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Online Rick Plant

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #950 on: August 01, 2022, 10:36:57 PM »
Thank you Mr. President for looking out for our vets!

President Biden @POTUS

I'd planned to stop by the Capitol and visit families fighting to pass burn pits legislation. COVID got in the way, so I FaceTimed them and sent some pizza.
It’s our sacred obligation to care for our veterans. I won’t stop fighting alongside them to get this bill passed.

Watch: https://twitter.com/i/status/1553760943166951427

Biden FaceTimes veterans protesting for burn pit bill, sends pizza

Washington [US], July 31 (ANI): US President Joe Biden interacted with veterans who are camping out at the Capitol building and protesting for the Burn Pit Bill to expand care for veterans with burn pit injuries, through FaceTime and sent them pizza.

Biden said that he planned a trip to Capitol Hill to meet the families fighting to pass burn pits legislation, however, he had to cancel after testing positive for COVID-19, The Hill Newspaper reported.

“I planned an unscheduled trip to Capitol Hill this afternoon to meet the families fighting to pass burn pits legislation. A positive COVID test got in the way, but I want to thank @SecVetAffairs for bringing pizza in my place and connecting me with the families via FaceTime,” the US President said in a tweet.

Biden tested positive for COVID-19 again on Saturday. Earlier, he tested positive for COVID-19 on July 21 and was under treatment for around a week.

The pizza was delivered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough.

"Proud to bring pizza from @POTUS to the Vets camping out at the Capitol until the Senate passes the PACT Act,” McDonough said in a tweet.

“These heroes fought for our country–they shouldn’t have to fight for health care, too. The Senate must pass the PACT Act now,” the tweet added.

During FaceTime, the US President said that the country has a “sacred obligation” to care for those who go into war and care for them and their families after they return, the publication said.

Opposing the legislation is “despicable,” Biden said adding that the bill’s opponents are “going to make up for the mistake they made.”

The Senate carried out the voting for the bill on Wednesday, however, the bill only received 55 votes. A minimum of 60 votes are required to pass the bill.

During the voting, three senators were absent. Meanwhile, all Democrats along with eight Republicans voted in favor of the bill.

US Senator Chuck Schumer on Thursday said that he plans to bring the bill up for a vote again on Monday.

Biden has been focused on expanding benefits for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and were exposed to toxic chemicals from burn pits and has always called it a “sacred obligation” to prepare those serving in the armed forces and to care for them and their families when they return home.

The issue of burn pits strikes a personal note for the president who believes related chemicals may have contributed to the brain cancer that ultimately killed his son, Beau Biden, The Hill reported.

Earlier, in June, Biden signed a bill to provide better access to mammograms for veterans exposed to burn pits as part of nine bills signed into law aimed to improve veterans’ health care.(ANI)


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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #950 on: August 01, 2022, 10:36:57 PM »

Online Rick Plant

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #951 on: August 01, 2022, 11:47:29 PM »
Each day, that the Republicans continue to block the PACT Act more of our veterans will die.

Republicans are playing politics with our veterans lives, because they do not want the Inflation Reduction Act to pass which will reduce inflation, tackle climate change, reduce health care costs, and give the middle class a tax break. Republicans do not want President Biden to get a victory with this important Act that the overwhelming majority of Americans want, so they are willing to block this extremely important life saving veterans bill (PACT Act) out of spite. These same Republicans supported this bill just a few weeks ago and now they are blocking it for political purposes.

As I keep saying, Republicans do not care about you or your family. They vote against them every single time. Republicans do not care about our veterans suffering from cancer and other diseases, they use them as pawns for their political games like they are doing now. Republicans do not want the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 to pass because they won't be able to falsely attack President Biden on Twitter and tv anymore over inflation. The same inflation that the entire world is going through.

So, Republicans are willing to continue to make our vets suffer so they can stop a major bill that will reduce inflation, prescription drug costs, and help with our climate crisis. Absolutely disgraceful. 

Why are these Republicans in office when they refuse to do the work that the American people demand?

Ever since Biden came into office, the Republican playbook has been for the Republican House to vote "NO" on major important bills and then the Republican Senate will block the bills from becoming law. By doing this, the legislation won't get passed and Republicans can then attack President Biden and Democrats for "not doing anything". Republicans believe that using obstruction will help them politically in November. So, Republicans have no interest in helping Americans, all they want to do is play political games hoping to regain power.   

Republicans were doing everything they could to stop the "Build Back Better Act" from passing, but now that this ACT is a condensed version of the Inflation Reduction Act, they are outraged that Joe Manchin has signed on to the bill to get it passed so they are purposely tanking this veterans PACT Act. It's pure politics and it's disgraceful.

