Rajat

Rajat

Without Warning or Public Input, House Republicans Vote to Dismantle Ethics Oversight Office

A new Republican-led Congress meets today, and in one of their first moves, House Republicans have voted to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics, dismantling reforms adopted after a previous Republican ethics scandal. The measure will take away authority and independence from the investigative body and give more power to lawmakers over internal inquiries.

FIRST SALVO FROM NEW CONGRESS: "Attempted"Neutering of Ethics Committee ( Republicans scrapped the effort in less than 24 hours after taking heat)

Craig Holman, who helped to set up the Office of Congressional Ethics after it was established in 2008, and says it "literally quadrupled" the number of ethics actions taken in the House but will now be "neutered."

"Under the measure, the Office of Congressional Ethics will be renamed the Office of Congressional Complaint Review and placed under the oversight of the House Ethics Committee. The move takes away authority and independence from the investigative body and gives more power to lawmakers over internal inquiries. "

Craig Holman on recounting why it was set up after justice department charged Jack Abramoff: "Jack Abramoff was considered the uber-lobbyist of the time. But, quite frankly, you know, he was typical of K Street lobbyists. They literally had very close relations with congressional leaders, and they worked in tandem with congressional leaders. So Jack Abramoff would fly members of Congress, congressional leaders, to Scotland to play golf. He had a restaurant right across the street from here called Signatures Restaurant, where he had a table set aside for free wining and dining of any members of Congress who wanted to partake. Literally, he was using money, he was using gifts, he was using travel, to buy control over the House of Representatives.

And it worked. The House Ethics Committee never stepped in to deal with Jack Abramoff. It was the Department of Justice that finally had to step in and charge Jack with bribery, before we could finally get this under control, which is why we knew it was so important to create a new independent agency that would be outside the control of members of Congress to monitor the ethics process of the House of Representatives."

Source : Amy Goodman @ DemocracyNow.org

Rajat

Rajat

Breaking: Obama Admin Halts Dakota Access Pipeline Construction after Months of Resistance

On Sunday the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied the Dakota Access pipeline company a permit to drill underneath the Missouri River-officially halting construction of the $3.8 billion oil pipeline that has faced months of resistance from the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota and members of more than 200 Indigenous nations from across the Americas, as well as their non-Native allies.

Gandhian Satyagrah by Native Americans, Veterans and good people halt the pipeline. Amy Goodman herself spared no effort in publicizing the effort.
Oil price drop is good news as it threatens the very economics of a pipeline dedicated to shipping excess North Dakota crude when production continues to fall. There are enough, rail and alternate pipeline routes available to take care of existing production.

Andre Burger

Andre Burger

Al-Quds University has been repeatedly attacked by the IOF. US taxpayers, you're paying for this.

Rajat

Rajat Are you studying or visiting there by any chance?

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Rajat

Rajat

Fidel Castro, a South African Hero

DURBAN, South Africa - Nelson Mandela once wrote that "there is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living." It is almost as if Mandela had Fidel Castro in mind when he wrote those words.

It is unusual for mainstream media to show the other side of Fidel. This is a good read.

While we have a volatile history with Cuba, it is essential for the United States to begin to normalize relations with the long opposed nation. Our past with them has consisted of embargoes, economic sanctions, hostile relationships between our last dozen presidents highlighted with the Cuban counter-balancing relationship with Russia, the missile crisis and the Bay of Pigs invasion failure of the US. It would be worthwhile to note that Cuba has been a long standing roadblock America's aspirations of "hemispheric domination" under the Monroe Doctrine. Similarly, Cuba had played a pivotal role in the fight against colonial powers and insurgents in Angola, instrumental ultimately in collapse of apartheid in South Africa. A fact acknowledged by none other that Nelson Mandela.

Despite the checkered past , continuing our developing diplomatic relations with Cuba would be beneficial to both nations’ economies and government. The embargo, specifically Helms-Burn Act, should be repealed so that Cuba can begin recognize it’s potential as a nation. Although in order for Cuba to improve, it is necessary that they improve their own human rights. Travel restrictions should also gradually be eased. By reconciling with Cuba, the United States will benefit from this with gains to the agriculture and telecommunications industries (and other things).

Rajat

Rajat

There Are 868 Fewer Places to Vote in 2016 Because the Supreme Court Gutted the Voting Rights Act

When Aracely Calderon, a naturalized US citizen from Guatemala, went to vote in downtown Phoenix just before the polls closed in Arizona's March 22 presidential primary, there were more than 700 people in a line stretching four city blocks. She waited in line for five hours, becoming the last voter in the state to cast a ballot at 12:12 am.

No matter who you vote for, why would a democratic system not want a higher voter participation by having more 1) places to vote 2) early voting options and 3) election monitors?

Adam Pryor

Adam Pryor And not to talk of purged voter rolls and voter intimidation. http://www.democracynow.org/2016/11/7/this_is_voting_in_2016_armed

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TheHobMob

TheHobMob

The map is set for 2016 initiatives to #RaiseTheWage - The Fairness Project

Corporate interests tried to throw a wrench in Arizona Healthy Working Families' campaign to raise the wage and pass paid sick leave. But yesterday, the Arizona Supreme Court had the final word: The initiative is officially headed for the ballot! This isn't just a win for Arizona - it's the moment we've been waiting for ...

Folks in "Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington gathered almost a million signatures from supporters all over their states so that working families can flex their power at the ballot box. In total, over 2.1 million working Americans would be impacted by wage hikes. In Arizona and Washington, over 1.9 million working Americans would also be provided with paid sick leave to care for themselves or a sick family member."

Rajat

Rajat

Here is how the democratic system fails and often does not reflect the views of a vast majority of ordinary good people. People who quib do not vote and a very small percentage of the population sways the entire system.

- 324 million ..the number of people in US
-103 million...ineligible, children, ineligible or felons
-88 million adults simply do not vote
-73 million additionally didn't vote in primaries but expected to vote eventually
-60 million ... remaining people who vote for Republicans and Democrats (@ 30 million a piece.)or about 18% of the entire population.
- Once you factor out the votes for other candidates Trump and Clinton actually got only about 9% of the vote of the entire population

What happened in the Brexit vote rings an eerie bell on our forthcoming election.

Source of estimates: NYT study dated August 8/1/2016 http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/08/01/us/elections/nine-percent-of-america-selected-trump-and-clinton.html

Emma Zahren-Newman

Emma Zahren-Newman wow-- shocking-- so what do you say: representative government or democratic government?

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Rajat

Rajat "Benjamin Franklin was asked what kind of government the framers had produced. A republic if you can keep it, he replied. " http://ncsl.typepad.com/the_thicket/2011/09/republic-or-representative-democracy.html

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