Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Topic: U.S. Senators Kennedy and Kerry.

Are Massachusetts residents better off with these two politicians in the U.S. Senate -- or is it time for some new blood?
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9 Comments:

Blogger jonathan said...

It was nice to see U.S. Senator John Kerry pay a visit to Berkshire County on June 02, 2005. I am glad to see our Washington, D.C. delegates pay attention to the western part of the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts!

Friday, June 03, 2005 9:26:00 AM  
Blogger jonathan said...

November 22, 2005

Re: In dissent against Congress’ most recent pay raise, By Jonathan Melle

Dear Berkshire Bloggers:

While the poor get poorer, the war and violence escalates, and the average working stiff loses more and more hard earned entitlements such as health insurance and pensions…

Congress Helps Self to $3,100 Pay Raise

By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent, Friday, Nov 18, 2005, 11:44 PM ET

The Republican-controlled Congress helped itself to a $3,100 pay raise on Friday, then postponed work on bills to curb spending on social programs and cut taxes in favor of a two-week vacation.
In the final hours of a tumultuous week in the Capitol, Democrats erupted in fury when House GOP leaders maneuvered toward a politically-charged vote — and swift rejection — of one war critic's call for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. "You guys are pathetic, pathetic," Massachusetts Rep. Martin Meehan yelled across a noisy hall at Republicans.
On another major issue, a renewal of the Patriot Act remained in limbo as an unlikely coalition of liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans sought curbs on the powers given law enforcement in the troubled first days after the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Both the House and Senate were in session after midnight Thursday, working on the tax and deficit-cutting bills at the heart of the GOP agenda, before returning to work a few hours later.
"What it does is start to turn down the escalating costs ... for our children and our grandchildren. One of the things that we cannot leave to that next generation is a huge deficit that they can't afford," House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said after enactment of a $50 billion deficit-reduction bill.
Democrats dissented, with one eye on the 2006 elections.
"The Republicans are taking food out of the mouths of children to give tax cuts to America's wealthiest. This is not a statement of America's values," said the Democratic leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record) of California. "Democrats believe that together, America can do better," she said, invoking the party's new campaign slogan.
The cost-of-living increase for members of Congress — which will put pay for the rank and file at an estimated $165,200 a year — marked a brief truce in the pitched political battles that have flared in recent weeks on the war and domestic issues.
So much so that the issue was not mentioned on the floor of either the House or Senate as lawmakers worked on legislation whose passage will assure bigger paychecks.
Lawmakers automatically receive a cost of living increase each year, unless Congress votes to block it. By tradition, critics have tried to block increases by attaching a provision to the legislation that provides funding for the Treasury Department. One such attempt succeeded in the Senate earlier in the year, but the provision was omitted from the compromise measure moved toward final approval.
The overall bill provided $140 billion for transportation, housing and other programs. It cleared the House on a vote of 392-31. Senate passage was by voice vote.
Pay raise harmony aside, Republicans spent the day celebrating a party-line, post-midnight vote in which the House cleared legislation to reduce deficits by $50 billion over five years. The vote was 217-215, with all the Democrats who voted in opposition, along with 14 GOP rebels.
Acting Majority Leader Roy Blunt of Missouri said Republicans would make their tax cut bill the top item on the agenda when lawmakers return to the Capitol in December.
The House-passed measure attacks deficits by limiting spending for the first time in a decade on Medicaid, food stamps, student loans and other benefit programs that normally rise with inflation and eligibility.
The House GOP leadership had hoped to clear the measure a week ago. It was forced to retreat when Republican moderates rebelled, even after Hastert agreed to strip out a controversial proposal to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.
The Senate-passed companion measure calls for less deficit reduction, $35 billion over five years, but includes the ANWR provision.
The differences are expected to make it difficult for the House and Senate to reach a compromise by year's end, particularly since Republicans can't count on any Democratic support.
The tax bill presents difficulties of its own for a GOP majority struggling to translate last fall's election gains into this year's legislative achievements.
The Senate cleared a measure after 1:30 a.m. that calls for $60 billion in cuts over five years.
The measure drew bipartisan support, passing on a vote of 64-33. Its provisions would continue a series of existing tax breaks that otherwise will expire, and shelters 14 million upper middle-income families from higher taxes.
The White House has threatened a veto, citing a provision that raises taxes on oil companies.
The House has yet to pass a companion measure. When it does, the tax on oil companies is unlikely to be included, and it is likely to be jettisoned before a compromise measure reaches the White House.
Hastert said Republicans want to "make sure that we support our troops that are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan ... a lot of people say: Look, this is a tough time, we just ought to pull out and leave. We pull out and leave, we strand an effort to make sure that we can tamp down terrorism, to tamp down a dictatorship, that we can stabilize an area in the Middle East," he added.
GOP aides conceded the last-minute maneuver was designed to put Democrats in a political squeeze — voting for withdrawal and exposing themselves to attacks from the White House, or voting against it and risk angering the voters that polls show want an end to the conflict.
Democrats angrily attacked the GOP move, then lined up with Republicans to vote against a troop withdrawal in hopes of draining the issue of its political significance. The vote was 403-3 against the measure.
Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., called the measure "a piece of garbage" and an attack on Rep. John Murtha (news, bio, voting record). The Pennsylvania Democrat, a decorated veteran and respected congressional voice on military matters, said Thursday it was time for the troops to come home.
House and Senate negotiators announced a tentative agreement earlier in the week to pass a seven-year extension of the Patriot Act. Key senators lawmakers involved in the talks balked at the terms, and officials said they would resume compromise efforts when Congress returns to work in December.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger jonathan said...

