Tag Archives | legislation

U.S. Politicians Want to Fast-Track the Super-Secret, Super-Controversial TPP

DaveCamp-CSISPerhaps the politicians were hoping that Americans were too busy taking in “news” about the Polar Vortex and the great George Washington Bridge distraction, but last week they tried to sneak the Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP, onto the legislative fast track. A few people in the alternative media noticed however, including Future Tense’s Ariel Bogle, via Slate:

It seems wrong to hate something that you’ve never read. Yet the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a globally significant free trade agreement being worked out in secret, is rewriting the rules in more ways than one.

The TPP is already being negotiated behind closed doors, but the situation could get worse. Late on Thursday afternoon, House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, introduced the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014. The bill would grant the White House fast-track authority, sometimes known as the “trade promotion authority,” to ratify trade deals.

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States Outlaw Videotaping of Animal Cruelty

Dead-pigWhat kind of society passes laws like these? Well about 12 states in the US, for a start. Richard A. Oppel, Jr. reports for the New York Times:

On one covert video, farm workers illegally burn the ankles of Tennessee walking horses with chemicals. Another captures workers in Wyoming punching and kicking pigs and flinging piglets into the air. And at one of the country’s largest egg suppliers, a video shows hens caged alongside rotting bird corpses, while workers burn and snap off the beaks of young chicks.

Each video — all shot in the last two years by undercover animal rights activists — drew a swift response: Federal prosecutors in Tennessee charged the horse trainer and other workers, who have pleaded guilty, with violating the Horse Protection Act. Local authorities in Wyoming charged nine farm employees with cruelty to animals. And the egg supplier, which operates in Iowa and other states, lost one of its biggest customers, McDonald’s, which said the video played a part in its decision.

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Ron Paul’s ‘Audit the Fed’ Bill Passes the House

Via Yahoo! News:

While Ron Paul may not be the next president, he can chalk up one victory this year. The Texas Republican’s “audit the fed” bill has passed the house. Needless to say, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and his allies are not pleased:

“This bill would … jeopardize the Fed’s independence by subjecting its decisions on interest rates and monetary policy to GAO audit,” said House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, a Democrat from Maryland. “I agree with Chairman Bernanke that congressional review of the Fed’s monetary policy decisions would be a ‘nightmare scenario,’ especially judging by the track record of this Congress when it comes to governing effectively.”

Despite the excitement of House Republicans, Paul’s victory can probably be considered a moral one only: Democratic Senator Harry Reid described the bill as “dead on arrival” once it arrives at the Senate.

Read more at Yahoo! News:

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Female Ohio Democrat Introduces Bill To Regulate Men’s Sexual Health

10183433-largeEpic trolling from Ohio state Senator Nina Turner. I love this response to male Republican efforts to curtail women’s access to birth control and abortion (including the anti-abortion “Heartbeat Bill” just introduced in Ohio by Rep. Lynn Wachtmann). The Dayton Daily News writes:

Before getting a prescription for Viagra or other erectile dysfunction drugs, men would have to see a sex therapist, receive a cardiac stress test, receive information about “pursuing celibacy as a viable lifestyle choice,” and get a notarized affidavit signed by a sexual partner affirming impotency, if state Sen. Nina Turner has her way.

The Cleveland Democrat introduced Senate Bill 307 this week. Turner said, “I certainly want to stand up for men’s health and take this seriously and legislate it the same way mostly men say they want to legislate a woman’s womb.”

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Legalize It!

legalize itIs this the End (of cannabis prohibition as we know it)?

The NORML blog says eight states may legalize marijuana this year:

2012 has only just begun and it is already shaping up to be one of the most exciting and active years for marijuana law reform in some time. More than a dozen state legislatures are currently considering reform measures in some respect and 8 states are attempting to put legalization initiatives before voters this November.

Many of these efforts are still in the signature gathering stage. Check out the list below to see if you might be able to vote ‘Yes’ on marijuana legalization in your state this year and how you can get involved to make that a reality. In addition to the legalization initiatives below several states, such as Ohio and Massachusetts, are working to also put medical marijuana initiatives before voters this year. To stay up to date on all the efforts to reform marijuana laws you can follow our “Legalize It 2012″ hub on Facebook and Twitter.

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Ron Paul Introduces Legislation To Strike NDAA’s Unconstitutional Section 1021

Kurt Nimmo writing at Infowars.com:
Rep. Ron Paul left the campaign trail on Wednesday to speak on the House floor about the National Defense Authorization Act, which was signed into law on the first day of the new year by Obama. Paul introduced legislation to strike the NDAA’s Section 1021, the discretionary detention provision authorizing the President to detain persons accused by the government of supporting terrorism...
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Missing Wikipedia? Here’s How You Can Access It

As most Internet users already know, leading Internet companies like Google, Wikipedia, and Craigslist are protesting the SOPA legislation very publicly today, with Wikipedia totally blacked out. But, if you really, really need to access Wikipedia today, they have kindly explained how to come in through the back door:
Is it still possible to access Wikipedia in any way? Yes. During the blackout, Wikipedia is accessible on mobile devices and smart phones. You can also view Wikipedia normally by disabling JavaScript in your browser, as explained on this Technical FAQ page. Our purpose here isn't to make it completely impossible for people to read Wikipedia, and it's okay for you to circumvent the blackout. We just want to make sure you see our message.
Wikipedia blackout
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40,000 New Laws For New Year Across United States

The libertarians are really onto something ... From MSNBC:
About 40,000 state laws taking effect at the start of the new year will change rules about getting abortions in New Hampshire, learning about gays and lesbians in California, getting jobs in Alabama and even driving golf carts in Georgia. Several federal rules change with the new year, too, including a Social Security increase amounting to $450 a year for the average recipients and stiff fines up to $2,700 per offense for truckers and bus drivers caught using hand-held cellphones while driving. NBC News, the National Conference of State Legislatures, The Associated Press, and other organizations tracked the changes...
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Who Is The Protect IP Act Really Protecting?

The Preventing Real Online Threats of Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act, or PROTECT IP Act, is supposedly targeted at so-called ”rogue websites” that trade in infringing goods. Abigail Phillips gives some much-needed context to the controversial legislation for the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

Last year’s rogue website legislation is back on the table, with a new name: the “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011″—or (wink, wink) “PROTECT IP”. The draft language is available here.

Screen shot 2011-05-12 at 6.44.57 PM

The earlier bill, which failed to pass thanks largely to a hold on the legislation placed by Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, would have given the government dramatic new copyright enforcement powers targeted at websites “dedicated to infringing activities,” even where those websites were not based in the United States. Despite some salient differences (described below) in the new version, we are no less dismayed by this most recent incarnation than we were with last year’s draft.

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