Freitag, 6. Juli 2007

A Declaration of Independence

By the Grace of Bush

Le Monde's editorialist chooses to focus on how unequally the rain of Bush's mercy falls.

A Profile in Cowardice

Frank Rich writes: "There was never any question that President Bush would grant amnesty to Scooter Libby, the man who knows too much about the lies told to sell the war in Iraq. The only questions were when, and how, Mr. Bush would buy Mr. Libby’s silence. Now we have the answers, and they’re at least as incriminating as the act itself."

Senate Democrats Join House to Block Bush Missile Plan

"The Senate is expected to join the House next week in reducing funds in the fiscal 2008 Defense Authorization Bill for construction of ten interceptor missile sites in Poland and for deployment of an X-band radar in the Czech Republic," reports Walter Pincus in the Washington Post.

Bush's Real Fourth of July Message to Nation: Unprintable

Elizabeth de la Vega writes: "President Bush has again made it as clear as a Wisconsin lake that he has nothing but contempt for equality and the 'rule 'a law' he is so fond of championing. Yes, a president has the constitutional power of clemency. He may pardon a criminal defendant, thereby wiping out the entire conviction and its consequences, or commute the sentence, thereby lessening it to some degree or entirely. But even this power, broad as it is, can be abused and, in the case of United States v. Libby, President Bush has done just that."

EPA Scaled Back Rules on Wetlands

"After a concerted lobbying effort by property developers, mine owners and farm groups, the Bush administration scaled back proposed guidelines for enforcing a key Supreme Court ruling governing protected wetlands and streams," reports The New York Times.

A Bloody Media Mirror

Norman Solomon writes for Truthout: "Many of America's most prominent journalists want us to forget what they were saying and writing more than four years ago to boost the invasion of Iraq. Now, they tiptoe around their own roles in hyping the war and banishing dissent to the media margins ... More than four years - and at least several hundred thousand Iraqi civilian deaths - later, the most reliable epidemiology available confirms that those claims were more than misleading. They were fundamentally out of touch with human reality."

US Diplomats Fearful in New Iraqi Embassy

US diplomats in Iraq have become increasingly fearful over their personal safety after recent mortar attacks inside the Green Zone. A large number of mistakes, delays and building and safety blunders in the $592 million US Embassy construction project in Baghdad may leave them vulnerable in the coming months, The New York Times reports.

God (and progressives) save this honorable court!

In These Times
by Hans Johnson


On their tours of monumental Washington, summertime visitors often stand in awe of the Supreme Court. The gleaming white building, with its oath of ‘equal justice under law’ proclaimed above its grand west entrance, suggests solidity itself. Yet far from living up to that promise, the current Roberts Court has begun to tilt the scales against ordinary Americans while undermining the basic notion of fair play. In steadily reversing hard-won progress on privacy, freedom of speech, church-state separation and civil rights, a radical four-man bloc is reminding people of the precariousness of standards we had long taken for granted and the primacy of court appointments in the 2008 election. Time and again in its term just concluded, the Roberts Court has thumbed its nose at the principle of an even playing field in American life and the value of individual liberty...

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

The invincible president

The American Prospect
by Ezra Klein


‘President Bush’s decision to commute the sentence of I. Lewis Libby Jr. was the act of a liberated man,’ wrote the New York Times. ‘A leader who knows that, with 18 months left in the Oval Office and only a dwindling band of conservatives still behind him, he might as well do what he wants.’ If the Buddha and Machiavelli had a child, this would be the type of liberation he’d speak about: Liberation from the suffering imposed by democratic checks and balances. It is a liberation George W. Bush has pursued with a single-minded vigor. From the beginning, he has consciously sought to govern from division, realizing early on that popularity can actually constrain an administration, and consensus is just another word for compromise...

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Another senior Republican breaks with Bush on Iraq

ABC News


President George W. Bush’s Iraq war policy continued to hemorrhage support in the U.S. Senate as another senior Republican called on Thursday for a new strategy that would start to bring troops home. A day after Bush appealed to Americans to be more patient with the unpopular war, six-term New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici, who is up for re-election next year, urged a new course. … Domenici joined the ranks of influential Republican lawmakers who recently have broken with Bush over the 4-year-old conflict in Iraq, declaring themselves unable to keep backing a war that has no end in sight after the deaths of 3,590 U.S. troops...

