NY13 Blog; Retaking NY-13 from Rep. Vito Fossella

Following the corruption, ineffectiveness and hypocrisy of Rep. Vito Fossella.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Gen. Batiste on Bush and Iraq

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Fossella opposed and now favors Gas price gouging

Last year Rep. Vito Fossella voted in favor of the Federal Energy Price Protection Act of 2006 [HR 5253] a bill nearly identical to HR 1252 which he voted AGAINST this year. We covered yesterday the games he played by introducing an alternative bill with extremely limited or no penalties the same day Congress passed HR 1252. Today's question, why did he support the bill one year and then caved to Exxon and flipped on it the following year?

Additionally if Rep. Fossella feels so strongly about this issue that he actually took some time to try to draft legitimate legislation, the question arises why has he never bothered to work on helping to pass similar legislation in the past?

REFUSED TO CO-SPONSOR H.R.3681 in 2005, To amend the Clayton Act to make unlawful price gouging for necessary goods and services during Presidentially declared times of national disaster.

REFUSED TO CO-SPONSOR H.RES.238, Condemning any price gouging with respect to motor fuels during the hours and days after the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001. [no xml link]

REFUSED TO CO-SPONSOR H.R.3782, To prohibit price gouging of gasoline and diesel fuel in areas declared major disasters.

REFUSED TO SIGN discharge petition to allow the consideration of the resolution H. Res. 568 entitled, a resolution providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 3936) to protect consumers from price-gouging of gasoline and other fuels during energy emergencies, and for other purposes; Dec 2005

This shouldn't come as a surprise. VetoFossella.com shows us he votes against or refused to support Minimum Wage bills year after year only to then vote for it this year. In fact he voted against an identical bill just last year in the Republican controlled Congress. Does Fossella actually have a stance on anything?

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Why is Fossella protecting Exxon's interests?

On February 28, 2007 HR 1252 was submitted titled the "Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act." The summary of this bill reads;

"Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act - Makes it unlawful for any person to sell crude oil, gasoline, natural gas, or petroleum distillates at a price that: (1) is unconscionably excessive; or (2) indicates the seller is taking unfair advantage unusual market conditions or the circumstances of an emergency to increase prices unreasonably."

Two fellow NY state Republicans co-sponsored this legislation;
On February 28, 2007 Republican Rep. McHugh (NY)
On March 20, 2007 Republican Rep. Kuhl (NY)

On May 23, 2007 the House voted on this bill, passing it by a vote of 284 - 141. Rep. Vito Fossella voted against it.

On May 23, 2007, the same exact day this bill came to a vote on the floor, and the same exact day that Rep. Vito Fossella voted against protecting Americans from massive oil conglomerates such as Exxon Mobil, Rep. Vito Fossella submitted HR 2460. Admittedly we are quick to suggest Rep. Fossella is useless and does little or no work that is meaningful in Congress so we ask you to judge for yourself his work in this area. What is his bill?

HR 2460 is titled the 'Federal Energy Price Protection Act.'

What does the bill do?

It shall be unlawful for any supplier to increase the price at which that supplier sells, or offers to sell, crude oil, gasoline, or petroleum distillates in an area covered by a Presidential proclamation issued under section 4(a)(1) by an unconscionable amount during the period beginning on the date the proclamation is issued and ending on the date specified in the proclamation.

So it, just like the bill he voted against calls for making it illegal to unconscionably raise the price of gasoline to take advantage of consumers specifically during emergencies. So what is Fossella thinking? Clearly HR 1252 had bi-partisan support, since his own NY Republican co-workers are supporting it. The difference is that he does not want to make it illegal for gas companies to unconscionably make profits off of consumers unless President Bush declares the region to be in some sort of disaster emergency. So he wants to leave it up to the President whose family has vested interests in major oil companies to declare when it would be illegal for Exxon to gouge prices for the sole purposes of increasing profits. [updated: after review this is incorrect] Aside from this what are the other differences, mainly the severity of the crime;

HR 1252; the good bill that passed (Fossella voted against)
HR 2460; the sham bill Fossella wrote

HR 1252; $3 million maximum civil penalty
HR 2460; $5 million maximum civil penalty
(Note this is the only occasion where Fossella lays out a stronger penalty)

HR 1252; Each day of a violation should be considered a separate violation
HR 2460; Each determination of a violation should be considered a separate violation

HR 1252; $1 million civil penalty for falsification of information
HR 2460; nothing

HR 1252; $150 million maximum criminal penalty
HR 2460; $1 million maximum criminal penalty

HR 1252; $2 million maximum individual criminal penalty
HR 2460; $1 million maximum criminal penalty

HR 1252; 10 years imprisonment for individual criminal convictions
HR 2460; 2 years imprisonment for individual criminal convictions

So why is Rep. Vito Fossella voting against the stronger bill and introducing his own mock proposal intentionally weakening fines, prison sentences and penalties, consider this;

$10,500 from Exxon Mobil
$5,000 Occidental Petroleum Corp PAC
$5,000 Valero
$2,500 Texaco
$1,000 Shell Oil Company

Source: FEC

The choice was Fossella's and he sold out his constituents to support Exxon Mobil.

