I'd also forgotten that back in September, when President Bush first rolled out the Korea model of the permanent occupation of Iraq which Sen. McCain (R) has now embraced as his platform, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office did a study of what a[...]
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I want to thank five good blogs that have recently added me to their blogrolls. PoliSci@UST is the blog of the political science department of the University of St. Thomas in Houston. It is a bipartisan blog. I think they added me because I’m a political science graduate of a Jesuit university ( Xavier U. in Cincinnati) and they wanted to give [...]
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And it wasn't even close. Time will tell how modern the "new" Tories are but for now, it's pretty clear people have had enough of (new) Labour. London Mayor Ken Livingston, despite his own bizarre rants, had remained popular but the Tories were much more successful with getting voters to the polls. Livingston lost 53%-47% to current Tory MP Boris Johnson.
Barack Obama has been blasting the temporary lifting of gas taxes as political gamesmanship and bad economic sense. He didn't always. While in the Illinois Senate, he woted for it.
Available on Lexis.com: Chicago Defender July 1, 2000,
While Gov. George H. Ryan signed legislation suspending Illinois' five percent sales tax on gasoline for six months and issued an executive order creating state monitoring teams, Mayor Richard M. Daley Thursday vowed to keep an eagle eye on gas prices in Chicago.
Some people opposed it. Among their arguments:
Dr. Quentin Young, chairman of the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group, who said those funds are earmarked for health, education, and human services.
He called the passage of the state's six-month gas tax reduction nothing more than a "pre-November election states-manship" saying this will only force the legislature to compensate in other ways while "compromising the health of Illinois residents with future raids of the tobacco settlement funds and other state-funded programs."
Where was Obama on the issue?
Senators Kimberly A. Lightford (D-4th) and Barack Obama (D-13th) said the bill gives customers needed temporary relief from high gas prices. "Gas retailers must post on each pump a statement that indicates that the state tax has been suspended and that this temporary elimination of the tax should be reflected in the price per gallon of gas," said Obama.
What happened: [more...]
The bill passed the Democrat-controlled House by a 106-5 vote and in the Republican-controlled Senate, by a vote of 55-1. Ryan signed Senate Bill 1310 hours later just a few weeks after Indiana Gov. Frank O'Bannon signed his emergency order that suspending his five percent gas sales tax for 60-days.
How did Obama vote? Copley News Service March 8, 2000,
Senate Bill 1310, sponsored by Sen. Frank Watson, R-Greenville, would eliminate the state sales tax on gasoline beginning Oct. 1. The Illinois Senate passed the legislation Wednesday. It now goes to the House.
Yes - 50 No - 0
Present - 6
Excused/Not Voting - 3
The votes are listed individually, Obama voted yes.
In November, 2000, a bill came up to eliminate the gas tax. AP, November 15, 2000
The Illinois Senate voted 46-12 Wednesday for SB1867, a measure to eliminate the state sales tax on gasoline. Voting "yes" were 31 Republicans and 15 Democrats. Voting "no" were 1 Republican and 11 Democrats.
Obama was one of the 11 voting no. But that was a bill to permanently eliminate the state's sales tax on gas, not suspend it. Even then Gov. George Ryan opposed the permanent elimination of the tax. (AP, Nov. 29, 2000.)
CBS News says Obama voted for the temporary lifting of the tax three times in the State Senate.
Obama took a different view on the issue when he was an Illinois legislator, voting at least three times in favor of temporarily lifting the state's 5 percent sales tax on gasoline. The tax holiday was finally approved during a special session in June of 2000, when Illinois motorists were furious that gas prices had just topped $2 a gallon in Chicago.
During one debate, he joked that he wanted signs on gas pumps in his district to say, Senator Obama reduced your gasoline prices.
On the fifth anniversary of George Bush's aircraft-carrier extravaganza, John McCain claimed that in spring of 2003 he rejected the administration's "mission accomplished" boasts as mere propaganda. He now says he thought those boasts were contradicted by the facts and "wrong".
"To state the obvious, I thought it was wrong at the time. I thought phrases like ‘a few dead-enders,’ ‘last throes,’ all of those comments contributed over time to the frustration and sorrow of Americans because those statements and comments did not comport with the facts on the ground...and I think that history will judge me that I thought it was wrong and I knew what was right."
Asked if Bush bore responsibility for the placement of the "Mission Accomplished" banner posted above him at the speech, McCain took a big picture approach.
"Do I blame him for that specific banner? I have no knowledge of that. I can’t blame him for that. But I do, do say statements were made-’a few dead-enders,’ ‘last throes’...(that) were contradicted by the facts on the ground."
Here is the video of McCain's comments.
McCain has a penchant for rewriting history in such a way that he turns out to have been the hero of every story, though usually unrecognized as such "at the time". So what was McCain really saying in the spring of 2003 about "mission accomplished"?
The DNC has posted a Fox "News" interview from June 11, 2003 in which McCain invoked the "Mission Accomplished" banner as proof that the war in Iraq was indeed over, despite public skepticism of the claim. In fact, McCain went on to argue that it was "very appropriate" for the Senate Armed Services Committee to hold post-conflict hearings.