Democrats are working to make people's lives better while Republicans just want to create more problems. These are the same Republicans who lied about phony election fraud and attempted a coup to illegally keep Trump in power. And now they are doing everything possible trying to prevent the Inflation Reduction Act from passing because they want inflation to remain high because they believe it helps them politically.

Republicans do not care about inflation, if they did they would vote "YES" for the Inflation Reduction Act reduce inflation. All they want to do is feign outrage on tv and Twitter to falsely attack President Biden and Democrats hoping to score political points. They do this with every important bill they vote "NO" on or block in the Senate. It's all political theatre. If Republicans actually cared, they would be passing these bills and not trying to stop them from passing. Always look at their actions and not their words.                               

Senate Republicans burned a bill that would have helped veterans — here’s why

Democrats say the reason is over unrelated pending bills.

Republicans blocked a bill on Wednesday that many saw as a bipartisan slam dunk — it aimed to expand certain benefits for veterans due to toxic exposure they experienced while deployed — leaving many veterans and their supporters shocked.

The PACT Act, a bill that would have expanded the Department of Veterans Affairs health care to presume veterans whose military service included exposure to burn pits — large trenches dug to burn and dispose of sewage, medical waste, and other trash — to be victims of exposure to toxic substances and fumes when they have symptoms of certain illnesses. The bill would have removed the burden of proof veterans currently need to show in order to receive assistance.

Both houses of Congress previously passed the bill, with the Senate voting 84-14 in June in favor, but the bill was forced into another vote after “administrative issues” were found in its text. After changes were made, it was expected to breeze through Congress and be signed into law by President Joe Biden.

However, 25 Republican senators flipped their vote and blocked the bill on Wednesday.

Supporters and activists, such as former talk show host Jon Stewart, who had gathered at the Capitol hoping for a celebration following the bill’s passing, instead were met with frustration. On Thursday, Stewart and others joined lawmakers such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to forcefully call out Republicans for voting down the bill.

“They don’t have to hear it, they don’t have to see it, they don’t have to understand that these are human beings. Do we get it yet? These aren’t heroes, these are men and women,” Stewart said in a speech at the Capitol on Thursday.

With the final tally in the Senate on Wednesday at 55-42 (three abstaining), Republicans claim the exact reason why they flipped has nothing to do with the bill’s focus, but rather how the funds would be allocated and managed.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), who led opposition to the bill, expressed his desire for an amendment focused on budgetary spending.

"There is a mechanism created in this bill, it’s a budgetary gimmick, that has the intent of making it possible to have a huge explosion in unrelated spending — $400 billion. This budgetary gimmick is so unrelated to the actual budgetary issue that has to do with burn pits that it’s not even in the House bill,” Toomey said on the Senate floor Wednesday.

Toomey told CNN he wants the funding of the bill handled through an annual appropriations process, rather than the current mandatory spending structure.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he also does not support the ”budgetary gimmick” but does support the bill.

The question remains why more than two dozen Republicans, many veterans themselves, voted for it last month but flipped this week. According to some Democrats, the bill was blocked for political benefit.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) alternatively argues that Republicans took out their anger over a separate bill on the PACT Act. Democrats are attempting to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes a historic $369 billion to be spent over the next 10 years to address climate change, health care, inflation, and taxes.

“The less charitable explanation is this,” Murphy said, about why so many Republicans flipped, “Republicans are mad that Democrats are on the verge of passing climate change legislation and have decided to take out their anger on vulnerable veterans. Because that’s the other thing that’s changed in the last three weeks. Republicans thought that Democrats weren’t going to be able to pass a bill asking corporations to pay a little bit more, tackling climate change. Yesterday, news emerged that there is an agreement that makes it likely that a climate change bill is going to proceed on the Senate floor, and magically 30 votes flip.”

This switch, Democrats say, came as a reaction to the Inflation Reduction Act, which is expected to be voted on this week.

The Democratic candidate for an open Senate seat in Missouri, Lucas Kunce, echoed the sentiment in an interview with Vox. “They had voted for it the first time, they changed because they want to protest a separate bill is what I understand,” he said. Kunce served three tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan as a Marine officer and was deployed in Iraq where he was stationed near a burn pit and developed a post-nasal drip due to his exposure.

Vox’s Li Zhou also recently reported that Republicans do not want the Inflation Reduction Act to pass and need unanimous support to stop it. Given that Biden came out in praise of it, the bill has a high possibility of passing.

What the bill is, and why it matters

The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act, otherwise known as the PACT Act, was introduced in June by Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA), who chairs the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, with the aim to address and fund health care, research, and other matters related to veterans who were exposed to toxic substances during service.

