Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Some in Congress Want to Legalize Marijuana

Why not? Just about everything seems to be acceptable nowadays. Why should we expect Congress not go along with slide towards moral abyss. The pro-Marijuana lobby has become quite vocal in recent years. I imagine some of them even contribute to members of Congress. And there is nothing politicians love more than campaign contributions.

The U.S. should stop arresting responsible marijuana users, Rep. Barney Frank said Wednesday, announcing a proposal to end federal penalties for Americans carrying fewer than 100 grams, almost a quarter-pound, of the substance.

Current laws targeting marijuana users place undue burdens on law enforcement resources, punish ill Americans whose doctors have prescribed the substance and unfairly affect African-Americans, said Frank, flanked by legislators and representatives from advocacy groups.

"The vast amount of human activity ought to be none of the government's business," Frank said on Capitol Hill. "I don't think it is the government's business to tell you how to spend your leisure time."

The Massachusetts Democrat and his supporters emphasized that only the use -- and not the abuse -- of marijuana would be decriminalized if the resolution resulted in legislation.

[...]Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, according to the drug control office.

"Smoked marijuana has not withstood the rigors of science -- it is not medicine and it is not safe," the DEA states on its Web site. "Legalization of marijuana, no matter how it begins, will come at the expense of our children and public safety. It will create dependency and treatment issues, and open the door to use of other drugs, impaired health, delinquent behavior, and drugged drivers."

Report: U.S. 'Wasted' $560 Million on Iraq Repairs

It's too bad the surge didn't have much impact on the waste and corruption which is the Iraq War. I've said it before - Americans are dying propping up an inept government. Not only are our troops dying (even if the violence is down lately) but our tax dollars are being wasted at a time when Americans are suffering hardship at home. It couldn't be any worse.

The United States has "wasted" more than half a billion dollars in Iraq repairing facilities that were damaged because of poor security, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction says in a report released Wednesday.

Stuart Bowen's quarterly report arrived at a price tag of $560 million by tallying the results of more than 100 audits his office has conducted.

Further billions had to be diverted from reconstruction to security because the Bush administration did not adequately foresee how volatile Iraq would be when it began rebuilding the country, the report says.

"The U.S. government did not fully anticipate or plan for the unstable working environment that faced U.S. managers when reconstruction began in Iraq," it says.

Contractors spent an average of 12.5 percent of their reconstruction contracts on security, the inspector general found.

Bowen's team also criticizes the government for poor coordination between agencies.

The lack of cooperation "contributed to delays, increased costs, terminated projects, and completed projects that did not meet program goals," the report says.

McCain's Flipflop Express: On Abortion...2006

Here's more evidence that John McCain's flipflopping predates the current election year. This from the Carpetbagger Report, November 20th 2006:

Just to follow-up briefly on Michael’s guest-post from yesterday, Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) new-found opposition to Roe v. Wade is rather remarkable, even for him.

In 1999, McCain was in New Hampshire, campaigning for the GOP nomination as a moderate. He proclaimed himself a pro-life candidate, but told reporters that “in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade.” He explained that overturning Roe would force “women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations.” Yesterday, campaigning for the GOP nomination as a conservative, McCain said the opposite.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask one question about abortion. Then I want to turn to Iraq. You’re for a constitutional amendment banning abortion, with some exceptions for life and rape and incest.

MCCAIN: Rape, incest and the life of the mother. Yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So is President Bush, yet that hasn’t advanced in the six years he’s been in office. What are you going to do to advance a constitutional amendment that President Bush hasn’t done?

MCCAIN: I don’t think a constitutional amendment is probably going to take place, but I do believe that it’s very likely or possible that the Supreme Court should — could overturn Roe v. Wade, which would then return these decisions to the states, which I support…. Just as I believe that the issue of gay marriage should be decided by the states, so do I believe that we would be better off by having Roe v. Wade return to the states.

The old McCain didn’t want an amendment and didn’t want Roe overturned. The new McCain completely disagrees with the old McCain.

Joe Klein: Neocons Trying To Have Me Fired From Time

The neocons are the sinister power behind the Bush administration. Therefore it is no surprise that they would want to silence anyone who dares challenge them. The American people are unaware of the power of this un-American clique.

I have now been called antisemitic and intellectually unstable and a whole bunch of other silly things by the folks over at the Commentary blog. They want Time Magazine to fire or silence me. This is happening because I said something that is palpably true, but unspoken in polite society: There is a small group of Jewish neoconservatives who unsuccessfully tried to get Benjamin Netanyahu to attack Saddam Hussein in the 1990s, and then successfully helped provide the intellectual rationale for George Bush to do it in 2003. Their motivations involve a confused conflation of what they think are Israel's best interests with those of the United States. They are now leading the charge for war with Iran.

Happily, these people represent a very small sliver of the Jewish population in this country. Unhappily, their views have had an impact in the highest reaches of the Bush Administration--and seem to have an influence on John McCain's campaign as well.

