Posts tagged policy
Obama nominates Pro-SOPA lobbiest to lead Trans Pac Partnership talks
Remember SOPA? The hiddeous beast of a bill sponsored by Hollywood which sought to jam the file content sharing genie back in the bottle? The bill that the whole Internet world rose up against and forced the politicians to back down on? Remember that? Well one of the lobbyists who headed the effort to severely restrict the Internet so that the media companies could cling to their outdated business models has now been nominated by Obama to head the effort in the secret (to us – hundreds of corporations are in on what is going on) Trans Pacific Partnership talks.
The TPP is a comprehensive trade agreement which will define how trade is done around the Pacific Rim in the years to come. There is a lot riding on the negotiations, especially for Hollywood which now sees the agreement as a way to get the restrictions on content sharing that it couldn’t get through Congress.
And Obama just helped them do it.
(From Republic Report)
This morning, President Obama nominated Robert Holleyman as deputy U.S. trade representative. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Holleyman will help lead the effort to pass the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
Notably, Holleyman is a former lobbyist who led efforts to pass the Stop Online Piracy Act legislation, better known as SOPA, when he was leader of the Business Software Alliance. The SOPA debate (along with its sister legislation, PROTECT-IP, in the Senate) brought a spotlight on industry efforts to undermine Internet freedom through what many considered to be draconian intellectual property policy.
Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
About Nick Sorrentino
Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.
Published on Dec 6, 2012
Narrated by Oscar winning actor Morgan Freeman, “Breaking the Taboo” is produced by Sam Branson’s indie Sundog Pictures and Brazilian co-production partner Spray Filmes and was directed by Cosmo Feilding Mellen and Fernando Grostein Andrade. Featuring interviews with several current or former presidents from around the world, such as Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, the film follows The Global Commission on Drug Policy on a mission to break the political taboo over the United States led War on Drugs and expose what it calls the biggest failure of global policy in the last 40 years.
By Ethan A. Huff
A true statesman and humanitarian, Dr. Ron Paul, simply states the road we are on verses the road we should be on, explaining both consequences and rewards. I feel no individual in office can fill his mighty shoes, but that is not necessary, as the time is now to advance the cause of Freedom and Personal Liberty and the person to carry that cause is you and I, as individuals uniting to create a critical mass, so often mentioned by Bob Schultz and others. The revolution is now in our hands and we each will decide how best to promote the battle for Liberty!
Transcript Location: http://www.campaignforliberty.org/national-blog/transcript-of-farewell-address/
Much thanks to Gary Franchi and Matthew Hawes!
Congressman Paul’s final speech on the House floor before leaving Congress
Below is the transcript of Ron Paul’s farewell address to Congress:
Farewell to Congress
This may well be the last time I speak on the House Floor. At the end of the year I’ll leave Congress after 23 years in office over a 36 year period. My goals in 1976 were the same as they are today: promote peace and prosperity by a strict adherence to the principles of individual liberty.
It was my opinion, that the course the U.S. embarked on in the latter part of the 20th Century would bring us a major financial crisis and engulf us in a foreign policy that would overextend us and undermine our national security.
To achieve the goals I sought, government would have had to shrink in size and scope, reduce spending, change the monetary system, and reject the unsustainable costs of policing the world and expanding the American Empire.
The problems seemed to be overwhelming and impossible to solve, yet from my view point, just following the constraints placed on the federal government by the Constitution would have been a good place to start.
How Much Did I Accomplish?
In many ways, according to conventional wisdom, my off-and-on career in Congress, from 1976 to 2012, accomplished very little. No named legislation, no named federal buildings or highways—thank goodness. In spite of my efforts, the government has grown exponentially, taxes remain excessive, and the prolific increase of incomprehensible regulations continues. Wars are constant and pursued without Congressional declaration, deficits rise to the sky, poverty is rampant and dependency on the federal government is now worse than any time in our history.
All this with minimal concerns for the deficits and unfunded liabilities that common sense tells us cannot go on much longer. A grand, but never mentioned, bipartisan agreement allows for the well-kept secret that keeps the spending going. One side doesn’t give up one penny on military spending, the other side doesn’t give up one penny on welfare spending, while both sides support the bailouts and subsidies for the banking and corporate elite. And the spending continues as the economy weakens and the downward spiral continues. As the government continues fiddling around, our liberties and our wealth burn in the flames of a foreign policy that makes us less safe.
The major stumbling block to real change in Washington is the total resistance to admitting that the country is broke. This has made compromising, just to agree to increase spending, inevitable since neither side has any intention of cutting spending.
