So the news is out that Howard Wolfson, Hillary Clinton's Communications Director, is going to join[...]
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Arrests of Mahdi Army leaders in Sadr City over the weekend sparked conflict and controversy between Iraqi forces and militia loyalists, according to eyewitnesses and security sources.
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A buddy of mine called because he's thinking of jumping in to the Kevin Powell race to unseat machine Democrat, Edolphus Towns in Brooklyn. He wanted to know what were the worst (i.e.- most Republican) things Towns had done lately as a congressman from one of the most heavily Democratic districts in America. I had written about the Towns-Powell primary last week and I recall be especially outraged that he had voted in favor of to bills that are obviously special interests legislation that are harmful for the overwhelming majority of his constituents: the heinous credit-card-written bankruptcy bill and the estate bill to abolish the estate tax. Corrupt Democrats like Towns (and Al Wynn) were paid handsomely to cross the aisle and vote with the Republicans on these two travesties against economic justice.
It looks like some of McCain's personal servants must have spoken with him last night about the economy because this morning he said he imagines we're in a recession. I wonder if he will ever be able to stretch that imagination of his and figure out that the policies he's been pushing for the past 7 years are what caused it. "I would imagine that technically there?s some question amongst economists about that," croaked. "The fact is Americans are hurting, they?re hurting badly.? Yes, they are-- and one of the policies he backed, taking bribes from the same crooked credit card companies that paid off Edolphus Towns in Brooklyn, was the bankruptcy bill they both voted for. "When it comes to strengthening the safety net for hardworking families, [McCain's] been part of the problem, not part of the solution," Obama told a crowd of admirers in Georgia today.
Although most reporters covering the campaign preferred to yammer about the he said/she said infotainment aspects of the political "news," today's Wall Street Journal covered the substance of his proposal to reform the detrimental Republican/Blue Dog bankruptcy bill. Basically, Obama wants to "make it easier for homeowners devastated by illness or other such hardships to keep their houses during periods of insolvency."
In 2005 Obama-- unlike Towns and McCain-- voted against the credit card companies bankruptcy bill that has devastated so many American families. Obama pointed out it was just a sop to "special interests," a polite way of saying that Towns and McCain are crooked political hacks who took money from the banking interests and gave them the bill they wanted in return, regardless of what harm it caused to so many families, especially considering that most bankruptcies are the results of massive medical catastrophes. The bankruptcy bill McCain and Towns were so happy to vote for has also had a devastating effect on military families, who have lost their homes while their breadwinners were fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"While I was opposing the credit card industry's bankruptcy bill that made it harder for working families to climb out of debt, [Sen. McCain] was supporting it-- and he even opposed helping families who were only in bankruptcy because of medical bills they couldn't pay,'' Sen. Obama told a crowd at a townhall event outside of Atlanta. "He sided with the big banks again when it came to protecting the most valuable possession that older Americans have-- their home.''
Sen. Obama's proposal would establish a minimum national "homestead" level for homeowners, pegged to the region's median home value, which would prevent creditors from attaching assets for non-payment.
The policy would also impose a 120-day moratorium on bad-credit reporting and waive requirements, such as mandatory credit counseling for people who filed for a bankruptcy as a result of a catastrophic illness, and means testing for many others. The Obama campaign claims that roughly half of the 500,000 personal bankruptcies filed last year were the result of an uninsured, catastrophic illness.
The AP pulls out all the stops to bring you the substantive political reporting you can't get anywhere else.[...]
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The House oversight committee gives Attorney General Michael Mukasey until July 16 to produce subpoenaed FBI reports on interviews with the Vice President in the Plame leak investigation -- or face a contempt of Congress vote.[...]
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We are all more fragile than we think.We are all disposable.According to "them."We are all stronger than we think. The struggle for human dignity, for each and EVERY humans dignity, is nothing new.Nor is the relentless pressure by the faceless forces[...]
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But that didn't discourage her fundraisers, BMW Direct, a Washington-based political firm.
Just a few days after Fisher lost to Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC), an official from the fundraising firm emailed the candidate about mounting a post-election money drive -- and maybe signing on for another race.
Attached is a debt reduction letter. We still owe outside debt to vendors and this will go to pay it off.
I would also like to set up a time to speak with you about running again. With more time to mail, I think we could do even better.
That's an email from Timothy Webster, a founder of BMW Direct, and it was provided to TPMmuckraker by Fisher. She wasn't very happy with the firm, which raised more than $400,000 on her behalf but, after taking out the costs of its own direct mail effort, only provided her campaign with about $30,000.