For all your latest Fossella stories become a friend on Twitter.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Colbert takes on the National Guard shortages

Support America, bring our National Guard home.

North Carolina, part IX
Georgia, part VIII
Mississippi, part VII
New Hampshire, West Virginia, part VI
The National Guard in Iraq, makes US States vulnerable, part V
Missouri, part IV
Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, part III
The National Guard in Iraq, makes US States vulnerable, part II
The National Guard in Iraq, makes US States vulnerable, part I


Fossella supports high gas prices

Following up on yesterday's post is some comparative analysis from the Washington Post;

By far, the largest factor determining prices at the pump is the international price of oil. About 85 percent of the fluctuations in gasoline prices over the last 20 years were due to changes in the price of crude oil in the world market, according to the Federal Trade Commission. But that doesn't seem to be the case at present. The price of crude oil is actually lower now than it was last summer, yet gasoline prices are considerably higher. In fact, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that crude oil prices will average about $66 a barrel this summer, $4.00 per barrel less than last summer's $70.00 price. But the EIA is predicting that gasoline will average about $2.95 a gallon this summer, up about 11 cents from last summer's average of $2.84 per gallon.

Remember Rep. Fossella voted in favor of allowing Oil companies to excessively raise prices at the gas pump regardless of crude prices or supply costs. Via the DNC;

Gas prices have continued to skyrocket in recent weeks, though crude oil is lower than it was last summer. At the same time, as Stephanie pointed out, "ExxonMobil reported this year the largest annual profit of any U.S. company ever: $39.5 billion."

So once again we ask, why is Rep. Vito Fossella supporting the greed of companies like ExxonMobil as opposed to average citizens struggling to afford filling up their car with gas just to get to work?

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Why did Fossella vote to allow oil companies to gouge prices at the pump?

via ABC News;

With average U.S. pump prices at an all-time, inflation-adjusted high of $3.22 a gallon, the House voted 284-141 for the "Federal Price Gouging Protection Act," which bans sellers from charging prices that are "unconscionably excessive," or take "unfair advantage" of consumers.

HR 1252, Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act, received 56 Republican votes (in addition to 228 Democrats) as well as being co-sponsored be fellow NY Republicans Rep. Kuhl and Rep. Walsh. So why did Rep. Vito Fossella decide to oppose this and support Oil Companies should they decide to excessively raising gas prices?

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Funding Iraq or health benefits for 9/11 responders?

in an interview with Rep. Nadler (D-NY) he talks about health conditions around Ground Zero, via the Politicker;

He went on to say that "the average cost of an apartment that was found to be contaminated was estimated at between $10-20,000. Per apartment. Now, you may have thousands of apartments -- thousands of work spaces. We don’t know. So, it's possible it's several billion dollars. Possibly a lot less. We just don’t know until we do the assessment."

"Now that’s a lot of money," he added. "Almost three days of the Iraq War. It puts it in perspective. To save our people from future illnesses and sickness, we can’t afford this kind of money, but we piss it away in three days in Iraq."

Fossella is the only New York City member of Congress to not sign on to Nadler's letter asking Congress for money to fund the health care needs of our first responders suffering from various ailments related to contamination of the area around Ground Zero.

Then there is the 2004 CNN interview where Fossella used his time to praise Bush while Rep. Nadler questioned why there was no funding for these health care needs.

Rep. Fossella neglects our domestic needs in order to chase windmills in the middle east.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

1485 days later

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Increased troop pay deemed 'unnecessary', Fossella silent

via the Army Times;

Troops don’t need bigger pay raises, White House budget officials said Wednesday in a statement of administration policy laying out objections to the House version of the 2008 defense authorization bill.


Bush budget officials said the administration “strongly opposes” both the 3.5 percent raise for 2008 and the follow-on increases, calling extra pay increases “unnecessary.”

“When combined with the overall military benefit package, the president’s proposal provides a good quality of life for service members and their families,” the policy statement says. “While we agree military pay must be kept competitive, the 3 percent raise, equal to the increase in the Employment Cost Index, will do that.”

I think we are all agreed that the President in suggesting extra troop pay is "unnecessary" is rather unsupportive of our troops. The question though is where is Rep. Vito Fossella's outrage over this? I know he flies on planes with the President and the two are BFF (best friends forever, its an internet slang thing, ask your kids) but every once in a while you could actually stand up and support the troops when they need it. Does anyone else think Fossella will suddenly find his voice in 2008 if there is a Democrat sitting in the White House? Eight years of Fossella's silence and indifference will cost us dearly.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Candidate speculation: Cusick

This really is a two part post; 1. candidate speculation showing a potential three horse race for the primary and 2. all around bad reporting and partisan hackery from the party.

