Monday, April 26, 2010
Alan Grayson Discloses That Dodd Bill Covertly Eliminates Already Passed Legislation Requiring Full Fed Audit
by Zero Hedge
Once again we get confirmation that Chris Dodd is nothing but a paid manservant for his Federal Reserve masters, in addition to being a lame duck, whose last days in office are meant to do everything to allow the old-school Wall Street ways of endless secrecy and Fed bailouts to continue in perpetuity. As Ryan Grim points out "Alan Grayson and co-author Rep. Ron Paul passed legislation through the House that would allow the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to audit the Federal Reserve and, after a delay, release the information to Congress. It was a remarkable victory, with a populist coalition beating back the combined lobbying efforts of the Treasury Department, the Fed and Wall Street banks. The Senate has been more hostile territory for the Fed audit provision. Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) opposes the Grayson-Paul version, but allowed a much more restrictive audit proposal from Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) into his bill." Why and how Dodd believes he can stand against this critical issue, that over 80% of America supports by demanding Fed transparency, is beyond any rational attempts at explanation. How he hopes to get away with it is even more mindboggling.
From the Huffington Post:
The Wall Street reform bill headed for a test vote on the Senate floor Monday night will allow the Federal Reserve to continue to pump trillions of dollars into major banks largely in secrecy, the co-author of House language that would open the central bank to an audit charged in a memo to the Senate.
"The Senate has a provision in its reform bill that purports to audit the Fed. But, it really doesn't do anything of the sort. I'm going to run down the details for you, and reprint the legislative language so you can read it yourself," writes Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.).
Grayson's summary of the bill's shortcomings, presented below, indicate that the "Senate bill would allow an audit of the TALF program and slightly expands authority to audit emergency lending conducted under section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act, but restricts it to very specific purposes. Meanwhile, it would not allow the GAO to look into the Fed's massive purchase of toxic assets, its hundreds of billions in foreign currency swaps with other central banks or its open market operations, among other restrictions."
Arizona immigration bill: Lawyers group to boycott Arizona
The American Immigration Lawyers Association has vowed to boycott the state of Arizona, canceling their fall national convention at the Scottsdale Marriott.
The boycott comes hours after Gov. Jan Brewer signed Senate Bill 1070 into law.
"Right after the bill was signed, our board of governors had an emergency meeting and voted on whether or not we would keep the conference in Scottsdale," said former AILA chair Mo Goldman, a Tucson attorney.
The vote to cancel and relocate the convention was nearly unanimous, Goldman said.
The venue's penalty for canceling the event is approximately $92,000, though the association is attempting to mitigate the cost.
"As an association, we couldn't in good conscience spend the association's money in a state that has this kind of policy," Goldman said.
Goldman said AILA views the bill, which would allow officers to request citizenship identification from any person at any time, as unconstitutional.
It is unknown what the final costs of the cancellation will be.
HORSHOLM, Denmark The lawyers and engineers who dwell in an elegant enclave here are at peace with the hulking neighbor just over the back fence: a vast energy plant that burns thousands of tons of household garbage and industrial waste, round the clock.
Far cleaner than conventional incinerators, this new type of plant converts local trash into heat and electricity. Dozens of filters catch pollutants, from mercury to dioxin, that would have emerged from its smokestack only a decade ago.
In that time, such plants have become both the mainstay of garbage disposal and a crucial fuel source across Denmark, from wealthy exurbs like Horsholm to Copenhagen's downtown area. Their use has not only reduced the country's energy costs and reliance on oil and gas, but also benefited the environment, diminishing the use of landfills and cutting carbon dioxide emissions. The plants run so cleanly that many times more dioxin is now released from home fireplaces and backyard barbecues than from incineration.
With all these innovations, Denmark now regards garbage as a clean alternative fuel rather than a smelly, unsightly problem. And the incinerators, known as waste-to-energy plants, have acquired considerable cachet as communities like Horsholm vie to have them built.
Denmark now has 29 such plants, serving 98 municipalities in a country of 5.5 million people, and 10 more are planned or under construction. Across Europe, there are about 400 plants, with Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands leading the pack in expanding them and building new ones.
By contrast, no new waste-to-energy plants are being planned or built in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency says even though the federal government and 24 states now classify waste that is burned this way for energy as a renewable fuel, in many cases eligible for subsidies. There are only 87 trash-burning power plants in the United States, a country of more than 300 million people, and almost all were built at least 15 years ago.