The country and the Congress will remain divisive since there’s no “loot left to divvy up.”
Without this recognition the spenders in Washington will continue the march toward a fiscal cliff much bigger than the one anticipated this coming January.
I have thought a lot about why those of us who believe in liberty, as a solution, have done so poorly in convincing others of its benefits. If liberty is what we claim it is- the principle that protects all personal, social and economic decisions necessary for maximum prosperity and the best chance for peace- it should be an easy sell. Yet, history has shown that the masses have been quite receptive to the promises of authoritarians which are rarely if ever fulfilled.
By Amber Lyon
Posted on October 10, 2012
Journalists rarely take a vocal stand against legislation in order to remain objective, but sometimes new laws are such an egregious assault on our basic rights to democracy and freedom that we have a duty to speak up.
This is the case with the National Defense Authorization Act, a relatively new law that gives the U.S. military the power to detain anyone without trial indefinitely, further criminalizing dissent and investigative journalism in the United States.
What does the NDAA do?
The NDAA gives the federal government the power to behave like dictators and arrest any American citizen, or anyone for that matter, without warrant and indefinitely detain them in offshore prisons without charge and keep them there until “the end of hostilities.”
The American Civil Liberties Union, calls the law a “catastrophic blow to civil liberties”.
Obama lied to the public and said he would veto the NDAA’s indefinite detention clauses. Instead, he surreptitiously signed the NDAA into law on Dec. 31, 2011 while most Americans were distracted celebrating New Years Eve. Both Romney and Obama have publicly stated their support for the new law.
“I’m not doing anything wrong, I don’t need to worry about the NDAA”
You do need to worry. The NDAA directly affects your everyday life because it is another violation of your rights to free speech, a fair trial. The NDAA also suffocates information that could expose the corruption that’s rapidly destroying this country and affecting you financially.
The NDAA will prevent some whistleblowers from coming forward with information and documents vital to the public good in fear the corrupt will pressure authorities to use the NDAA to detain the whistleblower indefinitely.
We need to reward, not instill fear in our whistleblowers. They are vital to the survival of this nation. If we don’t know what’s broke, how can we fix it? What if a government whistleblower had come forward before the start of the war to let the public know Saddam Hussein really didn’t have weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?
Investigative Journalists could start being ‘disappeared’ under the NDAA
The NDAA frightens journalists because it turns us into criminals. There are no provisions within the law to protect journalists. As journalists, we take a vow to never reveal our confidential sources. If the U.S. government, or corrupt corporations pressuring authorities, want information on our confidential sources, the NDAA gives them the power to indefinitely detain us by saying the refusal to reveal sources is an act that is “aiding terrorists” .
We are all ‘terrorists’
Another disturbing aspect of the NDAA is that it allows the government to imprison anyone suspected of or even associated with ‘terrorism’. This power is open to wide interpretation under the law and can and will be abused.
Who in the heck is a terrorist anymore? We’ve witnessed the U.S. government and Military-industrial complex mold the term ‘terrorist’ to their subjective and financial goals too many times to trust any use of that word. Even Nobel Peace Prize-winner Nelson Mandela was once considered a terrorist by governments worldwide and put on U.S. terrorist watch lists.
As Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges told Democracy Now, the term ‘terrorist’ is too loose so what the NDAA is really doing is setting up a legal mechanism to criminalize dissent.
“We saw an attempt to link the U.S. Day of Rage with Al Qaeda. Once they link you with a terrorist group, then these draconian forms of control can be used against legitimate forms of protest, in particularly the Occupy Movement,” Hedges said. Corrupt corporations can use the NDAA to pressure the government to crush banking protests, environmental protests, strikes… it’s a slippery slope.
The NDAA will be used to crush protests
Possibly most disturbing is the NDAA’s power to crush all dissent and protests in the U.S., protests that are vital to free speech, change, the survival of democracy.
What will keep the government, possibly under pressure from banks, corporations and the Military-industrial complex, from starting to list various protesters and organizations as terrorists? What will happen when protesters stop voicing their concerns or hitting the streets because they fear they will ‘disappear’ under the NDAA?
The systematic crushing of dissent through NDAA-esque powers is already happening in this country. The family of U.S. Marine Veteran Brandon Raub, says he was kidnapped by law enforcement after posting anti-U.S. government statements on Facebook.
