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Friday, Oct 31st

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Congressional Birdbrains - Your Health at Risk

1) The Senate is made up of multi-millionaires who maintain power by accepting and granting favors. Those with large amounts of money, such as the Big Pharma lobby, mostly get what they want even though the American public is typically shafted in the arrangement. Senators don't need their paychecks; they get high on brokering power and facilitating deals to the highest bidder, based on whichever political party is most in control and who their friends may be.

2) While the House has some entrenched multi-millionaires who operate like those in the Senate, most members of the House are not the cream of any crop and could not make as much money in the private sector as they are being paid by their position in the House of Representatives (which includes a retirement plan that would be the envy of every American). Most of these people desperately need their paychecks and will do almost anything to keep them coming.

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US approves Indian nuclear deal

The US Senate has approved a nuclear deal with India, ending a three-decade ban on US nuclear trade with Delhi.

The 86-13 vote was the last legislative hurdle in a process that began when an agreement was reached in 2005.

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Ron Paul on the bailout vote

Rep. Baldwin Introduces Bill to Undo and Prosecute Bush-Cheney Crimes

Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin has just introduced the Executive Branch Accountability Act of 2008, which calls on the next President of the United States to

* Fully investigate Bush/Cheney administration officials’ alleged crimes and hold them accountable for any illegal acts.
* Ensure that any Bush/Cheney administration official guilty of a war crime is prosecuted under the War Crimes Act and the Anti-Torture Act.
* Affirm that it is the sole legal right of Congress to declare war.
* Restore the writ of habeas corpus.
* Ensure that torture and rendition are uniformly prohibited under United States law.
* Immediately close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp.
* Ensure that Americans can bring claims against their government.
* Immediately take affirmative steps to protect all documents from the Bush/Cheney Administration.
* Publicly review potential abuses of the presidential pardon process.
* Reform the use of presidential signing statements.

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The 50 Richest Members of Congress

Roll Call’s annual attempt to rank the riches of Members of Congress is hampered by one fundamental flaw: It is based on the lawmakers’ financial disclosure forms, which are extraordinarily unreliable sources of information.

The disclosure rules allow Members to report assets in broad categories, so there is no way to tell the difference between a $20 million investment and a $5 million investment. The top category on the Members’ forms is “over $50 million,” so it is impossible to accurately account for anything worth more than that — like a professional sports team, for example. There is also a gaping loophole for assets owned by the Members’ spouse or dependent children; anything worth more than $1 million in value can be reported as “over $1 million.” There is no way to tell whether that is $1.2 million or $1.2 billion.

The rules also don’t require reporting things of value that are not used to produce income — most notably any primary residence or other home that is not used for rentals. That loophole removes from most Members’ portfolios hundreds of thousands of dollars and in come cases millions of dollars worth of assets. Airplanes, fancy cars, antiques or other valuable items are not reported.

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Conyers Demands 'Immediate Halt to Republican Vote Suppression Efforts'

The chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers', is calling on the John McCain campaign to "immediately halt Republican vote suppression efforts," as seen recently in Michigan --- where a county GOP chair announced his intention to use home foreclosure lists to challenge voter eligibility at the polls on Election Day --- and elsewhere.

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