Senator Sanders’ Warning on Student Loans

WASHINGTON, June 26 – Citing a major crisis in college costs, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today urged quick action by Congress to keep student loan interest rates from doubling on Monday.

“If we do not act immediately, the subsidized Stafford loan program will see a doubling of interest rates from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent,” Sanders said in a Senate floor speech. “That would be a disaster for millions of students and their families in our country. We must not allow that to happen.”

At the very least, Sanders said, the current Stafford loan program interest rate of 3.4 percent must be extended. In the long term, the Higher Education Act should guarantee that students will be able to attend college and not be burdened with crippling loans.


NSA Spying Not About Safety

NSA whistleblower Russel Tice has told reporters examples of people the NSA was spying on prior to the PRISM program. Tice says these people were targeted for blackmail and other leverage over them.

:

  • “Members of Congress, both Senate and the House, especially on the intelligence committees and on the armed services committees and some of the–and judicial”
  • “One of the judges is now sitting on the Supreme Court”
  • “Two … former FISA court judges”

D.O.M.A. Struck Down

The Supreme Court has ruled DOMA is unconstitutional. The Federal defensive marriage act which was writting to prevent recognition by the federal government of same-sex marriages is no longer a valid law.   The supreme court has also sent back prop 8 to california, which means the last ruling stands.  Two landmark rulings delivered today.


Love and Equality Win!

A good day to living in the US! Good job, Supreme Court Justices.

The Supreme Court Wednesday struck down as unconstitutional the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that denies federal benefits to same-sex couples who are legally married in the states where they reside. The court said it violated equal protection to provide benefits to heterosexual couples while denying them to gay couples in the 12 states plus the District of Columbia where same-sex couples may marry. The law passed by bipartisan majorities in Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton recognized marriage as only between one man and one woman.


Sanders Statement on Global Warming

WASHINGTON, June 25 –Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a member of the Senate environment and energy committees, issued the following statement on President Obama’s proposals today on global warming:

“Global warming is the most serious environmental crisis facing the world today. It demands bold action to preserve our planet for our children and grandchildren. I applaud the president for saying he will take steps to limit heat-trapping pollution from coal-fired power plants and boost renewable energy production. These steps will help not only the environment but the economy too by creating many, many jobs. But let’s be clear: much more must be done.


Leahy Renews Legislative Push to Limit Surveillance Authorities & Bolster Oversight

WASHINGTON — Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Monday introduced legislation that would add important reforms and improve certain provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act and FISA Amendments Act.  The FISA Accountability and Privacy Protection Act of 2013 will bolster existing privacy safeguards and require greater oversight, transparency, and accountability in connection with the government’s expansive domestic surveillance powers. 


Iced Ice Rink in Brattleboro

I am in shock at the high cost to repair Brattleboro’s Ice Arena.   The Brattleboro Recreation Department as with almost every other department in Brattleboro keeps getting hit with all these expenses.   I read the town meeting notes here, last week. Thank you Chris. Putting all other town business aside reading how our selectboard addressed this issue was comforting. 

Seeing how the estimate of repairs obtain by the town had been so far off from the bid received for the job reading that the selectboard had chose to not pull the checkbook out and pay the the extra 120,000 was comforting. The board wanting to step back and access what other options are out there just seems like the most practical thing to do giving the state of economic affairs at the moment.


Rep. Welch Official Appearances in Brattleboro

Congressman Peter Welch, United States House of Representatives
Official Appearance Schedule, Monday, June 21st, 2013

7:30 a.m. Delivering remarks at the Brattleboro Chamber of Commerce Breakfast, Brattleboro Retreat, Education Conference Center, 75 Linden St., Brattleboro

9:15 a.m. Tour of Brooks House – The Brooks House in downtown Brattleboro was heavily damaged by fire in mid-April of 2011 and Congressman Welch toured the site soon afterwards. Rep. Welch will be receiving an update on planned renovations and the role the federal New Market Tax Credit is playing in redevelopment of this historic building. Corner of High St. and Main, Brattleboro


Senate Panel Puts Spotlight on Older Americans

WASHINGTON, June 19 – The Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging held a hearing today on how Older Americans Act programs like Meals on Wheels reduce hunger and poverty among seniors and save money on more expensive nursing home and hospital care.

“These programs not only work to ease isolation, hunger and suffering, they also save taxpayers substantial sums of money,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the subcommittee chairman. “The simple truth is that we can feed a senior for an entire year for the cost of one day in a hospital.”

Sanders is the chief sponsor of legislation to reauthorize and strengthen the 1965 landmark law that he called “one of the most effective programs ever devised” to address the needs of vulnerable seniors.


The Melting Pot Revisited

I remember hearing the term, “melting pot” used to describe America. That was back in the ’60s. 

The idea was that America takes all sorts of disparate human parts from  Europe, Africa, and Asia, and melts them down into an ingot called an American.  All traces of your old self were to disappear as you took on the new identity.

That was the theory. Of course, America was “whiter” back then.

Now, depending on who you listen to  America either soon will, or already has passed the point where European Americans are the majority.


