Podcast Episodes

CD013: Surveillance, Stupidity, & Drones

The House passes a surveillance bill masked as pediatric research and then wastes our time. Also, highlights from the leaked legal justification for the Obama Administration's "lawful" drone bombing of American citizens. H.R. 225: National Pediatric Research Network Act of 2013 Introduced by Democrat Lois Capps of Northern California. The bill says the Director of the National Institutes of Health (a gov't agency) can create a network of up to 20 groups of public or private non-profits to work together to do pediatric research. As a condition of accepting an award, the groups need to agree to help the Centers for Disease Control with the establishing patient registries and "other surveillance systems as appropriate and upon request by the Director of the Centers." The bill establishes...

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H.R. 444: Require a Plan Act

The "Require a Plan Act" was such a waste of time, I can't even believe I have to write about it. It requires President Obama to submit a second budget if his first one for 2014 isn't balanced, even though the budget is 100% Congress' job. H.R. 444: Require a Plan Act SEC. 2. PURPOSE AND FINDINGS. (a) PURPOSE: to require the President to submit to Congress another budget if the President's budget for fiscal year 2014 is not balanced. (b) FINDINGS The President has submitted his budget on-time once since taking office. SEC. 3. SUBMISSION OF A SUPPLEMENTAL UNIFIED BUDGET. (a) IN GENERAL.—If the President's budget for fiscal year 2014, results in a projected deficit in every fiscal year for which estimates are provided then the President has to submit an additional budget that is...

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H.R. 225: Surveillance Hidden in Pediatric Research Bill

H.R. 225: National Pediatric Research Network Act of 2013 The House overwhelmingly passed a bill that looks like it would fund pediatric research but, according to CBO, would expand surveillance. Of what? Don't know. The Director of the National Institutes of Health (a gov't agency) can create a network of up to 20 groups of public or private non-profits to work together to do pediatric research. As a condition of accepting an award, the groups need to agree to help the Centers for Disease Control with the establishing patient registries and "other surveillance systems as appropriate and upon request by the Director of the Centers." Establishes a "Data Coordinating Center" to... 1. Distribute scientific findings 2. Help design and conduct research projects and to manage the resulting...

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A quick fact check followed by an introduction to ALEC, the association of lawmakers and corporations working together to write bills. Fact Checking CD011 Conversation Kim DotCom's Story Al Qaeda has been reported to be operating in the following countries Afghanistan Iraq Pakistan Sudan Bosnia Syria Somalia Egypt Saudi Arabia Yemen Algeria Mali Mauritania Morocco Niger Tunisia Turkey Kenya Tanzania United States What happened in Virginia: Last week, a bill was rammed through the Virginia State Senate that redraws the maps for their State Senate races in a way that gives more votes to Republicans. Henry Marsh is a civil rights lawyer and Democratic VA Senator who went to Washington D.C. for the inauguration. The VA State Senate is a 20-20 split, so while he was gone, the GOP surprised...

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CD011: No Budget, Still Get Paid

Lobbyist Jo Ann Emerson quits Congress early, the House votes to temporarily suspend the debt ceiling and probably-not postpone their own paychecks, and the Brineys drunkenly ramble on a Friday night. Jo Ann Emerson Resigns from the House Said she was leaving Congress in February, left early (Tuesday, January 22) Used to represent the 8th district of Missouri; left to become President and CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, a trade association/lobbying group. It has about 900 member utilities that serve 42 million people in 47 states and own almost half of the US power grid. Replacing Glenn English (also a former Congressman) who made $9,294,207 in his 6 years = $1.5 million a year. Won her district in 2012 with over 65% of the votes. Missouri to pay about $1...

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H.R. 325: “No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013”

On Wednesday, January 23, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 325: The "No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013". The big lie is in the title; if the members of Congress don't pass a budget, they will still get paid every penny, they'll just be paid later. Regardless, the bill temporarily suspends the debt ceiling so that the United States can pay the bills that Congress racked up until May 18th; because of this part, the bill became law. H.R. 325: NO BUDGET, NO PAY ACT OF 2013 SEC. 2. TEMPORARY SUSPENSION OF DEBT CEILING. The debt ceiling will be suspended from the day the President signs this bill until May 18, 2013. SEC. 3. HOLDING SALARIES OF MEMBERS OF CONGRESS IN ESCROW UPON FAILURE TO AGREE TO BUDGET RESOLUTION. By April 15, 2013, the House and Senate need to each pass their own...

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H.R. 307: Bio-hazards Preparedness Act (Reauthorization)

On Tuesday, January 22, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 307, a bill that prepares for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats. It passed overwhelmingly with only the Tea Party crowd voting 'No'. Overall, the bill cuts funding in certain areas, orders special disaster preparedness plans be created to account for children and "at-risk individuals" (it's not clear who "at-risk individuals" are), and allows unapproved, unlicensed medical products to be sold in case of an emergency. Oh yeah, it also loosens the definition of "emergency". The bill now moves into the Senate. H.R. 307- PANDEMIC AND ALL-HAZARDS PREPAREDNESS REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2013 TITLE I—STRENGTHENING NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE FOR PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCIES SEC. 102. ASSISTANT SECRETARY...

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CD010: House (Finally!) Votes On Sandy Aid

Before the House (finally) agreed to give recovery money to Hurricane Sandy victims, they made new rules for the 113th Congress, including more private jets for themselves and less rights for gays. Then, despite Republican efforts to short them, the House finally voted to give Hurricane Sandy victims the $60 billion they asked for... Well, sort of. THE RULES FOR THE 113TH CONGRESS: H.RES. 5 Changed the Nepotism rule to include grandchildren. Allows members to take private jets using official funds. Starts to open the door to using campaign funds (which Senate members can do) but a statute still prohibits that from members of the House. Eliminates a portion of ObamaCare that prevents the House from repealing authority for IPAB. Enacts the Ryan budget until a budget for 2014 is adopted....

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CD009: What’s In the Fiscal Cliff Bill

The back story on the "fiscal cliff" debacle, the House's sad excuse for a compromise, and the contents of the fiscal cliff bill that became law on 1/3/13. H.R. 8: THE OBAMA-SENATE FISCAL CLIFF BILL (SIGNED INTO LAW 1/3/13) ‘‘American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012'' TITLE I—GENERAL TAXES SEC. 101. PERMANENT EXTENSION OF MOST 2001 BUSH TAX CUTS People making over $400,000 as individuals, or $450,000 as a couple, will be taxed at 39.6% instead of the current 35% Estate tax rate will be raised to 40% from 35%. No taxes on the first $5 million of inheritance. SEC. 102. INCREASE CAPITAL GAINS TAXES TO 20%, FROM 15% SEC. 103. EXTENSION OF 2009 STIMULUS BILL TAX CREDITS 5 year extension of college tax credits Total credit cannot exceed $2,500 Tax credit decreases for families with gross...

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CD008: NDAA for 2013

Congress passes the National Defense Authorization Act for 2013; highlights include lots of money for other countries, a continuation of indefinite detention, Christmas gifts given to Northrup Grumman and other campaign contributors, and rules will finally apply to defense contracting. All that and more in this summary of 2013's NDAA… National Defense Authorization for Fiscal Year 2013 The Bad Money to Other Countries - (Section 222) $211 million to Israel for IRON SHEILD, their missile defense system - (Section 1211) $508 million for Iraq. - (Section 1219) $350 million for infrastructure in Afghanistan. - (Section 1222) $250 million for equipment ("excess defense articles") in Afghanistan, no caps in 2013 and 2014. - (Section 1227) Authorizes up to $1.2 billion in payments to...

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