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp


GOP Congressman Joins Sen. Domenici in Breaking With White House on War

"Albuquerque Rep. John Doolittle, a conservative California Congressman, has joined others in his party rapidly deserting the president on the Iraq war," reports Editor and Publisher. The New York Times reports, "Support among Republicans for President Bush's Iraq policy eroded further on Thursday as another senior lawmaker, Senator Pete V. Domenici of New Mexico, broke with the White House just as Congressional Democrats prepared to renew their challenge to the war.

Estimated Iraqi death due to U.S. invasion nears one million


Last year Johns Hopkins researchers produced a study estimating that 650,000 Iraqis had died as of July, 2006 as a result of the U.S. invasion. The organization Just Foreign Policy has now created a new estimate, based on the original study, of deaths to the present day. The number they came up with is just under one million.

For more information on the new estimate, including an explanation of how it was created, see here:


Informant: Corey

Den Großen gibt man, den Kleinen nimmt man - Nürnberger Geldsegen durch Hartz-Gesetze

6. Juli 2007

Harald Werner

Zum Haushaltsüberschuss der Bundesagentur für Arbeit erklärt das Mitglied des Parteivorstandes Harald Werner:

Die Bundesagentur für Arbeit ist reich, weil andere arm gemacht wurden. Denn der Geldsegen der Nürnberger Bundesanstalt stammt weniger aus dem aktuellen Wachstum, als aus dem Sozialabbau und Lohndumping der vergangenen Jahre. Verfolgt man die Quellen dieses Reichtums bis zu ihrem Ursprung, stößt man zum Beispiel auf die Praxisgebühr, auf Leistungskürzungen und Beitragserhöhungen. Die Bundesagentur hat sich auf Kosten der Kranken saniert und sie profitiert davon, dass mehr Menschen zur Aufnahme geringfügiger Beschäftigung gezwungen wurden. Der gegenwärtige Aufschwung geht nicht nur an Millionen Menschen vorüber, sie haben ihn durch Einbußen an sozialer Sicherheit und Einkommen überhaupt erst möglich gemacht. Die einzig richtige Konsequenz wäre: Nicht die Beiträge zur Arbeitslosenversicherung werden gekürzt, sondern das Geld fließt an diejenigen zurück, denen es genommen wurde. Der neue Überschuss der Bundesagentur für Arbeit speist sich aus sehr unterschiedlichen Quellen und die magerste darunter dürften die Mehreinnahmen aus neuen Arbeitsplätzen sein. Das beweist auch der weitaus größere Überschuss im vergangenen Jahr, der ausschließlich durch Einsparungen bei den Arbeitslosen zustande kam. Die so genannten Hartz-Gesetze drücken seit ihrer Verabschiedung nicht nur Langzeitarbeitslose unter die Armutsgrenze, sie senken auch die Ausgaben der Bundesanstalt, weil die Bezugsdauer des regulären Arbeitslosengeldes gekürzt und die Zumutbarkeitsbedingungen für die Aufnahme einer neuen Beschäftigung verschärft wurden. Die Kehrseite war ein kräftiges Wachstum bei Ein-Euro-Jobs und prekärer Beschäftigung. Gleichzeitig wurde mit den so genannten Reformen am Arbeitsmarkt die Beitragszahlung der Bundesagentur für die Krankenkassen gekürzt. Die Krankenversicherer beziffern ihren Sanierungsbeitrag für den Haushalt der Bundesagentur auf jährlich vier Milliarden Euro. Darunter leiden in erster Linie die Versicherten, weil der Beitragsausfall durch Leistungskürzungen, genauer gesagt durch die Gesundheitsreform ausgeglichen wurde. Die Hartz-Gesetze haben der Bundesagentur aber auch eine weitere Geldquelle erschlossen, die eigentlich ein Ausgabeposten ist. So muss die Bundesagentur für jeden Arbeitslosen, den sie nach zwölf Monaten in Hartz IV abschiebt, an den Bund einen so genannten Aussteuerungsbetrag von 10.000 Euro überweisen. Doch der gestiegene Druck auf die Arbeitslosen und die kräftige Ausdehnung prekärer Beschäftigungsverhältnisse haben dazu geführt, dass viele Arbeitslose vor dem Auslaufen der zwölfmonatigen Frist lieber mehrere prekäre Beschäftigungsverhältnisse annehmen, als in Hartz IV zu geraten. Das senkt die Arbeitslosenzahlen aber auch die Überweisungen an den Bund. Letztendlich speist sich der Geldsegen der Bundesagentur auch noch aus einer drastischen Verringerung der aktiven Arbeitsförderung. Nach Angaben der Leipziger Volkszeitung soll die Bundesanstalt allein daran und am Aussteuerungsbeitrag im ersten Halbjahr zusammen drei Milliarden Euro gespart haben.

