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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Timelines and Pork and Good News From Iraq

Has anyone been asking themselves why congress is having such a hard time getting the votes they need to pass their latest dog and pony show bill to force failure down our military throats?

Below I will list some of the "pork" that they have added to the emergency war fund to try to bribe or buy enough votes to get this waste of paper to pass....and a quick note: Even after all of this, they still do not have the votes to pass it.

First though, let us take a look at the problems they are having with this particular vote.

Representative Dan Boren is a Democrat, but after visiting Iraq last week he announced a decision that puts him at odds with his party’s leaders: he intends to vote against their plan to set a deadline for troops to leave Iraq.

“A timeline, in effect, is cutting off the funds,” said Mr. Boren, a conservative second-term lawmaker whose territory covers the eastern swath of Oklahoma, from the bottom of Kansas to the top of Texas. “That is not the solution.”

Some Democrats, like Mr. Boren, understand that Congress can defund a war, but he and those like him understand it is not the job of congress to "run" the war or micromanage the war.

Then of course we have the others that will not vote for this bill for different reasons:

At the same time, the leaders are trying to persuade liberals to support the legislation, even though it does not end the war nearly fast enough for their liking.

As the House prepares to vote Friday on a $124 billion Iraq spending bill, which calls for American troops to come home before Labor Day of 2008, an intensely private and anguishing debate has played out for many lawmakers through handwritten letters, telephone calls and conversations. Dozens of representatives have traveled to Iraq, even as antiwar activists staged protests in their district offices or at their homes.

The consternation among Democrats on the left and the right has made the outcome of the vote far less certain than leaders had hoped, particularly after respected figures like Representative John Lewis, a liberal Georgia Democrat, declared his opposition, saying, “I will not and cannot vote for another dollar or another dime to support this war.”

Others will not vote for this travesty of a bill because they wish to keep the promises they made in order to win the office... wow, this guy could teach Nancy a thing or two about keeping promises:

There are few votes to spare on either side of the party’s divide, with many members of the liberal Out of Iraq Caucus ideologically opposed to legislation they believe would fuel the war for at least another year and a half. Many conservative Democrats regard the measure as one that would tie the hands of the president, a notion that does not sit well in their districts.

Representative Brad Ellsworth of Indiana was one of the most prized new Democratic recruits of the 2006 elections, a sheriff whose image embodied what party leaders wanted voters to see as the strength of the ticket. Part of his law-and-order message, though, was opposing the idea of setting a deadline to pull troops out of Iraq.

“There are a lot of things in there I’d like to vote for, but I’ve been against a drop-dead date,” Mr. Ellsworth said, adding that he had yet to make a final decision. “I know the danger of what people say is flip-flopping. People can change their mind based on new information — I’m not saying I have — but I’ve consistently been against setting a date.”

The we have Dennis Kuchinich:

For days now, Representative Dennis J. Kucinich, an antiwar Democrat of Ohio, has been carrying a brown file folder across Capitol Hill, with a tattered white sheet of paper attached that lists the names of each of his colleagues. One by one, he has been trying to speak to every rank-and-file Democrat, particularly those who he believes may be more sympathetic to his views.

By Mr. Kucinich’s count, at least 12 liberal Democrats will probably oppose the Iraq legislation, because it does not go far enough — or fast enough — to bring troops home and end the war. If his count is accurate, it is an ominous sign, considering that Democrats can stand to lose only 15 votes if their legislation is to pass the House. Only a few Republicans are expected to support the bill.

“We used the war to help us win control of Congress,” Mr. Kucinich said. “We succeeded and created expectations to move quickly to end the war. But now we are giving President Bush enough money to fight the war through the end of his term?”

The Democrats aren't just split in half, they are splintering internally and dividing themselves in a host of different directions within their own party.

Others said they could not be moved. Representative Pete Stark, a California Democrat, said he had opposed every war-spending request that had come before him since being elected to Congress in 1972. (During the Vietnam War, he opened a bank with a giant peace symbol on top, attracting customers who shared his views.)

Asked what he found troubling about the current legislation, Mr. Stark snapped, “What’s to like?”

One could almost feel sorry for Nancy Pelosi, almost, but not quite.

The last paragraph from the New York Times piece says it all and remember, this is a democrat talking:

“I have been very frustrated with the progress in Iraq, but there are other ways we can hold the administration’s feet to the fire,” Mr. Boren said. “No matter what we do, it’s going to be the president’s decision of how we go forward in Iraq. That decision should rest with the commander in chief.”

Who said that their are no brains in the democratic party?

The best quote to tell us what we need to know as of now is from Steny Hoyer:

In the days before the vote, Democrats said they were short of the 218 votes needed to pass the legislation. Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the Democratic majority leader, conceded, “If you are asking me, do I have 218 people that I know are definite yeses right this minute, the answer to that is no.”

There you have it... and that is just from the Democrats side of things, I will save the Republican comments for another post.

One of the main reasons I find this latest attempt to force defeat upon America laughable is because of previous statements the Democrats made about setting a timeline or withdrawal date.

From Barack Obama who was opposed to a date certain before he was for it:

Earlier, he refused to vote for an amendment proposed by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) that would have, as Obama said, bring the troops home on a "date certain."

On June 21, Obama took to the Senate floor to say, "A hard and fast, arbitrary deadline for withdrawal offers our commanders in the field and our diplomats in the region insufficient flexibility."

From Harry Reid, speaking at the National Press Club in 2005, who was also against a timeline before he was for it:

‘As for setting a timeline, as we learned in the Balkans, that’s not a wise decision, because it only empowers those who don’t want us there, and it doesn’t work well to do that.’

Six months after that Joe Biden, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said:

‘A deadline for pulling out … will only encourage our enemies to wait us out’ … it would be ‘a Lebanon in 1985. And God knows where it goes from there.’

Three months after that, Hillary Clinton said:

‘I don’t believe it’s smart to set a date for withdrawal,’ ‘I don’t think you should ever telegraph your intentions to the enemy so they can await you.’

In the words of Mitch McConnell:

“Surely Senators Reid, Biden, and Clinton have not changed their minds about who would benefit the most if we set a date certain for withdrawal. They know just as well as I do that this is what the terrorists have been waiting for — and just what our allies in Iraq, and the entire region of the world have feared.

This is a small sample of Democrats that were against a timeline or date certain before they were for it and the reasons they list have not changed.... the polls did or maybe all the "pork" added to the suuplemental appropriations bill changed their mind for them.

NOW, lets take a look at some of this non war on terror related "pork": (Link is to the PDF file)

(NOTE: Some of these are worthy causes, but the question is, is any of this related to the global war on terror?. Read through these and then I will ask that question again.)

The following “emergency” spending items are included in the supplemental appropriations bill, which is intended to fund the Global War on Terror.

Aquaculture Operations: Provides $5 million for payments to "aquaculture operations and other persons in the U.S. engaged in the business of breeding, rearing, or transporting live fish" (such as shellfish, oysters and clams) to cover economic losses incurred as a result of an emergency order issued by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on October 24, 2006.

Spinach: Provides $25 million for payments to spinach producers that were unable to market spinach crops as a result of the FDA Public Health Advisory issued on September 14, 2006.

Hurricane Citrus Program: Provides $100 million to provide assistance to citrus producers (such as orange producers) in the area declared a disaster related to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

NASA: Provides $35 million to NASA, under the "exploration capabilities" account, for "expenses related to the consequences of Hurricane Katrina."

Corps of Engineers: Provides $1.3 billion to Corps of Engineers for continued repairs on the levee system in New Orleans.

FEMA: Provides $4.3 billion for disaster relief at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The bill would eliminate the state and local matching requirements for certain FEMA assistance (in connection with Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Wilma, and Dennis) in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Florida, and provides that the federal portion of these costs will be 100%.

HUD Indian Housing: Provides $80 million in tenant-based rental assistance for public and Indian housing under HUD. Crop Disaster Assistance: Provides roughly $3 billion in agriculture assistance to crop producers and livestock owners experiencing losses in 2005, 2006, or 2007 due to bad weather.

