Category Archives: Congress

Iceland Passes Sweeping Legislation to Protect Journalistic Integrity

The Icelandic parliament has voted to create the strongest media freedom laws in the world aimed at protecting journalists and preserving news integrity.

Known as the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, the new law requires changes to Icelandic law to strengthen journalistic source protection, freedom of speech, and government transparency. It isn’t clear at this early stage if this new law will result in the desired effect but its potential is obvious, especially for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Experts and critics are already referring to it as a server safe law, meaning it would probably prevent servers from being forcibly shut down, if the powers that be deem them a nuisance..

There might be other benefits too.

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Filed under CapitolStreet News, Congress, International, Law, Media, Politics

BP Oil Spill – How Reagan Created MMS to Fail the U.S.

You’ve been hearing about the Minerals Management Service (MMS) lately and their friendly relationship to the oil industry. Their mission is to “manage the mineral resources of the Outer Continental Shelf in an environmentally sound and safe manner.”

That seems a bit optimistic nowadays doesn’t it? 

From the start, when it was created as little more than a lobbying office located right in the Department of the Interior, courtesy of Ronald Reagan and James Watts in the 1980’s and after eight years of Bush-Cheney, MMS has been busy cuddling up to big oil. This was pushed to a logical and absurd conclusion when the Bush administration signed off on big oil’s desire for voluntary, “trust me,” self-regulation — and caved in to industry demands not to mandate the backup shut off switch for offshore rigs that Brazil and Norway require. In fact, this dangerous relationship was taken to the extreme and manifested in the  Sex-for-Oil scandal two years ago. 

Government officials handling billions of dollars in oil royalties engaged in illicit sex with employees of energy companies they were dealing with and received numerous gifts from them, federal investigators said Wednesday.

Between 2002 and 2006, nearly one-third of the staff in the Denver MMS office received gifts and gratuities from oil and gas companies, the investigators found. There was also sex, allegations of drug use and the other usual ‘government workers behaving badly’ sorts of thing going on.

So now what are wer left with?

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Filed under Congress, Democratic Party, Energy, Environmental Policy, George Bush, Politics, Republican Party

The “Gang of Ten” Offers Comprehensive Framework for Common Sense Energy Package

Ten members of the Senate, known as the “Gang of 10,” has proffered the framework, for consideration, of a comprehensive energy plan for America. The ten members of the bi-partisan group, five Democrats and five Republicans, have been working together for weeks to draft the plan – and it’s a good one.

First, the plan examines alternative energy as well as off shore drilling in the gulf region. Energy sources such as biofuels and nuclear energy, would combine with shorter term fixes such as drilling for oil and natural gas are part of a comprehensive approach. 

More importantly, the “Gang of Ten” is now hoping for a broad spectrum of support from entrenched Democrats and Republicans, who are juxopposed on this critical issue. To this end, letters of appeal have been sent to both the Senate majority and minority leader, with an eye on moving this bill forward before the end of the year.

The ‘gang’ claims the upcoming 2008 election did not factor in to this project – and I believe them.

In a press conference, they asked for Americans to register their collective support for the plan with their Senators.

The plan also calls for 85% of all major transportation be moved to alternative energy in the nest 20 years, at a cost of 84 billion dollars (less than one year’s spending on the Iraq War). Some of the money would come from a repeal of tax incentives that big oil companies now have, some from drilling rebates, and yet more from savings on purchased imported oil.

As for off shore drilling – the ‘gang’ believes that the gulf region would not take as long to produce crude oil as some expect.

Overall, these guys are making sense and cooperating, in a time when Obama is calling McCain “child-like,” and McCain is mocking Obama about ‘tire pressure.’

Less talk and more action is always a winner I say. If Congress and the American people had any brains at all, they would support this effort 100%. 

The “Gang of Ten”

Senator Kent Conrad (D-N.D.)

Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.)

John Thune (R-S.D.)

Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)

Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.)

Mary Landrieu (D-La.)

Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.)

Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)

Mark Pryor (D-Ark.)

Ben Nelson (D-Neb.)

Democrats and Republicans working together of meaningful energy legislation? The end must surely be near. Seriuosly, these folks deserve a lot of credit.

Read related articles on Associated Content, The Swamp, Environmental News Network

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Filed under Congress, Democratic Party, Economy, Election 2008, Energy, Politics, Republican Party, Technology, War in Iraq

Iran Escalates ‘War-Like’ Rhetoric Over Strait of Hormuz

The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, Mohammad Ali Jafari, has issued a warning that Iran could easily cut off a key Persian Gulf shipping route.

Iran’s unofficial state media claims Iran has tested a naval missile capable of destroying any ship within 190 miles.

“The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has recently tested a naval weapon with a 300 km range in which no vessel would be safe and would be sent to the depths…”

Iran is also reporting recent showdowns between US and Iranian ships.

“Enemies know that we are easily able to block the Strait of Hormuz for unlimited period”, Jafari said. “The strait and vessels are in range of our various weapons.”

“In view of the proximity of the Strait of Hormuz … to our shores, this distance is within the range of an assortment of weapons and its closure for us is very feasible and we face no limitations from the point of view of time,” he said.

Foreign policy analysts say such sabre rattling may be overstated given the Iranian claims surrounding a recent missile test were later revealed to be overstated.