Re: Mitt's $100 charge to Manchester, N.H. supporters

Dear Berkshire Bloggers:

My friend recently won a ward seat on the Board of Alderman (City Council) this year in the great City of Manchester, New Hampshire. I bumped into my buddy yesterday and he told me that the Governor of Massachusetts is giving a speech in the Queen City next week. A Mitt Romney campaign organizer called my buddy and invited him to listen to Romney for a fee of $100. My buddy declined. I don't blame him.

Moreover, U.S. Senator Bill Frist from Tennessee will be visiting Manchester, N.H., too, next week, and N.Y. State Governor George Pataki will be visiting the Queen City in two weeks. I don't think they are worth $100 to see either.

Manchester is a very political city. So many politicians campaign here. U.S. Senator John F. Kerry currently has a partisan billboard up, as well, he visits here to campaign for local Democrats. U.S. Senator Evan Bayh has visited Manchester twice from his home state of Indiana.

I haven't bothered to pay $100 to see any of them. I believe they all want to be a future U.S. President in 2008 and that is the only reason why they are building their empires in places such as NH, Iowa, NC and the like. I would rather have a President that cared about these places rather than only about themselves and their political futures.

I love the U.S.A. -- every part of this great nation is important to me. A lot of these politicians should be ashamed of themselves for only loving looking at themselves in the mirror instead of into the eyes of the American people whom they should be serving and working very hard for to make life better for all American citizens!

Sincerely,

Jonathan A. Melle

Saturday, December 03, 2005 2:06:00 PM  
Blogger jonathan said...

Dear Berkshire Bloggers:

Federal lawmakers' annual pay has risen by roughly $30,000 since the last increase in the minimum wage nearly 10 years ago. The U.S. Congress' roughly $30,000 in collective pay raises alone over this past decade is almost three times what a full-time minimum-wage worker makes in a year.

The Democrats in the U.S. Senate unsuccessfully pushed for a raise our nation's stagnant federal minimum wage by $2.10 over the next two years. Many of our nation's minimum wage workers are adult single mothers trying to meet their families' basic needs. Most minimum wage workers are unable to afford healthcare insurance or even a savings account. Low to moderate wage workers won't ever have a pension in old age and will predictably declare bankruptcy as future senior citizens.

