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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Obama Calls for More U.S. Exports to Asia

WASHINGTON--U.S. President Barack Obama, fresh from his first presidential trip to Asia, called for the U.S. to increase exports to that region, saying even small gains would help put many unemployed Americans back on the job.

"As we emerge from the worst recession in generations, there is nothing more important than to do everything we can to get our economy moving again and put Americans back to work, and I will go anywhere to pursue that goal," Mr. Obama said in his weekly radio address to the nation.

The president's remarks follow his four-nation tour of Japan, Singapore, China and South Korea, a trip he said was prompted largely by economic interests. Now back in the U.S., he promised to continue to focus on ways to combat U.S. unemployment.

Mr. Obama warned the U.S. shouldn't return to relying on growth fueled by consumer borrowing, urging the nation to spend less, save more and get the record federal deficit under control. He also called for a greater emphasis on exports, saying a 5% increase in U.S. exports to Asia would result in hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs.

The president touted an upcoming White House forum on jobs and economic growth, where business executives and owners, labor unions, economists and financial experts will discuss ways to spur hiring and get the economy moving again.

"It is important that we do not make any ill-considered decisions--even with the best of intentions--particularly at a time when our resources are so limited. But it is just as important that we are open to any demonstrably good idea to supplement the steps we've already taken to put America back to work. That's what I hope to achieve in this forum," Mr. Obama said.

The Republican address, delivered by Sen. Mike Crapo (R., Idaho), focused on legislation unveiled this week by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.), to overhaul U.S. health care. Mr. Crapo encouraged voters to read the 2,074-page bill, suggesting that would be "a real eye-opener."

Mr. Crapo said that if Mr. Reid's bill becomes law, it would drive up health-care costs, increase taxes and impose hundreds of billions of dollars of cuts on Medicare, the federal health program for older Americans. He also complained that it would establish "a massive governmental intrusion into management of our health-care economy" and that despite its cost and sweep, it would still leave millions of Americans without health insurance.

"This is not true health-care reform, and it is not what the American people want," said Mr. Crapo.

Write to Judith Burns at judith.burns@dowjones.com

Original here

Democrats hold line, but cracks show

By CARRIE BUDOFF BROWN

Senate Majority Leader Reid during a new conference following the passage of a cloture vote on the Senate Health Care reform bill. | John Shinkle/Politico
Reid will face bruising negotiations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who is intent on keeping intact major provisions of her far more left-leaning bill. Photo: John Shinkle

Senate Democrats pushed ahead with President Barack Obama’s vision of health reform Saturday night – after a day that exposed significant divides in the party that could make it all but impossible to complete work on a plan by year’s end, or even sink the bill altogether.

In a 60-39 vote on strictly partisan lines, the Senate sent the $848 billion health care bill to the floor for debate after the Thanksgiving break, but not before a clutch of moderates served notice that they couldn’t back the bill in its current form.

One key provision – for a government-run insurance plan that would allow states to opt-out of coverage – effectively died in the Senate chamber Saturday, as the last two Democratic holdouts demanded changes to the bill. s

“I am opposed to a new government administered public health care plan as a part of comprehensive health care reform, and I will not vote in favor of the proposal that has been introduced by Leader Reid as it is written,” said Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), the last Democrat to commit to a vote for opening debate. Two hours earlier, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) had said much the same thing.

Their comments signal that weeks of negotiations remain on a bill Obama once hoped to have on his desk by Christmas – and even raised the prospect that splits in the party over the public option, abortion and other aspects of the bill could scuttle passage altogether.

That timetable has always been worrisome to the White House because it would push the delicate final passage of the legislation into an election year, with Democrats skittish about voter backlash for a plan that draws decidedly mixed reviews in the polls.

Senate Democrats, though, are pushing for roughly three weeks of floor debate in December that could complete work on a bill by Christmas. That would be followed by a “mini-conference” over the holidays between Democratic House and Senate leaders – who would hope to have a bill to present to their caucuses in time for a mid-January vote.

“We’re going to have some long days, we’re going to have weekends,” Senate Health Committee Chairman Tom Harkin said. "We’re going to have three weeks. That means we’ll finish on the 23rd of December. And maybe, actually, a little before then – actually the weekend before then.”

