By The People

There are fundamental flaws in how American government operates today,
contrary to the Constitution and the vision of a representative republican form of governance.
I intend doing something about it: by educating and informing others who
are not even aware of the dangers.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The wrong road to reducing emissions

by Peter DeFazio, guest opinion
Monday January 26, 2009, 6:00 PM

Peter DeFazio

Deregulation brought a meltdown in our electricity markets with market manipulation, profiteering and higher costs to consumers without benefits. Remember Enron? Deregulation was also a major contributor to the recent Wall Street-led financial crisis. Now powerful forces in Washington, D.C., and Salem are pushing a market-based (read unregulated) cap-and-trade system to address the problem of climate change.

A cap-and-trade system works by setting a cap on greenhouse gas emissions and then giving participants credits to pollute up to the established cap. Participants may buy, trade and sell credits in an unregulated market to meet their emission targets. In theory, emissions will drop as the number of credits available each year is reduced. It's a good idea on paper.

But like deregulated U.S. energy and financial markets, a cap-and-trade system is prone to market manipulation.

Alarmingly, cap-and-trade proposals being considered in Washington, D.C., and Salem would allow unregulated entities -- such as investment banks and hedge funds -- to participate in the market. These entities -- really, speculators -- don't have emissions to cut. Their goal is to make profits.

Speculation has been ruinous in Europe where a cap-and-trade system was implemented in 2005. Unregulated entities are profiting at the expense of regulated businesses by buying up credits to pollute, hoarding them until the price increases, and then selling them for inflated returns. The result? greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise despite $60 billion worth of credits being traded in the lucrative European market each year. The cost of business is rising and consumers are paying the premium.

Apply this to a U.S. market, expected to be three times the size of Europe's. The opportunities for economic competitors with large reserves of dollars (think China and Saudi Arabia) to manipulate and abuse the market would be enormous. Similarly, the possibilities are ripe for a few powerful speculators to bring Oregon's small market to its knees.

To add insult to injury, proposals in Washington, D.C., and Oregon would give a large portion of the pollution credits to the energy industry based on historical emission levels free of charge. The idea is to cushion the fall in profits for regulated entities when they start to cut emissions. This works out to a potential $100 billion giveaway to the oil, gas and coal industries in the first year alone of a nationwide system. Total giveaways to industry through the life of the market would be mind-numbing, making the Wall Street bailout seem like pocket change.

Despite these obvious problems, federal and state lawmakers are poised to move forward with a cap-and-trade system. I'm working in Washington to oppose this proposal and to find an alternative. One option that needs further exploration is to establish a emissions cap and to direct polluters to either reduce emissions or to purchase certified offsets (reductions from other entities) to meet emission targets.

But given the devastating impact of past deregulation on U.S. energy and financial markets, I have serious concerns about using a "market-based approach" to solve serious problems. My colleagues in Congress, and Oregon legislators, would be wise to do their homework on a cap-and-trade system before moving forward with more deregulation.

Peter DeFazio, a Democrat, represents Oregon's 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

It seems that I am not alone in my thinking about the cap and trade market doing little to move to energy independence or reduce the GHG emissions. All it will do is create yet another way for the financial sector to profit and the consumers get squat.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Judge rules family can't refuse chemo for boy

So who knows better how to care for your child's health, you or your government?

By AMY FORLITI, Associated Press Writer Amy Forliti, Associated Press Writer – 45 mins ago

MINNEAPOLIS – A Minnesota judge has ruled that a 13-year-old boy with a highly treatable form of cancer must seek conventional medical treatment over his parents' objections.

In a 58-page ruling Friday, Brown County District Judge John Rodenberg found that Daniel Hauser has been "medically neglected" and is in need of child protection services.

Rodenberg said Daniel will stay in the custody of his parents, but Colleen and Anthony Hauser have until May 19 to get an updated chest X-ray for their son and select an oncologist.

The judge wrote that Daniel has only a "rudimentary understanding at best of the risks and benefits of chemotherapy. ... he does not believe he is ill currently. The fact is that he is very ill currently."

Daniel's court-appointed attorney, Philip Elbert, called the decision unfortunate.

"I feel it's a blow to families," he said. "It marginalizes the decisio
ns that parents face every day in regard to their children's medical care. It really affirms the role that big government is better at making our decisions for us."
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Monday, May 4, 2009

HP 1207 - FRS Audits and Transparency

The following bill drafted by Ron Paul and co-sponsored and endorsed by 112 other representatives, needs more support. Please, please call and write your representatives in Congress to endorse and pass this bill.


To amend title 31, United States Code, to reform the manner in which the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System is audited by the Comptroller General of the United States and the manner in which such audits are reported, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the `Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009'.


    (a) In General- Subsection (b) of section 714 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking all after `shall audit an agency' and inserting a period.
    (b) Audit- Section 714 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
    `(e) Audit and Report of the Federal Reserve System-
      `(1) IN GENERAL- The audit of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal reserve banks under subsection (b) shall be completed before the end of 2010.
      `(2) REPORT-
        `(A) REQUIRED- A report on the audit referred to in paragraph (1) shall be submitted by the Comptroller General to the Congress before the end of the 90-day period beginning on the date on which such audit is completed and made available to the Speaker of the House, the majority and minority leaders of the House of Representatives, the majority and minority leaders of the Senate, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the committee and each subcommittee of jurisdiction in the House of Representatives and the Senate, and any other Member of Congress who requests it.
        `(B) CONTENTS- The report under subparagraph (A) shall include a detailed description of the findings and conclusion of the Comptroller General with respect to the audit that is the subject of the report, together with such recommendations for legislative or administrative action as the Comptroller General may determine to be appropriate.'.