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Message 517837 - Posted: 15 Feb 2007, 16:44:30 UTC
Last modified: 15 Feb 2007, 16:50:04 UTC

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Message 517840 - Posted: 15 Feb 2007, 16:53:07 UTC

Before anyone asks, I was running an old machine that had power supply (and fan) problems, under load, so I crunched one unit/result. So, with my RAC of 2, I decided to save Misfit the work of renewing this thread. Aloha.

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Message 517907 - Posted: 15 Feb 2007, 20:25:16 UTC


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Message 517914 - Posted: 15 Feb 2007, 20:54:52 UTC

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Message 517927 - Posted: 15 Feb 2007, 22:10:43 UTC - in response to Message 517914.


Mr. Kettle is, as is usual with liberal pundits, misrepresenting the issue.
Ms. Rice is a long time associate of both Presidents Bush. She was instrumental in formulating foriegn policy and has, in fact, worked for the United States in one capacity or another since the Carter administration.

The fact that she and the President agree on foreign policy is more a matter of parallel core values than political expediency. The President trusts her, which is why any President would hire a Cabinet level advisor.

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Message 518040 - Posted: 16 Feb 2007, 2:01:13 UTC

OUSTING OUR U.S. ATTORNEY

Concerns about Lam were real


By Darrell Issa

Issa represents the 49th Congressional District, which includes Lake Elsinore, Oceanside and Vista.

February 15, 2007

Despite reports and irresponsible statements to the contrary voiced by the media and some Democrats in Congress, concerns about U.S. Attorney Carol Lam's performance in prosecuting serious border crimes were bipartisan, substantive and long-standing.

I first wrote to the U.S. attorney about border crimes more than three years ago after learning from a reporter that her office had declined to prosecute an alien smuggler apprehended while transporting a car loaded with undocumented immigrants near Temecula. The smuggler, Antonio Amparo-Lopez, had attempted to escape the arresting Border Patrol agents and, upon capture, the Border Patrol learned that the smuggler had 21 known aliases and had been arrested and deported more than 20 times without ever having been prosecuted.

I sought information from sources in the Border Patrol, and others in the law enforcement community, about what was really happening with border prosecutions. They described a broken system, lacking needed resources, exacerbated by a U.S. attorney who had pulled back from prosecuting all but the most egregious smuggling cases.

Border Patrol agents were forced to accept a reality in which smugglers knew what they could get away with. A smuggler knew he could drive a van full of illegal immigrants across the border without fear of any consequence other than being sent back to Mexico to try again. Smugglers who were American citizens faced no consequences at all. The threat of prosecution was a joke unless the smuggler brought a dozen or more illegal immigrants across the border at the same time or somebody literally died.

Last July, San Diego Border Patrol Sector Chief Darryl Griffen expressed concerns about changes made to prosecutorial policies related to smugglers in front of a bipartisan House panel. “Foot guides are the foot soldiers for the criminal cartels that traffic cargo, narcotics and contraband across our border,” said Griffen who explained how Lam's policies reduced prosecutions of foot guides from 367 in one fiscal year to only five under the new policy in the following year. “What would happen then, we would apprehend people that were guiding people across the country, many times at risk. And without meeting prosecution guidelines, they were simply voluntarily returning back to Mexico where they could continue to conduct illicit activity. There is no level of consequences,” Griffen stated.

In June 2006, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to express concerns about Lam's performance in office, “It has come to my attention that despite high apprehension rates by Border Patrol agents along California's border with Mexico, prosecutions by the U.S. Attorney's Office Southern District of California appear to lag behind. . . . It is my understanding that the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of California may have some of the most restrictive prosecutorial guidelines nationwide for immigration cases, such that many Border Patrol agents end up not referring their cases. While I appreciate the possibility that this office could be overwhelmed with immigration related cases; I also want to stress the importance of vigorously prosecuting these types of cases so that California isn't viewed as an easy entry point for alien smugglers because there is no fear of prosecution if caught.”

An untold story in the saga of border crimes in San Diego was the wide but silent rift between the U.S. Attorney's Office, which felt that prosecutorial resources should focus almost exclusively on the kingpins of smuggling cartels and other organizations, and Department of Homeland Security officials who viewed the prosecution of lesser foot soldiers as a critical part to breaking these criminal organizations.