The bill contains two major components — a grace period for veterans who served near burn pits to get medical care, and legislation that tells the VA how to approach certain illnesses and cancers. Veterans would not have to prove that their illnesses are directly related to burn pit exposure to receive disability payments and assistance. Currently, more than 70 percent of disability claims related to burn pit exposure are denied by the VA due to veterans’ inability to prove their illnesses or cancers are linked to exposure to burn pits.

Cancers and other issues alleged to be related to burn pits can come years later, as happened to Sgt. Heath Robinson, whom the bill is named after. Robinson died in 2020 of a rare lung cancer he attributed to smoke exposure during his deployment in Iraq in 2006 and 2007.

Kunce said he felt that many in the armed services assumed they wouldn’t be put in such a harmful situation. “[It was] probably a dumb assumption to make, but ... you gotta trust the system, first of all,” Kunce said. “Second of all, you’ve got no choice, right? I mean, you’re there, there’s nothing else you could do.”

Robinson’s wife Danielle, an advocate for burn pit exposure victims who have been denied benefits, attended Biden’s State of the Union address earlier this year, where he laid out his support for enhancing veterans’ benefits as part of his so-called bipartisan “unity agenda” which, among other things, focuses on the commitment to veterans by delivering on promises made regarding health care, mental health, and homelessness.

The PACT Act also plays into a broader conversation that’s happening over veterans’ rights. In June, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision in favor of a veteran whose case was related to burn pit exposure in Torres v. Texas Department of Public Safety. The ruling allowed US Army veteran Le Roy Torres to sue the state of Texas after losing his job due to an injury he received while serving.

What’s next?

Activists, lawmakers, and veterans alike are demanding further action, with some even calling the vote criminal as they criticize Republicans for stopping the bill.

“Wait a minute. You’re not gonna help our veterans, because we want to: lower the cost of prescription drugs, the cost of health care, to protect the planet. Of course you don’t agree with any of those things, but would you use that to vote against our veterans? It’s really immoral, almost criminal,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Another procedural vote is set for Monday, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer can technically call the Senate to a vote at any time. In light of the congressional recess beginning on August 5, timeliness will be key.


Jon Stewart is Right to Angry About the PACT Act

The comedian and activist spent the weekend calling out Ted Cruz and Republicans for using veterans as political pawns.

Jon Stewart went on a media blitz over the weekend, appearing on everything from MSNBC and Meet the Press to conservative channels like Fox News and Newsmax to call out Republican Senators like Ted Cruz for torpedoing a piece of legislation titled the PACT Act that provides healthcare for U.S. veterans.

He even made his own video, which he posted on socials. (More on that below.) Which is all to say: Jon Stewart is pissed—and rightfully so. But maybe you're seeing a lot of Jon Stewart headlines and are just...confused. Here's what went down.

What is the PACT Act?

In a speech on the Senate floor, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) described the PACT Act as “groundbreaking legislation” that grants veterans expedited access to healthcare for exposure to toxic chemicals.

The bill is named after Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson who served in Iraq and died in 2020 from exposure to toxins emitted by burn pits during the Iraq War. Trash burning was a common practice during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Military personnel frequently used burn pits to get rid of trash, munition, food waste, human waste, medical waste, petroleum, plastics, and wood.

Despite the clear link between exposure to burn pits and poor health, veterans still struggle to secure healthcare for related issues. In July, the Associated Press reported that the VA denies more than 70 percent of burn pit disability claims due to lack of evidence. The PACT Act would rectify this injustice by forcing the VA to presume that certain illnesses, including nine types of rare respiratory cancers, were caused by burn pit exposure, thus eliminating the burden of proof and streamlining access to live-saving healthcare.

Why is Jon Stewart so mad at Ted Cruz?

Stewart has been a vocal supporter of the PACT Act since 2020 and has a long history of advocating for legislation related to first responders and veterans. He previously championed a bill that granted lifelong compensation and healthcare to 9/11 first responders. It passed the Senate in 2019, 92-2.

The PACT Act seemed destined for a similarly successful, bipartisan victory until Thursday, when 25 Republican senators who previously voted in favor of the bill in June (a technical change the House made to the bill required the Senate to pass it again) changed their minds and voted against it. This sudden change in heart didn’t sit well with Stewart. He smelled something fishy and immediately accused senators like Ted Cruz of playing political games with veterans’ lives. “The bill that Ted Cruz voted yes on had the exact same funding provisions as the bill he voted no on, '' said Stewart on Meet the Press. “It’s the exact same bill. None of this makes any sense.”

