Bill Scher

‘Breakthrough’ On Carbon Caps

Senate Environment and Public Works Chair Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., delivered a speech on global warming Wednesday, and announced a key development that she deemed a “breakthrough”: I have been informed … by Senators [Tom] Carper [D-Del.], [Lamar] Alexander [R-Tenn.] and [Bernie] Sanders [I-Vt.] … that they will soon introduce [separate] bills, meaning in a matter of days, to cap pollution from power plants, including global warming pollution … Now, I have a consensus developing on my committee, across the party lines, that we will in fact look at bills that do cap carbon [emissions]. As noted here earlier, the global warming debate is shifting.

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Bill Scher

New “I Don’t Recall” Record by Gonzales

At the start of today’s Senate testimony of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., warned Gonzales to limit his use of “I don’t recall” when responding to questions. After questioning began, it took Gonzales 1 minute and 11 seconds to say, “I don’t recall.” Granted, it was merely about the location of his conversation with Karl Rove, but the day is still young.

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Bill Scher

Sen. Boxer Announces “Breakthrough” on Carbon Caps

Senate Environment and Public Works Chair Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., delivered a speech on global warming Wednesday, and announced a key development, which she deemed a “breakthrough”: I have been informed … by Senators [Tom] Carper [D-Del.], [Lamar] Alexander [R-Tenn.] and [Bernie] Sanders [I-Vt.] … that they will soon introduce [separate] bills, meaning in a matter of days, to cap pollution from power plants, including global warming pollution … Now, I have a consensus developing on my committee, across the party lines, that we will in fact look at bills that do cap carbon [emissions]. As noted here earlier, the global warming debate is shifting.

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Bill Scher

This Is Your Senate On Drug$

The pharmaceutical lobby joined forces today with the Senate’s conservative minority and killed legislation empowering Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices, which would have saved us $30 billion a year. Fixty-six senators tried to carry out the will of 85 percent of the public. But they needed 60. (The official vote was 55-42, but pro-negotiation Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid only voted with the conservatives for a procedural reason.) How could our democracy fail to carry out the people’s demands? The drug industry’s army of lobbyists and hundreds of millions in cash fed the obstructionist, anti-government attitude of the Senate minority. As the first plank of the “First 100 Hours” package to be blocked in the Senate, the punditocracy will likely spin this as a “failure” of the new congressional leadership.

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Bill Scher

This Is Your Senate On Drug$

The pharmaceutical lobby joined forces today with the Senate’s conservative minority and killed legislation empowering Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices, which would have saved us $30 billion a year. Fixty-six senators tried to carry out the will of 85 percent of the public. But they needed 60. (The official vote was 55-42, but pro-negotiation Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid only voted with the conservatives for a procedural reason.) How could our democracy fail to carry out the people’s demands? The drug industry’s army of lobbyists and hundreds of millions in cash fed the obstructionist, anti-government attitude of the Senate minority. As the first plank of the “First 100 Hours” package to be blocked in the Senate, the punditocracy will likely spin this as a “failure” of the new congressional leadership.

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Bill Scher

Senate Minority, Drug Lobby Obstruct People’s Will

Today, the pharmaceutical lobby joined forces with the Senate’s conservative minority and killed legislation empowering Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices, which would have saved us $30 billion a year. Fixty-six senators tried to carry out the will of 85 percent of the public. But they needed 60. (The official vote was 55-42, but pro-negotiation Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid only voted with the conservatives for a procedural reason.) How could our democracy fail to carry out the people’s demands? The drug industry’s army of lobbyists and hundreds of millions in cash fed the obstructionist, anti-government attitude of the Senate minority. As the first plank of the “First 100 Hours” package to be blocked in the Senate, the punditocracy will likely spin this as a “failure” of the new congressional leadership.

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Bill Scher

Bush EPA: More Emissions = Good For Climate

Yesterday’s headline from the Associated Press read: “EPA chief: Bush climate policy working.” And why is that? Says the AP: The head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday the growth of greenhouse gases by less than 1 percent in 2005 shows the administration’s program to address global warming “is delivering real results.” To repeat in non-spin: we put more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere in 2005 than 2004. So our policy to do nothing about global warming is working. If the AP is unable to write a fully truthful headline, it at least had the sense to quote Frank O’Donnell of Clean Air Watch, who blogged yesterday: It’s a sad state of affairs when global warming emissions go up, yet the Bush administration tries to spin it as a victory.

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Bill Scher

60 Votes Still Needed To Break Filibuster

CQ Today reports that Senate leaders remain “just short” of the 60 votes needed to break the drug lobby-backed filibuster of legislation empowering Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices. The key vote to cut off the filibuster is still expected tomorrow. Meanwhile, President Bush formally issued a pledge to veto the bill if it reaches his desk, seeking to keep Republican Senators in line. Senators need to hear your voice, so they know there will be a price to pay if they side with the drug companies and not the people. Click here for our action page, where you can easily write your Senators.