The Democratic celebration in the Senate was subdued. There were a few scattered "yays" and applause when the tally was announced. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nv.) accepted handshakes.

Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) made light of the vote as it was going down.

"What is going to happen? What is going to happen?" McCain said, rubbing his hands together in mock anticipation from his seat on the Senate floor. "Oh, this is so tense."

His comments could be heard in the gallery. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), sitting next to him, smiled and buried her head in her hands.

"We can see the finish line, but we're not there yet," Reid told reporters after the vote.

"The road ahead is a long stretch. But we can see the the finish line...we have the momentum...we're going to keep this process moving, I have no doubt," said Reid, who conceded that "We know not all 60 senators in my caucus agree on every aspect of this bill.”

Asked about the moderates’ opposition to a public option, Reid reiterated his support for a strong public option and said Schumer and Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) were working with Landrieu on a compromise that everyone in the caucus could accept.

Schumer spokesman Brian Fallon, though, said that while the New York senator is open to compromise, "no such talks have yet taken place, and there is not any compromise at hand beyond what Leader Reid has already inserted into the bill."

There's still at least a chance that Democrats won't be able to bridge the divides inside their own party on the public option, abortion, how to pay for reform and other issues that could prevent a final deal from coming together.

“Absolutely not," said Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, one of the more liberal members of the Democratic Caucus, when asked if he was open to further discussion of the public option. “We’ve compromised four times now.”

“Four members of the Senate aren’t going to tell the other 55 what to do on these issues,” he said.

Other progressives signaled a willingness to deal.

“We expected it all along that we continue to negotiate on the public option," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) echoed Stabenow.

"I, for one, am willing to work with folks," he said. "We need to make sure we can pass this bill, and if takes flexibility on either side, nobody should have their mind closed to that flexibility."

Even if Reid can assuage the moderates in his caucus by pulling his bill to the right without losing liberal support, he’ll face bruising negotiations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is intent on keeping intact major provisions of her far more left-leaning bill. Pelosi’s version of the public option, for instance, is far more open-ended than Reid’s.

And then there are the Republicans, who vowed Saturday to try to block health reform from ever leaving the Senate.

Democrats are expecting multiple Republican amendments on hot-button issues such as medical malpractice, immigration and abortion. The challenge for Reid is finding a way to shield his members from taking politically difficult votes and to prevent the passage of a GOP amendment that could sink the entire deal.

Reid has promised a “free-wheeling, wide-open amendment process,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who added that Republicans are likely to attempt to filibuster each amendment, meaning Reid would have hold together his 60 votes time and again.

"The battle has just begun," McConnell added. "The American people are asking us to stop this bill, and we are going to do anything and everything we can to prevent this measure from becoming law."

Still, Reid declared victory for the bill and predicted that he could get a version of health reform passed and sent for Obama’s signature. The 8 p.m. vote was a significant milestone in a health care reform debate that has stretched over decades.

Reid’s bill would cover 94 percent of all Americans by creating a public health insurance option, increasing subsidies for those who can’t afford insurance and requiring individuals to own insurance. Reid would pay for this by raising taxes on insurers who offer so-called Cadillac tax plans, bumping up Medicare taxes for the wealthy and creating a “Botox tax” on cosmetic surgery.

Aside from the public option, there are other big differences with the House bill, including how to pay for reform. The House counts on a tax on couples earning more than $1 million a year to pay for it – an idea that has zero support in the Senate.

But as it has for months, the public option remained the greatest obstacle to passing a bill.

Two of those who voted yes on Saturday – Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) -- have already said they’d join a filibuster of the current bill and both have raised objections to the public option.

The vote Saturday was likely to resurrect interest in the idea of using a “trigger” that would kick in a public plan if states lack enough affordable health care options. That plan has the support of a Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe (R), one of the few GOP senators who might cross party lines to back the bill, though she voted against cloture on Saturday.

Some Democrats – including Obama – have signaled a preference for the trigger to bridge deep divides in the party, Landrieu, too, spoke in favor of the trigger.