From Tom's reporting at the SI Advance;

McMahon has been boosting his pal, Brooklyn Councilman Domenic Recchia, but Cusick is being lobbied to take on the race as well, mainly by Democrats in Washington, D.C., including, we'd imagine, his old boss, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

"Nothing has changed," Cusick told us of his congressional deliberations. "I'm still taking a serious look at it."

Should Cusick jump into the race I feel as though he clears the field and almost automatically becomes the nominee. The problem is he is in no apparently rush to decide. We saw last year how disastrous the indecision of the party was with candidates still mulling over the idea in April, seven months before the election. This time around we had Fossella starting off in debt and a chance to from the gate out raise him quarter after quarter and every month a candidate thinks he does not have to make a decision yet and picks some arbitrary date off in the future we lose on fund raising, media coverage and the opportunity to simply pound Vito on any number of issues.

And then the political hackery;

One Democrat says that any candidate would have to have $100,000 in the bank by the first filing date in July in order to be considered a serious player in the race and draw the attention of off-Island money types.

After the Cusick speculation in the article you get to that gem of a quote. First off who is this anonymous Democrat and why are they wishing to remain anonymous? Nothing in that statement is damaging or offensive to any candidates and would require off the record commentary. I am not sure how this is reporting, since that one Democrat could be me or you or Sen. Schumer for all we know. The problem is we don't know, and we don't know the validity of that comment. That leads me back to the anonymity of it all and to the presumption that the intent may be to damage or disuade someone from entering the race, which at the moment would be either Harrison or Recchia. Certainly I have been calling for candidates to jump in the race and have guessed that they need to reach $100,000 by December in order to be the presumed front runner if not clear out the field with their proven fund raising abilities, however this quote concerns me and questions whether there is any more research that goes into articles than what I put into blog posts.

no movement
positive movement (towards candidacy)
downgraded movement (away from candidacy)
Stephen Harrison
Council Member Recchia
Assemblyman Cusick
Assemblywoman Hyer-Spencer
State Senator Savino
Council member McMahon

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1,483 days since 'Mission Accomplished'

It has been 1.483 days since President Bush stood on that aircraft carrier under his banner proclaiming 'mission accomplished.' We toppled the dictator and set up a democratic government, so why are we still putting our troops in harms way?

April was the deadliest month for the U.S. military so far this year, with 102 personnel killed in action. U.S. deaths have risen each month since intensified efforts to secure Baghdad and al-Anbar province involving about 30,000 additional U.S. forces started in February.

A total of 2,772 U.S. service members had been killed in action since the March 2003 Iraq invasion as of May 15, according to the Department of Defense Web site. The number of deaths including those from other causes was 3,393. More than 25,000 had been wounded, 11,270 of them so seriously they couldn't return to duty. [via Bloomberg]

Our mission is accomplished. Bring our troops home!


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

LTE: Citizens on Government

In a 'Letter to the Editor' (LTE) in the SI Advance a writer, in quite possibly the most eloquent LTE expounds on issues of checks and balances and the need to demand more out of our elected officials;

Calling attention to the constitutional crisis: How long has the Bush administration lied to people, Congress and to their death, soldiers, about matters of life and national security? How long has Congress and the Judiciary caved in to Executive dictate, abandoning responsibilities to the checks and balances that are vital to our democracy?

Short of impeachment or more appropriate action, we can and should demonstrate disgust of this hijacking of democracy. We must address violations of the oaths of office that our elected representatives are guilty of.

Please go read the whole piece. It is a must.


Following Fossella at Room Eight

If you don't already you might want to check out Richard Reichard's posts on Fossella over at Room Eight. His latest; "Gingrich Hosts Fossella Fund-Raiser."

The Room Eight recommendation aside it is rather curious that Newt would be hosting a fundraising for Fossella. Newt considered a soon to be presidential candidate must be looking for something if he is coming all the way up here just to help an embattled Republican member of Congress. Certainly there are many of those all over the country. Plus considering Fossella's endorsement and backing of Guilliani I scratch my head in confusing as to what they both are getting out of this. There may be a bigger story in there somewhere.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

The bridge revisited; Fossella's amateur hour

The Port Authority, the agency which controls most of the bridges and tunnels into and out of New York City has recently disclosed it is looking into city-wide imlpementation of swapping out toll booths for newer EZPass technology a plan taken right out of Stephen Harrison's campaign in 2006. You may remember this as the Veranzano proposal that Fossella so adamently opposed as being harmful to Staten Island. The Port Authority, whose area of expertise is this sort of planning disagrees;

"An all-electronic toll system would be a tremendous boon to our road-transportation system, helping to smooth the choke points at bridges and tunnels, reduce traveler delays and potentially prove a benefit to regional air quality," PA Executive Director Anthony Shorris said yesterday.

The PA plans to study the feasibility of replacing the tollbooths with a combination of E-ZPass sensors and cameras that snap pictures of license plates in order to send drivers a bill. This system would also enable the PA to use "dynamic pricing" - meaning the tolls could fluctuate depending on traffic congestion in a way similar to Mayor Bloomberg's congestion-pricing proposal for Manhattan. [via NY Post]

Transportation advocates applauded the PA's proposal.

Whereas Fossella, well he just makes stuff up. via the SI Advance;

"Those who like more traffic on Staten Island, those who like more air pollution on Staten Island, will love Steve Harrison's plan," Fossella said at a press conference near the bridge.


Harrison has said that if elected, he would consider bringing back the two-way toll, were the toll eliminated for congressional-district residents and a high-speed E-ZPass collection system installed.

Sadly Rep. Vito Fossella can make unfounded comments like that and have zero media scruntiny. Where were the stories that Fossella himself pushed for a similar system on the Outerbridge Crossing? Where were the stories that then Gov. Pataki praised the plan? Where is the coverage calling out Fossella for blantly making stuff up as he goes along? He said it would cause pollution and harm air quality, yet he was never required to show any proof to validate those claims, claims the Port Authority have now all but debunked. In the end Fossella's arguments are the intellectual equivalent of a 10 year old responding "I know you are, but what am I."

more posting on the toll removal plan;
The Bridge Revisited

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LTE: Privatizing security

In a recent 'Letter to the Editor' (LTE) in the SI Advance a writer comments on Republicans passing legislation to allow private companies to win no bid contracts to guard ports and army bases;

Shortly after 9/11, with no protest from the Republican Congress (including Congressman Vito Fossella), the Bush administration privatized security and gate-keeping at bases and ports, with outsourced companies holding no-bid contracts.


The military is being criticized for risking security at bases and for a process that awarded $1 billion in contracts without competitive bidding.

You can read the rest of the letter here.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Introducing twitter updates

On the right hand side of the blog you might note we have added a 'twitter' widget, and if you noticed it you probably know what it is and what it does. For the rest of us let me introduce you to our twitter updates. Twitter is a free service that let's us post short comments about what we are doing, typically what is being blogged about here on NY13 or upcoming topics currently in research phases. Then twitter distributes them via text messages to your cell phone if you like, instant message or more simply to our twitter page and the twitter widget on the right. What is the advantage of this over a simple blog post? Well we are not entirely sure just yet and test driving it, but just as RSS feeds improve blog reading Twitter can improve the speed of information distribution. Should Rep. Fossella get indicted on fraud charges in connection with Jack Abramoff, well if you became out friend/follower on twitter you would know before we even have a blog post up with all the sored details. Click the "follow" link under the twitter widget and go be our friend or follower and help us test this function out and be ready for the '08 NY13 election action.


Friday, May 18, 2007

The National Guard in Iraq, makes US States vulnerable, part VII


Some commanders from the Southeast likewise worry about hurricane season. After a big storm, there is high demand for precisely the sort of troops that have been deployed most heavily -- military police to keep order and engineers to clear debris.

"It's not just how many, it's who, and what kind of skill sets they have," said Maj. Gen. David B. Poythress, Georgia's commander. "When both my MP companies are gone, I don't have any MPs to put on the street." [via Washington Post]

Support America, bring our National Guard home.

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Fossella is not supporting 9/11 first responders in Brooklyn

via the Bay Ridge Courier;

Armed with the names of 22 fellow representatives, Rep. Jerrold Nadler has begun his big push to ask D.C. to appropriate more than $282 million for the World Trade Center Monitoring and Treatment Program to assist rescuers and first responders afflicted with 9/11 related illnesses.

Every member of Brooklyn’s Congressional delegation with the exception of Rep. Vito Fossella has signed onto the letter, which was sent to Rep. David Obey, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, Human Services and Education.

“We have an obligation to provide for the monitoring and treatment for those brave first responders who were exposed to toxins at the World Trade Center,” Nadler explained. “In the days after 9/11, first-responders came to New York from around the country to help in any way they could. The least we must do now is help those that have since become sick and need treatment. Furthermore, we still need to fund the health needs of residents, non-first responder workers and school children.”

Agreed! But where is Fossella on this? This is outrageous. With all his rhetoric you would imagine he would sign on to this even if part of his district was not in Brooklyn. The article does not provide any speculation as to why he is absent from this letter but I don't mind doing so. Rep. Vito Fossella as you may know by know supports the first responders of 9/11 as much as he supports the troops. He will gladly use either group as a backdrop for publicity or empty rhetoric to constituents and reporters but when it comes time to actually doing some work to back that up he is no where to be found. Fortunately we have Rep. Nadler who has long been championing 9/11 worker's issues and is going to do something about it now that he is part of the majority, the majority Fossella has enjoyed since 9/11. Don't believe me here is a 2004 interview from CNN;

FOSSELLA: The president should be proud of his record of fighting and leading in this war against terror. And we can't just ignore the reality of September 11, if we're going to move forward as a nation.


NADLER: We can debate what Bush did after and before and we should, and we can debate why they still won't pay for the medical treatment of the firemen and the other firefighters who were injured in the first response. But whether you like President Bush or not, we can debate his actions before and after. But to exploit this emotionally, the way these ads are doing, is, frankly, disgusting.

We see once again given the choice that Rep. Vito Fossella would rather profess his admiration for President Bush than use the opportunity to address the horrible government response to the health care needs of our 9/11 responders.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

The National Guard in Iraq, makes US States vulnerable, part IX

North Carolina

The brigade the North Carolina Guard now has in Iraq came from the southeastern and southern parts of the state, the area that tends to bear the brunt of hurricanes. "We're a little short people in those areas," said Maj. Gen. William E. Ingram Jr., commander of the North Carolina Guard. In order to ensure that he can serve those areas after a disaster, he said, he will have to mobilize more-distant troops sooner, which will make it more expensive for the state. [via Washington Post]

Support America, bring our National Guard home.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The National Guard in Iraq, makes US States vulnerable, part VIII


In Mississippi, the unit designated as "first responders" to repair hurricane damage, the 223rd Engineer Battalion, was deployed for the past year to Iraq. It has come home, said Maj. Gen. Harold A. Cross. But, he added, "they left the equipment in Iraq." He has been told that by hurricane season he will be given the gear belonging to another unit being deployed. He also noted that he has sent 21 helicopters to Iraq, leaving just five for post-storm rescues and transport of cargo and troops. [via Washington Post]

Support and protect America, bring our National Guard home.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Politicker covers a Fossella story...

Yeah don't get your hopes up they don't actually do any work on reporting about his job in Congress or his voting record or anything serious, apparently he is holding a debate watch party for the guy he endorsed. The sad thing is they are just posting a link to another website that has a write up about this event. Go look.

But if you actually want some real coverage you just need to go back through their post history for that past two and a half months;

* Fossella spoke at some sanitation meeting that was held in his district, April 25
* Someone wrote a comment about Fossella (not Politcker), April 9
* Someone else writes a comment about Fossella, April 5
* Um some guy wants Fossella to run for mayor, April 4
* In an article about McMahon someone writes a comment about Fossella, March 16
* In an article about baseball bats someone writes a comment about 'fossella people', March 15
* They cover Congressional rankings of all 29 members of Congress from NY, March 13
* Almost a legit mention of Fossella getting high ratings from a Conservative group, March 9

But what else is new. This is better coverage than they had during the actual Congressional race.


LTE: Congress can end War

In a weekend 'Letter to the Editor' in the SI Advance a writer in a manner of wonderful brevity and wisdom writes;

The United States Constitution gives Congress the sole right to declare war.

Therefore, it logically follows that Congress also has the power to end a war.

Usually I send you on to read the rest of the letter, in this case that is it. It is just that simple Rep. Fossella. Whether you choose to open your eyes though is now up to you.

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Fossella opposes hate crime legislation

via Room Eight;

On May 3, 2007, Congressman Vito Fossella voted against legislation (H.R. 1592) that would extend the designation of a hate crime to include violent acts motivated by a victim's sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.

The bill was co-sponsored by several Republicans, including Rep Shays (R-CT), Rep Kuhl (R-NY) and Rep Castle (R-DE) breaking any possible partisan cover Fossella was hiding behind. The bill ultimately passed with 25 Republicans voting in favor of it, with Walsh another NY state Republican jumping on board. Now here is the interesting bit of all of this, from the Gay City News;

Opponents of the bill asked that it be sent back to committee to consider adding age and military service status as protected categories as well, effectively putting a vote off for this year. The Republicans hoped to force Democrats into the position of voting against protecting seniors and veterans.

Hoyer called their bluff, however, offering to add the categories by unanimous consent immediately. The bill's opponents, not interested in protecting any new groups by statute, rejected that offer, and the measure moved to a straight up or down vote.