Read the full article at RawStory

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Filed under Congress, Democratic Party, Economy, Energy, George Bush, Politics, Republican Party, War in Iraq

New Miley Cyrus Soft Porn Photos Surface…

Disney’s Hannah Montana is at it again. Here are some photos that were leaked of ‘innocent’ Miley posing in wet t-shirt and red lingerie for her boyfriend Nick Jonas.

Remember folks…she’s fifteen years old.

Walt Disney must be rolling in his grave. This is the ideal we want our young women to live up to? When are lawmakers going to put a stop to underage porn? I guess this is what you get when daddy pimps out his little girl to Vanity Fair, with an eye on re-kindling his mediocre/stalled singing career.

Read this related story –
Can rape sometimes be the victim’s fault? – at our sister site Ideas and Revolution.
Look for my comment relating Miley Cyrus and the socializing of young girls into accelerating their sexuality to the post.

Photo source: Ocean Up

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Filed under Congress, Culture, Entertainment Industry, Media, Politics, Scandals

Congressional Democrats Complain Obama Campaign Too Insular

Some Democrats in Congress have begun to complain privately that Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is too uncooperative and appears to be ignoring the larger strategy for a more broad Democratic victory this November.

“They think they know what’s right and everyone else is wrong on everything,” commented a senior Senate Democratic aide. 

Grievances as described by Democratics include:

• Obama has done little fundraising for Democratic candidates until recently, and only at the urging of the Senatorial Campaign Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

• Obama has sometimes appeared in members’ districts with no advance notice to lawmakers, resulting in lost opportunities for those Democrats to score points by appearing alongside him

• The Obama campaign has not coordinated it’s message or strategy against McCain very well with congressional Democrats, so when they are asked to comment, many times they don’t know what to say.

This situation seems to be the complete opposite when it comes to the Republicans. As usual, the GOP is closely aligned with McCain at the national and state level, while making sure conservative radio pundits get the propaganda out in unison.

To their credit, the Obama campaign has already moved to address some of these issues.

Phil Schiliro, former chief of staff to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), has been appointed as Obama’s Capitol Hill liaison. However, the Obama camp must make the mistake of allowing confidence to be taken for arrogance. The last thing Obama needs is for Republicans to point to this and re-inflate the whole ‘elitist’ thing again.

That is of course if you buy the fact that relatives of elitists live in huts on the African plains.

Read related article here… 

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Filed under Congress, Democratic Party, Election 2008, Politics, Republican Party

Ready, Set, Drill! The Democrats are Ready to Cave in Again

Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin told the Wall Street Journal that he is open to the idea of opening up new areas for oil drilling in certain locations in the event that oil and gas companies conduct the drilling within a specific time frame . It appears Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, might also support the move.

The official reason for the position shift is high oil and gas prices, as Republicans continue to apply pressure to ease prices at the pump by expanding offshore oil exploration and in Alaska’s ANWR region.

The Democrats have largely opposed these proposals until now.

Forget more drilling. It will not work long term or short term. Several experts and reports have confirmed this.It won’t work because it simply does does not address the underlying problem, and that is that we are consuming an irreplaceable natural resource –  and too much of it to boot. 

Conservation isn’t the answer either. 

We have technology for electric cars with 200+ miles range and that are affordable to mass produce. By switching over in the next ten years, we’d cut our oil consumption by nearly 30% in that time-frame without any sacrifice at all. 

So why are the Democrats caving???

Politics as usual of course.

Voters are demanding that Congress do something to lower gas prices. So, the Democrats are running to the center and even to the right, as they always do on the drilling issue.

Recent opinion polls have indicated strong public support for more domestic exploration. A Rasmussen Reports survey in June showed 67% of Americans support deep water energy exploration. A CNN poll published last week showed 73% of Americans favor more exploration of deep ocean energy resources far off U.S. shores.

Forget about explaining to people that deep ocean drilling won’t work. Never mind that Bush refuses to release any oil from the strategic reserve as Clinton did to help ease gas prices.

What do the Democrats do? They plead with a lame duck president who has the lowest approval rating in history!!!

How about Nancy Pelosi get a spine and DEMAND that George Bush release some oil from the strategic reserve? How about the DNC mounts a PR campaign letting the American people know that their President and the Republicans are more interested in creating more drilling opportunities for their oil buddies, than easing the economic burden of $4.30 per gallon gas for the average family, immediately? It could take ten plus years for drilling to increase supply (if they find the oil). A release from the strategic reserve could ease prices within weeks.

Ask Bill Clinton, George – he can tell you all about how releasing energy from our reserves will bring prices down just like they did in 1993 (Republicans opposed this idea then too).

The Democrats won’t fight because in spite of all of the “we help the little guy” rhetoric, they are bought and owned by big oil too – to the tune of almost $5,000,000 during the last election cycle.

For a complete list of recent contributions link here

And so it goes…

In the name of getting re-elected at any cost, the Democrats are willing to burn the village by ignoring the environment, the economy, national security, and common sense – and are willing to roll over on the drilling issue.

If the Democrats had any backbone at all, they would fight the Republicans on this short-sighted, wrong-headed, band-aid fix.

But we know they won’t, because they have caved on every key issue including war funding, FISA, etc.

Reel in speculators, release oil from the reserve, subsidise electric and hydrogen fuel vehicle production and infrastructure – and we can see real change in just a few years while becoming less dependent on imported oil, or chasing pipe dreams on the ocean floor.

The Democrats are once again proving to be ineffective and disappointing.

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Filed under Congress, Democratic Party, Economy, Energy, George Bush, Politics, Republican Party, Technology