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Bill Scher

Wednesday Vote Expected on Prescription Drugs

According to CQ Today, a Senate vote is expected Wednesday to try to break a planned filibuster against a bill empowering Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices. And Senate leaders are hunting “for a final few votes” to get to the needed 60.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog Wrap-up

Were the three questions posed here on Friday’s “Weekend Watchdogs”, for Vice-President Dick Cheney, actually asked on the Sunday shows? Not really. The closest CBS’ Bob Schieffer came was in regards to I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby. While he didn’t forcefully ask if Scooter Libby lied to prosecutors to hide Cheney’s role in revealing Valerie Wilson’s identity, he did ask: “Do you, in any way, feel responsible for what happened to him?” And he followed up with, “I ask you that because, as you well know, Senator (Charles) Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that he was the fall guy for you.” Cheney, unsurprisingly, ducked all PlameGate questions by saying it would be “inappropriate” to discuss the case.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog:Unanswered Questions

Vice President Dick Cheney should have been asked three basic questions during his appearance on CBS’ “Face The Nation” Sunday. 1. Why was the President claiming that if Democrats didn’t pass unconditional war funding, tours of duty in Iraq would be extended, when in fact, your administration already had plans in place to extend tours of duty? (See Eschaton for background.) 2. The White House has insisted it replaced U.S. Attorneys for policy reasons, in particular, for better pursuit of voter fraud. But if good policy was the concern of the White House, why would they fire prosecutors who refused to file voter fraud charges against Democrats without solid evidence? 3. Your right-hand man I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog:Unanswered Questions

Vice President Dick Cheney should have been asked three basic questions during his appearance on CBS’ “Face The Nation” Sunday. 1. Why was the President claiming that if Democrats didn’t pass unconditional war funding, tours of duty in Iraq would be extended, when in fact, your administration already had plans in place to extend tours of duty? (See Eschaton for background.) 2. The White House has insisted it replaced U.S. Attorneys for policy reasons, in particular, for better pursuit of voter fraud. But if good policy was the concern of the White House, why would they fire prosecutors who refused to file voter fraud charges against Democrats without solid evidence? 3. Your right-hand man I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog:Unanswered Questions

Vice President Dick Cheney should have been asked three basic questions during his appearance on CBS’ “Face The Nation” Sunday. 1. Why was the President claiming that if Democrats didn’t pass unconditional war funding, tours of duty in Iraq would be extended, when in fact, your administration already had plans in place to extend tours of duty? (See Eschaton for background.) 2. The White House has insisted it replaced U.S. Attorneys for policy reasons, in particular, for better pursuit of voter fraud. But if good policy was the concern of the White House, why would they fire prosecutors who refused to file voter fraud charges against Democrats without solid evidence? 3. Your right-hand man I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog:Unanswered Questions

Vice President Dick Cheney should have been asked three basic questions during his appearance on CBS’ “Face The Nation” Sunday. 1. Why was the President claiming that if Democrats didn’t pass unconditional war funding, tours of duty in Iraq would be extended, when in fact, your administration already had plans in place to extend tours of duty? (See Eschaton for background.) 2. The White House has insisted it replaced U.S. Attorneys for policy reasons, in particular, for better pursuit of voter fraud. But if good policy was the concern of the White House, why would they fire prosecutors who refused to file voter fraud charges against Democrats without solid evidence? 3. Your right-hand man I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog:Unanswered Questions

Vice President Dick Cheney should have been asked three basic questions during his appearance on CBS’ “Face The Nation” Sunday. 1. Why was the President claiming that if Democrats didn’t pass unconditional war funding, tours of duty in Iraq would be extended, when in fact, your administration already had plans in place to extend tours of duty? (See Eschaton for background.) 2. The White House has insisted it replaced U.S. Attorneys for policy reasons, in particular, for better pursuit of voter fraud. But if good policy was the concern of the White House, why would they fire prosecutors who refused to file voter fraud charges against Democrats without solid evidence? 3. Your right-hand man I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog

Every Friday in our Weekend Watchdog feature, Common Sense will post suggested questions for scheduled Sunday guests. You can add your own questions in the comment thread. We’ll also include contact information for the shows, so we can let them know what their viewers want asked. Then on Monday, we’ll circle back and see if our questions were asked, and if they were answered. Let’s take back our media! CBS’ Face The Nation will be interviewing Vice-President Dick Cheney. What not to ask to him! Here’s three, but surely there’s more. add you own in the comments. 1. Why was the President claiming that if Democrats didn’t pass unconditional war funding, tours of duty in Iraq would be extended, when in fact, your administration already had plans in place to extend tours of duty? (See Eschaton for background) 2.

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Bill Scher

Prescription Drug Bill Clears Senate Committee

The Senate Finance Committee passed legislation last night lifting the ban preventing Medicare from negotiating for lower drug prices. The bill garnered some bipartisan support with two Republicans, Sens. Gordon Smith and Olympia Snowe, joining 11 Democrats in the majority. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, was asked by CQ Today if Democrats had the 60 votes necessary to break his planned filibuster. Grassley said, “I hope not,” indicating he is not sure he can succeed. A vote by the full Senate is expected next week. The final outcome remains unclear, and your senators need to hear your voice.

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Bill Scher

Who Gets Progressives’ Support?

The following was originally published at TomPaine.com No presidential candidate dominated the MoveOn.org Virtual Town Hall on Iraq this week, co-sponsored by Campaign for America’s Future, Air America and the Service Employees International Union. Nonetheless, there were two clear winners in the first straw poll of Democratic presidential candidates taken directly after a substantive discussion: Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill, and former Sen. John Edwards. Yet the two, who were the only candidates to break the 20 percent mark, represent different ways on how to deal with President George W. Bush’s insistence on continuing the Iraq occupation. Edwards told town hall participants that Congress should give the President no quarter in the showdown over the Iraq war supplemental bill: If Bush vetoes funding for the troops, he is the only one standing in the way of the resources they need.

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Bill Scher

The Voter Fraud Fraud

Today’s New York Times has a long overdue investigative piece, shredding the Republican Party’s claims of rampant voter fraud: Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections… Although Republican activists have repeatedly said fraud is so widespread that it has corrupted the political process and, possibly, cost the party election victories, about 120 people have been charged and 86 convicted as of last year… …Many of those charged by the Justice Department appear to have mistakenly filled out registration forms or misunderstood eligibility rules… …For some convicted people, the consequences have been significant. What’s the deeper significance of this story? 1.

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