Sunday, January 25, 2015

PNN - Women Heroes - Sung and UnSung

PNN 1/25/15

Joanne Forman (Producer UNSUNG HEROES)

Maya K Possum Deleware River Keeper

Sharron Rose Film Maker Classic Indian Dancer

Kim  Ross President RethinkEnergy


Arkansas Oil Spill
Despite spilling tens, if not hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil and chemicals into an Arkansas neighborhood, thanks to a loophole in a law from 1980, ExxonMobil will not be paying into a federal oil spill cleanup fund because the oil they spilled is not the right type of oil. It is a twisted example of the legal technicalities and lax regulations that all too often favor oil companies, but a coalition of environmental groups are working to close the loophole.
According to Congress and the IRS, diluted bitumen or dilbit, which is the type of oil that has spilled in Arkansas, is not classified as oil and companies shipping it are not required to pay an 8-cents-per-barrel excise tax into the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, as companies shipping conventional oil do.
Other conventional crude producers pay 8 cents a barrel to ensure the fund has resources to help clean up some of the 54,000 barrels of pipeline oil that spilled 364 times last year.
As Oil Change International said in a statement today:
“The great irony of this tragic spill in Arkansas is that the transport of tar sands oil through pipelines in the US is exempt from payments into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. Exxon, like all companies shipping toxic tar sands, doesn’t have to pay into the fund that will cover most of the clean up costs for the pipeline’s inevitable spills.”

In July of last year, Lisa Song at Inside Climate News noted that both Congress and the IRS acknowledge this distinction:
Dilbit is exempt from the tax, because the 1980 legislation that created the tax states that "the term crude oil does not include synthetic petroleum, e.g., shale oil, liquids from coal, tar sands, or biomass..."
The Internal Revenue Service cited that 1980 text in a 2011 memo that confirmed the exemption for at least one company.
While these substances are different, the ways the government does and does not recognize these differences seems be the exact opposite of how it should be.
According to the oil industry, tar sands oil is oil when the oil industry needs oil spill cleanup funds, but it isn't oil when it comes to paying for that cleanup fund. The industry also opposes changes to how tar sands oil pipelines are regulated. So again, they consider tar sands oil just like conventional oil when it comes to their pipelines, but not when it comes to cleaning the spills those pipelines create.
It's unbelievable.
Whether it is tar sands oil, dilbit or conventional crude, oil spills are a mess to clean up and the oil industry should pay a cleanup fee for a barrel of one type of oil as it does for another. But when it comes to the safety regulations for how these oils are transported via pipeline, they should be regulated differently, considering that tar sands oil is more corrosive and harder to cleanup.
In a series of updates to my initial post on the Arkansas spill, I highlighted the differences in dilbit from conventional oil and what it meant for the debate over the Keystone XL pipeline and communities at risk from future spills.
First, for background, InsideClimate News produced a good primer on the differences between dilbit and conventional oil:

Bitumen is a kind of crude oil found in natural oil sands deposits—it's the heaviest crude oil used today. The oil sands, also known as tar sands, contain a mixture of sand, water and oily bitumen.
Conventional crude oil is a liquid that can be pumped from underground deposits. It is then shipped by pipeline to refineries where it's processed into gasoline, diesel and other fuels.

Bitumen is too thick to be pumped from the ground or through pipelines. Instead, the heavy tar-like substance must be mined or extracted by injecting steam into the ground. The extracted bitumen has the consistency of peanut butter and requires extra processing before it can be delivered to a refinery.

To make the thick bitumen flow through a pipeline, chemicals and water are added to dilute it. Benzene, a known carcinogen, is often part of the diluents mixture.
Because this oil is so different from conventional crude, a coalition led by the National Wildlife Federation is demanding a moratorium on building new tar sands pipelines—including the Keystone XL—until regulators update the rules regarding this type of oil.
Filed on behalf of 29 environmental and community groups and 36 individuals, the petition includes a list of nine policy recommendations for the safe transport of dilbit, a type of crude oil produced from Canada's oil sands region.
"Simply put, diluted bitumen and conventional crude oil are not the same substance," the petitioners wrote. "There is increasing evidence that the transport of diluted bitumen is putting America's public safety at risk. Current regulations fail to protect the public against those risks. Instead, regulations ... treat diluted bitumen and conventional crude the same."
Dilbit isn't just potentially more corrosive and dangerous inside the pipeline, we should also be concerned with how dilbit behaves when it is spilled into water.

The problem, as I lay out in Update X here, is that dilbit sinks, making boom ineffective in containing and cleaning up spills.
So while the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund will be tapped to clean up spills of tar sands oil, like the Arkansas spill, because of this loophole, ExxonMobil and other oil companies dealing in tar sands dilbit are not helping replenish these funds.
If the oil industry wants to pipe these dangerous tar sands oils over our water sheds and aquifers, putting our drinking supply and neighborhoods at risk, they should not only be required to pay into the cleanup fund, they should be paying far more than the 8 cents per barrel they pay for conventional oil since these tar sands oils are not just worse for the environment, but potentially pose a greater risk of spills and are even harder to clean up.
UPDATE: I'm seeing more and more press reports covering Exxon's statement that they will "pay all costs for the Arkansas oil spill cleanup." Exxon is parsing words and sidestepping the issue I and other journalists have raised about the technicality over how tar sands oil is classified.
Exxon may indeed end up paying for all of the oil spill cleanup in Mayflower, but they are not paying the 8-cents-per-barrel fee for the tar sands oil, as they would if they were transporting conventional oil. While I think there is legitimate cause for concern as to whether Exxon really will pay for the damage they have caused (Ben Jervey has a good post on this point), the broader concern is that this 1980 law is currently allowing oil companies shipping tar sands oil to get away without contributing to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. With so much of this oil crossing the United States via pipeline and rail, there is considerable risk of spills and it is not right that they are able to avoid these oil spill liability trust fund fees.
MORE: See all of our Mayflower, Arkansas oil spill coverage here.

