Congre$$ may choose to shut the nation down to protect CORPORATE WELFARE as they tell you and me … go to hell

…America’s Congre$$ may choose to shut the nation down to protect CORPORATE WELFARE as they tell you and me … go to hell…

How A House Holy War Over ‘Corporate Welfare’ May Shut Down The Government

WASHINGTON — Congress is gearing up for another government shutdown, this time over a minor federal agency that most Americans have never heard of: the Export-Import Bank.

Ex-Im, as it’s known in Capitol Hill parlance, provides cheap loans to foreign companies who want to buy U.S.-manufactured goods, particularly Boeing airplanes. The agency has limited macroeconomic significance, but its very existence has ignited a holy war within the Republican Party, where hardliners view the bank as an exercise in corporate welfare.

Ex-Im’s formal authorization expires Sept. 30, the same date congressional funding for the entire federal government runs out. If the Democratic-led Senate insists on reauthorizing and funding the bank, the Republican-controlled House can reject the measure, and shut down the government just five weeks before the November elections.

Democratic leaders smell election-year blood — an opportunity to leach campaign funds from corporate donors that have traditionally backed the GOP. And a Republican-led government shutdown over an obscure agency may be the Democrats’ best chance to take back the lower chamber. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) personally lobbied individual members of Congress to sign on to a bill from Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash.) to reauthorize the bank through 2021, and also pressed members to back the Heck bill during Tuesday’s weekly caucus meeting.

"Everybody is going to co-sponsor this, right?" Pelosi said at the meeting, while a co-sponsor sheet was passed around, according to multiple sources. (A Pelosi aide said she merely asked for a show of hands.) Evidence of Pelosi’s intensity: Heck, a freshman with little legislative influence, had only four Democratic holdouts when he formally introduced the bill Wednesday.

"I’ve never seen internal party pressure like this to sponsor a bill," one House Democratic aide told HuffPost. "Not even on immigration reform."

One Democratic member of Congress was surprised to see her roaming the House floor soliciting support. "During the votes Tuesday, Pelosi was walking around with Suzan DelBene" — a Democrat from Washington state, the original home of Boeing — "asking people to be original co-sponsors on Heck’s bill. I’ve never seen that before."

But the Democratic strategy could easily backfire. In the wake of the 2008 bank bailouts, voters in both parties are wary of corporate favors bestowed by Washington. An Ex-Im-inspired government shutdown could paint Democrats as ardent defenders of big business in a time of middle-class hardship. And some of the most prominent liberals in Washington are opposed to Pelosi’s strategy.

"The Export-Import Bank is corporate welfare at its worst," Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) told HuffPost.

The fight is a culmination of years of activism from tea party groups, particularly the Club for Growth. Republican critics have been vitriolic.

"Ex-Im may not just be guilty of cronyism," House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said at a hearing Wednesday. "It may be guilty of corruption as well."

But at least 41 of Hensarling’s GOP colleagues aren’t on board with his plan to let the agency’s legal authorization expire at the end of September. They signed a letter on Monday urging House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to reauthorize the agency, citing its support for "approximately 205,000 American jobs."

By lowering financing costs for American exports, Ex-Im’s operations effectively serve as tariffs, protecting and promoting domestic products. But it backs less than 2 percent of U.S. exports, and it’s not obvious how many of the 205,000 jobs that the bank claims to support would disappear if Ex-Im were wholly eliminated. Even if every one of those jobs were destroyed, the figure amounts to about one month’s worth of U.S. job growth in the current economy.

Bolstering American manufacturing and alleviating the U.S. trade deficit are, of course, legitimate domestic policy goals. And most developed and fast-developing nations have their own Ex-Im-styled agencies that have no intention of shutting down in the name of libertarian purity.

But the biggest beneficiaries of Ex-Im’s efforts are multinational corporate behemoths, including Boeing, General Electric and Caterpillar, each of which enjoy billions of dollars in Ex-Im largesse each year, according to Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center. Boeing recently cut benefits for its union workers, despite continuing to haul in massive profits. Both GE and Caterpillar have been lambasted in recent years for sheltering income from federal taxes.

Ex-Im Chairman Fred Hochberg said Wednesday that about "23 to 24 percent" of the bank’s work helps small businesses, as defined by the Small Business Administration. The SBA generally defines a small business as a company with 500 or fewer employees, but in some industries, including oil refining, the figure is as high as 1,500.

For all the talk about small business, however, Ex-Im is especially close to the country’s most powerful lobbying groups. In April 2013, Hochberg gave an award to Tom Donohue, the top lobbyist and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the foremost lobbying front-group for America’s largest corporations.

