Action ItemPhiladelphia City Council members are trying to kill Philadelphia's Business privilege tax, but the Mayor has vetoed it twice and will presumably continue to do so.  City Council almost has enough votes to override.  Also, see the 22nd of December Political Allies Newsletter.

Action Item: {Enter "H.R. 4232" into the box, check off "Enter bill number," and then click onto "Search."}
A bill introduced by Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) on November 4, will cut off funding for the U.S. occupation of Iraq. It will allow Pentagon funds to be used only for 1) the safe and orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops, 2) consultations with others regarding international forces, and 3) financial assistance and equipment for Iraqi and/or international forces.

The members of Northwest Peace and Justice Movement advocate that we lobby the following representatives -- The Honorable Robert Brady, 1907 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19148 and 215-426-4616; The Honorable Chaka Fattah, 4104 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 or 215-387-6404; and The Honorable Allyson Schwartz, 706 West Avenue, Jenkintown, PA 19046 and 215-517-6572 -- to gain their sponsorship of HR 4232. 

More items:
Impeachment: Support John Conyers' Watergate-style investigation (H.Res. 635) of Bush's Iraq War lies - and immediately introduce Articles of Impeachment for Bush and Cheney
Getting Out of Iraq: Support John Murtha's bill to
remove troops from Iraq (H.J. Res 73) and Jim McGovern's bill to end funding for the Iraq War (H.R. 4232)

Action item
The Senate Appropriations Committee today reported the fiscal year 2006 Defense spending bill.  This bill provides $440.2 billion in new spending authority for the Department of Defense for functions under the Defense Subcommittee’s jurisdiction, including $50 billion for contingency operations related to the Global War on Terror.
The Committee’s bill is $50 billion for operations in Iraq or Afghanistan (Title IX); funds Army and Marine Corps end strength increases; and fully funds military pay, benefits and medical programs.  It provides a total of $3.5 billion in General Transfer Authority, the amount enacted in FY 2005.
The Committee voted 28-0 in favor of the bill.
UPDATE 10/10:
The Bush administration pledged yesterday to veto legislation banning the torture of prisoners by US troops after an overwhelming and almost unprecedented revolt by loyalist congressmen

The amendment was attached to the $440 billion (£247 billion) defence spending bill and if Mr Bush vetoes the amendment, he would have to veto the entire bill.

That would leave America's armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan short of cash as early as the middle of next month. [emphasis added]

UPDATE  10/18: It's increasingly clear that the strategy of McCain's opponents -- the Vice President and his congressional supporters -- will be to amend the McCain Amendment [The Anti-Torture Amendement] in the Conference Committee so as to exempt the CIA from the prohibition on cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees.
UPDATE 11/01:  Miami Herald responds to desire of Bush Administration to legalize torture by CIA agents with strong editorial.  As of this date, House & Senate are still in conference over bill.
UPDATE 11/6:  Good news!!  The Senate voted to disallow torture.  Now, despite lobbying by Vice-President Cheney "The House, which will likely vote on the measure soon, is also expected to pass it by a large margin."
UPDATE 11/11: If the Presidential Elections are the finals (Let's say 2008) and the Congressional elections (Let's say 2006) are the mid-terms, then the two remaining elections (2005 and 2007) must be the quarterlies.  In that case, the latest quarterly election appears to have had a serious effect on the Budget reconciliation negotiations.  The effect is all good!!!!
UPDATE 11/17:  WOW!! House Democrats Defeat Spending Bill
In a 224-209 vote, Democrats voted unanimously to reject the Administrations spending bill. 
UPDATE 12/15:  Victory!!!!  White House caves, accepts John McCain's anti-torture amendment. Well, er, it appears the vote is non-bindng and there are a few twists as far as what exact laws are being applied.
UPDATE 12/20: Our local Peace Action group urges a "NO" vote on the budget reconciliation package and recommends a call to Senator Arlen Specter at 202-224-4254 as real people would suffer real pain if the current package passes.  MoveOn has more.
UPDATE 12/21:  Senator Santorum's number is (202) 224-6324, but Senator Specter's vote is critical!!
Bill passed.  Now called Public Law 109-148 (in Congressional Record H12293-12641)
Click on  and enter H.R. 2863 to search for  Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2006 to get the latest version.

P.S.  Unfortunately:

McCain got screwed. Bush says he can ignore new anti-torture ban and any other law at will
by John in DC - 1/04/2006 11:51:00 AM

Well, so much for our hero John McCain. And we now have a pattern of the White House saying they can ignore federal law at will because Bush is commander in chief.
When President Bush last week signed the bill outlawing the torture of detainees, he quietly reserved the right to bypass the law under his powers as commander in chief.

After approving the bill last Friday, Bush issued a ''signing statement" -- an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law -- declaring that he will view the interrogation limits in the context of his broader powers to protect national security. This means Bush believes he can waive the restrictions, the White House and legal specialists said.

''The executive branch shall construe [the law] in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President . . . as Commander in Chief," Bush wrote, adding that this approach ''will assist in achieving the shared objective of the Congress and the President . . . of protecting the American people from further terrorist attacks."

Some legal specialists said yesterday that the president's signing statement, which was posted on the White House website but had gone unnoticed over the New Year's weekend, raises serious questions about whether he intends to follow the law.

A senior administration official, who spoke to a Globe reporter about the statement on condition of anonymity because he is not an official spokesman, said the president intended to reserve the right to use harsher methods in special situations involving national security....

''Of course the president has the obligation to follow this law, [but] he also has the obligation to defend and protect the country as the commander in chief, and he will have to square those two responsibilities in each case," the official added. ''We are not expecting that those two responsibilities will come into conflict, but it's possible that they will."
Excuse me? He has to balance the law of the land with his responsibility to defend the country? The two are mutually exclusive?

He just made a blanket statement that he is above the law, any and all laws in our country.