Saturday, August 25, 2007
Not in my name.
For daring to report illegal arms sales, Navy veteran Donald Vance says he was imprisoned by the American military in a security compound outside Baghdad and subjected to harsh interrogation methods.
There were times, huddled on the floor in solitary confinement with that head-banging music blaring dawn to dusk and interrogators yelling the same questions over and over, that Vance began to wish he had just kept his mouth shut.
He had thought he was doing a good and noble thing when he started telling the FBI about the guns and the land mines and the rocket-launchers — all of them being sold for cash, no receipts necessary, he said. He told a federal agent the buyers were Iraqi insurgents, American soldiers, State Department workers, and Iraqi embassy and ministry employees....
So Vance says he blew the whistle, supplying photos and documents and other intelligence to an FBI agent in his hometown of Chicago because he didn't know whom to trust in Iraq.
For his trouble, he says, he got 97 days in Camp Cropper, an American military prison outside Baghdad that once held Saddam Hussein, and he was classified a security detainee.
More @ Iragslogger on Donald Vance's story
According to their suit, Vance and Ertel gathered photographs and documents, which Vance fed to Chicago FBI agent Travis Carlisle for six months beginning in October 2005.
Vance said things went terribly wrong in April 2006, when he and Ertel were stripped of their security passes and confined to the company compound.
Panicking, Vance said, he called the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, where hostage experts got on the phone and told him "you're about to be kidnapped. Lock yourself in a room with all the weapons you can get your hands on."'
The military sent a Special Forces team to rescue them, Vance said, and the two men showed the soldiers where the weapons caches were stored. At the embassy, the men were debriefed and allowed to sleep for a few hours. "I thought I was among friends," Vance said.
The men [Vance and Ertel] said they were cuffed and hooded and driven to Camp Cropper, where Vance was held for nearly three months and his colleague for a little more than a month.
ACTION ALERT: Tell EPA to protect workers from toxic pesticides!
Please take action today. The EPA is asking for public comments on fumigant re-registrations until the end of the August. The UFW is working with Pesticide Action Network and a number of other environmental organizations to encourage the EPA to ban the use of the dangerous pesticides listed earlier or at least require generous buffer zones near schools, hospitals, residences and other places where people may be exposed. We are also asking for notification before applications take place.
We’re using a petition format, as the EPA has a very complicated web form docket system that is difficult to use and makes our one-touch email system impossible. The UFW and our partners want to make expressing your voice as easy as possible and will turn our petition signatures into each of the required dockets to save you the time and effort.
from United Farm Workers
What's next Walmart churches? Museums?
Farmers markets coming to Wal-Mart
more @ ktvb.com
Friday, August 24, 2007
Better late than never...
Murray correctly claimed that the safety record of Crandall Canyon was "almost outstanding, much better than the national average" — though tragically, that was obviously prior to the collapse that trapped 6 miners 18 days ago and launched a risky recovery mission that took the lives of three rescuers one week ago tonight.
CNN looked into Murray's other mining operations, though, and found some shocking statistics: Of Murray's 19 mines, 7 were underground and 4 of them had accident rates above the national average. CNN specifically cited Murray's Illinois Galatia mine, which CNN reports has racked up 3,485 safety citations in the last 2.5 years, and has had an above-average rate of injury every year since Murray bought it.
Murray's Galatia mine has racked up 968 safety citations in 2007, almost a quarter of which are considered "significant and substantial." Murray challenges many of the citations — but has also paid approximately $700,000 in fines from 2005-2006. Great information to have — but wow, is it ever late.
more @ huffington
If f*ing took them long enough.... after they basically let the mine OWNER be the press liaison for the disaster which MSHA [Mine Safty and Health Administration] regulations prohibit. Then Murray allowed CNN reports to enter the mine DURING the rescue , I believe another violation of MSHA. But hey, Murray needed to buy some good press right CNN? Well he got his money's worth for at least the first 17 days. Richard Stickler, the MSHA chief, was a Bush recess appointment because Sen. Byrd had a hold on him for the dismal safety record of his own mines.
More about Robert Murray's Fines
More about proof of troubles at mine before disaster
The Republican Brand
Apparently President George W. Bush is now so unpopular that some lawyers believe the mere mention of his name in front of a jury could tip the scales against them.
Attorneys Michael P. Laffey and Robert P. DiDomenicis of Holsten & Associates in Media, Pa., are defending Upper Darby Township, Pa., in a civil rights suit brought by Harold Lischner, an 82-year-old doctor who claims he was falsely arrested for displaying an anti-war sign at a Bush campaign event in September 2003.