She also provided us with a draft copy of a "debt reduction letter" drawn up by BMW Direct.
Fisher told us she's not sure whether she ever signed off on the letter and agreed to let BMW send it out.
Read more to see the letter's full text.
November 30, 2006
You're one of the first people I had to reach out to after the recent elections.
Because you've been such a faithful and trusted supporter, and I had to thank you for your help in my race for Congress.
Unfortunately, we came up short by a swing of only 17,388 votes -- but we had a heck of a run and sure put Mel Watt on notice!
And if the climate for Republicans had not been so bad this year, I'm sure I could have ended Mel Watt's career.
But we were sailing into a stiff headwind this election cycle and we couldn't do anything about it!
Even considering all the obstacles we faced, my campaign wattwas credited with running one of the toughest campaigns against Mel Watt he's ever had to face.
XXTITLE/NAMEXX, it was your personal support that made this possible.
But even with the money we spent in the final months, when all the absentee ballots were counted we came up short.
Nevertheless, we accomplished something nobody thought we could when we gave Mel Watt a real race -- because I got solid support from the black community.
We showed him that the black community is not going to blindly follow the Democrat Party.
A smart, black Republican woman such as myself can make real inroads into the African-American community. And that makes Democrats nervous!
Because I had such solid results, I'm being encouraged by friends to seek a rematch.
I'm still deciding what to do. But before I can officially gear up again, I need to take care of roughly $75,911 in late bills that have come up during these last few weeks.
If you would be kind enough to help me retire this debt by signing another generous gift $HPD, $1.5HPD, or even $2HPD, I would sincerely appreciate it.
I know $2HPD is twice what you've sent before, but I could really use it. I have vendors calling me and my consultants asking for payment.
So if you can send $2HPD, please do...
...but in this crisis, even a gift of $HPD or $1.5HPD would be a real godsend.
Over the course of my campaign, I had well over 6,000 patriotic individuals send a gift to my campaign.
And while I'd like to think I can count on all of them to send a gift of $2HPD to help me retire this debt in the next 21 days, I know not everyone will be able to give.
But I'm mailing you this letter because I know you're one of my most loyal supporters. I can always count on you.
That's why I've taken the extra step of enclosing a stamp with this letter because I don't want you to waste any time in getting back to me.
Please know that I did not intend there to be any debt whatsoever. I don't believe in debt.
But when Mel Watt started putting up hundreds of thousands of dollars in false, negative advertising against me, I knew I had to respond.
And so I did. I made phone calls to every hard-core voter in the district I could telling them they can count on me to defend their interests in Washington.
Plus, my billboard ads, voter mail, and law signs highlighted the fact that I'm a dedicated conservative who will fight for our values.
I had to spend these funds to define myself in the eyes of the voters...
...or risk it all by having Mel Watt's deceptive and outright false advertisements define who I am for me.
We did everything we could on what was essentially a shoestring budget -- spending less than 10% of what Mel Watt spent on paid advertisements.
And yet we made a solid showing in the African-American community and showed Mel Watt that he's vulnerable.
Mel Watt is too liberal for North Carolina, he's bad on protecting American from terrorists, and he votes against our conservative values.
That's why I am seriously considering running again, and building upon my solid performance this year.
But first, I must retire this debt.
Won't you help me, XXTITLE/NAMEXX?
I know you're the type of person who will not abandon me in my hour of need.
Please help me put an end to this debt by sending in a gift of $2HPD, $1.5HPD, or even $HPD in the next 21 days.
It would mean a great deal to me to be able to pay off some -- if not all -- of these vendors in the next few weeks.
They knew I had to respond to Mel Watt's lies or else I would lose all credibility.
But now the campaign is over and I need to do my part to pay down this debt.
Please, XXTITLE/NAMEXX, help me today.
I've already enclosed a self-addressed reply envelope for you to use.
And I've already affixed a FIRST CLASS STAMP for you to send it back to me with your check of $2HPD, $1.5HPD, or even $HPD.
Thank you in advance for sending the most generous gift you can.
I look forward to hearing from you in the next few days.
Ada Fisher, M.D.
P.S. Please fill out your reply below an mail this entire page back to me with your gift of $2HPD, $1.5HPD, or even HPD so I can pay off these overdue bills.
