extensive coverage to President Bush's national security speeches.

Below is the letter:


September 12, 2006

Steve Capus
President
NBC News
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, N.Y. 10112

Dear Mr. Capus:

No subject is more critical to the American people than our national security. Yet as the press has widely reported, the issue of national security has regularly been politicized and exploited for partisan gain by the Bush Administration and Republicans in Congress. The President's recent speaking schedule and his nationally televised prime time speech last night strongly suggest that similar tactics will be employed in the coming weeks leading up to Election Day to heighten public anxiety and promote partisanship.

Over the weekend, 'The New York Times' reported that Republicans intend to use a series of national security speeches in what 'The Times' has characterized as a "carefully calibrated strategy" to win the midterm elections. The issue of national security should not be politicized. The security of our nation surely deserves a public discussion, and different viewpoints deserve similar coverage so that the American people hear alternative ideas. We write to you today to request that if you plan to continue to devote extensive live coverage to the President's national security speeches over the next few weeks, you similarly provide substantial coverage to the national security events and statements of House and Senate Democrats.

Until now, there has been a complete absence of balance in the news coverage of national security issues. Over the last month as campaign efforts have begun in earnest, according to Media Matters, there have been over 64% more conservatives appearing on the Sunday news shows than Democrats. In a speech that was supposed to commemorate the fifth anniversry of the September 11 tragedy, last night President Bush was given almost 20 minutes of primetime coverage on all major networks for a speech that continued to inaccurately link 9/11 to the war in Iraq.

Congressional Democrats have a wealth of experience, authority, and the ideas as to how we could better secure our nation, combat terrorism, and ensure a significant transition in Iraq. House and Senate leaders hold frequent press conferences and briefings on a wide variety of national security issues ranging from Iraq to border security to the state of our military readiness. Most of those receive scant coverage, even when offering specific alternatives to Administration policies.

In order to provide the American people with complete information to make the best choices come Election Day, we ask that you commit your network to providing fair and equitable coverage to the viewpoints of both Republican and Democrats on these crucial national security debates.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

NANCY PELOSI
House Democratic Leader

HARRY REID
Senate Democratic Leader

cc: David Westin, ABC News, Sean McManus, CBS News, Jim Walton, CNN, Roger Ailes, FOX News Channel

AIR FORCE CHIEF: TEST WEAPONS ON TESTY U.S. MOBS



Washington (AP)---Nonlethal weapons such as high-power microwave devices should be used on American citizens in crowd-control situations before being used on the battlefield, the Air Force secretary said Tuesday.

CNN News
September 12, 2006

The object is basically public relations. Domestic use would make it easier to avoid questions from others about possible safety considerations, said Secretary Michael Wynne.

"If we're not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation," said Wynne. "(Because) if I hit somebody with a nonlethal weapon and they claim that it injured them in a way that was not intended, I think that I would be vilified in the world press."

***If you don't think that the Bush administration is crazy after this, then maybe it's you that is nuts!

Nonlethal weapons generally can weaken people if they are hit with the beam. Some of the weapons can emit short, intense energy pulses that can also be effective in disabling some electronic devices.

***What about people with pace makers?

On another subject, Wynne said he expects to choose a new contractor for the next generation aerial refueling tankers by next summer. He said a draft request for bid will be put on next month, and there are 2 qualified bidders: The Boeing Co. and a team of Northrop Grumman Corp. and European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., the majority owner of European jet maker Airbus SAS.

***It'll probably be Airbus, since it is partly owned by Gillespie who was once the chairman of the RNC! This way, the Republicans get a cut!

The contract is expected to be worth at least $20B (&euro 15.75B).

Chicago, Illinois-based Boeing lost the tanker deal in 2004 amid revelations that it had hired a top Air Force acquisitions official who had given the company preferential treatments.

Wynne, also said the Air Force, which is already chopping 40,000 active duty, civilian and reserve jobs, is now struggling to find new ways to slash about $1.8B (&euro 1.4B) from its budget to cover costs from the latest round of base closings.

***How can you close bases during wartime? That's why we are losing in Afghanastan & Iraq. This administration is too untraditional to be successful. The military is not a corporation, like they are trying to run this country! Besides, everything that Bush tried to succeed at in life failed. Look at what he's doing to our country. And now he wants the American people to be experimented on? What's up with that?

He said he can't cut more people, and it would not be wise to take funding from military programs that are needed to protect the country. But he said he also incurs resistance when he tries to save money on operations and maintenance by retiring aging aircraft.

"We're finding out that those are, unfortunately, prized possessions of some congressional districts," said Wynne, adding that the Air Force will have to "take some appetite suppresant pills." He said he has asked employees to look for efficiencies in their offices.

The base closings initially were expected to create savings by reducing Air Force infrastructure by 24%.

***Do you believe what Wynne had to say about using high-powered microwave devices on the American public? Who is he? Dr. Mengele from Hitler's Germany? Why would our government allow such a thing to happen?