My dissent against the U.S. Senate's most recent denial of a minimum wage hike while raising their own legislative pay scales by nearly 3 times the amount of what poor people earn in one year is that it clearly shows that our American Democracy is broken. Our Founding Father's vision for democracy was for the government to serve the people's political, civil and economic interests through elected officials advocating for the important public needs of their constituents. Now, our elected officials have demonstrably done the opposite of our Founding Fathers by voting themselves colossal pay raises while leaving minimum wage workers in need and destitution.

I hope to one day run for and be elected to U.S. Congress and then U.S. President so I can return democracy to the American People. As a future Congressman and the President of the United States of America, I will vote against and then veto any and all pay and benefits for any and all elected, appointed and civil service federal employees until the political and corporate war against the poor and middle class ends. Moreover, greedy corporations such as Halliburton, General Electric, Bechtel, and the like will see no more giveaway federal contracts until the American taxpayer's dollars are earned dollar by dollar by dollar...; and there will be no more earmarks to special interests and pork barrel projects. I am going to be a political reformer when I am a future public servant of the American People!

Sincerely,

Jonathan A. Melle

Friday, June 23, 2006 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger jonathan said...

What the HELL is wrong with John Forbes Kerry?

In 2004, he was outspent in the last 3 weeks of the general election by his incumbent opponent for U.S. President, buy Kerry had more $ in his campaign account coffers than Bush!

In 2004, he got less of the much needed women's vote than either Bill Clinton in 96 and Al Gore in 2000. While Kerry still carried the slim majority of women voters, he was 14 points below Clinton's 2/3-rd count in 1996.

JOHN KERRY HAS NO STRATEGY TO WIN!

Now, John Kerry said that those who fail in school end up in Iraq. Talk about putting one's foot in one's mouth! Kerry couldn't have said much worse than disparaging the educational failures of our nation's youth who have chosen the U.S. Military as a way out of self-defeating lifestyles. Kerry's poor remarks have swung the momentum back to the Bush White House and the Republicans in Congress.

Ten years ago, John Kerry was opposed for U.S. Senate by Bill Weld. It was reported that Bill Weld was a Boston Brahman who was born into wealth with an $80 Million Trust Fund, a building at Harvard University with his family's name on it, and an intellect that could not be beat by even the smartest of people. BUT, there was one man who was said to be even more wealthy and Boston Brahman than Weld, who was John Forbes Kerry. When the two men ran for Senate, 99% of Massachusetts was left without someone whom they could personally identify with. Today, both men have proven themselves to be that 1% everyone talks about, but no one respects when it comes to public policy issues such as public education and other common man causes.

I am very disappointed in John Kerry's October Surprise. Like his fellow top 1% trust fund brethren Bush, either he is incompetent or cunningly intelligent. I just hope to dear God that Kerry does NOT run for President of the U.S.A. again in 2008!

Sincerely,
Jonathan A. Melle

Wednesday, November 01, 2006 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

RE: Low approval ratings for the Democratic Congress...Mayor Bloomberg for President?

Dear Berkshire Bloggers, Pols, News Media, & the People:

As you all know, I love to watch and read all about politics, and I found out this past weekend that the Democratic Party's Majority in the U.S. Congress currently has a lower approval rating than the U.S. President, George W. Bush.

I find this interesting for the following reasons:

(a) The Democratic Party's Majority in the U.S. Congress has not accomplished many of their promised goals. The only major achievement is a paltry hike in the national minimum wage, which is only symbolic because the state government's set their own minimum wages at an average higher rate than the national minumum wage floor.

(b) The Democratic Party's Majority in the U.S. Congress did NOT succeed in de-escalating the current Iraq War.

(c) Moreover, special interests, lobbying groups and corporate elite executives are at record high levels of influence on Capitol Hill. Speaker Pelosi held a fundraising event where the minimum campaign contribution was $10,000 and up this past Spring 2007.

(d) The Democratic Party's agenda sounded grassroots last year during their sweep into national political party, but that was proven to be only hype. The Democratic Party's real agenda is the same as the Republican Party's agenda: To fill their campaign coffers with as much money as they can get their filthy hands on from the wealthy and high income upper class known to the rest of us "have nots" as the Corporate Elite.

