News September 11

Senator Sanders

Sanders Cautious on Mideast War President Barack Obama expanded his military campaign against Sunni militants to include American airstrikes in Syria and the deployment of 475 more military advisers to Iraq. Sen. Bernie Sanders agreed with airstrikes against the Islamic State terrorist group. He called it “a brutal and dangerous organization that must be defeated,” Reuters and WCAX-TV reported. “If we defeat ISIS, it will be the people in Iraq and Syria who do that with the support of the United States, and with the support of the international community,” Sanders said on KWWL-TV in Iowa City, Iowa, and other NBC News affiliates. Interviewed on MSNBC after the president’s speech, Sanders cited the Bush/Cheney war in Iraq as reason to be cautious about military ventures. LINK, LINK, VIDEO, VIDEO

The Bush-Cheney War in Iraq The Washington Post said Sanders is among seven senators who were in the House in 2002 and voted against the Iraq war. “We were ‘strong’ and ‘tough’ under Bush and Cheney. We made the worst foreign policy blunder in the history of the United States. We don’t want to do that again,” Sanders told Slate. Mother Jones said Sanders opposes sending ground troops back into battle but is “behind the president” on airstrikes against ISIS. LINK, LINK, LINK

Democracy is Not for Sale As the Senate debates on a constitutional amendment to overturn a Supreme Court ruling that let billionaires pour money into political campaigns, Sen. Sanders said on MSNBC that “democracy is not about the ability of billionaires like the Koch brothers and others to buy elections.”  “The overwhelming majority of Americans believe that our democracy is being undermined when billionaires can spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections,” Sanders wrote in an op-ed published in Thursday’s Burlington Free Press. In The Washington Post, George Will listed Sanders among those “eager to regulate speech about themselves.” LINK, LINK, VIDEO

Burger King A group of U.S. senators, including Sanders, wants Burger King Worldwide to scrap its plans to move to Canada to take advantage of its lower corporate tax rate, Reuters reported. LINK

USPS “Ignorant and irresponsible politicians and pundits keep trying to perpetuate fantasies about supposed debts run up by the USPS,” according to an editorial in The (Madison, Wisconsin) Capital Times. As Sen. Sanders has noted, the editorial added, the Postal Service is not going broke. LINK

Wealth Tax Sen. Sanders' proposed wealth tax has supporters on both ends of the politicial spectrum. “Reasonable people on both sides can see this problem worsening, and Sanders might offer a starting point for a thoughtful discussion on tax reform on both income and wealth, and a closing of loopholes," self-avowed fiscal conservative Tom Ward wrote for The (Lincoln, Rhode Island) Valley Breeze. LINK

Senate '14, New Hampshire Scott Brown will challenge Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in the New Hampshire senatorial race after his victory in Tuesday's Republican primary. The former senator from Massachusetts said the incumbent Shaheen "keeps on doing what the administration tells her, no questions asked," and added that "even Harry Reid and Bernie Sanders have shown more independence than that," The Conway (New Hampshire) Daily Sun reported. LINK  


Syria Senate Democrats are prepping legislation to authorize the U.S. military to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels to help battle the Islamic State, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. If authority is granted, American military personnel would likely be sent into Syria in non-combat advisory roles. LINK


House Delays Action on Spending Bill House Republican leaders delayed a vote Wednesday on a stopgap spending bill until next week to give lawmakers time to respond to President Barack Obama's request for authority to arm and train pro-Western rebels to combat Islamic State militants. The White House on Tuesday asked lawmakers to provide the administration with the authority to bolster the ability of Syrian rebels to fight back against the militants, often referred to as ISIL or ISIS. The administration also asked for $500 million to pay for the training, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

Climate March Labor unions and environmental groups said they expect a huge turnout for a climate change awareness march scheduled for Sept. 21, The Associated Press reported. The march, to be held in New York City, will take place two days before a U.N. summit on climate change, which President Obama is expected to attend.  LINK


Agriculture Summit Burlington is hosting the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture's annual conference, which will run Wednesday to Saturday, The Associated Press reported. Vermont's Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross, who is president of the association, said the summit will focus on "agricultural literacy" - an appreciation of where food comes from and how farming and ranching work.  LINK

Autumn Leaves Vermont has issued its first weekly foliage report for this year's leaf peeping season, with some early splashes of yellow in the higher elevations of northern Vermont. The report says a few red spots are showing in low elevations due to the early turning of "swamp" maples and sumac in damp areas, The Associated Press reported.