With the case set to go to trial on July 23, the defense lawyers recently filed a flurry of motions, including one that asked Eastern District of Pennsylvania Judge Gene E.K. Pratter to prohibit the plaintiff from mentioning Bush's name.more @ law.com
Take a stand against the war in Iraq
Tuesday, August 28
VETERANS MEMORIAL PARK
700 block of Elm St.
Iraq War veterans, military family members, religious leaders, music, and more
Bring your picnic supper and a blanket!
DOWN ELM STREET
from Senator Sununu’s office to the park
(gather at 4:15 at 1589 Elm St.)
24-HOUR STAKE-OUT* BEGINS
MONDAY AUGUST 27, 5:00 PM
New Hampshire Citizens Alliance
Granny D @ Rockingham County Dems Meeting
Monday, August 27, 6:30-8pm (Exeter-Loaf and Ladle Restaurant)
Social time is 6:30-7pm. Meeting starts at 7pm. Granny will speak about public funding of elections.Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Kucinich NH Events Postponed
Due to a change in schedule, Dennis and Elizabeth will NOT be coming to NH
today. All of our scheduled NH events are cancelled. Elizabeth assures
me that they will be in Kennebunkport on Saturday.
Please pass this on - with my apologies.
NH State Coordinator
Kucinich for President
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Steal this Vote Watch
Electronic Voting Company May Be Banned in CA
Kim Zetter reports for Wired.com: "California announced that it plans to hold an administrative hearing on September 20th to discuss the fate of Election Systems & Software for violating state election codes. ES&S, the top voting machine company in the country, is being accused of selling at least five CA counties a version of its AutoMark ballot marking system that hadn't yet been tested or certified for use in the state or the country."
McCain on the way out.... in 2010.
Behavior Research Center. 7/27-8/4. Registered voters. MoE 3.9% (No trend lines)
McCain (R) 36
Napolitano (D) 47
Not surprisingly, the poll by the
I remember centrist Dems saying how great it would be if McCain joined the Kerry ticket as VP. Well, now McCain is the number 2 cheerleader for the war, barely behind Bush [Lieberman, independent, a close 3rd]. And no Dem presidential candidates showed up for the DLC convention. My, how things have changed. Long live people power!
more @ AP
George Bush Doesn't Care About Young People
But Bush's health department just threatened states with "corrective action" if they didn't add insurmountable obstacles for squeezed middle-class families. That could pressure states to kick some kids out of the program.
A new missive to state officials effectively prevents them from covering families that earn more than 250% of the poverty line -- about $43,000 a year, before taxes, for a family of three, or $51,000 a year for a family of four.
An average family health insurance plan costs over $11,000 a year, so if you don't get decent insurance from an employer, paying out of pocket is extremely difficult.
Update: Bush fighting a PR war against the states funding children's health care. Just like Iraq he is losing this one too. more @ salon.
Richardson's Job Boast
He claimed he had created 80,000 jobs when government figures put the total at 68,100.
Democratic presidential contender Bill Richardson boasts of creating 80,000 jobs since becoming governor of
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Diebold Election Systems is now Premier Election Systems
Diebold: New name, same bad voting machines!
"Diebold Election Systems" are three words synonymous with the aggressive pursuit of failure. Not only did the company badly implement a dubious concept -- unverifiable electronic touch-screen voting machines -- but it did so with determined flourish, letting its code and internal communication leak out onto the Web; employing as a chief executive a man who declared he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year"; abusing copyright law in an attempt to quell its critics; and, among many other caught-red-handed indiscretions, deleting criticism of itself from Wikipedia.
No wonder, then, that Diebold Election Systems has decided to steal a page from the playbook of that paragon of corporate responsibility Philip Morris (aka the Altria Group): Diebold will erase its sorry history with a simple name change!
Henceforth, when reaching for an example of mind-boggling incompetence, please say "Premier" rather than "Diebold," because Diebold Election Systems is now Premier Election Systems.from salon.com
Edwards in the North Country 8/25 10:30am
Host: Mark Henson
When: Saturday, August 25, 10:30am Phone: 603-752-4049
Please join Senator Edwards in the North Country as he spreads his bold policies and message of change all across
Please RSVP through the E-vite or call Andrew Tyler, our North Country Organizer at 603.752.4049.