Stewart also attacked Cruz on Twitter in a series of posts and videos in which he took issue with Cruz’s sudden interest in how pre-existing veteran support spending (about $400 billions worth) is categorized. Citing an argument first expressed by retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), Cruz alleges that the PACT Act includes a “gimmick” that would allow Democrats to go on a massive spending spree by recategorizing the already authorized spending as mandatory (as opposed to discretionary). Mandatory spending isn’t subjected to annual congressional appropriations.

Jon Stewart @jonstewart

Message to and from Mister Senator Ted Cruz...Attorney at Law

Watch: https://twitter.com/i/status/1553127778169536513

“This is no trick,” Stewart said, in response to a TMZ video of Cruz claiming the Democrats are trying to pull a fast one on the American people. “... It’s always been mandatory spending so that the government can’t just cut off their funding at any point. No trick. No gimmick. It’s been there the whole f****g time.”

What’s Republican opposition to the PACT Act really about?

Cruz claims to oppose the PACT Act because of all the pork that’s stuffed inside it, but given that it’s the same bill he already voted for, very few people believe him. Video footage of Cruz and Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) celebrating the bill’s defeat with a fist-bump has cast even more doubt on their explanation. Sen. Murphy and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), plus a handful of pundits, have proposed an alternate theory.

MeidasTouch @MeidasTouch

This is the fist bump everyone needs to be talking about.

Ted Cruz and fellow Republicans celebrating after blocking a bill to help toxin-exposed veterans survive.

Watch: https://twitter.com/i/status/1553037966057955328

"What happened in 2 weeks that convinced 30 Republicans who previously thought it was a good idea to help veterans to decide instead to tank a bill that was helping veterans?” asked Sen. Murphy in his Senate floor speech. Well, the most obvious answer is the surprise announcement of the Inflation Reduction Act, a compromise bill proposed by Sen. Joe Manchin that’s been hailed by the press as a major legislative victory for the Democrats. You know who doesn’t like Democrat victories? Republicans. Reacting to the Republicans’ blocking of the PACT Act on the PBS Newshour, David Brooks summed up the potential hideousness of the situation saying, “If the votes changed because Mitch McConnell said, ‘ We need to screw somebody,’ well that would just be appalling.”


Despite the bill's recent failure, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed to bring the PACT Act up again for a vote this week before the Senate breaks for its August recess.


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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #951 on: August 01, 2022, 11:47:29 PM »

Online Rick Plant

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #952 on: August 02, 2022, 02:26:35 AM »
President Biden continues to keep America safe.

US kills al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in drone strike in Afghanistan

(CNN)- The United States killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a drone strike, President Joe Biden said Monday in a speech from the White House.

"I authorized a precision strike that would remove him from the battlefield, once and for all," Biden said.

Zawahiri, who just turned 71 years old, had remained a visible international symbol of the group, 11 years after the US killed Osama bin Laden. At one point, he acted as bin Laden's personal physician.

Zawahiri was sheltering in downtown Kabul to reunite with his family, Biden said, and was killed in what a senior administration official described as "a precise tailored airstrike" using two Hellfire missiles. The drone strike was conducted at 9:48 p.m. ET on Saturday was authorized by Biden following weeks of meetings with his Cabinet and key advisers, the official said on Monday, adding that no American personnel were on the ground in Kabul at the time of the strike.

Senior Haqqani Taliban figures were aware of Zawahiri's presence in the area, the official said, in "clear violation of the Doha agreement," and even took steps to conceal his presence after Saturday's successful strike, restricting access to the safe house and rapidly relocating members of his family, including his daughter and her children, who were intentionally not targeted during the strike and remained unharmed.

The US did not alert Taliban officials ahead of Saturday's strike.

In a series of tweets, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said, "An air strike was carried out on a residential house in Sherpur area of Kabul city on July 31."

He said, "The nature of the incident was not apparent at first" but the security and intelligence services of the Islamic Emirate investigated the incident and "initial findings determined that the strike was carried out by an American drone."

The tweets by Mujahid came out prior to CNN reporting Zawahiri's death. Mujahid said the Islamic Emirate of
Afghanistan "strongly condemns this attack on any pretext and calls it a clear violation of international principles and the Doha Agreement."

Justice has been delivered'

Biden, who was kept abreast of the strike against Zawahiri as he isolated with a rebound case of Covid-19, spoke outdoors Monday from the Blue Room Balcony at the White House.

Zawahiri, Biden said, "was deeply involved in the planning of 9/11, one of the most responsible for the attacks that murdered 2,977 people on American soil. For decades, he was the mastermind of attacks against Americans."

"Now, justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more. People around the world no longer need to fear the vicious and determined killer," he continued. "The United States continues to demonstrate our resolve and our capacity to defend the American people against those who seek to do us harm. We make it clear again tonight, that no matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out."