In August, former Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and I had consecutive meetings with the Border Patrol's Griffen and Lam about this subject. While we attempted to persuade the U.S. attorney to focus more resources in a way advocated by those guarding the border, we were rebuffed as she continued to defend her strategies and policies for border prosecutions.

The U.S. attorney and the career prosecutors who successfully prosecuted Randy “Duke” Cunningham deserve full credit for their work. It is a high-profile achievement that speaks well of her leadership, and I am sure that there are many others. However, in an area adjacent to the border, the consequences of border crime are real and serious, as were the faults in policies Lam adopted that barred the prosecution of most cases.

My efforts to bring accountability and justice to the foot soldiers of smuggling organizations has not been limited to criticizing the San Diego U.S. attorney's performance. I have successfully secured both funding authorizations and appropriations to bring more prosecutorial resources to focus on alien smugglers. Last summer, these efforts began to pay dividends as the Department of Justice announced the addition of 35 new prosecutors to border region offices such as San Diego who will focus exclusively on alien smuggling and other border crimes.

The Bush administration has given me its assurance that the next U.S. attorney will go through the Senate confirmation process as it should. I fully intend to continue my work, on a bipartisan basis, with California's senators and my Democratic colleagues in the House of Representatives to ensure that our next U.S. attorney focuses on both border crimes and other critical cases here in the San Diego area.
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Message 518041 - Posted: 16 Feb 2007, 2:02:13 UTC - in response to Message 518040.

OUSTING OUR U.S. ATTORNEY

Firing is difficult to justify


By Lionel Van Deerlin

Van Deerlin represented a San Diego County district in Congress for 18 years.

February 15, 2007

Carol Lam gathers her belongings today, and departs the office of U.S. Attorney in California's Southern District. Because she faithfully honors a Justice Department tradition of silence, no one can be sure why she's leaving. She's not talking about it.

But what an exit line she gave us Tuesday with those eleventh-hour indictments. It was worthy of Charles Dickens, who sent Sidney Carton to the guillotine saying, “It is a far better thing I do than I have ever done. . . .”

Hours before returning to private life, our U.S. attorney took an action widening the net that snared San Diego's Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham. Her swan song racked up three more suspected miscreants. The homegrown CIA biggie, Kyle Foggo, added colorful icing on the cake. But the most important new action, by far, was against defense contractor Brent Wilkes. It was this man's bribe money that cemented the government case against Cunningham. But Wilkes himself was left free as a bird. Lam staffers, certain that a guy who has lived spectacularly high on the hog will aim to avoid a prolonged diet of prison food, are now positioned to bargain a plea agreement. They'll likely propose easing his sentence as a swap for information that will help hook bigger fish.

A couple of upstate congressmen, known to have done cash-and-carry business with Wilkes, may now feel understandable trepidation.

And so, the question presses ever more urgently – why has the Bush administration sacked Carol Lam and six other trusted U.S. attorneys? No one, it seems, feels required to say. Only one of the seven, New Mexico's David Iglesia, demanded to be told why he was terminated, but got no explanation.

Custom holds that federal prosecutors serve “at the pleasure of the president,” who is free to appoint or remove them without explanation. Yet the Justice Department has shown itself pretty touchy about these most recent switches. Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty seemed shaken before the Senate Judiciary Committee. New York's hard-charging Sen. Charles E. Schumer had wondered aloud if the hiring and firing of prosecutors reflected politics, rather than prudence.

“When I hear you talk about the politicizing of the Department of Justice, it's like a knife in my heart,” McNulty stammered. Perhaps this sensitive fellow should seek a gentler assignment, sparing him the hostility he and others will face if we don't get a fuller explanation of what Justice is up to.

The only hint offered thus far for the change in San Diego has been that the local office seemed so absorbed with corruption cases that it has been less aggressive than certain lawmakers might have wished against illegal immigration and border smuggling. North County Republican Rep. Darrell Issa spoke approvingly of the Lam ouster.

