Tag - Senate

Senate vote gives Obama 60 days to attack Syria

Sixty days of this says U.S. Senate committee

Sixty days of this says U.S. Senate committee

The United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations approved a modified version of President Obama’s authorization to attack Syria on Tuesday, September 4.  Remarkably, the resolution gives the president sixty days to attack Syria.  It doesn’t place any limits on the type of attack, although cruise missiles have been mentioned frequently. (Image)

The sixty days is far beyond what the White House floated as their target time frame.  The administration spoke of a few days worth of cruise missile attacks.  The resolution gives the president nearly two months to bomb and strafe Syria, a nation that has not attacked or threatened to attack the United States or its allies. Read More

“They have no souls”

maischThat’s what Patricia Maisch of Arizona said about the United States Senators who failed to vote on legislation broadening background checks on gun purchasers.  A majority of Senators were ready to vote in favor of the legislation but that’s not how democracy works in the nation’s capital.  In order to have a simple majority vote, 60 out of 100 Senators need to vote against allowing a filibuster.  Instead of majority rule, we have super majority rule.  It’s absurd and a nasty little inside the beltway trick but more on that later.

The legislation that stumbled and fell due to the super majority hurdle would have required expanded background checks for gun purchasers.  If discovered in the background check, certain types of criminal records and serious mental illnesses would have denied the ability to purchase a weapon.  The law is currently in place for weapons purchased at gun stores but not for those acquired at gun shows, conventions held all over the country where the seller is an exhibitor rather than a local business.

Since the initial legislation requiring store based background checks passed, 1.5 million gun purchases have been denied.  Hardened criminals, wife beaters, and others presenting red flags lost their alleged First Amendment right to buy a gun, unless they bought it at a gun show.  Why not close the loophole and make the law consistent?

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How Congress let Monsanto off the hook

vilsackNot many people like the messes Congress makes but everybody should see how they’re made.

This article takes a close look at the legislation just passed by Congress and signed by President Obama allowing the Secretary of Agriculture to issue executive orders that bypass regulations, safety, and science for the purpose of speeding genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and genetically engineered seeds (GE) and crops to market.  The way the law is written, Secretary Tom Vilsack can lift restrictions on GMOs for a set period and, it appears, do so without hindrance from the courts.

Are genetically modified organisms (GMOs), seeds, and crops  safe for human consumption?  How has the scientific testing of these seeds been conducted and what are the results?  Is there undue influence of the government and legislative process to fast track the delivery of GMOs to market?  Who benefits from that influence, if it is present, and how are the benefits derived?

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News on Keystone XL Pipeline – Your future sold for $8 million

tarsandshansen(Washington, DC 3/22) Today the United States Senate passed the Hoeven amendment 62 to 37, a non-binding amendment that expresses support for building the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

That’s the U.S. Senate, the chamber of Congress with a Democratic majority.

The planned Keystone XL pipeline would bring tarsands oil from its source in Canada to refineries in Texas.

Tarsands oil represents a whole new source of fossil fuel at a time when we need to be moving in the opposite direction, burning less fossil fuel and desisting from pumping planet-warming carbon dioxide into our atmosphere.   Before the tasands effort,  it was  just starting to look like oil supplies were dwindling and nature, by removing carbon sources, would force on us the much-needed changes we could not force on ourselves.

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The Deal: Various Responses

Zaid Jilani:

Because the payroll tax cut is expiring and the Make Work Pay tax cut is not coming back, most working Americans will also see a tax increase. The most galling thing is that 98 percent of Americans will actually see a larger tax increase than some of the richest Americans. Working with our friends at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, we compiled the following chart to demonstrate this:

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In Massachusetts Senate race, Warren and Brown take off the gloves

Washington Post, By Karen Tumulty, September 24

BOSTON — The most closely watched Senate race in the country has taken a sharp turn off the high road.

As Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and challenger Elizabeth Warren (D) enter the final phase of their exceedingly tight race, each is seeking to undermine the other on the very traits that had been considered their greatest political strengths: his independence and her character.
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