For conservative purists, these subsidies supported by groups like the chamber are a crime against the free market.

"The Ex-Im Bank picks winners and losers, and that is very different from the free market," de Rugy said Wednesday.

Not everyone in the business world is a fan, either. Delta Airlines has sharply criticized Ex-Im for for subsidizing airplane sales to its foreign competitors.

"Let’s be clear about what this financing does," Delta CEO Richard Anderson said Wednesday. "It improves the profit margins of the 10 companies in the U.S. that use it all the time. That’s really what it does."

Almost no one in Washington really cared about any of this two years ago. Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) noted on Wednesday that the last time the bank came up for reauthorization in 2012, "only about six people" attended the House Financial Services Committee hearing to discuss it. Wednesday’s hearing was a circus.

Three organizations are responsible for the Export-Import Bank’s current political prominence: the Club for Growth, Heritage Action and the Koch brothers.

The Club for Growth has channeled populist outrage over the 2008 bank bailouts far more effectively than the leadership in either political party. On Ex-Im, it has received significant aid from the relatively young Heritage Action — the activist wing of the longstanding Heritage Foundation think tank.

When Ex-Im came up for reauthorization in 2012, the two groups had cultivated a substantial list of Ex-Im opponents. Ultimately, 93 Republicans voted against reauthorizing the bank — far short of the number needed to kill it. But it was enough to secure an unusually brief reauthorization period of just two years. Those two years run out as a resurgent tea party claims a boost from the shocking primary election loss of GOP majority leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to challenger Dave Brat.

In the meantime, other conservative organizations have joined the crusade. Some of these groups received backing from the Koch brothers — Americans for Prosperity, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and de Rugy’s own Mercatus Center (de Rugy is a libertarian true-believer, and her scholarship began before 2012, but was still funded by the Koch-affiliated Mercatus). The Kochs have even helped bankroll a superhero satire project called The Kronies, which ran a short cartoon attacking Ex-Im titled, "Laughing All The Way To the Export Import Bank." The flood of institutional effort has made enmity toward Ex-Im a staple of popular conservatism similar to the old hostility directed at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The Koch opposition is particularly rich, given that at least three Koch enterprises — Georgia-Pacific Corp., John Zink Co., and Koch Heat Transfer Co.— have all applied for and received Ex-Im assistance.

Pelosi’s shutdown gambit depends on a united Democratic front and a divided GOP. A consistent Republican chorus of "end corporate welfare" would be hard to counter, while GOP squabbling would be easy to malign during campaign season as yet another example of Republican ideology run amok — a revisit to last fall, when the GOP shut the government over the Affordable Care Act.

But Pelosi’s near-unanimity on Ex-Im does not include two highly respected figures in the progressive movement, each with the power to bring down that narrative: Grayson and Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas).

"We are extending the full faith and credit of the U.S. government to foreign companies, when we should be extending it to the American middle class instead," said Grayson. "When these foreign borrowers go broke one day, as they surely will, our taxpayers will end up on the hook for their debt. And all for the sake of U.S. exports that would have happened anyway."

One obvious middle-ground would be to reauthorize the agency and reform its operations to limit handouts to corporate behemoths. But GOP hostility to the agency’s very existence isn’t likely to be mollified by half-measures, and Grayson isn’t the first Democrat to cry "corporate welfare" on Ex-Im. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was a persistent critic during his tenure in the House, and then-Sen. Barack Obama, who has been silent about the current reauthorization battle as president, invoked language similar to Grayson’s on the presidential campaign trail in 2008.

 

"I’m not a Democrat who believes that we can or should defend every government program, just because it’s there," Obama said. "Like waste at the Economic Development Agency, and the Export-Import Bank that’s become little more than a fund for corporate welfare."

When money speaks the truth is silent…. Russian Proverb 

Remember it is solely your decision whether this information is sufficiently “vetted” & by whom

Fat Lies and the Liars Who Told Them…

clip_image00210 Big Fat Lies and the Liars Who Told Them…

 

From Joseph Macarthy’s red scare to Reagan’s big scandal,these whoppers have affected millions.

 

Investigative journalist Chuck Lewis joined Bill this week to discuss his new book, 935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity, that looks at the history of government officials and media pundits speaking and repeating (and repeating and repeating) untruths to shape public opinion and policy.

The title of the book refers to the number of times President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other top administration officials made false statements in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. But the book has a far greater scope, looking at how lies have shaped American policy over several decades.

Here are 10 notable whoppers that affected hundreds, thousands, and in some cases, millions of lives.

1. President Barack Obama on health insurance plans    “If you like the [health care] plan you have, you can keep it.”

President Barack Obama, June 6, 2009 (similarly stated numerous times)

The Affordable Care Act imposed new standards on health care plans, such as a minimum required set of benefits, and limits on total out-of-pocket expenses. A small percentage of existing plans did not meet these standards, and in some cases, the insurance company that had offered them decided to discontinue them. They were, in effect, “canceled.” Though these plans were not very comprehensive, a fraction of the 4-to-5 percent of Americans who had purchased them were upset when they discovered they would not be able to keep them after all. The president’s oft-repeated — and now demonstrably false — claim added fuel to the fire. The administration imposed a temporary “keep your plan” fix to the health care law, and extended it through the midterm elections.

2. President George W. Bush on weapons of mass destruction  “We found the weapons of mass destruction [in Iraq]. We found biological laboratories.”

President George W. Bush, May 29, 2003

In the run-up to the 2003 US-led coalition invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration offered up many reasons for invading and removing Saddam Hussein from power, but WMDs was the foremost one. The false claim was the primary argument for a war and occupation that claimed the lives of about 5,000 coalition soldiers and nearly a half a million Iraqis.

In April 2005, the CIA closed its investigation into weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, finding nothing.

3. Vice President Dick Cheney on weapons of mass destruction  “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.”

Vice President Dick Cheney, August 26, 2002

Dick Cheney made much of the weapons of mass destruction claim as well as other false statements while he was vice president. And he remains convinced that invading Iraq was justified; last year he told a reporter that even if the US only succeeded in eliminating the potential of WMDs in Iraq, it was worth the war effort.

4. R.J. Reynolds on the health hazards of cigarettes  “Cigarette smoking is no more ‘addictive’ than coffee, tea or Twinkies.”

James W. Johnston, CEO of RJR Nabisco, April 14, 1994

For over half a century, American cigarette manufacturers denied that their products were addictive and dangerous, and suppressed their own research that confirmed it. The quote comes from written testimony submitted in a 1994 congressional hearing during which executives from the seven largest tobacco companies admitted that there “may be” some health risks to smoking, but denied that cigarettes were addictive, and that they manipulated nicotine levels to make them more so.

A court order compels tobacco companies to apologize in a series of advertisements that will appear in major newspapers and other media if their appeals are rejected.

5. President Ronald Reagan on the Iran-Contra scandal  “In spite of the wildly speculative and false stories of arms for hostages and alleged ransom payments, we did not, repeat, did not, trade weapons or anything else for hostages. Nor will we.”

President Ronald Reagan, November 13, 1986

The Iran-Contra affair broke when it was revealed that the US government had covertly sold weapons to Iran in spite of an embargo. More illegal still, a portion of the money from the sales was directed to anti-communist rebels in Nicaragua, which Congress had explicitly banned the administration from funding. It remains up for debate how much President Reagan personally knew about the operation, but he had become “frustrated” by a group of Iranian terrorists holding seven Americans hostage in Lebanon, and may have been trying to curry favor with them. In March 1987, he appeared on television and said: “A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that’s true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not. As the Tower board reported, what began as a strategic opening to Iran deteriorated, in its implementation, into trading arms for hostages.”

6. The Reagan administration on the the El Mozote massacre ..“There is no evidence to confirm that [US-supported El Salvador] government forces systematically massacred civilians in the [El Mozote] operations zone.”

Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Enders, February 8, 1982

The US initially denied that the American-supported right-wing government of El Salvador massacred innocent villagers in a counterinsurgency campaign against left-wing guerillas. The massacre was one of the deadliest incidents of the proxy battles the US engaged in throughout the world during the final decades of the Cold War. Enders made the statement above roughly a week after eyewitness accounts of the murders appeared in major American newspapers.

7. President Richard Nixon on the Watergate break-inI can say categorically that… no one in the White House staff, no one in this administration, presently employed, was involved in this very bizarre incident.”

President Richard Nixon, discussing the Watergate burglary, August 29, 1972

In fact, many of Nixon’s top staffers were involved in what would come to be known as the Watergate scandal. In June 1973, former White House counsel John Dean testified that he discussed the Watergate cover-up effort with Nixon at least 35 times. Nixon resigned the following summer. “I deeply regret any injuries that may have been done in the course of the events that led to this decision,” he said.