The case against her? Well, something called the Transactional Records Clearinghouse, operating out of Syracuse University, finds that in 2001, its last year before Carol Lam took charge, the San Diego office filed nearly one-third more border-related cases than it managed under her leadership in 2005, the last full year on which records are complete.

So she flunks the bureaucratic bean-counter test? I know at least one person who fervently wishes government prosecutors had spent more time in pursuit of border brigands, and had left him alone – to wit, “Top Gun” Cunningham, currently ensconced under minimum security in Tucson.

It might seem rash to accuse Bush administration masterminds of pulling political strings, but nothing surfacing thus far discourages skepticism. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' child-like mantra, “at the pleasure of the president,” rings hollow. Let's nail this idea that the president – any president – handpicks the dozens of lawyers in line for prosecutorial slots across the land. He's not likely to know even the names of most. Recommendation for appointments is usually left to senators of the president's party. Inasmuch as both California senators are presently Democrats, Bush has relied on a selection system said to be headed by the veteran Rancho Santa Fe Republican politico and presidential insider Gerald Parsky.

Parsky is astute enough to know that the way this switch has been managed so far adds up to abysmally bad politics. It suggests that public corruption, which figured so prominently in last year's election outcome, might no longer concern us. Are we to suppose that Congressman Cunningham was a lone stroller on his path to perdition?

We may soon know better – and only, perhaps, because Carol Lam refused to fold her tent as many expected her to do.
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Message 518571 - Posted: 17 Feb 2007, 3:47:40 UTC

The North Korea nuclear deal

Will our own domestic politics torpedo it?


By Stephan Haggard and Susan Shirk

Haggard and Shirk are professors in the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California San Diego. Haggard directs the Korea-Pacific Program at UCSD, and Shirk, a prominent China scholar and former State Department official, is director of the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation and author of the forthcoming “China: Fragile Superpower.”

February 16, 2007

After years of delay and missed opportunities, the diplomatic process has yielded a deal that could finally lead to the end of North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Yet instead of applauding the accomplishment, critics are charging that the White House conceded too much. John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has already condemned the deal for rewarding North Korea for its bad behavior. As a result, politics in Washington could inadvertently scuttle the agreement before it is tested.

We have been here before. During the Clinton administration, the Republican Congress repeatedly balked at financing the heavy fuel oil we had pledged to shut down North Korea's reactors. Congressional pressure was a factor in the failure of the Clinton administration to normalize political and economic relations, a key expectation from the perspective of the North Koreans. The Bush administration's reluctance to negotiate, stated doctrine of pre-emption and the invasion of Iraq all served to weaken the credibility of American commitments.

President Bush needs to rein in the hawks in the administration who have long sought to sabotage the diplomatic process and strangle the regime in the hope that it will collapse. Yet it is equally important for Democrats to get behind the agreement, a diplomatic accomplishment they long have pressed for. Success rests not only with the North Koreans, but on the bipartisanship that both the Bush administration and the Democrats have promised.

The ultimate objective of the agreement reached this week is unambiguous: North Korea must dismantle its nuclear weapons program and submit to rigorous inspections. The agreement does not attempt to achieve this objective all at once. After years of acrimony, neither side trusts the other to deliver on its promises. The deal was therefore structured to require reciprocal actions by both sides in a multistage process.

This process begins by shutting down North Korea's nuclear reactors and reprocessing facility. In return, the United States would begin negotiations on normalizing relations, and, together with South Korea and China, provide a small amount of heavy fuel oil on an emergency basis. Through a separate channel, the United States has agreed to conclude its investigations of North Korean accounts in a Macao bank, accounts the United States believed were tied to counterfeiting and the financing of weapons programs.

The agreement represents only the first step in North Korea's denuclearization, and it could well sour. North Korea could renege before completely dismantling its nuclear capability or turning over its small stockpile of fissile material and weapons.

Given North Korea's past record, no agreement will garner support unless coupled with tough means of verifying compliance. But no matter how stringent the inspections, we may never know for sure whether small amounts of fissile material and weapons are hidden away in caves.