** If you are able to attend please bring school supplies to donate to New Hampshire Public Schools. Pens, pencils, binders, notebooks, highlighters, sharpies, colored pencils, or anything else would be greatly appreciated.**
Kucinich in Rochester, NH 8/24
Candidate Dennis Kucinich and his wife, Elizabeth, will begin their tour at 3:30 at the office of Dr. Terry Bennett; he is the last independent GP in Strafford County and serves patients lacking health insurance. Some of these patients will be on hand to hear about HR 676, the bill in Congress that seeks to establish a single payer health care system. The tour will move to the downtown area to engage in some retail politicking, and then on to the Café at the Governor’s Inn for a meet and greet event from 5 to 6PM. The public is welcome to join the campaign at any point along the route or simply come to the Café at 5PM.
Please direct questions to NHCampaign Coordinator, Susan Bruce who can be reached at email@example.com
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Letter from Gov. Lynch
That is why we acted this year to prevent predators from taking advantage of
The banking department is conducting information sessions across the state to help families avoid risky mortgages. At the sessions, the department's examiners review loan documents with borrowers and potential borrowers to check for improper activities by mortgage originators and provide consumers with referrals for further assistance. Informational sessions have been conducted in
With a recent report by the New Hampshire Banking Association predicting a continued increase in mortgage foreclosures, we will continue to watch this important issue carefully. I look forward to continue working with lawmakers, our Banking Department and all of you on this important issue.
As always, Susan and I deeply appreciate your continued support, your hard work and your encouragement.All the best,
John H. Lynch
Monday, August 20, 2007
Lieberman Shrugs Off Failed
Iraq... Iran.. and beyond....
Sunday, August 19, 2007
New Hampshire State House Update 2007
The 2007 legislative session in Concord saw significant action on a number of fronts, including health care, the environment, and economic and educational issues. Some of the highlights include successfully:
- expanding access to affordable health insurance for young adults and putting a new focus on prevention in public health (which I believe is the most fiscally responsible and effective approach);
- restoring funding for the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, which has already protected hundreds of thousands of acres and hundreds of historic and cultural properties in the state -- all of which contribute to both our quality of life and tourism-based business; and
- passing new ways to encourage New Hampshire companies to invest in innovation and growth, while at the same time raising the minimum wage for the first time in nine years.
In late June, the House and Senate passed a balanced and fiscally responsible two-year state operating budget that prioritizes important investments in health care, education, and economic development (without the need for a sales or income tax).
The budget makes affordable health insurance available to thousands more children through the Healthy Kids program; increases access to home care for seniors; supports alcohol and drug prevention and treatment programs; eliminates the waiting list for services for people with development disabilities; increases our investment in school and higher education; and creates a research and development tax credit for innovative businesses.
The budget was crafted under an open and transparent process that included listening sessions around the state. As a member of the House Finance Committee, I attended these sessions to hear firsthand about your priorities, and I was proud that our North Country session in Lancaster drew one of the largest crowds on the tour.
In addition to working on the budget as vice-chair of the Health and Human Services subcommittee, I sponsored several bills that focused on expanding health insurance coverage. These bills looked at lowering the cost of health coverage for small businesses; established a task force to develop a health coverage expansion initiative; and established a prescription drug program to lower the costs of medicine.
In addition, we passed a health care bill that allows any young adult up to age 26 to enroll under their parents’ health insurance. This legislation allows every young adult in New Hampshire, regardless of whether they are married or unmarried, in college or in the workforce, to obtain affordable health insurance. A second bill also allows divorced spouses to continue their health insurance for up to three years after a divorce. Finally, we passed a smoking ban in public restaurants and bars to protect the health of employees and patrons.
The budget passed this year also focused on preserving and protecting our natural resources and environment, including funding for the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP). We passed bills banning burning of construction and demolition debris and requiring that 25% of our state’s electricity comes from renewable sources by 2025. Finally, I co-sponsored legislation to add the Ammonoosuc River to the River Management Program; thank you to all the North Country residents who worked hard for this bill.
Economic Development and Education: Expanding Opportunity
In addition to increasing state aid to schools, the community technical colleges, and the University System in the budget, we also passed a dropout prevention plan that will help more young people graduate from high school through increased tutoring, career and technical centers, and apprenticeship programs. The budget rewards innovative companies with a research and development tax credit, and we also passed the first increase to the minimum wage in nine years. Finally, the legislature met the court-imposed deadline for defining an adequate education.
Thank you to everyone who contacted me throughout the year. Your input is critical to the legislative process and allows me to bring a personal, rural perspective to Concord. Last year, you asked for elected officials who would listen to your priorities and take action. I am proud of the work we did this year in Concord and encourage you to continue to contact me with your opinions and your concerns. I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Martha McLeod is a resident of Franconia and serves the towns of Bethlehem and Franconia in the New Hampshire House of Representatives