Hundreds of thousands of people packed Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday as demonstrators continued to press for the removal of President Hosni Mubarak. Senator Bernie Sanders said Mubarak should step down now. On Capitol Hill, the Senate beat back a Republican attempt to undo the year-old health care reform law. And the Pentagon produced a report for Sanders saying that it spent billions on defense contractors convicted of fraud. The Nation's John Nichols saw the revelations as the latest evidence that Sanders has become "the Senate's chief watchdog when it comes to the frivolous and fraudulent financial dealings of major federal agencies."
Mubarak Must Go Egyptian demonstrators "have inspired people throughout the world who believe in democracy," Sanders said. "The violent attacks against them initiated by President Mubarak and his supporters are clearly unacceptable. After 30 years of autocratic rule the time is now for President Mubarak to step down and make way for an orderly and peaceful transition to democracy." Should Mubarak step down now? Is the United States promoting democracy in the Middle East? To take the poll, click here. To read more, click here.
Tik Root, a Middlebury College student from Ripton, Vt., returned home after witnessing the early days of demonstrations in Cairo. To watch a Burlington Free Press video, click here.
Pentagon Fraud Hundreds of defense companies that defrauded the U.S. military between 2007 and 2009 still received $285 billion in contracts from the Pentagon during that period, according to a Department of Defense report prepared for Sanders. He called the figures "shocking" and urged the Defense Department to take more care with taxpayer dollars at a time when the U.S. is running a $14 trillion national debt. To read more, click here.
Health Care A Republican drive to repeal the year-old health care law ended in defeat in the Senate on Wednesday. "We have 50 million people without health insurance. "To do what the Republicans want, to do nothing, made no sense at all," Sanders said. Sanders spoke against the proposal in a Senate floor speech shortly before Wednesday's vote. To watch, click here.
Economy The unemployment rate dropped sharply last month to 9 percent, the lowest level in nearly two years, the Department of Labor reported on Friday. The economy generated only 36,000 net new jobs, the fewest in four months, but more than a half-million people without jobs found work.
Social Security For 75 years, Social Security has paid every benefit owed to every eligible retiree, widow, orphan and disabled American without contributing a dime to the deficit. The program is now under unprecedented attack by Wall Street, many Republicans, and some Democrats. "Maintaining and strengthening Social Security is absolutely essential to the wellbeing of tens of millions of Americans. We cannot allow it to be destroyed or dismembered," Bernie concluded in a new op-ed. To read the column, click here.