Yet as with any foreign policy choice, we must weigh these risks against the status quo. In the absence of an agreement, North Korea will continue spewing out bomb material just as it has been doing for the past four years. As economic pressures mount, so will the temptation to market nuclear materials and technology to states or terrorist groups hostile to the United States.

Critics are arguing for a return to policies that have clearly failed. Financial sanctions have adversely affected the North Korean economy but are unlikely to bring about political collapse. The regime endured a famine that killed up to a million people in the mid-1990s; it is unlikely to collapse as a result of several million dollars of blocked foreign exchange.

Although no international agreement is airtight, U.S. negotiators have built mechanisms into the deal to reduce the risk of being suckered by Pyongyang. The 60-day deadline prevents dithering by North Korea. By this deadline, the country must also provide a full accounting of all its nuclear facilities, including the uranium enrichment facility that it has never publicly acknowledged. These, too, must be ultimately dismantled.

Despite the claims of critics, initial American commitments are in fact quite minimal. Pyongyang almost scuttled the agreement by demanding massive amounts of fuel and electricity. But the United States held firm, and will only ship 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil in the first phase of the process, and even that with assistance from China and South Korea. The United States also agreed to lift the designation of North Korea as a terrorist state, again a relatively costless gesture. Both the Clinton and Bush administrations have acknowledged that North Korea poses no terrorist threat.

Policy-makers quite rightly doubt the reliability of North Korean commitments. But those commitments can only be tested by following through on the first steps in this agreement. If we fail to deliver, the North Koreans would do the same with the dangerous result that the nuclear club will have a new and unwelcome member.
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Message 518576 - Posted: 17 Feb 2007, 3:52:12 UTC

Is Bush set for a political comeback?

DAVID S. BRODER
THE WASHINGTON POST

February 16, 2007

It may seem perverse to suggest that, at the very moment the House of Representatives is repudiating his policy in Iraq, President Bush is poised for a political comeback. But don't be astonished if that is the case.

Like President Clinton after the Democrats lost control of Congress in 1994, Bush has gone through a period of wrenching adjustment to his reduced status. But just as Clinton did in the winter of 1995, Bush now shows signs of renewed energy and is regaining the initiative on several fronts.

More important, he is demonstrating political smarts that even his critics have to acknowledge. His reaction to the planned House vote opposing the increase he has ordered in U.S. troops deployed to Iraq illustrates the point.

When Bush faced reporters on Wednesday morning, he knew that virtually all those in the Democratic majority would be joined by a significant minority of Republicans in voting today to decry the “surge” strategy.

He did three things to diminish the impact of that impending defeat.

First, he argued that the House was at odds with the Senate, which had within the past month unanimously confirmed Gen. David Petraeus as the new commander in Iraq – the man Bush said was the author of the surge strategy and the man who could make it work. Bush has made Petraeus his blocking back in this debate – replacing Vice President Cheney, whose credibility is much lower.

Second, he minimized the stakes in the House debate by endorsing the good motives of his critics, rejecting the notion that their actions would damage the morale of U.S. troops or embolden the enemy – all by way of saying that the House vote was no big deal.

And third, by contrasting today's vote on a nonbinding resolution with the pending vote on funding the war in Iraq, he shifted the battleground to a fight he is likely to win – and put the Democrats on the defensive. Much of their own core constituency wants them to go beyond nonbinding resolutions and use the power of the purse to force Bush to reduce the American commitment in Iraq.

But congressional Democrats are leery of seeming to withhold resources from the 150,000 troops who will be fighting in that country once the surge is complete; that is why they blocked Republicans from offering resolutions of their own in the House or Senate pledging to keep financing the war. Democrats did not want an up-or-down vote on that question, but Bush has now placed it squarely before them.

In other respects, too, Bush has been impressive in recent days.

He has been far more accessible – and responsive – to the press and public, holding any number of one-on-one interviews, both on and off the record, leading up to Wednesday's televised news conference. And he has been more candid in his responses than in the past.

While forcefully making his points, he has depersonalized the differences with his critics and opponents. He has not only vouched for the good intentions of congressional Democrats, he has visited them on their home ground, given them opportunities to question him face to face, and repeatedly outlined areas – aside from Iraq – where he says they could work together on legislation: immigration, energy, education, health care, the budget. With the public eager for some bipartisan progress on all these fronts, Bush is signaling that he, at least, is ready to try.

