“I think I would answer that by telling you I don’t think we’re losing,” Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, told a Capitol Hill briefing. He added, “I think we’re closer to the beginning than we are to the end of all this.”
When he was running for Majority Leader, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) pledged to end the K Street Project for lobbyists and “lead the effort to bring about the kind of reforms the American people are expecting from Congress.”
But a new review of financial holdings shows Boehner has raised corporate and lobbyist contributions at a faster clip than even corrupt, criminally-indicted former Rep. Tom DeLay:
[Boehner] has been holding fund-raisers at lobbyists’ offices, flying to political events on corporate planes and staying at a golf resort with a business group that has a direct stake in issues before Congress.
Boehner…has raised campaign contributions at a rate of about $10,000 a day since February, surpassing the pace set by former Representative Tom DeLay after he became majority leader in 2002, a review of federal filings shows. [...]
Mr. Boehner’s biggest donors include the political action committees of lobbying firms, drug and cigarette makers, banks, health insurers, oil companies and military contractors. Seven American Indian tribes with casinos have contributed $32,000.
The contributions aren’t for nothing. Just yesterday, CongressDaily reported that Boehner is finally considering allowing a full House vote to increase the minimum wage. The catch? The bill will also include a set of corporate tax breaks:
Republicans pressing for a vote on raising the minimum wage say House Majority Leader Boehner is working to write a bill that likely would include tax breaks for businesses. Reps. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., and Steven LaTourette, R-Ohio, met Thursday with Boehner to urge him to take up the issue. “He is optimistic they can get something meaningful accomplished” by the end of July, said a LaTourette spokeswoman.
a resolution Saturday condemning North Korea’s recent missile tests and demanding that the reclusive communist nation suspend its ballistic missile program.”
Last year’s G8 summit was going to “make poverty history,” and world leaders agreed to cancel the debts of 18 impoverished countries in Africa and Latin America.
This year, with skyrocketing world oil prices, energy will top the agenda of the summit. But rather than working to build on last year’s promises, G8 leaders are undermining those efforts by pushing increased oil investment in developing countries, despite research showing oil production actually increases a country’s debt burden. (See American Progress’ comparison of debt savings to cost of oil here.)
And what about debt-burdened countries that don’t have domestic oil supplies? Spiking oil prices hit their economies the hardest — an estimated ten times as much as the United States. For many well-performing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the increased cost of oil in 2006 will exceed the budgetary resources freed by debt relief:
– Tanzania will save $140 million through canceled payments to the World Bank and IMF, but it will have to pay more than double that amount on the increased cost of importing oil.
– Sierra Leone will spend almost twice as much this year to cover the hike in its oil bill as it will on health and education services for the entire country.
Passing this burden off to people who make less than two dollars a day is neither a viable nor moral way to handle the energy crisis that the world’s poorest countries face. The G8 countries shouldn’t be spreading their oil addition to others. A better solution is making investments today in an affordable and clean energy future for these countries, a future that preserves their environment and natural resources and ensures a capacity to absorb the shocks of fluctuating global energy markets.
During a press conference today at the G8 summit in Russia, President Bush told President Vladimir Putin that Americans want Russia to develop a free press and free religion “like Iraq.” To laughter and applause, Putin responded: “We certainly would not want to have same kind of democracy as they have in Iraq, quite honestly.” CNN’s Ed Henry called it a “tough jab.” Watch it:
The exchange underscores how the war in Iraq has damaged the standing of the United States, to the point where even modest encouragement for democratic reform is met with ridicule.
Full transcript: Read more
“Witnesses said Israeli aircraft attacked Lebanon’s capital Beirut Saturday for the first time in a four-day offensive, striking a lighthouse and the city’s seaport,” the AP reports.
Next week, the Senate will consider a bill lifting restrictions on embryonic stem cell research imposed by President Bush in August 2001. Bush limited federally-funded research to embryonic stem cell lines already in existence, a move “widely decried by researchers and patient groups as a roadblock to the development of treatments for a range of diseases.”
Opponents of embryonic stem cell research frequently cite David Prentice, “a scientist with the conservative Family Research Council.” Prentice claims scientific papers prove that adult stem cell lines could be useful treatments “for at least 65 diseases.”
Prentice’s research is used to argue that enhanced embryonic stem cell research is unnecessary. On June 30, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) — one of the leading opponents of embryonic stem cell research — said “we have derived over 70 peer-reviewed and published medical treatments from adult stem cell research.”
It’s not true. A letter to the journal Science by three stem cell experts — Shane Smith, William Neaves and Steven Teitelbaum — debunks Prentice’s claim:
Prentice not only misrepresents existing adult stem cell treatments but also frequently distorts the nature and content of the references he cites…By promoting the falsehood that adult stem cell treatments are already in general use for 65 diseases and injuries, Prentice and those who repeat his claims mislead laypeople and cruelly deceive patients.
Only 9 of the 65 examples cited by Prentice hold up to scrutiny. For example, “a study cited by Prentice as evidence that adult stem cells can help patients with testicular cancer is in fact a study that evaluates methods of isolating adult stem cells.”
Prentice told the Washington Post “I appreciate them pointing out some of the things…that need to be changed and updated.” You can read the full list of Prentice’s distortions here.