This past Saturday, June 23, 2007, Alan Chartock published his weekly Berkshire Eagle political column where he shared his views on the failings of the two party system that selects the two choices most people don't agree with for president. He praised the current Mayor of New York City, Michael Ruben Bloomberg, billionaire businessman turned politician, who is also a native of Massachusetts, for his ambitions for The White House. While I don't view Mayor Bloomberg as a grassroots, working class, common man candidate, he also did not start out with a huge trust fund like John Forbes Kerry or William Floyd Weld or George Walker Bush either. Mayor Bloomberg has lived his life across the spectrum of American class and status. I concur with Alan Chartock that Mayor Bloomberg's Independent run for The White House in 2008 will only bring positive results to our democratic system of national governance. Our nation is in desperate need of positive political changes. I am not endorsing Mayor Bloomberg for U.S. President (yet), but I would like to see him run for U.S. President next year. He may be our only hope since the Democratic Party's majority in U.S. Congress is failing to live up to its campaign promises and now has a lower approval rating than the sitting president!

Sincerely,

Jonathan A. Melle

P.S. Did you catch the 6/25/2007 edition of Newsweek's "Conventional Wisdom Watch: Let's Get Whacked Edition"? (WILLARD MITT) ROMNEY: (DOWN ARROW): Claimed epiphany converted him to pro-life overnight, then tape surfaces of later pro-choice statement. Ouch. WHAT A PHONY!!!!

Monday, June 25, 2007 9:32:00 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Dear Boston Globe:

Your newspaper is 0-2 with me today. Congressman John Olver is earmarking federal funds for many important projects in his legislative district, and you are taking him to task for it.

Well, look in the goddamned MIRROR! The "Big Dig" in Boston is the most expensive, wasteful, dangerous, and the like, single public works project in the history of the United States of America. There is nothing more pork barrell that the $15 Billion of wasted public dollars, including billions of federal dollars, spent on Boston's "Big Dig"1

Below, please find Stan Rosenberg's report of State Government. Like his best political friend, John Olver, State Senator Rosenberg backs a project that spends tens of millions of public dollars on the "Massachusetts Broadband Incentive Fund" that will primarily benefit the screwed over communities in the Western Massachusetts region. Boy, you Editors at the Globe must be fuming at public dollars not be wasted on the "Big Dig"!

I must take the time to dissent against Rosenberg's report on PENSIONS. Sen. Rosenberg states that the new law directs the assets of underperforming local pension systems into the state's pension fund. That is utter BULLSHIT! If the state assumes the local system's assetts, they should also assume their pension liabilities (or debts, too). This is like the county government state takeover redux all over again. It was O.K. for the state to mismanage the "Big Dig", but not for local or county governments to have inefficieny performance results. It is totally unfair!

In Dissent (again),

Jonathan A. Melle

-----

GLOBE EDITORIAL
One man's pork
August 9, 2007

THERE IS a lot to like about the ethics reforms the US House passed in the frenetic hours before taking its summer recess this week. Motivated by the bipartisan scandals that have badly tarnished Congress, the House under the new Democratic leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi set out to "drain the swamp," in her words, and clear up the infestation of special interests in Washington.

Among the changes -- adopted by a lopsided vote of 411 to 8 -- are requirements that lobbyists disclose campaign contributions, both individual and "bundled," and post them on a public, searchable website. Gifts of meals or trips from lobbyists would be banned. Lawmakers convicted of bribery or perjury would be denied congressional pensions -- too late to deny one to Duke Cunningham, maybe, but an overdue fix of this taxpayer rip-off.

But one reform adopted earlier this year may have had unintended consequences: requiring members to disclose sponsorship of legislative earmarks. These special projects in appropriations bills, often considered pork, include the notorious $230 million "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska. Rather than serve as a disinfectant, however, the sunshine now cast upon the practice has in some cases caused it to blossom, as members compete for bragging rights over who can bring home the most.