April 23, 2010 "United States House of Representatives" -- Mr. Speaker I rise in opposition to this motion to instruct House conferees on HR 2194, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act, and I rise in strong opposition again to the underlying bill and to its Senate version as well. I object to this entire push for war on Iran, however it is disguised. Listening to the debate on the Floor on this motion and the underlying bill it feels as if we are back in 2002 all over again: the same falsehoods and distortions used to push the United States into a disastrous and unnecessary one trillion dollar war on Iraq are being trotted out again to lead us to what will likely be an even more disastrous and costly war on Iran. The parallels are astonishing.
We hear war advocates today on the Floor scare-mongering about reports that in one year Iran will have missiles that can hit the United States. Where have we heard this bombast before? Anyone remember the claims that Iraqi drones were going to fly over the United States and attack us? These "drones" ended up being pure propaganda – the UN chief weapons inspector concluded in 2004 that there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein had ever developed unpiloted drones for use on enemy targets. Of course by then the propagandists had gotten their war so the truth did not matter much.
We hear war advocates on the floor today arguing that we cannot afford to sit around and wait for Iran to detonate a nuclear weapon. Where have we heard this before? Anyone remember then-Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice's oft-repeated quip about Iraq: that we cannot wait for the smoking gun to appear as a mushroom cloud.
We need to see all this for what it is: Propaganda to speed us to war against Iran for the benefit of special interests.
Let us remember a few important things. Iran, a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, has never been found in violation of that treaty. Iran is not capable of enriching uranium to the necessary level to manufacture nuclear weapons. According to the entire US Intelligence Community, Iran is not currently working on a nuclear weapons program. These are facts, and to point them out does not make one a supporter or fan of the Iranian regime. Those pushing war on Iran will ignore or distort these facts to serve their agenda, though, so it is important and necessary to point them out.
Some of my well-intentioned colleagues may be tempted to vote for sanctions on Iran because they view this as a way to avoid war on Iran. I will ask them whether the sanctions on Iraq satisfied those pushing for war at that time. Or whether the application of ever-stronger sanctions in fact helped war advocates make their case for war on Iraq: as each round of new sanctions failed to "work" – to change the regime – war became the only remaining regime-change option.
This legislation, whether the House or Senate version, will lead us to war on Iran. The sanctions in this bill, and the blockade of Iran necessary to fully enforce them, are in themselves acts of war according to international law. A vote for sanctions on Iran is a vote for war against Iran. I urge my colleagues in the strongest terms to turn back from this unnecessary and counterproductive march to war.
By Cenk Uygur
We're down to the wire here on financial reform. I can't think of a better time to put pressure on Wall Street and Washington to make sure there is adequate regulation to ensure that we never have another bailout. The AFL-CIO is about to have a protest at Wall Street on April 29th. Great, that makes sense. I'm sure the right-wing groups who are also upset about the bailouts will join them.
If you remember, the Tea Parties were originally formed to protest the bailouts. They were so mad at the Wall Street bankers who destroyed the economy and then took our hard earned money for their efforts.
So, they will take this opportunity, of course, to launch their own protest of Wall Street. They will protest the TARP money, the easy credit, the lack of regulation, the wild risk taking and the excessive bonuses paid with taxpayer money. They're really going to take the fight to them.
Just kidding. They're not going to do anything. They're going to sit out this fight on financial reform and put absolutely no pressure on Wall Street at all. Because they are tools easily manipulated by right-wing organizations funded by corporate America.
I really feel sorry for them. They're dupes. They think they are so fiercely independent when in fact they are the most easily manipulated people in the country. All that anger toward the power establishment and what happened? They were used by that same establishment to fight against health care reform and to try to protect the health insurance companies. Suckers.
Now, when it's time to fight the financial companies, where are they? Nowhere to be found. Why? Because FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity didn't organize any bus rides to Wall Street. They didn't manufacture the outrage they did in protecting the health care companies. They used the Tea Party protestors for their own purposes and then left them on the side of the road, only to be picked up again when they need to protect another company or industry.
I issued a challenge back in January to the Tea Party organizers to rally against Wall Street or even against the Obama administration (Tim Geithner in particular) for being too soft on them. And what's happened since then? Nada. Zilch. Zippo.
So, I was proven right -- they're never, ever going to protest Wall Street because they are ignorant dupes being led by the nose by their corporate overlords. And they think they're so tough and independent-minded. What a farce. The whole movement is a sad joke being played on its own members.
The press loves the iPad, but beware Apple's attempt to shackle your readers to its hardware
By Cory Doctorow
The first press accounts of the Apple iPad have been long on emotional raves about its beauty and ease of use, but have glossed over its competitive characteristicsor rather, its lack thereof. Some have characterized the iPad as an evolution from flexible-but-complicated computers to simple, elegant appliances. But has there ever been an "appliance" with the kind of competitive control Apple now enjoys over the iPad? The iPad's DRM restrictions mean that Apple has absolute dominion over who can run code on the deviceand while that thin shellac of DRM will prove useless at things that matter to publishers, like preventing piracy, it is deadly effective in what matters to Apple: preventing competition.
