Daily Archives: January 2, 2016

Who Received Trillions in Secret Loans? Bernie Sanders on Auditing the Federal Reserve (2010)


The Film Archives

Published on Jan 1, 2016

The Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009 (H.R. 1207) was a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives of the 111th United States Congress by Congressman Ron Paul (TX-14). It proposed a reformed audit of the Federal Reserve System (the “Fed”) before the end of 2010. The bill had 319 cosponsors, and was referred to the Committee on Financial Services. Its Senate version, introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders (Ind.-VT), was called the Federal Reserve Sunshine Act of 2009 (S. 604), and it had 32 cosponsors. A related bill used the same two names in reverse order. An amendment with similar provisions was added to the Federal Stability Improvement Act (H.R. 3996) by the House Committee on Financial Services in November 2009.

The bill was reintroduced in the House by Ron Paul, and in the Senate by his son Rand Paul (R-KY), during the 112th United States Congress as H.R. 459 and S. 202. On July 25, 2012 the House bill was passed 327 to 98.

Support for the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009 was one of the issues raised as part of the nationwide 2009 Tea Party protests. During an episode of the Glenn Beck program which broadcast April 15 from a rally at the Alamo in San Antonio, Pat Gray interviewed a local supporter of the Transparency Act, drawing cheers from the crowd.[26]

Support for the bill has also come from those on the left outside of congress. In a letter to Chairman Barney Frank of the House Financial Services Committee, Ranking Member Spencer Bachus and its members, several progressives such as bloggers Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake, Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism, “Tyler Durden” of Zero Hedge, author Naomi Klein, labor leaders President Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO, the SEIU’s President Andy Stern, the United Steelworkers’s President Leo Gerard, economists Dean Baker, James K. Galbraith, Rob Johnson, and professors William K. Black, Thomas Ferguson, and L. Randall Wray, pushed for passage of the bill and against the adoption of the amendment proposed by Rep. Watt.[27]

The advocacy group Campaign for Liberty (CFL) encourages members to petition representatives to cosponsor the Transparency Act.[28] College Republicans at Appalachian State University, staged a Boston Tea Party themed assembly for tax day 2009, to raise awareness for the Transparency Act; the event included wearing white wristbands to symbolize slavery and mailing tea bags to state representatives.[29] CFL president John Tate promotes the bill in conjunction with dealing with “the silent, destructive tax of monetary inflation”, this thought was echoed in the Kansas City Star.[30] Ron Paul, Andrew Napolitano, and state representative Jim Guest promoted the bill “at length” at the crowded first CFL regional conference in St. Louis, Missouri (March 27–29), affirming Americans’ “right to know where their tax dollars are going, especially those going to companies from the stimulus package.” Pro-gambling group Gambling911.com is also interested in the Transparency Act, as an opportunity to audit the Federal Reserve, and also promoted the CFL “Freedom Celebration” regional conference.

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Even Tumbling Fossil Fuel Prices Can’t Deter Clean Energy Revolution

Greenpeace, among many others, has said 100% renewable energy for all is achievable by 2050—and is the only way to ensure the world does not descend into catastrophic climate change. (Photo: fotolia.com)

Published on Friday, January 01, 2016 by Common Dreams

2015 saw ‘a global surge for wind and solar energy, which occurred despite oil, coal and natural gas selling at bargain rates.’

by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

One of the biggest stories of 2015 was the sharp decline of oil prices, which fell this year to levels not seen in more than a decade.

“After plunging from more than $100 a barrel to nearly $50 a barrel last year, U.S. oil prices fell 30 percent in 2015 to $37.04 a barrel,” the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

“Renewables have turned a corner in a fundamental way.”
— Dan Reicher, Stanford University’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance

“A repeat in early 2016 could well push crude oil to fresh closing lows not seen since the early 2000s,” the Fiscal Times added this week.

It was good news for fuel consumers—drivers who flocked to SUVs and pickup trucks in 2015, for instance—as well as for governments that import crude oil.

But this trend could easily translate into bad news for stemming climate change, a goal that depends on keeping the vast majority of fossil fuels in the ground.

Yet surprisingly, even “amid a worldwide glut of cheap fossil fuels,” the Washington Post‘s Joby Warrick reported on Friday, “business is blowing strong” for the renewable energy industry as well.

Indeed, Warrick writes, 2015 saw “a global surge for wind and solar energy, which occurred despite oil, coal and natural gas selling at bargain rates.” He points to “massive new projects” under construction from China and India to Texas, as well as growing capacity in the U.S., which recently “crossed the 70-gigawatt threshold in wind-generated electricity, with 50,000 spinning turbines producing enough power to light up 19 million homes.”

…(read more).