So Fossella's groupies try to prevent the bill from passing by adding military service, but then refuse to add it when given the chance? It is sad enough that Fossella outright voted against this bill on the grounds of pressure from the religious right but to then refuse to add a clause preventing discrimination against our troops really goes to show how much of an act his 'support' of our troops really is just rolled out for the press and put away immediately after.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

The nations we are building want us to leave

So what happens when the democracies we are building in nations like Afghanistan and Iraq democratically vote and ask us to leave? Via Yahoo News;

The senate, the upper house of the Afghan parliament, also urged Western troops in the U.S.-led coalition and Afghan forces to halt the hunt for Taliban fighters and other militants.

The motion comes at a time of rising public discontent with the government of President Hamid Karzai over civilian casualties at the hands of Western troops, corruption and the failure to turn billions of dollars in aid into better livelihoods.

The senate motion calling for "direct negotiations with the concerned Afghan sides in the country" was passed by an overwhelming majority and now goes to Karzai, who has in the past failed in efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table

Surely Rep. Vito Fossella already has a press release and a resolution ready condemning Afghanistan for not supporting American troops.

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The National Guard in Iraq, makes US States vulnerable, part V

via Washington Post;

New Hampshire

Some Guard commanders are beginning to say they simply can't deploy any more troops. "As far as New Hampshire goes, we're tapped," said Maj. Gen. John E. Blair, that state's adjutant general, or Guard commander. Of his 1,700 Army National Guard troops, more than 1,000 are in Iraq, Afghanistan or Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, or on alert for deployment. And to get units fully manned to head overseas, he said, "we've had to break other units."

West Virginia

Some soldiers in West Virginia's 1092nd Engineering Battalion got home in April from 14 months of duty in Iraq -- only to be activated in the past few days for weeks of flood-relief work in Mingo County and other southwestern parts of the state. One soldier told the state commander, Maj. Gen. Allen E. Tackett, that he had been back to his civilian job for exactly one day. "The spouses and the employers are raising hell with me," the general said.

Tackett said he is especially worried that his most seasoned soldiers are getting out. "A lot of my experienced people are coming back from deployments and retiring," he said. "They've paid their dues."

Support America, bring our National Guard home.


My first DMCA notice. Is Fossella that scared of me?

On May 9th I received a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice from Blogger informing me that someone has claimed an image I have used in a past article is violating copyright laws and that I should remove it from my blog. The image in question is this disgraceful flier Rep. Vito Fossella distributed last election cycle with a picture of Osama bin Laden and Stephen Harrison the democratic candidate. In my original post I note that the image was from Daily Gotham originally however it appears they have not been asked to remove their image. Here is part of my email;

Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that some of your images allegedly
infringe upon the copyrights of others. The URLs of the allegedly
infringing images may be found at the end of this message.

The notice that we received, with any personally identifying information
removed, may be found at the following link:

What is interesting is that not only is someone reading this blog and concerned but they had to go out of their way to report the image in question to Google and demand it be taken down, however they have not done so with any other images we have run like this;

or this one;

So the inevitable question is who is demanding Google remove that flier Fossella caught so much flack about? Considering it is a DMCA notice whom ever is filing it has to be able to claim they own the copyright which leaves few options other than Rep. Fossella's campaign. So Rep. Vito Fossella why are you scared of me? Why are you intimidating a blogger who posts your own campaign literature?

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The National Guard in Iraq, makes US States vulnerable, part IV

via KOTV;

Levee breaks along the Missouri River flooded farms, highways and railroad tracks, and left dozens of homes surrounded by water, as the flooding that has inundated the region was expected to peak in some spots this weekend.


Inmates from St. Joseph prison and National Guard members filled sandbags to try to protect a water treatment plant, schools and an ethanol plant near Craig, where the Missouri River dropped a few inches Thursday.

Support America, bring our National Guard home.

The National Guard in Iraq, makes US States vulnerable, part III
The National Guard in Iraq, makes US States vulnerable, part II
How vulnerable is NY when our National Guard is missing?


Thursday, May 10, 2007

LTE: Lower prescription drug prices

In a 'Letter to the Editor" (LTE) from some time last week, because I am way behind in this, in the SI Advance, Marie from Great Kills writes in about the shadiness of drug companies and why we are paying so much for prescription drugs;

Who will finally stand up for us against the powerful drug industry?

First, they thwarted the will of the American people by stopping Congress from allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices.

Now we read (April 25: "Most docs let drug-makers buy them food") that we really don't know what's being exchanged between drug companies and doctors. Are gifts resulting in all of us paying more for fancy, new, high-cost drugs when generics that work just as well are available?

You can read the rest of Marie's letter here. Following up on this thought, when the AARP sent out questionaires to Congressional candidates in 2006 they asked "Will you support or oppose allowing Medicare to use its bargaining power to negotiate lower prices for needed prescription drugs?" Maybe not surprising Rep. Vito Fossella refused to answer. We believe he was too busy supporting the troops to waste time on frivolous questionnaires asking whether we should make medicine affordable to our grand parents. The guy has a poster saying he supports the troops isn't that enough AARP?