The President said the precision strike targeting was the result of the "extraordinary persistence and skill" of the nation's intelligence community.

"Our intelligence community located Zawahiri earlier this year -- he moved to downtown Kabul to reunite with members of his immediate family," Biden said.

The strike comes one year after Biden ordered the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, prompting Taliban forces to rapidly seize control of the nation.

Biden said on Monday that when he withdrew US troops from the country, he "made the decision that after 20 years of war, the United States no longer needed thousands of boots on the ground in Afghanistan to protect America from terrorists who seek to do us harm, and I made a promise to the American people, that we continue to conduct effective counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan and beyond. We've done just that."

Biden pledged that Zawahiri "will never again allow Afghanistan to become a terrorist safe haven, because he is gone and we're going to make sure that nothing else happens."

The President concluded by expressing gratitude to US intelligence and counterterrorism communities, saying that he hopes Zawahiri's death will bring some measure of closure to the friends and families of 9/11 victims.

"To those who continue to seek to harm the United States, hear me now: We will always remain vigilant and we will act -- and we will always do what is necessary to ensure the safety and security of Americans at home and around the globe," he concluded.

Close ally of bin Laden

Zawahiri comes from a distinguished Egyptian family, according to the New York Times. His grandfather, Rabia'a al-Zawahiri, was an imam at al-Azhar University in Cairo. His great-uncle, Abdel Rahman Azzam, was the first secretary of the Arab League.

He eventually helped to mastermind the deadliest terror attack on American soil, when hijackers turned US airliners into missiles.

"Those 19 brothers who went out and gave their souls to Allah almighty, God almighty has granted them this victory we are enjoying now," al-Zawahiri said in a videotaped message released in April 2002.

It was the first of many taunting messages the terrorist -- who became al Qaeda's leader after US forces killed bin Laden in 2011 -- would send out over the years, urging militants to continue the fight against America and chiding US leaders.

Zawahiri was constantly on the move once the US-led invasion of Afghanistan began after the September 11, 2001, attacks. At one point, he narrowly escaped a US onslaught in the rugged, mountainous Tora Bora region of Afghanistan, an attack that left his wife and children dead.

He made his public debut as a Muslim militant when he was in prison for his involvement in the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

"We want to speak to the whole world. Who are we? Who are we?" he said in a jailhouse interview.

By that time, al-Zawahiri, a young doctor, was already a committed terrorist who conspired to overthrow the Egyptian government for years and sought to replace it with fundamentalist Islamic rule. He proudly endorsed Sadat's assassination after the Egyptian leader made peace with Israel.

He spent three years in prison after Sadat's assassination and claimed he was tortured while in detention. After his release, he made his way to Pakistan, where he treated wounded mujahadeen fighters who fought against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

That was when he met bin Laden and found a common cause.

"We are working with brother bin Laden," he said in announcing the merger of his terror group, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, with al Qaeda in May 1998. "We know him since more than 10 years now. We fought with him here in Afghanistan."
Together, the two terror leaders signed a fatwa, or declaration: "The judgment to kill and fight Americans and their allies, whether civilians or military, is an obligation for every Muslim."

Mastermind of 9/11

The attacks against the US and its facilities began weeks later, with the suicide bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed more than 200 people and wounded more than 5,000 others. Zawahiri and bin Laden gloated after they escaped a US cruise missile attack in Afghanistan that had been launched in retaliation.

Then, there was the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000, when suicide bombers on a dinghy detonated their boat, killing 17 American sailors and wounding 39 others.

The culmination of Zawahiri's terror plotting came on September 11, 2001, when nearly 3,000 people were killed in the attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center and Pentagon. A fourth hijacked airliner, headed for Washington, crashed in a Pennsylvania field after passengers fought back.

Since then, al-Zawahiri raised his public profile, appearing on numerous video and audiotapes to urge Muslims to join the jihad against the United States and its allies. Some of his tapes were followed closely by terrorist attacks.

In May 2003, for instance, almost simultaneous suicide bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, killed 23 people, including nine Americans, days after a tape thought to contain Zawahiri's voice was released.

The US State Department had offered a reward of up to $25 million for information leading directly to his capture. A June 2021 United Nations report suggested he was located somewhere in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and that he may have been too frail to be featured in propaganda.

11 families group expresses gratitude but calls on Biden to hold Saudis accountable

Terry Strada, the chair of 9/11 Families United -- a coalition of survivors and families of victims of the September, 11, 2001, terrorist attacks -- expressed gratitude for the strike, but called on the President to hold the Saudi Arabian government accountable for alleged government complicity in the attacks.