We must rise up and take action to stop the NDAA before it’s too late. Here’s more information on the law and ways you can get involved:
Additional Amber Lyon related posts can be found by following the links below:
Uploaded by LearnLiberty on Feb 11, 2011
For more details on the total Federal debt, start on slide 35 of this PowerPoint presentation: http://www.antolin-davies.com/presentations/ihs11a.ppt
Economics professor Antony Davies illustrates the size the U.S. federal government’s debt and unfunded obligations. He breaks down the total U.S. debt and obligations into parts and compares them with the size of the GDP of countries around the world, showing the magnitude of America’s fiscal situation.
Want to give that graph a closer look? Prof. Davies has made it available on his website here:
Please remember that this video was post almost 1.5 years ago. Since then Washington D.C. has only continued down the path of economic disaster with ever increasing spending, increasing debt, continued wars, increasing entitlements and further increases to the “debt ceiling”.
US Private prisons want You
While economic improvement in the US are slow, it’s still gloom and doom when it comes to the big fiscal picture. Many people are trying to make ends meet in these hard times, but an enormous industry is cashing in.
It’s the business that keeps people behind bars
… Private prison companies, however, essentially admit that their business model depends on locking up more and more people. For example, in a 2010 Annual Report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) stated: “The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by . . . leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices . . . .” As incarceration rates skyrocket, the private prison industry expands at exponential rates, holding ever more people in its prisons and jails, and generating massive profits.
And while supporters of private prisons tout the idea that governments can save money through privatization, the evidence that private prisons save taxpayer money is mixed at best – in fact, private prisons may in some instances cost more than governmental ones. Private prisons have also been linked to numerous cases of violence and atrocious conditions.
By Emma Barnett, Digital Media Editor
Facebook forced to allow users to opt out of adverts
Facebook has been forced to allow users to opt out of their names being used in ‘sponsored stories’ as part of a legal settlement with five angry members of the network.
The legal case against Facebook began last year, after five users were annoyed about their faces being used as part of Facebook’s ‘sponsored stories’ – which allow companies to use the photos and names of people who have ‘liked’ their brand in their adverts on the social network.
As part of the $10m (£6m) settlement the social network agreed to in order for the case to be dropped, Facebook will allow users the chance to opt out of their profiles being used in these adverts for at least the next two years.
An economist hired by the plaintiffs calculated that this change to the social network’s terms could cost Facebook approximately $103m (£66m).
The social network, which is struggling to retain its huge valuation post its recent flotation, settled the proposed class action lawsuit last month and has now agreed the changes to its terms and to seek additional consent from parents of users under the age of 18 to have their names used in sponsored stories.
The settlement rules: “Facebook will create an easily accessible mechanism that enables users to view the subset of their interactions and other content that have been displayed in Sponsored Stories. Facebook will further engineer settings to enable users, upon viewing the interactions and other content that have been used in Sponsored Stories, to control which of these interactions and other content are edible to appear in additional Sponsored Stories.”
By David Edwards
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Sunday repeatedly refused to say if he would dismantle a recently-announced Obama administration policy that allows certain young undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S.
During an interview on CBS, host Bob Schieffer asked the candidate if he would repeal the order.
“Well, let’s step back and look at the issue,” Romney replied. “First of all, we have to secure the border. We need to have an employment verification system to make sure those that are working here in this country are here legally. And then with regards to these kids that were brought in by their parents through no fault of their own, there needs to be a long-term solution so that they know what their status is.”
“But would you repealed this?” Schieffer pressed.
By Mac Slavo
In the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression in which millions of Americans have lost jobs we can expect even more competition in the employment marketplace.
According to AP sources, President Obama will speak today about a new administration policy that will grant immunity from deportation for some 800,000 immigrants who have entered the country illegally.
The Obama administration will stop deporting and begin granting work permits to younger illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and have since led law-abiding lives. The election-year initiative addresses a top priority of an influential Latino electorate that has been vocal in its opposition to administration deportation policies.
The policy change, described to The Associated Press by two senior administration officials, will affect as many as 800,000 immigrants who have lived in fear of deportation.
Under the administration plan, illegal immigrants will be immune from deportation if they were brought to the United States before they turned 16 and are younger than 30, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, have no criminal history, graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED, or served in the military. They also can apply for a work permit that will be good for two years with no limits on how many times it can be renewed.
Opponents of the new policy argue that the move will not only add pressure to an already struggling economy, education and healthcare system, but will likely strengthen Obama’s position in the upcoming Presidential election by adding hundreds of thousands of new voters sentimental to democrat candidates.
While it is illegal to vote in a Presidential election unless you are a U.S. citizen, the only thing a would-be voter needs to cast a ballot is proof of residency (in most States, not even that is required), which is easily obtainable once immunity or legal status is granted.