Shrimp: Provides $120 million to the shrimp industry for expenses related to the consequences of Hurricane Katrina.

Frozen Farmland: Provides $20 million for the cleanup and restoration of farmland damaged by freezing temperatures during a time period beginning on January 1, 2007 through the date of enactment.

Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) Program: Provides $283 million for payments under the MILC program, to extend the life of the program for one year, through September 30, 2008. MILC provides payments to dairy farmers when milk prices fall below a certain rate.

Peanut Storage Subsidies: Provides $74 million to extend peanut storage payments through 2007. The Peanut Subsidy Storage program, which is set to expire this year, pays farmers for the storage, handling, and other costs for peanuts voluntarily placed in the marketing loan program.

FDA Office of Women's Health: Provides $4 million for the Office of Women's Health at the Food and Drug Administration.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): Provides $60.4 million for fishing communities, Indian tribes, individuals, small businesses, including fishermen, fish processors, and related businesses for assistance related to "the commercial fishery failure." According to the Committee Report, this funding is to be used to provide disaster relief for those along the California and Oregon coast affected by the "2006 salmon fishery disaster in the Klamath River."

Avian Flu: Provides $969 million for the Department of HHS to continue to prepare and respond to an avian flu pandemic. Of this funding, $870 million is to be used for the development of vaccines.

Secure Rural Schools Act (Forest County Payments): Provides $400 million to be used for one-time payments to be allocated to states under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000. This program provides a funding stream (known as forest county payments) to counties with large amounts of Bureau of Land Management land, in order to compensate for the loss of receipt-sharing payments on this land caused by decreased revenue from timber sales due to environmental protections for endangered species. The authorization for these forest county payments expired at the end of FY 2006, and counties received their last payment under the Act in December 2006.

LIHEAP: Provides $400 million for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

Vaccine Compensation: Provides $50 million to compensate individuals for injuries caused by the H5N1 vaccine, which is a flu vaccine. Payment to Widow of Rep. Norwood: Provides $165,200 to Gloria W. Norwood, the widow of former Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-GA), an RSC Member, who passed away last month. In the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2005 (H.R. 1268), Congress provided $162,100 to Doris Matsui, the widow of former Rep. Robert Matsui.

Capitol Power Plant: Provides $50 million to the Capitol Power Plant for asbestos abatement and safety improvements. Liberia: Provides that money appropriated for FY 2007 for the Bilateral Economic Assistance program at the Department of Treasury may be used to assist Liberia in retiring its debt arrearages to the International Monetary Fund, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the African Development Bank.

SCHIP: Provides $750 million to the Secretary of HHS to provide assistance to the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) "shortfall states,", in the form of an amount "as the Secretary determines will eliminate the estimated shortfall." This provision is direct spending that is essentially capped at $750 million and designated as an emergency to avoid PAYGO constraints.

Minimum Wage Increase: Increases the federal minimum wage from $5.15-per-hour to $7.25-per-hour over two-plus years-a 41% increase. Yields $16.5 billion in private-sector costs over five years.

Tax Increases and Shifts: Implements several tax increases and shifts, including: denying the lowest maximum capital gains tax rate for certain minors and adults, extending the suspension of interest payments due to the IRS, and adjusting the deadlines for corporate estimated tax payments. Costs taxpayers $1.380 billion over the FY2007-FY2017 period.

So without further ado, let me repeat my question:

Although some of these are worthy causes, is any of this related to the global war on terror?

Spinach, shrimp, peanuts and milk....ummmmm, I see no relation between these items and the war on terror, do you?

Is it any wonder that the Democrats cannot even get their own party united for this bill?

To round this post off, let us take a look at the progress and successes we are seeing in Iraq at the same time as the Democratic Congress and Senate are trying to declare defeat.


BAGHDAD -- Over the past several days, Coalition forces in Basra and Hillah captured Qais Khazali, his brother Laith Khazali, and several other members of the Khazali network, an organization directly connected to the kidnapping and murder in January of five American soldiers in Karbala.