Show Links

Sunday, January 18, 2015

PNN - Hunger and Thirst - Debut Show 2015

PNN - 1/18/15   Hunger and Thirst

RWS                                       7:01pm
Luis Cuevas                            7:17pm
Walter Witter Dir. Ops           7:30pm
plm bch food bank
Dezeray – FNB                       7:57pm
Save Our Rivers Speech        8:05pm
Mari-lynn Evans                     8:15pm
Meredith Ockman                  8:29pm
Allen Hendricks

1. Princeton calls US an Oligarchy
This won’t come as a total shock, but there’s some new hard data to back up what we already suspect anecdotally: Our democracy is really an oligarchy.
Looking at actual policy and polling, researchers at Princeton concluded that the wealthiest Americans tend to get what they want, or at least they did between 1981 and 2002 (the time frame on which the study focuses).
“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy,” write Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, “while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”
Another quote from the peer-reviewed study: “When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favour policy change, they generally do not get it.”
Further reading (and depression) can be found at TPM and the Telegraph.
For the record, the technical definition of an oligarchy is a country or institution controlled by a small group of people.
2. You are not the TARGET unless…
You’ll never guess how the North Miami Beach police got found out using mug shots of black citizens to practice their shooting. Army National Guard Sgt. Valerie Deant, a soldier who used the shooting range last month after the cops’ training session, recognized her brother’s face on one of the targets that had been pierced by bullets. 
Though you’d be hard-pressed to come up a term other than racial profiling to describe this, the department’s police chief says it’s no such thing. He also added that no one will be punished for using actual citizens’ faces as targets. 
And we wonder why the racial turmoil in this country has reached the boiling point. 
BBC News: 
The six targets left behind by police were found last month by Sgt Deant, a band member of the Florida Army National Guard.The photo of her brother Woody Deant had been taken after his arrest as a teenager for drag racing. It had been shot several times.
Mr Deant said he was “speechless” when he heard the news.
“Now I’m being used as a target? I’m not even living that life according to how they portrayed me as. I’m a father. I’m a husband. I’m a career man. I work nine to five.”
Police Chief Dennis said they were “very very concerned” that one of the targets had been of a man who would be on the streets of North Miami Beach [and] said that the department would no longer use images of suspects they had arrested.

3. We are Raif Badawi  - 
1000 lashes and 10 years in prison for criticizing the Government
HINT: He wasn't in a free speech zone

4. Out with the Professors in with the Beauty Queens
Many years ago President Madique suggested that we should create FIU into the UCLA of Florida.  I agree with him.

Does hosting the pageant and spending money elevate FIU into the UCLA of Florida ?

Bad P.R. can attract the wrong crowd to Miami. We need smart people. We need smart students, smart professors and smart, well connected and talented administrators.

Throughout the past few years, FIU has lost many good professors. 

Now, we are attracting very beautiful women to FIU.


5. Congress Introduced 6 Abortion Bills in Its First 7 Days
By Jennifer Gerson Uffalussy, Yahoo News
17 January 15

Since Congress returned to session in the past week, six separate anti-abortion bills have been introduced in the House and Senate. These bills would do a number of things, including instilling a nationwide 20-week abortion ban and blocking funding to Planned Parenthood.
These bills would join the 231 other restrictions that have been placed on abortion on the state level in the past four years. Now, over half of the U.S. female population live in abortion-hostile states.
“The attacks waged on women’s health … have gotten out of hand,” Jamila Perritt, MD, medical director of Planned Parenthood of Metro Washington, D.C., said at a press conference this week. Perritt said that while many of the recently introduced legislative measures “claim to protect women” they instead endanger women by reinforcing non-scientific misinformation and proposing measures that would make abortion illegal — and thus unsafe.
Accessibility and legal status of abortion remain at risk as a result of “some scary myths out there” that are “accepted as fact” — and oftentimes used to back legislation to reduce, restrict, or limit abortion access, said Hal Lawrence, MD, executive vice president and CEO of the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology, in the press conference. “I want each woman to be able to make the decision that’s right for her,” Lawrence said, “and not be influenced by rumors that have been disproven by science.”
Here’s a breakdown of the six bills introduced by Congress in these early days of 2015 — and what they mean for women’s health care.
H.R. 36 seeks to implement a nationwide 20-week abortion ban. Bill co-sponsor Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) believes that there “are innocent and defenseless children who can not only feel pain, but who can survive outside of the womb in most cases, and who are torturously killed without even basic anesthesia.”
But research has shown that a fetus will not develop the nerves and neural capacity to experience pain until the third trimester. Plus, there is no evidence showing a fetus has ever survived outside of the womb before 21 weeks, and a fetus is not traditionally thought of as viable outside of the womb until 26 weeks.
As Perritt noted in the press conference, “the studies are pretty clear — at 20 weeks, there is no indication that nerves are developed [that can sense pain]. Abortion is really rare past 20 weeks and is [typically] incurred because of a set of complex circumstances” often pertaining to the health and safety of the mother, whose life is frequently at risk in such scenarios.
Introduced by Sen. David Vitter (R-IA), this bill would ”prohibit discrimination against the unborn child on the basis of sex or gender, and for other purposes.” According to the bill, “experts have demonstrated that the sex-selection industry is on the rise and predict that it will continue to be a growing trend in the United States. Sex determination is always a necessary step to the procurement of a sex-selection abortion.”
Under this bill, women who seek an abortion for any reason not having to do with the sex of the fetus could potentially still be found guilty of a federal offense if they know the sex of the fetus at the time of abortion. Again, the majority of late-term abortions are performed because of tremendous dangers posed to the health of the mother; by the time such a woman might need such a medically necessary abortion, she might also know the sex of her fetus (which can typically be determined anywhere between 16 and 20 weeks gestation).
Right of Refusal within the Public Health Service Act (S.50)
“Refusal bills,” such as the just-introduced S. 50, allow health care professionals to refuse to provide an abortion to a woman based on their personal religious beliefs, even in an emergency. The bill applies not just to doctors and nurses, but also pharmacists and non-medical personnel including insurance company representatives and company-based human resources employees.
This newly introduced measure would amend the existing Public Health Service Act’s Title X, “the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services.”
“While it can be appropriate to allow individual providers to decline to provide certain medical services because of their personal objections or religious views, it is not appropriate for institutions at large to claim a ‘conscience,’ and to refuse to provide women with medically necessary information, referrals, or services canjeopardize their health,” says NARAL Pro-Choice America.
A 1996 amendment to the Public Health Service Act already prohibits the federal government, as well as state and local governments, from discriminating against “health care entities on the basis that an entity refuses to receive or provide abortion training, provide abortion care or abortion referrals, or provide referrals for abortion training.”
S. 51 and H.R. 217 Title X Amendments
S. 51 and H.R. 217 both focus on Title X family planning grants, which provide funding to organizations (such as Planned Parenthood) that provide a comprehensive array of reproductive health services. While abortion services are a small part of the services offered, the bulk of health care includes testing for sexually transmitted diseases, pap smears, well-woman exams, and infertility counseling.
If passed, these concurrent bills in the House and the Senate would prevent any funds for women’s health care from going to organizations that also provide abortions (even though the funds in question are already specifically earmarked to not pay for abortion services specifically).
The legislators behind the bills say they want to prevent taxpayer dollars from funding abortion — a moot point since this money is not allocated, and is in fact restricted from, abortion services. Rather, these bills would instead eliminate funding for many clinics and non-profits that are funded solely through these federal grants, thus disabling them from providing basic, essential health services to women.
Federal Pregnant Women Health and Safety Act (S. 78)
This bill is what is known as a TRAP (or, Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers) bill, imposing restrictions and regulations more strict and stringent on abortion providers than other medical professionals.
According to RH Reality Check, which provides evidence-based analysis and data on sexual and reproductive health issues, S 78 would require physicians performing abortion to have admitting privileges at a hospital within an oftentimes restrictive geographical limit — something that has already been seen on the state level over the last few years.
In the press conference, ACOG’s Lawrence commented that there is “no benefit to these regulations” that are often invoked in the name of increased patient safety. Lawrence added that “colonoscopies have much higher risks but are performed at much less qualified centers” – with 33 percent of those having had a colonoscopy reporting some kind of post-procedure symptom – than many clinics that perform both medical and surgical abortions.
“Abortion has over a 99 percent safety record,” Perritt said at the press conference, clarifying that major complications from both medical and surgical abortion emerge “less than 1 percent of the time” — in other words, at the same rate of complications “experienced in miscarriage.”