“Our caucus knows this is a real serious issue for us from the beginning,” said Landrieu, who has been in discussions with other centrists. “A third are for the public option, a third are adamantly against and a third are in the middle. I am adamantly against but would consider a principled compromise because I understand this is one of the issues we have to find a solution for or it could blow up the whole effort.” Landrieu also was unapologetic in describing how she sought more help for her state in the health reform negotiations – even saying reports that she got $100 million more in Medicaid dollars for Louisiana were false. It was really $300 million, she said.

“I’m proud to have asked for it. I’m proud to have fought for it, and I will continue to. That is not the reason I’m moving to the debate,” Landrieu said.

Lincoln instead spoke of de-coupling the public option from a federal government role – apparently a reference to a plan being crafted by Carper for a national health insurance plan that would be run by a not-for-profit firm, not by the government.

Lincoln, who is facing a tough reelection fight in 2010, also put fellow Democrats on notice about the political stakes in her race -- saying she’s already faced some $3.3 million in ads trying to sway her vote on the bill, from the left and the right.

And she laid down a laundry list of concerns, most of which also are shared by her fellow centrists: that the bill must protect seniors on Medicare, make insurance more affordable for small businesses, enhances competition with private insurers, and must not increase the deficit – and do it all without a public option.

For a day at least, Reid could breathe a sigh of relief, having passed a major test of his leadership by holding together 58 Democrats and 2 independents on a vote to open for debate a bill that doesn’t pass muster with many of them.

In sometimes heated floor remarks, Republicans called the $848 billion bill a budget-busting, tax-raising monstrosity that would hurts seniors, small business and families.

McCain said Reid was guilty of budget gimmickry by cutting Medicare and raising taxes in the first year of the bill, 2010, but not starting many of the services until 2014. “I don’t think Americans really understand the scam that’s going on here,” McCain said. “I think Bernie Madoff went to jail for this kind of behavior.”

And both sides sparred over the nature of Saturday’s vote – with Democrats saying it’s merely a chance for debate to begin and Republicans saying it’s a back-door endorsement of the $848 billion plan.

The missing vote was Ohio Republican George Voinovich, an opponent of the bill who announced that he would skip the vote for a thirtieth anniversary celebration of his election as Cleveland mayor.

"The Democrat plan would make life harder for the vast majority of Americans. It raises their taxes, it raises their health care premiums, it cuts their Medicare and drives millions off the private insurance they currently have,” McConnell said.

Democrats accused them of scare-mongering and said the bill is a sensible and long-overdue fix to a badly broken health care system.

“The key elements of this health care reform bill, I repeat: reduces short-and-long term debt, expands coverage, promotes choice and competition, reforms the insurance market, improves quality of care,” Reid said.

Ted Kennedy's widow, Vicki, phoned Reid in the Senate cloakroom immediately after the vote.

She was emotional, as was he, Reid said.

"I will remember the call always, always," the majority leader told reporters. "We both said Ted would be happy."

Original here

Missouri Billboard Calls for Revolution: War Against America


Via Thinkprogress.

Fired Up! Missouri points out that the Lafayette County Republican Central Committee is highlighting a new billboard in the state with steps for a "citizens guide to revolution of a corrupt government": It calls for citizens to "starve the beast" and "vote out incumbents" -- and if that doesn't work, "PREPARE FOR WAR."

Look, I'm all for reasonable and rational criticism of our government as the representatives of the people - but at a certain point you have to pull over the crazy train before it goes completely off the tracks.

Also read the Other Diary on this.

This we have coming in addition to the Psalm 109:8 Shirts on Cafe Press we have stuff like this appearing....

Nevermind the fact that there is no Gun Legislation on the horizon, that the House Health Care Bill practically reverses Roe V Wade and Obama has done literally nothing about DOMA or DADT - still they fear the exact opposite.

And via Huffpo in Colorado we now have this which is accusing Obama of being a Jihadist in support of the Ft. Hood Shootings!

More on this see "President of Jihad" Diary.

As I've written before the hole in the deficit was blasted George W. Bush with his Wars of Choice and the Great Recession of 2008.

