You are browsing the archive for 2013 May 21.

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Sen. Paul Calls for Senate Democrats to Pass a Budget Without Procedural Tricks

May 21, 2013 in Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Rand Paul this afternoon took to the Senate floor to prevent Senate Democrats from using back-door procedures to increase the debt ceiling or raise taxes. Earlier last week, Sens. Paul, Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) stated their intention to object to the budget reconciliation process until Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) would agree to not use procedural tricks to raise the debt ceiling. Below is the video and transcript of Sen. Paul’s floor speech.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH SEN. PAUL CALL FOR A TRANSPARENT BUDGET PROCESS

TRANSCRIPT:
SENATOR PAUL: Reserving the right to object, it’s now been 59 days that the opposition is trying to orchestrate a back-room deal to raise the debt ceiling. Raising the debt ceiling is an incredibly important debate, shouldn’t be done in a back room by a few people, shouldn’t be done through parliamentary trickery or chicanery. It should be done full out in the open under the rules of the Senate.
We are now borrowing $40,000 a second. We are borrowing $4 billion a day. We must borrow from China to run the ordinary functions of our government. In fact, it’s worse. We borrow from China to send money to China. We borrow from China to send money to Pakistan. We build bridges in Pakistan with money borrowed from China.
It can’t go on. No American family can continue to spend money endlessly that they don’t have. All we’re asking for is a common-sense resolution that says we can’t keep borrowing. So what we’re asking is, and what I ask is unanimous consent, that the Senator modify her request so that it not be in order for the Senate to consider a conference report that includes reconciliation instructions to raise the debt limit. And I ask that as a unanimous consent order.
SENATOR MCCAIN: Madam President, I reserve the right to object to the modification and I will object in just a moment. And I would point out to my colleagues on this side of the aisle that for four years, four years, we complained about the fact that the Majority Leader, who I see here on the floor, would refuse to bring a budget to the floor of the United States Senate.
Then in what most of us believe was a proud moment – I thought it was a pretty tiring experience at my age …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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Sen. Paul Appears on Fox's Your World with Neil Cavuto- 5/21/2013

May 21, 2013 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Here's What a Real Political Cover-up Looks Like — Orchestrated by the Right-Wingers Who Know It Best

May 21, 2013 in Blogs

By Robert Parry, Consortium News

Many lessons can be drawn from the failed October Surprise investigation of two decades ago.


Exclusive:Republicans won’t let go of their conspiracy theory about some nefarious “cover-up” in “talking points” for Ambassador Susan Rice’s TV interviews on the Benghazi attack. But they should at least have better skills for detecting a real cover-up, since they’ve had direct experience, as Robert Parry documents.

There have been nine public hearings and countless hours of commentary about the so-called Benghazi “cover-up” – really some bureaucratic back-and-forth about “talking points” for a second-tier official’s appearance on TV. But none of the outraged members of Congress or the news media seems to have any idea what a real cover-up looks like.

In 2011, I gained access to files at the George H.W. Bush library in College Station, Texas, showing how Bush’s White House reacted to allegations in 1991 that he had joined in an operation in 1980 to sabotage President Jimmy Carter’s negotiations to free 52 American hostages then held in Iran.

What those files revealed was how to run a cover-up! Its framework was set on Nov. 6, 1991, by White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray, who explained to an inter-agency strategy session how to contain and frustrate a congressional investigation into the so-called October Surprise case. The explicit goal was to insure the scandal would not hurt President Bush’s reelection hopes in 1992.

Gray’s strategy session followed by two days the White House receiving evidence from the State Department that a key fact in the October Surprise allegations had been verified. Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign director, William Casey, indeed had traveled on a mysterious trip to Madrid, just as one of the central witnesses had claimed.

The confirmation was passed along by State Department legal adviser Edwin D. Williamson, who said that among the State Department “material potentially relevant to the October Surprise allegations [was] a cable from the Madrid embassy indicating that Bill Casey was in town, for purposes unknown.” Associate White House counsel Chester Paul Beach Jr. Beach noted Williamson’s information in a “memorandum for record” dated Nov. 4, 1991.