The group has criticized the Saudi-backed LIV Golf tour, which began its third competition at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster at the end of July -- some 50 miles from Ground Zero in Manhattan.

"I am deeply grateful for the commitment of intelligence agencies and our brave military's dedication and sacrifices made in removing such evil from our lives. But, in order to achieve full accountability for the murder of thousands on Sept. 11, 2001, President Biden must also hold responsible the Saudi paymasters who bankrolled the Attacks," Strada said in a statement.

"The financiers are not being targeted by drones, they are being met with fist pumps and hosted at golf clubs. If we're going to be serious about accountability, we must hold EVERYONE accountable," Strada added -- appearing to reference the President's controversial gesture with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.


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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #952 on: August 02, 2022, 02:26:35 AM »

Online Rick Plant

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #953 on: August 02, 2022, 06:06:40 AM »
Corporate interests flood Arizona begging Sinema to tank Inflation Reduction Act — but 'she's feeling pressure to vote yes': report

On Monday, Axios reported that big business interests are scrambling to lobby Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to tank the Inflation Reduction Act — the large health care, climate, and deficit reduction package agreed to between Democratic leadership and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).

Sinema, being one of the most fiscally conservative Democrats in the Senate, was a key obstacle to former reconciliation bills, but according to the report, business leaders feel they have a limited window to convince her this time.

"The National Association of Manufacturers and the Arizona Chamber have launched a six-figure digital and TV ad buy — compressed into one week — to saturate the Phoenix and Tucson media markets," reported Hans Nichols. "'Taxes won’t strengthen supply chains, promote energy security, or fill vacant jobs,' the narrator says. 'Say 'No' to taxes that would devastate Arizona manufacturers.'"

"If successful, the barrage of paid media and personal phone calls will knock out the main provision that terrifies the business community: a 15% minimum book tax that will cost the biggest 150 U.S. companies some $313 billion over 10 years," said the report. However, "The clock is ticking to persuade Sinema to play her hand — and potentially force Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) back to the drawing board on how to pay for the $370 billion in new climate spending."

"She’s feeling the pressure to vote yes on something,” admitted Arizona Chamber of Commerce CEO Danny Seiden. "I hope that she gets this deal opened back up."

Sinema has previously expressed support for a corporate minimum tax similar to that proposed in the bill. However, she has consistently opposed another tax provision included in the bill, which closes the so-called "carried interest loophole" shielding some investment income from taxation. This provision raises far less money, just $14 billion. However, Manchin has said he is "adamant" about keeping this provision in the bill, likely requiring that the two senators work out a compromise on the matter before the bill can move forward.

Read More Here: https://www.axios.com/2022/08/01/corporate-america-strikes-back

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #953 on: August 02, 2022, 06:06:40 AM »

Online Rick Plant

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #954 on: August 02, 2022, 06:40:02 AM »
Republicans blocked The PACT Act which helps our sick veterans who have cancer and other diseases. There is absolutely no excuse for that. And why did they do that? All because of the Inflation Reduction Act which will help middle class, working poor Americans, and seniors save money on health care and prescription drug costs as well as reducing inflation and saving our planet from this climate crisis.

Republicans blocked vets from getting medical care over a bill which helps millions of Americans save money and makes corporate America pay their share of fair taxes. Republicans are in the pocket of corporate America and they want veterans with cancer and seniors who can't afford their medication to suffer all because they don't want some billionaire to pay more in taxes. This is the same Republican party that wants to end Social Security & Medicare and dismantle the VA.             

Republican senators are starting to freak out after blocking the veterans' health bill

Republican senators have discovered that trying to block veterans from healthcare doesn't play well among American voters. With fewer than 100 days until the 2022 midterm elections, GOP senators who previously supported legislation to care for veterans with cancer due to burn pits voted it down. Now they're having second thoughts, Politico reported.

It was mere weeks ago when 84 Senators, all Democrats and a hefty chunk of Republicans, voted to pass the bill. One small tweak in the language was eliminated involving taking over private care, but it didn't change anything meaningful in the bill. But last week, Republicans voted it down. They've been trying to justify it by saying that Democrats added in all of these budget spending measures, but those were actually in the bill they supported.

Former "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart raged at Republican officials for the excuse in videos that have gone viral.

Veterans are protesting by staging a sit-in along the halls of the Senate office buildings, forcing Republicans to walk by them. Activist Paul Rieckhoff of Righteous Media told MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace that at least one of the men sleeping on the floor is hooked up to oxygen.

Former Donald Trump Homeland Security chief of staff, Miles Taylor, said the opposition is actually part of an ongoing effort by lawmakers like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to defund the Veterans Administration and privatize it. He recalled when he was working for the Trump administration that there were many who were trying to bring down the VA, but decided it couldn't happen in Trump's first term because he would need to be reelected.