Den Großen gibt man, den Kleinen nimmt man

6. Juli 2007

Dietmar Bartsch

Heute hat der Bundesrat der Unternehmenssteuerreform zugestimmt. Dazu erklärt der Bundesgeschäftsführer Dietmar Bartsch (MdB):

Die letzte Hürde ist genommen: Banken und Konzerne können sich ab 1. Januar 2008 über jährliche Steuernachlässe in Milliardenhöhe freuen. Kleine und mittelständige Unternehmen gehen zumeist leer aus. Im Aufschwung auf Steuereinnahmen zu verzichten, macht deutlich, dass es kein Interesse an einem nachhaltigen Aufschwung gibt. Starke Schultern können und sollen mehr tragen als schwache – dies ist für die Koalition kein Thema. Mit der Unternehmenssteuerreform haben SPD und Union die Umverteilung von unten nach oben weiter vorangetrieben: Milliardengeschenke an Großunternehmen auf der einen Seite und Mehrwertsteuererhöhung sowie Kürzung der Pendlerpauschale, des Kindergeldes und des Sparerfreibetrages auf der anderen Seite für Arbeitnehmer, Sozialleistungsempfänger und Rentner. Diese Umverteilung wird auch im Entwurf des Bundeshaushaltes 2008 sichtbar. Zu Lasten von Rentnern, Arbeitslosen und sozial Benachteiligten soll der Haushalt saniert werden. Steinbrücks Fahrplan zur Entschuldung: Wenn man die Kürzung der Ausgaben für aktive Beschäftigungspolitik bzw. noch restriktivere Maßnahmen gegenüber Hartz-IV-Beziehern nur schnell und konsequent genug vorantreibt, dann geht es diesem Land endlich wieder besser. Eine konsequente Einnahmeerhöhung zum Zwecke der Schuldenminderung durch eine gerechtere Steuer- und Abgabenpolitik steht für SPD und Union nicht auf der Tagesordnung. Nach wie vor steht eine Reform der Erbschafts- und Vermögenssteuer aus.

Darf das Opfer eines Attentats Innenminister sein?

Trüben Traumata die Urteilsfähigkeit des Ministers?äuble

China Prepares for First Strike in Electronic War,1895,2139041,00.asp

Mobile phone towers

As technology progresses and data demands increase on the mobile networks, the number of mobile towers has increased sharply in Karachi and many other cities in Pakistan. Internationally experts warn that mobile-phone towers are health hazards because they emit electromagnetic radiation. Recent research shows that mobile tower radiation causes symptoms including headache, earache, blurring of vision, short-term memory loss, numbing, tingling and burning sensations, bad sleep, fatigue and anxiety.


Cellphone radiation may be killing bees

Scientist Worries WiFi May Harm Children

"Hazards of WiFi" or "WiFi Blues"


Informant: jensenmk

From ufpj-news

Unions Ask Court to Strike Down DoD Labor Rules

"A coalition of Defense Department unions is asking a federal appeals court to reconsider its decision to uphold the department's plans to curb collective bargaining and employee rights to contest disciplinary actions," reports MZ Hemingway for The Federal Times.

750,000 a Year Killed by Chinese Pollution

A World Bank report on pollution in China, which was produced in cooperation with the Chinese government, found that about 750,000 people die prematurely in China each year, mainly due to air pollution in large cities, reported Richard McGregor for The Financial Times.

Nuclear Industry's Proposal for Clean Power Is a Myth

John Vidal of the Guardian UK reports: "A worldwide expansion of nuclear power has little chance of significantly reducing carbon emissions but will add dangerously to the proliferation of nuclear weapons-grade materials and the potential for nuclear terrorism, says a leading research group that has analyzed the possible uptake of civil atomic power over the next 65 years."

Gore Slams US-Led Climate Pact as Sham

In an interview, former US Vice President Al Gore slammed the United States and Australia's motives in creating a global warming pact that is separate from the rest of the world, reports Michelle Nichols for Reuters.