At his news conference, Bush also stepped away from personal confrontation with the rulers in Iran, making it clear that he does not necessarily hold its political leadership responsible for shipping lethal arms to the insurgent Shiites fighting in Iraq. He insisted the U.S. military would do whatever is necessary to halt the shipments and protect the troops, but he said repeatedly that these defensive measures are not a prelude to aggressive action against Iran.

All this is to the good. But Bush, unlike Clinton, is in the middle of a bloody civil war, which can be ended only by the Iraqis themselves. All he claims to be able to do is to provide some “breathing space” for them, by attempting to reduce the violence. As he said, “What really matters is what happens on the ground. I can talk all day long, but what really matters to the American people is to see progress.”

And whether the American people will see it, no one knows.
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Message 518580 - Posted: 17 Feb 2007, 3:54:12 UTC

Courts are slowly redefining consent

By Betsy Hart; she is the author of the book “It Takes a Parent: How the Culture of Pushover Parenting is Hurting Our Kids – and What to Do About It.”

February 16, 2007

“A Time Limit on Rape,” a news story by Jeninne Lee-St. John in Time magazine, opens with this question: If a woman consents to sex with a man but then withdraws that consent during the sex act itself, can he still be convicted of rape and sentenced to prison if, essentially, he doesn't stop fast enough?

“The answer depends on where you live,” Lee-St. John writes in answer to her own question. In seven states, she writes, courts “have ruled that a woman may withdraw her consent at any time and if a man doesn't stop he is committing rape.”

My home state of Illinois is the first to pass legislation giving a woman that “protection.” Gee, I feel so much safer now. I mean, there's a law!

Sheesh.

Feminists and “victim advocates” argue that without being able to change her mind and say no during sexual intercourse itself, “there is no recourse for a woman who begins to feel pain or realizes her partner isn't wearing a condom or has HIV,” writes Lee-St. John. No recourse? Now, I'm not sure how they think a woman is going to suddenly get that latter piece of information only after sex has begun. But are these feminists really saying that all men are such incredible brutes they wouldn't stop, if they found their partner was uncomfortable for some reason, without the threat of prison? Just what kind of men are these feminists involved with?

But more likely is that this is what many in the sisterhood want to think of men because it fits with the “man-bad, woman-good” theory of life they consistently project to the world.

In a complicated Maryland case that may soon make it to the state's highest court, a young man and woman both testified that she told him to stop during the sex act and that he did so within seconds, and without completion. What preceded those agreed-upon events is murky; what matters is that the jury asked the judge during deliberations, “Is it rape if a female changed her mind during the sex to which she consented and the man continued. . . .” The judge said it was for them to decide. (The defendant, who appealed that conviction to the state's Supreme Court, currently is serving a 5-year prison sentence for rape.)

But the Maryland appellate court has essentially said no, once intercourse has begun with a woman's consent, it's too late to call it rape and put him in prison if he doesn't stop immediately. So now feminists are “inflamed,” according to Lee St.-John. They say they will push to change the law if the high court doesn't strike down the appellate court ruling.

Huh?

To establish that a woman can fully and even enthusiastically agree to sexual intercourse and then in the middle of it, if she chooses differently, he must stop “immediately” or he goes to prison, does women no favors.

For one thing, as Lee-St. John notes, what qualifies as “immediately”? Can we really count on a law to be fully “protective” in the moment, anyway? The seduction game can be incredibly, even wonderfully, daring, complicated and nuanced. This shouldn't be a news flash. So, should there be some officially sanctioned signal, or perhaps a notarized paper she has on hand, to show, “I really mean it! You've got two seconds?”

Talk about creating a tangled web.

Sadly, what the feminists are advocating here degrades the real crime of rape. And, it infantilizes women. At some point – gasp – we are responsible for the choices we make, and for managing the consequences of the choices we make. That's what's empowering. We women are grown-ups, aren't we?

I'm not sure. There used to be some generally accepted rules of engagement between civilized men and women. No, they weren't always followed, but they provided something of a known playing field.