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The Misinformation Mess

The first Republican debate in the 2016 election campaign (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

Published on Monday, December 28, 2015 by Consortium News
by Robert Parry

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman marvels at the right-wing extremism prevalent in the Republican presidential race not just from the “outsider” candidates but from the “establishment” favorites as well, doubling down on President George W. Bush’s economic prescriptions and foreign policies despite their record of disaster.

The media’s obsession with Donald Trump’s off-the-cuff candidacy “has in one way worked to the G.O.P. establishment’s advantage: it has distracted pundits and the press from the hard right turn even conventional Republican candidates have taken, a turn whose radicalism would have seemed implausible not long ago,” Krugman wrote on Monday.

From escalating U.S. military involvement in the Middle East to slashing taxes – again – for the rich, the supposedly “mainstream” Republicans, such as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, are acting as if the catastrophes under Bush-43 never happened.

It would be fair to say that the Democrats are suffering from a similar disconnect from the lessons of the last quarter century, with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bristling with hawkish rhetoric toward Syria and Russia while sending fawning salutations to Israel despite its contribution to the Mideast crisis by repressing the Palestinian people.

…(read more).

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First Aerial Footage of Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Leak


Environmental Defense Fund

Published on Dec 20, 2015

Aerial footage filmed Dec. 17, 2015, shows potent, climate-damaging methane gases escaping from a massive natural gas leak at a storage facility in California’s Aliso Canyon, with the San Fernando valley pictured in the background. The giant methane plumes were made visible by a specialized infrared camera operated by an Earthworks ITC-certified thermographer. Learn more about the leak: https://edf.org/shu/

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Enormity of Billowing Methane Plume in California ‘Cannot Be Overstated’

Porter Ranch leak, spewing methane since October, shows ‘gaping vulnerabilities’ in oversight

by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

The giant methane plumes were made visible by a specialized infrared camera operated by an Earthworks ITC-certified thermographer. (Screenshot)

The toxic methane cloud that has been “billowing” for months over an underground natural gas reservoir near the affluent community of Porter Ranch just north of Los Angeles illustrates “gaping vulnerabilities” in oversight and enforcement of greenhouse gas pollution rules, a California newspaper editorial board declared this week.

A pipe leak has been releasing an estimated tens of thousands of kilograms of methane into the air every hour since mid-October, leading environmentalists like Erin Brockovich to declare it “a catastrophe the scale of which has not been seen since the 2010 BP oil spill.”

…(read more).

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Ten Weather Extremes That Defined Hottest Year Ever Recorded

Image of 2015 El Niño. (Photo: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

From droughts to floods to mega-storms, extreme weather over the past 365 days raises disturbing questions about future of climate chaos

by Sarah Lazare, staff writer

The hottest year in recorded history is coming to a close with a wave of extreme weather and ecosystem shifts, from unprecedented flooding in the United Kingdom to dangerous deluges in South America.

Looking back at 2015, it is clear that such extremes are not the exception, but have been the rule for the past 365 days and beyond. Such weather is linked to this year’s exceptionally strong El Niño, which is tied to human-made global warming.

Communities on the frontlines of climate change have long warned that resultant floods, droughts, and mega-storms are already bringing death, displacement, and food insecurity to people across the globe, particularly those who are poor, Indigenous, or living in the global south.

Here are ten freakish weather extremes in 2015 that raise the alarm about climate chaos in 2016 and beyond—and underscore the urgency of strong and effective adaptation, mitigation, and emissions reductions policies.

…(read more).

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Are the Japanese risking extinction?


Journeyman Pictures

Published on Apr 22, 2013

Baby Drain – In Japan, the birth rate is decreasing at such a rate that many believe the whole race risk being extinct, or at least face a national crisis.

For downloads and more information visit:
http://www.journeyman.tv/?lid=65178

With a plummeting birth rate and a rapidly ageing population, Japan is facing an unprecedented population collapse with vast economic, social and political implications. We explore the dangers facing the nation.

In bustling Tokyo, there’s little sense of an impending crisis, but Japan is facing a demographic time bomb. “Nobody is having babies. The men aren’t as hungry for success or for relationships as they were before”, says Kaoru Arai. She epitomises the country’s new breed of successful and financially independent women that are putting their career first. “I’m picky, yes. I want it all”, she smiles. In a desperate move to pull the birth rate back from the brink, the government is offering cash incentives to encourage singles to partner up and procreate. Meanwhile, the elderly are being left behind, with no one to look after them. Japan’s seemingly xenophobic reluctance to admit foreign workers means that major companies are now racing to develop robots to help fill the void and support its ageing population. Somewhat desperate measures, which reveal how difficult the problem has become for the government to handle. “This situation cannot continue, we know this very well, but it is still not something that is easily solved.”

Produced by – SBS. Ref – 5785

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