Heck's only been in Congress for three years, yet he's already on three important committees, takes $80k (that we know of) from defense lobbyists, and got TV commercials for the last election - his first re-election - paid for by the US Chamber of Commerce. A pretty meteoric career for someone who framed himself as a humble citizen who just wanted to make a difference.
Incidentally, he got an amendment of his own passed in that same debate, thanks to which the nation will now spend many millions of our tax dollars buying Iron Dome missile systems from Israel.
That's splitting hairs, Mike - we know what he meant.
I wrote to my Congressman asking why he voted against Amash. He sent me a lengthy reply full of weasel phrases like "a substantial amount of misinformation about these programs has been spread, mostly through independent, unaccountable media sources" and "I have twice sworn an oath to preserve, defend, and uphold our Constitution. I take this oath very seriously". Then at the end he linked to a press release put out by his office - https://heck.house.gov/press-release/why-i-voted-against-amash-amendment-defense-appropriations-a ct
That he felt obliged to put this out suggests that I was far from the only person to contact him about the matter.
A great deal of the hunger in the world is not caused by actual shortages, but by index commodity speculation that drives prices up out of reach of the poor. Index commodity speculation is quite different from the normal kind of commodity futures trading, known as physical hedging. It has nothing to do with leveling market supply and demand. It's a purely financial instrument created by the likes of Goldman Sachs to allow people with massive amounts of money to gamble on the commodity exchanges, which they were previously barred from doing by the 1936 Commodity Market Act. Goldman quietly got the rules changed around 2003.
Note, they're not actually trading commodity futures. They're doing "Commodity Index Swaps". From Wikipedia, "A Commodity swap is similar to a Fixed-Floating Interest rate swap. The difference is that in an Interest rate swap the floating leg is based on standard Interest rates such as LIBOR, EURIBOR etc. but in a commodity swap the floating leg is based on the price of underlying commodity like Oil, Sugar etc. No Commodities are exchanged during the trade." In other words, you give your money to the Wall Street bank and if the price of your commodity goes up by 10%, you get it back with 10% extra, less fees of course. But the sheer amount of money sloshing around in this business is enough to influence the market price on its own, and naturally, the bank has an interest in moving it in one direction.
This speculation, and not supply and demand, is the reason you're paying $3.50 a gallon for gas today. Speculation drove the price from $40 a barrel to $140 in 2008, then the bubble burst and it fell back to $33 by year's end. Now they've driven it back up to around $100 again, though in fact, supply has increased and demand fallen since 2008. 2008 was also a peak year for speculation in soy beans, wheat, rice and other staples, which is why just the revelation that the Japanese rice stock existed was enough to collapse the price.
I wrote to my congresscritter to ask why he voted against the Amash amendment. Part of his reply reads as follows:
[S]ince this disclosure a substantial amount of misinformation about these programs has been spread, mostly through independent, unaccountable media sources. ... The simple truth is that this authority has thwarted 54 terrorist plots since its creation.
If this is what you get from a member of a group allegedly committed to reducing the size of the Federal Government, there is no hope.
It didn't work out so well for Joseph Nacchio, former CEO of Qwest. Perhaps he really was guilty of insider trading, but it seems improbable he would have been prosecuted and given six years for it if he hadn't stood up to the NSA.
I'm surprised that Baker would bring 9/11 into it, considering how precariously the lid has been secured on that can of worms. There is plenty of evidence that if there was a "failure to connect the dots", it was willful. Some agency was tracking these guys during their time at the flight school in Florida, and other agencies had been told to leave them alone. This is not to say that anyone knew what they were planning to do, but they were certainly already "persons of interest" to someone. As for the FBI, it's been adequately documented by Daniel Hopsicker (http://www.madcowprod.com/newvideo/dvd/flyingcircus2.html) and others that their primary concern after the event was not investigating, but gathering up and concealing evidence and warning inconvenient witnesses to keep their mouths shut.
Not only that, but they're available within minutes of an episode airing anywhere. It's possible for a guy on the West Coast to download and watch an entire episode before it even starts to air in his local time zone. Consider the appeal of that for someone who has to be up for work before 5am the next morning. It's convenience they would pay for.
So do you really think that US prices for textbooks will go down? Or have you figured out yet that textbook prices in other countries is going up?
In a free market, everything is sold for the maximum price the market will stand. This is fundamental economics. And the whole point of Wiley's lawsuit was to interfere with the free market. If they had the freedom to increase prices overseas, they surely would have done so, but the foreign market would not, and will not, stand it.
The most likely outcome is that US and overseas prices will stay the same. A healthy grey import business will develop, and the publishers' next move will be against the foreign buyers.
Indeed. And the notion that "Fifty Shades" is in any way derivative of stories about a woman who stubbornly refuses to have sex until she's legally wed beggars belief. The only thing "Fifty Shades" has in common with "Twilight" is a naive heroine.
We may have a problem breaking Britain's speed record. The state of the US today is strangely reminiscent of the state of the British empire in 1900. Britain was at its peak economically, and militarily invincible. Less than twenty years later it was in full decline.
A lot of that reversal was due to the Boer War, which Britain entered out of pride and "won", sort of, but at colossal expense, ending up looking a lot less invincible to challengers like Germany. Today the US has the Afghan war. Hmmm.
Right, who can forget Attorney General Ashcroft, appointed after losing an election to a dead man? If that expression of public disapproval couldn't stop his appointment, nothing could. Oddly enough, Ashcroft appears to have had more integrity than his successor, Gonzalez. We'll have to wait a while for history to assign Holder a level of odium in relation to those two, but it's not looking good for him.
Why $50 just for each bad hit, and not for every filing? If I want to issue pretty much any kind of enforceable legal document I have to pay a fee per filing, legitimate or not. There should be a fee payable with each and every DMCA takedown.
When I see one of those Chilling Effects links, I click on it first. The "offending" URL is invariably still working and is usually what I was looking for. Though the other night I clicked through one and ended up at Hulu, viewing content provided by the organization that issued the takedown. Go figure...
As long as people won't stop feeding the trolls, may we please have a system where, when the trollish comment is flagged, the entire fucking response thread disappears? That way I won't have to waste my time looking through the next 40 column inches of witless arguing to find another relevant comment.