Archive for the ‘lawmakers’ Category

Stimulus Throws Around So Much Money, Some Lawmakers, Families, Executives Get Rich

January 29, 2009

With something like $800 billion in the stimulus bill passed yesterday in the House of Representatives and maybe several trillion more to be decided later for bank bailouts (not to mention the TARP and other bailouts), who will get rich?

If history is any guide, lawmakers, their families and top executives across the country will get rich with your tax money….

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By Stephen Dinan and S. A. Miller
The Washington Times

A top House Republican is demanding an investigation into whether the more than $2 billion for national parks in the House stimulus package is proper in light of the fact that the chief lobbyist for the National Parks Conservation Association is the son of House Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey.

NPCA is a major player in advocating for national parks funding, and its senior vice president for government affairs is Craig Obey, son of the Wisconsin Democrat who has long been his party’s top Appropriations Committee member.

The money included in the stimulus bill that passed Mr. Obey’s committee – $2.25 billion – was about equal to the National Park Service’s total yearly budget, and would be a staggering increase and almost three times the $802 million that the Senate Appropriations Committee approved for park spending in its stimulus bill.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/200
9/jan/29/stimulus-includes-plum-lawmaker
s-son/

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Thai Lawmakers Probe Abuse, Death of Hundreds of Muslim Refugees

January 23, 2009

Thailand has almost always had a troubling record on refugees.  Since the war in Vietnam ended in 1975, people have moved into Thailand by land and sea fleeing death, torture and prisons.  But in Thailand, regugees have often found death, torture, rape, miserable conditions not unlike the prisons the refugees hoped to avoid.

Last July, this from Human Rights Watch:

“Forcing civilians back into an active war zone may be an easy answer for Thailand, but it’s brutal – a completely inhumane and unacceptable solution,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Thai government should cooperate with international relief agencies and UNHCR to ensure that it upholds the rights of civilians under international law.”

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Thai lawmakers were probing Thursday “very alarming” reports about its troops abusing and casting out members of a Muslim minority group fleeing to its shores.

Hundreds of Muslim refugees from Burma (Myanmar) are feared missing or dead after Thai troops forced them onto boats without engines and cut them adrift in international waters, according to human rights activists and authorities in India who rescued survivors. The revelations have shone a spotlight on the Thai military’s expulsion policy toward Muslims it sees as a security threat.

Nearly 1,000 refugees were detained on a remote island in December before being towed out to sea in two batches and abandoned with little food or water, according to a tally by a migrant-rights group based on survivors’ accounts and media reports. The detainees, mostly members of Burma’s oppressed Rohingya minority, then drifted for weeks. One group was later rescued by Indonesia’s Navy, and two others made landfall in India’s Andaman Islands.

Related:
Christian Science Monitor:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20
090123/ts_csm/oboats_1

CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WO
RLD/asiapcf/01/22/thailand.refugees/index.html

Related:
Consequences of Speedy Withdrawal From Iraq?
(What happend when refugee migrations start…)

A group of refugees guarded by the Thai army sit on a beach ... 
A group of refugees guarded by the Thai army sit on a beach on the Thai island of Koh Sai Baed in this picture taken late 2008 and released to Reuters January 19, 2009. Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Sunday that he would meet human rights groups to discuss alleged violations, as further reports emerged of ill-treatment of refugees from Myanmar by Thai security forces. The refugees, the Rohingyas, are Muslims from Myanmar. Many have fled the Buddhist-dominated, army-ruled country to escape repression and economic hardship, but rights groups say hundreds were recently detained on a remote Thai island before being forced back to sea by the security forces with little food or water. REUTERS/South China Morning Post/Pool

Illinois Lawmakers Intent on Ousting Governor Blagojevich

December 15, 2008

Republicans and Democrats alike are calling for Illinois lawmakers to begin impeachment proceedings against Gov. Rod Blagojevich, saying the step is necessary to restore public confidence in state government.

“The General Assembly must move to impeach Rod Blagojevich immediately,” said DuPage County State’s Attorney Joe Birkett, a potential Republican candidate for governor in 2010.

“We should have started yesterday,” agreed Rep. Jack Franks, a Democrat.

Legislators were to meet Monday afternoon for the first time since Blagojevich was arrested last week on charges he shook down businesses seeking state deals and tried to profit from his power to choose a replacement for President-elect Barack Obama‘s vacant Senate seat.

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich waves as he leaves a downtown ... 
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich waves as he leaves a downtown office building Sunday, Dec. 14, 2008, in Chicago. Blagojevich was arrested this week on federal charges that he tried to sell President-elect Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat.(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

The session’s focus was supposed to be about considering a special election, but impeachment is likely to be the chief topic of conversation.

Read the rest from the Associated Press:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081215/ap_on_re_us/illinois_governor