Maybe the iPad will fizzle. After all, that's what has happened to every other tablet device so far. But if you're contemplating a program to sell your books, stories, or other content into the iPad channel with hopes of it becoming a major piece of your publishing business, you should take a step back and ask how your interests are served by Apple's shackling your readers to its hardware. The publishing world chaos that followed the bankruptcy of Advanced Marketing Group (and subsidiaries like Publishers Group West) showed what can happen when a single distributor locks up too much of the business. Apple isn't just getting big, however; it's also availing itself of a poorly thought-out codicil of copyright law to lock your readers into its platform, limit innovation in the e-book realm, and ultimately reduce the competition to serve your customers.
Here's what most mainstream press reports so far haven't told you. The iPad uses a DRM system called "code-signing" to limit which apps it can run. If the code that you load on your device isn't "signed," that is, approved by Apple, the iPad will not run it. If the idea of adding this DRM to the iPad is to protect the copyrights of the software authors, we can already declare the system an abject failureindependent developers cracked the system within 24 hours after the first iPad shipped, a very poor showing even in the technically absurd realm of DRM. Code-signing has also completely failed for iPhones, by the way, on which anyone who wants to run an unauthorized app can pretty easily "jailbreak" the phone and load one up.
But DRM isn't just a system for restricting copies. DRM enjoys an extraordinary legal privilege previously unseen in copyright law: the simple act of breaking DRM is illegal, even if you're not violating anyone's copyright. In other words, if you jailbreak your iPad for the purpose of running a perfectly legal app from someone other than Apple, you're still breaking the law. Even if you've never pirated a single app, nor violated a single copyright, if you're found guilty of removing an "effective means of access control," Apple can sue you into a smoking hole. That means that no one can truly compete with Apple to offer better iStores, or apps, with better terms that are more publisher- and reader-friendly. Needless to say, it is also against the law to distribute tools for the purpose of breaking DRM.
Think about what that kind of control means for the future of your e-books. Does the company that makes your toaster get to tell you whose bread you can buy? Your dishwasher can wash anyone's dishes, not just the ones sold by its manufacturer (who, by the way, takes a 30% cut along the way). What's more, you can invent cool new things to do with your dishwasher. For example, you can cook salmon in it without needing permission from the manufacturer (check out the Surreal Gourmet for how). And you can even sell your dishwasher salmon recipe without violating some obscure law that lets dishwasher manufacturers dictate how you can use your machine.
Yiddish House press has translated several classic kids' books into Yiddish, a curious and wonderfully expressive language spoken mostly by Jews of Eastern European descent. I just picked up their Eyn Fish Tsvey Fish Royter Fish Bloyer Fish, a translation of Dr Seuss's classic One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Sholem Berger.
Dr Seuss works improbably well in Yiddish. Yiddish's strength is its onomatopoeic expressiveness; and it contains a lot of Germanic words that are cognates for their English equivalents (such as "bloyer," which means "blue;" and "fish," which means "fish!"), but they're pitch-bent enough to make them sound a little off-kilter, which makes them perfect for a Seussian rhyme.
Berger's translation is funny and tight, his rhymes are as sweet as Seuss's originals. The text is written in both Hebrew script and Latin-alphabet transliterations (which is good, since I read Hebrew at the rate of about three words per hour).
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Joseph has been taken to Egypt. Traffic was terrible. Comment Like Share
Joseph and Pharaoh are now friends. Comment Like Share
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Joseph to Pharaoh O Pharaoh! First there will be seven good years, with bountiful harvest. You must fill the royal treasuries with grain. Then, when the lean years come, you may throw open the doors to your granary that none may go hungry! Comment Like Share
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Elijah My new smartphone with Nav software and turn by turn directions is making this year's rounds a breeze! Currently 350 households ahead of schedule.
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Pharaoh Rough day today, so be nice. My dad entered immortality this morning, and I've assumed the throne and become the new Pharaoh. I even took over his account. I'm doing my best to carry on his legacy, but it's tough. And it didn't get any easier after dinner tonight when the cat threw up all over the carpet. Comment Like Share
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Pharaoh sent The Israelites Bread of Affliction. Comment Like Share
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Miriam Eggshell blue. Comment Like Share
Elijah likes this
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Youngest son Why is this night different from all other nights? Comment Like Share
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Pharaoh has posted an album: Construction of Piton and Ramses. Comment Like Share