In Massachusetts, the undisputed earmark king is John Olver, Democrat of Amherst, the bookish former chemistry professor who is in his eighth full term. Olver personally tagged $34.7 million in earmarks in the current budget cycle alone, according to an analysis by the group Taxpayers for Common Sense. This is largely due to Olver's role as a member of the House Appropriations Committee and one of its "cardinals," so-called for the power they wield over the budget. Not all of Olver's earmarks are for his district, but he does get to distribute the funds.

Here is where one man's pork becomes another man's daily bread. Olver's earmarks include $6 million for improvements to the Fitchburg-to-Boston rail line; $1 million for downtown streetscapes in Pittsfield; $150,000 for repairs to the William Cullen Bryant homestead, a national historic landmark, in Cummington; $275,000 to renovate the Berkshire Music Hall; and $1.5 million for the Silvio Conte Wildlife Refuge. Each of these expenditures is important to somebody.

Olver's committee chairman, David Obey of Wisconsin, has pledged to cut earmarks in half this year, so they will constitute just 1 percent of the federal budget. And in an interview Tuesday, Pelosi insisted most earmarks are not "the corroding kind of giveaway." If they are, she adds, "the world will know because now they are transparent."

Disclosure may weed out the worst abuses. Still, a system that doles out billions for pet projects is a big reason Congress's approval ratings are nearly as low as President Bush's. It's nothing to write home about.

Thursday, August 09, 2007 5:29:00 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

8/31/2007

Dear President Bush, et al:

U.S. Representative John W. Olver's criticisms of your threat of war against Iran is valid because you should be convincing Congress to vote on the matter, not making speeches that only serve to strengthen the extremist Islamic Jihad groups in the Middle East region.

I am not an expert on the Middle East. Here is what I understand. Iran is predominately Shiite Muslim. Iraq's majority population is Shiite, too, with a concentration in the Southern region of the nation. However, Iraq's old guard was Sunni Muslim, and the Sunni's were terrible to the Shiites. In the 1980's, the Iran v. Iraq War saw Iraqi lead Sunni forces fighting Iranian lead Shiite forces. The Shiite Muslims want revenge against the Sunni Muslims once the U.S. Occupation ends. That will lead to an Iraqi Civil War, which will lead to the Iraqi Sunni Muslims being victims of a government sponsored GENOCIDE. BUT, about 80% of the Muslim World in Sunni Muslim--just not in Iraq and Iran. The Sunni Muslim States would then protect and take vengeance on the Shiite Muslims, which would lead to the Shiite Muslims being victims of another GENOCIDE. The Islamic World would then be almost al Sunni Muslim.

The problem for the U.S. Government and its Big Oil Corporate Elite wealthy businesses is that Saudi Arabia, which is the largest oil producer in the World, is Sunni Muslim, while Iraq, which is the second largest oil producer in the World, and Iran, which is the third largest oil producer in the World, are Shiite Muslim. If Saudi Arabia, et al, takes out Iraq and Iran, then you have a dramatic drop in the production of the World's OIL. The U.S. Government and its Big Oil businesses will lose huge amounts of MONEY as OIL supplies drop and prices skyrocket. It is an issue of economics: Diminishing Supply equals higher Energy prices.

I do not believe that the U.S. Government is a democratic body due to the fascist powers of the Corporate Elite in both America and Europe. The Corporate Elite sets the AGENDA, and the power to set the political agenda is the power to rule the World. Moreover, I do not believe that U.S. Government is in the Middle East for Human Rights, Democracy, and Global Equity for the "have-nots". I do believe that the Corporate Elite AGENDA in the Middle East is to produce as much OIL as possible while keeping the peace through military force. If that means running the risks of multiple GENOCIDES within the ISLAMIC Faith's divisions, then the U.S. Government and Big OIL is willing to run that risk for the benefit of the Corporate Elite's growing profit margins.

What I never understood about Saddam Hussein's tenure as Iraq's dictator is that the U.S. Government was complicit in his rule. In the early 1960's, the U.S. Government via the CIA put him back in Iraq after he was exiled to Egypt, which is another Sunni Muslim country. During the 1980's, the U.S. Government supported Saddam's War against Iran, and when Saddam committed "Crimes against Humanity", the U.S. Government was still Saddam Hussein's ally. The culpability for Saddam Hussein's rule lies on the Corporate Elite's complicity in his rule! After all, the U.S. Government, France, and then-West Germany all armed Saddam Hussein's military, which he then used to kill his own Peoples.