Two days later, on Nov. 6, …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Sen. Paul Applauds House Passage of Freedom to Fish Act

May 21, 2013 in Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Rand Paul today applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the Freedom to Fish Act, which protects fishing access at the tailwaters of dams along the Cumberland River. The act places a two-year moratorium on the Army Corps of Engineers’ plan to install physical barriers in several locations, including at the Barkley and Wolf Creek Dams.

‘I am thrilled that Congress has taken action to protect Kentucky’s residents and businesses from the Army Corps’ burdensome plan,’ said Sen. Paul. ‘This is an encouraging day for Kentucky anglers, recreational enthusiasts, small businesses and lake communities. I’ll continue to fight alongside Kentuckians in stopping government overreach.’

Sen. Paul was an original co-sponsor of the bill, which passed the U.S. Senate last week. Rep. Ed Whitfield, who had introduced companion legislation in the House, guided the bill’s passage in that chamber. The act must be signed by the president before it becomes law.

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…read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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Reversing Course on Common Core

May 21, 2013 in Economics

Three years ago, states sprinted to adopt national curriculum standards – the Common Core – in hopes of getting a chunk of $4.35 billion in federal “stimulus.” Forty-five states ultimately adopted, but over the last few months a firestorm has spread as the standards have hit districts and previously unaware citizens have denounced a federal takeover of their schools. Common Core, which once seemed like a done deal, now seems like anything but.

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES

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How America's National Security Apparatus — in Partnership With Big Corporations — Cracked Down on Dissent

May 21, 2013 in Blogs

By Alex Kane, AlterNet

A new report is an eye-opening look into how the U.S. counter-terror apparatus was used to track the Occupy movement.


Counter-terror police officers collaborated with corporate entities to combat protests. Undercover police officers monitored and tracked the Occupy movement. A right-wing corporate-backed group hired a police officer to help protect a conference. These are some of the details revealed in a new report published by the Center for Media and Democracy’s Beau Hodai, along with DBA Press. The revelations are based on government documents the group obtained.

The report, titled “Dissent or Terror: How the Nation's Counter Terrorism Apparatus, In Partnership With Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street,” is an eye-opening look into how the U.S. counter-terror apparatus was used to track the Occupy movement in 2011 and 2012 and also help protect the business entities targeted by the movement. The report specifically looks at the activities of “fusion centers,” or law enforcement entities created after 9/11 that transform local police forces into counter-terror units in partnership with federal agencies like the Department of Homeland Security. The fusion centers devoted a lot of time–to the point of “obsession,” the report notes–to monitoring the Occupy movement, particularly for any “threats” to public safety or health and to whether there were “extremists” involved in the movement.

The documents obtained for the report from government agencies reveal “a grim mosaic of ‘counter-terrorism’ agency operations and attitudes toward activists and other socially/politically-engaged citizens over the course of 2011 and 2012,” writes Hodai. He adds that these heavily-funded agencies indisputably view Occupy activists as “terrorist” threats. Additionally, Hodai writes that “this view of activists, and attendant activist monitoring/suppression, has been carried out on behalf of, and in cooperation with, some of the nation’s largest financial and corporate interests.”

Much of the report hones in on the Occupy Phoenix branch of the movement and Arizona counter-terrorism agents monitoring, tracking and cracking down on the protests.

For instance, when JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon was planning on coming to Phoenix in October 2011, a “counter-terrorism” detective employed by the Phoenix Police …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Red State Hypocrites: Inhofe and Coburn

May 21, 2013 in Blogs

By Joan Walsh, Salon

Apparently, we have deserving and undeserving disasters, Oklahoma senators James Inhofe and Tom Coburn explain.


 

Just a week ago, Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe suggested that President Obama might be impeached over the Benghazi non-scandal. Now, Inhofe must watch as Obama declares Inhofe’s state a disaster area and promises Oklahomans “all the resources they need at their disposal.”

Inhofe, of course, believes his state deserves those resources, even though he voted down aid to Hurricane Sandy victims. On MSNBC, Chris Jansing confronted Inhofe about his calling the Sandy aid bill a “slush fund,” and the brazen right-winger insisted the two issues shouldn’t be linked.