------------------------DO NOT SEPARATE------------------------
XXTITLE/NAMEXXXXXXXXXXX Ada Fisher
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Fisher for Congress 2006
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX P.O. Box 96165
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Washington, DC 20090
DEAR ADA: Enclosed is my generous gift to help you pay off these bills so you can prepare to mount a rematch. Like you said, I won't abandon you in your hour of need. I've made my check payable to FISHER FOR CONGRESS 2006 in the amount of:
( ) $2HPD ( ) $1.5HPD ( ) $HPD ( ) Other $_____
Or make your donation by credit card:
( )Visa ( )MasterCard ( )Discover ( )American Express
Name on Credit Card:____________________________________________
Credit Card Number:_____________________________________________
The CVV is last three digits on the back of credit cards issued by Visa, MasterCard, and Discover or the four numbers on the front of the American Express card.
In hisSunday profileof right-wing talker Rush Limbaugh, New YorkTimes Magazine contributor Zev Chafets setthe scene by describinghis visit to Limbaugh's studioin Palm Beach, Florida.Chafets wrote that when he was buzzed into the control room adjacent to whereLimbaugh broadcasts, he was greeted by a Limbaugh associate, a very large manwearing a beret who "glared" at the reporter and demanded in a deepvoice, "Are you the guywho's here to do the hit job on us?"After holding the menacing tone for[...]
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Yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) pledged to balance the federal budget by 2013. ?John McCain will balance the budget by the end of his first term,? a McCain economic plan stated. Top economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin confirmed these plans yesterday to the New York Times, stating that McCain?s ?plan is to balance the budget by the end of his first term in 2013.?
But on the same day, Holtz-Eakin flip-flopped on this pledge, lowering the bar for McCain by stating that the senator “has always” pledged to balance the budget by the end of his second term. Bloomberg reports:
McCain senior economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin repeated the 2013 goal in a conference call before McCain’s speech today. After the speech, Holtz-Eakin said: “The senator has always pledged to balance the budget by the end of his second term.” A McCain second term would end in 2017.
Holtz-Eakin?s second-term “pledge” is the latest in an increasingly confused economic message. In April, McCain backed off a February pledge to balance the budget in his first term. The New York Times reported that McCain said ?at a news conference ? that ?economic conditions are reversed? and that he would have a balanced budget within eight years.?
This morning on CNN, in a testy exchange with John Roberts on whether his numbers add up, McCain declared, “We?ll balance the budget.” McCain did not, however, give a specific year for balancing the budget. Watch it:
In the interview, McCain repeatedly said he would balance the budget through cutting spending: “And that’s our problem today is spending and not keeping taxes low.” But yesterday, McCain adviser Meg Whitman said that the tax cuts ?are not contingent? on reducing spending.
It seems that muddying the waters is also a key part of the McCain economic plan.
You're going to hear a lot today about how much the FISA Amendments Act have been improved from the last iteration coming from the Senate. That will be the cover for those who vote for this bill, even with Title II--the immunity provision--included.
But, about those "improvements," here's Kit Bond:
We believe that this new bill that we're considering, H.R. 6304, which passed the house with a strong majority vote of 293-129 last friday, should be passed here. As with the senate's original FISA bill passed several months ago, the compromise that is before us required a little give-and-take from all sides. But in essence what we have before us today is basically the Senate bill all over again.
I am aware of those that some on the far left want to paint this as some radical new legislation. But if you read the language, it's not different. the press picked up on this trait last week and kept asking me to help them find the purported big changes that no one could find. There really is not much that is significantly different, save some cosmetic fixes that were requested by the majority party in the house.
There's a potential fix to this bill, Bingaman's amendment that would delay the immunity until an IG's report is completed. That's the amendment that Mike and Mike say is poison pill that will result in a Bush veto. Because this amendment is subjected to a 60 vote rule, the chance that it will be passed is slim.
Thus, the final bill that Senate votes on tomorrow will probably be "basically the Senate bill all over again." The 29 Senators who voted against that Senate bill that has only received "cosmetic" fixes should vote against it again, and be joined by their colleagues Clinton and Obama, who didn't vote on it, in voting "no" on the final bill if that Bingaman amendment doesn't pass.
Does anyone really want a President McCain to have the expanded surveillance powers this bill confers? Or even a President Obama? Do these Democrats want to be responsible for dramatically weakening both their and the courts' power vis-a-vis the executive? That's what they're about to do.
Call them and tell them to vote for the Bingaman amendment and vote against final passage of the bill if Bingaman doesn't pass.