The only way I would support military action against Iran is if they threatened Israel with another Holocaust of the Jewish People. If I were president, and Iran threatened Israel, I would take out Iran with many Nuclear Bombs! Otherwise, I would go through the U.S. Congress as John Olver and others have suggested if military action was needed.

In closing, I find President Bush's Oil Wars to be hypocritical. The president's wars are for just that: Big OIL!

In Dissent,

Jonathan A. Melle

-----

Olver blasts Bush for threatening stance on Iran
By Evan Lehmann, Transcript Washington Bureau
North Adams Transcript [Online]
Friday, August 31, 2007
WASHINGTON — Massachusetts Congressman John Olver expressed concern Thursday about President Bush's threatening stance toward Iran, saying the president is making "exactly the same arguments" as he did to gain support for the invasion of Iraq.
The Amherst Democrat was referring to Bush's statements this week, including an assertion that Iran is striving to put the Middle East "under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust."
"There's a great many people who are concerned about (an American attack on Iran)," Olver said in an interview. "A great number of people in Congress and a great proportion of the American population is concerned about having another war with another large country in Islam. And yet he goes ahead and continues the saber rattling."
The assessment came one day after Bush accused Iran of "sending arms to the Taliban" in Afghanistan and providing 240-millimeter rockets, explosives and training to Iraq-based insurgents. The pace of Iran's interference is increasing, he warned.
"The Iranian regime must halt these actions," Bush said Tuesday in a speech to the American Legion. "And until it does, I will take actions necessary to protect our troops. I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran's murderous activities."
Bush said the U.S. is working with the United Nations to impose additional economic sanctions on Iran. But he also struck tones similar to his warnings five years ago that Iraq posed an imminent threat to the United States.
"Iran's actions threaten the security of nations everywhere," he said.
Olver dismissed the president's claim that Iran is arming the Taliban, comparing it to the administration's assertions before the Iraq war that Saddam Hussein was collecting materials from Niger for the development of nuclear weapons and that Iraq had an operational relationship with al-Qaida.
Both assertions were rebuked.
"There he is making exactly the same arguments," Olver said. "It's the same sort of thing of misdirection that has gone on from the very first of this process of the Iraq war."
He added that the allegation of Iran arming the Taliban "cannot be substantiated."
U.S. Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., introduced a non-binding measure in February affirming that the president should seek congressional approval before attacking Iran. It hasn't been voted on. Olver said he supports a similar measure in the House.
"There's no question it's very threatening to Iran," Olver said of Bush's rhetoric. "It's quite remarkable, given we don't have troops were he to decide he has the power to attack Iran or the need to attack Iran."
"I suppose he could do it by air power. But we have no troops."

Friday, August 31, 2007 5:07:00 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Dear People, Pols, & the News Media:

John Olver is hosting an annual campaign event in Pittsfield this coming Saturday morning.

As I understand the situation, many politicians, including Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr. and Denis E. Guyer will be in attendance. Please see the public invitation cut and pasted below.

If anyone hears of any more vicious rumors against me or those in relations to me, please call, email or write to me about what is said by whom against me. I appreciate people being my eyes and ears while I live with my family in Southern New Hampshire.

We should all care about each other!

Thank you,

Jonathan A. Melle

---

15th Annual Berkshire County Breakfast In honor of Congressman John W. Olver

Start:
Saturday, September 15, 2007 - 8:30am

Location:
ITAM Lodge, Waubeek Road, Pittsfield
15th Annual Berkshire County Breakfast

In honor of Congressman John W. Olver
Chairman, Appropriations Subcommittee
on Transportation, HUD, and Related Agencies

Saturday, September 15th
8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

ITAM Lodge
Waubeek Road, Pittsfield

$25 Guest, $100 Patron, $250 Sponsor

Reserve in Advance: 413-446-2209

Tuesday, September 11, 2007 12:21:00 PM  

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