But other Republicans claim that it was an effort by Republican Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), who tried to claim a "budgetary gimmick." As political strategists say frequently, however, if you're trying to explain yourself, you're losing.

"Regardless of their reasoning, the GOP was quickly forced to play defense against both Democrats and veterans’ advocates who were caught off-guard by Republican delaying tactics after the party greenlit a nearly identical bill in June," wrote Politico.

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) has tried to blame Democrats for Republicans voting against the bill, saying they "screwed up the first time." His problem is he has to explain how Democrats screwed up but still got 84 votes to pass it.

“I’m doing everything I can do,” said Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), who has been trying to get the bill passed since 2021. "I don’t know [if] people really understand what they were voting on, to be honest with you. There’s no slush fund in this."

Toomey is trying to rally the GOP around an amendment, which some Republicans like Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Rob Portman (R-OH) would support, but they're not willing to let the bill die if the amendment isn't approved.

The GOP's lack of support has pitted Republicans against groups like the American Legion and AMVETS, which have volunteers at the Capitol. The Vietnam Veterans of America have been close allies to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans because they too experienced toxic chemical exposure when fighting overseas. It's become a public relations nightmare mere days before the senators are expected to go home to campaign during the August Recess.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declined to respond to a question Monday about why the legislation was held up.

Republicans insist their decision to hold up the bill, which expands health care for veterans exposed to toxic substances while on active duty, was unrelated to the deal on party-line legislation that top Democrats struck last week. The GOP blocked the bill hours after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced an agreement on a health care, climate and tax package — angering Republicans who thought the Democrats-only plan would be much narrower.

Schumer is expected to force another vote on the veterans bill this week, vowing Monday that he would bring it up “in the coming days.”

“We’re going to give Senate Republicans another chance to do the right thing,” he said.

The amendment explanation has done little to curb Democratic charges that the GOP turned a non-controversial plan to help veterans exposed to Agent Orange and toxic burn pits into a political football. Democrats have questioned the turnabout sharply given that 25 Republicans voted to block the bill over the budgetary issue only on its second trip to the floor, not its first.

"As someone who has worked on this bill for years, I’m just disappointed that some of my Republican colleagues, whether out of personal pique or some misguided political motive ... wanted to flip-flop. But as long as it comes to the right result, that’s what’s important for the country and for veterans,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).

The criticism hasn’t let up this week.

Comedian Jon Stewart — rallying alongside veterans who’ve been camped outside the Senate for days — on Monday slammed Republicans for slowing the bill’s passage.

“I’m not scared of you and I don’t care, because these are the people I owe a debt of gratitude to,” Stewart said. “Don’t leave here tonight until you do the right thing by these folks. Simple as that: Don’t make this harder than it is.”

Republican Have ‘Crossed Veterans In A Very Big Way' Says Paul Rieckhoff

Founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Paul Rieckhoff and former Chief of Staff for DHS Miles Taylor react to Republicans trying to claim they had a legitimate reason to block the burn pit bill.

Former Donald Trump Homeland Security chief of staff, Miles Taylor, said the opposition is actually part of an ongoing effort by lawmakers like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to defund the Veterans Administration and privatize it.


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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #954 on: August 02, 2022, 06:40:02 AM »

Online Rick Plant

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #955 on: August 02, 2022, 04:15:32 PM »
Murphy on Failed PACT Act Vote: Did Republicans Decide to Take Anger Out on Vulnerable Veterans?

Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Thursday took to the U.S. Senate floor to slam Senate Republicans for blocking passage of the Honoring our PACT Act, legislation to expand health care benefits for veterans. The bill passed last month by a vote of 84-14, but due to a procedural error, on Wednesday night the Senate took a vote to fix the error, which failed by a vote of 55 to 42.


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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #955 on: August 02, 2022, 04:15:32 PM »

Online Rick Plant

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #956 on: August 02, 2022, 05:10:50 PM »
Republicans Blocking Burn Pit Bill Are ‘Playing Partisan Politics’ With ‘The Lives Of Veterans’

Burn Pits 360 Executive Director and co-Founder Rosie Torres and Samantha Turner, a disabled army veteran and graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, join Andrea Mitchell to urge the passing of a bill to help veterans who were exposed to toxins and burn pits, after 25 Senate Republicans decided to switch their votes and block the measure. “They’re playing partisan politics. It's disgusting. It’s criminal. These men and women fought for their freedom, and they're sick and they're dying,” says Torres. “We're gonna be protesting. We're gonna be advocating for ourselves and those who serve with us until the bills passed,” says Turner.