Mortgage Brokers Are in Congress's Sights

Hearings last year made it clear to Congress that mortgage brokers and nonbank lenders have taken advantage of lax oversight to make unsound loans to people with the weakest credit history, reports Kevin G. Hall of McClatchy Newspapers. As a result, Congress is seeking a way to federally regulate these brokers.

Wexler: Censure Bush Over Libby

Representative Robert Wexler (D-Florida) has drafted a resolution to censure Bush for his commutation of Scooter Libby's prison sentence, reported Larry Lipman of the Palm Beach Post today. Wexler says Congress must go on record in strong opposition to Bush's actions.

Justice Denied

The New York Times writes: "In the 1960s, Chief Justice Earl Warren presided over a Supreme Court that interpreted the Constitution in ways that protected the powerless - racial and religious minorities, consumers, students and criminal defendants. At the end of its first full term, Chief Justice John Roberts's court is emerging as the Warren court's mirror image. Time and again the court has ruled, almost always 5-4, in favor of corporations and powerful interests while slamming the courthouse door on individuals and ideals that truly need the court's shelter."


Justice denied

The Nation
by Aziz Huq


The resignation of Alberto Gonzales has brought a smile to the faces of many Bush Administration critics, but will it bring real change? Unless the Senate Judiciary Committee seizes its chance in a new Attorney General’s confirmation hearings, the danger is that Gonzales’s exit won’t just leave Justice tarnished–it will also mean justice denied. Denial of justice is a theme for this Administration, as illustrated by some very strange bedfellows...

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Specter Pushes Bill to Rein In Presidential Signing Statements

"Frustrated by the Bush administration's continued use of presidential signing statements to challenge or ignore provisions of Congressionally approved legislation, Senate Judiciary ranking member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) has reintroduced legislation to rein in President Bush's ability to use the tactic," reports John Stanton of Roll Call.

Pelosi: Iraq Pullout Vote Set for July

Jennifer Yachnin of Roll Call reports, "House Democratic leaders plan to force another vote on war policy in July, when lawmakers will take up a proposal that would end military involvement in Iraq by the spring of 2008, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Friday."

House Judiciary Committee to Hold Hearing on Presidential Clemency Power

"The House Judiciary Committee, upset over President Bush's decision to grant clemency to I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, will hold a hearing on July 11 to examine presidential clemency power," reports Politico's John Bresnahan.

Stop The Seal Hunt!

Autism and Alzheimer's caused by quackery

Congressman John Olver Believes Bush Will Cancel 2008 Elections, Still Refuses to Support Impeaching Him or Cheney

Informant: David Swanson

From ufpj-news

Democracy Failing in Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada

Australien gibt zu, den Irakkrieg aus energiepolitischen Motiven geführt zu haben


Verteidigungsminister Australien: "Wir sind wegen dem Öl im Irak"

U.S. Subprime Defaults to Rise, Credit Suisse Says

Delinquencies and defaults on U.S. subprime mortgages will keep rising as borrowers who received their loans amid weak underwriting standards miss payments, said Robert Parker, vice chairman of Credit Suisse Asset Management.

From Information Clearing House

Bush Rationale on Libby Stirs Legal Debate

In commuting I. Lewis Libby Jr.'s 30-month prison sentence on Monday, President Bush drew on the same array of arguments about the federal sentencing system often made by defense lawyers - and routinely and strenuously opposed by his own Justice Department.

From Information Clearing House

The Mess They Made

by Gwynne Dyer

America is going home from Iraq bloodied, but the sky won't fall unless George W. Bush bombs Iran.

From Information Clearing House

Contractors Back From Iraq Suffer Trauma From Battle

Mercenaries who have worked in occupied Iraq are returning home with the same kinds of combat-related mental health problems that afflict United States military personnel, according to contractors, industry officials and mental health experts.

From Information Clearing House

Media Silence About the Carnage in Iraq

From Information Clearing House

Baghdad killings 'rise sharply'

They say that 540 corpses - many of them tortured or mutilated - were discovered in the city in June.

From Information Clearing House

What Was Bush Thinking?

Informant: John Stroebel

Lawmakers urge care with WiMAX

Overuse a cell, and zap your brain cells

Worries over Growing Popularity of Wireless Technologies

Stierkampf: Grausamkeit mit "Tradition"

Tom Paine Would Impeach Them

by John Nichols, The Nation

Paine and his contemporaries were brave in facing a tyrant named George. We must follow in their footsteps.

From TomPaine.common sense


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Juli 2007


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