6. Another FBI Entrapment 

This is potentially one of the most bogus and crass attempts yet, as the FBI rushes to grandstand over what appears to be another case of entrapment, joined by a media keen to push the fear envelope in America in the wake of last week’s international terror event in Paris.

Eager to capitalize on the media wave generated by the Paris Attacks, jobsworth FBI agents decided to accelerate the frame-up of 20 year old Christopher Lee Cornell (photo, left) from Cincinnati, Ohio, claiming the youth was planning a “pipe bomb attack” against the nation’s Capitol in Washington DC.
Amazingly, US media jumped all over this story, trying to somehow tie it to Paris, and also claim that Cornell was “linked to ISIS”, and that this was somehow an “ISIS-inspired attack”, only no attack actually took place.
It was soon revealed that the young Cornell, who was employed part-time and living at home with his parents and who had “showed interest in converting to Islam”, was suddenly ‘befriended’ by another man who was playing the role of informant, under the direction of the FBI. The informant had pending criminal charges against him and as part of his plea, he had to work as a low-level undercover, or ‘confidential’ federal informant, working with the FBI to help to lead on, and eventually entrap new potential terror suspects.
The FBI admit that their informant was tasked to help ‘suspect’ Cornell “develop his plans” to supposedly carry out a random act of terror. In other words, the FBI’s snitch appears to have egged-on Cornell into fantasizing about terror attacks on Washington DC and choosing political targets. It is highly unlikely that Cornell would have conjured up such radical idea on his owns, or even gone to the gun store where he was reportedly ‘taken down’ by the FBI on Wednesday.

Incredibly, the FBI claimed that Cornell was “taking the final steps” to travel to Washington DC for “the attack”, when he allegedly purchased two semi-automatic rifles and 600 rounds of ammunition from an Ohio gun store.

The FBI’s entrapment squad gallantly swooped-in to arrest Cornell and then charged him with “attempting to kill a U.S. government official in Washington DC”, even though he had not yet stepped foot outside of the local town. The FBI then goes on to claim – on the basis of their own criminal-turned-informant’s fantastic testimony – that Cornell had allegedly planned to detonate pipe bombs at national landmarks, and that “the suspect would have opened fire on any employees and officials fleeing after the explosions”, according to government documents. 
According the Cornell’s father, John Cornell Sr., his son Chris only had $1200 saved in his bank account from his part-time job, and did not have the money or additional funds required to afford  $800 for the fire arms he is said to have gone to purchase yesterday.
Cornell’s father stated live on air with CNN last night that the FBI would have had to give his son the money for the guns, because there was simply no way Chris could have afforded to buy such expensive firearms and ammunition – much less afford to travel to the capital in Washington DC for what the FBI claims would have been a ‘suicide mission’. “These guns cost almost $2,000. Where did that money come from? Well, it came from the FBI,” John Cornell Sr. said. “They set him up.”

The father maintains that there is no way his son could have contrived the alleged ‘terror plot’ on his own.

“He told me he had went to a mosque and now I know, in hindsight I know, he was meeting with an FBI agent,” he told ABC News. “And they were taking him somewhere, and they were filling his head with a lot of this garbage.”
There are also some reports circulating around this story, that the gun shop may have been contacted by FBI agents approximately two weeks before the arrest, in effect giving them a ‘heads up’ about the impending arrest.
The FBI first began targeting Cornell several months ago, after another informant tasked at monitoring social media had notified the agency that Cornell had developed opinions which seemed to support “jihad”using the Twitter alias, “Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah”. Cornell is also accused of posting videos and statements (Tweets) which appear to have “expressed support for ISIS”.

Cornell is due to appear in court on Friday for face federal terrorism charges.
The formula for creating a ‘terror icon’ has been well-established in recent years, and with many well researched examples to compare with clearly appears to be another case of entrapment with Christopher Lee Cornell. Other real, successfully constructed and ‘would-be’ high-profile terror icons and patsies, including ‘Paris Shooter’ Amedi Coulibaby (see his compelling informant case here), ‘Ottawa Shooter’ Zehaf-Bibeau (see his informant story here), ‘Boston Bomber’ Tamerlan Tsarnaev (see his informant story here), ‘The Underwear Bomber’ Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab(see his patsy story here), Buford Rogers (read his informant story here), Jerad Miller (read his informant story here), Naji Mansour (read his informant story here), Quazi Mohammad Nafis (read his informant story here), Mohamed Osman Mohamud (read his informant story here), ‘OKC Bomber’ Timothy McVeigh (read his informant story here), and although unconfirmed to date, we have to consider the infamous ‘Sandy Hook Shooter’ Adam Lanza (see the MSM work overtime to validate his fictional role here).

7. Remembering Dr. King
Taking time to remember Martin Luther King, Jr.’s final campaign to see how far we’ve come
On Monday, the Center for American Progress will join much of the rest of the country in commemorating and celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Much has changed in the 47 years since his death, while some things remain stubbornly similar to when Dr. King was alive. Following the gains from the Civil Rights Movement, in 1968 Dr. King launched the Poor People’s Campaign to try and move beyond Jim Crow to address the economic difficulties of the poor. As part of the Poor People’s Campaign, the Southern Christian Leadership Council, which Dr. King led at the time, drafted a letter addressed “to the President, Congress and Supreme Court of the United States” demanding “an economic and social bill of Rights.” Below is a partial list of the demands from the letter and a look at the progress, or lack thereof, we’ve made in reaching a more equitable society:
“The Right [sic] of every employable citizen to a decent job.”
From the letter: “According to the official statistics, Negro unemployment is twice that of whites. Yet even these scandalous figures profoundly understate the injustice. According to the “Sub-Employment Index” of the Department of Labor (which takes in poverty employment, part time unemployment, the number of people driven out of the labor market and the vast number of Negroes whose very existence is not reported in the official statistics) there are ghettoes in the United States with sub-employment rates ranging between 30% and 50%.”
  • Progress made: The unemployment rate has declined from 10 percent at the height of the 2007-08 recession to 5.6 percent as of last month.
  • Challenge ahead: The Black unemployment rate is more than “twice that of whites,” 10.4 percent compared to 4.8 percent. In addition, the Hispanic unemployment rate is at 6.5 percent.
“The right to the full benefits of modern science in health care.”
From the letter: “It is an abiding scandal of American society that infant morality [sic] and life expectancy vary according to social class-and that the babies of black and white poor die at birth more often than those of any other group and that those who survive still look forward to a truncated life span. Medicare has proved an enormous benefit to those over 65 years of age but the country has yet to extend coverage to millions of others who desperately need it. Every man, woman and child in America should be guaranteed medical care under the social security system.”
“The right to an adequate education.”
From the letter: “Today, most experts believe that a students [sic] required twelve years of training in order to be prepared to a place in an automating society. At the same time, Negro schools are regularly so inferior that a good portion of the students are not even taught the basic educational skills and therefore become bored, resentful and drop out at the first opportunity. According to the 1967 Manpower Report of the Department of Labor, even those black youth who are determined enough to finish twelve grades have often, only received instruction up to an eighth grade level in crucial subjects.”

BOTTOM LINE: These statistics highlight an unfortunate truth in American society: there is still so much to do to achieve Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream of a nation where everyone is judged by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin. But honoring Dr. King’s legacy means continuing that difficult and important work in the hopes of truly achieving it one day.
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According to a report by the CIA Inspector General, the White House was informed of the CIA’s plan to hack US Senate computers to discover what was going to be in the Senate Torture Report. CIA Director John Brennan met with White House chief of staff Denis McDonough then ordered CIA employees to“use whatever means necessary” to find out what Senate investigators knew.

Given the White House’s role in the illegal hacking of Senate computers it becomes obvious why the Justice Department headed by President Obama-appointed Attorney General Eric Holder is not likely to bring charges against the CIA – charges against the CIA could lead back to the White House.

The specific content of the conversation between Brennan and McDonough is not disclosed but after the conversation Brennan instructed his subordinates at the CIA to trash the Constitution and engage in espionage activity against the US Senate.
Brennan’s consultation with McDonough also came before the CIA revealed the search to then-Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), whose staff was the target of the snooping. The new information suggesting the White House was aware of — and did not stop — the CIA’s computer snooping is unlikely to improve the existing distrust between Senate committee members and the executive branch. Feinstein has said that the CIA’s computer search likely violated the constitutional separation of powers, an allegation the White House has declined to directly address.
The Oval Office’s prior knowledge of the controversial computer review will no doubt worsen the tensions that have erupted over the matter between the executive branch, its chief intelligence agency and the lawmakers tasked with their oversight.
Thought experiment for partisan Democrats – close your eyes and imagine President Bush did this. Feel the outrage? Go with that. This is absolutely outrageous criminal conduct and a smoking gun violation of the Constitution.
Luckily for the Obama Administration the present day political calculus works out well for them – they approved illegal spying on fellow Democrats to protect a torture program by a Republican administration. In other words, it is unlikely anyone will hold the White House accountable for this despite the clear evidence of wrongdoing because the politics is so muddled and the taint of corruption reaches so many varied hands.
And people say Washington isn’t bipartisan.

9. BUY-PARTISAN / FORMER DEMOCRAT Murphy selected for Intelligence Committee
Washington, D.C. - House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced late Wednesday that Congressman Patrick E. Murphy will join the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence for the 114th Congress.

"It is a distinct privilege and humbling responsibility to be appointed to the House Intelligence Committee," said Congressman Murphy.  "As we have witnessed in recent days and months, the rise in extremism and the growing threat of new types of terror require innovative solutions to ensure that our intelligence community is best equipped to handle national security threats.  I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and the intelligence community to protect the values and freedoms that are intrinsic to our way of life."

Blood on the Mountain


PNN Host and News Director Rick Spisak welcomes Co-Host Luis Cuevas of Progressive Push.

We will be joined by Jennifer who will be launching her new PNN show in the coming week. “In the Stream” a journey in Art Music and Consciousness”

We will hear a report from Friday’s Clean Water Rally from Stuart Florida. BIG SUGAR still is Actively destroying not just Lake Okeechobee but her poisonous effluent is sent east and west to decimate wildlife on the Withalacoochee and the Indian River Estuary

We also will get an update from Dezeray from Food Not Bombs
on the Fort Lauderdale (Feeding the Homeless issue)
The Court Injunction has nearly run out - FNB is ready

Water Activist and Film Maker Mari-Lynn Evans will tell us the latest on West Virginia's Water POISONING and the ongoing Betrayal by her Civil Servants who are protecting Coal Companies, instead of West Virginians. (Watch for her film, "BLOOD ON THE MOUNTAIN" about this history of resource extraction in West Virginia.

Walter Witter Director of Operations for Palm Beach County's Food Bank will talk about feeding the hungry in Palm Beach County.

Meredith Ockman of NOW and Allen Hendricks of Equality Florida will discuss Marriage its not just for straight people anymore. 

Our First Show of the Year (January 18th 7pm (Eastern) - Join Us Live, or Anytime
Please Help Spread the Word

Sunday, December 21, 2014

PNN - Frackin + Electronic Silent Spring + Emine's Turkey trot

Steve Horn Environmental Reporter, Katie Singer Electro-Magnetic Pollution Researcher, Emine Dilek New Turkish Party 

The title sort of speaks for itself, but my latest piece* covers the recent appointment of Amos Hochstein to become the United States' top energy diplomat for the U.S. State Department. He will likely now be a key point man for the State Department's team in its work hammering out a U.S. position for climate change negotiations that are ongoing at the UN summit in Lima, Peru.

Earlier on in his career, Hochstein lobbied for Marathon Oil, which in fact meant lobbying on behalf of the Qaddafi dictatorship in Libya, a tie he shares with the former person who had his gig at the State Department under Hillary Clinton, David Goldwyn. He will also head up the State 

Department's Global Shale Gas Initiative/Unconventional Gas Technical Engagement Program, what I've called a "fracking missionary force" run by the State Department.

That and more can be found within the piece. Any help passing it along on Facebook or Twitter would be greatly appreciated, as well. 

Cross-posting of the article also welcome, but please direct URL link to the original on DeSmogBlog if you do.

Hi All:

My latest piece is now up on DeSmogBlog.*

Lost in the comments President Obama offered this week on The Colbert Report about the future of the northern leg of Keystone XL, which excited some, is another pipeline system he's permitted into existence. 

That is, the one we've been calling Enbridge's "Keystone XL Clone" on DeSmogBlog. It is now open for business and has hundreds of thousands of barrels of tar sands flowing through it straight to the Gulf of Mexico to the same areas of southern leg of Keystone XL also brings tar sands to. 

Put another way, lots more tar sands is now "Texas Bound and Flyin'," to quote from the country song by Jerry Reed. It was akin to the elephant in the room as Obama talked about climate change concerns for future generations as it pertains to Keystone XL on Colbert. 

Any help passing along this piece on Facebook or Twitter would be greatly appreciated. Cross-posting also welcome, but please direct URL link to the original on DeSmogBlog if you do.

Thanks much! Excerpt below.

Florida PSC gives approval for FPL to invest in natural gas fracking

The Public Service Commission gave approval Thursday to a request by Florida Power & Light to charge customers for its exploration of natural gas using fracking technologies.
The panel concluded that the project, which allows the company to invest $191 million in a joint venture with PetroQuest Energy, Inc., would help to stabilize volatile energy costs and save customers more than $100 million over 30 years – about two cents a month -- and stabilize a fraction of the company's energy costs. 
The measure was opposed by the lawyers who represent the public in rate cases, as well as the state’s largest industrial energy users, the Florida Retail Federation and several environmental groups. The PSC postponed a decision until March on the question of whether FPL will be allowed to charge customers up to $750 million a year in similar projects without PSC approval.
The opponents argued that there was no guarantee that the risk of shouldering the costs of oil and gas drilling in an uncertain regulatory environment would produce benefits for ratepayers and could backfire in higher costs. They argued the decision to allow the company to use customer dollars for speculation was something that should be left to the Legislature.
“FPL will shift all risks of investing in gas reserves to the customers in exchange for promises of potential customer fuel savings and guaranteed trued-up profits (or returns) for shareholders,’’ the public counsel said in its brief. It noted that it is not opposed to guaranteeing fuel savings to customers however, "FPL simply cannot guarantee those savings to customers over the next 50 years.”
The ruling could be the beginning of a trend as Duke Energy, the largest utility in the Tampa Bay market, said it is also considering asking for permission to charge its customers for fracking exploration.
Currently, utility companies are allowed to pass along all of their fuel costs to customers but are obligated to try to hedge the impact of fluctuating prices. FPL argued that because it purchases more natural gas than any utility in the nation, it had an economic interest in finding ways to reduce the impact of the volatile natural gas costs.

Commissioner Eduardo Balbis, who led the debate to endorse the proposal, called it “an effective form of hedging in that it reduces volatility.’’
He said that because of federal regulations which are reducing the use of coal-burning power plants, most of the company's fuel comes from natural gas and 70 percent of that comes from fracked wells.
Hydraulic fracking is a technology that involves injecting large volumes of water, sand and chemicals at high pressures to release oil and natural gas from rock caverns deep underground. On Wednesday, New York became the second state to ban hydraulic fracturing in because of concerns over health risks, including water contamination and air pollution. Vermont has also banned the practice. 
“If customers are going to pay for gas that comes from unconventional sources, they will get it cheaper’’ this way, Balbis said.
Commissioner Julie I. Brown said she supported the proposal for similar reasons.
“Let’s face the reality here,’’ she said. “We are becoming more and more dependent on natural gas and we will only continue to become more natural gas dependent.”
Commissioner Lisa Edgar defended the proposal and said it had been misunderstood by many in the public. “It’s not about fracking in Florida,’’ she said. “Fracking in Florida will be a policy decision by the Legislature.”
The proposal was also not about drilling in the Everglades, decreasing conservation or renewable energy and “it’s not about drilling exploration in a greenfield site,” she said.
Instead, the reality is that the need for natural gas is growing and that “most of the natural gas used to provide to Florida businesses is currently coming from fracking areas across the country,” Edgar said.
Commissioner Ronald A. Brisé said he opposed the idea but voted for it anyway to follow the majority.
"The question really boils down to a policy hurdle: do we want utilities to get into the production business,'' he said. "What risks and challenges are assocated with that? Do we as a commission have the tools to look at that and ensure that our customers would be getting the best deal all of the time?”
The panel modified FPL’s request by suggesting that the company be required to hire an independent auditor to monitor the books of PetroQuest, since the PSC will not be allowed to see how much ratepayers are being charged for the exploration process. 
The PSC decision was unusual in that it was made without the aid of a formal recommendation from the PSC's staff. PSC Chairman Art Graham concluded that FPL needed the ruling decided soon, although nothing in the record indicated the need for urgency. A staff recommendation, however, might have included elements that were not suitable to FPL, forcing the regulators to contradict their staff.
Regulators will return in March to address the broader policy question about whether to expand this proposal to include agreements with other companies. That will include a staff recommendation, which will be released in February.
A proposal to ban fracking in Florida, similar to New York's, has been filed in the Florida Legislature.
The fast-track approval may have set a new speed record on the PSC – going from hearing to final report in two weeks. There was nothing in the record that indicated that FPL’s partner in the deal would back out if the ruling wasn’t completed quickly.
As with all PSC proceedings, the record is lengthy – involving interrogatories, discovery documents, pre-hearing and hearing transcripts, briefs and motions. In it all, the PSC’s professional staff was involved at great taxpayer expense.
In the October earnings call report, FPL’s parent company, NextEra Energy, told Wall Street investors the PSC would come “either late this year or early next year.”
CFO  Moray Dewhurst also reported that the company has ample latitude with regulators. He cited FPL’s court victory in prevailing to get an automatic rate hike for customers without input from the public counsel and predicted the company would continue to get unfettered favorable treatment from the regulatory board:
“The Court's order comprehensively rejected all the arguments raised by the Office of Public Counsel and made it very clear that, as long as the PSC follows appropriate procedures, as it did in 2012, it has wide latitude to determine whether a settlement agreement is in the public interest, taking account of all the prevailing facts and circumstances,’’ he said. “We believe this is a very positive development that will encourage and support efforts to negotiate future settlement agreements that, like the 2012 agreement, have new and innovative elements in them.”
The fracking proposal is not a settlement agreement but it has been called by PSC chairman Graham “unchartered territory” and, like the settlement, allows the PSC to continue to expand one initiative without asking regulators for permission.
Balbis, one of the most independent-minded members of the commission, also used the meeting to give his farewell after serving for four years on the PSC. His term expires at the end of the year and he surprised many when he chose not to seek another term.

[Last modified: Saturday, December 20, 2014 11:18am]

Katie Singer Book site

Sunday, December 14, 2014

PNN - Professor Jazz (UN) Squared

Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Warsaw to protest recent election results. Law and Justice party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski says the ballots were falsified with almost 20 percent of the votes being declared invalid.
Kaczynski’s supporters are marching under the slogan “in support of democracy.” 
The organizers of the rally claim that over 100,000 people have turned out to protest, which would be the largest demonstration in the history of post-war Poland. However, reports from the Polish newspaper, Wyborcza, say this figure has been significantly inflated. Other estimates have put the figure at around 60,000, the paper adds.
from RT News

2. CIA Funding: Never Constrained by its Congressional Budget
How is it that the CIA has always found ways to spend past the means of its “black budget?” 
In this fourth exclusive excerpt from author Peter Dale Scott’s new book “The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil and the Attack on U.S. Democracy,” the professor emeritus of English at Berkeley and former Canadian diplomat lays out how the CIA has run slush funds since its inception. 
In it, Scott marshals evidence that the proceeds of several U.S.-Saudi arms deals are the common denominator tying together every major “deep state” event involving the U.S. since 1976. 
Scott is considered the father of “deep politics”—the study of hidden permanent institutions and interests whose influence on the political realm transcends the elected. In “American Deep State,” he painstakingly details the facts lurking behind the official histories to uncover the real dynamics in play. 
from Who, What, Why

3.Hundreds of Ex-Obama Staffers Call on Warren to Run
On Friday morning, the group "Ready for Warren" released a letter calling on Sen. Elizabeth Warren to run for president — with the signatures of over 330 former Obama campaign staffers.
"We believed in an unlikely candidate who no one thought had a chance," the letter begins. "We organized like no campaign had organized before — and won the Democratic primary. We built a movement." 
The letter calls "rising income inequality" the "challenge of our times", and concludes: "We want someone who will stand up for working families and take on the Wall Street banks and special interests that took down our economy … We urge Elizabeth Warren to run for president in 2016."
Warren's increased prominence
Warren has said repeatedly that she has no intention of running. But the new effort to coax her into the race comes as she's taken an increasingly prominent role in key political battles. 
She has harshly criticized this week's government funding bill because it repeals part of Dodd-Frank, and is going to war with Obama over his nomination of investment banker Antonio Weiss for a position in the Treasury Department. She was also given a role in the Senate Democratic leadership in November.
from RSN

4. Kerry’s Speech In Lima Rings Hollow
Reuters/ Enrique Castro-Mendivil In response to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks today at the UN climate change conference in Lima, Peru, Karen Orenstein, senior analyst at Friends of the Earth U.S., issued the following statement: We only wish that the U.S. government acted in accordance with the sense of urgency that Secretary Kerry expressed in his speech today at the climate summit in Lima, Peru. The world is tired of hearing rhetorical, empty boasting about U.S. leadership while the glaciers melt, fires rage and people lose their lives to climate change. Yes, the political climate in Washington, DC is indisputably difficult, but that doesn’t excuse President Obama’s advocacy for a non-science-based, voluntary climate agreement internationally, or his decision at home to give fossil fuel polluters access to publicly owned lands. POPULAR Resistence

Jamie Dimon himself called to urge support for the derivatives rule in the spending bill 11 Dec 2014 The acrimony that erupted Thursday between President Obama and members of 'his own party' largely pivoted on a single item in a 1,600-page piece of legislation to keep the government funded: Should banks be allowed to make risky investments using taxpayer-backed money? The very idea was abhorrent to many Democrats on Capitol Hill. And some were stunned that the White House would support the bill with that provision intact, given that it would erase a key provision of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation, one of Obama's signature achievements. But perhaps even more outrageous to Democrats was that the language in the bill appeared to come directly from the pens of lobbyists at the nation's biggest banks, aides said. The provision was so important to the profits at those companies that J.P.Morgan's chief executive Jamie Dimon himself telephoned individual lawmakers to urge them to vote for it, according to a person familiar with the effort.
$1.1T spending bill, a gift to GOP and corporations, slashes EPA, bank, pension, and campaign finance regulations --Republicans won a new concession exempting many agricultural projects from clean water rules 10 Dec 2014 Democratic support for a huge, $1.1 trillion spending bill funding every corner of government faded Wednesday as liberal lawmakers erupted over a provision that weakens the regulation of risky financial instruments and another that allows more money to flood into political parties...Top Democrats were lining up to vote against the measure. "I'm not going to support it. I've already found lots of provisions that are against the public interest," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. "I find it surprising that some people are threatening to shut down the government in order to extract big benefits for big banks at the expense of consumers and taxpayers."

Democrats fail to curb corporate overseas tax-shifting inversions in spending bill 10 Dec 2014 Democratic lawmakers wanted to use a year-end spending bill to punish U.S. companies that moved their tax addresses overseas by barring them from getting government contracts. It didn't work. In the end, all the Democrats got was new language that may not affect any companies and a renewed provision that has proved ineffective in the past. The policy is a victory for companies including Medtronic Inc. and Tyco International Plc, which have millions of dollars in U.S. contracts and will be able to keep their business with the government. Medtronic is moving its tax address to Ireland next year and Tyco completed an inversion in 1997.
Citizens for Legitimate Govt.

6. Senator Elizabeth Warren's recent speech (excerpt)
Democrats don't like Wall Street bailouts. Republicans don't like Wall Street bailouts. The American people are disgusted by Wall Street bailouts
And yet here we are, five years after Dodd-Frank with Congress on the verge of ramming through a provision that would do nothing for the middle class, do nothing for community banks, do nothing but raise the risk that taxpayers will have to bail out the biggest banks once again...

So let me say this to anyone who is listening at Citi[group]. I agree with you Dodd-Frank isn't perfect. It should have broken you into pieces!
If this Congress is going to open up Dodd-Frank in the months ahead, then let's open it up to get tougher, not to create more bailout opportunities. If we're going to open up Dodd-Frank, let's open it up so that once and for all we end too big to fail and I mean really end it, not just say that we did.
Instead of passing laws that create new bailout opportunities for too big to fail banks, let's pass...something...that would help break up these giant banks.

A century ago Teddy Roosevelt was America's Trust-Buster. He went after the giant trusts and monopolies in this country, and a lot of people talk about how those trust deserved to be broken up because they had too much economic power. But Teddy Roosevelt said we should break them up because they had too much political power. Teddy Roosevelt said break them up because all that concentrated power threatens the very foundations up our democratic system.
And now we're watching as Congress passes yet another provision that was written by lobbyists for the biggest recipient of bailout money in the history of this country. And its attached to a bill that needs to pass or else we entire federal government will grind to a halt.

Think about that kind of power. If a financial institution has become so big and so powerful that it can hold the entire country hostage. That alone is reason enough to break them up.
Enough is enough.
Enough is enough with Wall Street insiders getting key position after key position and the kind of cronyism that we have seen in the executive branch. Enough is enough with Citigroup passing 11th hour deregulatory provisions that nobody takes ownership over but everybody will come to regret. Enough is enough
Washington already works really well for the billionaires and the big corporations and the lawyers and the lobbyists.

But what about the families who lost their homes or their jobs or their retirement savings the last time Citigroup bet big on derivatives and lost? What about the families who are living paycheck to paycheck and saw their tax dollars go to bail out Citi just 6 years ago?

We were sent here to fight for those families. It is time, it is past time, for Washington to start working for them!

PNN is very happy to present two outstanding Jazz Musicians
James Ousley Master Jazz Bass Player and Music Professor at FIU
Melton Mustafa Trumpet Master and Jazz Promoter and Producer 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

PNN - Going Going Going ...Green

PNN - 11/30/14

Dezaray Tampa Food Not Bombs
Drew Martin Sierra Club
Cris  Costello Sierra Club
Jeanie Economos Farm Worker Association Pesticide Trainer 
Jillian Pim - Ft. Lauderdale Food Not Bombs

1. A Nation of Laws… or
UN Investigators Urge Obama to Release CIA Torture Report
By Robert Evans, Reuters
29 November 14

United Nations human rights investigators called on President Barack Obama to live up to principles preached by the United States around the world and release a long completed report on CIA interrogation methods.

In an open letter issued in Geneva, the seven investigators and academic legal experts, said publication of the report by a Senate committee would be welcomed by victims of torture and their supporters everywhere.

Among the signatories were the world body's special rapporteurs for torture and for freedom of expression.

"As a nation that has publicly affirmed its belief that respect for truth advances respect for the rule of law, and as a nation that frequently calls for transparency and accountability in other countries, the United States must rise to meet the standards it has set both for itself and others," the open letter declared.

The Senate committee spent four years investigating waterboarding and other CIA practices used against terrorism suspects during the administration of former president George W. Bush. In April, it approved its report for release.

But the document has not yet been published, largely because of CIA demands that it be edited to obscure names and patterns of behavior that were crucial "in the system of violations that needs to be understood and redressed," the open letter said.

The investigators, including one American and three Latin Americans who work at U.S. universities and cover areas like torture, arbitrary execution and freedom of expression, said other countries were closely watching the issue.

"Victims of torture and human rights defenders around the world will be emboldened if you take a strong stand in support of transparency," they told Obama.

"On the contrary, if you yield to the CIA's demands for continued secrecy on this issue, those resisting accountability will surely misuse this decision to bolster their agenda in their own countries," the seven added.

The American in the group was David Kaye, a former State Department lawyer and a university professor in California who is special rapporteur on freedom of expression for the U.N. Human Rights Council.

The group also included Juan Mendez, an Argentine former victim of torture under his country's military regime and now U.N. special rapporteur on torture and other cruel or degrading treatment.

2. With Election Over, First Order Of Business Is $450B Corporate Tax Break

The election is over. Congress is back in Washington. The first order of business after the election is to give big tax breaks to the corporations -- $450 billion worth. Fortunately, President Obama is trying to do something about this.

Tax Extenders

Every year Congress renews a package of "temporary" corporate tax breaks. The renewal process is called "tax extenders" because they extend the term of these temporary breaks. So now the Congress is working on this year's extenders package, except this time it wants to just make many of them (the ones that mostly give handouts to giant corporations and campaign donors) permanent. The Washington Post calls this process "a periodic bonanza for lobbyists."

A few of the special tax breaks in the extenders package are really good and serve an important purpose. For example, part of the package is tax credits that provide incentives to invest in renewable energy. But most others are just giveaways and handouts to the already-wealthy, like depreciation tax breaks for people who own racehorses. (Yes, really.) Even worse, some of these are loopholes that actually encourage corporations to shift U.S. profits offshore into tax havens. (Yes, really.)

The good breaks are used to grease the wheels to slip these special favors through -- as in "if you want to get those wind tax credits you're going to have to pass a tax break for Mitt Romney's racehorses."

The media is reporting that Congress is near a deal on these extenders. The deal kills several "good" tax breaks that help working people and the middle class, like an expanded child tax credit for the working poor and expanded earned-income credit. The deal phases out the wind power tax credit after 2017.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) pointed out that companies that renounce their U.S. citizenship would even get special breaks from this deal:
"'The package would provide a permanent boon to large corporations, even those that renounce their U.S. citizenship and invert,' he said. 'And adding insult to injury, the proposed deal chooses to leave behind working families and would make things harder for millions of Americans. The overall package is simply unacceptable and adds more than $400 billion to the debt. We need to grow the middle class, not punish those working hard to get by while always giving preferences and priority treatment to big corporations who can hire high-priced, well-funded lobbyists.'"
Not Paid For
These tax breaks are not "paid for" -- they just add to the deficit. Remember how Congress rejected providing benefits for the long-term unemployed because they were not "paid for"? Congress won't fix the country's infrastructure because doing so is not "paid for." Even disaster relief had to be "paid for"!
But none of these corporate tax breaks and loopholes being considered are "paid for" -- but for some reason this isn't a problem -- this time. Because racehorses. Anyway, we're only talking about $450 billion.
President Says He Will Veto
The President says he will veto this deal if it reaches his desk. Roll Call has the story, in, "Obama Would Veto Corporate Tax Cut Bill":
"President Barack Obama would veto an emerging $450 billion tax cut deal coming together in the Senate because it doesn't do enough for the middle class, according to the White House.
"'The President would veto the proposed deal because it would provide permanent tax breaks to help well-connected corporations while neglecting working families,' said Jen Friedman, deputy White House press secretary."

3.The Fed Under Goldman's Thumb: Carmen Segarra's Picture Gets Senate Hearing
By Ian Katz and Jeff Kearns, Bloomberg News
29 November 14

illiam C. Dudley came under attack today by U.S. senators, who accused the Federal Reserve Bank of New York president of being too cozy with big Wall Street banks.
“I wouldn’t accept the premise that there’s been a long list of failures by the New York Fed since my tenure,” Dudley said in response to an assertion by Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat.
“Is there a cultural problem at the New York Fed? I think the evidence suggests that there is,” Warren said. “Either you need to fix it, Mr. Dudley, or we need to get someone who will.”
The hearing was prompted by allegations by a former New York Fed bank examiner, Carmen Segarra, who said her colleagues were too deferential to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the Wall Street bank where Dudley was chief economist for a decade.
Segarra attended today’s hearing and later released a statement via a spokesman expressing disappointment that she was not given a chance to address the panel.
“She looks forward to publicly testifying if and when the Senate moves forward with additional hearings,” said her spokesman, Jamie Diaferia, in an e-mail.
Senators questioned Dudley, 61, on issues ranging from whether some banks are too big to regulate to the Fed’s role in overseeing their commodities businesses.
Some of the criticism was pointed. Warren, a frequent critic of financial regulators, asked Dudley if he was “holding a mirror to your own behavior.”
Bank Misdeeds 
Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat, complained that bank employees involved in misdeeds haven’t been prosecuted and are “too big to jail.”
Dudley repeatedly disagreed with assertions that the New York Fed wasn’t doing enough to regulate banks and said lenders have become stronger and safer in the past few years.
He also took issue with Warren’s description of regulators as the “cop on the beat,” saying the Fed is concerned more with the safety and soundness of the financial system and refers potential crimes to law-enforcement agencies.
“I think of it more like a fire warden makes sure that the institution is run well so that it’s not going to catch on fire and burn down,” he said.
Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat and chairman of the subcommittee that held the hearing, urged the Fed to increase its emphasis on oversight and said only two of the central bank’s 12 regional presidents have “any background in supervision.”
Commodities Businesses 
Brown also asked Dudley if he thought banks should have commodities businesses, the subject of another congressional hearing today at which Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo testified.
“I think there are serious questions of whether they should,” Dudley said. Story: Janet Yellen Can't Say It, but the Republican Win Was Bad for Her
Dennis Kelleher, president of Washington-based Better Markets Inc., a non-profit group that backs stricter bank regulation, said it’s “amazing that there is bipartisan missile heading for the Fed and the people at the Fed appear oblivious to it.”
Republicans, who are poised to control the Senate next year in addition to the House, have proposed legislation to curb Fed discretion on monetary policy and bank supervision.
No Republican members attended the hearing. The Senate adjourned yesterday and isn’t back in session until Dec. 1.
“It’s difficult to make a case that financial regulators, and the Fed in particular, have not gotten more aggressive in their oversight of big banks,” said Stephen Myrow, a former Treasury official who is now managing partner of consulting firm Beacon Policy Advisors LLC in Washington.
Populist Perception 
“Regulators will always have to contend with the populist perception of a cozy relationship between the Fed and Wall Street, and incidents like the ones currently in Congress’s cross hairs don’t help.”
The Fed yesterday announced a broad review of its supervision of the largest banks and asked an internal watchdog to look into whether dissenting views among its bank examiners got sufficient attention within the central bank.
Dudley, responding to a question by Jack Reed, a Democrat from Rhode Island, said he was “definitely not hired and appointed by the people that I regulated.” He also said it was up to Congress to change the law and make the selection of the head of the New York Fed subject to Senate approval.
Reed introduced a bill this week to add the New York Fed chief to the list of central bank officials who must be nominated by the U.S. president and confirmed by the Senate. Regional Fed presidents are currently picked by their own directors, subject to the approval of Fed governors, who are all Senate-confirmed.
Bankers Fired 
Today’s Senate hearing follows reports that Goldman Sachs fired two bankers after one of them allegedly shared confidential documents from the New York Fed within the firm.
A junior banker, who had joined the company in July from the New York Fed, was dismissed a week after the discovery in late September, along with another employee who failed to escalate the issue, according to an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg News. Goldman Sachs confirmed the memo’s contents.
The incident is a fresh embarrassment for Dudley, who has carried on a campaign to overhaul what he calls an errant banking “culture” of misdeeds that has led to more than $100 billion of fines.

4. My Letter to Ft. Lauderdale’s Mayor

Mayor Seiler, sir I protest

Fort Lauderdale is not just beaches, and it isn't just yachts its also made up of children and immigrants and the poor. 
While public safety is important its a JOB CREATOR. Pretending that hygene and health is the reason to prevent and criminalize the poor is not just inefficient it is immoral.

Whether you studied the Bible or the Koran or the Talmud or the Ramayana as a child, the law givers and the moralists never proclaimed that the poor should be locked up and those good people who take time to notice and feed them do no criminal act. When they are harassed and arrested for feeding the poor we turn our faces from a moral life and to a colder and less humane way of life.

Please find the spirit of charity in your heart. Find the compassion that your mother and father taught you. The stony hearted will always council the cold dark way. The sun and the city are for all rich and poor alike. We serve our rich and our poor every day. 
Let us not favor one at the expense of the other.

I ask you be enlightened by the HOLIDAY SEASON, give thanks that your family is not destitute. Give thanks that you father did no sustain, a horrible health condition that drove his family to the street, living without shelter.

Take food out to the street yourself. See a needy person receive that plate from your hand, and decide how you might best serve all of the people of Fort Lauderdale.

Richard W. Spisak
former Broward County Resident


Saturday November 29, 11 a.m. Mass Rally in defense of the rights of the homeless; in protest against homeless criminalization laws across the United States; and demanding permanent housing and services for those in need.
Over the past seven months the Fort Lauderdale City Commission, led by Mayor Jack Seiler, has waged an unprecedented assault on the very existence of homeless persons within its borders.  This mayor’s repeated claims about the existence of alternatives to the newly criminalized outdoor food sharing sites have been exposed as false by local media.  
The icing on this bitter cake, which is layered with prohibitions against camping, publicly storing personal belongings and panhandling, has been Ordinance C-14-42, which effectively criminalizes public food sharing.  More than a dozen summonses—including at least three given to 91-year-old “Chef Arnold” Abbott—have been issued since this law’s implementation on October 31.  The backlash against this legal denial of human decency has attained global proportions, with condemnations ushering from thousands on social media and from mass media outlets on every continent (Antarctica excluded). 
Homeless advocacy organizations both locally and nationally—e.g., the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty—have condemned the criminalization of homelessness for decades as a non-solution and a bar to attaining the goal of ending homelessness.  The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness concurs that providing permanent supportive housing and services to the chronically homeless, as opposed to criminalizing their life-sustaining activity, is both humane and cost-effective.  Even Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel has decried laws which criminalize homelessness as wrongheaded.
Speakers/Endorsers (more TBA): Arnold Abbott, The Rev. Canon Mark Sims,
Rev. Craig Watts, Rabbi Barry Silver, Rev. Gail Tapscott, Rev. Dwayne Black, National Coalition for the Homeless, Broward Coalition to End Homelessness,
The Homeless Voice, Project Downtown Fort Lauderdale, REMAR USA, Broward Homeless Campaign, Community Outreach Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ft. Lauderdale
United States Federal Courthouse
299 East Broward Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale


PNN - Going Green
Nov. 30th 7pm - 9pm (Eastern)
Join News Director Rick Spisak and his Green Green very Green Guests:
Marty Baum River Keeper to discuss current issues regarding St. Lucie River and the Lake Okeechobee effluent.
Drew Martin Palm Beach Water Board and Sierra Club Leader
Cris  Costello Sierra Club water activist
Jeannie Economos - Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator at Farmworker Association of Florida
Tune in for a wide-ranging discussion of Florida's Environmental State here at the end of 2014
Solidarity & Peace
Rick Spisak, News Director Progressive News Network