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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #956 on: August 02, 2022, 05:10:50 PM »

Online Joe Elliott

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #957 on: August 03, 2022, 04:05:15 AM »

Schedule F = Schedule Fascism = Enabling Act

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #957 on: August 03, 2022, 04:05:15 AM »

Online Rick Plant

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #958 on: August 03, 2022, 11:38:11 AM »
Kansas votes to protect abortion rights in state constitution

Kansas is the first state to put abortion rights to a vote since the supreme court overturned Roe v Wade

Kansans secured a huge win for abortion rights in the US on Tuesday night when they voted to continue to protect abortion in the state constitution.

The race was called by a host of US groups like NBC News, the New York Times and Decision Desk HQ.

The move will be seen as huge a loss for the anti-abortion movement and a major win for abortion rights advocates across America, who will see the result as a bellwether for popular opinion.

Kansas – a deeply conservative and usually reliably Republican state – is the first US state to put abortion rights to a vote since the US supreme court ruled to overturn constitutional protections for abortion in late June.

The state will remain a safe haven for abortion in the midwest, as one of the few states in the region where it remains legal to perform the procedure. Many other states have undertaken moves to make abortion largely illegal since June.

Joe Biden issued a statement welcoming the result. “This vote makes clear what we know: the majority of Americans agree that women should have access to abortion and should have the right to make their own health care decisions,” the US president said.

The Kansas state senator Dinah Sikes, a Democrat, cried as the vote came in, and turned to her friends and colleagues, showing them goosebumps on her arm.

“It’s just amazing. It’s breathtaking that women’s voices were heard and we care about women’s health,” she told the Guardian, after admitting she had thought the vote would be close. “But we were close in a lot of rural areas and that really made the difference – I’m just so grateful,” she said.

The “No” campaign – which was protecting abortion rights – was strongly ahead in the referendum with 62% of the vote with the majority of ballots counted. That means millions of dollars lost for the Catholic church who contributed more than $3m trying to eradicate abortion rights in Kansas, according to campaign finance records.

Kansans turned out to vote in heavy numbers on Tuesday, in a referendum brought by the Kansas Republican legislature that was criticized for being misleading, fraught with misinformation and voter suppression tactics.

After failing to get a more directly named referendum, “Kansas No State Constitutional Right to Abortion”, on the ballot in 2020, Republicans switched tactics, naming this amendment “Value Them Both”.

The vote was scheduled for August, when voter turnout is historically low, particularly among independents and Democrats, and the wording on the ballot paper was criticized for being unclear.

“The ballot mentions a state constitutional right to abortion funding in Kansas, but that funding has never really been on the table,” Mary Ziegler, a US abortion law expert from the University of California, Davis told the Guardian on Monday.

Kansans for Life, one of the main backers for a “yes” vote, told church congregants on 27 July that removing protections for abortion in Kansas would prevent late-term abortions, lack of parental consent and tax payer funding for abortion, despite none of these being the law in Kansas. Abortions in Kansas are limited to 22 weeks in the cases of life threatening or severely compromised physical complications.

It was a tense and bitterly fought campaign that saw churches vandalized and yard signs stolen, in a state where the abortion doctor George Tiller was murdered by anti-abortion activists in 2009.

But on Tuesday night scenes of jubilation broke out at a watch party for the victorious No campaign in Kansas City. “We’re free!” shouted Mafutari Oneal, 56, who was working at the bar after the vote was called and a rush of drinks orders came in.

“I don’t want no government telling me what to do. I’m so happy,” she said.

In a speech just after victory was sealed, Rachel Sweet, the campaign manager for Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, said the win had come against all the odds.

“We knew it was stacked against us from the moment we started but we did not despair – we did it, and these numbers speak for themselves,” Sweet said.

“We knocked tens of thousands of doors and had hundreds of thousands of phone calls … We countered millions of dollars in misinformation,” she said. “We will not tolerate extreme bans on abortion in our state.”

Ashley All, the spokesperson for KCF, who led the “No” campaign alongside Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, told the Guardian that the key to driving voter turnout was not seeing abortion as a partisan issue in Kansas.

“We demonstrated Kansas’ free state roots,” she said. “It will be interesting for other states to watch this and see this is not a partisan issue. Everyone from Republicans, to unaffiliated voters to hardcore libertarians came out to say: ‘No, we don’t want the government involved in what we do with our bodies’.”


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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #958 on: August 03, 2022, 11:38:11 AM »

Online Rick Plant

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #959 on: August 03, 2022, 03:27:10 PM »
Megadonors and GOP bigwigs made sure scandal-plagued Eric Greitens went down in flames in Missouri Senate primary


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