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The National Guard in Iraq, makes US States vulnerable, partIII

Today we follow up on our National Guard week of posts. Saturday I posed some questions about readiness of New York at times when members of our NY State National Guard are fighting in Iraq. Then came a somber supplemental piece, tornadoes destroying communities in Kansas and causing massive devistation and left several dead;


The governor said the state's response was limited by the shifting of emergency equipment, such as tents, trucks and semitrailers, to the war in Iraq. [via reuters]

and these from our recent past;


The moment Katrina hit Louisiana, thirty-five percent of that state's National Guard troops were deployed in Iraq. In Mississippi, ground zero for the storm, nearly 40 percent of the National Guard troops were in the Middle East. Indisputably it had an effect on the readiness of the disaster-afflicted region to quickly respond with the home team. Even Army National Guard cheerleader Lt. General H. Steven Blum, Chief of the Army's National Guard Bureau, (Above) couldn't dance around that question. When asked if the deployments of these National Guard units had a negative impact on the initial response, Blum admitted, "Had those brigades been at home and not in Iraq, their expertise and capabilities could have been brought to bear". [via military.com]

Military officials here acknowledged that the Louisiana Guard members faced the prospect of returning from draining, dangerous duty in Iraq and launching quickly into a hurricane relief effort that is expected to last months. [via Washington Post]


Recognizing the potential danger, Montana 's Governor Brian Schweitzer sounded the alarm in his sparsely populated state. Forty-four percent of Montana 's NG troops are already deployed to Iraq. If Montana has to cope with an emergency such as the huge wild fires the drought-stricken region is prone to, Schweitzer recently admitted "the state of Montana does not have that many assets outside the National Guard". [via military.com]

Support America, bring our National Guard home.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The National Guard in Iraq, makes US States vulnerable, partII

As a follow up to Saturday's piece on the potential devistating effects New York could face with units of its National Guard fighting in Iraq comes a story out of Kansas from this weekend's F5 tornado and how the state is trying to respond;

The National Weather Service classified the tornado an F-5, the highest category and the first F-5 since the weather service revised its scale this year to more comprehensively gauge damage potential, with less emphasis on wind speed. The last tornado classified as an F-5 hit the Oklahoma City area on May 3, 1999, killing 36 people.

The governor said the state's response was limited by the shifting of emergency equipment, such as tents, trucks and semitrailers, to the war in Iraq.

``Not having the National Guard equipment, which used to be positioned in various parts of the state, to bring in immediately is really going to handicap this effort to rebuild,'' Sebelius said.

Let us not wait until something happens here at home in New York to realize the importance of the National Guard in response to domestic disasters. Rep. Fossella for once you can do something, and go tell your friend in the White House to return National Guard units to their home states so they can do their job. Not to mention Gov. Spitzer you need to be in front of every reporter on a daily basis leading this cause with a coalition of Governors.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Iraqi Parliament learns from Rep. Fossella and Republican Congress

The Iraqi Parliament has scheduled a two month recess this summer for the months of July and August. It appears all is going swimmingly, and not meeting so many of Bush's non-timetable deadlines is exhausting. While this seemingly will hamper Republican led efforts back here in the US to give the escalation a chance to see progress in a couple of months, you don't have to wonder where the Parliament learned this from. When we try to push our own style of government on them, you learn from the best;

Congress will convene on Tuesday for what some fear will be the lamest of lame-duck sessions, and GOP leaders have decided to take a minimalist approach before turning over the reins of power to the Democrats. Rather than a final surge of legislative activity, Congress will probably wrap up things after a single, short week of work.


Before the midterm elections, GOP leaders had dismissed the Democrats' "do-nothing" label for the 109th Congress as political posturing, promising that a robust post-election session would put the accusation to rest. Instead, Republican lawmakers will have met for one week in November, devoted almost exclusively to leadership elections for next year, and one week in December, largely to pick committee assignments, move offices and pass a measure to keep the government operating through February.

That will mean this Congress will have spent the least time in session of any in at least half a century, according to Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, congressional historians and the authors of "The Broken Branch," a critical look at recent Congresses. In the time they have met, lawmakers have failed to approve a budget resolution or pass at least eight of the 11 annual spending bills. [via Washington Post]

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Republican Law & Order

by the DCCC;

Wish Vito was higher, but nonetheless still sad that he made the who's who list of corrupted officials as "the skier"! For old times sake;

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

How vulnerable is NY when our National Guard is missing?