Yesterday in Baghdad, Coalition forces captured the individual believed to be the head of the Rusafa car bomb network, the Al Qaeda-Iraq organization responsible for some of the horrific bombings in eastern Baghdad in recent weeks. In yesterday's operation and in another operation early this morning, Coalition forces also captured three other individuals believed to be key members of the network, a vehicle prepared as a car bomb, and a cache of weapons and explosives.

Early this morning in Mosul, Coalition forces captured a former Saddam Fedayeen leader involved in setting up training camps in Syria for Iraqi and foreign fighters.

These actions, and others underway, reflect intensified and even-handed efforts to reinforce the rule of law in Iraq. They have also been complemented by recent initiatives to promote dialogue and reconciliation in Iraq.


RAMADI, Iraq (March 20, 2007) - The Western Ramadi District Police conducted a massive police operation targeting insurgents today in Ramadi.

Coordinating between several stations within his district, Brig. Gen. Khalil Ibrahim Hamadi, chief of the Ramadi District Police, personally led more than 500 policemen as they conducted house-to-house searches in the capital city of Al Anbar Province.

"The Sons of Ramadi work tirelessly to eradicate criminals and bring them to justice," said Khalil. "Today we achieved a noble goal in providing security and stability to our families and the people of Ramadi."

During the 10-hour operation, named Operation Lions of Ramadi, police detained more than 45 suspected insurgents, confiscated propaganda material and discovered several caches containing assault rifles, machine guns, and mortar and artillery shells used to produce improvised explosive devices.


BAGHDAD, Iraq - Coalition Forces destroyed a weapons cache and detained 23 suspected terrorists Wednesday morning during raids targeting foreign fighter facilitator and al-Qaeda in Iraq networks.

During a raid near Balad, Coalition Forces detained 10 suspected terrorists and found a large amount of weapons in two targeted buildings.

The weapons found included numerous machineguns, assault rifles, AK-47s, grenades, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and a DShK anti-aircraft heavy machine gun. Due to the large amount of weapons found, Coalition Forces destroyed the two buildings and the weapons inside to prevent further use by terrorists.

West of Taji, Coalition Forces captured three suspects with alleged ties to vehicle-borne IED operations and foreign fighter facilitation.

Six suspected terrorists believed to be involved in foreign fighter facilitation were detained in Mosul.

Coalition Forces also conducted a raid west of Abu Ghurayb targeting foreign fighter facilitators. During the raid, ground forces detained four suspected terrorists at the targeted building.

"Coalition Forces will continue systematic and methodical operations in order to hunt down and capture or kill terrorists trying to prevent a peaceful and stable Iraq," said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, MNF-I spokesperson. "This is especially true when those terrorists are employing weapons that can damage or destroy Coalition aircraft or vehicle-borne IEDs that can be used in headline grabbing attacks against Iraqi citizens."


BAGHDAD, Iraq -Coalition Forces killed five terrorists, destroyed a bomb-making factory and detained three suspected terrorists during an operation Wednesday near Taji.

As ground forces entered the target buildings, they encountered several armed men. Coalition Forces used self-defense measures killing five terrorists and detaining three suspected terrorists.

During the raid, Coalition Forces discovered an adjacent building was being used as an explosives factory. Inside the building, Coalition Forces found large caliber ammunition and explosive manufacturing materials including numerous 50-gallon barrels of explosive material.

Coalition Forces conducted an air strike to destroy the explosives factory, associated vehicles, ammunition and weapons.

At least four large secondary explosions were noted after the initial bomb was dropped on the target, indicating the destruction of the explosive material within and beneath the structure.

A careful analysis was conducted prior to the strike, and every possible precaution to avoid unnecessary collateral damage was taken. No Coalition Forces or civilians were injured during the operation.

"Coalition Forces will continue to systematically kill or capture al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorists regardless of where they may hide or operate," said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, MNF-I spokesperson. "No place is safe for a terrorist in Iraq."

Wow, with all this success and progress and I have only listed a few from the press releases, the Dems better hurry up and declare defeat, huh?

For more successes and progress from Iraq and Afghanistan with video...please visit Amy Proctor's, Bottom Line Up Front.

Others discussing this:
Captain's Quarters, Don Surber, USA Today Opinion, Blue Crab Boulevard.