First of all, the primary complaint coming from the Tea Parties was the issue of Government Spending, particularly in the wake of the 2008-2009 Deficit. That would be shown in the following chart from OMB in Billions of Dollars (I've added a column showing the difference between these years, item by item, and the percent of increase to the deficit for each item so we can all see exactly where it came from)





Spending 2008 2009 Difference % of Deficit
Discretionary Spending



Defense 612 726 114 9.84%
Non-Defense 508 586 78 6.73%





Mandatory Spending



Social Security 612 675 63 5.44%
Medicare 386 425 39 3.36%
Medicaid 201 262 61 5.26%
Other 411 429 18 1.55%
TARP
260 260 22.43%
Recovery Act
267 267 23.04%
Interest 253 167 -86 -8.85%
Disasters
4 4 0.41%
Total Outlays 2983 3801 818 70.58%
Taxes



Individual 1146 953 -193 -16.65%
Corporate 304 175 -129 -11.13%
Social Security 658 655 -3 -0.26%
Medicare 194 192 -2 -0.17%
Unemployment 40 44 4 0.35%
Retirement 9 9 0 0.00%
Excise 67 66 -1 -0.09%
Estate Tax 29 26 -3 -0.26%
Customs 28 24 -4 -0.35%
Fed Reserve 34 25 -9 -0.78%
Other 17 16 -1 -0.09%
Total Taxes 2526 2185 -341 -29.42%
Deficit -457 -1616 1159

It might seem like a legitimate grievance to point out the U.S. Deficit jumped from $400 Billion to $1.6 Trillion in one year, but the truth clearly shows the primary reason why was - Tax Revenues Went DOWN ALMOST 30%!!! There are two reasons for that, one could be the Tax Cuts Implemented by President Obama in the Recovery Act (except the real impact of this change won't show up until Fiscal Year 2010) and the other is the fact that people lost their jobs (and homes) during the economic down turn - which came to full-blown fruition under President Bush's "starve the people/feed the corporations policy" - that they weren't able to pay taxes the way they did the previous year. They were Broke!

Obama walked into Office with a $1.4 Trillion budget shortfall on DAY ONE. The fact is that the Stimulus Bill actually Cut Taxes for Small Business and the fact that the Banks have actually been paying back the TARP funds - none-the-less these people still rail on!

Wolf Interstate Leasing in Wheat Ridge, Colorado has put up a billboard insinuating that President Obama is somehow tied to Jihadists and the Fort Hood shootings. The billboard features cartoons that show a caricatured President morphing from a suit-wearing politician into a turban-wearing jihadist. The words, "Remember Ft. Hood" appear at the bottom.

Let's not pretend that this type of thing is merely coming from a so-called "Fringe" element - not when the Majority of Republicans believe that Acorn Stole the Election.

The new national poll from Public Policy Polling (D) has an astonishing number about paranoia among the GOP base: Republicans do not think President Obama actually won the 2008 election -- instead, ACORN stole it.

There is a deep seated fear and paranoia at work here. A fear of that which is "Different" - a fear of losing "Their America" - which let's just be frank and admit is, is the "Good White Christian" America. They can not believe or stomach what they see as the oncoming descendency of White/Christian Priviledge and Influence. This is why they have focused laser-like on Obama and in particularly ACORN - because both of them represent the ascendency of the forgotten. The minority becoming the majority and the increasing irrelevance of their own myopic, paranoid concerns.

And of course the number one cheerleader for the Fear Parade is Fox News - who are Trawling For Violence against the President and Government.

Frank Sheaffer on Maddow:

The Truth About ACORN:

As the video points out ACORN has only registered 2 Million people - so exactly how did they cast the 9.5 Million Votes that put Obama over the top against McCain?

Paranoia and Delusion doesn't have to be logical - it's simply exists and continues to feed itself into further and further frenzy. It doesn't matter if Obama succeeds, they will ignore and deride it - if he fails they will Cheer.

They will do whatever it takes, even destroy this nation from the inside - to "Save" it from the future that they fear Obama will bring.

Original here

Senate Votes to Move Health Debate Forward

[Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) speaks at a news conference following the Senate's 60-39 vote to bring health-care-reform bill to a full debate on the floor of the Senate.]
Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) speaks at a news conference following the Senate's 60-39 vote to bring health-care-reform bill to a full debate on the floor of the Senate.