“Let’s look at that, that was totally different,” Inhofe told Jansing. “They were getting things — for instance that was supposed to be in New Jersey, they had things in the Virgin Islands, they were fixing roads there, they were putting roofs on houses in Washington, D.C.; everyone was getting in and exploiting the tragedy taking place. That won’t happen in Oklahoma.”

Inhofe’s answer is too dishonest to fully parse. First of all, there was Sandy damage way beyond New Jersey, including in the Caribbean and in Washington, D.C., too. And Inhofe had different objections to the Sandy bill at the time. In a rambling, hard-to-follow Senate floor speech blocking Sandy aid last December, the Oklahoma conservative objected to the bill’s timing — “There’s always a lot of theater right before Christmas time … We shouldn’t be talking about it right before Christmas” — even though it was already going on two months since the storm ravaged the East Coast.

Inhofe was also exercised by the fact that the Sandy bill included what he said was $28 billion for future disasters. But the climate-change denier was particularly outraged that the bill included $3.5 billion to deal with what he called “global warming,” which led to a long rant against cap-and-trade legislation, and then his floor speech unraveled. (Interestingly, Inhofe’s own press operation put the incoherent speech up on YouTube, as though it was a proud moment for the senator.)

Oklahoma’s other GOP senator, Tom Coburn, brags that he’s going to …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Europe's Crisis and the Welfare State: Lessons for America

May 21, 2013 in Economics

The heavy debt burdens of Greece and other European welfare states are the result of profligate entitlement spending and a lack of fiscal discipline. The United States is facing its own debt problem, driven by the rising costs of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The so-called social contract between present and future generations cannot be sustained — political promises will be broken. This special issue of the Cato Journal examines the influence of the welfare state on Europe’s economic crisis, the reforms necessary to end that crisis, and the lessons America can learn.

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES

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Sen. Paul Defends Apple Against Senate Subcommittee (Part II)

May 21, 2013 in Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This morning, Sen. Rand Paul attended the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee hearing that called for executives of Apple to testify on the company’s tax practices. In the hearing, Sen. Paul defended the job-creating efforts Apple has made and lambasted his fellow Members for perpetuating a U.S. tax code that hinders corporate growth and productivity. Following his opening statement, which can be found HERE, Sen. Paul had the opportunity to question witness J. Richard Harvey, a tax attorney and professor. Below is their exchange.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH SEN. PAUL QUESTION A WITNESS DURING HSAGC HEARING

TRANSCRIPT:
SEN PAUL: I think we need to restate for the record and be very clear here that neither this panel or anyone in the committee has said that Apple broke any laws. They are brought before this committee and harangued and bullied because they tried to minimize their tax burden legally. I would argue that it would probably be malpractice for them not to do so. If you have a publically held company and you have shareholders and your mandate to your CFO is please maximize our taxes I am guessing that would probably be something shareholders wouldn’t accept. I don’t know of any taxpayers who really do that.
I don’t know of anybody on this panel who tries to maximize their tax burden. I mean my question for Mr. Harvey : Do you take any deductions on your taxes?
MR. HARVEY: Obviously I do.
SEN PAUL: Do you choose to maximize your tax burden or minimize your tax burden?
MR. HARVEY: Uh minimize it.
SEN PAUL: Do you think you’re a bad person for doing that?
MR. HARVEY: Absolutely not.
SEN PAUL: If you were advising as an accountant and an expert in tax law, if you were advising a corporation and your mandate was to do what is best for their shareholders, would you advise to count all their profit here at home at 35% or to try to do as much as they can legally to pay their taxes at a lower rate elsewhere?
MR. HARVEY: Well as I said in both my written and my oral testimony, certainly what Apple did does not appear in any way to be illegal. I think the question is a policy question as to whether they should be allowed to do it in the future.
SEN PAUL: Yeah and as a policy …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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New Austrian Journal

May 21, 2013 in Economics

By Mark Thornton

The Journal of Prices & Markets, published by the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada, is a journal that seeks to improve the understanding of the role of markets in the economy. Submissions should seek to shed light on contemporary issues while being grounded in a praxeological reasoning. Prices & Markets welcomes submissions from a variety of fields such as politics, sociology, and psychology, where ever they can bring relevance to economic and financial questions.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE