Apr 07 2011
“The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. …” ~ JFK
In the most bizarre twist of irony the DC Whistlerblower Protection Enhancement Act was killed … by an anonymous secret Senator.
Oh how I wish I was a better writer as I am unable to apply the satirical bent this article so richly craves. Feel free to write your own headline to this piece of ironical satire.
Thanks to New York City WNYC Radio AM 820 and 93.9 FM, America’s largest and most listened-to public radio station, reaching over 1,000,000 listeners weekly and their 3 month campaign of Blow the Whistle the truth once again will surface. But first a little background
Blow the Whistle!
On December 22nd, in the face of seemingly unanimous bipartisan support, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (Bill S.372) was killed in the final moments of the last legislative session when a mystery Senator placed what’s called a secret hold on the bill. This bill had already been passed by the House and the Senate, but in the final vote on the reconciled bill, it died and no one had to take responsibility.
Why do we care? Because Bill S. 372 is designed to protect government workers from being punished (as they usually are) for exposing illegality, waste and corruption. It was wildly popular – in public. But a legislator (or legislators) were able to kill it, by using an undemocratic device to hide from their constituents.
On January 7th, On the Media, in conjunction with the Government Accountability Project, launched the Blow the Whistle project, and asked our listeners to call their Senators and ask them if they were responsible for the secret hold which killed this important legislation.
With the help of our listeners we have managed to eliminate all but two Senators, both of whom have said that their policy is not to comment on the placement of anonymous holds. The Government Accountability Project has let us know that this project has had the two-pronged effect in the Senate of making Senators more hesitant to use the secret hold, and bringing new attention to the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, which is expected to be reintroduced in the Senate shortly.
Maybe its just me but I find irony to be overwhelming. I mean in this country where we have the audacity to preach to the rest of the world about our “democratic principles” we have something known as “a secret hold” as part of our legislative process.
Mar 26 2011
In 1833 after decades of controversy, since borrowers owing as little as 60 cents could be held indefinitely in squalid jails until they paid off their debt … let me introduce our contemporary version Debtors Prison Redux.
‘Are there no prisons?”
‘And the Union workhouses. Are they still in operation?’
“The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?”
Starting at 2:10 Christmas Carol
In an era where the lines have been all but erased between Wall Street and Washington DC it seems the Corporatocracy has no interest in taking a haircut of any size in this debt fueled implosion. Yet annual bonuses equal to 3 or 4 years of wages for most are continually handed out … and the losses ….. are non-existent. Backed by tax payer dollars the theft continues while no investigation or prosecutions are even on the horizon.
Unless… you are one of the peasant debtors …
Mar 11 2011
In a furthering effort to expose the FED’s utter disconnect from reality and the real economy we find this total belly flop by none other than the NY Federal Reserve President William Dudley.
Misjudging your audience is hardly unusual for those in positions of power. But its best not to cite the price of the new iPad as an example of why inflation isn’t a problem when you head into a working-class neighborhood like Queens.
Feb 07 2011
According to Bloomberg today, US homeowners in the foreclosure process were an average of 507 days late on payments in 2010 compared to last years record of 406 days late in 2009 (a 25% increase).
According to Realty Trac a record 2.87 million properties received a notice of default last year, despite a 30 month low in December caused by the robo-signing scandal, and that number is expected to climb this year.
A record 1 million homes were foreclosed upon and nearly 7 million mortgages are at least 30 days in arrears, but FNM expects home prices to rise in 2011.
Foreclosures have weighed down U.S. housing prices as the nation’s unemployment rate is stuck at more than 9 percent. Home values may rise 0.6 percent for the year, the first annual jump since 2006, according to Fannie Mae, the largest U.S. mortgage buyer.
Jan 23 2011
Since when is the TBTF JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citi, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs more important to the United States of America than anyone of forty four states now facing a budget crises? The amount of bailout money that was afforded the banking cartel is more than 10 times all the US State deficits ‘combined’.
Jan 18 2011
By now it should be no surprise to anyone who pulls the levers in Washington DC. The big banks. Yet some have still not got the memo …
Message to Democratic Congresspersons … check your in box.
Meet Rep. Brad Miller from North Carolina’s 13th District.
What heinous atrocity has Rep. Miller committed?
Rep. Brad Miller is raising questions about Bank of America’s settlement with the government over soured mortgage-backed securities, asking whether the government got the best deal for taxpayers.
[..]In the letter to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, or FHFA, Miller and the others question whether the $3.3 billion settlement represents “the real liability” that Fannie and Freddie bear “as a result of the misrepresentations and breaches of warranty” by the two banks. “Specifically, we request information on how the FHFA determined that the combined $3.3 billion settlement represented the best possible recovery of funds available to taxpayers,” the letter said. In addition to Miller, it was signed by Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts and Rep. Maxine Waters of California.
The majority of the settlement payment stems from investor put backs by bad deals from the Countrywide balance sheet. Following me? At the height of the economic meltdown Countrywide was purchased by BofA. Bank of America is based in North Carolina.
Unless Rep. Miller didn’t get the memo he should immediately call Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and ask what happened to his career career after taking on BofA.
Jan 13 2011
A post not about left/right but about freedom and privacy.
Big Brother has a great new expensive toy and itching to use it. Predator Drones once used for combat operations in war torn areas of the world are now ready to be deployed in US cities to spy on its own citizens.
Aug 06 2010
I can think of no better way to emphasize the current theft of our nations treasury at the expense of its youth than to use the words of Major General Smedley Butler in November 1935.
Never Ending War
We are not suppose to win, we are not suppose to lose …. We have always been at war with East Asia. This post is going to largely stand on its own from the research I have turned up.
WASHINGTON, Nov 2, 2009 (Reuters) – The U.S. government does not know exactly how many contractors it employs in Afghanistan, a U.S. commission said on Monday, raising basic questions about oversight of wartime operations.
Contractors in Afghanistan outnumber U.S. troops there and scandals involving misconduct by employees of private firms on the U.S. payroll in Afghanistan and Iraq have prompted calls by Congress for greater accountability.
[..]A traditional manual count by the U.S. military’s Central Command turned up nearly 74,000 U.S. Defense Department contractors in Afghanistan as of June 30 — more than twice the number shown in another survey by the Pentagon.
A more recent count from July 2010
[..]The Department of Defense has more contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan than it has uniformed military personnel, another newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service reminds us.
“The Department of Defense increasingly relies upon contractors to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has resulted in a DOD workforce that has 19% more contractor personnel (207,600) than uniformed personnel (175,000),” said the CRS report
At 57% of total Defense Department workforce, the number of contractors represents “the highest recorded percentage of contractors used by DOD in any conflict in the history of the United States,” the study concludes.
Its the same Old Story (no date)
Currently in Afghanistan, there are 121,000 U.S. contractors and 68,000 U.S. troops. As a result of the coming surge, another 30,000 troops and 56,000 contractors are expected. But U.S. lawmakers are afraid that the mistakes that plagued military contracting in Iraq will be repeated in Afghanistan. Will the shadow armies be required to protect the Afghan civilian population? What are the chances that military contractors could cause major damage to America’s mission in Afghanistan? Will the Obama administration be able to prevent the waste, fraud and abuse seen in Iraq?
[..]Recently the CIA announced that it had stopped using Blackwater (now known as Xe Services) to conduct raids and other special operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, but some press reports say Xe Services are still at the center of a secret program in Karachi, Pakistan, where they plan assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda members, among other operations.
Aug 02 2010
At times like these you gotta love the peoples House.
ast Thursday the US House took up the vote on H.R.847 – James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010.
As the name identifies the bill would have provided $3.2 billion over the next 10 years to fund free health care for 9/11 rescue and recovery workers who have fallen ill from toxic smoke and debris they breathed at the World Trade Center site. The bill would have also provided $4.2 billion in compensation over that same span.
Seems pretty clear enough, who wouldn’t want to compensate those that were involved in responding to the worst attack on America since Pearl Harbor? Amazingly enough … the “party of NO!” … Most Republicans refused to back the measure, calling it a “slush fund.”
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), arguing that it would be raided by undeserving scammers with tenuous links to 9/11. Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) cast it as a money grab for New York because the bill would pay for care at higher rates than Medicare. “This fund is bloated,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).
Jul 30 2010
Remember how we were all told that by installing new regulation oversight on the banks would fix what is wrong with the economy?
Remember how the same guys who broke the financial economy and stole trillions stood before the world and declared that they now know how to fix it?
Well … one thing is for sure … The Fix Is In!
Jul 27 2010
Leadership is stated as the “process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.”
What makes leadership is the ability to get people to do what they don’t want to do and like it. ~ Harry Truman
Apparently those inspirational words have been lost on California’s Governor. Swept into office on a wave of Republican propaganda and manufactured resentment of the status quo our current debacle sitting in the Capitol has managed to blame everyone else for his shortcomings.
“If I don’t get all of the things that we need in order to be fiscally responsible … I will not sign a budget and it could actually drag out until the next governor gets into office,” Schwarzenegger told reporters after meeting with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce on Monday.