WASHINGTON—Democrats and independents closed ranks Saturday and voted to move forward with debate on landmark legislation that would overhaul the nation's health system and extend health insurance to 31 million Americans.

The 60-39 Saturday vote came after a handful of undecided senators—centrist Democrats Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas—signaled their readiness to begin action on the $848 billion package crafted by Democratic leaders.

The vote was a validation of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's strategy of building consensus first among party loyalists rather than reaching across the aisle to Republicans, a move that would have forced the Nevada Democrat to pare ambitions and push a more modest bill.

"They shouldn't be afraid to debate," said Sen. Reid, who was celebratory after the vote. "This is the United States Senate."

Republicans, who were threatening a filibuster to stall action, said the legislation would cost too much. "Move over, Bernie Madoff," said Sen. Christopher Bond (R., Mo.). "Tip your hat to a trillion-dollar scam."

In the final tally, all 58 Democrats, and the two independents allied with the party, joined together to move forward on the bill. The roll call was conducted with senators sitting at their desks, a rarely used show of decorum that underscored the significance of the vote. Thirty-nine Republicans were opposed. One Republican, Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio, didn't vote.

Sixty votes are needed in the 100-member Senate to end a filibuster. The vote set the stage for two to three weeks of debate in December and perhaps more in January, in a struggle that is sure to color the 2010 fight for control of Congress.

Mr. Reid said he took a call in the Senate cloakroom immediately after the vote from the widow of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat who devoted much of his career to the cause of health care. "Ted would be happy," Mr. Reid said, adding he sees the "finish line" ahead for the bill.

The push in the Senate follows approval in the House Nov. 7 of companion legislation that would overhaul the health system.

Republicans, who are vowing to use every tactic available to slow action and frustrate the White House's top domestic priority, portrayed the vote as an endorsement of the legislation. It includes new taxes and cuts in Medicare payments to health-care providers, in addition to an expansion of Medicaid, the federal-state health program for the poor, and new government subsidies to help lower- and middle-income people buy insurance.

Republicans beseeched wavering moderate Democrats not to fall into line, hoping to derail the bill and force Mr. Reid to deal more directly with the minority party. "Today in the Senate, we don't need 40 Democrats to stand up for what's right. We need just one," said Sen. Mike Johanns (R., Neb.).

But they couldn't get it.

Beginning Friday, the final undecided Democrats starting coming off the fence. First was Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson, who said he didn't want to deny the voters in his state a voice on the issue. "The Senate owes them a full and open debate," he said.

Getty Images

Sen. Mary Landrieu, pictured with Sen. Tom Harkin, has decided to vote to advance health-care debate in the Senate.

Then came Sen. Landrieu. The Louisiana Democrat said Saturday the bill crafted by Sen. Reid isn't perfect, citing a need for more aid to help small businesses purchase insurance, among other things. But she said her concerns didn't merit standing in the way of action. "I've decided that there are enough significant reforms and safeguards in this bill to move forward, but much more work needs to be done," she said.

A few hours later, Sen. Lincoln of Arkansas took to the Senate floor. She also voiced concerns, noting she didn't favor the proposed government-run insurance plan "as it is written" in the bill. But Sen. Lincoln said she didn't intend to hold up debate, and complained Republicans – who are gunning for her defeat next year -- were simply trying to "revive their political party" by opposing the initiative.

"Although I don't agree with everything in his bill, I have concluded that I believe it is more important that we begin this debate to improve our nation's health-care system for all Americans, rather than simply drop the issue and walk away," she said. "That is not what people sent us here to do."

Of all the wavering senators, Sen. Lincoln was under the greatest pressure. She faces a tough re-election battle next year, and polls show the health legislation is not popular in her conservative state. Republican strategists swiftly blasted her Saturday for giving Democratic leaders the "60th vote" to take up the bill.

"Obviously, the pressure from the left wing of her party finally got to Blanche Lincoln," said Amber Wilkerson Marchand, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the campaign arm of Senate Republicans. She said "the people of Arkansas will have an opportunity to hold" Sen. Lincoln "accountable when they cast their ballots next November."

