Friday, January 26, 2007

Congressman Knollenberg Avoids Taking A Position on the Iraq War

Congressman Joe Knollenberg has avoided taking a position on George Bush's escalation of the war in Iraq.

The January 25, 2007 Free Press quoted Knollenberg as saying:

My patience with the war is growing thin. We need to see real progress in Iraq soon.

So, does that mean that Knollenberg is supporting the escalation in troops?

Does it mean that Knollenberg is opposed to the escalation?

Isn't everyone's patience thin? Doesn't everyone want to see real progress?

What is Congressman Knollenberg's position on escalation of the war in Iraq?
More importantly, why won't he tell us?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Armenia or America? : Part III

Joe Knollenberg has many lobbyists ringing his line like Right-to-Life and the NRA, but one group has Joe on speed dial. Thats right, ANCA. (Who?) Why... the Armenian National Committee of America of course. Hear what Michigan ANCA leader Ralph Kouritijian had to say about Joe, he gushes, "Rep. Knollenberg is a true champion of so many of the important issues of concern to the Armenian American community. This gathering was an opportunity for us to thank the Congressman for his leadership and for all of his tireless work."

But that's Armenia. What about what America thinks?

The National Review: "Last week, it was revealed that Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R., Mich.), inserted an earmark into a transportation bill that forced Amtrak to haul additional private freight cars or forgo $8.3 million in additional federal dollars. The freight cars in question belonged to ExpressTrak, a company whose owner is a big Knollenberg donor. "

Political Affairs: "powerful Republican Rep. Joe Knollenberg (Michigan), who led the way in blocking meaningful ethics and lobbying reform in the wake of the Abramoff scandal, accepted trips to Hawaii from lobbyists and campaign contributions from convicted Republican Rep. Bob Ney (Ohio) and resigned former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay."

Ouch. Not the ringing endorsement he gets from Armenia.

But Joe Knollenberg has a vested interest in Armenia. He had no problem answering the questionaire sent by Armenpac (The Armenian-American Political Action Committee). He got 100%, always siding with Armenia's interests.

Yet here in the 9th Joe doesn't do so well, first of all he refuses to even answer Project Vote-Smart's questionaire which helps Americans make informed voting decisions (at least Armenian-Americans have that chance). Pontiac is a majority-minority city, yet what does the NAACP think of Joe Knollenberg? Well he sides with some of his constituents in Pontiac, 22% of the time. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America give Joe a mere C.

So again, which is it Armenia or America?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bush Proposes Another Attack on the Middle Class

One of the key topics in President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address is a proposal to TAX your health care insurance benefit — assuming that you are one of the lucky ones who has health insurance.

One of the last benefits left — health insurance — is now hanging by a thread as it is and if Bush gets his way, employers won’t provide it at all.

Not only does Bush want to increase your income taxes by taxing you for your employer paid health insurance, but he wants to eliminate the tax incentive that companies get to provide that health insurance to their employees.

This does not address the root cause of the problem. This will not increase the number of people who have health insurance. (Although the White House asserts that an extra 5 million will be able to afford health insurance under their plan — they neglect to account for the millions that will lose their health insurance because employers will stop providing it.)

This is another attack by George Bush on the Middle Class.

Will Joe Knollenberg stand up against George Bush on this Health Care Scam?!?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Bush's Health Insurance SCAM

Bush's Health Care Plan Will TAX Middle Class Health Insurance Plans.
What Does Joe Think About that TAX Increase on the Middle Class?

President Bush is expected to focus his State of the Union Speech tomorrow on domestic issues in an attempt to raise his approval ratings.

The President knows that Iraq is a disaster and that the American people no longer believe anything he says about the fiasco he created over there. Everytime he gives a speech on Iraq, his approval ratings drop even further.

So, in a last ditch attempt to save his Presidency, he is expected to announce a new health care plan for the Country and a new energy policy. We will focus on his "health care plan" today and tackle his "energy policy" in another post.

The Bush Health Care Plan Is Really Just a TAX on Middle Class Health Insurance

Unfortunately, Bush's "Health Care Plan" is really just a TAX INCREASE on the middle-class wrapped up in pretty words and topped with a bow.

Here is what Bush's plan would do -- for those of you fortunate enough to get your health insurance from your employer, Bush's plan will eliminate the tax benefits to your employer for offering the benefit AND will impose a TAX on YOU because they will consider the benefit part of your income (so you would pay income tax on your healthcare benefits).

So, rather than make health insurance more affordable for everyone, he is going to make it more expensive and less likely that anyone will be able to get it from their employer.

The result would be that those with good health care would be TAXED on their health care benefits. So the middleclass worker who gets their health insurance from their employer would see their income taxes increase.

Also, the other result is that the employers would lose a tax break for offering the insurance as a benefit and thus many employers would stop offering healthcare insurance for their workers.

So those middle-class workers that get their health insurance from their employer would likely see that benefit eliminated in the very near future.

For those that don't have health insurance, Bush's plan would give families a tax deduction between $7,500 and $15,000 for them to buy health insurance and pay co-pays, etc. Of course if you can't afford to buy health insurance today, Bush's plan will not make it any more affordable to you. Getting a tax deduction -- particularly for those that don't itemize their deductions anyway -- would not make insurance more affordable.

Bush's plan would merely reduce the number of middle class families that would get health insurance through their employers. Those who did continue to receive the benefit would be subject to an increase in their income taxes.

The Bush Healthcare Plan is no healthcare plan. It is merely another example of the war on the middle-class. The wealthy are taking advantage of the average working family. Multi-millionaire CEO's wouldn't even notice the difference in costs. But the average working family would find healthcare more and more expensive and less and less accessible.

Regarding Bush's Plan,
Senator Kennedy has said,

But Kennedy said he was concerned that the tax changes could undermine
employer-provided coverage while failing to do enough to help the uninsured.

Congressman Charles Rangel, Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, said

This is a dangerous policy that ultimately shifts cost and risk from employers to employees and could result in a higher number of uninsured.

What is Congressman Knollenberg's position on Bush's Healthcare Plan?

Since he votes with Bush over 90% of the time, it is a safe bet that Knollenberg supports the President's Plan to increase taxes on the middleclass and to eliminate their healthcare insurance benefits.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Armenia or America? Part Two

We all know of Joe Knollenberg's love of Armenia. But how much does he love America? The country that did after all elect him to his $165,200/yr gig. Well look and see.

Congressman Knollenberg stepped before his peers to discuss the need to help our men and women in uniform on January 11th of this year. He said, "Madam Speaker, today I am introducing an important piece of legislation that speaks to our commitment to our Nation's veterans...My legislation would simply make the COLA for veterans with disability benefits automatic each year. Furthermore, this important legislation also has no budgetary impact. In fact, both Congress and the President assume the increase in their budgets. Madam Speaker, Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries receive an automatic COLA and our disabled veterans deserve the same. Thank you."


Sorry about that. Congressman Knollenberg seemed to go through the motions but where was the passion? That lightning in a bottle had when it was Armenia not America on the table? On December 6th, Congressman Knollenberg had that passion, he let everyone know his thoughts loud and clear and Armenia was listening...

"Mr. Speaker, I encourage Turkey to honor their commitments and implement important economic, regional, and political advancements in order to gain membership in the European Union (EU)... It is a well-known fact the regional policies of Turkey cause strain in the South Caucasus region and unfairly harms the welfare of their neighbor country, Armenia. The European Union has
repeatedly called for the cessation of the Turkish Blockade of Armenia as well as normalization of relations between the countries. However, these two pre-conditions to entering the EU have been blatantly ignored by Turkey. The blockade, now in its thirteenth year, is the only blockade of a fellow Council of Europe state. This is simply unacceptable, and I implore the EU to stand firm in their recommendations to Turkey in order to ensure these iniquitous economic practices are eliminated. Mr. Speaker, Armenia is a friend of the United States; and too many countries throughout the world. Yet, Turkey refuses to see the benefits Armenia brings to the South Caucasus region. This refusal has led to fierce tension within the region, as well as unfair economic outcomes that only harm Armenia. Before Turkey can become a member of the European Union, they must first acknowledge their mistakes, foster cooperation in the South Caucasus region, and respect their neighbor, Armenia...Turkey, with a history of bullying their neighbor, does not deserve membership until they change their ways."

Sounds a lot more impassioned than helping out our troops now doesn't it?

It seems Congressman Knollenberg feels a duty to Armenia following his being honored by their President. Why doesn't he feel this duty to us here in Michigan? Joe it is me, not the poor shlub in Yerevan (Armenia's capital and largest city!) who has "Knollenberg" on their ballot.

Since he is so responsive to Armenia since his receiving the "Order of Mkhitar Gosh" maybe we Michiganders need to honor him with some Order of something? An order of fries and a Coney and maybe he'll care about us??