8. President Richard Nixon on covert operations in Chile ..“For us to have intervened [in Chile] – intervened in a free election and to have turned it around – I think would have had repercussions all over Latin America…”

President Richard Nixon, January 4, 1971

The US was, in fact, carrying out covert operations in Chile, and was providing funding through the CIA to overthrow the newly elected Marxist President Salvadore Allende. Nixon even joked about their semi-successful efforts later in 1971 with Henry Kissinger, a conversation caught on Nixon’s infamous taping system. In 1973, the US-backed anti-government forces would be successful; in a violent coup, General Augusto Pinochet overthrew Allende’s government. Pinochet’s new government killed at least 3,197 people and tortured about 29,000 during a 17-year rule. Nixon was, however, partially correct: American efforts to unseat left-leaning governments and replace them with right-wing dictators did have “repercussions all over Latin America” — and around the world.

9. President Lyndon Johnson on the Vietnam War  We are not about to send American boys nine or ten thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.”

President Lyndon Johnson, October 1964

In total, 3,403,000 US service members were deployed to Southeast Asia between 1964 and 1975. Roughly 60,000 were killed, and over 150,000 were injured. Millions of Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians also died in the war.

10. Senator Joseph McCarthy on communism  “I have here in my hand a list of 205 [State Department employees] that were known to the secretary of state as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department.”

Senator Joseph McCarthy, February 9, 1950

This statement was Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy’s first declaration setting off the phenomenon that would later bare his name, McCarthyism, also known as the second red scare. He would go on to accuse an array of institutions and public figures of being communist sympathizers. His allegations were almost all false.

 

"Whoever controls the media, controls your mind." – Jim Morrison

Remember it is solely your decision whether this information is sufficiently “vetted” & by whom

Another court ruling further dividing

…Another court ruling further dividing … separating … Americans and for what … this is a path to religious separateness and private enclaves … is this the direction for America we want…?

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that for-profit employers with religious objections can opt out of providing contraception coverage under Obamacare.

 

The decision could open the door to other employers seeking to withhold coverage for other medical procedures at odds with firm religious beliefs.

 

For more information… http://www.politico.com

 

When money speaks the truth is silent…. Russian Proverb 

Remember it is solely your decision whether this information is sufficiently “vetted” & by whom

WE DO NOT REQUIRE AUTHENTIC LABELING

…CONSIDER AS WE DO NOT REQUIRE AUTHENTIC LABELING WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT GMO OR CHEMICALS ARE IN ANY OF THE FOODS WE CONSUME…

NATURAL NEWS REPORTS ……..Yogurt buyers beware: "All Natural" yogurts have been found to contain synthetic ingredients like aspartame and artificial coloring chemicals.

So how do yogurt makers get away with claiming these are "all natural?" It’s simple: THEY LIE.

Here’s the proof:
http://www.naturalnews.com/045791_all_natural_yogurt_aspartame_Yoplait.html

 

"Whoever controls the media, controls your mind." – Jim Morrison

Remember it is solely your decision whether this information is sufficiently “vetted” & by whom

Is there anything that is NOT a $ecret

…Is there anything that is NOT a $ecret…?

Red Cross Calls Sandy Spending ‘Trade Secret’

06-27-2014  •  newser.com The Red Cross raised more than $300 million for Superstorm Sandy disaster relief, but it is refusing to say how it raised or spent the cash. 

There’s a government inside the government and I don’t control it." – Bill Clinton

Remember it is solely your decision whether this information is sufficiently “vetted” & by whom

there are grains of fact surrounded by gross hysteria …

…Just a bit too much hyperbole … there are grains of fact surrounded by gross hysteria … these area will not be uninhabitable there just won’t be as many people living there…

NATRUAL NEWS REPORTS … Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix and other large cities are headed for an inevitable water supply collapse. Ultimately, all these cities will be uninhabitable, and a mass migration of Americans will be under way:
http://www.naturalnews.com/045790_Las_Vegas_water_supply_imminent_collapse.html

 

You can’t give the government the power to do good without also giving it the power to do bad – in fact, to do anything it wants.

…Remember it is solely your decision whether this information is sufficiently “vetted” & by whom…

Nana, nana, nana we don’t have to tell you so there

…Nana, nana, nana we don’t have to tell you so there…! clip_image002

We’ll Never Know What’s Behind The Curtain

Ask an engineer and he may be happy to explain the theory behind the little magic black box, whose digital readout is, standing alone, sufficient to put a person in prison.  When the Breathalyzer 5000 was accepted as proof of drunk driving, it became a fixture of the law.  There aren’t many bank robbers, but there are a ton of drunk drivers. We know because the box says so.

In time, the magic science of the box became the subject of scrutiny.  Experts questioned its accuracy, both internally and theoretically.  After all, it purported to measure the alcohol in a person’s breath, while the salient information was the alcohol in a person’s blood.  It gave a number, which conclusively proved a crime notwithstanding the absence of evidence that the number, at first .10 BAC and then lower and lower, as MADD gained influence and legislators had fewer criminal dragons to slay, that condemned people without regard to any real harm.

Prohibition may have failed, but we’ve never really gotten over the moralist’s hatred of evil intoxicating beverages.  And this black box made it easy-peasy to nail the culprits.

And then there was the question of why the digital readout number was a real number in any event.  Courts blindly relied on the integrity of the magic box, because it seemed very sciency and lawyers love science, even if we know nothing about it. It removes the dilemma of having to think too hard about evidence. Thinking too hard gives people headaches. So does booze. Headaches are bad. Stop the headaches.

But there was a chance, a tiny crack, that we could revisit the efficacy of the beloved black box when a petition for a writ of certiorari was submitted to the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Terry Vangelder out of San Diego.

The case comes from San Diego County, where Terry Vangelder was stopped by a highway patrolman in December 2007 after driving his pickup truck at speeds of more than 125 mph. With Vangelder’s consent, the officer administered two breath tests that registered .095 and .086 percent.

At Vangelder’s trial, the defense offered testimony by Michael Hlastala, a University of Washington professor of medicine and physiology. He said breath-testing machines are unreliable because they measure the content of exhaled air, which can be affected by the rate of breathing and other variables, rather than air that is deep in the lungs and closer to the bloodstream.

Vangelder’s lawyer, Charles Sevilla, argued that the California ruling was “unduly trusting in the infallibility of government testing of these machines.”   Unduly, as in the box was handed down to Moses on Mt. Sinai.

As Shaun Martin explains at the California Appellate Report, the magic box is “roughly” reliable.

One reason for the “roughness” is what’s called the “partition ratio”.  Simply put, with some people, more booze gets through the aveolar sacs to the lungs, than with other people.  This ratio varies from person to person.  Women are generally different than men.  Lung capacity (and condition) also plays a role.  There is, in short, a ton of variability.

None of which matters to the Legislature.  The Legislature has by definition set the partition ratio at 2100 to 1.  We’re going to declare – despite the fact that we know it’s not true — that the amount of alcohol in 2100 parts of breath by volume is equal to the amount of alcohol in 1 milliliter of blood.

When you do that, by definition, you know you’re convicting “innocent” people — people who do not, in fact, have a blood-alcohol concentration of .08.  Indeed, we’ve done studies, and we know almost exactly how many innocent people we’ll throw into jail as a result.

Martin poses the question of Blackstone’s ratio, that it’s better that 10 guilty men go free than one innocent man be convicted.  So we know we’re convicting innocents for drunk driving because the variability of the breathalyzer makes it impossible to do otherwise.

The other way to solve this problem, however, is to do what the Legislature and the California Supreme Court have done here.  It’s to say that we don’t care.  To define the offense in a way that makes someone guilty even if we know they may not in fact have the characteristics about which we actually care.  So we may actually think that .08 alcohol blood content is the dividing line between when you can and cannot be allowed to drive.  But we nonetheless won’t define the offense that way.  We’ll instead define it as .08 in the person’s breath.  That way — by definition — no one’s innocent.  Which is what the California Supreme Court says here.  Which is in turn why the expert’s testimony is inadmissible to the per se offense at issue.

This is higher math; when the crime can’t be proven because of fallible evidence, redefine the crime to make the evidence infallible.  So what if a few innocents are convicted because magic black box says so?  Isn’t it worth it to stop drunk driving?

Then again, murder is pretty darned bad too, and yet we don’t tend to water down the burden of proof to make sure that everyone accused can be more easily proven guilty.

Worried about not being able to convict murderers?  Just define the offense differently.  Say that you’re hereafter guilty of “murder” whenever you’ve (1) actually committed a murder, (2) been found with a gun in your hand within 50 feet of a dead person who’s been shot, and/or (3) have confessed to a murder.  Boom.  No “innocent” people have been wrongly convicted.  By definition.

All of this may strike you as questions worthy of some consideration, particularly given the ubiquity of drunk driving prosecutions, and how many Americans get their first dose of criminal justice after a blow into the magic box.  Maybe, just maybe, there could finally be an answer to whether the defense could challenge the magic?

On June 23, 2014, the Supreme Court order list issued.

CERTIORARI DENIED…

13-1012 VANGELDER, TERRY V. CALIFORNIA

No peeking behind that curtain. The black box retains its magic.

 

When money speaks the truth is silent…. Russian Proverb 

Remember it is solely your decision whether this information is sufficiently “vetted” & by whom