NEIL CAVUTO (host): Senator -- after a conflict means after the conflict, and many argue the conflict isn't over.
McCAIN: Well, then why was there a banner that said mission accomplished on the aircraft carrier?
Look, the -- I have said a long time that reconstruction of Iraq would be a long, long, difficult process, but the conflict -- the major conflict is over, the regime change has been accomplished, and it's very appropriate. In two weeks, General Franks is going to come before the Senate Armed Services Committee, and we're going to have his overall assessment of the conflict. I think that's entirely appropriate because we'll be -- we'll be taking up the needs of the Defense Department and the men and women in the military on the Armed Services Committee.
But I'm looking for an overall review of the conflict, what we did right, what we did wrong, and what the needs are, including the issue of weapons of mass destruction. I remain confident that we will find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
And as Media Matters points out, on the same evening in an interview with Jake Tapper at Salon McCain again endorsed the propaganda:
"Now, I think it's entirely appropriate now that regime change has been orchestrated -- and though the danger is certainly not over, the mission is 'accomplished' -- it's appropriate to have a hearing."
So five years ago John McCain was endorsing propaganda about victory in Iraq that he now claims he knew to be false at the time.
As for the prospects of ever being able to say "mission accomplished" in Iraq, on Thursday McCain seemed to admit that it would impossible if he's elected president.
Though when he was asked if he foresees a day when he would declare the mission in Iraq "accomplished," he said he would try to be more careful with his words.
"I would hate to use that kind of language, because I think it’s going to be one of these situations which is the classic counterinsurgency, that we’ve seen in conflicts around the world in the past, that there is slow, gradual progress and there is two steps forward and one step back," McCain said. "I don’t know if you could ever say quote ‘mission accomplished’ as much as you could say ‘Americans are out of harms way.’
The way to get American troops out of harm's way in Iraq is to withdraw them from Iraq, the one thing McCain insists he won't do. It looks to me as if McCain prefers to run for the presidency under this new banner:
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama spoke tonight at the Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner in Raleigh, NC.
Hillary has already spoken. Obama's speech is playing here right now.
More than 5,000 attended the dinner.
The AP says that early voting patterns in Indiana look encouraging for Obama. [...]
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It's getting awfully difficult to be John McCain -- or at least his press flacks. In recent days, the McCain campaign has been in full spin mode in an attempt to convince the elite media (and through them the American public) that McCain himself did not[...]
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[This post is a collaboration between myself and Pale Rider, my partner in thought crime at my home blog, Blue Girl, Red State]
As the war in Afghanistan grinds on toward the seven-year mark, and the war in Iraq is almost two months into the sixth year, the effects on our military forces have been overwhelming. Last month the RAND corporation released a study that pulled the curtain back on the horrors of what our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines are being forced to deal with and should have served as a wake-up call for the homefront - and the Pentagon. It also compliments and confirms an Army study on mental health that was released by the Joint Chiefs earlier this month that pegged the number of soldiers suffering from PTSD after one deployment at 12%, after two deployments at 18.5% and after three deployments at 28%.
Many units have deployed multiple times, and as the studies showed, the members of those units are suffering horribly. The more times they deploy, the worse they suffer.
Until yesterday, many of those who are suffering the effects of repeated combat rotations suffered in silence...because of "Question 21."
Anyone wo has ever gone through the process of getting a security clearance knows what it is..."Have you consulted a mental health professional in the past seven years for issues other than martial problems or grief?" A "yes" required excruciating details of the reason treatment was sought, and the treatment method(s) employed. This usually raised other questions and led to closer scrutiny.
John E. Fortunato, chief of Fort Bliss' Restoration and Resilience Center, which treats soldiers returning from combat with post-traumatic stress disorder, called Thursday's announcement an important first step.It is a welcome change that is long overdue, but truly - it's better late than never.
Fortunato, who has treated 37 soldiers since his center opened nearly a year ago, said commanders have taunted troops and told them to "soldier on" when they complained of combat stress.
Soldiers have "paid such a high price for PTSD," Fortunato said.
The cost of treating a soldier is far less than pushing him or her out of the Army, Fortunato added. He estimated it costs his center roughly $20,000 to treat someone with post-traumatic stress disorder, compared to the hundreds of thousands of dollars the military would have to spend to replace the discharged soldier.
"The measure (of mental health treatment) success is retention," he said.
During his visit, Gates said the military must lift the stigma on mental health care and encourage troops to see it as equal to physical care.
"The most important thing for us now is to get the word out as far as we can to every man and woman in uniform to let them know about this change, to let them know the efforts that are under way to remove the stigma and to encourage them to seek help when they are in the theater or when they return from the theater," Gates told reporters here as he announced the change.
"The department considers it a mark of strength and maturity to seek appropriate health care, whenever required," James Clapper, the undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, and David Chu, the undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, wrote in a letter announcing the change.
Let me be perfectly honest about this clip. Years ago someone from a radio station in Athens, Georgia sent it to me. I don’t know the real name of the song or who the artiste is. But it came up on my iTunes the other day and I said to myself, “Self, I bet someone [...]
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