Rep Alan Grayson (D – FL) on US Surveillance

I got to watch a fair amount of CSPAN last week as I recovered from a flu. One of the more interesting moments came late in the week, after most of the work for the week was through and members could use their time to talk about anything they wanted.

Rep. Grayson, a lawyer and a former phone company president, decided to spend about a half an hour talking about PRISM, phone records, metadata, and government spying on US citizens. It’s a pretty good overview of the known programs, and he offers up some good points of further inquiry.


Sanders Proposes Limits on Surveillance

WASHINGTON, June 14 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced legislation to put strict limits on sweeping powers used by the National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation to secretly track telephone calls by millions of innocent Americans who are not suspected of any wrongdoing.

“We must give our intelligence and law enforcement agencies all of the tools that they need to combat terrorism but we must do so in a way that protects our freedom and respects the Constitution’s ban on unreasonable searches,” Sanders said.


Why You Should Still Write To Your Congressmen (Even If You Think They Agree With You)

Lots of people seem to be upset with various aspects of American life, from education and healthcare to the economy and domestic surveillance.  Mostly we gripe about it and that’s it.  But there’s one simple thing we can all do that will actually help (more than doing nothing) and that is to write to your congressmen about it.  It may be true that no one is addressing your concerns, but you’ll have a better argument if you’ve at least told people about it.  More importantly, there are starting to be problems where it’s a bit like “speak now or forever hold your peace.” Or maybe, “now or never.” 


You Are Suspicious – Domestic Surveillance of Americans

Many people suspected it, but now it is known for certain. The US government is spying on Americans, collecting vast amounts of electronic information to sort and store, and has been doing so for the last seven years.

have the stories, and more reports are said to be on the way. 

Edward Snowden was working at a high level for NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton and was able to see how the various spying systems scoop up emails, phone records, locations, durations, chats, and almost anything you do online. This information is combined with other available information to create profiles of each of us. Snowden has documentation to prove it, and shared it with Greenwald.


Nuremberg Principles Trial of Americans When? Multiple Choice Question for Antiwar Journalists

DESCRIPTION:
Blaming policy, politicians, media, corporations, but never holding America, Americans, responsible as MLKjr did, antiwar journalists expose mass-homicide for thievery by Americans in dozens of poor nations beginning with America’s bloody overthrow of democratic governments in Greece, Guatemala, Congo, Korea, Vietnam and Laos thru today’s crimes in Syria  Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Libya, and murderously occupied Afghanistan,

TEXT:
Preface to the Survey Question:

An Explanation Of Why It Is Put Principally To Antiwar Writers And Investigative Journalists:


Discipline and Boundaries

I read a short report in today’s Brattleboro Reformer about an “assaultive student” at the Austine School who was cited into court for simple assault and disorderly conduct. It’s the second one in recent memory. A previous report sounded much more threatening, and was more detailed, but either way, there’s something that doesn’t sit well with me in reading about police being called for student discipline. As with so many other things, it’s not the way it used to be when I was a kid.

The Brattleboro Retreat, although not recently, has also relied on the police to take authority over unruly or combative youth and there have been past incidents where those youthful patients were tasered into compliance.


Welch Denounces Seizure of Phone Records

Washington, DC. (June 6th, 2013)- After recent reports that the government has been seizing millions of telephone records of US citizens from service providers, Rep. Welch made the following remarks:

“I cannot fathom a reason for the federal government to cast such a wide and indiscriminate net in the name of national security. This confirms the worst fears of those of us who oppose the Patriot Act.


Sanders Slams Secret Surveillance

WASHINGTON, June 6 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today criticized a secret domestic surveillance program that swept up millions of telephone records on calls by Americans who were not suspected of any wrongdoing.

A court order demanding the records be turned over was obtained under a controversial interpretation of a provision in the so-called Patriot Act, which Sanders voted against when it was first enacted in 2001 and when it was reauthorized in 2006 and 2011.

“As one of the few members of Congress who consistently voted against the Patriot Act, I expressed concern at the time of passage that it gave the government far too much power to spy on innocent United State citizens and provided for very little oversight or disclosure. Unfortunately, what I said turned out to be exactly true.


Fear of Speaking Out

Fear of Speaking Freely

Being afraid to speak, is a Civil Rights issue. Students, Teachers, Journalists and the Public should have the freedom to speak freely and to assemble, yet they do not.

Students and citizens need to know, to see and hear alternatives to mainstream media and decide for themselves what is fact and what is fiction. Important issues of fact are being intentionally omitted; key items of history are being rewritten and replaced with contrived innuendo. Few who are normally relied upon for investigation or debate, dare to stand up to these forces.


Sanders: Immigration Bill Needs Improvement, Vermont Senator Faults Provisions on Guest Workers

WASHINGTON, June 4 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today congratulated the Senate Judiciary Committee for drafting an immigration reform bill that would provide a path to citizenship for 11 million immigrants in the United States and help their children become citizens.

He also supported provisions in the measure that would strengthen border enforcement, prevent unscrupulous employers from hiring illegal workers and give legal status to foreign workers needed to keep Vermont’s dairy farms and apple orchards in business.

Sanders, however, expressed strong concern that large American corporations in the midst of very high unemployment were using immigration reform to lower wages and benefits for American workers.