Mexico's Drug Cartels Target Bystanders

We need to worry about what's going on along our border. This is the price to pay for a lack of immigration policy. When is the last time you heard any of the candidates talk about the crisis along our border. The Mexican drug cartel is getting rich from the easy access to America. And guess where they get those guns to kill innocent people. Before too long we will have complete chaos along our southern border.

The three teenagers started their big weekend singing "Happy Birthday" to the parish priest.

The next day, they prayed for hours with their church youth group, then went on to a quinceaƱera, Mexico's archetypal 15th-birthday celebration. As the party wound down, they talked their parents into letting them go for a late-night cruise down the main drag in Guamuchil, a Saturday night ritual in this sleepy market town, friends and family say.

During that cruise, investigators believe the teens inadvertently blocked drug cartel assassins in hot pursuit of their enemies. Once police arrived in the wee hours of July 13, the assassins were gone but the three teens and a 12-year-old girl who was riding with them lay dead in their cars. Four others -- another teenager and three adults -- were dead in nearby cars. There were 539 bullet casings on the ground.

U.S. Combat Deaths in Iraq Plunge in July

So what? We are still in Iraq in large numbers while Afghanistan rapidly deteriorates. Even if no American dies in Iraq we are still paying a fortune to be there ($10 billion /month) to maintain the status quo. And if the Republicans have their way we would be there for the indefinite future. We cannot afford to be in a place that shouldn't have been in the first place.

The number of U.S. soldiers killed in combat in Iraq has dropped sharply in July and the monthly total is likely to be the lowest since the U.S.-led invasion of the country in 2003.

Five U.S. soldiers have been killed in combat in Iraq so far in July compared to 66 in the same month last year, according to the independent website, which keeps records of U.S. military losses in the conflict.

The drop underscores the dramatic fall in violence in Iraq to lows not seen since early 2004.

Seeking to build on those gains, thousands of Iraqi security forces launched a major operation in northeastern Diyala province on Tuesday. Al Qaeda has sought to stoke tensions in religiously mixed Diyala, which lies close to Baghdad.

Defence Ministry spokesman Major-General Mohammed al-Askari said on Wednesday that 35 militants had been detained so far. Iraqi police and more than two Iraqi army divisions, each of up to 9,000 troops, are taking part in the offensive.

CIA Accuses Pakistan of 'Backing Militants'

Pakistan military/intelligence agencies were responsible for putting the Taliban in power in the first place. So it shouldn't be any surprise that they are today supporting our enemies again. Our relationship with Pakistan is a house of cards that is really to collapse. And the potential for militant Islamists in that country to take over is very real. And if the Jihadists gain control of Pakistan's bomb it could mean world war. What a mess Mr.Obama will have on his hands come January.

A senior CIA official this month confronted Pakistani officials over ties between the country's intelligence service and militants in the tribal areas, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Citing defense and intelligence sources, the Times said that the trip by agency deputy director Stephen Kappes demonstrated a harder line being taken against Pakistani ties to those responsible for the surge of violence in Afghanistan, including militant Maulavi Jalauddin Haqqani.

Earlier this year, the US military pressed for Pakistani troops to hit the Haqqani network in the tribal areas.

"It was a very pointed message saying, 'Look, we know there's a connection, not just with Haqqani but also with the other bad guys and ISI, and we think you could do more and we want you to do more about it," a senior US officials told the Times, referring to Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence agency.

The daily said the meeting could be a sign that the relationship between the Central Intelligence Agency and Pakistan's ISI "may be deteriorating".

A US official said there was no evidence of official Pakistani support of Al-Qaeda, but there was "genuine and longstanding concerns about Pakistan's ties to the Haqqani network, which of course has ties to Al-Qaeda."

Study: China Trade Deficit Cost Millions of American Jobs

We've known this for decades but it continues unabated. And both parties have been to blame for not protecting American industries. Both parties have been in complicity to sell out America.

The Economic Policy Institute, supported by the Alliance for American Manufacturing, reports that the growth of U.S. trade with China since the country entered the World Trade Organization in 2001 has devastated the domestic economy.

The study says China’s soaring deficit cost Americans 2.3 million jobs and $19.4 billion in lost wages between 2001 and 2007.

Virginia lost 39,500 jobs and North Carolina has lost nearly 80,000 jobs to China since 2001. The apparel industry was most affected in North Carolina with 11,372 jobs lost between 2001 and 2007.

North Carolina ranked eighth among the 50 states and Washington D.C., with 79,800 jobs lost. California suffered the most losses, with 325,800 fewer jobs. West Virginia’s job losses totaled 7,200, including 900 workers in the wood products manufacturing industry who were displaced last year.

The Washington, D.C.,-based think tank blamed the trade imbalance for pushing down wages an average of $8,146.

Scott Paul, exeuctive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, said any jobs that are being created are not making up for the income lost through jobs shipped overseas.

The study is based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census Bureau and United States International Trade Commission.