Two weeks ago, while we were being bombarded with rain from our nor'easter, the storm that brought the most rain in over 100 years to the city, did you ever stop and wonder how well equipped we were should you need rescuing, or should the water cause structural damage to roadways or how your community would be evacuated had the water levels started rising? The National Guard is one of the state's rapid response assets that can send trained Guard members and equipment into areas should the Governor declare a 'state of emergency'. Back in our little rain storm many states in the northeast were declaring state of emergencies to mobilize response units. Rep. Vito Fossella even went so far as to petitioned FEMA (helluva job on Katrina!) to declare portions of the district federal disaster areas.

Gov. Eliot Spitzer sent 3,200 National Guard members to potential flood areas. On Saturday he said the storm could cause the most flooding New York has seen since a December 1992 nor'easter, which washed away beach and sand dunes, knocked out power and left thousands of people temporarily homeless, their houses standing in feet of water. [via CNN]

These are the same National Guard members in New York and many other states across the country, that the President has commandeered for his own purposes and sends to Iraq to do what they are supposed to be here doing. Maybe you see where this is going;

"If Long Island were hit with a major hurricane, debilitating shortages of equipment could potentially slow response by the New York Army National Guard and put lives in jeopardy. New data from the Guard shows that the vehicles needed to traverse water-logged streets and to transport medicine and supplies after a natural disaster are in short supply. Only 35 percent of the Guard's authorized Humvees and cargo trucks, for instance, are currently available in New York. Radio equipment is at less than half the authorized levels."


"The thing we'd need the most, we have the least of," said Rep Steve Israel (D-Huntington), who released the data yesterday. "That's the most distressing element. In my district on Long Island, it's not a matter of if, but when a hurricane may strike. A fully staffed and equipped National Guard is the difference between a smooth recovery and another New Orleans." [Newsday 3/23/07]

From the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) comes some realities about just flood possibilities should we have another rain storm or worse, a nearby hurricane landing.

But in 1893 a hurricane came ashore in Jamaica Bay, near where JFK airport sits today. A cluster of saloons, casinos and resort hotels on a sandy spit of land called Hog Island was completely washed away. Even the island disappeared.

A few miles west of the hurricane's eye, almost every building on Coney Island was destroyed. There was extensive flooding in Brooklyn and wind damage to many of the city's innovative new skyscrapers, including the just-finished Metropolitan Life building.

Meteorologists estimate that the 1893 storm was only a category 2 hurricane.

"A 2 in New York City is bad news," Coch said. "A 3 is a disaster and a 4 is a catastrophe." [via MSNBC]

Rep. Vito Fossella our mission has been 'accomplished' in Iraq. Isn't it time to ensure that our state National Guard members come home and stay home. Support New Yorkers, keep our National Guard in New York, or at the very least in our own country.

update: cross posted over at The Albany Project.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

1462 Days Later

1462 days since the President stood on an air craft carrier and declared 'mission accomplished' in Iraq. Rep. Vito Fossella, why then are we still there?

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Bush vetoes troop funding

Today, President Bush vetoed the Supplemental Bill given to him by the House and Senate. The bill outlined $124 BILLION in war spending funds, however the notion that we protect our troops and bring them home was enough to cut off all spending on troop training and protection with his signature. Today's veto comes on the 4 year anniversary of the once quipped "Mission Accomplished." Four years later, after the President's self declared mission over, Bush and Fossella celebrate this veto and effectively say this war is not over until they decide it is, regardless of what Americans want.

* Number of Active Duty Service-Members in Iraq (from NY): 7,880
* Number of Reserve Forces in Iraq (from NY): 1,866
* Number of Service-Members Killed in Iraq (from NY): 147
* Number of Service-Members Wounded in Iraq (from NY): 1,177
* Cost of War to the People of New York: $33.9 billion

(Source: CTS Deployment File, 1/31/07; Department of Defense Personnel Statistics; nationalpriorities.org)

Democratic House pickups likely in 2008

via Chicago Sun Times;

Private House Democratic polls of the 50 most competitive congressional districts project a gain of 9 to 11 seats in the 2008 elections that would be an unprecedented further surge by the party after its 2006 gain of 30 seats to win control of the House.

All previous major surges of House seats have been followed by losses in the next election. The 54-seat Republican gain in 1994 that produced GOP House control was followed by an eight-seat loss in 1996. However, the current Republican political slump, fueled by President Bush's unpopularity, would reverse that pattern if the election were held today, according to the Democratic polls.

Now remember the DCCC press release earlier in the year that showed a few House targets;

We will aggressively work in districts targeting ethically challenged incumbents like Tim Murphy (PA-18), Gary Miller (CA-42), Rick Renzi (AZ-01), John Doolittle (CA-04), Jerry Lewis (CA-41) and Vito Fossella (NY-13).

Rep. Renzi has resigned all his committee seats after the FBI raided a family business.
Rep. Doolittle has resigned all his committee seats after his house was raided by the FBI.
On deck is Jerry Lewis followed by Fossella.

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