Though the economy is emerging again as a major issue for voters, Democratic leaders in both chambers of Congress, as well as the White House, are heavily invested in enacting health legislation, intending to make good on a major Democratic promise from the 2008 campaign.

Senate Nears Key Vote on Health Bill

2:03

In a rare Saturday session, the senate was expected to approve key procedural motion to proceed with beginning debate on health-care reform after Thanksgiving. Video courtesy of Fox News.

The outcome of debate in the Senate – where the push for health-overhaul legislation died in 1994 -- is the biggest uncertainty facing Democratic leaders and the White House. Not only do Republicans have big leverage to shape debate, but Democrats are not united on details, and difficult negotiations lie ahead on issues like the government-run insurance plan and aid to small businesses, among other things.

The legislation would create a national "exchange" where small businesses and individuals could purchase insurance. It would require most people to carry health insurance or face a penalty of up to $750 per person.

Under the bill, employers with more than 50 workers who don't offer insurance would be required to make a payment to the government to defray the taxpayers' cost of insuring the workers. Additionally, insurers would be barred from engaging in a range of practices – such as denying insurance because of pre-existing conditions -- that critics say have led to gaps in coverage across the country and created turmoil in family budgets. The bill would also create a government-run insurance plan, while giving states the option not to participate.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill would reduce the deficit by $130 billion over the next decade, in part due to cuts in Medicare payments to health-care providers but also because of a range of new taxes. They include new fees on drug makers and medical-device makers, a tax on high-value insurance plans, and higher Medicare payroll taxes for families making more than $250,000 a year.

"Senators who support this bill have a lot of explaining to do," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.). "Americans know that a vote to proceed on this bill is a vote for higher premiums, higher taxes, and massive cuts to Medicare. That's a pretty hard thing to justify supporting."

Original here

Traffic cameras used to harass and limit movement of peaceful protestors

Britain is full of license-plate cameras, cameras used to send you tickets if you're caught speeding, or driving in the bus-lane, or entering London's "congestion-charge zone" without paying the daily fee for driving in central London. And because of Chekhov's first law of narrative ("a gun on the mantelpiece in act one will go off by act three"), the police have decided to also use these cameras as a surveillance tool, to "catch terrorists" (and other bad guys). So any police officer can add any license number to the database of "people of interest" and every time that license plate passes a camera, the local police force will receive an urgent alert, and can pull over the car, detain the driver, and search the car and its passengers under the Terrorism Act.

And, of course, police officers are less than discriminating about who they add to this list. For example, "Catt, 50, and her 84-year-old father, John" were added to the list because a police officer noticed their van at three protest demonstrations. And now Catt and John get pulled over by the police and searched as terrorists.

Environmental activists tend to be pretty forgiving of license-plate cameras, because they're a critical piece of congestion-charge systems that charge people money for driving instead of using public transit. This kind of regressive tax (the £10 charge in London is a pittance and no disincentive to the wealthy, and is crippling to the marginal and the poor) is also much beloved by the law-and-economics crowd, who assume that rational consumers will all be equally disincentivized by a little friction in the system.

But congestion charges require license plate cameras, and license plate cameras are an enormous piece of artillery to hand to the world's police, who are increasingly pants-wettingly afraid of any sort of public protest -- including environmental protests. I support reducing driving as much as the next green, but environmental change will require lots of protest, and that protest will get exponentially harder with the growth of the traffic cameras that are absolutely integral to congestion charge schemes.

The two anti-war campaigners were not the only law-abiding protesters being monitored on the roads. Officers have been told they can place "markers" against the vehicles of anyone who attends demonstrations using the national ANPR data centre in Hendon, north London, which stores information on car journeys for up to five years.

Senior officers have been instructed to "fully and strategically exploit" the database, which allows police to mark vehicles with potentially useful inform-ation such as drink-driving convictions.

The use of the ANPR database to flag-up vehicles belonging to protesters has resulted in peaceful campaigners being repeatedly stopped and searched.

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal Kent and Essex police deployed mobile ANPR "interceptor teams" on roads surrounding the protest against the Kingsnorth power station, in Kent, last year.

Original here