Now we just involve the courts when a woman's sensibilities are offended because, like very young children, we can't possibly be expected to manage those offended sensibilities ourselves.

And that's what's considered “progress” for women.
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Message 518585 - Posted: 17 Feb 2007, 4:00:45 UTC - in response to Message 517927.
Last modified: 17 Feb 2007, 4:02:39 UTC

Ms. Rice is a long time associate of President Bush.

Birds of a feather... Flock together... ;)
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Message 518591 - Posted: 17 Feb 2007, 4:08:30 UTC - in response to Message 518585.

Ms. Rice is a long time associate of President Bush.

Birds of a feather... Flock together...

A self evident statement. This is how all of society works. People associate most strongly with those whom they think believe as they do. A President will certainly not seek advice from someone whom he believes is dangerously mistaken in belief and outlook. Not when his decisions affect the security, strength and stability of the entire nation.

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Message 518608 - Posted: 17 Feb 2007, 4:44:24 UTC - in response to Message 518591.
Last modified: 17 Feb 2007, 4:47:08 UTC

A self evident statement.

I'm sensing some Bush envy...

... or a little 'political propaganda'... ;)
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Message 518609 - Posted: 17 Feb 2007, 4:45:54 UTC - in response to Message 518608.
Last modified: 17 Feb 2007, 4:46:05 UTC

A self evident statement.

I'm sensing some Bush envy...

And you are to be excused for your envy. The President is well worth emulation!

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Message 518638 - Posted: 17 Feb 2007, 5:31:57 UTC - in response to Message 518608.

... or a little 'political propaganda'... ;)

In the Political thread? Oh say it isn't so.
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Message 519098 - Posted: 18 Feb 2007, 6:43:36 UTC

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Message 519099 - Posted: 18 Feb 2007, 6:45:55 UTC - in response to Message 519098.


I guess that depends on what your definition of "support" is.

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Message 519224 - Posted: 18 Feb 2007, 16:20:51 UTC - in response to Message 519098.



/soapbox mode on
They forgot to say that this was a "NON-BINDING' vote. Meaning that it meant nothing, but it sure made 246 people FEEL GOOD! Can you FEEL it, me neither. I voted for some of those idiots! Next time I vote those same idiots out!
A pure and simple waste of our taxpayer dollars! Days on end yacking and wasting more time voting on something that our taxpayer dollars must record and keep for eons, just so some idiot can FEEL GOOD about doing SOMETHING? They did NOTHING as usual! But they did get PAID for it! No work on fixing Social Security, no work on fixing Medicaid or Medicare, no work on the prescription drug problems, no work on the environment, no work on the oil problems, no work on HUGE corporate profits by US Companies that are making those monies abroad and therefore pay no taxes on! No work on anything but some feel good vote that means NOTHING!

/soapbox mode off
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Message 519358 - Posted: 18 Feb 2007, 18:53:31 UTC




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Message 519363 - Posted: 18 Feb 2007, 19:02:10 UTC - in response to Message 519224.

Days on end yacking and wasting more time voting on something that our taxpayer dollars must record and keep for eons, just so some idiot can FEEL GOOD about doing SOMETHING? They did NOTHING as usual! But they did get PAID for it! No work on fixing Social Security, no work on fixing Medicaid or Medicare, no work on the prescription drug problems, no work on the environment, no work on the oil problems,...

This is what you beg for, gov't meddling. They aren't in it to "fix" any of that crap, they're just pandering to the suckers that think somebody else is paying for that stuff.

no work on HUGE corporate profits by US Companies that are making those monies abroad and therefore pay no taxes on!

Did you have some legal theory on why companies that aren't in the U.S., and that earn profits outside of the U.S. must somehow pay U.S. taxes.

Why? Because you think the should? There is likely a trillion or more dollars by now, deliberately kept outside of the U.S. No one in their right mind would bring that money here when they would lose 35% right off the top. 350 BILLION being taken by force.
____________
Cordially,
Rush

elrushbo2@theobviousgmail.com
Remove the obvious...

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Message boards : Politics : Political Thread [19] - CLOSED

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